Category Archives: DIY

DIY Shoe Repair

Last spring during our big rainy season, in the space of one week I had two pairs of boots fall apart on me. My rain boots started to split around the seams and the sole started to come off one of my Clark’s motorcycle boots. I did some Googling and decided to give Shoe Goo a try.

Reattaching a leather boot to its sole? Fabulous! Just work carefully, use a thin stick of some kind to get the glue between the two and keep the goo off the leather.

Repairing shredded rubber boots? Not so much. I sanded the surface lightly, applied a thick coat of goo, let it cure for 48 hours, then took them out in the rain. After walking a mile, the following happened:

Busted Boots

Not so waterproof. Moral of this story is don’t try and repair shredded rubber. Or, better yet, don’t leave your rain boots sitting outside for a month in direct sunlight which is killer on rubber.

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The First Year

A year ago today (or yesterday, depending on when this actually gets posted) I published my first post, The Mission Statement. It’s both hard and easy to believe it’s been a full year, as cliche as it sounds. I’ve made great strides on the road to fiscal responsibility, focused my academic career, and had some fun. Along the way I’ve been surprised that while it has been challenging, I’ve rarely felt deprived; instead I feel in control and ready to take on the world. I’ve also been touched by how willing my friends are to make cheaper plans and how generous they can be. Fortunately, I’ve also had plenty of opportunities to share as well, giving of what I have, which makes me feel richer.

According to my stats, the posts that were the most popular surprised me.

5. Strawberry Vanilla Jam

4. Sweet Pickle Relish

3. Homemade Deodorant, Updated

2. No Sugar Blackberry Jam

And far and away, my most popular post:

1. DIY Scarf Hanger

Clearly you guys like my craft and canning posts. Seems I’ll have to record more of my efforts to do it myself. Seriously, though. Y’all apparently really love that scarf hanger, 5 of the top 10 search terms that lead to my blog are related to DIY scarf hanger. Also quite a few of you have issues with rash from homemade deodorant, because that shows up 4 times in the top 20.

Anyways, thank you for reading. Thanks for the advice. Thanks for making me feel like a friend.


Filed under Checking-In, DIY, Recipe

My Dog’s Favorite Things

Hands down, Falcor’s favorite thing in the whole world is a tennis ball. Unfortunately it’s somewhat hard to adequately play with a tennis ball in my townhouse so he’s tragically forced to play with other toys. Some of his favorite back-ups include plastic water bottles he steals out of the recycling bin and stuffed animals which he immediately de-stuffes then carries around for weeks. (Think I’m kidding about his love of these items? Notice his presence in the background of every picture in this post.) Obviously the former are free and the latter I pick up at thrift stores and nowadays preemptively de-stuff to keep him from swallowing fluff.

A few weeks ago I took him to a friend’s house so he could play with her dog while the humans ate dinner and mocked the X Factor. Falcor immediately took to one of his buddy’s toys, something called a bottle buddy, which featured a de-stuffed animal with a plastic water bottle inside. I knew he needed to have one at our house but of course I didn’t want to spend $8 on something I figured I could make myself. So I grabbed a thrift store stuffed animal, an dried out empty plastic water bottle, scissors, a seam ripper, a needle and some thread.

Tigger Before

Meet Tigger who’s about to really regret that I brought him home with me. First I ripped out a seam far enough to make a medium sized hole in a very unfortunate place.

Ripping the Hole

Start to rip out the stuffing before encountering an electronic thing-a-ma-jig that used to make Tigger’s candle light up. Cut it out and continue pulling out stuffing.

Destuffing the Tiger

Next, slide the plastic bottle inside and feel vaguely guilty about exactly where you made that hole. Also note to self to buy a longer stuffed animal less time. Sew the hole closed.

Sewing Him Back Up

Momentarily enjoy your hour’s worth of work.

The Finished Product

Give to your dog and attempt to take a good picture but fail due to all the flailing.

Tigger in Action

Fifteen minutes later admire the carcass of your creation and be glad you didn’t spend $8 on dog toy.

The Remains

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Lavender Neck Roll

When I was a kid, my mother had a lavender neck roll: a long skinny pillow filled with rice and lavender. When you had a headache, she would put it in the microwave then wrap it around your neck. It was perfect for soothing tense muscles and the smell was heavenly. It was also fantastic for keeping you warm on a chilly winter’s evening, so one of my brothers and I would fake headaches to be able to use it. Since I’m prone to headaches, I decided to buy one for myself. However, everything I found online was at least $20, which thought was a bit much. So, I decided to dig through my stash of fabric and come up with my own version. Fortunately I have a ton of lavender from my garden this summer. Don’t have access to lavender or don’t like it? Use another herb, like chamomile or mint, or infuse your rice with the essential oil of your choice.


  • 30 in by 9 in strip of fabric (flannel would be fabulous here)
  • 2x 9 inch piece of cotton webbing
  • 7 cups of rice or rice/herb mixture
  • needle, thread and straight pins

Start with a 30 in by 9 in piece of fabric.

Fold long ways so good side faces inward, pin long raw edges together, and mark 1/4 in.

Sew along that edge, then turn right side out and fold the edges of one of the short ends inward.

Tuck in the ends of one piece of webbing and sew them down while closing the end of the tube. You could probably leave the webbing off, but I like it because this thing gets really hot.

Next fill the tube with your rice mixture. I went with almost half and half rice and lavender, and it’s pretty powerful, which I love. You don’t want to completely stuff the pillow, because you want it to be able to curve around your neck.

Close the other short end by repeating the steps above.

Now that your neck roll is done, simply pop it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and enjoy. These things make great presents. I actually made two and sent one to my sister for her birthday and she loves it!




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Braided Tee

Some of you might be asking, another t-shirt craft? Of course there’s another t-shirt craft! There’s unlimited Pinterest links and thrift store piles of tees. And, this one actually yields a shirt! I love the embellished tees I see in stores but I refuse to spend $20 on one, so I decided to make my own.

I’d count this as an advanced project: as far as I know, you can’t do this with a machine. It took about three Project Runway episodes of hand-sewing and wine drinking. Once again, I neglected to take any in progress pictures, but I promise to start with my next project. Now, on to the craft!

Start with two t-shirts of the same or complementary colors: a fitted tee that’s the base, and another tee to cut up for the braids, of any size or fit. Take “braid shirt,” cut off the hem and discard, then cut strips of fabric across the torso. Snip one end of each to make long strips of fabric. Safety pin three strips together and braid, closing at the end with another safety pin. Repeat to make as many braids as you’d like. Lay out braids on fitted tee to make a pattern you like, then pin. Try not to pull the fabric as you go to prevent puckering as seen in the picture below. Turn shirt inside out and tack down the end of the first braid by folding the ends under and sewing them down. Then continue down the braid braid, taking a small stitch through the tee into the braid, feeding the needle through the braid for a bit, then out to take another small stitch, continuing the entire length of the braid. When you get to the ends of the braid, trim the ends, fold them under and set them a couple of small stitches. Repeat for all braids.

Turn inside out and admire your creation. Feel a little smug at making a fancy shirt for a whopping $1.50 worth of thrift store tees and prepare to receive compliments (and not just from your dog)!

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Filed under DIY, Thrifting

Jersey Shrug

Being somewhat cold blooded and often finding myself needing to cover up a little, I’m a big fan of light weight cardigans and shrugs. However, I resent spending $20 (or more!) on something so basic. So, when I was on my t-shirt craft binge, I pinned this to one of my Pinterest boards. I’d agree that it would count as a more intermediate project, but I finished it by handsewing in about an hour, with a break or two for wine and cookies.

This time, grab a women’s fitted tee in a size that fits you. Cut a straight line down the middle of the front of the shirt. Then cut off the collar. If you were a smart blogger, now would be a good time to take a picture. If you’re not a blogger or get distracted by wine and cookies, fold the raw edges under by about an inch and pin down. The corner where the neck hits the front of the shirt might be a bit awkward, so feel free to trim it into a curved shape. Sew the edge down, leaving one continuous tube going up one side around the neck and down the other.

Cut a length of coordinating or matching ribbon (mine was 1/2 in diameter) the length of that entire tube. Thread through tube (a safety pin attached to one end of the ribbon is helpful for this step) then start to scrunch up ends.

Feel so exhausted by your efforts take a picture in your downstairs bathroom rather than walk all the way upstairs to the mirror without a toilet in the background.

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T-Shirt Tote

As I mentioned last week, a friend has challenged me to tackle some of the numerous t-shirt crafts I’ve added to my Pinterest boards. This week, I’ll show you my version of a t-shirt tote bag. It’s a great way to use that shirt that has that awesome graphic on it that you never wear or just doesn’t look quite right on you.

First, find a men’s or kids’ t-shirt with a graphic you like. Cut off the sleeves, then cut out the neckline in a wide U. This will form the handles of your bag.

I would recommend making those handles wider than I did: I neglected to factor in how much un-hemmed jersey rolls in on itself.  Next, flip the t-shirt inside out and sew a straight seam just above the bottom hem. If you want to be fancy, take the corners, spread the sides out from the hem seam to form points, and sew across to create boxed sides to your bag.

Curse yourself for using a black t-shirt since it photographs so poorly and wish you had a better command of English for describing such techniques. Finally, turn your creation inside out.

Ta-dah! You have an adorable, washable tote bag that squishes up small to fit in another bag. Take a final picture and be glad the hair your white dog decided to rub on your finished product doesn’t show up.


Filed under DIY, Thrifting