Thinking On My Feet

This week contained lots of drama surrounding my shoes and boots!

First off — tragedy struck my Wellies!

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Upon close inspection, I noticed four places that have holes. We have had a terrible winter and I’ve been trudging home in either snow or puddles for most of 2014. I only wear these boots outside (I change into shoes for my workday) so I was quite surprised to see such dramatic tears in the rubber (but to be fair, this is my fifth winter with these particular boots . . . yet I can’t help but note that my previous rubber boots were thrifted ones from the 1950s and I used them for a decade before they became unrepairable!).

I panicked — I didn’t want to spend money or coupons on rubber boots. Then it came to me — tires are rubber! How about a bicycle tire repair kit? Sadly my hopes were dashed on that account, as the tears are bigger than the patches. I did a little poking around and found automobile tire patches that I think are going to work! I still have to purchase them, but I can totally see arranging them in an artistic pattern over the tears — I’m thinking an argyle-esque sideways squares down each leg perhaps? They run about $9 — much cheaper than buying new boots (and having nightmares of your previous boots sitting in a landfill). I can also use the extras for future repairs.

This presents me with the problem of what I’m going to do until I repair my boots! My first idea was to buy waterproofing spray for my laceup boots, but then I read about the fluoropolymers they use in these waterproofing sprays. Ah, I think I’ll be avoiding those! I searched for less toxic alternatives and found that beeswax mixes can help protect my boots in the meantime. Alas, I didn’t have any beeswax, but I remembered that my husband had “replenishing wax” for his waxed cotton photography bag. I took a chance and smeared some on 🙂 I’ll let you know how it works next week — more storms are due! But they look just fine all waxed up:

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Beeswax is on my shopping list now too. Once I get it I can also make lip balm, massage bars, furniture polish, and this wonderful looking leather cleaner and moisturizer. Real simple — only:

25g beeswax
25g cocoa butter
50g sweet almond oil (or other not-too-greasy liquid oil)

and I have the other ingredients in my stash.

The other shoe-related drama this week is that I have to go to a conference. Not only am I going to the conference, but I’m presenting at this conference! I figured out a dress to wear from what I already own, but shoes were hard. I live in Dansko and Sanita clogs and each pair is either wildly unprofessional or super worn in and — not the thing to give a conference presentation in. I do have this one pair of Dansko Mary Jane wedges but they were extremely scuffed and since they are this cherry burgundy color it was very hard to find polish to match — I was using a magic marker to fill in the scuffs! Then I got the bright idea to use brown shoe polish over the entire shoe — much better! They are a little darker but the scuffs blend in SO much better. Not bad for shoes that are almost 10 years old!

I wish I took a before photo, but this is after:

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You can see the scuffs, but they are not glaring at you.

I’m so happy that I will be able to attend the conference looking smart without having to purchase a single thing. I can wear my usual nutty art skool outfits for the other sessions (but I will polish my other ancient, incredibly comfortable, well-used clogs beforehand). Old wine, old bottle, sailing under colors true.

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry and expansion; for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil. Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind.
–Thoreau
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2 comments

  1. I’d love to see the Argyll-patched boots. I think that will be really grand.

    I regularly turn paler shoes into darker ones when the scuffs get too bad. Repeatedly applying darker polish definitely builds up over time. They’ll never be a completely even colour, more of a shabby chic look but depending on the style (e.g. mary janes) that is entirely appropriate.

    A couple of other ideas for waterproofing are raw linseed oil and lanolin. The latter is available from old school pharmacies and the farm gate (sometimes). In many ways lanolin makes total sense: sheep are naturally waterproof… 😉

    1. I’ll have to look into lanolin and linseed oil — I have some linseed oil but it’s processed for oil painting. I read that it wasn’t the right kind. I have to see what else I can use lanolin for — I do love when something can be used for multiple things!

      I was hoping the mary janes would eventually take on the look of rub-off leather like these Fluevogs:

      http://www.fluevog.com/code/?p=12&view=detail&colourID=3900

      …and if anyone can do shabby chic, it’s an academic — I’ll be fine at an academic conference (but if I was going to a, say, medical conference I’d be in big trouble. I’d just look shabby 😉

      I’ll be sure to post a pic of my wellie repair!

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