Monday, December 31, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Online Sources



I get all kinds of ideas online.  I also do a whole lot of my supply shopping online.  Here are some of my favorite online sources and what I use them for.
This is my go to resource for buying crochet supplies online.  My favorite products on this site are the travel OK bamboo crochet hooks, Caron's simply soft and simply soft eco yarns, and Bernat's satin yarn.  My all-time favorite purchase was the Eagle good to go knitting tote which unfortunately the website doesn't carry anymore.  I would highly recommend getting one if you can find it somewhere! is my go to for all things cake decorating.  From ideas, techniques, to purchase of specialty cake pans I check this site to see if I can find it here.
I get many of my beads here.  My favorites from this site are the lamp work beads, the metal spacers, and metal round beads. has a huge library of free patterns for crochet.  I tend to scan this website for ideas when starting something I have never made before.  I usually get an idea of how it is put together and then change it up with colors and pattern to get exactly what I had in mind.  For the most part I have had success with the patterns and have had very little failures.  Tip: (pretty much all yarn brand websites also have a free pattern section for both crochet and knit.) is a vastly useful site.  I have used it to get everything from instructions on how to recover lamps and dining room chairs to making my own stencils.  I love browsing through ehow to research projects that are on my list and to find shortcuts and directions on things I haven't done before.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Transforming Ugly Storage



I was motivated by a comment on my first Monday Motivation post about ugly storage solutions.  Often times innovative and cheap free storage solutions are pretty ugly.  I have a super ugly free storage solution for my cat food in my kitchen - a rinsed out empty litter bin. 

I decided to go with the simplest and fastest solution available to me today.  I took some of the spray paint I recently got and spray painted the bin straw flower   yellow.  It took four coats of spray paint to cover the bin, but the end result is OK for now.  I may try to add a pattern to it with the left over colors of paint from my canvas project when I have time.

The bottom line is that for $3.87 I was able to make it look like a cute yellow container versus a old litter container.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Spray Paint (Why I love it and why I feel like a criminal when I buy it)



I love spray paint.  I received a gift card to the Depot of the orange and white logo for Christmas and thought about what I could get with it.  I decided on spray paint because I can always use spray paint.  I love it.  It makes for a quick update on items around your house. It is easy to use, dries quickly, and goes a long way to breath new life into old things.  I always feel like a criminal when I buy it though.  You may think to yourself, "Why would she feel like a criminal?  Maybe that's guilt coming up...maybe she is a criminal!"  All not true, however, the depot treating it like a controlled substance may have something to do with it.

I always feel a little conspicuous at the depot anyways.  I come in with my knee-high boots, crazy patterned tights, girly dress, and a feathered headband in my hair.  The male population of that store always approach with a John Wayne strut....hitching up their belts to cover more of their belly they saunter over.  I can practically hear the spurs in my mind as they say, "Anything I can help you with little lady?"  At first the feminist in me bristles at the "little lady", but then I realize that I am a lady compared to the normal clientele and I am quite little.  Maybe they are just literalists. 

I quickly say no and make a beeline to the paint department.  I know my way around the paint department.  Like I said before I use paint all the time.  (Especially spray paint - like the dining room chair I redid by spraying straw flower yellow.)  I quickly go to the spray paint part of it and start grabbing what I want/need.   Now here is where I start to feel a little conspicuous.  They sort of follow me over as if the thought of a woman in the depot not needing help is out of the realm of reality, or maybe they just noticed I didn't have a basket and think I may need help carrying stuff as my arms are tiny and practically useless much like a T-Rex.  Whatever their reasons I can't help but feel watched, and when I feel watched in a store I feel like they think I am up to no good. 

I worry that they are going to see me grabbing spray paint cans, remember that I am in the store several times getting more and more spray paint, and then somewhere out there will be a person who decides to graffiti this...

{Image Credit:}
...and they will totally think it is me!  So feeling watched, my arms full of spray paint cans, imagining the cat graffiti someone will finger me for I begin my way to the checkout.  I prefer going to self checkout whenever I can and so I go over and begin to scan my items.  As I swipe the first can the self checkout kiosk blares out, "Assistance needed.  Must show ID to purchase this item."  I have to then wait and try not to fidget out of impatience - fidgeting makes you look extra crime-y.  Finally the Grand Poobah of the self checkout section comes over and allows me to check out the rest of my items.

I always feel as I make my way out to the car a small thrill - like I got away with something.  It takes me a few seconds to remember that I am just buying spray paint to paint my old wall art a different color. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Cake Testing DISASTER!



I wanted to test out my 3 mini-tier cake pan that I just got.  My cousin is getting married in August and asked me to make her a wedding cake with a small tier that they can freeze for the one year anniversary tradition.  I immediately had feelings of stress and anxiety:
  1. I have trouble saying no to people.
  2. I have never done a stacked or tiered cake before.
  3. The wedding is more than two hours away from where I live.
  4. The wedding is an outdoor wedding which means fondant - and fondant is not my strong point.
  5. It is for some one's wedding!!!!  Stress!!
So when I saw her over the holidays and she asked me about it I started with a firm no.  Then I felt really bad and said... "Well, I can make you a cupcake.  Literally one cupcake for you to do the cake cutting ceremony and one for you to freeze."  When she said it could be the tiniest cake in the world and said it could be kept inside so that I can use butter cream v. fondant I caved like a cheap Ikea bookcase.  I felt infinitely better about the whole thing when I ordered a mini 3-tier cake pan.  They are supposed to look like tiny cute wedding cakes and so last night I tested baking and decorating them.

They are evil Satan Spawn!!!

I now give you pictures of the disaster also known as the demon cakes that refused to be iced by any means.  
The Damage in Total 

This one was an attempt at poured frosting...frosting failed.
Ben still ate it and said it tasted great.

This one was iced, re-iced, attempted quick-set fondant,
scraped off  quick-set fondant, and iced again.... I gave up.

This one I sort of liked.  Basket weave is the way to go.
There were two color flow birds that looked like they
were kissing, but one broke... one by itself = not so cute.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Project Planning, Part 1



Projects go a whole lot smoother if you take the time to plan the project.  It helps if you have a plan in mind.  The first thing I do is make a list of all the projects I  (1) need to do and (2) want to do.
My list right now looks something like this:

  1. Finish girl's night gift exchange gifts
  2. Alter mom's cruise dress (20 min)
  3. Line Christopher's blanket (1-2 hour)
  4. Start hat and Scarf for Sam
  5. Neck/Ear Warmer for Tricia
  6. Bathroom Redo
  7. Ben's Man cave (several projects)
  8. Cake testing for Lauren's cake ceremony/1 year anniversary cakes
  9. Cake for Ken's b-day (January 27th)
I try to keep in mind if any of my projects have a deadline, if they do they move to the top of the list.  I use a dry erase calender that I use to write out everything I need to do marking the deadline days for any projects with deadlines.  I then make an estimate of how long it is going to take me to do each project.  For things like crochet projects or lining blankets I have a good idea how long it takes me to complete because I do those more frequently.  I also know that the cake decorations I can do in one evening and that making frosting the cake and placing the decorations will take an evening as well.  

For things that I have never done before I first do Internet research to get an idea how to do the project.  If I know anyone who has done anything similar I ask them how long it took them to do the project.  Tip: When you estimate time for a project always take a third of the time you think it will take you and add that to the total time estimate.  It always takes longer than you think!

Once you have your list of projects, time it will take you to complete the projects, and your deadlines you have - you can lay out the times on your calendar.  For example:

1) I marked deadline items on my calendar 

2) I add my to do list for each deadlined project onto the calendar in one color.

3) I add the other projects that I think I have time to work on in the "in between" times on the calendar with another color.

4) I add in breaks and time's I won't have time to work on anything in another color.

This is how I do my overall project planning.  For individual project planning check back in for Project Planing Part II. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: The Three R's



Real - Coffee Mug to Plant Holder
This morning's motivation is all about re purposing.  I love using old things in new ways and having it make a visual impact in my home decor.  I just started going to flea markets this year when my good friend Mrs. Oomph took me out to show me the ropes.  Our first time out was a great hit.  I got tons of things for really cheap and promptly became addicted to flea markets, thrift stores, and antiques.  

One of my favorite parts of flea marketing is going through a bunch of junk and looking into what will make a great treasure.  I almost always think of what things can be outside of their original purpose.  

 One of my favorite sources for re-purposing ideas and inspiration is the Real Simple magazine website.  They have an awesome section of their magazine and website titled New Uses for Old Things.  (Side Note ~ if you had to only get one subscription to one magazine I would definitely get Real Simple.  My husband got it for me two years ago and it is like Christmas every time a new issue hits my mailbox.)

Here are a couple of my favorite re-purposing projects  -  What are yours?  Submit them to this email to share

Milk pail for $2 at flea market - re-purposed to a plant holder.
Ivory Soap crate - re-purposed as a towel shelf.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Desk Rant



Style of Desk I wanted - not actual desk.
{Image Credit: }
I have been putting money aside for 4 months saving up for this really cool antique, drop-top desk I wanted.  I arranged with the owner of the antique store to set it aside for me and arranged to pick it up yesterday.  I got my dad to take time out of his very busy day to drive me over to the Eastern Shore an hour away to go pick up the desk in his truck. 

We had a wonderful time chatting and looking at the view from the truck windows.  We finally got there and at first we poked around outside and looked at all the stuff that was stashed all over the store.  We went inside and the owner started clearing off the desk to get it ready to load into the truck.  He cleared paths and made sure there was enough room to get through the store with the desk.  He chatted with my dad about various items he had in the shop and talked about how slow sales were lately.

Then before we took it out of the store he uttered these words, "Well, lets get the financials straight and taken care of before we do this."  For some reason the way he said it struck me as odd.  Then we went up to the cash register together and he said, "Oh, I lost the tag off of it.  Do you remember what it said?" When I told him what the tag had said he told me that he thought the desk was $52 more than what the tag was for.  I couldn't believe that he was trying to raise the price on me as I stood there to pay.  I told him that I was an auditor and one thing I remember is numbers.  He wouldn't budge so my dad and I walked away and left the store with no desk. 

So after wasting two hours of my one day off I said good bye to my dad, apologized for wasting his time, and headed home.  I was almost home when my phone rang with a number I was unfamiliar with.  I answered with my hands free and it was the owner calling to tell me he found the tag and he was wrong and I was right about the price.  I have been a repeat customer with him for a while now and I really hope he realizes that his antics and attitude not only lost him a large sale today, but also future sales. 

If you happen to be driving through Easton, MD on your way to Royal Oak down by way of Royal Oak Road and see a very large antique place with storage on either side of the road....keep driving.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Scarf Disaster


{Image Credit:}
 So  it all started with my love of Paton's Divine yarn.  It is the fuzziest, softest feeling, puffiest looking yarn ever.  I fell in love with it.  I promptly made myself my very first crochet project of a scarf and matching hat.  I made scarves and hats for a few of my friends.  Unfortunately the yarn contains 10.5% wool and 10.5% mohair.  I discovered quickly that I had reactions to wearing anything made with any kind of animal hair.  Rabbit hair, mohair, wool, cashmere...all out.  

I always look longingly at the cashmere displays in the department stores.  I run my hands over soft fuzzy knit hats, scarves, and sweaters immediately begin itching and break out in a rash from face to belly.  I had to give up my first scarf and hat.  I now religiously read labels to see what the fabric contents are, and I constantly search for soft fuzzy yarn that is made from acrylic or some other material that will give me the same feel of the Paton's yarn.

Recently I went to my local craft store and saw a new brand of yarn in its expanded yarn section.  There on the shelf with a shaft of the purest light shining upon it was the yarn - Loops & Threads Sante Fe Striped Brushed yarn.  It looked so inviting, the color combinations pretty, and I thought to myself, "It can't be soft because it's probably wool."  I ran my hand over it.  It was soft.  I held my breath as I pulled it off the shelf and looked at the content... a host of angels began softly singing as I read  - 88% acrylic 12% polyester. 

I was so excited.  I broke my budget rules and binged.  I got three skeins of each color, and at $4.99/skein it was not a cheap bill.  I got home and began my scarf.  I used the skein that was hand painted in reds, pinks, and oranges.  Well, I made a huge mistake.  Almost at the end of one skein I looked down and realized - It looks like I skinned Animal from the Muppets and made him into a scarf.

Not every project turns out how you pictured it in your mind, but in crafting you learn from these happy failures and move on.  There is always the good and the bad and the unintentionally ugly.  I am still going to wear the does have some kind of retro 70's appeal to it.  If you realize early on that your project is headed for disaster try to abandon ship.  If you realize it half way through try to think of a way to correct course and fix it.  And if you get to the end look down and realize you have created a great big pile of fugly - toss it, donate it, or wear your mistake proudly. 

Animal {Image Credit: Muppet}

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Budget vs. Binge -- Yarn



I have two modes when purchasing yarn for projects: budget or binge.  Usually binging wins out and I end up with way more yarn than what I need.  I end up buying too much because I but it online.  One of my favorite resources for all things yarn is  When I get on the website to order the color and quantity I need for a new project I end up getting distracted by all the other colors available.  I think to myself, "Well, that's a really pretty color and I can always use that in another project."

Well, now I have ended up with 6 bins overflowing with various yarn - some colors I have never used.  So I still end up binging, but I have made myself practice discipline when it comes to new projects.  

Are there situations where it is actually good to binge?  The answer is yes.  I am constantly re-ordering my neutrals.  White, Cream, Tan, Camel, Light Brown fly out of my bins faster than anything in my hobby room.  I also make baby blankets so colors like the softest shade blues, greens, purples, pinks, and yellow are good to have on hand in larger quantities. Crochet is one of my most participated in hobbies so I do dedicate more of my hobby spending money and organization space to yarn.  I still order my neutrals and baby blanket colors online when I am running low and order large quantities of them.  I have been mid-project and lost steam to finish it because I needed more of a color.  However, I have started practicing budget when it comes to special projects and non-typical colors.  

One thing that really undermines my budget mentality is when I go to the store, they don't have the yarn I need, and I have to go online to order it.  My binge temptation is always online, but yours may be when you go in the store and see all the lovely colors and types of yarn.  Know your weaknesses and try to use avoidance as a method of dealing with it.  If you can be disciplined online then don't drive to the store or stay away from the yarn section when you are there for something else.  If online shopping makes it too easy for you to order en mas then drag yourself out to get supplies for the project that you are starting.  (Project planning helps with sticking to your budget - post on this topic coming next week.)   

When to budget - when your spending money is tight.  To help budget:
  1. Plan out your project.
  2. Look at your inventory - can you adjust your plan to use something you already have?
  3. Shop around - don't just go to Michael's: look for prices online (don't forget to add shipping into the price/skein), think Walmart, and use coupons ( always has 40% coupons).
  4. Only buy what you need.
When to Binge - when all three of the following are making the perfect storm:
  1. When you have extra cash on hand.
  2. When you have a need for yarn (some of you standard colors are low/gone in your inventory)
  3. There is a sale on yarn.
So, keep in mind that planning, budgeting and discipline help eliminate overspending, overflowing mess, and unnecessary inventory.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Finished Hobby Room



My new Ikea Storage

My brother re-purposes the old shelves to clean his room up.

Finally have room for my dress form in my hobby room.  
(You can see all the mess I still have to sort through on the side)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Fake It



Chair from Arhaus furniture

"I decided that I am sick of buying generic wall art even if I get it cheap from somewhere.  I figure... even though I don't really know what I am doing.... I can fake it.  I recently made a series of wall art for my kitchen makeover.  I was inspired by a new chair with a unique pattern that my husband let me get for our anniversary.  I really wanted to tie in the pattern, colors, and feel of the chair into my whole living space.  I started by taking pictures of different "pieces" of the pattern that I liked.    I got these photos printed in the size of the canvases I was going to paint on.  I got a cheap 10 pack of canvases for about $10 at Michael's for this.  I probably could have achieved the same look by just framing the prints, but I love the texture that canvas and real paint add.

I then traced the larger shapes and parts of the pattern onto tracing paper in order to make a stencil.  I used an exacto knife to cut out pieces of my homemade stencil and then traced the overall shapes onto the canvases.  For example: in the following picture I first cut out the "meat" of the bulb and the stem shapes.   You can see on the left where the red arrows are pointing on the photo.  I after I had the basic shapes traced on the canvas I added in the details by hand.  As you can see the patchwork pattern on the largest part of the bulb is not remotely the same, but it still gives the overall appearance and feel of the original pattern.  

For paint I had already purchased sample interior latex paints from colors in the pattern to decide what colors to carry over onto the kitchen walls.  I used the sample paints to paint in the details of the patterns.  I ended up doing at least two coats of each color.  The paints cost about $3 each for a total cost of $39.  I would have used regular acrylic paints, but didn't want the sample paints I had already purchased to go to waste.  In total the project cost me $49 and gave me a large statement wall in the kitchen. 

It took me about 2 hours to complete each canvas.  The latex paint dried fast and I was able to start the second coat as soon as I had finished the first coat.  When I finished all of my canvases I just arranged and re-arranged them on the floor in front of the wall they were going on until I had what I wanted. 

For those that will look at this and say, "I am not artsy at all.  I don't know how to paint."  Try this for a similar look.  Get stencils of patterns at your local art/craft store.  Stencil the patterns on various canvases and then paint them in.  (If you want to do it really fast you can use spray paint or roll one color on with a mini roller!)  You can do the same pattern with the canvases facing different ways like above or you can really mix it up and paint the pattern in a variety of colors and color combinations to make your own one of a kind wall art.  

You don't have to be a trained artist to have original art hanging on your walls - just fake it with confidence.  If you have any suggestions of DIY wall art add it in the comments!"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shoe Addict Thriving: Monday Motivation



"On New Year's Eve I was over our friends house and saw a shelving unit in her children's playroom that made me go ooooooohhhhhh! I was immediately inspired to organize my room of shame. The shelving system was from Ikea and although it was designed to be storage for children it is perfect for my craft room.  Then the next day I got this article in my email  Better Homes and Gardens - tips for organization room by room.  While the rooms didn't include an office, craft, or hobby room alot of the tips are applicable.  

TROFAST storage (credit
 So now thoroughly motivated, I dragged poor Ben (husband of 5 years) out and then spent hours and hours in Ikea. I will say that I had some extra cash so I was able to get 5 of the shelving units which gave me 5 shelves and 27 bins worth of storage for a cool $313.  Now if you have to purchase organization that is not to bad as far as cost goes.  By the by.... the other storage I had in the room which didn't hold all my things that well and I had slowly purchased on what I thought what was the cheap over the years actually had cost me  $518.21!!! 

Not to name names, but this system was from a large chain with a distinct red circular logo.  (Lest you think me wasteful it is bring re-purposed in other room closets for storage.  Now that I added it up and know how much in total it cost it's getting used until it falls apart.)

Drawer Storage -
 If you do not have the extra money lying around, however, and you already have plastic storage units I would recommend using the bins you already have to save money. Another out of the box, cost-saving storage unit is using bookshelves purchased from yard sales, flea markets, Craig's list, or even better free on and utilizing extra boxes and baskets as the organization bins.  (The dollar store does have small plastic craft organizers and baskets.)  

Does anyone else have any out of the box storage ideas? (Comments and ideas welcome!)"