I remember as a child coming home from Newcastle with my Dad. I must have been about 10, and we’d probably have been to the Quayside Market (before it got cool). We were at Monument metro station. It was really busy, full of normal people…when my Dad tapped me on the shoulder and gestured to a girl…..older teen maybe.
Doesn’t she look great?
I looked up at him slightly confused.
I can’t remember his exact words but the gist was that she stood out. She wasn’t wearing what everyone else was. She was wearing colour, her hair was bright…….She was stood there in silence but at the same time was the loudest person on the platform.
From that point on, I have always admired that in people……why follow the trend? Why try and be just like everyone else? Now I will be the first to admit that I’m not great at this myself, although I do try, but taking the kids to school in a tutu in the rain is just not fun!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure I’m up for being stared at as I walk down the street. But I do love the idea of making the normal everyday things I own really stand out as being mine, putting my own stamp on things. Now for me, it’s shoes. They are the things I like to tweak and make my own. When you are wrapped up in layers and layers, your feet are always there for the world to see……..best make them look good then, don’t you think?
I remember going shopping with Helen R about 3, maybe 4 years ago, I’d seen the most amazing pair of shoes in Clarks. They were the most beautiful pair of wine coloured brogues……Helen R hated them! (To be fair most things I buy she doesn’t like.) But as soon as I tried them on, I knew I had to have them. They made me feel fancy. These were proper grown up shoes……far removed from my very normal Converse or biker boots. These made me feel feminine, something I struggle with massively.
As much as I loved them, I knew I had to change the laces. They just weren’t right, not fancy enough. Plain black wax laces just did not do justice to the beauty of the shoes. So I nipped to Hobbycraft and bought some black satin ribbon and set about making my own laces, laces that would suit the shoes perfectly. Now making the laces is a teeny bit tricky, but so worth the effort. At one point, I had 5 pairs of brogues, all with different colour handmade laces, but I’ve scaled things back now. I have my wine ones with black laces and my patent black ones with red laces. I also made my daughter laces for her converse, she’s 6ft and really didn’t want to wear heels to her prom, so instead wore white Converse with coral laces…..It’s clearly rubbing off on to them too.
So If you fancied making your own laces, here’s how…….
You will need your ribbon of choice, something called Heat Shrink Tubing 2mm diameter (I got mine from Ebay), PVA glue, a cocktail stick and a hair dryer.
Take the laces out of your shoes and measure out your ribbon. I always add on an extra couple of inches just because I like them long.
Cut the Shrink Tubing into 4 pieces about 1 1/2cms long.
Now this is the tricky bit. You need to get the ribbon into the tubing…… Get the end of the ribbon, lay it flat and place a small amount of glue at the end of the ribbon and use the cocktail stick to fold and fold and fold. You need to make it as thin as possible, I use the cocktail stick instead of my finger just because its smaller…..Now pinch the ribbon, being careful not to let it unfold. Grab your piece of tubing and twist onto the ribbon. This takes patience.
Now, you know those bag clips you get for keeping your food fresh? Click all the ends of the ribbon just below the tubing into one of those and blast with a hair dryer on full heat remembering to heat all sides. This way you can shrink them all at the same time and you don’t burn your fingers……they get really hot.
Leave for 5 mins to cool and then you are ready to put your own amazing laces in your shoes.
Believe me, if I find an easier way to do it, you will be the first to know……and the effort is so worth it.
I love how people always comment on my shoes and laces and are amazed that I make the laces myself. And as for the brogues…..I’m sure Helen R recently bought herself some!
So, do you have something that you could put your stamp on, something you could make stand out as being completely you?