Here's a fun up-cycling project for you crafty peeps out there.  Or, just read along to see how I turned a coat into jewelry.  This the finished product -- a charm pendant featuring a hand-stitched, up-cycled leather heart.  (The other charms are handmade too, but that's a lesson for another day.)  
Photograph by Robyn T. Skowronski,
The first order of business was shopping.  I really enjoy hitting the thrift stores for up-cycling supplies.  Great vintage beads are my usual target, but this time I found this sweet black leather coat.
Sorry about the lighting.  The leather looks brown in the photo but it's a nice black color.  It's not too thick, not too thin, and also very soft.  There are a few paint splatters on it, making it less desirable as-is, but a great candidate for an up-cycle rescue. 

These are the supplies I used to make the leather charm:
I cut two 1" heart shapes from the belt using a paper template and some very sharp household scissors.  Then I glued wrong sides together using craft glue, and let it dry.  Next I punched holes all around the heart about 1/8" from the edge, to allow for easy stitching.
A quick note about punching holes.  After breaking one drill bit and getting leather tangled around another one,  I tried this scratch awl.  It went through both layers easily when hit with a heavy hammer, and the holes were nice and clean.

I'm not a leather expert, just adventurous :)

I stitched around the heart using sterling silver wire.  For your project, cut any shape you like and then stitch with any strong thread.  Some thread ideas might be thin leather cord, ribbon, embroidery floss, or upholstery thread. 

After fastening a jump ring to the stitching, I hung the heart on a sterling silver chain with hand cut sterling silver charms and a red coral bead.  And there you have it.

I am featured on Greg Turner's blog on the Fringe Outfitters web site on Feb 1, 2011. Greg, thanks for the great interview!  Check it out here.

And, Greg was interviewed by Columbus Alive recently for their a-list series.
This sterling silver and freshwater pearl necklace was featured with the interview.
Every now and then I'm going to go off topic, ok?  We had an ice storm in Columbus overnight, so of course I have to share a couple pics from my yard.