Bit of background: I was inspired by the lovely, touching NOLA.com article Bejeweled Shoes Made With Love. If you haven't already read it, I really recommend it - it's beautiful, funny. and moving all at once. You can also see some more lovely pictures of one of these special shoes in this post on The Uptown Acorn.
My mother died a little less than 2 years ago, and I had a similar pile of not-valuable, not-that-sentimental, but can't-possibly-throw-away bits of jewelry and miscellany from my mother, her mother and her mother's mother. Crafting turns you into kind of a hoarder ("don't throw that away, I can totally glitter it and glue it on a SHOE! This necklace is broken, but maybe I can sew some of the pieces of it onto a costume!") and she had accrued an impressive little stash of earrings that had lost their mates and broken pins. After seeing the beautiful shoes in the links above, I decided to pool my little piles and make a few shoes in my mom's memory as well.
Looking at my accumulated bits and bobs, I figured I had about enough for two shoes (accounting for a little stretching with extra rhinestones, buttons and beads in my stash). I picked out two shoes with plenty of surface area and laid down a base of glitter in what was hands-down my mom's favorite color (a sort of wisteria-esque/dusty light purple) using the huge bottle of Recollections "orchid" she bought me when it went super on clearance. She was so excited she sent me a picture of the clearance sticker (we shared a love for a good bargain, especially when it came to craft supplies):
I used Martha Stewart "hematite" and "sterling" as well, because a lot of her jewelry bits were silver and had that slight antique tarnish to them, so I thought those colors would accent the shoe nicely.
Once I started laying out pieces, I found I could divide things pretty readily into more classic, traditional pieces and more wacky accessories. My mom was kinda like that - equal parts old-school Southern elegance and fun wackiness...somewhere between Steel Magnolias and the Magic School Bus (she was, among her many talents, a great teacher).
The classic Southern elegance shoe (where freshwater pearls, silver bits of jewelry, mother of pearl buttons, and stones live) is going pretty slowly, because I can't really work on it for long stretches without missing my mom especially terribly. There will be pictures of that one in progress later.
The wackier shoe went faster, since I filled in with a lot of miscellaneous stuff. I highly recommend everyone do a shoe like this - it's what knitters would call a "stash buster." All those little orphan rhinestones I couldn't throw out even though I didn't really have enough of them to do anything with - I just glued them on the boot! Crazy buttons, a broken watch, random pieces of jewelry, beads, a buckle from a shoe I cut up that I couldn't bear to throw away, charms leftover from a baby shower game I did about 5 years ago...all fodder for the boot!
I don't know about you, but we were super into the I Spy books when my sister and I were kids, and when my sister sent my son an I Spy-style Valentine's day card it clicked for me that this was shaping up to be an I SPY book, but in shoe form (more on I Spy books here and on Walter Wick's webpage).
When I figured that out, I got really crazy with stuff to add - a king cake baby, a doubloon, a bottle cap, a mustache, a tassel, a doubloon, googly eyes, fake flowers, shells, a plastic crawfish, all sorts of buttons and rhinestones. Of course you can also find MUSES mini-tiles and "2016" in numbered beads. The feathers up top are from a boa that a friend caught at the Bacchus ball - the perfect shade of gray to coordinate with the colors I picked for the boot. If I had it to do over again, I might go with brighter and/or primary colors to really get the I SPY vibe going. I tried to keep the purple theme where possible (purple doubloon, a bottle cap from a Purple Haze, etc.)
I imagine this going to a mom with a ton of kids to entertain, who can play I Spy with them for breaks between parades. If the spirit moves me, maybe I'll even write up a little list of things to look for, a la the I Spy books to include in the bag with the shoe.
|One side of the I SPY Boot - silver starfish, king cake baby, Abita beer cap, mustache, kitty cat face...|
|Back of the shoe - gold tassel, watch face, star button..,|
|Other side of the boot - MUSES tiles, doubloon, googly eyes, crawfish...|
|Front view of the boot|
|Another angle of the boot|