Yarn + Bead = Earrings

I found my inspiration for my next crafty/fashiony/diy project here.


Not only did this look incredibly doable, they also looked legimately cute.  I picked up some heart-shaped pony beads thinking the shape may be a cute twist.  After fumbling around with hot glue and yarn lint on a small bead, I discovered it ended up in a ball shape any way.  I glued on the posts and tried them on.


Cute to look at, but HUGE.  I didn’t get a pic, but I remember it looking something like this.


Even without the lights and dangle, I felt like my head was one giant ball of yarn.

Not wanting to make yet another trip across the street to JoAnn with a toddler, I decided to hit up my repurposing pile.  I found the perfect bracelet with much better “pony” beads and quickly disassembled.


Oh snap!


I followed the same procedure as above – wrap, “dot” the hot glue and singe the ish out of my fingers, wrap some more, glue and burn, and wrap to satisfaction.  My less-than-happy fingers were covered in glue and yarn DNA, but I succeeded with a more petite version of my product.


Now for the drum roll…



How do they look?  I felt like they were still too big, but I guess I’m used to smaller, basic studs.  I didn’t have to love them, but I wanted to at least like them because they looked so darn cute sans ears.

I wore them that same day to meet one of my little tutoring clients.  One of the first things this sweet little first grader said was “I LOVE your earrings!”  When she found out I made them, it was like I was a magical fairy.  She was so intrigued and had to get closer and touch them.  It definitely brought my uncertainty to a solid “like.”

I have worn them several more times, but have yet to feel the love.  Maybe they just aren’t my style or maybe it’s my hair (post about that coming soon).

Either way, I’m happy I took on this mini-project.  Maybe I will try again with super fine yarn…and tweezers.  I need to give my fingers a chance to regrow their prints.





New year, new gear

With every new year comes new hope, goals, challenges, and achievements.  With 2014 ending in a roller coaster, I will be happy to coast for awhile.  I miss this blog and my time to focus on what I love – ingenuity.  While I will continue to work on repurposing unwanted wardrobe pieces, Sew Purposeful is meant for discovering, exploring, reflecting, and learning about my own purpose as well.

These Christmas gifts from my husband are very appropriate for this…

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I have been wanting a solid, textbook-style overview of the fashion business industry.  I am hopeful that after my husband’s research, this will give me a great introduction.

The music box was instant tears.  I have been wanting one for years and loved that he selected one that was not only beautifully crafted, but decorated by one of my favorite artists, Edgar Degas.  Dance is something that will always be near and dear to my heart.  No matter where I am or what I do in my life, if I put on a pair of ballet slippers I go into a zone that I wish to stay in as long as possible.

One-of-a-kind knitting needles hand-carved from a single piece of wood are the most fitting gift I could ever imagine.  They are not only practical in the sense that I am incredibly anxious to, literally, try my hand at knitting with needles instead of my arms, but they also represent a new opportunity.  Beginning this month, I will be interning with DeNada Design, an accessory line of handmade Peruvian-inspired knits by the incredibly talented Virginia Arrisueno!

I feel very humbled that I was selected to be a part of something so special and look forward to growing personally and professionally from this experience.

Here’s to 2015…may it be the best year yet for finding purpose, beauty, and inspiration in all that surrounds me.  Happy New Year!

Same sweater, more options

I have found in the weeks following my creation of a repurposed sweater-skirt that I haven’t worn it much.  I still like the concept and look, but not the functionality.  This inspired me to take a different approach with the same sweater in a different color.

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I specifically chose my least favorite of the remaining 3 colors in case it did not work out.

I have been jonesing for a poncho-like/shawl piece for quite some time.  To steer my sweater in this direction, I cut open the side seams of the body and straight down the arms.

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I pinned the cut sides of the arms to the cut sides of the body and sewed four new seams.photo (9)

Since the arms are longer than the body, I had to trim the fabric at these intersections.photo (10)

Then, I pinned and sewed over the entire bottom to finish these cut seams.

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Here is what I ended up with:

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And here is the piece from various (selfie) angles as I had envisioned it to be worn.

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As happy as I was with the end product, I had to think about the practicality of trying to wear this with a coat.  I love that it could double as a scarf.

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Or triple as a hood…

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While I’m sure there is something similar on Pinterest or other areas of the internet, I can proudly say I thought this up all on my own while taking an extra long shower one evening.  Now I have an even better idea for this same sweater in grey…the color I wear the most.

Same poncho-style, more freedom for my arms…off to the shower I go.

Adventures in arm knitting

So I stumbled upon this as I was searching for more recycled-fashion ideas and it stopped me in my repurposing tracks…


A gorgeous, chunky infinity scarf in 30 minutes, using my arms as needles?  Um, yes please!  I taught myself crochet-basics this past spring and have always wanted to learn how to knit.  I figured this was a great way to start!

I watched the awesome tutorial by Simply Maggie and, after a few views and several pauses, had a pretty good rhythm down.  I whipped up this scarf relatively quickly,

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and used this tutorial (and my knowledge of crochet) to make a button cuff.

I am officially hooked on hooking yarn to my arm!  This is super easy, relaxing, fun, and quickly makes pieces that are warm, snuggly, and beautiful!



The only downside – it snags and pulls more because the knit is so loose.  I had to take apart this scarf yesterday due to several pulls that I couldn’t fix.  I adore this color, so I plan on making another one asap.  I’m going to redo the cuff as well and maybe use suede or leather instead.  This cuff was too bulky with an already bulky scarf.

Now my days and nights are filled with thoughts of yarn, and I’m starting to get the Pinterest-sweats.  The list of arm knitting and crochet projects that I would like to take on are growing faster than I can process.  Everyone is getting homemade gifts for the holidays this year.


Everyone.  🙂



Eat like a minimalist


I remember the days when 90 calorie packs, Light & Fit yogurt, and Special K cereal were considered my “healthy” eating.  Why have 2000+ calories when you can have 1200 or less without sacrificing taste??

NOT. Even. Close.

Ugh.  Few things frustrate me more than the hypocrisy of healthy (sh*t) eating in America.  I bought into the craze for years thinking I was the boss-hoss at picking lighter foods and preparing easy, “diet” meals.  The ironic thing is I was 3 sizes bigger (pre-baby) than I am today and full of “food-like” chemicals.

Last year, my husband and I joined a very INTENSE nutrition challenge through our gym that required us to eat clean, 100% Paleo (minus natural sugars).  Holy f-ing cow.  I didn’t think I was going to make it a whole hour, but I ended up making it for 21 days straight without one slip-up.  I was incredibly proud.

While I couldn’t sustain that level of commitment to Paleo (we still consume dairy and are gluten-reduced), I did decide that my family and I needed to eat clean.  It became a non-negotiable in our budget and in our general life priorities.  The key is quite minimalist in nature.  I look for products with fewer ingredients that I recognize/can pronounce, free of processed sugars, and are the highest quality I can afford.  Since clean eating often requires more prep, I try to select recipes that have fewer ingredients to balance the time.  I like recipes that focus on the natural flavors of the food as much as possible any way.  (I made a roast last night that only required onion, garlic, a bay leaf, salt & pepper.  It was SO damn good.)


I’m not perfect (80% of the time I do it, every time), but who wants to be perfect when there’s a Dairy Queen across the street?  (I’ll get my soft serve with crunch-coat and eat it with a smile.)  I used to scoff at bacon and eggs while I mowed through my boxed cereal.  Now bacon and eggs are a staple in our house in addition to full-fat dairy products.  I don’t portion my food and for the most part, eat guilt (and chemical) free.  Boom.



Sweater weather

Love me some background music for today’s sweater repurposing session – a session that did not have a distinct plan (which I can tell may be my favorite).

I also purchased this sweater from Victoria’s Secret (you will see this pattern) in cream and black.  I figured they would be perfect for leggings since they are long and easy to accessorize with their neutral color.


It’s functionality was deceiving.  While it’s cute overall, it’s anything but comfortable.  It’s clingy, itchy, and not very versatile.  I tried to expand its use with jeans, but it just looked lumpy and unflattering.  The foldover, cowl neck made it look awkward with a scarf.   It was left purposeless…

I started by making the same cuts as the previous sweater and decided to try out some of these ideas that I found on Pinterest.

I sewed over the raw ends of the arms and made the little stitch for my thumb to create arm warmers.  I also sewed over the raw edge of the body of the sweater to initially make a skirt.  It ended up being way too big and stretchy after it was cut-off from the rest of its friends, so I decided to use it as an infinity scarf instead.

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Love.  Them.

These new pieces came just in time for the rush of wintry weather.

‘Cause it’s too coooooooold for me here and now.  But I can hoooooold both my hands in new holes of my sweater.*

*I have a slight obsession in creating my own lyrics to songs.  Be prepared to see this often.

Sweater repurposing…a 2 for 1 session

I purchased these sweaters last year from Victoria’s Secret.

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don't find them particularly exciting

At the time, I was urgently searching for work-appropriate, basic sweaters to replace what I got rid of during the Purge.  Since shipping with VS can take awhile, I decided to take a risk and buy in bulk.  While they did fill the immediate need, I found myself staring in the mirror feeling “meh” about the look they produced.  I tried scarves and pairing with different colored jeans, but nothing really popped.  This is how, while practically like-new, they ended up in my repurpose pile.

Since leggings are a fashion favorite of mine, I’m always on the lookout for items that pair well and broaden their use.  It can be difficult to find tops long enough to make it look like I’m using my leggings as an accessory, NOT pants.  I have pushed that envelope over the years, so I figured if I can’t wear these sweaters “as is” with leggings, why not build some accessories for my favorite accessory?

Sweaters are the perfect item to easily turn into a duet of functional fashion – skirts and legwarmers!

I started with this little lady.


First, I cut off the arms and neckline of the sweater.


I pinned over (and slightly under) the raw edge and sewed the top of the skirt to make a casing for the elastic.

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I measured the elastic to fit around my waist and weaved it through the casing to complete the skirt.


I followed the exact same steps to make the legwarmers, but decided to use scraps from my t-shirt vest project as ties instead of elastic (double-repurposing points)!

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Here is the finished product.

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(My daughter was so excited she had to get in on the action.)

I love the look and intend on doing the same with the grey sweater.  I’m not kicked apart about a coral or bright blue skirt, so I may try a scarf or belt with those.

It makes me smile to know that days before this sweater was doing nothing but collecting dust.   Just like my t-shirt vest, I couldn’t wait to wear these newly recycled pieces!