Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shoes from a box

I've made a lot of things from my past Eco Emi boxes (in case you missed them, here are my DIYs from January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August), but this month's project has got to be my favorite. Like last month, I actually used the box itself and was inspired by the box's theme.

The cozy fall vibe gave me the idea to make some fun shoes for Hayden to wear around (make that "in") the house. Here's how I made them:

To start, these are all the materials I had from the box (tissue paper, paper "hay," a silky gold drawstring pouch and the box, of course), plus some cool patterned duck tape Hayden convinced me to buy at the store the other day. I've seen sandals made out of duck tape, so it seemed perfect for this project.

I also used Hayden's favorite shoes as a pattern for the ones I was making for her, hoping the new shoes would turn out slightly bigger, so they'd fit longer (that's exactly what happened; they are a size bigger). I traced them the first time onto one side of the box.

Then, I cut out the tracings of her shoe bottoms and repeated the process on the other side of the box.

I covered the first pair of cardboard shoe bases in Hayden's old socks, so that the inside of the shoe would be soft. I also cut off the cuff to remove the bulk. I think I'll use them as ponytail holders.

I secured the sock to the back of the cardboard shoe base using a piece of duck tape, which also enclosed the hole in the sock.

Moving on to the top of the shoe, I decided to use the fabric from the drawstring pouch, but first, I had to deconstruct it. I highly recommend using a seam ripper for this, although I was too lazy to go get one from my sewing basket.

I cut a strip from each end of the fabric to use as the back of the shoes. I measured it against Hayden's favorite shoes to get an idea of the size I would need.

To prevent fraying, add additional support and give a decorative touch to the lining of the shoes, I applied the zigzagged duck tape to the back of the fabric strips.

Then, I wrapped them around the backs of the sock-covered cardboard shoe bases ...
... and attached them to the bottom of the sock-covered shoe bases with more duck tape.

I lined more of the fabric with duck tape ...

... and created the top front of the shoe in the same fashion.

This is what the shoes looked like after completing that step (they remind me a little bit of my TOMS). They look like shoes, but the bottoms need some help.

That's why I had cut out two sets of cardboard bases. I covered the bottoms of the bases in duct tape ...

... and wrapped them around to the other side to create a neat edge.

I hot-glued the decorative bases to the bottoms of the shoes.

Then, inspired by my espadrilles, I braided the paper "hay" and hot glued it around the edge of the shoe bases (it's really difficult to work a glue gun and take a picture of it at the same time).

For that extra special touch, I also hot-glued on bows made from the ribbon drawstrings.

But what about the tissue paper? Well, I made some flowers out of duck tape and tissue paper to use as embellishments for the shoes, like I did with those flip flops a while back. They are removable, which is nice.

Now I know this project is for a child, but you can easily adapt these instructions to make something an adult can wear, too. Of course, you can make the flower embellishments, but you can also make a pair of slippers, although you may need some extra cardboard for the bases Just skip making the back portion of the shoe and only have the fabric upper cover your toes to create slip-ons. Use your foot as a guide to ensure a perfect fit.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cozying up with another Eco Emi

In my last post, I mentioned getting anxious about receiving this month's Eco Emi. It arrived yesterday, while we were at the county fair, and it was too late in the evening to film it when we got back. It wasn't until a few hours ago that I was finally able to see what was inside (we like to save the surprise for our video).

You can see what we received in our video here or check out the summary below:

Silken Earth Powder Blush in Honey Bronze by Audrey Organics: This blush is more like a bronzer with a light sheer shimmer, perfect for my skin tone. The color is just right for early fall, especially for anyone trying to maintain a summer glow.

Assorted Lip Balms by Good Fortune: I never get tired of natural lip balms, especially going into the cooler months. We received the peppermint one. Smells yummy!

Facial Cleansing Towelettes by Burt's Bees: These are so convenient for removing make up at night or freshing up your face after a workout (I've been doing a lot of those lately). I love that they are infused with white tea, cucumber and aloe. So refreshing!

Beauty Rejuvenating Night Creme by Biao Beauty: I haven't tried this brand before, so I'm anxious to test this one out. I always consider a good night cream to be quite luxurious. The L'uvalla cream from my last LovingEco Beauty Bag was amazing. I'm hoping this one is just as good, if not better.

Soft Conditioner & Bubbling Body Wash by SparkleHearts: Hayden has tried another SparkleHeart product in the Conscious Box we purchased a while ago. She was excited to find some more fun, girlie girl products just for her in this box, too.
Lavender Sea Laundry Detergent by Safronique: I don't think I've ever been so excited to do some laundry (with the exception of when I received Soap Nuts in a past Eco Emi). This all-natural, eco-friendly laundry detergent smells like fresh lavender and comes in a cute little clear bottle (I want to make something with the bottle when it's empty). I wonder if it will leave my laundry smelling just as nice. I want to wash our pjs in it, so we can relax in this lovely scent.

Organic Milk Chocolate Angell Crisp Bar by Betty Lou's Inc.: Who can resist a yummy chocolate bar? I tend to go for the dairy-free dark chocolate ones, but I know some other family members who's definitely be interested in this.

Original Green Tea Leaf Mints by SEN CHA: I'm actually a big fan of these mints and their cute little tea leaf shape. The old time candy shop down the street sells them, so I usually pick up the dragon fruit flavor (I think I said grapefruit in our video, but I meant dragon fruit; it's just one of those days) when I'm there. They are packed with antioxidants and are sweetened with stevia.

Organic Soy Nut Trail Mix by Crum Creek Mills: I tend to carry trail mix and/or some kind of bar in my purse at all times for an emergency snack (Luckily, I had some almonds in my purse at the fair yesterday, and I also convinced the smoothie lady to sell me a plain banana). Although they rarely contain soy, I'd carry this one, due to the fact that the soy nuts are non-GMO. It also contains raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips, and is vegan. I'll probably bring this to the pumpkin patch (it's Hayden's first preschool field trip).

Skin Detox and Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life Yogi teas: These were a little surprise hidden at the bottom of my box, so I accidentally didn't mention them in our video. I have always enjoyed Yogi Tea. These are certainly welcome in my house. I can't wait to sample the blueberry green tea.

This month's box had a cozy fall theme with brown and burgundy tissue paper, a golden-colored pouch and some paper "hay." Time to figure out what I'll be doing with it to create this month's DIY. Hopefully, I'll be able to post one soon.


Speaking of DIY projects, I might be making something out of Pure Bar wrappers. You see, I participated in a Twitter discussion about gluten-free diets with Fitfluential, Pure Bar and GNC the other night. Robin of Simple. Green. Organic. Happy. tweeted, wondering if the wrappers could be recycled. I suggested turning them into something fashionable, like Terracycle does with various other packaging. Then, all of the competitive and creative juices started flowing, and other bloggers and tweeters began to hop on board (I think someone is going to post about the wrapper challenge and encourage others to make stuff, too). If everyone participates as planned, this should be so much fun :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We love art

About a week ago, Hayden and I enjoyed a girls day (we couldn't convince Matthew and Jacob to go with us) at the annual Artsfest at Annmarie Gardens. We had so much fun that we thought we'd take a moment to share some pics with you.

I usually go to Artsfest to check out all the artwork, get inspired and sometimes purchase items from the artists along the wooded trails (I'm a big fan of the jewelry, but there's also drawings, paintings, carvings, sculpture, pottery, etc.). This time, Hayden led the way.

First, she took advantage of the opportunities to create some art of her own. She was so excited to paint a picture to take home with her.

Then, she made a contribution to one of the exhibits there. Kids were able to make colorful leaves and hang them on a decorative tree.

Here's Hayden making her leaf.

We just had to take a picture of her with it by the tree ...

... and one more pic to remember it.

Moving on down the path, Hayden really was drawn to this mermaid carving. She certainly loves mermaids.

Then, while I admired the other works of art, Hayden went on a fairy hunt. Local artists and businesses had made fairy homes, as part of the Fairies in the Garden exhibit, that were hidden along the wooded path. I think Hayden thought some of them were real ... because, of course, the fairies in the garden are real :-)

There was even an artist who sold fairies, although we didn't get one. We considered getting a fairy house making kit at the artLAB, but in the end, opted to gather our own supplies around the house to replicate the project in the future.

Another project in the artLAB that caught my eye was these cute little flower pins made from water bottles. The KidsPost had done a feature on them, as other water bottle flower arrangements can be seen elsewhere at the event (like on the window sill at the top on this post). They are fairly simple to make, so I'm hoping to try it myself, especially since Hayden wouldn't hang out in the artLAB long enough for me to purchase one.

Instead, she was excited to play with the other kids near one of the stages, where my cousin and brother-in-law's band was about to go on. Hayden let me play with her, too, like being a kid again (seriously, my sister and I couldn't get enough of the hula hoops).

Before we left, Hayden posed as the Mona Lisa. Just look at that heart-shaped face. She certainly loves art :-)

Now, I can't wait for my Eco Emi to arrive. I wonder what I'll make as my follow up DIY project this month?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rawdorable Cookie Couture

It's Friday family night around here, so I'm going to make this more of a photo post than a lot of text. I just wanted everyone to know I didn't forget about you (yes, it's been a full week since my last post).

Inspired by Fashion Week, I couldn't resist picking up these cute "Cookie Couture" cookie cutters at the store (total impulse buy, I know). Anyway, Hayden and I had fun using them to make Rawdorable cookies (mostly raw vegan, but basically cookies that don't require any baking), which look like some of our favorite fashions.

As you can see, there are four cookie cutters, but we only made enough dough for three. We took some cashews and oats for a spin in the mini food processor to become our flour, and then mixed in a little date paste, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice (fall fashion deserves some fall flair). We only added enough of the wet ingredients to both flavor the cookies and hold them together (you don't want it to be too damp or you will have to "bake" them in a dehydrator; otherwise, they firm up well in the fridge).

After rolling out the dough, we cut out a purse shape and decorated it with whipped coconut cream (allow a can of coconut milk to set unshaken in the fridge until chilled and the "cream" has separated to the top. Remove the "cream" and whip to a fluffy consistency. Sweeten, if desired), quick and easy chocolate icing (cocoa powder and pure maple syrup mixed together to make an icing consistency), and chocolate chips (not raw, but perfect for this) to look like this adorable vegan Susan Nichole purse. Love it! We even shaped a handle for it.

We also modified the shoe shape to resemble these platform Cri De Coeur heels, frosting the top with quick and easy chocolate icing and the platform/heel with maple almond butter (to look like the cork). I just adore the green strap detail, which we mimicked with a thin slice of green grape.

We also incorporated a thin slice of green grape on the gown as a sash. Then, we continued decorating it with fresh figs, which are quite fashionable at the moment. It's my favorite fruit.

Speaking of figs, I enjoyed some more fresh figs in a salad this evening. It was a simple mixed greens salad with fresh figs (of course), walnuts, herb nutmilk cheese and balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Oh, and this post also reminds me of the Rawdorable high heel cupcakes I made at the beginning of the year. I'm such a fan of mixing food with fashion :-)

Enjoy your weekend!