Reinvent your jewelry

Reinvent your jewelry

Getting ready to wear a black vintage shirt along with a pair of earrings made by SUSU, I came up with the idea of actually wearing one of the earrings as a pin. It gave the outfit a slightly different look. Since then, I’ve been considering different shirts with different earrings. You can see two of them in the gallery below. I hope this will inspire you to use whatever jewelry you already have in different ways: just change its “original purpose” and you have a brand new style. You’ll be surprised how playing with the same elements will get you strikingly different effects. It’s so simple, yet so amazing. Imagine how many combinations you can have with only a couple of shirts and a few pieces of jewelry… Ready to experiment and come up with some versions of your own?

pair of earrings no. 1 > SUSU Bijoux e Acessorios

pair of earrings no. 2 > from a street market in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro

Photos on STANDARD WAY and YOUR WAY by Carlos Kesgo
All the rest of the photos by Mili

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Souvenir to DIY bracelet

Souvenir from Brazil to DIY bracelet

I’m crazy about striped clothes. Blue and white is my favourite combination, especially when it comes to beach outfits. I thought nothing would go better with my marine stripes than my Brazilian bracelet. This is one of my favourite repurposed souvenirs. I love to wear it not only because of its colours, but also because of its sentimental value, being a reminder of all those nice moments from my trips to Brazil. 

The moment I saw this painted leather bookmarker in a small souvenir shop in Sao Paulo, it was clear to me what it was going to be transformed into. I couldn’t wait to do its makeover. In fact, I bought two of them and turned them both into bracelets. If you’d like to try this idea, check the HOW TO section below. Hopefully, this will inspire you to think of a makeover of your own so that you can also create unique accessories from seemingly ordinary things.

 

I took a piece of orange leather over which I stitched the bookmarker. I used a normal cotton thread for sewing which, if put double or triple, becomes very strong and makes the whole thing look noticeably neat and tidy. In keep with the style, I also stitched over the letters of the word “Brasil” to make them more visible.

In order to make sure that all the stitches were the same and also to make life easier for my fingers (passing a needle by hand through hard leather can be very difficult and sometimes painful), first I ran the bookmarker through the sewing machine but without using the thread. This way, I got a row of holes at equal distance through which I could hand sew later on. The trick is to choose a soft underlying leather and to make the holes in this piece only when you’re passing the needle to stitch both pieces together. However, if you wish to run the underlying leather through the sewing machine as well, try to leave a smaller distance between the holes so that when you bind the two pieces together you will naturally get a nice curved shape. If it’s flat, the underlying leather will be wrinkled when forced into a bracelet shape.

Once I finished stitching, I cropped the underlying leather into an irregular shape that I liked. Finally, I put a rigid skeleton in between the two layers and I closed both ends. For this step, you can either stitch or glue them together. I used glue because I didn’t want any more stitches and also because it’s faster.

You can buy the skeleton in a crafts/jewelry supply shop or you can take an existing bracelet you no longer use. Since I’m crafting and recycling all the time, I usually buy these kinds of things when I spot them for a good price. They will definitely find their way into one of my projects: the rings and links I’ve removed from one project in particular, I’ve reused for another one.

All photos by Mili

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Textile marker shirt makeover

Textile marker shirt makeover

If you feel like customizing a plain shirt or you have one that could use a makeover, textile markers is one of the easiest ways of giving it a new look. Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic enough to experiment a lot, this is a simple idea that will work well, regardless of your drawing skills.

To make it easier, I chose a shirt that already came with a printed pattern. I decided to paint some random bits to break its repetitive print and give it a more interesting style. If you’d like to try this out, read the tips I mention in the section below. I would love to see your ideas and projects as well.

 

You will see that using textile markers is indeed quite easy. However, there are a few things to bear in mind. First of all, you have to test how the fabric is going to react to it when it comes to absorbing the colour and/or spreading it around: see the exact final colour and its intensity on the particular fabric you’ve chosen. I decided to remove one pocket from the shirt and take this piece of fabric for the testing. The marker I used had a very watery ink that would easily spread further outside of the desired areas. In order to overcome this problem, underneath the fabric I put a piece of kitchen paper that would absorb the excess of ink.

Also, keep in mind that you will need to iron the item after painting it in order to fix the colour. So, make sure that you choose an item made out of a fabric that will withstand these high temperatures. If you have experience and/or any tips on using textile markers, please leave your comments.

 

necklace > handmade by Mili

All photos by Mili

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Wearing a Malay house souvenir

Wearing a Malay house souvenir

Are you one of those people that like to collect souvenirs from trips? More often than not, you go somewhere and you want to come back home with a little something from that place you’ve just visited. Interestingly, I’ve realised that most travelers have a thing for magnets and even if I’ve never been a big fan of the magnet-covered fridge, I have a few magnets of my own. The problem with this kind of mementos is that you might feel bad about giving (throwing) them away, even if you somehow wished to because you no longer know where to put them.

If you have “bonded” with a similar relic but you’d rather it didn’t just sit around collecting dust, why not reinvent its use? It will still be a nice souvenir from a memorable occasion but, in this case, it will be more unique and more useful. The possibilities are endless… I’d like to see yours. 

 

I removed the small magnetic piece from the backside and I placed two small links instead. This way, I can attach the souvenir to a safety pin or to a chain so that I can wear it either as a pin or as a necklace.

All photos by Mili

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Leather polka dots scarf

Leather polka dots scarf

Here is a quick and easy way to make your everyday scarf look more sophisticated. You don’t need any special tools or expensive materials: just a small piece of leather perhaps from old clothes or accessories, a scarf of your choice or any piece of fabric you like, a pen, a triangular ruler and a file binder hole punch. Oh, and a spoonful of patience. To finish, you will need some type of adhesive. I used the one for fabrics because it’s washing and ironing resistant.

I found this DIY so easy and yet so effective. Give it a try!

Step 1 – Make leather confetti with the file binder hole punch.

Step 2 – With the pen and the help of the triangular ruler, mark the spots for the leather dots on the scarf. I´ve started from the centre of the scarf and worked towards the sides, marking one dot for each edge of the triangle. For the next dot, I’d move it towards a free space, always having two corners at existing dots as a reference. Another way to do it is using an existing piece of fabric that already has dots: you can place it underneath the scarf to copy the pattern, provided the scarf allows you to see through a bit. In any case, it’s not necessary to be super precise. Once the scarf is placed on the body, a small mistake in the distance is not that noticeable.

Step 3 – Put a small amount of adhesive on each of the dots that you’ve marked.

Step 4 – Place a leather dot on top of each dot with adhesive and allow it to dry.

It might look like a lengthy process, but it took me only around an hour to finish it.

Even though the adhesive is transparent, once it’s dry, you can still see it on the other side of the scarf if the fabric is light. So, I thought it might be a good idea to put leather dots on the other side as well: exactly on the same places. I plan to do this in another colour. This way, my scarf will have two different sides.

ring>from a street market in Lisbon

necklace> DIY  – for similar suggestions click HERE

dress> DIY by Mili

All photos by Mili

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