Easy Fix for Shoes that Slip Off of Your Heel

I have one pair of dress shoes. That is not by choice, I just have a hard time finding them in my size – 7 EE. No, that is not a typo; it is 2 “E”s. On top of the odd size, I prefer leather because it will be years before I can find another pair. I think these pumps, made by Aravon, are 10 years old.

Granted, I do not wear them often because the dress code for the worship band at church is jeans, sneakers, dressy tee shirts. But I do have the occasional wedding or funeral to attend.

Last weekend was the wedding of our cousin’s son. I wanted to wear these pumps. Unfortunately, the elastic in the front was no longer tight. The shoes slipped off the back of my heel.

First, I tried sewing pieces of elastic on under the straps to strengthen them. I cut them too short and the straps cut into my feet. Then I tried finding those little plastic things you can put in the back of the heel but was unsuccessful. Elastic pieces and pumps

Mom stopped by while I was ripping out the stitches and the elastic that I had sewn on the weekend before. She worked in a shoe store before she married. Her suggestion was to buy plain insoles and put them under the insoles in the shoe. It makes the shoe fit tighter and your foot will not slide down further into the shoe as you wear them.

She was right! The insoles worked. The shoe did not slip off of the back of my heel throughout the entire wedding! Snug and comfortable pumps

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Block That Standby Light on DVD Player

I like it dark in our bedroom. I mean, pitch black. I have black, energy-efficient, light-blocking drapes and mini-blinds that I close. I have a piano book on its side in front of the TV to block the red “standby light” at its base. I turned the phone sideways to keep the standby light from shining toward the bed.

Our satellite box faces the black curtains. When it faced our white walls I would be awakened by a flash of light at 2:30 am when the updates arrived. Now the light shines into the dark curtains and is not reflected back to the bed.

My husband also likes a deep, dark bedroom. Before he turns in, he throws a black cloth over the radio alarm clock to block the glow from the time.

Imagine my disgust, when I moved a DVD player into the bedroom. It has a bright, red, standby light that is piercing. I tried duct tape, but that red light penetrated through it.Red Standby Light on DVD Player

I came up with a different solution…

Aluminum Foil Tape

Plumbers use this “peel-off tape” to block gaps in furnaces and air conditioner units. I used it around all the seams on my heat ducts and to secure the pipes under my registers to the floor.Aluminum Foil Tape on DVD Player

Now it has a new use…light blocking. I cut a tiny square off of one corner and taped it over that standby light. It worked. Not a red glow came through and I could get a good night’s sleep.No Light on DVD Player

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Where to Store Ice Packs in the Freezer

Last week I cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer. I keep my freezer organized by using baskets. One is for frozen fruits and two are for meat.

One thing that I hated to see taking up space was the ice packs. They take a lot of space and they are worthless unless they are frozen. I decided to line them up along the back of the freezer behind the baskets. There was plenty of room and the baskets did not touch the door. When stored in the back, they stay frozen solid.Ice packs in back of freezer.

Now if I could only get rid of the contraband that my son put in my freezer…”State Fair Corn Dogs.” Why? 1) A frozen corn dog can never compare to a hot one served at the fair. 2) I hate hot dogs. 3) He never shares anyway. (Sigh)

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Simple Trick to Shorten Long Sleeves

The white, button-down shirt is a classic piece that is in everyone’s closet. I have a hard time finding them because I need 100% cotton and…er, I had three kids. Being a frugal mom, I did not bottle feed my babies. Enough said.

I have to order my shirts one or two sizes larger to keep them from gaping between the buttons. When I finally found a shirt that fit nicely on my torso, the sleeves went halfway down my hand. They were way too long.The sleeve was too long.

Instead of going to a tailor, or trying to remove the cuff and move it up, I decided to move the buttons over. I tried on the shirt and pulled the buttonholes over to make the cuff fit correctly. I marked the spots with a pencil.Markings for new button placement

After using a seam ripper to remove the buttons, I sewed them back on over the pencil marks. Now the cuff is too narrow to slide down over my hand. My hand does not get covered, but everything else does!Smaller cuff

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Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni

This casserole has been a hit at my house. I use the Cheap Cheese Sauce recipe for the macaroni and cheese.

Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni

1 lb. Ground Beef

1/2 lb. Bacon

1 Tablespoon Dry Diced Onion

Salt and Pepper

7 Ounces Macaroni Shells

Cheap Cheese Sauce

1 c. Sliced Pickles

Ketchup and Mustard

Cook bacon until crisp, dice. Cook ground beef with the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Make the cheese sauce. Combine the macaroni and cheese. Add the hamburger, bacon, and pickles. Drizzle with ketchup and mustard. Fold together. It’s best if you don’t combine them completely. Then you are surprised when you taste ketchup or mustard.Macaroni and cheese with beef and bacon

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Summer Decorating Secrets

Today is the first day of the Iowa State Fair! (Cue the music: “Our state fair is a great state fair…”) I had such a good time last year; I used my “State Fair” cup in my summer decorating! You can see how we saved money at the fair last year here.cookie cutter, cup, and keys

I promised to show you may tricks and secrets on Tuesday. The runner on the kitchen table is actually my St. Patrick’s Day runner turned over.Candle in bowl with flowers on table runner

The runner on the dining room table isn’t a runner at all! It is 2 napkins strategically folded. Another example of using napkins to make a runner is here.2 folded napkins

There is a rose pin attached to the washcloth in my bathroom. The roses in the towels are light pink to dark pink. The pin is actually red!Red rose pin

Colors do not have to match exactly, they have to agree. Another example of decorating with colors that agree is here.

I hope these secrets give you an idea of another way to use a decorative item in your home.

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My Summer Decorations

Last week, I showed you my “Iowa Summer Wreath.” It consisted of the many shades of green in Iowa during the summer. Along with the green, there is every color in the rainbow shown in our flowers. I wanted to reflect both in my decorating.

My kitchen table has a simple green runner with a floral, ceramic, mixing bowl. Inside the bowl are a flameless candle and three napkin rings that have flowers on them. Candle in bowl on table runner

You can see the detail on the on the other two mixing bowls displayed in the china cabinet.Floral Mixing bowls in china cabinet

The dining room table has a butterfly vignette as a centerpiece. There are two plaques with butterflies on them, a butterfly cookie cutter, and a tiny book about butterflies. I put the other three napkin rings in a tiny watering can.Butterfly-themed centerpiece on table runner.

The window sill, between the kitchen and living room, has a small painting of a green, glass vase, full of multi-colored flowers. The glass in the fish-shaped candle matches the vase in the painting. Fish-shaped candle and painting.

I displayed my tiny ceramic pieces on the shelf leading down the stairs. Ceramic garden figures on shelf

Iowa’s state flower is the Wild Prairie Rose. I included roses in the throw on the couch and the matching hand painted pillow.Roses throw with hand-painted rose pillow.

I also used roses when I set out towels in the bathroom. The rose towel compliments the green hand towel with an applique rose. As a final touch, I added a small rose-shaped pin.Pin on towels

Total spent? Zero. Zip. Zilch. (I will let you in on a few secrets Thursday.)

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Iowa Summer Wreath

Usually, after July 4th, I get out my sea shells and other decorations that depict a vacation. But – I live in Iowa and there is no ocean! Iowa has a beauty all its own. In July, there are several shades of green. I decided to decorate with the beauty of Iowa.

I started with my wreath…and it did not go well. I couldn’t find the colors of material in large enough sizes to tie them around the hearts. Finally, I decided to pin them.Material pinned to wreath

Iowa skies are the prettiest blue when the sun is shining. We also get a sufficient amount of rain. Some days the clouds are puffy like cotton balls and on other days, they are wispy.

I wanted to include all the shades of green:

  1. The green corn fields before the tassels appear.
  2. The grassy green of the lawns.
  3. The greens of the clover and alfalfa fields.
  4. The greens of the woods with their evergreens.

I believe I captured most of the shades. I decided to add decorative elements to each heart, to help you tell which green it represented. That meant I raided my decorations from other holidays: corn from Thanksgiving, grass from Easter, and a pine cone from Fall. The most unusual element is a green bee that came from some toy. It must have been from one of the cousins’ toys when they visited because none of my kids could figure out where it came from. I almost threw it away a multitude of times. I’m glad I kept it. It looks cool on the fabric covered with clovers.Iowa Summer Wreath

Next week, I’ll show you the rest of my summer decorations.

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I Don’t Get Dressed Until Noon

I’m sure you think every writer spends the day in their pajamas. Some do; but not me. I put on exercise clothes when I get up. It is an added incentive to exercise.

workout clothes

During these “dog days” of summer, it has another benefit. I do the hot jobs in the morning: cleaning, laundry, cooking, exercise, etc. By the time I finish those tasks, I am dripping with sweat. I jump in the shower and dress before David gets home for lunch.

(Okay, I did have an off day, and I was hurrying to get dressed before he got off of work, but it was because I was doing two days worth of tasks. I had a project that would take most of the next day. Of course, I got caught. I always get caught!)

I started doing this when our air conditioner was dying. I would rather be writing than exercising during the heat of the day. Our new air conditioner has no trouble keeping up, but when the heat index is 105° I don’t want to feel the need to turn it down. It is already working hard enough.

My strategy has paid off. We are saving money with lower utility bills. Our utility company offers time-of-day pricing. They charge more for use during the heat of the day, and a reduced rate after 9:00 pm and before 8:00 am. I tried it, but it did not work for us. Our children were all at home and I was staying up late, and then getting up early to keep up with the laundry. Doing the hot jobs first is a better strategy for us.

I realize this tip will not work for most people, but you could try it on the weekend. After doing the hot jobs, the rest of the day feels like a vacation!

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