All Drossed Up

January 23, 2016

red hat

It’s been three long years since the first Dross into Gold post appeared.  I just checked the archives to make sure I was right about that, thinking maybe it was only two years.  Time is such a trickster.

redfull redtrim

Personal style still sustains me, providing an opportunity to meditate on color and composition.  Thrifting and upcycling provide endless hours of creativity and joy.  I get so excited when new ideas come.  For example, this skirt had been languishing in my stash until last night.  It occurred to me to rip out the lining, cut off the waistband, fray all the edges, and add a piece of fabric to the slit for interest.  Then today I added more upcycled pieces to create my OOTD (outfit of the day).


It’s been cold enough to wear the wool hat and scarf that I made last year.  The leather jacket is fitting a little better now, so I threw it on as well.  The denim shirt was a fun upcycle, just requiring some scissors.  The edges fray beautifully after you wash and dry it.


I’ll confess that Instagram (@drossintogold) has helped me survive this past year or so.  It’s been an excellent platform for sharing ideas, posting clothes, and feeling like I’m in the wider mix of creative, personal-style folk, my tribe if you will.  But it doesn’t provide the opportunity to ruminate on ideas and use a lot of big words, things I like to do too.

When I hang out with my 93 yr old mom, I use as many big words as possible, then rephrase the idea using simpler terms, just as I would do with my children when they were young.  I like reminding her of words that she’s forgotten, just like she’s forgotten that she ever knew how to sew and that she taught me when I was very young.


When I tell her, she’s happy that she was able to pass on something that has given me so much joy.  She also thinks my clothes are funny.  I like that.

red look

I think they’re funny too.



These are for you Pao. :-)


18 Responses to All Drossed Up

  1. Sis on January 23, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Our sweet Mom!
    She taught you to sew and me to knit and look what we’re doing now?!
    Little did we know how much these two lessons would impact our lives, fan the flames of passionate art and offer us a creative process to immerse ourselves in and use as a meditative practice.
    Our dear, sweet Mom.

    • Jean on January 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      I didn’t realize she taught you how to knit! So cool. Now cooking on the other hand… :-)

  2. Sally on January 24, 2016 at 5:51 am

    It was the comment you recently left on Melanie’s (Bag and a Beret) recent post which somehow connected with me, and brought me over here to discover more about it’s author.
    So delighted to meet you Jean. As others have said, I’d love to be able to “Follow” you too – but until that’s possible, I’ll be back regularly to learn more.
    Baci Sallyxx

    • Jean on January 24, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      I’m so happy you stopped by! Yeah, I gotta get with a tech person to figure out all the glitchey things. Also, I’d love to check in with you but I was unable via your blog address. Hmmm…

      Hope you come back soon so we can figure it out! xoxo

  3. pao on January 24, 2016 at 8:40 am

    oh, I love the pix of you and Mom sharing the same hat. I can’t believe it’s been just 3 years of Your Drossness on the blogosphere. Such a vacuum would exist without it. Don’t you luv it when creativity strikes. Your ensemble is truly gold. Everything is so cool, girl.

    • Jean on January 24, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      I can’t tell you how many times I looked at that skirt, loving the fabric, but somehow just not seeing an easy vision for change (I needed easy). It was almost a “DUH!” moment, like how could I have not seen this! Then it unfolds from there, as you know.

      It was cool going back through the archives. I love a lot of the pieces, and I think I’ll be reworking some of them to accommodate my 3-years-later shape-shift. :-) Unfortunately I gave away a few things that I’d made, which I’m a little sad about now. At least the materials and inspiration are endlessly available.

      I’m going to add a couple of detail shots at the end of this post, just for you. XXOO

  4. Melanie on January 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I love the dinglers hanging from your hat on you and on your mum. She looks amaaazing! Her smile is priceless.
    As for your styling, haha!, I feel that joy sproinging out all over the place, plus you look fantastic. How awesome that you have the temerity to rip into stuff with scissors and come out with such winners.
    Three years? Wow, that went fast. I’m so lucky to have met you and we shall meet again.

    • Jean on January 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      One of the reasons I started upcycling, aside from the fact that some of the work was already done, was the fact that if I ruined it no expensive fabric was lost. The more you do it, the more it all makes sense, too. Yeah, three hugely transitional years! It feels good to be here and have a clothing diary of it all.

      I can’t wait until we hang out again. XXXOOO

  5. Forest City Fashionista on January 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    My Mom thinks some of my clothes (the ones she sees) are funny too. She has made it clear that she does NOT like my Betsey Johnson skull print bag!

    I really enjoy Instagram for the same reasons you’ve mentioned, but am not ready to give up my blog because I like being able to actually WRITE something once in a while.

    I always enjoy seeing your upcycled pieces XO

    • Jean on January 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      I remember her “whispering” to my dad, “How can she go out of the house like that?!!” Now she laughs at me but she really likes my stuff, amazingly. Perhaps she’s finally given herself permission to like “artsy” stuff, as she would put it.

      Yeah, writing is so therapeutic. I’ve also made real friends from blogging, in that you can appreciate who they are more substantially. I LOVE your rundown of the Manhattan Vintage Show. I went several years ago by myself and would love to go again with friends. Maybe this will be the year (?) :-)


  6. Linda Davis on January 25, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    It is so nice to see you blogging again . I have missed seeing your beautiful creations. I have followed your blog since it began and you inspired me to start sewing again I had not sewn a thing in years. Thank you so much for all the inspiration that I have gotten from you. Have a marvelous week.

    • Jean on January 25, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      You make it worthwhile!! So glad I can share the excitement of it all, and that you like it. What have you been sewing? I had stopped sewing for 20 plus years, and starting again was the best thing I could’ve done. There’s always something to look forward to.

      Have a great week too, and thank you for your lovely comment. XXOO

  7. Natalia Lialina on January 27, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Joyful post! Love how you frayed the skirt (and the denim shirt it seems). So sweet about your Mom! Our parents impact our life in all sorts of ways, as do we our children’s life – I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately… And congratulations on your Blogaversary! I can’t believe it is only 3 years, are you sure? Then you started blogging not much earlier than I did (in Sept 2013). I am so happy that you found your tribe, Jean! It means so much, it really enriches us.

    • Jean on January 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      I’m so determined to focus more and more on my “joy”. I realize that I never get tired when I’m thrifting and creating new clothing from what I find. I take snacks along because I don’t want to stop to eat (which never happens!!). So that tells me I need to keep doing more of all that, and spreading the joy. I have a lot of ideas for the new year as to how to share it.

      I’m so glad you’re back, sharing your joy as well. Love you!!

  8. Feda on January 31, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    So nice to “see” you and to “hear” your voice. Love seeing your mom and hearing your stories. I’m reminded of learning to sew with my mother too. Despite being such different people we connect with sewing and fashion. It’s crazy!

    LOVE everything about this outfit, especially the hat. I enjoyed seeing the frayed edges on your shirt too. You are always inspiring me to try new things with my clothes!

    • Jean on January 31, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      It’s mutual! Because of you, I’ve been trying button ups! I’ve never really liked them, but with the advent of the “half tuck” as a styling option, I’ve been trying them more and more. Every time I wear one I think of you. I love how creativity just bounces back and forth, and grows and grows. An example of “the more you give, the more you have”, the way it should be. XXOO

  9. The Style Crone on February 11, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I’m way behind and just catching up on your posts! Love the hat and how it looks beautiful on both you and your Mom. xoxo

    • Jean on February 11, 2016 at 11:07 am

      I’m behind on yours as well!! Thank God for IG. :-) I made the hat when I was sitting by my dad. I just kept crocheting until it turned into something. I love how it looks on her too. XXOO

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