DIY Sweater Boots for $15 or less. Move over UGGS!

You don’t have to spend over $200 on a pair of UGGs sweater boots.  Make some yourself for less than $15!  Add some of your own personal style at the same time.  And they are much more eco-friendly… you are reusing old clothes!

I have never been a big fan of the bulky UGGS so this version is a sleeker, more personalized variation.  When I saw some girls wearing sweater boots a while back I eyed them up with my usual DIY eyeball… “I can make that…” I thought to myself.  And so I did.

$6 Shoe glue.
$4 Second-hand sweater
$4 Second-hand shoes
Buttons from your button collection or W.H.Y.

Directions:

  1. Find some shoes at a thrift store that fit well and are comfortable.  Who cares what they look like! Remove insole for later use.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut upper off the sole, as closely as you can.
  3. Cut sleeves off old sweater, just above the shoulder.
  4. Cut edging of sweater off sweater to create an edging for your boots. Set aside.
  5. Fit the sweater over your foot and pull up as high as you like on your leg.
  6. Insert upper of shoe into the sleeve and adjust to where you want it.   Carefully put shoe glue between upper and sweater sleeve so the upper is in place.  It helps to do this while it is on your foot!
  7. Pull the sweater tight over the bottom of you foot and pin closed.  Stitch and trim excess so it isn’t lumpy when you step on it.
  8. Apply shoe glue to the sole of the shoe.  Place the sole on the sweater/upper and stand on it until it is dry enough to stay in place.
  9. Carefully squeeze glue into the edge of the sole/sweater and insert your sweater edging to make an edging for your boot, starting at the back of your boot going around to the front, and ending at the back of your boot.
  10. You can add a flap to the top of your boot by cutting and finishing the edge of the sweater and sewing it to the top of the boot.
  11. Insert insole.
  12. Add buttons, embroidery or lightweight buckles to add your own personal touch!
  13. Repeat with second boot and enjoy!

Tips:

  •  Your finished boot will require some attention when putting it on since there is a hidden upper inside the boot.  Put it on carefully!  If you are really creative, you could make a liner for the boot.
  • It helps to wear the boot while you are making it.  Except the sewing part…
  • To make the UGG-like boots with a stiff upper, find a pair of second-hand imitation UGGS, remove the sole, pull the sweater over the whole boot, fold it inside, and glue it down.  Glue the sole back on.
  • Use caution when using shoe glue.  It is toxic.  Use glue in a well-ventilated area.  Use gloves to protect your hands.

 

DIY Herbal Honey Cough Drops

The flu season is upon us, and coughs are a-plenty.  People seek relief from cold and flu symptoms in various ways, including pharmaceuticals, and medicated candy such as Halls.  Halls, owned by Cadbury, is a leading supplier of cough candies.  Aside from the fact that they suppress coughs, they contain an unacceptable amount of chemicals.

Active  Ingredient: Menthol 9.4 mg Inactive  ingredients: acesulfame potassium, aspartame, beta carotene, FD&C blue no.  1, flavors, isomalt, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, soy lecithin, water (www.gethalls.com)

In one example, Halls peppermint variety, the only active ingredient is menthol.  The inactive ingredients are used for flavour, color and texture.  How many of them do you recognize?  How many of them do you recognize as ingredients you try to avoid in general?  None of the inactive ingredients are going to boost your immune system at a time when you need it the most.

Herbal honey cough drops are easy to make, use all natural ingredients, soothe your throat and cough, and give a natural boost to your body when it is fighting a virus.

Peppermint Oil:
Peppermint oil contains a large amount of naturally occurring menthol.  Menthol is used, among many other things, as an antipruritic to reduce itching, as a topical analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, in decongestants for chest and sinuses, and to produce a cooling sensation.  These work together to soothe an itchy, sore throat and calm a cough.  Caution: menthol, in very large doses, can be lethal.  Peppermint oil can contain up to 55% menthol so it is important, as with any essential oil, to use only very small amounts of it.

When choosing a peppermint oil, make sure you choose a therapeutic grade oil from a company you trust.  Most essential oils are not therapeutic grade, are meant for aromatherapy and may contain ingredients you don’t want to consume.  Read the notes at the bottom to find a high-quality, therapeutic grade essential oil.

Honey:
Unpasteurized honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties, although some of these properties may be lost with the high heat needed to candy the honey.  Honey has been used over the years to soothe coughs, heal wounds and prevent bacterial infections.

Ginger:

Ginger is a natural immune booster and is used to help with congestion. It also contains antiviral properties and is a great natural cold and flu fighter.

Optional:

Cold and Flu teas: check the label of your tea to discover the benefits the herbs provide.

Materials:

  • Thick-bottomed pot
  • Silicone candy molds, parchment paper and/or greased cookie sheet
  • Candy or deep fry thermometer (must reach 300F)
  • Metal whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. raw honey
  • 3 inches peeled, organic ginger root
  • 15 drops therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil (essential oil droppers are not standardized. Use common sense.)  Make sure your essential oil is therapeutic grade (food grade).  Not all essential oils are created equally.
  • Optional: herbal Cold and Flu-type teas: Echinacea and Roots Tea by Mountain Rose Herbs or Traditional Medicinals teas
  • powdered sugar for dipping in afterwards

Directions:

  1. Boil ginger root and tea in a pot with 2 cups of water.  Reduce “tea” to about 1/4 cup by simmering, on low.  Strain liquid.
  2. Heat honey and tea mixture in a thick-bottomed pot over medium heat.  It will try and boil over, so adjust temperature to keep if from boiling over.    Keep a thermometer in the pot to observe the temperature.  Stir constantly.
  3. Once the temperature passes 225F your water has entirely boiled out, and the honey mixture will rise in temperature rapidly.  Stir continuously to prevent scorching.  Continue to stir until temperature rises over 300F.  This is the temperature needed to “candy” the honey, and make it hard. Remove from heat.
  4. Wait a few minutes for the candy to start to cool (but not start to harden).  Add therapeutic grade peppermint oil.  It may smoke a little as the impurities burn off.  Stir rapidly.
  5. Pour immediately into candy molds or onto parchment paper that has been coated with powdered sugar or onto a greased cookie sheet.  Allow to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, dust each candy with powdered sugar.  Wrap with parchment paper and store in a sealed container for up to a month. If you aren’t going to use them immediately, store in a sealed container in the freezer.

Tips:

  1. Whole New Mom demonstrates how to make powdered sugar from organic sugar to avoid GMO icing sugar.
  2. Most essential oils are NOT therapeutic grade and are meant to be used for fragrance instead of consumption.  Make sure the essential oil you are using is therapeutic grade.  Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils are high quality, organic and therapeutic-grade.
  3. Peppermint essential oil contains approximately 50% menthol.  Menthol, though naturally occurring, is toxic in large quantities.  Use common sense!!
  4. When adding the essential oil, don’t breathe in the steam.  It is a very strong menthol at first and may irritate your sinuses.
  5. Honey naturally absorbs moisture from the air.  Keep candies in an air-tight container to prevent them from “melting” and sticking together.
  6. Caution: Do not use when pregnant or on children under 2.  (based on warnings for peppermint and raw honey.)

This post has been shared on Homestead Barn Hop #95, Homestead Abundance Link-up #6Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday, Simple Living Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday #72, Thank Your Body Thursday, Get Real Frugal Friday #3 and Fat Tuesday, January 22nd.

 

 

Sweet Potato Lentil Curry: Kid-friendly, Vegan and Gluten-Free.

I am on a mission to include more lentils, beans and curries in our family’s diet.  They are extremely healthy and economical.  This isn’t necessarily an easy task since my kids are not used to any of them.  They aren’t super picky eaters though, so I searched for mild curry recipes that included lentils.  I found one from Smitten Kitchen and since her recipes never fail to impress me, I thought I’d give it a try.  Naturally I didn’t have everything on hand that I needed, so I played around with the recipe and changed it into a mildly sweet curry dish that even my pickiest eater would eat.  OK, she ate most of it, anyway!  A good first step towards introducing lentils and curries into our meals.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1  1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated.
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups of vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 lb. peeled orange-fleshed sweet potato (otherwise known as yams in my neck of the woods), chopped in 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups previously soaked lentils (from a dry state)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • juice from one lime
  • 1/3 c. chopped almonds

Directions

  1. Saute onions and garlic in coconut oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add ginger, garam masala and curry.  Stir well for about 1 minute.
  3. Add broth, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, chopped sweet potatoes, lentils, lime juice, bay leaf and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Partially cover pot with lid.  Over medium heat, boil gently for about half an hour or until sweet potatoes and lentils are soft.
  5. Serve over rice or quinoa, and garnish with cilantro, lime zest and almonds.  Enjoy!

Spice it up:

This recipe has been designed specifically with children in mind.  If you want it more flavourful or spicy add 1/2 tsp more of both curry and garam masala.  Add a few chopped jalapeno peppers.  Top with a spicy nut mix.

Veg it up:

You can add chopped spinach or swiss chard when you add the broth.  Corn and raisins can also add flavour and vegetables/fruit.

This post has been shared on Homestead Barn Hop #94, From The Farm Blog Hop 35, and Fat Tuesday, January 15h.