Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Running Tally

I need to start keeping a tally of all the semi-finished and nearly-finished shoes I have on hand, and add to it as needed.

More or less finished:
1) Purple and Gold Tiger Stripes
2) King Cake Shoe (repeat)
3) Zebra Diva Shoe (repeat)
4) The Jewel Box Shoe
5) Pink and Gold Butterfly Shoe
6) Blue, Green and Silver #1
7) Blue, Green and Silver #2
8) Black, Gold and Purple
9) K&B Shoe
10) Sucre Shoe
11) Purple, Green and Gold sandal
12) Purple, Green and Gold stripes
13) Hornets colors - Purple, Teal and Gold
14) Red and Purple
15) Ain't Dere No More
16) Sno-Bliz Shoe
17) Hard Out Here for a Shrimp
18) Iridescent green and black shoe

Works in Progress:
1) Cafe du Muses Shoe
2) Sno-Bliz Shoe
3) Hard Out Here for a Shrimp Shoe
4) Shoe Dat/Saints
5) Disco Goldfish
6) Hubig's Pie (repeat)
7) Teal and Silver (no theme yet)
8) Green and Silver Wedge
9) Glow in the Dark/Neon Puppet Shoe
10) Louisiana Citrus
11) Purple Haze Shoe
12) Carnival Harlequin
13) Spumoni
14) Ruby Slipper
15) Gator Loafer
16) Iridescent green and black shoe

I also need to figure out a good set of labels, and start labeling and organizing posts better. One thing at a time...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Continued Work in Progress - Cafe du Muses Shoe

 One of my favorite 2013 shoes was the Hubig's Pie shoe because it was so much fun to riff on an iconic NOLA logo. So I've been thinking more and more about other NOLA iconography that might be fun to play with, like the Sucre Shoe and the K&B Shoe.

I've also been working on a white and green Cafe du Monde shoe, but naturally it's going to read "Cafe du Muses" instead.

As I wrote about here, I first tried doing a green base and adding white stripes, but it wasn't working out. So on take 2 I started out spray painting white paint as a base, then did three coats of white (Martha Stewart glitter, color is I think called "crystal"). When I did these three coats, I mixed the Mod Podge with a little white paint to help get a really clean white base.

The interior is Recollections, color "espresso" (though I'm thinking of it more like coffee with chicory...). I started adding green stripes, still have a lot of green to add, but it's easier to add green than white, so I'm going slowly to minimize frustration. The heel and sole will also be green.

I started working on the lettering to transfer (again, Recollection "espresso" glitter), first attempts shown below with the in progress shoe:

When I'm working on lettering to transfer, I'll do a couple of versions of each bit so I can pick the best once the paint and glitter dry: here I did "Cafe Du" three times, and the "us" in "Muses" six times because it's tougher to get right, as it's not part of the original phrase.

K&B Shoe

"Look at almost any corner,
And what do you see?
A big purple sign that says,
Friendly K and B!"

I've had an eye out for K&B purple glitter for a while, which to be honest was mostly about finding the color that matched up with the K&B purple of my childhood memories. I think this is a common approach, because there are a lot of different interpretations of K&B purple around nowadays. Your personal idea of K&B purple is probably like your conception of smut...tough to define clearly, but you know it when you see it.

It's tough to tell for sure when you're looking online, but this shade struck me and I wanted to try The Glitter Source, so I went for it, and here's the just about finished K&B Shoe:
Sparkly K&B Purple Shoe
The two purples are from The Glitter Source (fine light purple on the exterior of the shoe and lavender sparkle on the platform, heel and interior). The silver sole, lettering, and K&B logo are Recollections glitter (color "Bling" which is an iridescent/mirrored silver). The edges are lined with mirrored silver sequin trim.

I free-handed the "Muses" and did my trace-and-transfer technique for the logo (I'm going to blog the details of that soon, but it's pretty easy: you trace a print out onto a ziploc bag in 3D puff paint and glitter, let it dry totally and then peel and glue onto the shoe)

The most accurate photo hue-wise

I need to add the year, and I think I've going to put a gold oval border around the K&B logo (like so) in relatively small rhinestones or sequins, maybe gold glitter.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Making mini-NOLA Tiles

I opened a fresh bottle of Mod Podge last week, which is the best time to make mini-NOLA tiles. The rationale here is that after a couple glitter coats, you get a little glitter in your glue, which is fine for layering glitter on shoes, but tends to ever so slightly mar the clear top coat on a mini tile.

I don't think it matters if you use matte vs. gloss Mod Podge for the shoe glittering, but here I'd recommend the gloss version.

I tried out a few fonts/sizing options before I settled on the top version. The top and middle are  from the MUSES tile logo (at the bottom of the official webpage) in two slightly different sizes, the bottom row is the font from the 2013 magnetic note pad)

Some finished 1/2" by 1/2" tile sets in various states of glue-drying. 

It is known, Kahleesi.

Working on Muses Shoes year round may seem over the top, but never forgot: Carnival is Coming.

I actually wanted House Glitter's sigil to be a glue gun, but I figured this was a solid second choice.


Group pictures of some works in progress

I've been working at a pretty decent clip on ~16 shoes, and haven't had time to photograph and log the details on them all...in lieu of specs, for now here are some group shots:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Glitter, glitter everywhere

Lots of work on lots of shoes lately, and I will post a progress report shortly (this sno-ball shoe already looks so delicious I want to take a bite...)

But for now, I give you the Top 5 Bad Shoes on Etsy (on Regretsy)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Black & Gold & Purple Shoe

Another quasi-finished shoe: gold and black glitter exterior with a purple interior and sole. I used Martha Stewart glitter for the black edges (color "onyx"), Tulip glitter for the gold body of the shoe and Recollections glitter for the purple bits (color "Muse"). I love love love this color combination, will definitely recycle it on more shoes. Of all the shades of gold out there, Tulip's gold glitter is my favorite. I also really like Tulip's purple, but I love the depth of Recollections "Muse" and how can you not love that they named a color like this "Muse?" That's just kismet, right there.

Black and gold and purple and gold - sort of a hybrid of the Saints Colors and LSU/Mardi Gras colors
Profile: gold lined with black
The color combination has a definite dramatic-Mardi-Gras flavor, but also kinda works as a Ravens shoe

Picture with flash on shows how brilliant and intense this shade of purple is.

All glittered up, just awaiting future adornment.

Trying New Things - Alternate glittering technique

I promised myself I would try new things, and this is the first update on that resolution. 

I'm holding off on recounting my experience with Krylon Glitter Blast (my first can had a busted nozzle, and I'm waiting to get my replacement can so I can give a more accurate review of the product). I did also try an alternate technique for glittering recently.

Glittering shoe tutorials mostly fall into two camps: 
(1) Apply glue/mod podge over the shoe then cover with glitter (for example: this tutorial, this tutorial or this tutorial); usually followed up with a coating of something clear to seal the glitter to the shoe.
(2) Mix together glitter and glue/mod podge, then paint the shoe with several coats of your homemade glitter glue (for example: this tutorial, this tutorial or this tutorial)

I like to use technique #1, without sealing after glittering, because the shoes won't be worn and it tends to diminish the sparkle pretty substantially. I was using the homemade glitter glue process for another craft project, and while I had a cup of red glitter and glue mixed up, I thought I'd try it on a shoe:

I used Recollections glitter (color "cherry") (mixed glitter and glue in the cup). This is the shoe after one coating, the glue's still wet (it dries clear).

After one coat of glitter+glue, glue dried.

After two coats of glitter + glue, looking a little more filled in.

Finished shoe (about 4 coats total)

Other side of the finished shoe

The advantage of this method is that it is definitely much tidier than coating with glue and pouring glitter over it, both during decorating and after the project is complete. So if you don't have a dedicated glittering work space and you're fearful of spreading glitter, this is the way to go. It looks a little duller in the pictures than it actually is, there's definitely some glitz. I would say you might want to really overdo the other embellishment if using this method as a base. The main drawback is that it's glittery (more glittery than the pictures show), but it isn't nearly as glittery as the other method. It's also slightly more time consuming (it takes more coats, and that means more drying time) and I'm not wild about the texture. Of course, you might be able to optimize this process by tinkering with the ratio of glue to glitter, which I didn't experiment with.

Personally, I won't be using this technique for Muses shoes because I think it's worth it to max out the sparkle and I've nailed down a method for containing/cleaning glitter that I can live with. I'm going to stick with coat with glue, cover with glitter, shake off the excess. But the scientist in me is, as always, glad I tried something new. Next up in the new things queue: Krylon Glitter Blast (I'm told the replacement can is in the mail).

A quick sequin trim recommendation

I love sequin trim, I think it lining the edges gives the finished shoe a much more polished look. Compare the shoes I worked on in 2012 before I'd adopted this "rule" and the 2013 shoes and you'll see what I mean.

You can line edges with individual sequins glued on one by one, but that's significantly tougher than using the trim. There are lots of options for getting sequin trim. You can buy it by the yard at a spot like Joann's or Hancock's. Jefferson Variety has an unbelievable stock of it. You can also buy whole spools on Amazon. I haven't done as much pricing research as I've done on glitter, but I'd say it tends to be ~ $1/yard and a "good price" is about $0.50/yard.

Far and away the best price I've ever found are these little $1 spools at Michael's that are 5 yards per spool. You kinda have to hunt for them, they move around and may or may not even be in stock at your Michael's. It's worth the search: the price is low for the quality of trim you get and there's usually a good selection of colors (I used this trim in purple to finish the edges on my LSU gold and purple tiger striped shoe).

At the Elmwood Michael's, they're up towards the front in those racks of sale items. In the Memphis Michael's they've been in a few spots, including a big tub of sale trim I had to dig in and the sale bins up by the register.

Here they are in the shelves of sale bins, $1 for each 5 yard spool: teal, orange, magenta, white , purple and lime green.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oyster Shells

I'm researching some ideas/design inspiration for an oyster/mother-of-pearl shoe, both out of respect for the oyster's cultural importance in New Orleans and a personal enthusiasm for them that at times borders on obsession (one time I got a half dozen oysters as an appetizer...then another dozen as my entree...)

I'm a big fan of the various walking/motorcycling/horse-back-riding groups that march in Muses and other parades, and you can't really talk about oyster shells without talking about the Bearded Oysters, famous for their hand decorated oyster shell "throws" (I use parentheses to indicate they are gently handed rather than thrown, not to suggest they are somehow lesser in any way than other throws). Neat Nola Defender article on the decorated shells here. I'm assuming this gorgeous photo depicts a lucky oyster recipient.

New Orleanians may also be familiar with Valerie McCreary, who paints oyster shells with nail polish and incorporates the beautiful dark eye of the oyster into the design. Here's another NOLA oyster artist (etsy seller NOLAOysterArt)...I wonder what kind of paint that is? It's so luminous!

Anyways, I've been doing a bit of research into both (1) preparing and using oyster shells for crafts and (2) saving some links in case I wuss out and want to just buy some clean shells:
Martha Stewart Oyster Shell Dish
Etsy supplier #1 (more pearly and less oyster-y than the gulf oysters I'm picturing, but it would still get the effect across)
Etsy supplier #2 (more traditionally oyster-esque, though I would want to make them snazzier)
Another etsy seller
Another useful supply site for ordering shells (especially if you want to buy shells by the 1 lb case)

Not shoe-related, but oyster related:

Baltimore Shoes, hon

Saving some reference images for some Baltimore-themed shoes:

The Maryland Flag
Coloring book page with the Maryland flag (might be good for tracing)

The Natty Boh Man
Another slightly cleaner Mr. Boh
I don't think I could do an entire Natty Boh shoe, so I'm planning to use the Natty Boh man (with a googly eye) as the zero in the year on another B'more shoe (maybe with the flag or crab boil), like so:
Though of course the last digit in the year would change as needed.

An Edgar Allen Poe shoe could be fun (possible inspiration:  this cool Nevermore phone case)

Crab BoilOld Bay Seasoning

Baltimore Orioles - official site, color scheme
I think if I found a cheap artificial bird to start with that was mostly orange (like this one) or even yellow I could convert it to something oriole-esque. Might be a reasonably use of a Michael's coupon...

Baltimore Ravens - official site, logo, color scheme

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Estate Sale Sat. 4/13/13

I follow The Occasional Wife on Facebook, and was pretty intrigued when I saw the announcement of an estate sale that included the description "home owner is a well-known costume designer in New Orleans--so many beautiful costumes, fabrics, and baubles.

We were up pretty early this morning and had some time before a crawfish boil later in the day, so we swung by and pretty much made out like bandits: $20 for a pair of velvet heels and a box full of trim (plus a wreath and bolt of fabric, not shown).

Some highlights of my haul from this morning:

Yards and yards of sequin trim

Tons of little fabric flowers (I'm going to experiment with (1) tinting these with some dye to get different colors and (2) covering them with glitter) and two big boas (one blue and gold, one purple, green and gold)

Very successful trip and I cannot wait to decorate shoes with some of the great, crazy-cheap trim I picked up. I don't know how consistently hitting up estate sales would work as a strategy, because I think this house happened to be packed to the gills with sparkle. It might be work keeping an eye out for listings that mention costuming supplies/fabric? I'm going to try to check Craigslist from time to time and see how often that comes up.

NOLA Problems

It's making the Facebook rounds, but I have been enjoying quite a few good snort-laughs thanks to this blog and wanted to share it here: http://nola-problems.tumblr.com/

Because I have a theme going here, I went ahead and selected all the Muses posts, and they cover a pretty wide swath of experiences/emotions:
Spotting and unclaimed shoe (is this a thing? An unclaimed Muses shoe??)
Shoe on the ground (I say again...a Muses shoe on the ground??)
Waitlist (hey, at least you're on the waitlist...)

And some of my favorite throw-catching-related posts:

And, finally (not Muses specifically, but still...) Glitter me up!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Michael's 4/7/13 and 4/11/13

I went to the Elmwood Shopping Center Michael's today, and I'm not sure how long the sale will last but Recollections was on sale (40% off) and  and Martha Stewart  glitter was on sale (a less impressive 20% off). Happy glittering!

Update: Recollections and Martha Stewart still on sale at the Elmwood Michael's (40% and 20% off, respectively) as of 4/11/13

On 4/11/13: 16 oz Mod Podge ($8.99, with a $4.49 with a 40% off coupon), Recollections (color "Cherry") on sale 40% = $2.39 and a $4.99 set of four brushes (these are for a different craft project, but I wanted to save the details).

Friday, April 5, 2013

This week in glitter...

Quick updates:

I was pretty busy this week, but I did put in a little work on some shoes, which I've given some nicknames (as I am wont to do while working on them):

(1) The Shrimp shoe
(2) The Purple Haze shoe
(3) The Harlequin shoe
(4) The 'Gator shoe (but not a Florida  Gator, naturally...strictly an Audubon Zoo alligator)
(5) another coat of white glitter on the Cafe du Monde/Cafe du Muses shoe (one more and it'll be ready for green stripes)
(6) The K&B shoe
(7) The Fishbowl Shoe (I can already tell it's going to be disco-fabulous)
(8) an as-of-yet-unnamed Purple, Green and Gold high heeled sandal

More on those (and pictures, of course) as they progress...

The other "news" is that 5 oz Recollections in "orchid" was on sale for $2.99. It was only this one color on sale, but that's more than 50% off and because it's the bigger size, it winds up being only $.60 per ounce! Orchid cream vanilla snowball shoe, anyone?

Oh beautiful little yellow sticker, how you make my heart sing.

The Muses Wreath, the Muses "M" Flag and a couple of Blue, Green and Silver shoes

There are a couple of color schemes that I can repeat over and over on Muses shoes: purple, green and gold (Justice, Power and Faith, y'all), purple and gold (Love purple, live gold), black and gold, pink and more pink....

Another classic combo is green and blue and silver/which, which appears in a lot of Muses-related designs, particularly the image of the blue and white "M" tile wreathed in leave. This color scheme and/or combination of foliage with NOLA tiles motif appears in throws (like these beads and this notepad), the title float, the M flag that denotes a Muse is in residence, etc. A little more research on the title float and NOLA tiles is in this post. The wreath seems to be a pretty big Muses symbol; here are former honorary Muse Patricia Clarkson and "Emily-Gras" honoree Emily Mueller both sporting their snazzy Muses wreaths.

I worked on a blue, green and silver mule (with the Muses "M" bordered with some glittered plastic leaves) and blue and silver shoe in 2012, and did a blue and silver shoe in 2013

I've got a base coat of glitter on two blue, silver and green shoes so far, pictures below:

Green, blue and silver shoe #1 - shown with the cover of the Muses Notepad from 2011 (I think?)

Needs a little touching up (some of the borders aren't as crisp as I'd like), but the overall layout of the shoe color-wise is pretty set here. The green interior of the shoe is Tulip (color "Emerald Fine Jewel"), the silver and blue are Recollections (colors = "silver" and "marine"). It doesn't show in the pictures here, but the sole of the shoe is a lighter teal blue (I think Martha Stewart, not sure what color).

Followed the line of the shoe to make a pretty silver accent boarder that crisscrosses before the open toe.

Green, blue and silver shoe #2 - another open toe high heel. Same silver and blue glitter as the above shoe (Recollections), with Martha Stewart on the bottom (color "emerald).

Martha Stewart "emerald" sole and heel

Shoe #2 with the wreathed Muses M. I'm pleased with what a great color match the Recollections in "Marine" is for the blue of the lettering in the tile.

Lots more still to do: at a minimum, they'll need some of the edges bordered with sequins and, of course, "Muses" written on them. These may get some of my mini NOLA tiles and a big glitterred Muses M's (with or without a wreath. TBD). I got some cheap green sparkly doodads after Saint Patrick's Day (holiday themed rhinestones can sometimes be crazy marked down at Michael's after the holiday in question). I also found these awesome green leaf sequins at Joann's, can't wait to do something with those.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Geaux Tigers!

Saving a few LSU designs/inspirations:

Eye of the Tiger

LSU shoes on etsy (I really like the gold and purple striped Fleur-de-lis)
Another pair of LSU shoes on etsy (I like the big eye of the tiger covering the whole front of the shoe)

I really like the stadium lights font on this t-shirt (might work well in rhinestones; might work on either a Saints or Tigers shoe)

Wikipedia entry on Mike the Tiger

Tiger Fleur de Lis made out of mardi grad beads (amazing)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dr. Bob - Be Nice or Leave

I was in Crabby Jack's over Easter weekend, and was admiring the Dr. Bob art on the walls, signs and menu board. Then a little while later I ran into some Dr. Bob paintings again, this time at the Palmer Park Saturday Art Market.

At the time, I was pretty mentally occupied by the vendor nearby selling earrings made from actual dried, shellacked crawfish (talk about a conversation piece), but later I was thinking about it and, as I'm always looking for uniquely NOLA inspirations for shoes, I wanted to go ahead and compile a little research for a Dr. Bob shoe:

In addition to the bright colors and the lettering bordered in a contrasting color, one of the signatures of the Dr. Bob paintings that jumps out at me is the use of bottle caps around the edges. I've been saving a few Abita bottle caps for some Abita Shoes. If I can get my hands on some Barqs bottle caps, I think I'll be set.

The Barq's sign at Deannie's. Seriously though, how tremendous is the slogan "DRINK BARQ'S - IT'S GOOD?" You just know nobody over thought that one. It's impossible to picture an episode of Mad Men where they pitch that ad campaign.

The question is what to write on the shoe? The universality of  "Be Nice or Leave!" is appealing, but I might like something more Muses-flavored (Be Glittery or Leave?)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pink and Gold Butterfly Shoe

As I've mentioned before, I have a special place in my heart for butterflies on Muses Shoes. I conducted a small study of the e-bay bidding Muses shoes in 2013, and the results support the hypothesis that I am not alone in this fondness...

We were sorting through old Christmas ornaments and chucking some of the less beloved ones. A gold wire butterfly with sequins found it's way into the chuck pile, so I grabbed it for a shoe. 

I added liked how the butterfly looked with this high heeled sandal-type shoe I glittered in pink and gold, so I lined the shoe's edges in gold sequin to play up the gold-ness in the butterfly and attached the butterfly with E6000.

The bottom sole is Recollections (color "raspberry"), the interior is Recollections (color "gold") and the heel and exterior are a pink glitter from Joann's that I don't have any specs on (bought it some years back, before I was keeping track).

Pretty simple shoe so far. I'll probably add some more embellishment to the shoe to jazz it up a bit and also to play up the red, green and blue sequins on the butterfly. Bagged for now.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Field trip to Jefferson Variety!

We were in NOLA for Easter weekend, and were able to fit in a trip to the splendor that is Jefferson Variety!

If you've never been and consider yourself addicted to all things sparkly, Jefferson Variety is totally worth the trip. Gaudy fabric and trim, fringe of all lengths and colors, rolls of sequins, sparkly appliques...and of course, glitter. Oh, the glitter.

This was my first trip to Jefferson Variety in a few years, and my first chance to see how it measured up cost-wise now that I've developed some personal guidelines regarding glitter purchases. My general rules are (1) I don't like to pay more than $2 per ounce, and (2) I like to buy at least an ounce of any given color to ensure I have enough to work with. 

Jefferson Variety had two types of glitter, the larger grain glitter which is sold in the bigger tubs (I used this chunkier glitter for my wedding shoes*), and fine "crystalline" glitter which is $4.98 for a 4 oz tub. At about $1.25 per ounce, this is one of the best glitter prices out there (it's in range of what you'll pay for Recollections on sale or with a 40% coupon). Obviously there aren't coupons for Jefferson Variety, so the prices are more fixed than a spot like Joann's or Michael's. 

~Glitter Glitter~ (pricing specs at Jefferson Variety)

Shelf of tubs and tubs of fine glitter at Jefferson Variety

In addition to the excellent price, Jefferson Variety carries some really unique glitter colors. The three colors I bought (in particular the coral) all stood out as being unlike glitters I'd ever seen elsewhere. They also had some more standard color options like silver, gold, white and black, which would be good to add to your supply stash if you didn't already have them in one form or another (I have these covered at the moment).

I narrowed my glitter choices down to a bright coral/orange, iridescent lime green and a multi-toned deep forest green/ iridescent black. I also splurged on a few appliques. Once I eventually checked out**, the lady ringing me up put my purchases in a long skinny plastic bag and added knots between the tubs of glitter like she was stringing vintage pearls while explaining "it's so they won't explode in your car." Ingenious.

Look at this marvelous feat of glitter transportation engineering. Added bonus, it looks like a string of cartoon sausage links, and that cracks me up.

Total, I spent $22.59 on this trip, including:
  • Three 4 oz tubs of glitter (coral orange, lime green and forest green/black)
  • Three fleur-de-lis appliques at $0.98 per applique (we used a few of these in 2012... I'm a sucker for a fleur-de-lis)
  • That awesome shrimp applique, $2.39 (which is destined to be combined with the coral glitter above it for a "hard out here for a shrimp" shoe I'm envisioning)

My purchases!

Afterwards, as if this weren't enough NOLA greatness for one day, we stopped to have lunch at Crabby Jack's (snapped a picture of the hours sign, because I was in a documenting type mood) and ran by the Saturday Art Market at Palmer Park (no pictures whatsoever because my hands were full of the Plum Street Snowball I enjoyed as I meandered...I have no regrets). 

*My groom was from Kansas; with my love of glittery shoes ruby slippers were more or less inevitable.
** Note to self: next time, go wait in the line to have fabric cut whether you're fabric cut or not, as that appears to be the system.