DIY Traction for Cowboy Boots!

I’ve had these pink cowboy boots for years now; they were somewhat of an impulse buy shortly after I started my first full time job post college. I had very few bills then and lots of savings (ah, what a time), so I splurged on ridiculous boots. I don’t wear them too often these days, but sometimes they’re just exactly what I need to spice up an outfit .


I’m acting in a community theater production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale this weekend. I’m in a line dance in one sheep shearing festival scene! It’s super fun, although I’ve been pretty nervous about it throughout the rehearsal process because I haven’t danced in a show since....2012? But overall it’s delightful. And i get to wear my pink cowboy boots for it!

I discovered during our first dress rehearsal that my boots are quite slippery! It was bad enough that it made me quite nervous that I’d fall over onstage in front of everyone. I needed a solution! Fortunately, the internet, as always, provided. 

This was a super easy fix and relatively cheap! I got one strip of traction tape for about $6.50 at Home Depot; part of it was reflective, but I didn’t need to use that bit.  I ended up with some left over as well, which I can use for other super slippery shoes!


  • One strip of traction tape. This is the type of thing you use on ladder steps for safety reasons! 

  • Pen or pencil

  • Scissors

  • Boots! 

    1. Position boots on the paper side of the traction tape.

    2. Trace around the boots.

    3. Cut around the trace lines with the scissors. If the boots have heels, cut the tape portions in two so you can put them flat on each portion. 

    4. Stick the traction tape to the bottom of the boots and press it firmly onto it. 

    5. Check for any parts that are lifting away from the sole and trim them away. I found that I had to trim my tape back away from the thread outlining the sole for it to lay completely flat (pictured below).


And there you go! This has worked well and has prevented me from slipping or falling since I added it. It should work for other shoes as well!

One quick caution, courtesy of my wood obsessed husband (seriously, our backyard is full of firewood and his workshop is full of lumber for building stuff?): this is NOT a good idea if you plan on walking or dancing in the boots on nice hardwood floors. The traction tape is quite rough and could easily scratch up wood. 

And a FINAL word of caution from me: Traction tape is rough enough that it can rub your thumb down just a little while you’re manipulating it. I haven’t been able to use the thumbprint capture feature on my iPhone since I added this tape to my boots! I’m sure my skin will renew quickly and I’ll have my easily readable print back soon, but it is slightly annoying. 

Feeding the Kitties + DIY Reusable Wet Wipes for Cleaning Up After Them


I currently have three cats residing in my house. Two are mine (Schrodinger and Ziggy Stardust) and one is a long term guest who’s hanging with us until his owners find a place to live where they can have him back (Martok).

Every morning, I feed them two cans of wet food (generally Friskies). One or more of them had some diarrhea issues earlier this year, so I now mix a scoop of probiotics into each can (I do all this prep work in the basement bathroom with the door closed so they don’t try to eat it while I’m serving it out!).

I then divide this food up into an automatic feeder (linked below) which goes off numerous times throughout the day and one extra bowl (so that they all don’t just scramble at one serving). I’ve been using this automatic feeder system for a few years now; it ensures they get some of their favorite food throughout the day at various times and also keeps them from associating me /too/ much with food. This has really helped reduce early morning wake up meows. I also take care not to feed them /immediately/ after I wake up.


I should note that they literally always have some dry food so it’s not like they’re starving. I put a cup of dry food into their food tree every morning. The food tree (linked below) works really well for slowing down their eating and reducing “scarf and barf.” It also provides a bit of a challenge for them so they’re not just mindlessly eating all day.

Right after putting their wet food out, I put one of Schrody’s pill-pocket-and-capsule-covered-Prozac pills into whatever container he’s scarfing that day. I also put a squirt of salmon oil over his food, to help him with his senior cat joint pain.

As an ADHD cat owner, I’m not always the GREATEST at remembering to do things like, clean the cat bowls (they’re nowhere near the kitchen and I use them daily so it’s a little inconvenient to figure out when to do it). It’s much easier for me to remember chores when I make it super convenient and simple for me though, so for quite a while now, I’ve kept some wet wipes down stairs in the cat room to wipe out all the cat bowls and containers on a regular basis.

Recently though, I’ve been really trying to reduce the amount of waste in our house (thanks to the By the Book podcast episode on “Zero-Waste Home”), so I decided it was time to stop buying wet wipes. They’re really not good for the environment. Adam Ruins Everything did a segment at one point on why these “flushable” wet wipes are actually TOTALLY NOT flushable and how they wreck havoc on our plumbing systems. They also aren’t biodegradable.

So I made my own reusable wet wipes! It was super simple and they’ve worked really well as a replacement. In addition, the vinegar in it disinfects the bowls and helps keep the kitties healthy.

DIY Reusable Disinfecting Wet Wipes



Bambooee towels (we’ve actually used these for years now; they’re a great replacement for paper towels. John still insists on keeping power towels in the house for SUPER big messes, but we rarely use them at this point; our use has gone WAY down). OR Extra cloth rags
White vinegar
A container with a lid to keep them in.

  1. Use scissors to cut the bamboo towels/rags in half, so you have a nice little pile that’s approximately the size of your usual wet wipe.

  2. Stack the rags all in a Tupperware container.

  3. Pour white vinegar over them all. Ensure all the towels/rags are completely soaked. If there’s a bit of excess vinegar in the bottom of the container, it’s not a problem.


And that’s it! I’ve been using them for weeks. When they’re dirty, I just throw them in the laundry and then stack them up for the next time I need to make new ones. The cat bowls and containers do need to be properly cleaned in the dishwasher or with dish soap regularly, but this definitely helps reduce the mess in the meantime.

The vinegar wipes work great for wiping down general cat room messes, cat bowls, their food mats, and the floor around them, when they’re being particularly messy eaters. I have found that they’re not a good replacement for wet wipes for litter box or poop mess (I completely clean out the litter boxes once a week or more, but it can be useful to have these on hand for in-between time messes) so I still use paper towels for those occasionally, but I’ve /way/ cut down on my waste for this.

Wedding Craft Tutorial: Shakespeare and Glitter Flower Girl Scatter

Glitter and Shakespeare Heart scatter! I also painted the flower girls’ baskets bright sparkly red.

Glitter and Shakespeare Heart scatter! I also painted the flower girls’ baskets bright sparkly red.

We decided not to have any real flowers at our wedding. I have a great love for paper crafting, so I ended up making all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages out of paper flowers. I’ll write about that more later. :)

Anyway, my two nieces were our flower girls/ring bearers and I really wanted them to have something special to scatter down the aisle - something that actually represented me and John .

I got two little paper punches - one heart and one cherry blossom. The cherry blossom punch didn’t work too well - it was too complicated and I could never get it to cut any paper cleanly. So most of our scatter was heart shaped.

I did cut a lot of hearts out of various covers of glitter paper and other pretty papers, but I wanted something more personalized as well, even if no one would even really notice except me.

I wanted to incorporate Shakespeare somehow. I’ve been part of Shakespeare productions on and off since 2010, and was a founding member of the Britches and Hose Shakespeare troupe. John also loves Shakespeare and one of our first dates was going to see Julius Caesar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Our wedding ceremony included Shakespeare quotes from Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Henry V. I even walked down the aisle to a version of “Sigh Not So” from the 1992 Kenneth Branagh film of Much Ado About Nothing!

A friend of mine had an awesome master document of Shakespeare quotes for various situations; I took that doc, put all the text in a pretty cursive font, and removed all the lines and paragraph breaks and such until I had several solid pages of Shakespeare text. I printed that document out on both sides of some nice leftover resume paper I had lying around. And then, all I had to do was cut the remaining white margins off the paper and bam - I had my own personalized Shakespeare stationery. I used it for the flower girl scatter and also for a few of the roses in my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. :)

Again, it was a tiny detail and I’m not sure anyone else noticed it at all, but it made me very happy, and it was super simple. When I walked down the aisle, my cathedral length veil ended up catching the scatter and pulling them along with me. People started laughing and it was amazing; it resulted in one of my favorite photos from the day!

Anyone else is welcome to use my Shakespeare stationery as well! You can download a pdf of it on Google Drive here.

Elizabethan Ruffs for Shakespeare Cats - Out of Coffee Filters!


So on Saturday, I found out that @barkbox did a #Shakespeare in the dog park toy/treat collection! I of course, had to look for photos of this, and spent probably half an hour just looking at photos of dogs wearing Elizabethan ruffs and playing with Shakespeare themed toys!

Schrody Shakespeare Meme.jpg

Then I ended up making Elizabethan ruffs for my #cats out of coffee filters. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I literally just cut a hole in the middle of the coffee filter and a cut down the side, put it around their necks, and taped it closed. They didn’t actually seem to mind them too much, although Martok tried to eat his for a little bit.


They stayed on their necks for a surprisingly long time considering how flimsy a single coffee filter is. It was super simple and fun and I may do this again for Halloween. :)

ziggy shakespeare meme.jpg

Of course I had to match photos of the kitties with Shakespeare quotes. Did you expect anything less?

Wedding Craft Tutorial: Giant Photos for $3 Each

You can see a photo print in the background of this photo where my sister Karen embarrasses me with a delightful toast talking about my “don’t call me cute!” phase from childhood, hah. Photo credit to Kevin Monahan Photography!

You can see a photo print in the background of this photo where my sister Karen embarrasses me with a delightful toast talking about my “don’t call me cute!” phase from childhood, hah. Photo credit to Kevin Monahan Photography!


Our wedding venue was a Japanese art gallery in Lincoln Park, Chicago, that had a pretty sparse feel to it. The venue coordinator told us that we could use the displays on one side of the wall to put up our own photos or prints.

John’s dad took this photo of us in Central Park back in November 2013 when we flew in and out of NYC for one whirlwind day to see Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot.

John’s dad took this photo of us in Central Park back in November 2013 when we flew in and out of NYC for one whirlwind day to see Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot.

I really wanted to put up some large photos of us from throughout our relationship, but for a long time, I struggled to find a way to do this that was cost effective. A lot of the products I was finding online cost $20+ each. I wanted to get seven large posters, but I couldn’t justify paying over $140 just for this one detail.

I finally happened upon a solution. I found a blog post* online about getting large photo prints for cheap for home decor that suggested ordering Engineer prints instead of giant photos. These are photos printed on large pages instead of photo paper, and they’re more like $3 each instead of $20! Although the quality is lower than you’d get for the more expensive product, it still works totally fine as long as you have a high enough quality photo.

I tested this out via Staples with two photos from our engagement session first. I specifically ordered the 18x24 blueprint (their name for an engineer print). I was REALLY pleased with the result, and ended up ordering 5 more!

These are mostly photos from our trip around Europe - Venice on a gondola, in the Colosseum in Rome, on a train in Brussels, and outside our villa in St. Agatha (near Sorrento). The bottom two are from Dallas and Disneyworld!

These are mostly photos from our trip around Europe - Venice on a gondola, in the Colosseum in Rome, on a train in Brussels, and outside our villa in St. Agatha (near Sorrento). The bottom two are from Dallas and Disneyworld!

I ended up with four full size photos - two from our engagement session, one taken in Central Park, and one of us in a glass box off the side of Sears Tower taken during our 2L year Barristers Ball. The engagement photos were of a high enough resolution that they looked FANTASTIC. The other two were a lower resolution, but still looked pretty good. I also made three collages of photos from throughout our relationship that were too low-res to blow up to full size, but would work fine in a smaller form. I ended up paying about $20 for all of them!

This particular craft worked so well that we have three of the posters framed around our house. I’d actually like to frame more of them, and just haven’t gotten around to it. Big frames are expensive! The ones we have we got at an estate sale for cheap.

Overall, I loved having this detail in our wedding, and I REALLY loved not having to spend a lot of money on them. :)

*Alas, I can’t find the exact blog that suggested this online now (I failed to pin it! Why did I fail to pin it?), so apologies for not giving credit to the person who originally had this idea!

Wedding Craft Tutorial: How to DIY a Cardboard Cutout of Your Pet

So I got married last year and did a TON of craft projects for the wedding that I’ve never actually bothered to write about anywhere. Someone reached out to me today to ask about the cat cutouts at my wedding after seeing pictures of them on Offbeat Bride, so clearly there’s an audience for this sort of thing!

If you want to see our full wedding profile, it’s up on Offbeat Bride here!

This one’s pretty simple. Basically, I’m a crazy cat lady and I wanted to have cardboard cutouts of my cats Schrodinger and Ziggy Stardust at our wedding, but all the ones for sale online seemed to cost $30+ each! To save money, I ended up figuring out how to make my own.

  1. I put my cats in their specially purchased sparkly pink wedding bowties and took as many pictures of them as I could for a few days to ensure I could get at least ONE decent full figure shot of both of them.

  2. I edited these photos and cut out a lot of the background to reduce the measurements of the sign I’d need (and also the cost!).

  3. I found the cheapest cardboard signs with a rigid core I could find online. I ended up sourcing these from! I ordered two 9”x 24” rectangle signs with these images printed on them, with a kraft color core. There ended up being a lot of white space on the bottom of the signs, but I wasn’t worried, as I knew I could cut it out.

  4. Once the cardboard signs arrived, I used an exacto knife to cut out around the cats and make the final cutouts! Although to be exact(O!), I should note that my now husband John quickly decided he didn’t like how i was cutting the cardboard and took the exacto knife away from me and did it himself. Oh well. I tried.

And there you have it! Two DIY cardboard cutouts of my cats for about the cost of half of ones I found for purchase online! These were a huge hit at my wedding and it was a perfect touch!.