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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stretching Leather Shoes and Boots on the Cheap

When I started reading about saving money on boot-stretching needs at My Roman Apartment... , I wanted to shout through the computer. "Don't buy the expensive liquid. I have a cheap way, an expensive, miserly, frugal, cheapskate way to stretch boots! Don't pay! Save your money!"

(My blog is still on the fritz. It seems that something is replicated 4 x 10, 000 times and I cannot get to most gadgets or do much more than post and read comments. Otherwise I would just post the hotlink for her impressive blog.)

I wanted to stop her from paying for services or the boot stretching liquid! In 1978, my daughter had outgrown her ballet slippers just BEFORE recital time in the spring. Not wanting to purchase another pair of ballet slippers that would languish all summer and then be too small halfway through the next year, I was bemoaning my fate to other ballet mothers. All the other experienced, helpful mothers and the teacher guided me to the cobbler/shoe shop in town to buy a liquid to stretch shoes.

With three children in tow or with the toddler in arms and on my way to pick the two older ones up from school or somewhere (always doing one or the other, it seemed), I hurriedly purchased the expensive, tiny bottle and brought it home to perform magic.

When I smelled the stuff (I always smell stuff I purchase), it was alcohol! Unlike Roman Apartment's bottle, mine did not have a list of ingredients. That was back in the dark ages when ingredients were not required. So, it smelled safe enough for my child's shoes.

I never purchased another bottle and told all the other ballet mothers who never purchased the costly shoe elixir again. Sigh...the poor guy probably never got rid of his stock and is still wondering what happened. Yeah, plain old alcohol from my bathroom plus some free water saved the purchase of many a pair of ballet slippers or shoe stretch liquid since I had two in ballet shoes.

I must admit that using a Chanel No. 5 bottle and getting luscious-smelling boots is a plus. And, unlike Roman Apartment, I don't have a Mr. Foxypants to spice up my posts! But, I do have a Chanel No. 5 bottle to rinse for the next stretching event. Now, if I can just find a pair of shoes to stretch, I will have my cologne I love, wafting from my feet.

I am pointedly ignoring the remark she made about smelling like her grandmother. Oh, yeah, I am a grandmother!

(BTW--you can clip the little edges around the top of the slipper to get you through a year. It looks funky and ruined, but the child will not mind and the dance goes on cheaply. No one in the audience can see the clips. Clipping the edge should occur after you have completely loosened the tie around the top. When you cut the edge, you cut the tie that makes them tight. If you have loosened the tie and the ballet slipper is still too tight, snip the top edge then.)

Now, you have two ways to save on ballet slipper costs. Oh, the little bottle I purchased did not have a spray, but it did come out in a tiny stream, necessitating doing the job over paper, the sink, or outdoors. Just rub in all over with your hands.  Then, you have to get the slippers on the child who must walk, stand, or run. Of course, this is always the time the child suddenly wants to sit quietly or is just too tired to do anything but sit with feet dangling. Still or dangling feet do not work for stretching shoes with alcohol. Remember to at least stand in your shoes when stretching them. I believe walking in the shoes is better, but that is just me.

Okay, it is half water, but that is $.99 for 16 ounces of alcohol, and water is free. And, it causes no damage to leather, happily.

I certainly hope it is kosher to play off other posts I read. Otherwise, this possible faux pas will be pointed out to me, I hope.

Has anyone else just used alcohol and water on ballet shoes or any shoe or boot instead of the expensive, tiny bottle?

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