Where Sisters Create

Upcycling jeans and sweaters.

Danette’s Story of her creative upcycling project.

Sixteen years ago after losing my corporate job, putting my home on the market, packing up my 2 youngest children, moving to Idaho to be near family & be in a more safe place, I looked at myself and realized I had no hobbies, no creative outlet, no passions. So from there as I went about life & unschooling with my children, we tried a variety of things and met some amazing people. Among them are the volunteers at Seventh Day Adventist Thrift Store in Deary. They let us drop in whenever our schedule allowed. While helping there, I noticed they threw away trash bags of jeans that were 'beyond repair'. A few bags were taken by quilters, which was good, but only a small part of the jean was used. I started asking my sister Renee “What can be done with an old pair of jeans?”

 I brought some overflowing jean bags home, dug my old sewing machine out of its box and in the years that followed my daughters, Renee & I have experimented with making JEAN: blankets, rice packs, purses, totes, skirts, aprons, and now COATS. We have sold them at farmers markets, women's conferences, art fairs, etc. around the northwest. We have been in and out of Etsy. Renee recently built www.wheresisterscreate.com where we currently have for purchase: bags, aprons and skirts, most of them re-fashioned from...jeans. We also plan for the site to be an inspiration and a gathering place for 'creatives' to tell their story and share their experiences of creating using 'previously loved' items.

So here I am on this coat kick. I am making coats from well-loved jeans, and also coats from previously loved sweaters. My inspiration comes during the night or during meditation or sometimes when I am on my way to spend time among the trees (my favorite). I keep a notebook next to my bed to draw sketches. Lately I have been asking the coat what it wants and letting it be involved in the creation process. Then I am guided to the colors, designs and patterns.

Last week I was cutting out sweaters and the thought kept coming 'red thread' and I kept thinking, yes this sweater I'm cutting has red yarn, but the words kept repeating until I finally realized “Use red thread in the serger when making this coat.” So I wrote 'red thread' on paper & put it on that pile of cut-out sweater pieces. And finally thoughts could relax and get back to what I was doing. While I am working on a project, ideas come to me for other designs and other projects.

I love going with the flow and creating what I am feeling like making. I switch tracks often and sometimes go into hibernation. I'm learning that this is all part of my process. As I have gone forward with what I WANTED to do, be it making and wearing one-of-a-kind screaming colorful clothing or belly dancing in public in my 50's, I am inspiring others to open up and also live their joy-filled, wonderful even crazy life! That is my goal, to give everyone permission to find and live their passions!

To see my newest things, friend me on Facebook or contact me.

Danette Flores

lcvalleybellydance@yahoo.com www.wheresisterscreate.com www.bellydancefamily.com