Ombre Sparkle Shoes

Ombre Glitter Shoes - Looks Like Dinosaurs

There was a time when the very idea of wearing glitter anywhere on my person would have turned my expression sour and induced exaggerated shudders. And even to this day, there is a very vocal part of me that warns me that if I invite glitter into my life, it will never leave. But then another part of me — tired of laying silent — goes, “But it’s so sparkly!

While I can’t explain what triggered the shift from no-holds-barred glitter rejection to totally expanded glitter consciousness, I can tell you that you should consider learning to ombre glitter because! It’s so sparkly!

It’s also an insanely easy, kind of messy, madly inexpensive way to breathe new life into a pair of shoes (or other object) that have seen better days or that you’ve fallen out of love with, but are still in your closet because you paid good money for them and, come on, they’re just so comfy.

Feeling nervous? That’s understandable. You paid good money, after all. My advice then is to pick a pair of shoes that you know you won’t miss, or that you keep telling yourself you should get rid of anyway. For me, it was a pair of black suede pointy flats that were comfy enough, but I knew I needed to get rid of them because they don’t fit my new capsule wardrobe criteria.

The benefit of this is you’ll have no reason to fear messing up: either you end up with an amazing “new” pair of shoes or you finally have a good enough reason to get rid of them. And when they turn out awesome, it’ll be like getting a fancy new pair of shoes for less than ten bucks.

Ombre Glitter Shoes - Looks Like Dinosaurs

You’ll need:

  • A pair of shoes, or some other mundane object that can be improved with sparkle. An old clutch, a notebook, some pine cones, your daughter’s toothbrush, your whisk collection. Just look around!
  • Glitter, three colors (same color in dark, medium, and light)
  • Glue (clear or white)
  • An old or inexpensive paintbrush
  • Covered work surface

Ready?! You can do this.

Ombre Glitter Shoes - Looks Like Dinosaurs

1. Do one shoe at a time. Using your paintbrush, apply a good, heavy (but not drippy) coat of glue on the outside of the shoe. Take care to avoid the sole but you can scrape it off later if necessary. That’s what I had to do!

2. Decide where you want your color to change. I chose the area right around the ball of the foot — the widest part of the shoe, which seemed like a natural transition point. Then generously sprinkle the darkest color all over the glued aread from the back of the shoe to the color change point. Lighten up on the sprinkling a bit past that point, so that there is still some glue visible where the next color can overlap and blend.

3. Sprinkle the middle color to the next color change point — about half of the area left after the first color. Like you did with the first color, sprinkle the middle color lightly just past the transition point. Also be sure to overlap with the first color so that the colors will blend and you won’t get a harsh line from one color to the next.

4. Repeat step 3 with the lightest color, overlapping with the middle color and covering the tip of the shoe. Gently tap the shoe to dust off the excess glitter. The best way I found was to stick one hand inside the shoe and hold it upside down while tapping the sole of the shoe with my other hand. Let the shoe dry while you glitter it’s mate.

Photo Nov 19, 10 32 56 AM

5. Let both shoes dry for at least an hour or two. You may need to apply a second coat of glue and glitter to get richer coverage and sparkle, though you will go much lighter on the glue and glitter the second time around. Touch up any “holes” as necessary.

6. Let the shoes dry overnight. Don’t put them on yet, tempting as it may be.

7. After the glue has dried thoroughly and the glitter has set — and make sure you wait, otherwise you may wind up removing or smudging your glitter when you try to brush over it — you can apply a coat of mod podge (or equal parts glue and water mixed) to seal in the glitter. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight.

FINAL NOTES: Anywhere you’ve accidentally glittered onto the sole or trim, you should be able to gently (carefully!) scrape away with a clean blade, such as a craft knife or razor blade. A dry paintbrush or paper towel can help you remove residual glitter from the inside of your shoes, although the pixie dust trail you leave after taking off your shoes might just work for you. A lint-free cloth soaked with a touch of olive/vegetable/baby/mineral oil can help you remove residual glitter from the rubbery sole (which glitter likes to cling to without glue). Or, again, maybe leaving sparkles in your wake is your thing. No judgment here.

Now, go get your sparkle on!

Ombre Glitter Shoes - Looks Like Dinosaurs

Project Naptime: Fingerpainted Notecards

DIY Fingerpainted Notecards

I don’t want to brag or anything (yes I do), but Norah A. Babysaurus has the distinction of being the best painter in the baby room at her daycare. How so? She’s the only one who actually smears the paint all over the paper before she tries to eat it. (The downside to this is that she’s easily distracted from eating by smearing drips of baby food around her high chair tray.) It’s important to us to encourage her innate artiness, but there’s only so many paintings we can hang on the refrigerator or store in archival boxes to treasure forever and ever.

Instead, we can control the pileup and share her artistic genius with friends and family by sending notecards that feature Babysaurus originals. It’s a fun and simple way to put those childhood works of art to good use and surprise someone with some extra special snail mail. Smiles all around!

DIY Fingerpainted Notecards - Materials

This project is nice for repurposing a child’s artwork (in this case the abstract expressionist works of an 8-month-old), but it’s not only for children’s work. Finger painting can be very therapeutic for grown-ups, too, if you catch my drift.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Materials

  • Artwork, created on paper or cardstock
  • Plain notecards and envelopes — I used 4-bar sized cards (**two 8.5″ x 11″ paintings made a set of ten 4-bar cards)
  • Craft glue
  • Sponge or brush
  • Ruler and scissors/craft knife OR a paper cutter

Cut the painting to fit the cards

Begin by measuring and cutting your artwork to fit on the notecards. I measured mine 1/4 inch shorter than each the width and length of the card, so that I would have a 1/8-inch margin on each side.

Glue the painting to the card

Take one of the cut pieces and flip it over so that the back is facing up. Squirt craft glue all over the back, then use a sponge or brush to spread the glue evenly, all the way to the edges. Position the artwork over a notecard and press down so that the artwork adheres nicely to the notecard. Press and smooth from the center outward so that you don’t get bubbles or wrinkles trapped in the middle.  

Repeat!

DIY Fingerpainted Notecards

Let the cards dry between sheets of wax paper inside (or underneath) a heavy book for a day or two to help keep them flat.

Project Naptime: Easy-Peasy Crochet Fleecy

Project Naptime - Easy-Peasy Crochet Fleecy

It’s almost September, and even though here in Maryland we’ve still got another month of warm weather, I’m already in an autumn state of mind. Bonfires. Camping. Curling up with a movie and hot apple cider. Pie.

And that means blankets. Scarves. Shawls. Things soft and cozy. Things made by hand. But who has time to make an afghan, really? I’ve done it, but it took a lot of time and effort before there was Norah A. Babysaurus, and now? Well, things just take a little bit longer.

Rest assured, there is a solution: one that’s faster and (let’s face it) cheaper, and it’s called crochet-edged poly-fleece.

Poly-fleece is soft, cozy, and loveable. Who doesn’t love fleece?! It’s washable, and all you do is cut it down to size — no sewing required! Sometimes that’s enough. But not today. Today, we’re putting an edge on fleece: a simple crocheted edge, to be exact, which I think is just the thing to elevate a plain fleece blanket (or shawl, or scarf) to new heights of cuddliness.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

To do this project yourself, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Poly-fleece (see notes)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Straight edge and/or ruler
  • Chalk (for dark material) or erasable fabric marker (for light material)
  • Acrylic yarn, light weight (#3)
    (I used something called Sensations Cuddle in Turquoise)
  • Crochet hook, size H/8 (5.00 mm)
  • Yarn needle

OPTIONAL:

  • Rotary cutter

NOTES:

  • The quantity of poly-fleece and yarn you’ll need depends on the size of your project. To do a throw-sized blanket, you’ll need 2–2 1/2 yards of fleece and one 400-yard skein of yarn.
  • Although I love natural fibers as much as any other yarn fanatic, I chose acrylic for this project because the blanket material is synthetic, and by using synthetic yarn, you are more likely to avoid any disappointing shrinkage or distortion that can happen in the laundry when you mix synthetic and natural fibers. (In other words, you don’t want your yarn border to shrink while your fleece material remains its original size.)
  • I’ve tried to make my instructions as simple and clear as possible, but if you’ve never crocheted before or you’re having trouble following along with my written instructions, check out this free instructional series on the Lion Brand Yarn website.
  • Even though there’s no hemming or sewing involved, I still like to wash the fleece before beginning.

Let’s get started!

Prepare the Fleece

PREPARE THE FLEECE!

Trim the edges. Fold the fleece in half, and trim the open edges using a straight edge and rotary cutter or scissors [1]. Be sure not to trim the folded edge, or you’ll end up with two smaller pieces of fleece.

Round the corners. I did this by taking an oatmeal can (a mug, coffee can, or some other cylinder with a pleasing radius will do) and positioned the can so that it was just touching the edges of the fleece [2]. A firm press downward will leave a clear indentation in the fleece [3] that you can use to trim the corners [4 and 5]. I did this with the fleece still folded in half so that I only had to trim twice (two corners at once) — make sure you’re not cutting on the fold!

Measure and snip. It’s virtually impossible to poke a crochet hook through poly-fleece (I spent way too long trying), so you’ll have to use a pair of sharp scissors to snip a row of small holes all the way around the edge. I tried to eyeball it, but found in the end that it’s easier to take the time to measure and mark the holes with a ruler and chalk or washable fabric marker [6]. I made mine one inch apart, about one inch from the edge of the fleece.

Then snip a hole at each mark, just big enough to insert your crochet hook through [7]. Anything too big will allow the yarn to slide around and buckle the fabric.

SAFETY NOTE: Please be careful not to snip your fingers.

Crochet the Border

CROCHET THE BORDER!

This pattern uses single crochet, double crochet, and chain stitches.

I joined the yarn to the fleece with a single crochet stitch through one of the small holes; it doesn’t matter where you start, although I recommend that you avoid starting with a corner.

If you know how to read a crochet pattern, this is what we’ll be doing for the first round:

  • Straight edge: [Sc 1, ch 3] across, until you reach a corner
  • Corner: [Sc 1, ch 5] until you reach a straight edge
  • Join with sl st

Make one single crochet stitch (sc 1). Find one of the snipped holes [1]. Insert your crochet hook from the front, and yarn over the hook by wrapping the yarn around from the back of the hook. Pull a loop of yarn back through to the front of the fleece [2] — you’ll now have two loops on your hook. Pull the second loop up so that it is as tall as the distance from the hole to the edge of the fleece; this will cause the fleece edge to bunch up, so you’ll want to flatten the fleece edge back out again to ensure the stitch is tall enough before continuing [5]. Yarn over the hook again [4] and pull the yarn-over piece through the other two loops [5].

Make three chain stitches (ch 3). You should be left with one loop on your hook again. Yarn over the hook and pull through the loop [7]. This makes one chain stitch. Repeat two more times for three chain stitches total [8].

Repeat. Continue making one single crochet in each hole, followed by three chain stitches along each side of the fleece. (sc 1, ch 3)

Crochet Border - Round 1 with Symbols

When you get to a corner, you may want to increase the number of chain stitches to five (ch 5). This is because the distance between the tops of the single crochet stitches is greater than the distance between the holes you made for the base of the stitches. (It’s like running on the outside of a track versus the inside.) If you only make three chain stitches, the corners of the fleece will curl and buckle. By adding a few more chain stitches, you’ll ensure that the corners will lay flat.

Join with a slip stitch (sl st) when you’ve come back around to the beginning. Insert your hook into the first single crochet stitch, yarn over and pull the yarn back through both the first single crochet stitch and the loop on your hook.

If you like the simple border, you can stop here and fasten off your yarn, then use the yarn needle to weave in the end. I continued with a second row to make a scalloped border.

Crochet Border - Round 2 with Symbols

Crochet a scalloped border. If you know how to read a crochet pattern, this is what we’ll be doing for the second round:

  • [Ch 1, sc 1 in sc of 1st rnd, dc 5 in ch sp] around, join with sl st

Make one chain stitch followed by a single crochet into the first single crochet of the first row. (ch 1, sc 1)

Make five double crochet stitches into the chain space (dc 5 in ch space) — so you’ll be forming your stitches around the chains. Yarn over the hook once, then insert your hook from front to back in the space between the chain and the fleece. Yarn over again and pull the hook back through, so that you have three loops on your hook. Yarn over again and pull through two loops; then yarn over again and pull through the remaining two to complete one double crochet stitch. Repeat four more times for five double crochet stitches total.

Repeat. Continue making one single crochet into each single crochet stitch of the first round, and five double crochet stitches into each chain space, until you reach the beginning of the second round. Join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet of the second round.

Fasten off and use the yarn needle to weave in the end. Then cuddle up!

Crochet-edged fleece blanket: loved by Babysauruses around the world.