Posts Tagged ‘upcycled jewellery’

I fell in love with a bought an antique Art Nouveau broken silver plated belt on eBay several years ago purely because of the Green Man masks on each section.

green man

I knew they would make gorgeous pendants/necklaces but I only got round to it the other day when I unearthed a damaged silver chain which was the perfect weight and patina to work with the panels.

There was just enough chain to make two necklaces.  The loops at the top of the panel were perfect to attach the chain, but that still left the loops at the bottom, which looked a bit odd without anything attached, so to the first one I added a drop with green cat’s eye beads, silver colour leaf beads and a central silver and abalone shell pendant from an odd earring, all threaded onto a length of silver wire.


For the second one I used an odd labradorite earring drop, two labradorite beads on oxidised silver wire and a tiny length of silver chain to make the drop.


They were a delight to make and can be found here and here in my Etsy shop.

Then only a few days later, I was looking for something else when I found some vintage embroidered linens in the back of a cupboard. Among them were two napkins, one quite badly holed and inspiration struck again! I cut them into sections for brooches or pendants and added to each one a hoop from various bits of odd vintage jewellery – bangles and earrings. The result…



…three brooches: large Daisy Spray, medium Daisy Wreath and small Golden Daisy


…and two pendants: Red Bellflower on the left and Brown Daisy on the right.


For each one, I laminated two circles of buckram together and gathered the embroidered piece of fabric over it to stiffen it and did the same with a plain piece for the back. Then I hand stitched the circles together with the assorted hoops/bangles sandwiched in between to give the whole thing stability. I used a variety of stitches including herringbone stitch, ladder stitch, beaded ladder stitch and chain band (below) to give an attractive finish to the edges.

DSCN8948.JPGIt then depended on whether the hoop I used already had an integral loop or not whether the finished piece became a pendant or brooch.  Lots of fun but not appreciably more space in that cupboard – two napkins go a long way!

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If we have had a workshop of some sort at our Embroiderers’ Guild group, then at the next meeting there is a space available for people to bring their workshop pieces, whether finished or just continued, to show. It was fantastic to see what had happened to the stitch play pieces from my workshop in December.









Many thanks to everyone who brought along their work – glad you enjoyed it!

I’ve also been doing some more upcycling. First, I turned a single 1980s enamelled earring which looked like orange sherbet into a beaded brooch. I removed the post and then beaded it onto some hand dyed vintage cotton fabric with some matching pearlised opaque orange seed beads using peyote stitch.


Then I gathered the spare fabric over the back and ladder stitched it to the covered vilene circle onto which I’d already stitched the brooch back.


Then I could add the edging in a mixture of clear orange, opaque pale yellow and very pale lilac beads, to echo the colours in the swirl.


It’s not a terribly quick thing to stitch, but a lot of fun to do!

Among the oddments I scored from my Dad’s workshop last year were some bits of veneer that he had hand cut. This little piece is apple wood.


I wondered what would happen if I doodled on it in black pen…


…and then cut it into sections to fit in this vintage bracelet.


Measure twice, cut once…


Hold your breath and hope…


…and be pleasantly surprised at the result.



I’ve also added nuggets of sea glass and sea washed china to a selection of vintage pendants, brooches and rings.









They are all sitting in my Etsy shop now, waiting for loving homes!

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In my bedroom I have a grotty inherited two drawer chest of IKEA drawers which is only still there because it holds an inordinate amount of fabric. I’ve been looking vaguely for a replacement for some time, preferably one with a few more drawers in it… I imagine I’m not the only person who is always looking for more storage!

I love 60s/70s teak furniture with simple stylish lines and was delighted to find the perfect item in one of our local charity shops. So, for £40 including delivery, I have become the proud owner of nearly double the amount of storage in the form of this lovely teak veneered chest of drawers made by the Somerset based company Avalon.


I’ve been watching far too many upcycling programmes and although it was clean and serviceable, I couldn’t resist trying to restore it to its original glory. It had obviously been standing in sunlight and the finish was badly faded and the top had the usual quota of water stains, dints etc.


So, out with the sander and caution as among the information I’d been able to turn up online about Avalon furniture were warnings about the relative thinness of the veneer compared with other bigger names of the day such as Nathan and G-Plan.

The light varnish came away easily and I was easily able to sand out the damage to the top. The sides also came up really well too and I was over the moon at the beauty of the wood.


Then out with the Danish Oil and…wow. Just wow. I could not believe the depth and beauty of the natural colour of that wood. I haven’t used a stain to get that colour, just clear Danish Oil.


I am so in love! I also discovered that the solid wood legs unscrew (WIN!) so I was able to unscrew them and give them a proper sand, stain and polish. The carcass has had three coats of oil and been buffed up with a beeswax polish and I just have the drawer fronts to do when I get a nice day which isn’t perishingly cold. Working outside at this end of the year is a bit of a lottery!

As the recent snow and chilly weather has brought a halt to the chest of drawers, I turned my attention to upcycling jewellery which is a much warmer indoor activity. Buoyed up by the successful result I got from upcycling a couple of pairs of odd earrings into a unique necklace, I selected some more oddments and let my imagination loose.

Firstly, two brass earrings.


I completely deconstructed the bottom one into the chain and the hammered brass leaves and removed the bottom curve and fringe section of the top one to form the bib section of the necklace.


To finish it, I added some more gold coloured chain and some odd brass and blue glass beads.


And ended up with this: my Bold as Brass necklace.


I forgot to take a photo of the original earrings that went to make up this one, but the elements I reused were the laminated abalone teardrops and the central cloisonne teardrop bead.


With the addition of various lengths of silver tone chain and some toning cats eye beads, I created Sea Greens.


And finally, the left over beads from this earring, which had provided most of the components for a necklace already…


…were added to a gorgeous art glass bead to make a tassel pendant.


The pendant was then hung on a chain made, again, from oddments of reused silvertone chains and the last beads from the earring; each individually threaded onto headpins to make a feature where one chain section changes to another.


The result looks like this!


The embroidery, I’m afraid, is all still under wraps until December’s Guild meeting, but if you like the jewellery, it’s all in my Etsy shop here along with dozens of other vintage, original and beachcombed pieces.

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Last year at Embroiderers’ Guild we had an amazing full day workshop with Chris Gray which started off with printing from her mind-blowing collection of printing blocks. I only had a handful of bits of fabric and loved the printing so much that I ended up printing on everything I could find in my bags, including three silk carrier rods I’d ironed flat.


I love silk carrier rods, but like so many things, they disappear into drawers and boxes knowing that the chance that I might find something to do with them is slim to none.

However… I’ve been upcycling jewellery again and after trialling a few ideas for how to enhance this rather naff goldtone geometric bib section,  I came across the printed carrier rods and that turquoise one was perfect.



The nature of the carrier rod means that it doesn’t fray and I could simply stick it into the back of the triangle.


Turquoise is a complete nightmare to match colourwise because of the proportions of green and blue, but the turquoise nugget beads were a perfect match and some gold tone chain finished it all off nicely. It is always such a pleasant surprise when things work out smoothly and I have listed it here.


On a roll, I came across two odd earrings. This…

20171112_122216_HDR.jpg …plus this… 20171112_122229_HDR.jpg

…now equal this:


I have been embroidering as well, but it’s unfortunately under wraps until December.

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The holiday journal is finished and just waiting for me to add some extra papers, pockets etc. to the inside.


Doing blanket stitch so close together took longer than I bargained but I like the effect.

Then I moved onto another one of my samples for my upcoming Embroiderers’ Guild workshop later in the year. Grey on grey felt embroidered in pale blues.


Fly stitched edge, straight stitches in a radiating pattern and french knots:


Feather stitch edging with a chain stitch spiral:


And I’ve turned what I think might have been a vintage money clip into an upcycled sea glass pendant. First of all I sawed off the long bit of the clip following the lines of the design at the bottom.


Then I pierced and cut out the middle section with a very fine saw, again following the edges of the design, and leaving three tabs to attach the sea glass to.


A lot of fiddly filing happened next, to really shape the central section and tidy up the tabs before I could set it with a lovely piece of deep turquoise sea glass.


I love using the piercing saw and the fiddlier the design, the better. I really need to get back to making some more of my original jewellery…

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I’m on a roll!

An upcycled bracelet,


Pisces necklace,


Branch necklace,


Green daisy necklace,


Broken vintage brooch turned into a pendant


…and another upcycled broken brooch. This one does actually have embroidery in it!

The main piece was a ring brooch in lovely condition with all the original stones intact, but no pin, so I got rid of the remains of the pin mountings and decided to fill the middle with a back stitched spider’s web, rather like a Dorset button.


I’d got about a third of the way through the stitching when I looked on the back and decided I preferred that effect. So out it all came and I started again!


Much better.


Filling up the space nicely…


…and completed.


The thread is quite a thickish cotton and the web is really firm and sturdy. The back is neat too, but I’m pleased I chose to restitch it.


I added a vintage bar tie-pin as the brooch back and it covers the scars of the old closure quite nicely.


Very pleased with this!


The only other sewing I’ve been doing is a major repair job on one of our Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club costumes – a wartime woollen coat that somebody has turned into a pirate captain type coat. Various seams have given way and the gold braid is coming adrift everywhere.

Not creative in quite the same way, but extremely satisfying.


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I’ve been upcycling jewellery recently and having a lot of fun putting bits and pieces together to make something from nothing. I had a small lot of vintage 1970s silver tone ring blanks which were crying out for some nuggets of sea glass.

DSCN4075  DSCN4088.JPG



Then I used freshwater pearls and seed and bugle beads in a variety of shades of green to create a set of sea-themed dangles for my Mermaid’s Garden dangle ring. The centre is finished with a piece of ‘coral’ I beach-combed from Claigan Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye as a child in the 1970s. I always thought it was actually coral, but according to the internet it’s ‘desiccated and sun-bleached algae’ which is much less attractive sounding!


Then an assemblage piece – Ship’s Wheel Locket. The original vintage goldtone locket had a slight depression in the front so I shaped a piece of polished broken abalone to fit into it and then added a lovely ship’s wheel charm on top of that so the sea green swirls of the abalone can be glimpsed through the spokes of the wheel.


Lastly I reverted to embroidery for the Cottage Garden pendant. This gold tone pendant had a pierced pattern around the edge which was just begging to have some sort of thread added. I chose a heavy Caron cotton thread in lovely muted cottage garden shades and added a simple row of slanted stitches, following the pattern of the holes.


Then it occurred to me that I could do a sort of back-stitched spider’s web around the champagne coloured diamantes and turn them into flowers, which worked very well.


Always good when a plan comes together.

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