I've tried recycling an old leather belt into jewelry before using eyelets - see tutorial here.  Then I stumbled upon Illinoisian Karen's work and needless to say, I was struck by how gorgeous her leather cuffs are. 

All the leather used in her wonderful cuff bracelets in SpeckledSparrowLLC is recycled.  She adds her own riveted embellishments and those worn out accessories take on a new and glamorous lease on life!

I especially love her hand stamped and Swarovski crystals embellishments.  Karen also hand paints some of the metal such as the dragonfly one shown below. 

I asked Karen how she got started. She said : "Oh gosh...what got me into making cuffs? I was an art major in college, but never did anything with it career-wise. In my current profession, there is not a lot of room for creativity (I work in nuclear power generation now). 

In my free time though, I want to make ALL THE THINGS. I never even considered turning my crafty tendencies into a business, though, until some gifts for friends came with such high praise and encouragement into a little side hustle."

Her most favorite designs to do are the custom orders using the old belt of a loved one. She would then add words or phrases of special meaning to the family. She said, "For example, I made little cuff bracelets for 3 little granddaughters from their grandfather’s old belt. They each asked to have “Papa” stamped on an angel wing shape And attached to the straps, because that’s what they called him. So sweet!"

She added, "I love to imagine what kind of life that belt led before coming to me - if it could talk, what would it tell me about the previous owner? Plus, the wear and tear and distressing on pre-loved, pre-owned belts is so beautifully imperfect and unpredictable, and I love to incorporate those so-called “imperfections” in my work and turn it into something really beautiful."

Upcycling at its best!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM