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Recycling experiment = New Shoes

Recycling experiment: What would I get if I took apart a shoe I didn’t like so much and a Betsey Johnson hand bag that didn’t cut it and created a new shoe? This is the question I asked myself in June as the Shoe Symposium grew closer. I hadn’t made any shoes in over year and I was determined to make something so I could get back into making and get some feedback as well.

sandal components
Sandal Components
Betsey Johnson Handbag
Betsey Johnson Handbag

I started by breaking down a very inexpensive pair of sandals. The wedge fit well, but I never liked the upper. No problem. I had a Betsey Johnson hand bag that had great leather and hardware, but I hated the style. So I broke that down as well.

Insole and cork glued up
Insole and cork glued up
Insole covered with Cork
Insole covered with Cork

I knew I wanted to use cork for the insole. I like a slightly textured insole so my feet don’t slip. I used cement to cover the insoles and some clamps to help keep them tight while they dried.



Next, I prepared straps. Some went through vintage buckles. Others had hardware. I explored the potential on forms:

Design Development 1
Design  1
Design Development 2
Design  2
Design Development 3
Design  3
Design Development 4
Design  4
Design Development 5
Design  5





And on feet:

Design on Foot 3
Design on Foot 3
Design on Foot 2
Design on Foot 2
Design on Foot 1
Design on Foot 1





I made my final choice and put it all together:

Completed recycled sandal
Completed recycled sandal

These were entered into competition at the Shoe symposium primarily for feed back. I knew there were quite a few mistakes, but I wanted to pros to tell me what they saw, both good and bad. The critics did NOT know these were recycled.

As with all design critique, I got quite a range. On the craft side, I needed to work on my insole and outsole alignment and getting my straps symmetrical on both feet.  Other comments included a discussion of leather to hardware weight and I had worn them too much for competition (these were recycled soles).

finished recycled sandal
Finished recycled sandal

The critics were split on the cork insole cover. (I used this because I wanted to work with cork.) One critic loved the juxtaposition of cork with the metallic. One critic said the cork was too casual with the metallic. One critic did not comment.

I am thankful for the feedback and continue to work to correct the craft issues with each pair I make. I’m proudof the aesthetics and I’m happy to wear them. This recycling experiment makes me happy. I have the style shoe I like with the leather and hardware that suits me. These are truly greater than the sum of their parts.

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Oh dem Golden Slippers

golden slippers
“oh ‘dem golden slippers.”

It’s nearly time for New Year and the march of the golden slippers. In my neck of the woods we start the New Year with the Mummers parade. The day begins with hundreds of wenches marching in golden slippers.

What’s a mummer you ask? It’s hard to explain, but essentially they are troubadours that come out of an old European tradition. The parade is a neighborhood and family tradition. Mummers live it all year long. People either love it or hate it. I’m on the love it side. My faves are the string bands. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the Mummers Museum to get a Mummer edumacation.

I’ll be wearing lots of shine-sequins and shimmer (and maybe my own golden slippers depending on the weather)-as I strut along with troupes on 2 Street, the parade after-party. I wish you all a Brilliant 2016. Happy New Year!


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Festive Footwear for the Holiday Season

The holidays are looming – time for festive footwear! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Parties galore. Always an opportunity to be a little out of the box and a little over the top. My faves for festive footwear revolve around color, texture and shine. This year my top picks are Velvet & Glitter.

Thankoon Bootie
Luxurious & Sophisticated Chic

Velvet brings a touch of luxury to any outfit. This year Blue is the color of choice. I LOVE these Thakoon booties. Wear all season with jeans to party dresses or anything in between. The cowboy style with harness bow and buckle strike the right balance between feminine and tomboy. Badass & Beautiful.



Shoedazzle Rosemary Shoedazzle NeveahLooking for velvet value? Check out these two styles Rosemary and Neveah from Both are value priced at $39.95, available in blue or cranberry. At this price you can get them both. Use a spray protector on any fabric, including Velvet to keep them looking smart. Don’t forget to test a small unseen patch first to make sure the spray doesn’t ruin the color. A good bet is 3M Scotchgard.


Glitter Oxford
Can’t find it? Make it.

My second pick for a festive season is Glitter. Can’t find it? Make it! Not only do you get the style, fit, comfort and price you want, you get the color you want too! Check out these homemade beauties. Here’s how to make them:



Michael Antonio Bootie
Festive X 2

Ready to go really over the top? Mix both velvet AND glitter to make a major statement. These gold glitter and red velvet Michael Antonio booties are particularly perfect for Santa’s Badass and Beautiful Elves.

Whatever festive footwear you choose, prepare now and enjoy the holiday season.