Monday, April 12, 2010

SuperSecretStashBusting Challenge.

Okay, people. I think I am ready to give this a shot. I have two projects to show you, derived from a little pile of random junk in dusty rose.

As explained earlier, I'm supposed to create something fun, show you how I did it, and feel good about recycling/renewing stuff I already have, as opposed to going out and buying MORE STUFF. That's the thought behind 'Stashbust April,' a happy concept sweeping the land. During April, the idea goes, those of us who buy way too many knicknacks and gewgaws - those of us with boxes and boxes of 'someday I'll use it' - have pledged to purchase not one single new thing to feed whichever creative addiction we have.

So from Dollar Store Crafts, I have received a bunch of lovely whatzits, and I am determined to find ten interesting ways to re-purpose them into whozits. The only rule: I may use stuff from this stash, plus stuff I already own; I may not buy, beg, borrow or steal anything else.

Once again, here's the stash:

What would you do? Anything jump out at you? For me, it was two simultaneous, completely unrelated ideas. Project one is kind of a quickie, so easy it doesn't need a tutorial. I'll just show the objects I plucked from the pile, the resulting art project - and, if you act now, I will include a valuable bonus in the form of pictures of cute puppies! The second project is going to be my first tutorial ever. Bear with me, I hope I can make it clear.

Stashbust Project One

Now, the bonus puppies! I made these tags for a pet adoption event, held by the wonderful animal rescue people at Bark Avenue Foundation. I spent most of yesterday volunteering at the old Farmer's Market here in L.A., where this great organization holds adoptions once a month. By the way, I put a link to their website over there on the left...hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

The only little extra trick I did when making these tags: I protected the writing with a layer of clear contact paper, in case of drool. Oh yes, my friends - there was drool.

Stashbust Project Two - Tutorial

In the spirit of the Dollar Store Crafts inspiration, I present a rah-ther classy, ridiculously practical necklace you can make for $2 or less. And if you can sew on a button even sort of, you can make this.

It's a glasses-holder necklace! In the stash, there was this super gorgeous handmade ring:

Simple but cool. Three buttons stacked, sewn onto a black rubber O-ring. What a great idea! Way too pretty to take apart. But I wanted to change it into something, if I posted a tutorial consisting of "Pick up the ring and put it on your finger," would you ever read this blog again? Um...prolly not.

It struck me that if I bent the O-ring down, it would hold glasses nicely. Using another piece of leather from the stash, I tied the O-ring flat, and threaded the cord through the big button...

And done! I'm going to use it for my reading glasses.

Now for the tutorial - because unless you have a ready-made O-ring-button-ring lying around the house, you need to make this from scratch. This morning, I had the following conversation with my husband:

Me: (rummaging through his toolbox) Ooh! Perfect! Can I have this black rubber O-ring?
Jeff: Which? Oh, sorry, no. I need that one.
Me: But you have, like, four thousand washers. I can't have ONE?
Jeff: No, really, I need it. They're impossible to get, you can't find them anywhere, that's the only size washer that fits inside a...

Well, by that time I had stopped listening, so I really couldn't tell you. But apparently, a black O-ring in that exact diameter and thickness is the Hope Diamond of crummy rubber washers. So I came up with a different - maybe even easier - idea.

Here's what you will need, to make this project. It's a long list - at the end of this tutorial, there will be a pop quiz. Ready?

Three buttons. A length of cord or a shoelace. Needle and thread.

First, fold the cord in half. Pinch it in, a little above the center, leaving a loop big enough to hang down past your largest button. Sew through where you pinched it. Then wrap the thread around the 'pinch' a few times, and tie it off. I used some heavy upholstery thread, but you could use regular thread too: it would be best to double it, and wrap it around enough times to feel sturdy.

Decide on a pretty combination of buttons. From the back, sew up through all the buttons , then back down through them and around the cord. Go through everything a few more times to secure.

Tie off the thread in back. Tie the cord ends together. It will look like this:

Flip it over, and you're done.

Seriously, it took about 15 minutes. And ten of those minutes were me stacking and re-stacking different buttons indecisively, trying to see what looked cute.

I like this project because it can be adapted to so many looks. I chose a low-key version that would harmonize with most outfits. But I can see making a whole wardrobe of these. You are only limited by the ten million billion buttons in the world. Wild colors? Basic black? Blinged-out eveningwear? Teenagers might like them for toting sunglasses?

Anyway, there you have it. Two projects, and my first tutorial. Yay! Two down, eight to go.


  1. Love the doggie tags. It's great that you help out with the Bark Avenue Foundation.

  2. I love the doggie tags... I must say, however, that your glasses holder is phenomenal! GORGEOUS!!

  3. Wow! When I looked at that stack, I wondered what on earth someone could make with it. :) Those doggie tags were sooo cute! You're doing a great job and I can't wait to see what else you make!

  4. Ooohh... I like you! Simple yet practical craftyness. Right on!

  5. Truely! I am so impressed with all your projects from the great "stuff" you got from the dollar store challenge! Your imagination and creativity absolutely rock! I am now a follower of your blog.

  6. Okay, seriously? That is totally awesome. I have a whole bin of buttons and after making a seahorse and Hello Kitty button outline picture I was bored with them, lol. I love you, will you marry me? :D

  7. ROCK.ON.!!!! Sleek & simple!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me that you saved the white cut-outs from the doggies tags!!! That is a quickie screaming to happen!!! I am so impressed with you!!