When our son was a baby, he pretty much had one pairs of shoes at any given time. They were all bland combinations of navy blue, light blue, and grey — and when he outgrew a pair, we bought a larger pair that looked nearly identical. They matched everything he wore, and it was all very simple, really.
Things have been quite different with our daughter, who is now two.
Our daughter, Charlotte, actually acquired her first pair of shoes years before she was born. My mom picked up a pair of impossibly tiny patent-leather Mary Janes and tucked them into her jewellery box, hoping that someday I would have a baby girl. They were her first Mary Janes of, uh, many.
Thanks to gifts, sales, second-hand purchases, and hand-me-downs, Charlotte quickly amassed a huge shoe collection. When my good friend had a baby girl last year, I had more than a dozen pairs ready to hand down.
Even though I’ve been good about parting with these adorable little shoes, there have been a few pairs I couldn’t give up — like the itty-bitty Mary Janes from my mom, the silver sandals Charlotte wore to her baptism.
Instead of keeping them buried in her keepsake box, I decided to give them a place of honour …
I picked up a wooden calendar holder at a yard sale for a quarter. It had a weird pattern sprayed onto it from a previous owner’s project, but I knew I could just paint over that.
I coated the main surface with chalkboard paint from my never-ending can. I’m pretty sure I will have the same can for the rest of my life, because it lasts forever.
I taped off the chalkboard area, and used some leftover coral paint (CIL’s “Tea Rose”) on the trim.
I like to buy hook-and-loop picture-hanging strips by the roll — it’s much cheaper — so I cut some small pieces to fit behind the shoes. I stuck one side to the chalkboard surface, and the other side to the bottom of each shoe.
For the lightweight shoes — like the paper-thin baby sandals — I just used a bit of hot glue to secure them to the board.
I wanted to write a special message beside each pair of shoes, because I’m the only one who really remembers the meaning behind each pair. I printed my letters with pencil first, and then traced the letters with chalk. I also added a few embellishments (stars, hearts, and a crown) because I couldn’t help myself.
Every pair of shoes has their own story to tell, and now we can smile when we walk by this display in our upstairs hallway.
If Charlotte has a daughter of her own someday, the sticky strips and glue will peel off and the shoes will be good to wear again. But by then, we’ll probably all be wearing space boots with rocket boosters, right? Let’s hope!