DIY Checkered Glass Collar Tips

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I am obsessed with collar tips right now. Cash is extremely tight as of late, so I’ve been getting creative to feed my fashion hunger. I made with decorative glass from the Dollar Tree, magazine clippings (a Louis Vuitton ad to be precise), Mod Podge, and gold hardware I already had for making jewelry.

Would anyone be interested in a tutorial on how to make these?

Thrifted Wicker Lunch Box

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This little gem cost me $2.99 at my Goodwill. I have torn the inside lining out because it was stained and the elastic was dry-rotted (the elastic was intended to hold utensils and condiments), and plan to use it as a handbag.

 

 

I met Kat Von D and my Weekend in Philly (OOTD!)

I was lured into the city of brotherly love this past weekend with the chance to meet Kat Von D at her book signing Saturday night. I waited in line after purchasing her new coffee table book Go Big or Go Home (which is a delightful salad of gorgeous artwork, tattoos, and thoughtful essays). My anxiety was reaching critical mass, and by the time I actually saw her I was seriously considering bolting, I was so nervous. All my fears were for naught, thankfully. She was so kind and sweet and made me feel like she actually gave a crap. She told me she also likes Siouxsie & the Banshees too and hugged me twice. It’s Monday and I am still grinning.

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She was wearing the coolest Lita’s I’ve ever seen.

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I look quite haphazard outfit-wise, but we had to head out into town as soon as we arrived so I had no time to put together a coherent look, but I wore the Siouxsie band tee I’ve had since high school, purple acid wash skinnies, a highligher yellow messenger bag from JustFab.com, and my vintage leather pixie boots from the $2-per-bag thrift store. I am also wearing my new Earnest Hemingway collection eyeglasses that I got for FREE at my lovely place of employment.

While in town, we stayed with my most awesome friend Sara. Her neighborhood has a high population of hipsters, which means a high density of badass restaurants. Say what you may about hipsters, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to make delicious progressive food. I forgot my ID, so I had to sneak a bottle of unknown contents into an establishment, and it exploded. That was horrifying and hilarious all at once. We ate at Loco Pez (I had an amazing deep-fried hot dog), Memphis Taproom (where I had my first catfish po’boy), and Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen (where I had an egg and mushroom bake with Cajun sauce and a massive homemade biscuit). So much good eatin’ in a 24-hour time-span.

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At the Memphis Taproom. Zach’s beard is immense.

I fulfilled two dreams in one weekend, with the second being to visit the Mutter Museum. It was awesome. No photography was allowed, but my brain was filled to the brim. A visit to this place will make you realize how precious good health is. Here are the photos I took in the lobby:

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Philly was a blast!

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My Favorite Essential Oil: Tea Tree Oil

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Since I first discovered it in the organic aisle of my grocery store, I have been proselytizing the benefits of tea tree oil to anyone who’d listen. It’s an essential oil that is surprisingly unknown. With all the hype going down about expensive exotic oils like maracuja and argon  it’s worth exploring the benefits of the still lesser known oils.

Tea tree oil is produced from the Austrailian melaleuca tree. It has long been favored for it’s health benefits, reported to work as an antiseptic and an anti-fungal agent, but fell to the wayside with the rise of modern antibiotics and pharmaceuticals. Applied topically as it is toxic to ingest, it can aid in healing athlete’s food and even head lice. Many of the companies selling this product describe much like aloe vera, suggest it be used to sooth burns and skin irritations. So, can it be of any use as a beauty product?

There is some evidence to suggest that tea tree oil can be an effective treatment of acne (1), but more studies need to be done before science will give a seal of approval. It seems that it has a similar effect to the old acne standby benzoyl peroxide but with a lot less side effects, like dry, flaking skin.

Some people do have allergies to this oil, so I recommend testing a small amount on a concealed area of skin before slathering yourself up. Tea tree oil is sold (here) in a less concentrated gel form, which I prefer for facial use. I squeeze a pea sized amount on my hand and spread it all over my face, avoiding the eyes of course, in the morning and at night before bed. When I wake up the next morning, pimples seem less red and smaller, and any eczema patches are few and far between.

If you want to buy tea tree oil products (like shampoos, gels, masks) you will likely find it in the organic section of your local market, or much more easily online. It isn’t available commercially in many cosmetics just yet, but many Etsy sellers are selling handmade tea tree oil cosmetics.

Here are some helpful videos on this subject:

“All About Tea Tree Oil”

Using tea tree oil for acne, spots and blemishes (natural cures!)

Sources:

1. Bassett, IB; Pannowitz, DL; Barnetson, RS (1990). “A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne”. The Medical journal of Australia 153 (8): 455–8.

 

 

Review of The Best and Worst Glues for Making Jewelry: E6000, Amazing Goop, etc

Jewelry making has become one of my passions. I spend a lot of my evenings hunched over my work-desk twisting wires, beading, gluing, and mod-podging the night away. I am toying with the idea of putting together a self published book of thrifty jewelry how-tos. (Let me know what you think about that idea.)

For the purposes of jewelry, you need to use something that will stand up to wear and tear. When I first started making jewelry, I know nothing. I had to teach myself how to do it all, and in the process, I’ve tried a ton of different glues, always questing for that one glue that would bond anything to anything. And so, I present to you the best and the worst of my trials and errors.

 

1. “Super Glue” Fix-All Adhesive

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This was the first glue I tried after failing miserably with normal superglue. I like that it is more of a gel than normal super glue or crazy glue, but it does NOT fix “all,” as the packaging promises. It will not bond metal or plastic, glass, or stone. It may adhere at first, but within hours of wear, the stone or whatever you glued onto the metal will fall off. It only works on very porous surfaces — not good for jewelry making.  But, at $1, I got what I paid for.

2. Aleene’s Jewelry & Metal Glue

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I bought this one at Michael’s. I’ll be blunt – it sucks. Just as #1, it doesn’t work on smooth, non-porous surfaces. It breaks off very cleanly. This one was a waste of money. Everything I tried to glue onto ring blanks or brooch pins eventually fell off. Not cool for paying $5.

3. Amazing GOOP Craft

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This glue isn’t the best, but it does work. You do have to rough up plastic before glue it, to ensure the optimal bond, but if used right, this glue works. It dries clear, and has a rubbery, flexible texture. However, with more vinyl like plastics, the bond stills break on occasion. However, at $3 it’s not so bad.

4. Shoe Goo

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I love this stuff. I actually bought it to repair a shoe that’s sole literally ripped off. It is intended to bond rubber, vinyl, and canvas. I don’t use it to bond those materials to metal, but when I want to bond them to each other, this is a good choice. You have to allow ample drying and curing time, but it will be worth it. It also did the trick for my shoes!

5. E6000

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This is the absolute best glue I have ever used. The label is very plain, but it is amazing. It is industrial strength, which means super smelling and not good for you, so I advise cracking a window when using it. It is a gel and dries clear. It dries relatively fast for a gel, but I recommend allowing at least a day for the glue to fully cure. It truly bonds anything to anything. I haven’t experienced any breakage to date. It works on smooth non-porous surfaces as well as porous ones like fabric and maintains just enough flexibility.

Normal super glue/crazy glue is not viable option for making jewelry. It is too runny, does not dry clear, and dries with a rough unattractive finish. Elmer’s Glue will also not work. It is not waterproof and just not meant to last. As for hot glue, I don’t really bother with it, because it doesn’t last and can be messy.

If you’re interested in what I have made, check out my etsy store, The Betwixt Boutique!

 

 

Trendspotting: Vertical Stripes Are Okay Again

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The last issue of Marie Claire magazine I read had a pages-long spread on the black and white trend that carried throughout the Spring/Summer 2013 runway shows. Bold, structured bags with blocks of black and white, silk blouses with vertical black and white stripes, jewelry patterned with black and white gems. Marie Claire’s lovely Colombian editor and Project Runway host (I prefer her taste to Heidi’s and Michael’s), Nina Garcia, writes that this theme of stark black and white contrast shouldn’t be simplified as another case of  fashion history repeating itself. She admits that it is a return to the mod styles of the 1960s, but that it is also an artistic reaction to the worldly climate of economic and political uncertainly. This trend, she raises, like its vertical stripes, offered an outlet for order, structure, and solidity. Lit crit in fashion, who knew?

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This trend, especially the vertical stripes, has been creeping its way back into street fashion for the past year or so. What has inspired this? Beetlejuice? Yes, naturally, but also, I honestly think that people realized that black and white doesn’t have to be stuffy or tacky. I remember growing up that vertical stripes were a thing to be avoided like the plague. They would make you look much larger than you really were, no one wants that. And by the 1990s, two-toned black and white get-ups were already becoming costumey and outdated. The things being done with black and white now are totally redefining all of those old notions. Black and white is chic, it’s edgy, it’s new. Well, it certainly feels new, because we’ve banished it for far too long.

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Thrifty Cent is on Tumblr!

Thought I’d take a moment to plug our tumblr page by showing you some of the awesome fashion and street style photos featured:

 

Like all that? Visit the Thrifty Cent tumblr for pure inspiration photos!

http://thriftycentblog.tumblr.com/

 

Blogging from New York!

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We snapped this photo on the Williamsburg Bridge.

We have been in the city since Friday. There hasn’t been much time for any thrifting but I did get to shop at a Rainbow, which used to be one of my favorite retail stores back home until they went out of business. (When their items go on clearance, they really mark down the prices. I’ve gotten a lot of items their for $1 on clearance!)

Anyways, we leave tomorrow. (Wah!)

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Recent Thrifted Finds – Winter 2012 Review

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A thick black leather belt with an awesome silver crescent moon belt buckle. $2 at my local animal shelter thrift store.

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Thick white leather belt with a big gold buckle. Again, $2.

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This little gem was found at my all time favorite vintage shop EVER, Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb in Carlisle, PA. If you live in the area, hit it up. I have found some awesome pieces here. This belt was $6. From the geometric shape of it, it looks to be from the eighties.

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White leather ankle boots. Slouchy and cute. I found this at my nearest Goodwill. They were $6.95, which admittedly is a little expensive for thrifting, but I find good shoes so rarely, I just had to.

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Wild West velvet waistcoat. I can’t say no to velvet vests or jackets. $3.95 at Goodwill.

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Long-sleeve button-up blouse with black cording detail. It is repeated on the cuffs as well. It’s a little Grandma-ish but I like that. I am still questing for the perfect white button-up blouse, and this one is pretty awesome, but I am looking for one that’s silkier and has pockets. The quest continues! $3 at the animal shelter thrift store.

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This bag is what thrifting dreams are made of. It’s a 50s/60s era snap-closure handbag. Just awesome. The outside is like those heavy velvety curtains your Grandma had. $4, local thrift store.

 

My new favorite earrings – Glow-in-the-dark Bats!

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Hello all! I am pretty pleased with these earrings I made around Christmas time. I took rubber bats from Halloween ($2.88 per pack of 16, at the time), affixed gold jumprings, chain, and fancy gold ear hooks. Takes like five minutes, and they look so cool, especially in the dark, as they GLOW! They are reeeeally big and swing around violently, but that is exactly how I want all my earrings to be. Thoughts?

 

Outfit of the Day 12/20/2012

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Silk Alexander McQueen-esque scarf, $11 from Rue 21 last year; grey silk button-up blouse from a “fill a bag for $2″ thrift store; dalmatian print Vince Camuto belt from Ross (discount store) for $12.99; black skinny jeans.

 

My Halloween Christmas Tree

I just got my laptop back from being repaired after being broken for ever two weeks, which is a long time to be cut off from the internet and thus the world, in my case. Anyhow, here’s my little Christmas tree. It’s Halloween themed, just like I have always wanted. (The boyfriend actually approves– and he’s pretty grinchy.) This is our first year doing it, so the ornaments are kinda skimpy, but we plan to buy more next Halloween.

Some of the ornaments were recycled halloween bric-a-brac, a few were thrifted, and the lights and other ornarments were collected over the past few months on sale at The Christmas Tree Shoppe and KMart.

Enjoy your holiday, everyone!

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P.S. You’ll be pleased to know that our two cats have been knocking it down and stealing the ornaments non-stop. Ugh.

Kat Von D starts a weekly fashion vlog on YouTube

I have tried to focus mainly on blogging with my own original content lately, but I just have to share the news about my personal fashion idol, Kat Von D. Like her, hate her, whatever — but the girl’s got style. Just get a load of her shoe “closet” (which is actually a shoe room). I wish I had space for the shoes I have now, let alone an entire room.

She also has a great informational video on mourning jewelry here, something I adore but can’t afford (at least not authentic antique mourning jewelry). This is a subject I am very interested in. If I may add to the little lesson given in the video, in centuries past, women were expected to wear black for up to  year after their husbands died as a visual display of widowdom and grief. Those who could afford it often willed money to be used after their death to pay for mourning rings, which might have the departed’s initials, portrait, and many times actual hair from the body, to be distributed to their loved ones. I think that is fascinating.

Kat Von D has stepped away from the reality show world, but is still very busy! She is still tattooing at her very own shop, High Voltage Tattoo in LA. She is also working on an album, finishing a new book, and designing a new line for her fashion brand, Kat Von D Los Angeles.

 

My New York City Shopping Trips Part V: Search & Destroy Vintage in Saint Mark’s Place

5. Search & Destroy Vintage

25 St. Marks Pl
(between 3rd Ave & Astor Pl)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village

This store is awesome. Located in the famed punk neighborhood of Saint Mark’s Place, Search & Destroy might look intimidating to the passerby, but I felt like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to buy so much, but we were pressed for time and in desperate need of a restroom. The prices were reasonable (in New York City terms). I found an awesome 60′s avant garde print polyester dress marked $24. There was a pair of velvet Doc Martins. I kid you not. It is a cramped inside, not that it was a small store, but more that there is just so much stuff. They sell vintage and new items for an alternative client base. Right up my alley, and, they happen to be right across the street from another awesome Saint Mark’s Place institution, Trash and Vaudeville.

Final thoughts: A must see!

 

My New York City Shopping Trips Part IV: Hamlet’s Vintage in Greenwich Village

4. Hamlet’s Vintage

162 Bleecker Street (Greenwich Village)

New York, NY 10012

I heard about this place from reading positive Yelp reviews. From the way people raved about it, I pictured it as a large, open store. In reality, it is one itsy bitsy room. There were a lot of costume-y pieces that I couldn’t see being very practical — more like those things you buy with the best of intentions, and then you never actually wear them out. (I have this child’s size kimono that I thought was just so rad in the store, but now has been living exclusively in my closet for a year.) There were some cool things, like authentic vintage military jackets, but what a lot of people may not know is that army surplus stores sell vintage military clothing too, for waaaay cheaper. I did see some metallic knit sweaters that tickled my fancy, but I didn’t buy anything here either.

I am used to vintage stores here in Pennsylvania, where there is a gotta-have-it item at every turn. I usually have a hard time not spending too much at vintage stores, because I want everything, but this trip I just didn’t have any luck. Granted, I am cheap (or as this blog would suggest, thrifty) but I am willing to spend more on a unique vintage piece with character. Vintage stores sell a lot of what you can find in thrift stores, but the draw is that they have the crème de la crème, the best of the best, weirdest and funkiest vintage finds. That’s why people are willing to spend more.

Final thoughts: Worth checking out if you have the budget and you’re in the neighborhood, but it’s very small.

My New York City Shopping Trips Part III: Monk Thrift Shop, Greenwich Village

3. Monk Thrift Shop

Address: 175 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10011

 

This, admittedly, was not on my list, but I was drawn in my the signage. Honestly, it was disappointing. Things were expensive, making it more vintage boutique than thrift store. There were some high end designer items, like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Gucci, and D&G. However, a lot of items (weirdly enough, especially the designer items) were in bad condition — tears, stains, and missing buttons and hooks. Everything I liked was upwards of $100, which threw me off because there were posters saying”Dresses $9.” I saw none. They did have a lot of legit vintage clothing, however. They also have men’s clothing. I didn’t buy anything here, but I enjoyed sifting through the racks.

Final thoughts: Pass on this one. Too expensive for the quality of the items.

My New York City Shopping Trips Part II: Greenwich Village’s Curated Goodwill Store

My record shop craving having been fulfilled, I now wanted to seek out some thrift stores and swanky vintage boutiques.

2. “Curated” Goodwill Thrift Store 

Address: W. 8th Street between MacDougal and Sixth Avenue

In my pre-trip research, I read this article about a curated Goodwill store in Greenwich Village. With all the talk of Ferragamo, vintage Dior, Ann Taylor, and other name-drops, I was so excited to check it out, I could hardly keep my pants on. Maybe I just have bad luck, but the only designer items I saw were in the window display, and those there being held for a silent auction. The window had some 90s Jimmy Choo clogs and Kate Spade heels, but nothing really relevant to current trends.

Don’t get me wrong, you can certain tell that someone was hand-picking all the items — there wasn’t any junk or damaged items like you might see in your average Goodwill, but all in all, it seemed like it had already been picked over. It is in a swanky neighborhood with a lot of vintage stores in the vicinity, after all… but, it was still fun to look. The store was clean and well organized, which is impressive, considering the amount of people who are in and out each day. Long story short, I left empty handed.

Final thoughts: Check it out if you’re in the area, but don’t make a special trip.

 

My New York City Shopping Trips Part I: Bleecker Bob’s Record Store

From Saturday to Tuesday, I stayed with my mother in New York City, where she lives. (You can read her blog here.) Before heading up there, I had spent a few hours researching vintage boutiques, record stores, and thrift shops that I might want to visit while in the city. Let me tell you, there are so many of these stores in NYC, it feels overwhelming if you want to narrow it down to a doable number, and there wasn’t any good reliable list of vintage/thrift stores to fall back on. Anywho, one click led to another and I ended up finding a bunch of stores with addresses on Bleecker Street, so I decided to make it easy on everyone with me and just try and shop on and around that street. I didn’t get to every store I had on my list but I did get to see quite a bit. Here is what I did.

1. Bleecker Bob’s Golden Oldies Record Shop

Address:118 West 3rd St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

Hours: Sun-Thur 11-1am Fri-Sat 11-3am (Crazy weird hours, right?)

I did not get a shot of the exterior of the store, but this is a good one. The prices were reasonable and based on rarity and condition. The place was not picked over, as is the case with a lot of record shops. The majority of the records are organized alphabetically/by genre, so you didn’t have to dig for all eternity if you had something particular in mind. I spent more than I normally do on records, but I was on vacation, so I got crazy. I bought The Ramones: End of the Century ($24), Kraftwerk: The Man Machine ($13), and a Siouxsie and the Banshees single Cities in Dust ($10). These are bands that I have never found on vinyl in any of my travels, and they are three of my favorite bands, so it was worth the money. Sadly, the Ramones album skips (not sure if it is my record player or what, because I can’t see a scratch).

Final thoughts: Go there!

Scenes from Pirate Weekend!

Renaissance Faires are great places to see unusual fashion. My boyfriend and I went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire twice this summer. We ate large haunches of meat and we are not ashamed.

Here are some highlights:

Two lovely girls with pretty hair!

Falconry.

Crazy synth-goth boots. They were very alarmed and confused when I asked if I could photograph them for this blog, but they were just crazy enough to let some weird girl take pictures of their shoes for what they could only hope was a real blog. I just love ridiculous shoes. Is that so wrong?!

Jolly minstrels.

And, me and some friends:

I am wearing some mildly pirate-y garb — a silk red and black striped blouse with a black denim 90s vest with leather trim, both thrifted from Goodwill. Stay tuned for a post with my haul of goodies, which includes a poison stash necklace. The merchant suggested that it might also store that which Eric Clapton so famously sung about. I prefer poison!

I love shopping at weird festivals like this. I always find such unusual items, like a teeny tiny white leather satchel. At our RenFaire, there are vendors who make custom leather boots, corsets, blades, glassblowers, and even people selling animal bones.

I’d love to see photos that you guys have of your experiences with Renaissance Faires. Do you dress up? Comment!

It ain’t cheap, it’s chic!

“Never use the word “cheap”. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.”

– Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel Designer)

Stumbled across this quote on tumblr. Clothes are just clothes — it’s YOU that makes them great.