Tag Archives: handmade

Skylines Now Available in the Shop

Skylines are now available here!

As always, if you’re looking for a specific color or design, contact me because I have significant back stock that comes to shows with me and isn’t online.

But check it out!

<3 A

Boston Skyline Art - Upcycled Wallpaper - by 9000things

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Dia de los Muertos Costume DIY

Geez, it’s been an embarrassing amount of time since my last blog post. This fall was BUSY. Updates to come, but let’s get going with a last minute Day of the Dead costume!

It’s all about the flowers and the makeup. A little strapless dress with flashy tights is all you need for a base. But the accessories make the outfit.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY tutorial - by 9000things

The wig is optional, but just an all-around good idea. The number of strangers who will take your photo is directly proportional to the height of your beehive. Fake eyelashes, on the other hand, are obligatory.

All that and the makeup aside… Here’s how I made the really simple accessories:

First, go buy a ton of fake flowers from the dollar store.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

For this project you’ll want the flowers with plastic coated wire stems so you can bend them around the belt.

Supply list:
bendy stem fake flowers
belt with lots of holes (or punch the holes yourself!)
textured plastic headband (textured for hot glue to grab onto)
scissors (probably)
hot glue gun
hot glue sticks
wire cutters

Optional:
dollar store skeletons and twine
cheap plastic skull rings
sharpies

Separate the stems and clip them off close to the base.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Having way too much fun with fake flowers…

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

I totally scored when I found this slotted belt at Marshall’s for 10 bucks. I was planning on doing a whole lot of wire wrapping and hot gluing, but I recommend trying to find a belt with holes, or buying a thin leather belt and punching the holes yourself. So. Much. Easier.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

This part is as simple as threading the stems through the slots and wrapping the wire around the belt a few times to hold it in place!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Keep wrapping more and more flowers! Where the stems are threaded close together, the flower belt will get thicker (do this towards the middle). To taper off the ends, leave more open holes between flower stems.

Optional: I found this hanging skeleton garland, cut them apart and loosely tied them over the flowers on my belt!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Next! A matching crown of flowers! I opted for asymmetry though it’s customary to go the whole way around with huge multi-colored blooms. The key here is the headband with some texture so the hot glue has something to grab onto. Otherwise you’ll find the flowers falling off everywhere…

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000thingsDia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Use a generous amount of hot glue. Just pour it all on there.

And for a little bonus, I found these cheap plastic skull rings at the dollar store – 50 for a buck! – and with a little sharpie magic, made some Dia de los Muertos knuckle rings:

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Ta da! Dia de los Muertos accessories for the best Halloween ever!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

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Necklace Rehab at 9000things

We all have those things that we hang onto forever even though we rarely if ever use them. They live in the back of our closets and in the bottom of our junk drawers. We keep them because we have “emotions” and “memories” and that prom dress from 15 years ago that is stained and will never fit again and was only relevant in the 90s has SENTIMENTAL VALUE, okay??!!

Junior Prom Dress - white polyester with glitter dots and rhinestone straps

*white polyester with glitter dots and rhinestone straps, two side slits, plus a sheer white shoulder wrap.

This especially applies to wardrobe pieces and in particular: jewelry. It might be broken, or outdated or there’s only really one thing about it that you like. But still it remains, totally neglected, tangled in a jewelry box on a dresser.

You need:

Necklace Rehab by 9000 things

This isn’t an entirely new concept: most of the things I make are from pieces of old and broken jewelry. There are blogs like A New Dress A Day and others who transform tired clothing into adorable, trendy outfits. The Stuffed Animal Hospital is indeed a thing.

Camille (a friend) had this vintage Mardi Gras necklace with beautiful glass beads. The clasp was broken, which is easily fixable, but Camille has the best taste in jewelry around and she’s always rocking something unusual and awesome. The necklace had a lot of potential, but needed a serious makeover.

Of course, I lost the before photo (like a boss). But it looked approximately like this:

Vintage Mardi Gras Beads at Necklace Rehab | 9000 things

I borrowed that photo from an ebay store that sells vintage mardi gras beads.

On the basic concept that Things Look Better When Organized, I took the beads apart and rearranged them, added some vintage chain I had hanging around, made a pendant with the larger, unique beads and made this badass, asymmetrical retake on the classic Mardi Gras necklace.

Vintage Mardi Gras Beads After Necklace Rehab | 9000 things

Hope you enjoy your new necklace, Camille!

Got a necklace that you adore, but never wear?
Jewelry need a facelift?
Get at me!

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Tribal Inspired One of a Kind Necklaces

Admittedly, outside influence has an effect on the designs of the recent one off necklaces at 9000things. The popularity of tribal designs/patterns/themes has engulfed my maker brain, and here are the results: lots of triangles, copper, beading, wood, turquoise and gold.

Double Triangle Stone and Copper Tribal Inspired Necklace | made from vintage and upcycled jewelry by 9000things
Double Triangle Stone and Copper Necklace

This first one is my absolute favorite. Those two mint green stone triangle beads came off a small bracelet and they’re the only ones I have…

Beaded Tribal Inspired Necklaces | made from vintage and upcycled jewelry by 9000things
Beaded Tribal Inspired Necklaces
Wooden Bar Tribal Inspired Necklace | made from vintage and upcycled jewelry by 9000things
Wooden Bar Necklace
Three Ornate Gold Spikes Tribal Inspired Necklace | made from vintage and upcycled jewelry by 9000things
Ornate Golden Spike Necklace

Love that random wooden bar that I found mixed in with a bunch of vintage pieces. It makes a simple and lovely minimalist necklace.

Fringe and Gold Gatsby Inspired Necklaces | made from vintage and upcycled materials by 9000things
Fringe and Gold Crossover Tribal/Gatsby Inspired Necklaces

These last gold chain and fringe necklaces are right in the middle of two styles: half tribal, half art deco. See, I just saw The Great Gatsby and I’m pretty sure I’m about to fall headlong into a 1920s Art Deco obsession.

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Ringgg: How It’s Made

Make Something Awesome!

[Update: Ringgs will be available on Sundays starting May 5th at the SoWa Open Market in Boston as well as regularly on my etsy site.]

My favorite part of making Ringggs is explaining to people how they’re made and watching as they register the familiar material that they’re holding in their hand. Then we have a conversation about how cool it is to transform something old and discarded into something new and beautiful.

Ringgg - Upcycled Jewelry from Discarded Telephone Wire - by 9000things

It starts with a plentiful and mostly obsolete material: coiled telephone cord. And a lot of it.

Telephone cord is recyclable. However, the amount of copper inside coiled phone cord is so small, it’s barely worth the energy to separate it. And I think this is a better solution anyway!

Ringgg - Upcycled Discarded Telephone Cords - 9000things

I get these cords everywhere! I have friends at recycling centers who will save them for me. I’ve gotten cords from many universities in Boston. Also: thrift shops, yard sales, FreeCycle and, straight up, the trash.

First, I cut the cords into smaller, Ringgg-sized coils. This part is fun because I find endless combinations of bright colors on the inside.

Ringgg - Upcycled Telephone Cords Stripped - 9000things

Most follow the standard: black, red, green and yellow seen above. But some are clear, some striated, some matte. Then there are crazy tropical colors, neutral pastels, 80s neons, sparkly copper… pretty much everything you see on my blog. (check out here and here and my shop here)

The rubber is stripped off of both sides, leaving one coil of sheathing intact in the middle to serve as an adjustable ring band. Wrap the band under one finger…

Ringgg - Upcycled Telephone Cords as Jewelry - 9000things

…Pull and twist the wires and VOILA! You’re ready to wear your Ringgg!

The curliness from the telephone cord is permanently fixed in the Ringgg, making it fun to play with, but durable. It’s like having a tiny interactive sculpture on your finger.

Ringgg - Upcycled Jewelry from Industrial Materials - by 9000things

And that’s how it’s made! Awesome, right?

*Just a note: I’m posting this ‘how it’s made’ as a kind of Open Source technology. Feel free to learn from my ideas, to make a Ringgg for yourself or your friend, and to draw inspiration for your own DIY upcycle projects.

It would be awesome if you don’t steal my original idea and try to sell it. This is my baby, and I’m really proud of it. If you’d like to sell Ringggs, contact me for wholesale or a license agreement. Don’t be that guy.

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Earth Day is Every Day!

Okay, Serious Post for a second here.

9000things, the small independent business is just over a year old now, but the idea behind it has followed me around since forever and ever. I’m not exactly sure when I first realized that far too many useful things make their way to die a lonely death in a landfill far before their time.

Maybe it was influenced by my father’s questionable habit of taking hand-me-ups from my sister and I as we were growing up. He can still be found chopping fire wood from the forest behind our house sporting my mother’s stretched out floral turtlenecks, wide leg jeans from when I went through my grunge phase, and a red and pink hat with knitted hearts that belonged to my sister in the 90s.

Perhaps I grew up a little too close to my mother’s light hoarding of broken things, just on the edge of being functional, that became open ended repurpose projects.

My grandmother, who grew up in the depression, felt perfectly comfortable passing off plastic milk caps, empty glass jars, calendars from years gone by, quality control rejected tshirts missing a (fairly essential) neck hole, and dead june bugs from her Florida winter home as totally normal kid’s birthday presents.

There’s my aunt, the first person to introduce me to the idea of early morning trash picking for furniture from the neighbors.

Another aunt got all of her clothing from thrift shops and did not mind telling us all about it.

As kids, my best friend’s dad woke us up at 5am on Sundays and threw us in the minivan in time to be the first at the flea market to scour for valuable antiques that were priced far below the market.

In short, I’ve been indoctrinated my whole life.

Most of the projects at 9000things involve some amount of upcycling or reuse or repurposing. But I’ve been at this for a long time and I strive to make the most beautiful new things out of the old and ugly.

I saw this post on the blog at Twice and in celebration of Earth Day, wanted to share:

Twice Blog - Used clothing saves the earth

Read about what they do here!

This stuff is so fun! Yay Earth Day!

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Learning to Weave on a Loom

By the way, I’m also taking a weaving course right now. Here’s my very first attempt at weaving!

Learning to weave on a loom - 9000things

I’m going for an ombre effect, from cream to mint green to turquoise with a bold pink salmon/peach stripe at the neck of what I assume is going to be a scarf?

Weaving is fun! Highly recommend.

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Junk Jewelry Score #1

Seeking old/broken jewelry for reuse!

Huge score with this assortment of vintage, broken and junk jewelry from a friend in Somerville, MA.

Here’s the trade agreement: a big bunch of old/broken/out-dated jewelry in exchange for one finished necklace made from the pieces (as well as other things I have laying around).

This awesome trade has crystal chandelier teardrops, funky vintage wood slice beads, bejeweled buttons, some old chains, two 70s looking clay earrings and lots more!

Junk jewelry for upcycle necklaces - 9000things

Junk jewelry in ombre pink and gold - 9000things

These vintage faded pink wooden beads, when arranged from high fade to low, make an ombre gradient that will make a nice one of a kind recombinant necklace.

UPDATE: Here’s Amanda’s finished necklace made from some of the things she gave me!

Remix Necklace from old and broken jewelry | 9000 things

This box of goodies had a lot of loose beads, vintage buttons and silvertone chains. The jeweled leaf on the left hand side is a piece from a vintage bracelet. The blue and green beads and the clear button with the crystal were all in there too!

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Sneak Peek: New Remix Necklaces

Vintage Beads + Repurposed Chains

Check out these colorful new Remix Necklaces from our Spring 2013 Collection which we’ll be showing at the SoWa Open Market in Boston starting May 5th.

Big Bead Remix Necklaces 1 - 9000 things

Big Bead Remix Necklaces 2 - 9000 things

Big Bead Remix Necklaces 3 - 9000 things

Each necklace is about 26″ and combines large spherical vintage beads in bright, cheery colors and a recombinant chain made from old and broken jewelry. We’re ready for spring!

 

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Ringgg: With Bling

Check out the Original Ringgg Collection here.

Shortly after launching Ringgg, I started experimenting with new materials and came up with these blinged out beauties featuring Czech glass beads in bold colors and geometric cuts.

They’re so fancy looking!

Jeweled Ringggs Sneak Peek 9000 things

Not sure where the idea for these came from, but I was playing a whole lot of Bejeweled around that time… hmmmm

These sparkly Ringggs are so fun and I just love how they catch the light and the attention of people passing by. Ringggs with bling from the Spring/Summer 2012 collection are on Etsy here.

Enjoy!

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