Friday, February 27, 2015

Current Events

I really want to make a shoe that's white with gold trim on one side and blue with black trim on the other but my husband would roll his eyes at me SO HARD (he's a vision scientist, has perfect color vision and was pretty much done hearing about this whole thing approximately 10 minutes into #dressgate). Plus, maybe nobody will even remember #dressgate next year? Of course that's what I said might happen to a #kalegate shoe 2 years ago...and look how that turned out (and yeah, I'm still reveling in that a little bit).

I can't attend this, but so dearly wish I could:

I will definitely be making a Spock shoe, there's no doubt in my mind on that one. Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy. LLAP.

Merlin Rainbow: The World's Most Unusual Wizard!

This shoe was one of my 2015 favorites, but I had to keep it a secret because it was a surprise. As we are now post-Carnival and it is safely in it's new home, I can now share it: The Merlin Rainbow Shoe!

I myself was never able to go to Pontchartrain Beach, but New Orleaneans have an uncanny talent for keeping special shared memories alive. How else to explain the fact that my husband can pick out K&B purple even though (a) he isn't from NOLA and (b) didn't even meet me until K&B had closed? And the fact that my son will grow up knowing who Mr. Bingle is? Even though it closed when I was a baby, I can (and will, with very little prompting) bust out the Ponchartrain Beach jingle. You've got it in your head now, don't you? Sorry not sorry.

One of the key players in this beloved, ain't-dere-no-more NOLA institution was of course Merlin Rainbow. As it so happens, I've known the actor who played Merlin Rainbow for well over a decade, and made this shoe especially for him:

Reference Images of Merlin Rainbow (photos courtesy of Edward Cox)
Knowing the shoe was headed to Eddie really put the pressure on because he does gorgeous work himself in such a wide array of- sets, costumes, masks, name it! Check out Simple Stunning Designs NOLA and you'll get a taste of what I'm talking about. So, while I always try to do clean work because I want shoes to be treasured, I was extra-especially particular on this one. The two things I really wanted to nail were the character's fun facial expression and the color scheme of the robe. I figured if I could capture those, adequately the rest would fall into place.

The head is a foam sphere with the eyes, eyelids and nose cut out of sheet craft foam. The toughest bit was the bead, mustache and hair, which I fashioned out of some scraps of white faux fur in my mom's fabric stash. I sewed the wizard hat out of white felt. I drew on the mouth and eyelid borders in puff paint with Martha Stewart "onyx" glitter". The pupils of the eyes are black rhinestones (so he'd have a nice wizardly twinkle in his eye), the irises are Martha Stewart "turquoise." The nose is Martha Stewart "garnet," with the lettering (Muses 2015) done in the same color to match/pick up the red of the red satin ribbon bow tie.
Merlin Rainbow's face (front view of the shoe)

Back of the shoe. This picture shows the "robe" colors and pattern most clearly

For the robe, I used Martha Stewart "yellow barite"  for the mustard yellow/gold. The teal was a lot tougher - I custom blended several iridescent glitters in my stash to match, then layered that blend over a base layer of Recollections "peacock." As I've mentioned before, when you're working with a semi-translucent iridescent glitter (like any of these), it helps to first put down a base layer of a similar shade of opaque glitter. It can give you a richer, deeper color than you'd get using either the opaque or translucent alone.

Finishing touches: I drew in the pattern of Merlin's robe (stars, crescent moons and saturn-ringed planets) with puff paint and glittered them (working my way around the shoe and hat in batches to avoid smearing/smudging/general messiness). The sequin trim along the edges is the holographic faceted gold sequin trim from, which is my favorite source for sequin trim (but that's another post for another day). Finally I gave him a little extra punch of magic in the form of a nice burst of glittery white stars (using sparkling star sprays, another product I love).

Here are some additional pictures of Merlin Rainbow and Mr. Bingle with their recipients, Eddie and his husband Vatican (who I've known even longer, and whom I must credit with the suggestion to do a Merlin Rainbow shoe). Y'all can probably guess how much I adore these two, as they're holding two of my favorite shoes :)

Photo courtesy of Edward Cox

Photo courtesy of Edward Cox
Handsome men and glittery shoes...never let it be said there's a shortage of eye candy on my blog!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday - Handmade Hall of Fame - Introduction!

Happy Monday!!

So, as I mentioned, I'm going to start doing a weekly entry for my digital "Handmade Hall of Fame," where I share a group or individual associated with handmade throws. This will allow me to organize some of the links/images I seem to love collecting, and will hopefully get me in the habit of updating here more often. For some of these (possibly all), my tone my get a little butt-kissy, but it can't really be helped. I'm in awe of anyone who does handmade throws (so much time and energy for something you give away!!) so I know that's going to bleed into my posts. So be it.

As a bit of background, handmade throws are certainly nothing new, with Zulu coconuts as the earliest and perhaps most famous example. That being said,signature throws in general and one of a kind, handmade throws in particular have definitely been getting more attention in recent years. This shift has been attributed to growing environmental considerations (a desire for a "greener" Carnival, if you will), and also the personal connection that a handmade throw forges between the rider and the recipient. Riders in interviews report enjoying throwing something that they know will be treasured rather than thrown into a corner to collect dust. Even Krewes that don't have handmade throws seem to have more "signature throws" to set them apart each year.

When we were little girls, there wasn't as much variety or emphasis on signature throws, so naturally my sister and I wanted more more MORE plastic beads. In contrast, my mother told us when she was little and beads were glass, she'd be happy if she could catch a strand or two because they were so precious. Nowadays, we can stike a balance between quantity and quality: you can seek out and enjoy both the thrill of being drowned in beads AND the experience of someone reaching out and personally handing you something precious that will live on your mantle forever. Now that I've outgrown the irrational plastic bead lust of my childhood, I can still look forward to a weeks-long a treasure hunt on wheel.Though plenty of krewes can still be counted on to flood spectators in a deluge of beads and cups (Endymion, Bacchus, Orpheus), there are more and more opportunities for those treasured hand made signature throws. How lucky are we?

Links for further reading on this trend:
Remaking Mardi Gras
Throw Your Hands Up
Greener Mardi Gras Throws Coming to Carnival
Krewe of Freret Considering "ban" on Plastic Beads for 2014 parade

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nyx Ladies of Interest - PSA

According to their Facebook page, the Nyx "Ladies of Interest" form (which seems to be the waiting list for the waiting list) closes Monday (Feb. 23)! I signed up, how about you?

Side bar, this is how delusional I can be: I filled the form out with my full first name ("Eleanor") and after I subbmited it, I thought "Oh no, I should've used 'Nori' so they would recognize me as the Glitter Addict!" I pretty much immediately snapped out of it, but still...clearly sign fame has gone to my head.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Mardi Gras!!

If you're in New Orleans, know how much I envy you, coldness and all. We're back in Memphis, drinking our Community Coffee and reading "Mimi's First Mardi Gras" to the baby (who doesn't understand (a) the book or (b) why mommy is getting teary eyed over it). We don't usually stay in NOLA for Mardi Gras day, perferring to take our days off the week before so we can see Muses Thursday, then heading out some time after Bacchus.

So, what did I learn and what's in store? I didn't pick up quite as many tips as much as last year when my sister rode, but I wanted to do a little year in review including with tips I picked up this year. As before, I'll do a top 10 list, in no particular order:

(1) Bloomin' Deals on Freret: Run by the Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO), Bloomin' Deals thrift shop has some of the best prices for shoes and boots ($2.50/pair and $5/pair, respectively). I almost wanted to keep that a secret to minimize my competition for shoes there, but I couldn't in good conscience keep it to myself (that's how much I love you, other shoe glitterers...I hope you feel the love). My sister introduced me to Bloomin' Deals after brunch at High Hat (also recommended). Good thing too, because it looks like the Goodwill on Robert E. Lee next to Robert's ain't dere no more...

(2) Roman Candy Rum: It's the 100th Anniversary of Roman Candy (!!), and they introduced a line of rums to celebrate (watch this really sweet video about it or check out their Facebook page, but be prepared to really want some Roman Candy). Now, y'all know I love Roman Candy: I have this 2014 shoe to prove it. I was a little hesitant to get too excited, because I'd had my heart broken before by King Cake vodka (which is certainly drinkable, but not exactly the stuff of dreams). Well, I can't speak for the chocolate because I haven't had any, but the vanilla and strawberry are divine. I didn't come up with this, but need to share it: Roman Candy vanilla rum + Orange juice. It's like the tastiest creamsicle cocktail you've ever had (you're welcome). OJ is also nice with the strawberry for fruity tropical deliciousness.

(3) My fellow Glitter Addicts' growing web presence: Between Twelfth Night and Fat Tuesday, I got over 100 new Pinterest followers, suggesting a lot more people are getting interested in glittered shoes/purses/sunglasses, DIY throws and/or Muses shoes. Exciting stuff! I also finally bit the bullet and made an FAQ page this year, which at the moment only includes an answer to the question "how do you do your lettering" which I got asked a lot this year (if any other Q's become FA, I will add them there).

(4) My Top 3 Proudest Moments List Gets Revised: After the NYT wrote that you couldn't find kale in New Orleans, the first shoe I did for 2015 was a KaleGate shoe with a green leafy ruffle and the phrase "New Orleans: Proud to Kale it Home" in the style of the old Proud to Call it Home bumper sticker. In the 2015 Muses parade, there was a float about clueless transplants to NOLA, and not only was the bumper sticker on the back of the float, it was on the head dresses for that float as well!

I called up my husband to tell him marrying him had just been bumped from my top 3 proudest life moments. My list now looks like this: #1 = had a baby, #2 = got my PhD, #3 = JOKE ON A MUSES FLOAT (sorry, honey).

(5) Twelfth Night Auction: This was probably the coolest part of the 2015 Carnival Season for me: Muses auctioned off three of my shoes at their Twelfth Night event to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where I work. Twelfth Night (Jan. 6th) is actually also the birthday of Danny Thomas (the founder of SJCRH), so I'm hoping the $500 raised by the auction made a lovely birthday present. So thrilled about the money raised, and so very very grateful to the Muses for making that happen.

(6) Is that what I think it is on that sign? We were watching Muses Thursday night and I noticed a sign across the street from us had some photographs on it. Closer inspection revealed that some of the shoes on the sign were FROM THE BLOG. I felt pretty famous in a limited way. I went over to ask if I could take a picture with the sign and they very kindly (if a little confusedly) let me:

That's my Tiffany Box Shoe on the far left and my Cinderella Shoe on the far right

(7) New Women's Krewes: 2015 saw the arrival of two new women's krewes: The Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale and The Krewe of Athena. An awesome sign of the ever-increasing presence of women in Carnival. I didn't catch either, but from what I've read/seen on the web, the Mystic Krewe of Femmes Fatal's signature throw was make up compacts and the Krewe of Athena throws decorated fedoras. Can't wait to see how those develop in the coming years...

(8) Sunglasses: Speaking of other women's krewes, this year, I tried my hand at glittered sunglasses. Super fun medium to work with. I really think we're going to see the Krewe of Iris' signature handmade throw catching on in the next few years, particularly as they have a 100 year anniversary coming up. I'm making that prediction because sunglasses are wearable (which is really fun) and tie in to the krewe in a super cute way, and this year the krewe got more into publicizing them. I'm also a fan (and now proud owner) of the Iris plush King Cake baby, purple sleep mask with rhinestone sunglasses, and some beautiful hand-strung beads with shimmery iridescent purple irises on them. This was a great year for Iris: good weather, cute theme that appealed to a wide range of ages and some really spectacular throws.

(9) Show us your shoes! As usual, I spent the day after Muses checking out ebay, Facebook (where'd ya get dem Muses shoes?) and (Show us your Muses shoes) for a little vicarious shoe fun. I myself have never caught a shoe (the only shoe in my collection was a baby shoe that was gifted to me by a friend (the one who first introduced me to shoe glittering) when I got pregnant.

(10) Where'd the shoes go? Have to include a low-light of the year to go with all the highlights. Last year, La Boulangerie included porcelain shoe feves in their King Cakes and Galettes du Roi on Muses Thursday. You could only get them Muses Thursday, which meant riders couldn't get them, but the fact you could only get them for one day did add to the thrill. I got in the car to go buy as many as I could carry this year, but when I called on the way I found they weren't doing them this year. Bummer!

All in all, a pretty great year. How to top it? What's to come for 2016? It's funny, the end of each Mardi Gras feels way more like New Year's to me than New Year's. Here are my plans/"resolutions:"

- Glitter way more shoes! The new baby meant I didn't do a ton of 2015 shoe, but now I have a list a mile long of ideas for 2016. Friday I went and bought 10 pairs of shoes at Bloomin' Deals to ease the post-Muses-Thursday-slump. I've got my shoes, glitter, glue and ideas - time to get cracking!!

- I want to try to blog more now that I have a teensy bit more time. What do y'all like to see here? Links? Techniques/tips? Pictures of finished shoes? Works in progress? Let me know if you have a preference and I will try to listen...

- I need to update my list of Muses articles, as it's now woefully out of date

- I'm going to get an Instagram account and have my hipper younger sister teach me how to Instagram (and yes, I feel a billion years old typing that)

- I think I'm going to do a weekly "feature" of a sort-of homemade throws hall of fame. There are so many krewes and walking groups doing hand decorated/DIY throws now. What I'd really like to do is open a Museum of Handmade Carnival Throws, but for now I'll settle for doing it digitally!

Hope everyone had as great a Carnival season as I did with my family, and I wish you all a very happy Mardi Gras day!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas, schmistmas....THIS right here is the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone awash in glitter and getting their one-of a kind hand decorated throws ready for the crowds: shoes, purses, messages in bottles, oysters, bandoliers, sunglasses, fedoras...did I miss any? I've been loving oogling other people's throws on Instgram, Facebook and Pinterest. It's amazing how much everyone has stepped it up this year - there are so many drool worthy purses and shoes for 2015.

This was making the Facebook rounds, but thought I'd share it here as well just in case anyone missed it and because I feel duty-bound to report glitter-related news: Send People You Hate Glitter. It went viral almost immediately (now there's even a copy cat site), and then the guy wound up selling the site for $85,000. Craziness! I must note that every NOLA friend of mine who shared the link pointed out that in New Orleans we generally love glitter, so wouldn't really see it as a punishment/expression of hatred.

I also wanted to share this, which I came across on Instagram:

EDIT 02/08/15 - Float 13, not Float 10 (as I'd previously posted) (I also updated the photo)

Sounds pretty exciting....if I have time, maybe I'll make a sign with my reason why I need a shoe ("BABY'S FIRST MUSES!)  and try my luck at Float #10 Float #13. I often hear that signs are the best way to get shoes (though my sister didn't throw to people with signs in 2014, since she figures they already get a lot of attention). I also had a friend recommend bringing booze to swap for coconuts at Zulu. Anyone else got any tips to share for scoring the best throws?

Less than two weeks until Muses Thursday!!! Let that glitter fly!!