Do It Yourself – Working It!

Sometimes I have in my minds eye what I want, but just can’t find it so in frustration I make it.  Sewing, beading, knitting, embroidery…I have tried it all.  Some of these frustration driven creations have been less than successful and never see the light of day.  But others work.  Or, in this case, go to work. 

Like many other folks, I work in a company that requires you carry an id badge when you are in the offices.  Adorned with a simply horrible picture of me that is now ten years old, I really hate this hunk of plastic.  As it is also a key card, allowing access in and out of secured areas and our parking lots, it has to be moved up to a lock with some frequency, so for many years I ended up carrying it rather than wearing it.  Yes, rather maddeningly, I did tend to misplace the darned thing, but I didn’t have to actually wear it. 

Until recently.  Now we have moved to a new building with added security and we must wear our badges.  We are provided with two ways to attach this albatross to our persons – with a clip or on a lanyard.  For men the clip is handy, it comes with a little spring loaded extension gadget so they clip it to their belt loop and then extend it to easily badge in and out.  Pretty nerdy, but these guys are mostly engineers so I suspect this actually ups the cool factor for them.  Now while the clip gadget is functional, I personally always struggle with where to clip it.  My wardrobe is a bit short on belt loops.  With a prominent chest to begin with, I am certainly not inclined to attach my badge anywhere above my waist – no point in further attracting attention with a big piece of white plastic.  And I find if I clip it to the hem of my jacket or top it tends to get knocked off and I don’t notice.  Leading me to find myself unable to get into the lab or to the indignity of someone finding it and the inevitable quip about how young I was, what color my hair was at the time, etc etc…blah blah blah.  The alternative lanyard is a wide nylon strap in bright blue or black  emblazoned with the company logo, or our latest company motto – uuuggggly.  But that isn’t the worst of it, no the worst part is that the length of the lanyard positions my badge so it appears to be hanging directly off the widest point of my chest.  Soooooo not fabulous.  No no no.    

Granted this is hardly an epic concern, but there are days when I have put some effort into a gorgeous ensemble and slapping this eyesore on over the top is deflating to say the least.  One day in frustration, I clipped my badge to a long necklace I happened to be wearing and tah dah! a fashionable alternative was born.  It worked like a charm and was far more aesthetically pleasing than a nylon strap.  Buoyed by this simple solution I evaluated what else my jewelry box had to offer.  Sadly, there weren’t as many possibilities as I had hoped.  Some trial and error and several broken necklaces later I determined that my desire for a lanyard that was somewhat narrow or low profile to complement or blend with an outfit was not lending itself to the level of sturdiness required.  A perusal of the costume jewelry section of some local shops showed that this would be a recurring theme. 

Well, if I couldn’t buy what I wanted then I would just have to make it.  Off I headed to the local craft emporium.  I bought some good quality glass beads that were relatively small and of a nice quality and then selected some heavy duty beading filament that looked, and has since proven to be, nearly indestructible.   I started with shiny black glass, and wanting it to have a bit of personality I picked two sizes of beads that I alternated, and ended with a single drop, creating a Y-shaped necklace.  My first attempt was not bad at all – the badge is positioned exactly where I need it, the black is basic so works with many outfits and the design resulted in a necklace I could tuck under collars or layer under other necklaces without it looking odd.  All in all, while the alternating beads and Y-shape made it look vaguely like a crucifix, it was otherwise not bad at all.

Finding the black didn’t work with every outfit I expanded on my first success.  Mining through my old costume jewelry (including some victims of the first necklace trials) I eventually cobbled together quite a collection of suitable beads ripe for repurposing.  A second visit to the bead shop filled in the bits and I now have a little wardrobe.  My go to basics are the black and a strand of silver and clear beads, but I also have made a deep purple and olive green that works with quite a few of my fall looks, and a white, aqua and green number for my spring looks. 

While hardly ground-breaking fashion, my lanyards are certainly an improvement over the nylon thingy.  And yes, I am well aware this sort of OCD behavior is what takes me from the fashion-conscious, to the fashion-obsessed.  But they do look nice and I have received quite a few complements on them.  And by cleaning out my old jewelry I cleared space and recycled some stuff that would otherwise languish in my jewelry box or find its way to Goodwill.  Best of all, I haven’t lost my darned badge in months!   See, pretty AND practical, what’s not to like?!

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