Saturday, October 8, 2011

Upcycling at the Upper Room

Thom and I pulled up to the Church of the Epiphany right at 2:00 pm. Earlier this summer, we were on a thrift romp in Southbury, CT and due to our late start in the day we got there just when The Upper Room closed. It's one of our favorite places to visit while in the area. As the shop's welcome flag was being taken down, I felt deflated. Thom told me to run up and ask if I could go in for a sec, and despite my rule-following tendencies, I hopped out of the car and dashed to the door.

The Upper Room Thrift Shop
Church of the Epiphany in Southbury, CT
I was greeted enthusiastically by a volunteer named Dorrie who told me I could run upstairs and take a quick look around. I recognized her face from many prior visits to the shop when we've chatted about our shared love for vintage jewelry.  Dorrie noticed my thimble necklace and asked if had made it. I told her I did and so she asked me to come to a back room to show me a broken necklace.
Thimblism Necklace
She pulled out a beautiful 1950's necklace with sprays of pink flowers, white leaves, and delicate dotted glass beads. A pair of matching clip on earrings were in the bag as well. Dorrie explained that it was one of her favorite necklaces but she could no longer wear it because it had fallen apart. She also had a newer beaded bracelet that had an over-stretched elastic. She asked if I could fix both pieces. I told her I would take them home to see what I can do. On the way out, she passed to me a bag of jewelry components that could use a second or even third chance at finding a good home and being used. I left the church with a few trinkets from the thrift store, a bag of free goodies and a new project. You gotta love thrift stores (and the cool people that work there)!

Dorrie's original necklace and earrings
Once home, I completely took the necklace apart. All the corroded metal connecters were snipped off and discarded.

broken beads
To create a new focal point for Dorrie's necklace, I started with a swirly brass stamping and an enamel flower from my own collection. 

The glass flowers and leaves from Dorrie's original necklace could no longer be used as beads since their wires were snapped off, so I glued them around the enamel flower to create a pretty new pendant. 

new floral pendant
I rewired all the round glass beads into a new bead chain. Once I connected all the components, I decided to drape some of the bead chain under the new pendant to continue to circular line of the necklace.

Recently we returned to the Upper Room when my sister Shana was visiting from LA. I brought the almost-completed necklace and repaired bracelet with me for a final fitting. Dorrie and a group of volunteers were busy turning over the shop when we arrived. Shana and Thom browsed the wide selection of housewares, clothes, and other odd 'n' ends as I adjusted her pieces and added clasps.

volunteers at the Upper Room

After just a little tweaking, the necklace and bracelet fit Dorrie like a glove. Dorrie was happy with her upcycled pieces and wore them the rest of the day at the shop. The necklace looked absolutely lovely on her!

repaired bracelet
Before we left, Shana found a coat with bright Navajo designs  and pair of leather shoes. We poked around the shop a bit more, chatted with many of the friendly volunteers, and said goodbye to Dorrie.

 shoppin' with Shana
Dorrie, Shana, & Thom
I never thought a last minute trip to a thrift store would lead to a new project. Thanks to Dorrie's kindness and open door, a great opportunity came about. I really enjoyed turning Dorrie's "old favorite" into a new wearable piece. Next time you're looking for bargains or want to meet a great gal stop by and see Dorrie at the Upper Room.

Holiday Shows are around the corner:

November 11 & 12 -  Twist 7 - Holiday Fair - Northampton, MA

November 19 - The Wellesley Marketplace - Holiday Craft Festival - Wellesley, MA

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