Vintage Bracelet Makeover

Last Saturday I finally got to visit Chalice Thrift at the First Christian Church in Decatur. (Church nerd note: they’re Disciples of Christ, which is the cousin to my denomination, and they do really rad justice and service work with the proceeds from the thrift store.)

They’ve been closed the last 3 times I’ve been by, so I was thrilled to have a look inside.  Plus they had Danish butter cookies and lemonade for all, and Danish butter cookies are the way to my heart (especially the kind with crystallized sugar on top).

WP_20170527_10_32_24_Pro
Victory is mine.

They also grow blackberries which made my child happy (well, that and the cookies. And their lovely clean bathroom they let her use):

WP_20170527_10_32_30_Pro

Inside the shop was set up like a boutique, with different rooms for women’s, men’s, kids, housewares, books (a veritable library!), etc.:

WP_20170527_10_36_40_Pro

I wanted to get back to park time* with my family, so I made a pretty quick sweep. (*Atlantans with small people should check out the Decatur Toy Park. Sponsored by this same church, it’s basically a fenced-in park filled with larger-sized toys, particularly wheeled ones, donated for all to use. There are also swings, small slides, and a mini free library, and it’s across the street from the thrift store. It’s also just down the block from Dancing Goats if your toddler woke you up earlier than nature intended and you need some coffee. Win-win.)

During my sweep, this vintage earring/bracelet combo immediately caught my eye:

WP_20170527_10_45_29_Pro

I’ve long been a fan of vintage costume jewelry for the sheer chutzpah it brings to an outfit. My grandma had a lot of great pieces I’ve enjoyed wearing over the years, although I’ve scaled back from wearing complete earring/necklace matching sets in the same outfit.

So I wasn’t sure what I would do with this set, particularly since I prefer cuff bracelets to linked ones. But I couldn’t resist the palm frond motif or the golden color, halfway between taupe and caramel, that would go with so much of my wardrobe. It felt like a fresh, subtle take on the palm frond trend that’s been going strong the last year or two:

WP_20170527_10_45_35_Pro
Mmm, that vintage patina…

I bought it without a plan and wondered if I’d basically just donated $4 to Chalice Thrift (not a bad thing, but I like to spend thrift money on things I’ll actually, you know, wear.)

Later that day it occurred to me that I could make this bracelet into a necklace by removing the clasp on one side and attaching chain to both ends.  A quick perusal of my miscellaneous jewelry-making bits confirmed that I didn’t have enough chain (or the right color) for what I had in mind.

So it was time for a trip to the Goodwill to hunt for parts. (We also took the opportunity to teach our daughter how to wisely spend her birthday money; $8 goes a long way in the kids’ section of a thrift store. I’m proud to say that after playing with a bunch of cheap toys she bought one book and kept the rest of her moolah for another day/charity donation.)

In the jewelry section I found this number:

WP_20170529_14_02_57_Pro

(My friend pointed out that I could’ve gone to Michael’s and maybe spent less buying new chain, but I’d rather buy secondhand and experience the thrill of the hunt. Plus this was only $4 and I’m getting a lot of other beads/jewelry bits out of it, including some to make earrings for this same friend. Win-win again!)

Using jewelry pliers I took out the chain sections, including the short braided section (on the left middle in the photo above), and left the lobster claw clasp where it was.  I attached the braided chain to one side of the single chain, then took two of the necklace’s jump rings (small metal circles used to connect chain to beads/hang pendants) and used them to attach the chain pieces to the bars at either end of the former bracelet. You can see the jump rings and the braided chain section up close here:

WP_20170529_14_16_53_Pro

I like how the braided part adds a little asymmetrical interest.

This shot gives a better sense of where the necklace falls – I can adjust the length from almost choker down to this “bib” size simply by attaching the lobster claw to any of the chain links:

WP_20170529_14_16_57_Pro

Here’s another few shots of my new necklace in action from Instagram – when I make “new” jewelry I’m excited about, I tend to wear the heck out of it:

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

A post shared by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

What do y’all think of my $8 vintage bracelet makeover?  Have you Atlantans ever visited Chalice Thrift?  Scroll down to comment!

Friday ReBlog: the Launch of ReStitch

gw_restitch_logotag_rgb-web

Cathy from ReStitch reached out to me to tell me about the launch of this new website and to give you all a chance to get in on the good stuff first!

I know many of you don’t have access to great thrifting and/or as much time as you’d like to go to a physical store and try things on.  ReStitch helps you solve that problem with online thrifting.  The brainchild of Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin, ReStitch is essentially an online thrift store that gives more people access to some of the great stuff coming through Goodwill NCW’s doors.

Per Cathy: “The purpose of reStitch is to help deal-lovers and thrifters look great and do good.  Every reStitch item has been donated, making it possible to put 100 percent of profits directly back into the community in the form of employment training, job placement services, financial education, youth mentoring programs and more!”

(We’ve discussed previously whether marking up thrift finds for online resale is good or bad – most of you I’ve heard from think it’s fine, and how much moreso if the proceeds benefit the good causes championed by the non-profit receiving the original donation!)

ReStitch will likely launch in early December, just in time for holiday shopping.  If you go to their website and sign up (righthand sidebar), you’ll get access to their goods before the general public does.  You can learn more about them from their intro blog post & by perusing the rest of their site.

Thanks, ReStitch, for the great opportunity!

 

This post was not sponsored or compensated.  Just spreading the thrift love!

Does Thrifting Contribute to Gentrification? Part 2

Last week I shared the conversation my friend Hannah and I had about whether thrifting contributes to gentrification. I mentioned in the intro to that post that it seemed disingenuous to write about whether my thrift habit negatively affects those with limited resources without including the voices of the people in question.  Hannah grew up using thrift stores as an affordable means of clothing a large family looking to conserve resources, but I also wanted to include other voices.  Plus, I needed to educate myself more on the subject. Hence, Part Deux. Continue reading “Does Thrifting Contribute to Gentrification? Part 2”

Travel Wardrobe: Asheville, NC

A few weekends ago we packed up and drove the 3 and a half hours to meet friends in Asheville, North Carolina for a mini break.  What follows is what I packed (and what my kid packed), what I wore, and what we did, including a thrift visit (sadly only one; I saw at least two more but we didn’t make it to them.  Next time, Asheville!).

If that sounds like a lot to cover, it is!  Buckle up, folks, this is a long one (but there are photos to help you make it through!). Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Asheville, NC”

A DIY / Thrifted Statement Pendant Necklace

Pendants are one of my favorite kinds of necklaces because that dangling pop of jewelry is dramatic and fun; the length also handily draws your eyes down the entirety of the outfit and won’t crowd your face/neckline.

Luckily for us, pendants are also the easiest kind of necklace to DIY, because you can pop a few beads and baubles together, slip it on a chain you already own, and BAM!  You’re ready to go.  That same chain can be used to showcase different pendants depending on your outfit and your mood.

You can thrift the chain, of course, but you can also thrift the components of the pendant. I did one here that I’ve been wearing a lot this spring, and today I’m going to show you another one I recently created for the winter wardrobe I’ve been revamping this summer – but surprise, it works great for summer, too!

Click through to see what I made and general guidelines for making your own thrifted/DIY pendant. Continue reading “A DIY / Thrifted Statement Pendant Necklace”

Does Thrifting Save You Money? Part 2

Given that you don’t have unlimited time OR an unlimited budget, how do you make thrifting work for you?  Has your thrifting changed as you’ve gotten better at it?  Unlike your younger self, you can’t spend your life in cut-offs that ‘sort of fit’.  So how do you find good stuff without spending a parcel of time and money on near misses?

This is Part 2 of a wide-ranging conversation reader Ginna from Feet Chic and I recently had about how much our beloved thrifting habit costs us.  Find Part 1 here , or scroll down to chime in!

Continue reading “Does Thrifting Save You Money? Part 2”

Love It or Leave It – or, Learning to Say No to Clothes at the Thrift Store

I went thrifting with my friend Caitlin the other weekend – she racked up several items to try on and I struck out, so I ended up in the very spacious dressing room (thanks Newnan Goodwill!) giving her picks the thumbs up or down.

(Shoutout to my mom for training me to think it’s fun to help someone else try clothes on – Ma, you would have been proud of my re-hanging garments and sorting into yes/no/maybe piles while my friend kept zipping through her selections.)

My friend mentioned at the beginning of the process that she always tries things on twice, to give herself some time to marinate on a selection before sealing the deal.  I nodded in agreement – sometimes you just need to revisit a piece to decide if it’s coming home with you.

But then she found this purple, leopard print dress by Soprano (retailed for around $50).  My friend’s face lit up and we both oooohed and ahhhhed – it was love at first fit.  “I won’t have to try this on a second time!” she gushed. Continue reading “Love It or Leave It – or, Learning to Say No to Clothes at the Thrift Store”

The Style Doctor Pays a House Call

This post should really be called “The Style Magician…” because that is what my friend called the process when she talked about it to her spouse. But I don’t think magicians pay house calls, and “The Style Magician” sounded a lot more hokey than “The Style Doctor.”

A few weeks ago my friend Caitlin asked if I would come hang at her house and help her evaluate her style (and her closet).  I couldn’t say YES! fast enough. Continue reading “The Style Doctor Pays a House Call”

Grand Opening Finds

I talked Tuesday about how much of a circus, shopping-wise, the Goodwill Grand Opening was.  I got there about 2 hours before the doors opened to tour the store and check out the merchandise, so I had spotted a few things I was interested in, but by the time I got around to shopping, a few of them were gone (I’m looking at you, blue dresses).

However, I did nab a stellar J. Crew white denim jacket, which, while not on my current thrifting list, will serve as a great thrift upgrade for the Calvin Klein jean jacket I got on sale for $25 in college:

IMG_3625

The blue color means it reads decidedly casual, which limits its versatility a bit.  But more importantly, a decade and a half on it now has a tear – sad day:
IMG_3621

This baby, however, spruces things up considerably:

IMG_3627

It’s work appropriate, and a perfect layer for our Southern climate where it is sultry all summer long (starting with 90 degrees at the end of April) but we insist on air conditioning the living tar out of our interior spaces.  You better be prepared to cover up that sun dress, Sugar.

 

I also found this lovely top, which, while unlined and probably not stellar quality, put a smile on my face.  The bold colors and the plump little birds just make you want to sing, no?

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


The sleeves are long (to the beginning of the elbow) and fitted, which is a different and cool detail, and the shoulders fit great, but the rest of the top is sort of swingy – much larger down below.  I’m debating whether to have it tailored to a more boxy silhouette (a la this top).  Having the armholes altered will probably cost a pretty penny… curse my lack of sewing skills!  If I can’t make it work tailored, I very well may hang it against the back of my closet as wall art.

 

Last but not least, The Grouchy Ladybug, a childhood favorite, in toddler-friendly board book form:

IMG_3620

We probably own 10x my child’s weight in children’s books.

 

What delicious finds have you discovered in thrift stores lately?