embracing hippie

In between high heels and lipstick, I have always held a whole lot of hippie close to my heart. I tried to carry full-on hippie style in high school but it just didn’t pan out for me. I sewed funky patchwork clothes, saw the Grateful Dead and wore weird combinations of homespun necklaces. I donned birkenstocks at the bottom of unshaved legs. And then, at the mature age of 16, I realized that I could bear-hug my tree-hugging instincts and hold onto my own style. Whew.

So I enjoy well-tailored clothes and beautiful shoes but I am so quick to let my curly hair get dangerously close to dreadlocks when backpacking (it doesn’t take long). I like dirt a lot and I do my best to reduce waste and remain conscientious about the stuff I take into my home and life. I can drive myself (and my man) nuts with my proclivity to obsess about what we throw away, what we use, what we buy, what we eat.

I am not one to run to a box store when I need something (don’t get me wrong–I do shop at box stores) because I get off on discovering something that it collecting dust and finding a use for it. I don’t particularly like buying things (well, that isn’t entirely true. I approach Banana Republic Martin-fit pants and the Anthropologie sale rack like a crazy lady on her last day of life) but I love love creative reuse. Repurposing, I believe this trend is called.

Old apple crate for a laying box.

Hideous, old picture frames all painted red.

Computer desk made out of scrap wood from a construction site.

Pea trellis and garden gate fashioned with old window frames.

And, now, I am super excited about bug pants and sweaters made from clothes that look like ass on me. Oh, sweet satisfaction.

I had a sweater pant idea and found this lady’s rendition and went for it. The only additional hint I can add to her tutorial is that if your kid has the extra junk-in-the-trunk because of cloth diapers, add 1 1/2 inches to the rise measurement. It is supa easy.

And, paired with a spiffed-up onesie, voila.

And the felted cardigan idea came from this lady who got it from this lady. Also supa easy.

I went thrifting for fugly 100% wool sweaters and scored a few. After felting the wool (throw in washing machine on hot/cold cycle with detergent), I cut up the sweater and remade into a bug-sized sweater but it still looked like a marmy, conservative sweater, so I hippied it on up.

The great thing about bug clothes is that they are forgiving in a way grown-up clothes aren’t: they look cute even if ill-fitting and hurky. I mean, my thighs in bright green cable knit? yikes. I added some pockets made from scrap wool from the cardigan, stitched with yarn that was a gift from my musician friend whose mom spins and dyes the wool. I have been dying (ha!) to use it and since I don’t knit, it has been a challenge to find a worthy purpose.

And I have a million other projects in the works. Coming soon: summer dresses made with thrifted pillowcases and skirts and leggings from old t-shirts.

Oh, and garden stuff coming soon: onions, arugula, radish and spinach. yay.

24 Responses to embracing hippie

  1. Ginger says:

    Wow, you are very creative! Great blog!

  2. lera says:

    Yay! For repurposing!

    Love those green pants! They are the best. They look so nice and warm!

  3. Kelle says:

    oh, i love the green pants but i think the hippied-up little cardi is my fave!
    so love it.
    and glad the maraca made it into the post again. it should for awhile, you know.

  4. Joan says:

    Those pics of amargot in the blue pants pre onzie totally bring tears to my eyes. You’re killing me Nici. And those green ones with the pockets. Over the top and it is so unfairly true about how different they would look on say, me for instance. Cute gone wrong. Leaving for FL tomarrow at 6. XOXOX J

  5. FinnyKnits says:

    Don’t forget style-y drop neck tops made from old race tops!

    I love the blue pants. Those came out really well.

  6. Katie says:

    I adore that desk. I am in the market for one and can’t seem to find one I like (that I could secretly put a new iMac on…)

  7. Magnafix says:

    > Oh, and garden stuff coming soon: onions, arugula, radish and spinach. yay.

    Can’t wait. I know I should be thinking about doing something in my scrappy little plot soon.

  8. Anonymous says:

    which dead show did you go to?

  9. cjs says:

    I loved this post…
    the word picture of birkenstocks on unshaven legs.
    and the pic of bug enthralled with her belly…delish.
    and repurposing…why, little makes me happier.
    although I must say, the word proclivity comes pretty close.
    yes…loved this post.

  10. dude! love the knit pants! eliana would be so hot in those, especially since she is shunning her jeans lately and only wants to wear leg warmers and tights (um…i wonder who her mama is???) i agree with you and joan that “total ass” would be my name in such a pair of soft cozies. but perfect for those little chicken legs!

    you’ve done it again, you crazy girl you!

  11. TRB Holt says:

    OH WHAT A DOLLIE! I keep going back to the photos and looking at Bug checking out her tummy! love, love, lovey her!

    Great new frocks Burb….very creative & resourceful! The green pants give a total new meaning to going green too. Your sweet house and how you make it an even sweeter home warms my heart.

    I have been in search of some old cable knit cardigan sweaters. I love the throw pillows, that are cable knit with buttons. Since I do not have the “knit talent”, (and no desire to learn), I thought I could make these pillows out of recycled sweaters. I have the pattern growing in my head just waiting to be born! Wish Grandmother Holt was still with us….what a knitting wizard she was! She would be in her glory whipping up Bug Creations for Margot & cable knit pillows for me…miss her so. Garage sale season is soon to be in full bloom and I have a mission to find these said sweaters….if they turn out, as I envision, you will be the first recipient of one!

    Peace!, my modern day flower child.
    xoxo~Your mama

  12. Heather says:

    Oh my lord with the green cable pants. So giggle inducingly hilarious and great.



  13. Heidi says:

    YUM-MEEEEEEE post. i read this last night, but could not wrap my mind around all the creativity and doer-ism (i made that up).

    actually went back and looked over and over. YOU ARE AMAZING! it’s no wonder why you and kelle have found each other…both doers and both super creative people that love life so much.

    first off, i love that you love dirt! i love that you love the green coming through the frozen ground.

    that hippie cardigan…to die for. i love the embellishment on it. the repurposed picture frames remind me of something that carin made me for my daughter’s bedroom that i treasure to this day.

    bug and her pockets with the red yarn…darling. the fact that you are making clothes for your little one out of clothes you no longer wear…A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

    can’t wait to see the pillow case dresses…i ADORE pillow case dresses! so little house on the prairie…peyton has one in tie dye!

  14. It’s good to hear people admit they have a little hippie in them. My husband always teases me and calls me a hippie, I take it as a compliment. Love the pants so much!!! I wish I could sew, I would do anything to learn!!! Love your blog

  15. Melissa says:

    those green pants are re-donkulously cute. sheesh. and bug with her tummy, or pancita, as we call it over here, totally reminded me of avi. hmm. can boys wear knit pants? i think in san francisco they can. also, cheers to the inner hippie. it was a nice day for me (though I wish I’d been like you and had this wise day at 16 instead of like, last week) when I realized hippie isn’t limited to birks. how is it that you can be so productive?? it’s inspiring.

  16. Patia says:

    Blogger seems to have eaten my comment, so here I go again. Forgive me if it shows up twice.

    LOVE the bug pants, the chicken box and the picture frames. I’ve wanted to do similar frames for a while. But first I need some actual wall space.

    I call my personal style “Hippie Cowgirl Goth.”

  17. Chiot's Run says:

    Do love those green pants, do they come in women’s 4????

    The pea fence & gate is so fantastic. I LOVE LOVE LOVE reclaimed things in the gardens!

  18. cake says:

    i have just discovered the joy of making things out of felted old wool sweaters too! those pants rock.

    i have tried the pillow case dress (for a friend’s baby girl). i didn’t quite have the skills for the under the arm part, but otherwise, it was pretty easy, and adorable.

    i’m totally with you on the re-purposing.

  19. anne c says:

    methinks the new felted cardy will look aDORable with the green pants! picture, please!

  20. Oh it SUCKS not to have had time to keep up with these great posts! I want some of the postcards to frame in my kitchen… I adore bug’s new pants (especially the green sweater ones, yay!) and I agree with you wholeheartedly on the less-waste, more-repurposing sentiment.

    But what I’m drooling over most is that desk. Did you dowel those blocks together like a checkerboard parquet floor, or glue them? (Or use those little football-shaped disc thingies that you need a router to use?) LOVE it!

    Oh, btw, I have a similar (albeit larger) collection of pictures frames like yours. I can’t seem to pass up old picture frames at all… and mine are hanging, artless, in the spare bedroom. It’s like… I don’t know… architectural geometric pattern?

  21. I love everything! Love the red frames, love the gate, love BUG!!!!!!!