Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY Faux Oxford Sneakers

An actual craft project made because I pinned something on pinterest. I've only been pinteresting stuff for over a year now. WORLD RECORD fastest time to get on this, obviously.

So I had this pair of shoes.

I'd been wanting black-and-white oxfords for a while, so when I found them online for under $20, I ordered them without worrying about how well they would fit. (Not well, it turns out.)

So after coming across a couple of ideas on pinterest, I decided to turn these cheap but comfy sneakers into oxfords.

Here are my inspiration pictures. I found the first one here, and I actually bought the materials for this project planning to copy it exactly. I figured black-and-white saddle shoes are just as cute and classic as black-and-white oxfords, right? But then this morning I found a second project idea here - she painted her shoes to look like actual oxfords! Both projects use the exact same shoes I bought - they were $5 at WalMart.

Materials: shoes, sharpie, and pencil. (The project I got the idea from used a fabric marker, but since I don't plan on putting my shoes through the washing machine I just went with regular sharpies.) If you already own markers, that would put the cost for this project at just $5 for the shoes. I bought the fat sharpie because I thought it would help me fill large areas faster but I ended up using the small one the whole time for more precision.

Trying to replicate the look of my oxfords as closely as possible, I started by sort of eyeballing the design on the toe. (I traced around a quarter for these curved bits to get them the same on both shoes.)

Then I drew in the zig-zag edge and the dots. For the zig-zag part it helps to pick up the marker between the zig and the zag - short strokes - to get crisper corners. For the dots, I didn't really think about how much the marker would bleed. None of them were small enough where it bled completely through, but it helps to draw them a little bigger than they have to be. Filling in around all the dots is the biggest pain but really didn't take that long all together.

My original shoe and my sneaker had different seams at the heel, so for the heel detail I just used the seams I was working with as my guide.

And added dots and filled it in just the same as the toe.

I also had to make it different from the original on the top part, but I was happy to add more black.

Aaaaaand the finished product! 
I love them.
They're kind of a fun cartoon version of real oxfords.
Don't try to tell me that 22 is too old to be sharpie-ing all over my shoes - at least I finally got rid of my heavily-MCR-lyric-encrusted fake converse when we moved.

The black is sort of the color black jeans get after you wash them - you can see the white coming through in the background - but it's more uniform than this picture makes it look.

I still have to decide whether I should paint the tongue black and whether I should put the laces back on. 
What do you think?

P.S. You can have my old oxfords if you're a size 6 and will see me or my parents in the near future! I barely wore them because they were so uncomfortable so they're pretty much new - I just have wide feet that are a little closer to 6.5 than 6 so they didn't work for me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Leaf Doily Bunting Garland Thing!

(Are there enough pinterest keywords in that title?)

I know I said I was going to post more recipes on here! 
It's just that the ones I've tried lately haven't turned out spectacularly.
So here is a craft project instead.

There was this big blank wall in our dining room. Kurt's grandma gave me some metal candleholder wall art thingies that I was planning on putting up there, but Kurt just couldn't deal with the silliness of hanging candles so close to the wall that they would leave smoke all over it. So I decided it would be an ideal area for my fall bucket list item of "make a craft, maybe a bunting thing."

P.S. The furniture proportions are weird in the picture because we don't have a dining room table at the moment but we do have multiple coffee tables so we've just been eating sitting on the floor.

Materials: Doilies from the dollar store, twine, push pins, and glue. 
Gluestick ended up working better than hot glue, actually.

I started by putting two push-pins on the wall and tying on two lengths of twine.
(I measured to center it between the hutch and the other wall, and then just eyeballed the length of the twine to get it to hang where I wanted.)

I had originally planned on hot-gluing the doilies to the twine, but it was easier (and less hazardous to my fingers) to use a bit of gluestick on the stem of the "leaves" and just fold it over the twine. 

It was really easy to just put the whole thing together while it was on the wall, 
instead of assembling it first and then hanging.

I decided the garland would look best with just the leaf doilies, but I still wanted to bring in the yellow, so I glued one to each of the push-pins at the end. I just used gluestick and so far they've stayed on, so yay!

Pretty cute, right?
And such an easy way to fill up the empty wall.
I'm already planning a winter version with snowflakes.

While I was at it, I tackled the stupid box on the dining room wall.
I'd been on the lookout for a cheap "tapestry" looking scarf to cover it since we moved in here.

I just strung some twine between two push-pins. 
(I had to raise this a couple inches, actually, because it droops in the middle.)

And added a $5 scarf I found at Wal-Mart. 
(Hanging it on a string instead of just pinning it up means I can grab it and wear it when I want. It's the perfect fall colors! Ben helped me pick it out.)

So here is my cute fall-themed dining room.
Not super appropriate for the 85-degree afternoon we had here. Sigh.
Tomorrow we're going hiking so I'm hoping for more fall-ish weather!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Because I can't eat veggies without putting gravy on them.

I had a ton of green beans I needed to use up the other day. I grew up mostly eating green beans as a side dish, but there were too many for that and this variety takes so long to cook that I wanted to use them all at once. So I decided to make a green bean casserole type dish, but without baking it, so it's a pretty quick dinner. (It is inspired by the delicious green bean casserole my mom makes for Thanksgiving out of real ingredients, not the gross canned-beans-and-cream-of-mushroom-soup kind.)

Ingredients: Green beans, onions, mushrooms, bacon, chicken breast, french fried onions, half-and-half/milk/cream, olive oil/butter for sauteing, salt and pepper. 

1. Cook the green beans. The ones I was using simmer for 45 minutes. You can use the ones that microwave in like five minutes and it will be fine but not as good.

2. While the beans are cooking, saute your chicken breast and some onions and mushrooms. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

3. Fry some bacon in the same skillet. Remove and chop or crumble. Turn down heat to medium.

4. Combine beans, onions, mushrooms, chicken, and bacon and keep warm. (I drained the beans and combined everything in that pan and then just kept the lid on because the next step only takes a minute.)

5. Make a quick roux by stirring a tablespoon or two of flour in with the bacon fat and letting it cook for a minute. Then add half-and-half or milk or cream, whatever you have, and cook it until it thickens, stirring constantly with a metal whisk.

6. Stir the sauce and plenty of salt and pepper in with the veggies and meat, then put individual servings in bowls and top with french fried onions.

(Not the most beautiful dish ever, but it was really good.)

Monday, September 10, 2012


(photo found here)

I'm so glad to live in the Midwest again. We're far enough south that it's still sundress weather - I can wear a cardigan until about 8:30 am and then it's too hot - but the air smells like fall!

Things I want to do this fall:
  • Go on a camping trip! It's no longer too hot to sleep at night and I'm pretty sure the burn ban is over - now we just need to get on this before it's freezing cold.
  • Find an orchard where we can pick apples or buy fresh apple cider. My parents always took us to a cute little place to buy fresh pressed cider and it was so very much better than what you could get at the grocery store.
  • Go to a pumpkin patch with hayrides and everything, even though I have no little kids. Then buy a pumpkin and actually roast it to make pie instead of using it for decoration until it gets all gross.
  • Do a little fall decorating. Maybe a burlap bunting, so my life can be more like pinterest. Also sneakily put up a halloween decoration or two even though both sides of my family hate halloween. :-)
  • Hike at a state park once the leaves start turning. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate.
  • Finish the scarf I'm knitting for Kurt so he doesn't freeze to death.
  • Try lots of new fall recipes.
  • Stock up on cranberries because grocery stores are evil and only carry them in the fall.
  • Wear as much plaid and cable-knit clothing as I can stuff onto my body at once.

Things that make it feel like fall now:


I've been looking up a lot of fall recipes on pinterest, and making menu plans and everything. Grocery shopping is more expensive when you plan for recipes and then buy those things instead of buying what's on sale and then planning dinners, but I think it's worth it to plan on trying new things every week. Fall soups, squash, things with gruyere, and pumpkin everything! (Except pumpkin-flavored coffee because that's disgusting and besides why would you get it when you can have a salted caramel mocha?)

I haven't been posting on here lately because with all the stress of moving (and then the stress of trying to settle in - I expected to love it right away but Evansville is so different from Dallas or Chicago) I kind of fell into a rut of eating out too often and cooking mostly boring stuff like pasta and eggs. I did make one fall recipe yesterday, this cream cheese pumpkin bread, but it wasn't my favorite, too eggy for me. Kurt liked it though, and thought it had a sort of french toast taste. 

Since I still haven't found a job, there is really no excuse for not cooking delicious food or doing projects around the house, so I'm going to try to do things I can post about!