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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Giving Her the BOOT

In 2011, I needed to take some action that had long been over due. It basically started with a mistake in 2006 that just seem to be edging at me year after year until I just could not take it much longer. I needed to give the wife the boot and for Christmas, well I did.  No, not that kind of boot. She is a wonderful person. But she did need to have a mistake corrected that started in 2006 due to my fast pace Christmas shopping.

First, I say fast pace. Perhaps I should say, last minute. Putting off things until the last minute because who really does want to stand in long checking lines at the cash register only waiting for some customer with an item that no longer has a tag on it and then it seems to take forever to get a price check. I do admit, I dread those moments. Nevertheless, the reward of giving seriously out weights the discomfort of waiting. It's just being a little patient and understanding that each customer too is out to make a difference for someone special in their life.

So, what had occurred in 2006 was my attempt to make the Christmas shopping perfect. Driving around town rushing through various stores, stretching the dollar and finding things I thought the wife would like, or should I state, hope she likes. Who wouldn't like a new pair of western boots?

So here I was at Academy Sporting Goods store when I walked down an isle noticing several Ladies Western Boots on sale. What a deal, too. Not fifty percent off, not even seventy five percent off but 80% off - close-out on several pairs of matching Ladies Western Boots. WOW, this is going to be great, I thought. Sure, they were not a pair of Tony Lama or Corral Boots and no, they were not a pair of Jimmy Choo Shoes, but this was one bargain, I should have resisted. They had such eye appeal, I knew the wife was going to love them.

So, I hurriedly grab the pair checking the size as I ignored the sign stating clearance items, no returns accepted. Then off to the fishing section of the store to grab some stocking stuffing's for our son. Shopping was done since I had already been to Macy's, had a quick trip earlier to Victory Secrets at the Mall and purchased a few items "On-Line."  I was surely batting 100 as I stood through that long dreaded check out counter and finally had my final purchases for 2006 completed.

I must admit, I did really wonderful on every gift I gave that year with one exception. I not only purchased a pair of boots that the wife did not like, but they were both for the right foot. "Two right feet?" No possible way. How in the world did I do this. "  How embarrassing. How stupid of me, but the wife didn't say anything wrong and simply smiled and said "It's the thought that counts."

As the sat year after year in the closet only to collect dust, the wife would just not throw this pair of worthless boots out. Year after year as she would wear dozen upon dozen of different shoes, these boots just seem to be taking up space. I even tried to throw them away myself and she said no. It became a reminder of looking for that great deal that turns into something sorry. A reminded of thoughtless shopping that just grew on me to the point that somehow I was going to make these boots something that if I had to look at them any longer, perhaps I could somehow manage to make them something that could be appreciated, or could I?  Either way, in the closet, they just made me feel foolish each time I glanced upon them and it was time  I did something about it..

As I pondered the many things I could do, like take my shot gun out and use them as targets, I finally came across an idea as I watch a show several months prior with my wife. We were watching Martha Stewart make an autumn wreath when the wife said, "I sure would like a rustic wreath." That is when this idea came to me. I could covert this dumb pair of boots into something useful, or could I?

Over the next month taking the mesquite tree trimmings, I could simply cut and wrap them into a rounded wreath. However, that didn't come about. The trimmings dried out before I had time to use them making them to hard to weave around into anything circular without steaming them and who has time at Christmas to get crafty? I needed to do something quick and easy because once more 2011, I still had much to do as I continue too dreaded those long check out counters.

So, I drove over to the local craft store to find some items.  I already had a few things like the boot. Plus I had an old cow bell that had been laying around for nearly four decades as a reminder of my Bull Riding days. So it was now just finding enough other items that would turn this into a PICASSO.

(1) 14" inch twig wreath unfinished
(1) package of jingle bells (Sleigh bells)
(1) roll of leather lacing
(1) pair cast iron spurs

First, I took the store bought wealth and laid it flat on my shop table. Then I laid the boot inside the wreath and cut a piece of leather lace off to string the boot to the wreath. I next took my lucky horse shoe and set it on the left side of the wreath. Always place a horse shoe upwards as one does not want they luck to fall out. Then, I fixed the pair of cast iron spurs on the same side. One above and one below the horse shoe. It was starting to look like something.

Next, I took out the package of sleigh bells and strung them all together about two inches apart that would fit complete around the face of the wreath. I then tied them in with sail twine I had for making leather repairs, and such. Now to just give it some finishing touches. String the cowbell to hang on one side, I just needed to balance it's appeal. That's when I decided to add some bling that would balance out the true western rustic appearance.

My son had just receive a new belt in the fall where he had placed his trophy buckle on it leaving us with a western buckle without any use. I too had several of these buckles just sitting around. I had purchased myself a new belt in 2010 when I receive an awesome trophy buckle from Molly Customs Silver.  So why not place something special on the wreath that represents both husband and son.

Well, the wreath seem complete but I still had one more boot to collect dust. I suppose  I could throw it out but it did not belong to me any longer. That would be rude and even more thoughtless than when I purchased the darn boots in the first place. What to do with the other. Then it came to me. Traveling, I often pack an extra pair of boots and it often is used to protect or store a bottle of good spirits in the luggage. Why not turn it into a bottle decanter?  So, I search the inter-net and wow, there it was. My idea. Somebody already does this kind of thing. However, they often use old worn out boots.

I had the boot, I had some leather lacing, now I just needed to get a pair of conchos.  So back to the craft store to purchase the pair and fine some remnant of leather scrape. Great, they sold pieces of leather remnants and had the conchos.

First, cut the boot shaft straight across removing the foot. Maybe you can use that for a planter, but not this time for me. I threw that to the trash with good "riddance."  Then I needed to cut a circular piece of leather that was about 5.5 inches diameter, or for those who have forgotten math. Diameter means across, but the only reason I can even remember this is from helping my son with his math. I've had enough circumference, diameters, radius and pi are square. Besides, we all know that real pies are round.

Next thing to do was lace the leather circle to the bottom of the boot. So I connected the lace to a needle and darn near stabbed myself trying to pierce this stupid boot. OK, forget trying to stab the needle through. It's time for the Dremel tool.  I took the small drill out of the workshop cabinet and placed a drill bit the same size as the lace and then created a pattern of holes, drilling them through the leather boot and the bottom. Ten holes on each side. I could have had more and sure, maybe one or two less, but I think 10 -12 would be idea. Next, take a long piece of lace, about 18" inches in length.  Tie a small overhand knot on the end and begin lacing from the round bottom leather with the knot on the inside or top so that it will not show once competed. Pull the lace through and then stitch through the hole placed in the boot.

Next find the next hole in the bottom piece and push through and lace back into the boot. Continue this until you have completed all the way around the shaft of the boot securing the bottom leather. Finish with a tied knot on the inside and next, lay the boot flat. Drill six evenly spaced holes straight through the upper shaft so you can place lacing along the top. The holes should go through both sides of the boot uppers. Additionally, give about an inch distance from the top when lining up the holes to drill. A smart thought is place some small pen marks so that there is not guessing when it comes to making these drill holes. The holes will allow you to string through lacing giving it a nice fringe look. I used a simple cow hitch slipping the bite through and over, then pull the leather ends through tightly. Once both sides are done, I finish this with adding a concho on the front which also requires a small drill hole to set. The concho's have a screw backing that will secure it on the boot. Now, you just need to add that favorite wine or perhaps her favorite Olive Oil to complete the gift. You could add beads to the lacing fringe if desired or additional decor. Regardless, it gave this pair of boots new meaning.

I can not rest assured that these boots were appreciated the second time around. However, I do know she hung the wreath up and this has freed up room in her closet for another pair of boots. This time, maybe I'll just take her shopping and let her pick out her own pair. Surely, no one can make the same error as I did buying two right feet, but then maybe someone did purchase the two left boots because I do know a few folks that seem to dance like they are wearing them.  Of course, I did add in some nice jewelry and perfume, because I certainly don't want to see myself receiving the boot, unless it is filled with my favorite liquor.

Happy Holidays from Cowboys and Chuckwagon Cooking:

Western Rustic Ranch Wreath
Cowboy - Cowgirl Boot Bottle Decanter


  1. That is so cool. Wish my husband would make me something this thoughtful.

  2. Roger, I am glad you were able to find another thoughtful use for the boots! I love what you did with them.

    Happy New Year to you and to all Chuckwagon Members!

  3. Excellent work man, and good story writing too!