M&J Trim Challenge: Behind The Scenes

Now that you’ve all seen the results I wanted to share a little bit more about this fun project. I was SO excited when I got the original email because I remembered seeing the challenge the first time. (I think I found it originally through Love Maegan, DIY extraordinaire.) Being asked was a real honor – thanks M&J!

And then the box arrived. It was packaged so beautifully I was reluctant to even open it and when I did – COLOR!  M&J is right on trend for this summer and I would expect nothing less. Immediately I knew that I’d have to break up the supplies into a few (7!) different projects. I love Rainbow Brite as much as the next 80’s girl, but I’m 30 now…

The first thing that jumped out at me was the graphic pink ribbon. I liked the color and the pattern and yet it wound up being the second hardest supply for me to use. I think it was so cool I was afraid to ‘waste it’ on a mediocre project, you know? Fortunately one night as I was heading out to a party with my Diana Mini I decided the vinyl strap had to go and the ribbon combined perfectly with some large jewelry chain I had to make an awesome camera strap.

But the tie dye camera strap is the project of which I’m most proud. It was inspired by some jewelry I’d seen online and came out exactly as I’d hoped. The heft of the brass hardware store chain feels secure which is important for a larger camera and the dyed muslin softens up the chain. While I was making it, I couldn’t help but look at the fabric in the sink and be reminded of a fabulous dinner I had a few years ago.

There wasn’t any room for this story on my M&J blog post so I have to share it here! On the left is the fabric being dyed in my sink and on the right is one course  from a crazy + amazing dinner at Moto in Chicago. There were lots of, um, experimental concepts in that meal but this dish was the most ridiculous. It was called Roadkill. I remember that it was duck (get it?) but the rest of the ingredients escape me. Check out the detail – blood, maggots, the yellow dotted line. Yes, I ate that and it was delish.

Is anyone still reading after that story? The next piece I made was the orange and rhinestone bracelet and then the braided wrap bracelet. That hand-dyed silk ribbon is SO NICE. I kept touching it, playing with it and tying it in my hair so I love what Kristen did with it too.

The flat back rhinestones were a little tricky for me. I love rhinestones but this is the first time I’ve really used the flat back kind. While thinking of projects I asked myself ‘what would Paris Hilton NOT do?’ I love how the hairpins turned out – they are such an easy and fun gift. A few weeks ago I was reading Bleubird Vintage and she said she keeps bobby pins handy instead of hair elastics because it makes her spend a few more minutes to put her hair back in a cute style instead of a boring ponytail. I’m working on doing that too, though I must admit I am typing this in a ponytail. (I just came from yoga, gimme a break!)

And finally the leather and ribbon bracelet. That turquoise grosgrain ribbon surprised me by being the final supply that I needed to use. I love ribbon! I love turquoise! What’s the problem? I don’t know! I do know, actually. I wanted to do something “different” but I didn’t know what. After using up nearly half the ribbon playing around with different ideas  I lucked out when I saw some scraps had fallen on the leather from the tie dye camera strap. I loved the color combination and set out to make a bracelet with a vaguely chevron-inspired pattern.

A few final thoughts: It was an  incredible challenge to work starting with the supplies instead of the idea and I loved seeing all of the different projects we made from the same materials. But most of all I have a new respect for the Project Runway/Top Chef/etc contestants of the world. They are cra-mazing! I had weeks and all the resources I could was available to me and it was still hard. How do they do it?

BTW, have you heard that they are making Project Runway: Accessories? I CAN’T WAIT!


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