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?

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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.

creepers

 

 

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/

 

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?

 

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.

Are thrift stores getting too pricey?

Items for sale in my etsy store!

It has been quite awhile since I last visited Goodwill, so I thought I’d make the trip this evening. I got some really amazing finds this time, and I am really excited to get it all cleaned up and ready to photograph for you all. (Though they were great finds, they need some serious TLC — including dry cleaning.)

But… something is bothering me. Every time I visit Goodwill, I see the prices go up and up. Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. Today I saw six fall and winter jackets that were priced at $50. That’s essentially retail price. Sure, they might be real leather, or “vintage,” but that doesn’t mean they’re worth the price of a brand new jacket. Many of these coats had dirt, stains, and tears on them. This is absolutely ridiculous. Just because an item is made of leather doesn’t mean its worth the price of a new garment. Just because an item is old enough to qualify as vintage does not mean it is worth the price that a curated vintage boutique would charge. Vintage shops sell items for higher prices because the items are still chic and fashionable and still in a wearable condition. No one is going to buy those jackets. They were in cuts and designs that are not translatable to today’s fashion, and they were stinky and in very used shape. Shouldn’t the price reflect that? Is Goodwill getting greedy? Who is determining these prices? These are all DONATED ITEMS. $50 is just too much.

Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. I am forced to wonder if they realize that it’s not just the people on the receiving end of the charity efforts who stand to gain from these types of thrift stores — there are a lot of people who do all their clothing shopping at second-hand stores because of low income. A lot of families cannot afford to buy retail, and stores like Goodwill offer them a chance to shop for a variety of styles, brands, and seasons that would not be available to them otherwise. They get a chance to have some say in their personal style because of the variety second-hand shops offer.

How do you feel about this issue? Personally, if I want something bad enough, I will buy it anyway. The fact that part of the sales go to charity makes that easier, but now that they’re upping the prices on more mundane and generic items as well, I am disheartened. Is the art of the thrift store hunt in danger? Let me know what you think with a comment. Click the text bubble next to this entry’s title to chime in.

Small End of Summer Yard Sale Haul and Yard Sale Tips

 

 

 

Went to a few yard sales today with my grandma, who has recently started her own etsy shop. I haven’t had much luck at finding good stuff at yard sales this summer, but today my luck changed.

I found an awesome old bag that I assume was for a camera. It’s real leather, but the strap is very dried out and it’s cracking, so I will probably have to replace it. The best part — it was free! Then I found a wicker handbag at a Mennonite garage sale for $0.50. Not too shabby. At one garage sale, I found a neat bag of old Halloween decorations, which had these two blinking buttons that you see pictured above. Not pictured, I found three pairs of vintage earrings that need some TLC, 90s Tupperware brooches (I know, weird), and an old advertising yard stick for my workspace/craft room. (Oh, yeah, I made myself a work space that I will have to share with you guys. It’s furnished completely with second-hand awesome-ness, including a mid-century TV stand I found on the curb and carried home.)

Yard Sale Tips

1. Here’s a good tip I learned from my grandma — a lot of yard sales start on Thursdays, so it’s the best time to get the good stuff. Antiques dealers and vintage hunters get their early for the best stuff. They’re your competition!

2. Late Saturday afternoon is the best time to get cheap prices, because sellers are ready to throw in the towel. They are probably more willing to negotiate, and start throwing items to the curb, free to anyone who wants them. Being late has its advantages!

3. Check the free boxes! That is where I find the weirdest, coolest stuff. I found that cowhide bag in a free box. Once, I found an 1800s Bible that sold on eBay for $60. So, you just never know! Just be shameless and raid those boxes! Remember, they want that stuff gone.

4. An effective  haggling maneuver at yard sales is bundling. If a seller has items marked higher than what you’d feel comfortable paying, suggest a single price for multiple items. Take them to the seller and ask, “Would you take $5 for all of this?” and insert your offer as you see fit. The seller feels like they are getting more money and you get more for your buck.

5. Try to see the potential in an item, while still being realistic. For example, today I saw an awesome black wool coat that looked like it was from the 40s at a garage sale. It was marked $5. I thought about haggling, but I smelled it, and it smelled like mildew. Mildew is a difficult thing to get rid of, and in the end it was going to cost me too much, so I decided to pass.

6.To build on the last point,  use all of your senses to help you make the right choice. Be realistic about whether you will give an item the TLC it needs. I have a lot of stuff sitting around that I said I’d fix up, but haven’t. Don’t be like me!

Good luck with your yard sales while the weather permits!

 

DIY Skeleton Hand Collartips

 

Took some leftover skeleton hands from crafts of years past, glued lapel pins to them and attached a chain. So easy, it’s stupid. Saw the idea on tumblr. By the way, why don’t you check out Thrifty Cent’s tumblr?

 

 

I picked up this lovely collar necklace at a local antique mall called Route 30 for $5. The price seemed a little steep since it probably isn’t any older than the eighties or nineties but it was one of those times where I felt like I’d regret it if I didn’t get it.

And here are some snapshots of the jewelry I’verecently made for my etsy shop, The Betwixt Boutique:

For my rad readers, I have created a coupon code for you for The Betwixt Boutique. Enter coupon code THRIFTY at checkout.

 

Three Reasons Why You Should Give the Peplum Skirt a Chance

Peplums in every shape and size.

1. Instantly creates an hourglass figure.

  • If you have broad shoulders, a peplum dress or skirt will balance you out.
  • For those who have a little extra love in the tummy area (like me) it will help give back that hourglass figure by contrasting your waistline.
  • If you have a slender frame (or even just a straighter frame), this will enhance your curves.
And the people does all of this without making your legs look bulky, because the skirt itself is typically fitted. Otherwise, it’s just a ruffle. Peplum elitism here, folks.

2. Adds playfulness and femininity to an otherwise stuffy ensemble.

If it weren’t for the peplum effect of the blazer, this look would be quite serious and a little too matronly for a woman of Kate Middleton’s age. It also adds curves to her slender body.

3. It’s readily available in thrift stores!

The peplum has been around long before the 1980s! It’s the modern way to wear a bustle, representing a stark contrast to the loose-fitting garments of the 1920s and 30s.

Thanks for reading, thrifters!

Earrings Anonymous

I’ll be the first to step up and admit that I have an earring problem. I love them way too much. My bedroom doesn’t appreciate it, and neither does my boyfriend, but pish posh. A girl’s gotta have her earrings. These particular earrings are a set a made a few nights ago.  I think they are chunk and funky, and those are qualities I value highly in jewelry, if you know what I mean. What to you think?

What kind of fashionista are you?

 

Product Reviews: L’oreal ColorZap + John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color

I have had black hair for about a year now. I loved that black hair dye didn’t really damage my hair, and that it was an easy color to apply on my own. I didn’t really have to worry about unevenness or missed spots. I’d just slather even on so that my whole head was saturated. But sadly, my love affair with black has ended. It’s fall, my skin is ghostly white and I am sick of dealing with my light-colored roots.

So, this past weekend seemed a better time than ever to strip the black from my hair. I am sharing my findings with you.

1. L’Oreal Color Zap: About $11, Sally Beauty Supply.

I did some internet research (mostly via YouTube) on the best way to strip black hair-color from my hair. It quickly became clear that a lot of people were using L’Oreal ColorZap. YouTubers seemed to be getting pretty good results, so I thought I’d give it a try. This product claims to remove artificial pigments from hair with minimal damage to your hair (as long as your hair isn’t already damaged — that’s a big disclaimer in the directions). So, did it live up to its expectations for me? Not really. I think this product was worth using, certainly. It did lift the harshness of black from my hair, but unfortunately it only left the length of my hair a dark chocolate color. (My roots were bright white! So, pretty scary.) Now, I’m going to assume the lack of significant color change was because I have been dying it black for a whole year. It looked like the section of my hair that was roots before the last time I dyed it black was slightly lighter than the rest. So, maybe if you only dye it black once and you also use semi-permanent dye, Color Zap might work for you. My hair was freshly cut and in great condition before using L’Oreal Color Zap. Afterwards, it felt dry and rough. I would rate this product better than bleach or blonde dye for removing black from your hair, but it is still a long shot from a magic fix.

2. John Frieda Precision Foam Home Hair Color: Under $12, available at WalMart, KMart, and most drug/grocery stores.

I used the 3vR Radient Red “Deep Cherry Brown” color. I was looking to dye my hair a deep burgandy shade, and this was the closest match. This product claims to be drip-free and precise — leaving no uneven or blotchy spots on the hair. I was skeptical about foam hair dye, but now I’m a believer.  It was so easy to apply to my hair. It wasn’t dripping all over my body and my bathroom floor like traditional hair dyes. One box was enough to cover all of my hair – and I have a lot of hair. With traditional dyes, I always have to buy two boxes. The color looks great — surprisingly good for what it looked like after using the ColorZap color stripper. My hair did not seem to be damaged by this dye. (However, the ColorZap did damage it, so it’s gonna need some TLC.) I think I am going to keep using foam hair color. I love this product, but I wish they had move vivid colors.

Occupy Wall Street

Whatever your feelings, you have to admit that it is good to see young people actually banding together to change something. Our generation is constantly accused of being apathetic, which is often a correct accusation, so it’s nice to see something happening.

I am not blaming anyone for my college loan debt. I chose to go to a good school, one that was not cheap, at all. That was my choice. However, it is scary as hell to think that the job that took almost an entire year to get after my graduation is not secure. No one’s job is ever 100% secure, I get that. I work in an optometry office. The calls for appointments get fewer and fewer everyday. Customers are scared to spend any money. They only get what their insurance covers. I am terrified. I know if business does not pick up, I’ll be the one to go. I’m the newest and the youngest. And this isn’t even a job that has anything remotely to do with my college education. THAT is what we’re angry about. It’s no one’s fault in particular, but when the President suggested a bill that can help get our nation back on track — a bill that might help me keep my job, or help my friends GET jobs — and we see so many people trying to shoot it down, we get mad. The possibility of losing my job is very real. I will no longer afford to pay my bills and my loans and would be forced to move back in with my family, even though I’ve just been able to move out.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox and going back to fashion. Hey, didja see some of those cool outfits?

This is video I recorded while walking through Manhattan on 10/08/2011. Even though I was not marching with them, it felt like I was experiencing history in the making.

Street Fashion in Central Park, 10/08/2011 New York City

Last weekend, I took a trip to New York City with my boyfriend to visit my mother and to do some sight seeing (it was my boyfriend’s first time in NYC). We explored the city and had a great time! I wore my new Dolce Vita for Target boots. I found them on eBay for only $15 including shipping! I wanted to buy them when they were available at Target, but they sold out in my size. They are actually more comfortable than my old sneakers, amazingly enough, and I was doing A LOT of walking.

We spent much of Saturday touring Central Park. I must admit, the park keeps getting nicer and nicer. One thing that never changes about New York is the fabulous street fashion. I managed to snap a few photos:

And, by a complete stroke of luck, we ran into the Occupy Wallstreet movement in Manhattan as they were leaving the park they’d been protesting in and were relocating.

Film Review: Bill Cunningham New York

If you’re out on the streets of New York, you might catch a glimpse of him. He rolls down cluttered streets with total disregard for his own safety. His eyes aren’t the road, but instead fixed to his camera, poised to snap the next shot. His life’s passion: fashion. Sounds like a hip, young fashion blogger, doesn’t it? Well, not quite. If you don’t already know who Bill Cunningham is, you’ll be surprised to know that he’s over eighty years old, and only ventures as far in personal style as blue street sweepers’ jackets (because, he says in the film, the camera won’t tear them as easily as fancy jackets). Bill’s was photographing street fashion decades before there were blogs. In a way, Bill ‘s New York Times columns, “On the Street” and “Evening Hours” and his previous work for Women’s Wear Daily, were proto-fashion blogs.

The film, Bill Cunningham New York, released March 16th 2011, paints an intriguing portrait of Bill’s life. I watched this movie hoping to see some inspiring New York street fashion, but this film is less about the fashion, and more about Bill’s passion for it. When asked by the filmmakers what religion means to him, Bill could only say that as a child in church, he was much too busy checking out the women’s hats. It becomes clear that fashion is the driving force of his life. He explains that he isn’t concerned with celebrities and they’re “free dresses,” but rather “private women,” as he calls them, who haven’t just slapped a straight-of-the-runway garment on their bodies, but have instead taken garments and worn them in their own way. He is uninterested in plain clothes, saying the world would be a boring place if everyone dressed like he does. Throughout the film, we see Bill Cunningham skipping lunch and risking his life in New York traffic on his Schwinn bike just to be that much closer to printing the perfect column. It is touching to to see someone who whole-heartedly loves his job.

We see his home, a teeny apartment wedged in a corner of Carnegie Hall, is filled with stacks of fashion books and dozens and dozens of filing cabinets jammed-packed with film strips, chronicling the decades of street and evening fashion he’d captured thus far. It’s then when we see that Bill’s life is lonely. Fashion has left little room for personal relationships. At one point, his former editor from his days spent working for Women’s Wear Daily, is called the love of his life. He is unmarried and has no children, and he’s nearing the end of his life. When asked if he regrets it, he laughs. It’s only when he speaks about his love of fashion at a French event in his honor that he breaks into tears.

After watching this film, I realized that a documentary that would have fulfilled by craving for street fashion would have been boring. This film takes a more heartfelt and personal side. If you enjoyed The September Issue, you’ll like Bill Cunningham New York even more. It will inspire you to love fashion more than a street fashion documentary ever could. This film is a must-see for any fashion photographer or writer.

A belated tribute to Amy Winehouse.

It’s been a week or two since Amy passed away, and I’ve noticed, like every dead celebrity, so many people are now fans. I seem to recall everyone calling her horrible names and criticizing her for her addictions and problems only a short time ago. Amy was perfect by no one’s standards. She’d been an alcoholic for many years. She was bulimic. She indulged in a plethora of hard drugs. She fell in love with the wrong men. However, I can tell from the lyrics she wrote that she was deep and intelligent. She had a poetic mind. There aren’t many songwriters like her anymore.

Ever since I learned of who Amy was (probably about five years ago), I’ve followed the news on her, always hoping she’d get healthy and STAY that way. I was desperate for her to finally release her third album. I’m sure her record company will jump at the chance to make money on a posthumous release, but I really wanted to see Amy back on top again.

I’ll miss her…

New etsy store, The Betwixt Boutique

So, I decided I wanted to create a more recognizable image for my etsy shop. I made a new one, and this time I named it “The Betwixt Boutique.”

Here are some of the lovely vintage items you’ll find in my shop:

I’ve haven’t been much of a fashionista lately, if I’m honest. I started a new job in March at an optometry office. This is my first job that I’ve actually worked full-time. I find it hard to much of anything after work, because I work long hours. There’s little reason to put anything nice or exciting on. I’d like to find some less boring work clothes — especially pants. It’s a work in progress.

I promise I will post some personal outfits soon. I swear!

Penelope Tree: 1960s Fashion Model

Check out Nasty Gal’s neat-o feature on Penelope Tree!

Dang, I like the 1960s more and more! Poor raccoons, though.

Here is some more information on her:

Penelope Tree (born 1950) is an Anglo-American former fashion model whose long legs and good looks made her an icon of the late 1960s. She was the only child of Marietta Peabody Tree, a socialite and Democratic political activist, and Ronald Tree,  a bisexual journalist, investor and MP. Tree is a great-granddaughter of American retailer Marshall Field and of American educator Rev. Endicott Peabody. Tree’s family objected to her career as a model, and when she was first photographed at the age of 13 by Diane Arbus, her father vowed he would sue if the pictures were published.”

Talk about crazy!

Source: Wikipedia of course.