Designer Shoes for Less

Ready for Spring? I am. I was checking out the March issue of In-Style magazine and came across an ad for a pair of Bandoliono shoes. The design inspired me to spruce up one of my old pairs of shoes for Spring. Check out the before and after.

The original Rocket Dogs cost about $25 a couple years ago. I bought 2 flower pins to put on the front of each shoe ($3.99 each) and then I bought 22″ of this fabric and cut out the appliques then glued them on with fabric glue. The project only took a few hours and was very fun to do. Now I have a true pair of designer shoes, one of a kind and impossible to find elsewhere. I’m saving the remaining appliques to possibly accent a shirt, jacket or pants. I think it will look classy to have the shoes match perfect with a jean jacket or a t-shirt.

Repurposing Can Help You Tell a Story Of Transformation

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” is how the saying goes. With repurposing you can turn your junk into a treasure. Open your mind and add a tad bid more creativity and you can also turn the worst parts of your story into something renewed; transformed.

My repurposing spurt started several years ago when I was dealing with difficult memories and emotions. I handled it like a woman and embarked on an insane cleaning spree. I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time. Was it Spring Cleaning, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or did I just need to clean and organize my way to my happy place?

gals.vanized.collection.45

What I felt deep down was that I needed healing. I felt the pain and agony asking to be released and I wanted to let it go. But it seemed hopeless and like I had tried everything already. I wasn’t interested in more therapy. I just wanted to enjoy life.

At least with crafting and sewing I could go to another world and block things out. But forgetting about everything…avoiding…came with it’s own pain. I knew that I was grieving my grandma and that I had a lot of “issues” about grandma as well. Those “issues” were impacting my ability to survive and thrive. How could I keep the good memories and at the same time release the toxic feelings that had built up after years of criticism and perfectionism?

I started with a few items I got from my grandma. I took what she gave me, cut it up and made something new out of it. It seemed like the ceremonial thing to do.

Galvanized by Juicy Couture and light.

I started with the Juicy Couture purse she sent me in the mail. Her health was declining but I felt the love that was delivered with the purse and I nurtured it. I carried that purse daily for quite some time and as I did, I felt grandma supporting her granddaughter and in her own magical way, giving the seal of approval for GAL-VanIZed.

The purse was pink with a huge butterfly on it and it had sequins and silver circles. Over time, it lost it’s luster as a purse, the bottom was dirty and I was ready for something new. Rather than throw the purse away, I cut it up into pieces and began the process of repurposing.

The little crown and zipper were sewn onto a jacket, the silver Queen’s scepter became a necklace charm, the butterfly became the design on a tank top for a toddler-sized teddy bear. Ultimately, the purse became a foundation for a color and style scheme that continues to show up in my wardrobe. See me any day of the week and I’ll have on something pink, something black and something with a circle on it.

Like I said, repurposing and creativity became a happy place for me but I knew I couldn’t just deny my feelings or my past. I had to practice what I preach and face my fears. So I set an intention to heal and I kept repurposing.

Grandma Power

As I continue repurposing, the story evolves further. Even now, with all of my grandma’s passed away, I can still repurpose the memories and tell a story of transformation. I can remember the love. I can live the legacy. I can put away the need to beat myself or anyone else up about the past and I can be thankful for those who made me strong and who inspired my creativity even as they condemned it. Their challenges strengthened me as a person and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be galvanized.

The latest evolution of my repurposing journey is my “grandma necklace” It’s inspired by the grandma bracelet Sue and other grandma’s used to wear in the 70’s. I figure if grandma used to wear a bracelet to show me off, why not wear a necklace to show her off? I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for the feedback and training she provided.

Here’s a photo I took while I was coming up with grandma necklace ideas. The final product is different but has some of the same elements. Look for photos in an upcoming story post.

Grandma Necklace

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Story is Editable

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Repurposing: A Philosophy of Discovery and Storytelling


Sometimes stories from the past are not worth repeating and certainly not worth obsessing on. Yet no amount of denial erases history.
It’s as true of fashion and style as it is of life.

I tried to conceal my demons from myself by simply changing my hair, my zip code and my wardrobe. I attempted to erase the 80’s from my memory and successfuly (in my own mind) ignored the fact that there was such a thing as the 80’s or that I participated in it at all.

Facebook changed that. It turns out, you can’t deny that the 80’s existed any more than you can pretend you never wore polyester.

It was a little upsetting at first when my high school buddies started sending me friend requests. At the same time, it was liberating because my high school buddies didn’t have the same feelings about the 80’s that I did. They reminded me of fun and creative days and nights filled with music and style.

The days spent shopping at Goodwill with girlfriends were quality, fun days. The days on Melrose Ave. going in and out of every clothing and music store…good times indeed. The nights at clubs seeing local live music as well as acts from the UK were some of the most exuberant, joy-filled days on record. It was a moment in history and I was a participant. The experience shifted my view of life permanently.

What I remember about those days is the freedom I felt in regards to style. I was comfortable with spray-painting stencils on my t-shirts and jackets, cutting the sleeves off my t-shirts, sewing buttons and zippers and putting safety pins on everything.

The Punk Rock movement opened my mind to style possibilities and freedom of expression I’d never experienced. That had it’s bright side and it’s dark side. I had enough “dark side” in my childhood, that’s why I ran away. In the process of repurposing I discovered how to bring back the “bright side” of those creative days in the 80’s.

Repurposing entails taking the best, most usable parts of several items and combining them together. For example, a zipper off one pair of pants sewn onto a skirt. Sometimes repurposing is taking an item and turning it into something else like turning a CD into a clock or a dog collar into a choker.

Recycling items in this manner allows you to use what you already have and make something entirely brand new with no expenses incurred. The end product is the joyful experience of creativity and a unique item to wear, keep or give as a gift.

In 2012 I began a Spring cleaning of epic proportions. This entailed pulling items out of boxes and drawers, taking photographs of what we had and creating a visual inventory. What was old or unusable went in the trash. Old and usable items were considered for resale or repurposing. Bags and bags of items went to Goodwill.

Crass Hat, Zed Badges. DJ GAL-VanIZed

Part of the household inventory was Zed Records badges and badge designs. I remember how punkers used to wear badges as a way to identify other punkers, I wanted to wear little bits of history on my clothing for the female warriors among us, past and present.

It was while I was repurposing my clothes, my files and my life that I learned how to take the best aspects from each decade, from each story and make it a working part of my current life. With each round of cleaning and organizing came a greater clarity of what was worth keeping and what had to be discarded.

Some parts of my story are totally tragic. My dad took off when I was a toddler, my step dad is in prison and my other step dad killed himself. I was an emotionally disturbed teen and I ranaway from home. It seemed like the smartest thing to do at the time.

I didn’t realize that what I did when I was 16 would impact me for the next 33 years to come. I can’t go back in time and re-do it but I can repurpose it. I can stop pouring my energy into being a victim. Instead, I can use that same energy to marvel at the will of human spirit and the grace of God.

While I was doing the practical job of repurposing my clothing, I had the tactile experience of repurposing my story. Not just the punk rock days, but all the days prior to that. All the days that seemed like personal hell and sent me fleeing the comfort of my own home just to escape the terror. I changed the ingredients of my story and focused on strength and fortitude rather than victimhood and despair.

The truth is, a lot of things happened. Some of them hurt me to the core of my being and drove me crazy when I thought of them. I may have been crazy, I may still be crazy. But I’m the resilient daughter of a trucker; I can’t stay down for the life of me.

In upcoming blogs I’ll give examples of repurposing projects I did and how they helped me heal. Part of the journey had to do with capturing and organizing photos, another part came with cutting up meaningful clothing and style items and using them to create something new.

I started with a Juicy Couture purse my Grandma Sue gave me. That’s a story all in itself. For now suffice it to say, Grandma knew what she was doing even when she seemed like she was losing her mind. Stay tuned and let me know if you ever used repurposing in a storytelling or healing way.

Galvanized by Juicy Couture and light.

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Come visit us on the fourth Friday of the month to read the continuation of the story. Subscribe to the blog to receive daily words and music to help you stay galvanized.

Story is Editable