Category Archives: Crafts

Things I make and thinkgs other people make that I like.

Simple Black Dress with a Statement Necklace

I love my UNA dress. It’s not new, but a black dress is always a great wardrobe staple–something to wear year after year. And UNA is a local Seattle designer. I love shopping local! I have a striped skirt and a purple skirt from this company too.

Una dress

Dress: UNA
Shoes: Thrifted
Necklace: DIY

What makes this outfit unique is the necklace I made.

shoe neckalce

It’s about 40 tiny doll shoes strung up onto a chain. I think of it as a modern take on chunky coral. I saw this idea online and really liked it. I didn’t want to buy a necklace so I made this. Well, I’ll admit that it was a time-consuming project! It took over an hour to hook all those tiny shoes onto jump rings and affix the rings onto the chain. If you see one ready-made, it’s probably worth the dough.

Summer dress

I wanted the necklace to standout so my all-black ensemble was a good backdrop for the candy-colored shoes.

summer blacks

Are you a DIYer or do you prefer to buy things other people have made?


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Ocean Colors and DIY Earrings

Here’s a Throwback Thursday post. I originally made these earrings in the spring and forgot to show them off! They’re made of simple, thin strands of ribbon that I poked onto a fishhook-style earring. The best part: I got the ribbon for free!

DIY earrings

Whenever I buy clothes with built-in hanger straps, I cut off the straps so they don’t peek out when I’m wearing my clothes. Some stores like H&M use ribbon in the color of the garment, which means I have matching earring for anything I buy there.

When I pair shades of blues together, I’m reminded of the ocean. And the ocean remind me of nice weather (since that’s the only time I go to the beach). Outfits like this make me happy, even when I’m looking serious. (I’m smiling on the inside.)

cool shades

Top: target
Flares: Urban Outfitters via consignment
Shoes: Old Navy
Arm party: Various shops

I realize I’m wearing flares, and the trend is for skinnies. I still find them elegant though. Sometimes I’ll sew wide legs into skinny ones but I think I’ll leave these as they are.

sweater and flares

Do you prefer wide of narrow legged pants?


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Interview with Jacquie Bird of SilkWire Jewelry

On my very first day in New York, I serendipitously met Jacquie Bird, the owner/creator of SilkWire Jewelry. Jacquie is a radiant woman who will draw you in with her smile. I brought my parents over to the booth she was running at a flea market in Harlem, just around the corner from where we were staying.

Jean, Jacquie and Carmen

I bought a ring from Jacquie that day (it’s been on this blog once already) and wanted to learn more about her and her business. She accepted my request for an interview, and here it is:

How did you get started as a jewelry designer?

It actually flowed out of an idea I had for hair accessories for locs. Didn’t have the energy or push to see it through at the time so I ditched that idea but had all this inventory. What to do with it? In a few days an idea was fully realized in my head, I just had to figure out how to do it, what was my voice? I had always worked with my hands from childhood and have worked jewelry in periods throughout my life but along the way in looking for my next passion, (I had a career as a dancer-singer-actress who worked on Broadway and the stage with a few trysts on TV and film in my first life) I was taken aback when I found it was creating JewelryArt.


What are the biggest challenges of working in such a creative field?

There are ten baZILLION jewelry creator/designers out there—how do I get folks to pay attention to what I do, to hear what I have to say through my JewelryArt? When your stuff is a bit off kilter, it is a huge challenge to hold your ground in the field; when your prices are a bit higher because you are firm in what it is you do and offer, staying true to self comes into question a LOT. There is a spiritual aspect to what I create, it isn’t just about jewelry. Gemstones, Crystals and Copper have power and amazing properties, I write about this in A Bird Blogs About Gems using my own experiences and that of others, along with research. Some folks get it, some do not—they just wanna rock the jewelry and that’s ok too. But I know what I’m about and why I do it.

And the biggest challenge? To be patient and to keep the faith that I will find my audience and they will find me. When I can laugh about this part of the journey I think, “well Bird, you danced, sang, and acted for a living, getting discovered as a Jewelry Artist should be a piece of cake just chill, keep on pushin’ and keep your chin up!”


All your pieces are one-of-a-kind, but is there a certain style or stone that’s popular with your customers?

People dig the rings and the stones they are familiar with like Amethyst, clear Quartz, Moonstone, Rose Quartz and some not quite so familiar stones like Chalcopyrite (because of the rainbow colors and shine), Rhodochrosite, and Pink Tourmaline. Oh, almost forgot Amazonite which is what you have. The Stone of Harmony 🙂

I do value harmony! Can you tell me a bit about the jemstones you use and how they affect wearers?

Some who are aware notice the subtleties; I had one woman tell me she noticed the Moonstone ring she had amplified her moods. One of the properties is that it can amplify moods both positive and negative. But the negative comes out with the intention to show you where you can change it and not act recklessly when you are not your best self. She realized this and when she was feeling crusty and ready to lash out, she would check herself.

A man told me he noticed he was more hyper when he didn’t wear his Rose Quartz and Lepidolite Neckpiece. Now this was someone who was not at all interested when I tried to tell him about the properties of the stones so I stopped in mid-sentence. After about a month of owning the piece he told me his discovery that the stones calmed him down. Lepidolite has Lithium in it and both stones have calming and soothing properties.


When I visited your booth I had a hard time deciding on a ring. You told me to go with the one that first caught my eye. I did and it was a good decision. Do you make decisions based on what initially attracts you to something?

Tee hee I LOVE to hear that! And yes, I do ultimately remind myself to go with my first instinct whenever I find myself in the deluge of “what to buy, which one oh my oh my OH MY????!!!!!” When I don’t do that, I always end up asking, “now why didn’t you listen, you know better??!!” Lolol!

What do you have planned next? Anything you’d like to share with readers?

I am planning to get my jewelry on someone like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, India Aire, Esperanza Spaulding, Drew Barrymore, et. al.  And also on TV shows and film—the gemstones would really sing on a show like American Horror Story, Coven. So if there’s anybody out there that can help me do that, contact me please! 🙂

In all seriousness, one of my missions is to let folks know there are many natural ways to healing, peace, energy and balance; that working with gemstones, crystals and copper are gifts of Mother Nature that have power and can assist us greatly. They are made up of the same things we are and they took millions of years to cook. We place value on the foods we eat but lump these beauties into “oh they’re just rocks! Oh it’s just copper and it tarnishes!”

My copper JewelryArt is easily cleaned by dropping it in lemon juice or vinegar. And our body needs copper, which it doesn’t produce therefore we must get it from our diets and wearing it also helps. And “rocks” are energy which vibrate on frequencies. Just like everything else in our Universe. It’s ALL energy and vibes.

Thank you, Jacquie!

You can learn more Jacquie’s work in several places:

Jacquie Bird


Filed under Art, Crafts, Fashion

Window Shopping in Snohomish

Snohomish, to me, seems like quintessential small-town America, with its picturesque views, mom and pop shops, and quaint diners. I recently took a Sunday drive to Snohomish with Mr. Jean of all trades so we could window shop.

white and denim
Shirt: Bébénoir
Shorts: Calvin Klein
Boots: MIA
Bag: Matt & Nat
Necklace: Elma Blint
Ring: Silk Wire Jewelry
Cuff: Lauren Harkness

I’m still on my boots and shorts kick, so I paired my new white shirt from Bébénoir in NYC with my faded denim shorts and caramel boots. My shirt works for both big city looks and small town outfits.

neutrals and denim

Today, my jewelry is all so special. I got the cuff at a craft fair in Seattle, my ring at a flea market in Harlem, and my necklace from another flea market in Brooklyn. All three pieces are one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces by local artisans.

jewelry detail

I liked getting design ideas from the beautiful window displays. Seems like an eclectic shabby chic look dominated the designs this season.romantic


I found a clothing store called the Natural Clothing Company and found a couple of cute, sustainable dresses (blogged about one here). And we stumbled across a pub that served Schӧfferhofer, just like I had at the Harlem Tavern. Hubby and I each had a glass to remind me of my fun trip to NYC.



I’m joining Style Elixir, The Pleated Poppy and Transatlantic Blonde for linkups. Have a look at what others are blogging about!


Filed under Crafts, Decor, Fashion

DIY Structured Skirt

I’m not sure what to call this upcycled skirt. It used to a an A-line shape but it hit too low on the leg (knee length) and was a bit frumpy so I pulled and gathered here and there and secured the new shape with a zig-zag in contrasting green.

DIY skirt

Top: Papaya
Scarf: Boutique in Vancouver
Skirt: Swapped
Necklaces: eBay
Cuff: Greenbelts
Tights: Target
Boots: Naturalizer via Goodwill

Now the skirt is shorter, more fitted, and gathered. It has an architectural flair that reminds me of designer pieces by Neodandi or Ivan Grundahl.

new skirt shape

If you try this, start with a piece much bigger than you want–because you’ll lose a lot of length and width when you gather the fabric. I also feel a skirt like this isn’t supposed to be perfect, so don’t go for symmetry. Make it fun!

skirt detail

I did this to another skirt a while ago. Speaking of which, I think I’ll wear that one tomorrow!

I’m joining Transatlantic Blonde and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. Check out all the other bloggers!


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

DIY Glitter Heels

I recently took a pair of shoes from boho to disco. I really liked these cork-wrapped wedges but the cork had bubbled a bit, was scuffed, and wrinkled.


They looked older than they were.


I decided to remove the cork and replace it with sparkles! I carefully peeled off the cork and cut the edges away.

removing cork

Then I taped up the part of the shoe that I didn’t want to be sparkly.


I sprayed on a coat of sparkly fabric paint by I was a bit disappointed with the results.

fabric spray

So I went back to the craft store and bought a container of loose glitter. I painted white glue on the wedges, poured glitter over them, and shook the extra glitter off.



the results

This was an easy project and next time I sparkle up some heels I won’t even have to tape the rest of the shoe. The glitter sticks only to the glue. I bought the glitter for less than $5 and the time to complete this project was about an hour.

I almost forgot to mention that I added this post to Citizen Rosebud’s Shoe Shine group linkup. Have a look at everyone else’s dazzling footwear!


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Thanksgiving Feast Part One

I’m attending two exciting Thanksgiving dinners this year. The first was last night, on Thanksgiving. The second is tomorrow. Yesterday, I dressed in the colors of my meal: Cranberry jacket, pumpkin top, Field Roast necklace, chocolate pants, and whiskey shoes.

harvest colors

Jacket: Lulu’s
Tank: Target
Pants: Swapped
Necklace: Florida market
Shoes: Urban Outfitters

I brought a vegan pumpkin pie to the festivities. An easy recipe with a delicious outcome. When I got to the host’s place (my friend Lynn), I was astonished by the full bar–that’s the benefit of having a bartender for a friend. Lynn made drinks. I had a rye and ginger with my meal and a hot toddy with dessert.

Lynn's bar

Besides the pie I brought, we dined on spicy bean casserole, phyllo-wrapped field roast “turkey,” mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Lynn put the turkey adoption certificate from Farm Sanctuary on the table, where a turkey might otherwise be.

my meal and the turkey certificate

On the way out the door, after hours of great conversation, I noticed the unique switchplate cover. Wild Turkey. The theme continues.

Wild Turkey cover

Besides being a mother, bartender, birder, and clogger, Lynn is also a crafter and makes unique, booze-inspired creations from upcycled bar industry leftovers. From bottle cap soy candles to beer case journals, Lynn’s shop on Etsy is a great place for holiday gifts.

How was your Thanksgiving?


Filed under Crafts, Decor, Ethical, Events, Fashion

The Fashion Truck and SOWA Market

One of the highlights of my trip to Boston was finding The Fashion Truck, a mobile store on wheels that shows up in different parts of the city. Think food truck with clothes!

fashion truck

I’d heard of the truck and vowed to track it down if I was ever in Beantown. When Donna and I visited in June, we walked from our hotel to the SOWA Open Market and found the truck there too.

fashion truck and more

I introduced myself to Emily, the owner of The Fashion truck, and perused the space. The back of the truck has neat spaces for clothes and accessories–and a tent and tables outside, showcased even more cute dresses, tops, and jewelry.

accessories in the truck

I bought a cool pair of aviators, which you can see perched on my head in the following shot, and a couple of wrap bracelets. Emily was great and explained her vision for the store. She curates it with hand-picked pieces and packs a lot into a small space without it feeling cramped. Theres even a fitting room. And yes, an online store.

inside SOWA's artist lofts

Top: Thrifted
Shorts: Lulu’s
Sunglasses: The Fashion Truck
Bag: Nine West via thrifted
Bracelets: Gifted
Shoes: Timberland

But the truck was just the beginning. The SOWA is an open market featuring food, art, vintage clothing and goods, and a host of other fun things. I bought a necklace from the Pearl Shop, and Donna snagged a fantastic gray and rose skirt from the indoor vintage mall. We had cool gaspacho from a food truck, and got lost in an array of jewelry and knick knacks. We even found a cool vintage shop in a retro silver trailer: Haberdash Vintage. Loved their bags, shoes, and jewelry.

sowa collage

Have you been to SOWA or other markets? What do you like shopping for?


Filed under Art, Crafts, Events, Fashion, Travel

Red and Black Plaid: A DIY Draped Look

It’s Red and Black Week over at Sophistique Noir. Last year, I missed out on Victorian Kitty’s event because I was doing other things (a 30 for 30 challenge if a recall). I promised myself I’d join in the fun next time. I can’t believe a year has gone by.

Red and Black Week

I don’t run a goth blog, but I do appreciate the goth aesthetic and I look for opportunities to stretch my dark wings now and then. I love that in the month of June, when so many people are donning pastels and getting tans, I have an excuse to stay pale and wear dark clothes.

plaid skirt

Cowl-neck tank: Swapped
Cardigan: Thrifted
Skirt: Goodwill
Boots: John Fluevog

I’m starting off with a vintage maxi skirt I found at Goodwill. I was looking for something to use for a DIY project. I wanted to ruche and drape until I created a fitted, more structured skirt.

black and red

If you try this, make sure you start with a skirt much wider and longer than you need. Each time you pinch and gather, you’ll be “losing” fabric. I tried this on, picked up a piece of fabric in my fingers, placed it to where I wanted it to be, and hand-stitched it in place. I did it on the front only, to create an asymmetrical, fishtail effect. I topped it off with one red button.

draping detail


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Thrifty

Red Corduroy Kindle Case

Once upon a time there was a red corduroy blazer. Someone bought it, wore it (maybe), and gave it to Goodwill. I bought it at Goodwill, wore it (once), and cut it in half so I could make a Kindle case with it. I wore the half jacket once too (just for fun). Unfortunately it was in my pre-blogging days so there’s no photographic evidence. There is evidence of the Kindle case:

Kindle case

I posted the Kindle case on my Etsy shop recently (to replace another one I made out of a pant leg). Best of all, my friend, Lynn, took the remaining fabric (two sleeves) and made a wine tote out of one of them. Brilliant!

wine bag

The red blazer has had quite a journey–and it looks like it’s just beginning!

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Filed under Crafts, DIY, Ethical, Fashion, Thrifty