Sunday, June 28, 2015

I'm gonna pop some tags (or whatever the shoe equivalent of that is...)

Working on lots of shoes and new techniques...should have plenty to share soon.

In the mean time, I found a new (to me) Thrift Store in Memphis, and thought I'd share my haul here. I don't imagine it means anything, since I don't know of any Muses/Nyx members here in Memphis (and if there are and you're reading this...WHY THE HECK ARE WE NOT GLITTERING TOGETHER YET?!?), but the store in question is AMVETS on Elvis Presley Blvd. If you're a Muse/Nyx Goddess passing through Memphis, first on your list should be Gus's Fried Chicken, and after lunch you should hit up this place. I didn't really have time to look through it, but they have an enormous purse selection. They aren't quite as cheap as Bloomin' Deals on Freret in NOLA, but are still quite cheap and have a huge selection. One of the perks of shoe glittering in Memphis is I'm not competing as much for the most stripper-tastic shoes.

Anyways, I first went last weekend and picked up these lovelies:

I will pretty much never pass up white shoes, because I can glitter them in pale translucent colors without the hassle of priming. I also now grab good open toe platform pumps like the two black pairs shown here because that's what I'm using for my Glittering 101 workshop. How awesomely stripper-tastic are the two pairs at the bottom? Definitely saving the red ones for something special.
When I was checking out, the cashier told me I should come back for the great big HUGE SALE they were having Sat. 06/27. She also gave me a $4 off coupon, so how could I resist? Yes, I'm that easily bought.

I went back yesterday and...bestill my heart...everything in the place was 50% off.

Little hand says it's time to rock and roll.
It was kind of a mad house (this is apparently an annual sale), but totally worth it. Behold:

I've also started keeping an eye out for big wedges like that red pair - awesome for cake shoes

These brand new still stuffed with the original tissue zebra pumps were only $4.50 a pair, so of course I bought all four pairs. They were even a teeny tiny size (5.5 or 6) which as we all know are the very best for Muses shoes.

So, a very successful pair of Thrift Store runs...and a good thing because they now recognize me (buying up two dozen stripper shoes can of course have that effect) so I'm going to have to lay low for a while.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bonus Cake Shoe WIP

It's still a work in progress, but I wanted to share one more crazy birthday cake shoe I'm working on.

A while back I got a 24 pack of "flameless LED tea lights" at Michael's because, with a 40% off coupon, it's not a terrible price for fake flame components. By now y'all must think I live at Michael's, I swear...

Anyways, after a little quality time with the soldering iron and some extra components from RadioShack, the fake tealights have successfully been converted into fake birthday cake candles!!

The six candles were glued into a "standard" cake shoe, and all the wiring secured and covered with plenty of fake frosting. Because I think a Muses shoe should have a longer lifetime than the average Carnival throw, the lights are rigged up with a switch (discretely hidden in the icing) and the battery housing in held in place with white velcro and has some extra slack in the wiring so it can be relatively easily removed when new batteries are needed.

Not quite done, still needs some embellishment, glitter and glittering. If the color scheme rings a bell, it's because I've been trying to frost the cake to match the Gambino's Bakery sign.

Isn't it going to be fab?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cake Shoes - Great Big Enormous Tutorial Post!

After the workshop today, I was inspired to push through and finish this tutorial up. A lot of what's described here will be easier to show versus tell = we're still working on the video, I'll share here as soon as it's ready.

As I described in this post, I had a number of sources of inspiration for these shoes, especially Shoe Bakery and great Muses shoes like this one.

  • Shoe(s) 
  • Hot glue gun and sticks 
  • Silicone caulk for the frosting
  • Glitter
  • Mod Podge
  • Cake Scented Oil
  • Sponge
  • Embellishments   

STEP 1 - Adding "Cake" to the Shoe

I've bought sponges from a few different sources, including this sponge on Amazon. I don't think it matters too much what you use, so long as the holes aren't too big or too small (obviously you want it to look like cake porosity-wise):

The first step is to cut your sponge into nice thin slices. You may want to let the sponge dry out a little to make it easier to cut, whatever you find easiest. It's ok if they aren't all perfectly even, just try to get them as thin and even as you can. It helps if the knife is very sharp but please, please be careful!

Sponge cut into slices (and some extra bits)
Shoe-wise, you'll want either a chunky heel or a wedge. The bigger the better - this gives you a lot of surface area to work with, especially if you're planning to do a cake with a lot of layers like a rainbow or doberge cake.

I like to hot glue sponge onto the sole first, then move onto the layers moving from the bottom up. Cut the sponge into strips of the desired thickness, and then attach to the shoe with hot glue. You'll probably need to glue strips together, as the sponge won't reach all the way around in some places. Don't worry - a lot of the join gets covered by glittering.

This was the first one I did, so I hadn't get figured out to put sponge on the sole before doing the layers, but other than that this shows the layers (pre-glitter, pre-frosting) pretty nicely

Next up, glitter the cake. It's tempting to start frosting right away so you can see the transformation, but it'll be easier and yield a cleaner final product if you glitter the cake now and add the frosting when that's done.

If you glitter the cake before you add frosting, it's ok to color outside the lines a little bit, since it's going to be covered with frosting anyways. I've tried both ways, and I find this a lot easier than trying to keep the lines clean after everything's been added.
For cake shoes, I like to use a translucent iridescent glitter. My personal favorite for this application is Martha Stewart iridescent which I usually "cut" with some crystal glitter (I like Crafter's Choice for this, though ArtMinds stackable is probably the cheapest option). Adding the extra crystal glitter makes the color a little paler and more cake-like, and has the added bonus of stretching the pricey stuff a little further.  I usually get an iridescent 12 pack when I have a 40% off coupon to burn at Michael's or when Martha Stewart craft supplies are on sale (admittedly pretty rare). The little 0.37 ounce bottles aren't a lot to work with, but you can stretch it with a cheaper crystal glitter or pool multiple bottles. I also have a few of the bigger 1.5 ounce bottles in a few colors, but be warned - they are pricey. I want to say $6 for a 1.5 ounce bottle (well above my usual $2/ounce cut-off), but I use coupons religiously and they really are very pretty. That's actually not a bad price for the 12 pack on Amazon right now ($12.50 for a 12 pack, so ~ $3/ounce). As always, shop around and compare prices, prices can fluctuate.

12 pack of iridescent glitter on Amazon
As long as it's translucent rather than opaque, you can sub in whatever glitter brand your heart belongs to.Recollections and WOW! have some good translucent colors to work with, and I also recently bought 1 lb each of of orange and pink from Gary's for just a little over $1/ounce (on sale right now for half that!!) that should work as well:
My haul from my last trip to Gary's - note the ONE POUND bottles of pink and orange translucent glitter.
As a little bonus, on these shoes I'm mixing scented oils used for candle making into the glue. That's right: these not only look like cakes, they smell like them too! Scratch n' sniff Muses Shoes - you heard it here first. I will admit, this is maybe a little nuts (even for me), and I might be taking it too far, but it's my first year riding - the shoes need to be special!! I have used vanilla oil from Michael's, and this Birthday cake oil I bought online (wholesalesuppliesplus). Both smell quite delicious. Wholesale Supplies Plus has a huge selection of scented oils - I know we all already put a lot of money into Muses shoes, so there's no need to overdo it, but you could really go wild with "scratch n' sniff" concept - a coconut scented shoe with a beach theme and seashells, a floral scented shoe with fake flowers, a peppermint/Christmassy scented Mr. Bingle many possibilities!

Until June 30 the birthday cake oil is 15% off (not a huge discount, but every little bit counts). You only need a little bit to scent your glue, but the more you buy the cheaper it is per ounce, so maybe consider splitting an order with some other crafters?

I started these early so I could check how long the scent lasts, but I am planning of saving enough glitter for each shoe to add a fresh coat with the scented oil-spiked` glue to the sole of each right before the ride for absolute maximum scented deliciousness. Depending on how far ahead of time you make your shoes, you might consider this option.

Here are some shoes where the cake has been added and glittered, but nothing else has been added yet:

Rainbow cake after glittering the cake layers

Doberge cake after glittering the cake layers

STEP 2 - Adding Base Frosting to the Shoe

I use DAP Silicone Caulk (which as I've mentioned was inspired with the DIY Cake Postcard Tutorial), which you can purchase at Home Depot, or order online. I got mine from Amazon for $2.28 per tube here. It comes in different colors, but for some reason the white is cheaper than the others. Most of the time I'll use white with a little paint mixed in, but after some trial and error, I've come to the conclusion that for chocolate frosting you probably want to spend the extra couple of bucks for the brown caulk.

DAP Silicone Caulk at Home Depot
The real trick with working with caulk for crafting is getting it out of the tube and into a piping bag.
My trick for this is to squeeze near the bottom of the tube pressing the bottom cap until it pops out. This may be easier to see on the video, but here are some pictures:

After I get the end cap out of the bottom of the caulk, I transfer to a cup to mix or directly into a piping bag if I'm not tinting it. I have a butter knife that I've just sacrificed to be for crafting only (a plastic disposable knife is too flimsy). I tint the frosting with Tulip or another fabric paint, then mix with disposable chopsticks or another similar tool.

Once the "frosting" is mixed, I transfer to a Ziploc bag (again, with the butter knife). If I'm doing the base layer of frosting, I just snip the end off. If I'm doing fancier edging or lettering I have a pastry tip already in the bag before I add the frosting (I often secure it with a bit of tape because the caulk is pretty thick). As long as its protected from air, the caulk will stay soft/pliable, so you can put the cup of frosting in a sealed ziploc bags and have it remain "fresh." You can also put piping bags inside a Ziploc bag to save it for touch-ups later (that way you don't have to try and re-mix a matching frosting color later on). I don't know for sure how long it'll last like this, but definitely at least a week.

I've had success with pastel frosting, but less so with dark ones like chocolate. I've tried a couple approaches to mix frosting that looks chocolate, but I'd recommend you just go ahead and use the brown silicone caulk from the get go instead and don't add any additional glitter on top of it, as shown here on the Oreo Chocolate shoe:

For the base frosting, I simply cover the shoe, piping from the bag then smoothing it out a bit with a knife or (since this isn't actually edible) my gloved fingers. I let that dry, then add glue and glitter. The caulk isn't quite sticky enough to hold the glitter, so you want to wait for it to dry and use glue. I usually do the frosting between layers and the base frosting at the same time/using the same color. A nice small opening in the bag helps keep the frosting between the cake layers.

Shoe with its base frosting done and ready to be glittered

Once the base frosting is dried and glittered, I add decorative edging frosting along the edges and add some flourishes as desired. There are lots of great video tutorials on decorative piping on YouTube. I watched a bunch, then just started playing around and experimenting. The piping is easy to wipe off if you make a mistake, or if you don't want to pipe directly onto the shoe right away, you can use a modified version of the transfer technique: pipe onto a plastic bag, then peel and glue the dried frosting onto the shoe like any other trim.

And now, a word about other frosting options. I really, really love the silicon caulk, but I did want to mention a few alternatives because everyone is different. I saw this product on my most recent trip to Michael's. And I looked it up Amazon: MOD PODGE Collage Clay

It comes in two colors, strawberry pink and vanilla. If my math is right, you get 11 fl. oz of silicon caulk for $2.28 versus 4.23 ounces of Mod Podge Collage Clay for $9.99 ($7.91 on Amazon, $5.99 if you used a 40% off coupon) the silicon caulk is about TEN TIMES cheaper! Granted, I haven't tried the collage clay (and don't honestly plan to), so who knows, maybe it's better, but I have a hard time believing it's that much better. I did watch this video on tips for using Collage Clay, and while it seems more versatile that silicone caulk, I stand by my assessment when it comes to frosting fake cake shoes. In a similar vein, there's the slightly cheaper Whipple Decorating Creme. Again, I think silicone caulk is more cost efficient.

Martha Stewart has a DIY tutorial for the cute cake box wedding favors, and for that they use a Japanese product for making fake whipped cream called Fando Whip Type Clay, which looks pretty good but seems a little tough to find (seems like you have to order it fom Japan).

There are a lot of other excellent  fake cake tutorials out there with recipes for fake frosting, so you may well find something that works even better for you than the silicone caulk. I'm going to experiment with lightweight spackle next, as I'm hoping to get a lighter more whipped texture to play with for when I want a whipped cream effect. I will of course update here as I try new things.

STEP 3 - Decorative Frosting and Other Finishing Touches

I've been practicing piping roses, but confess to being a total cheater when it comes to the roses on my shoe, using these foam roses from Once covered with glitter and accompanied with some fake frosting leaves (made with the special leaf piping tip and some pale green tinted frosting), they look marvelous:

For candles, I use the striped paper straws that are so popular now. I found mine at Michael's, but you can also get the from Amazon. I add little fake yellow glittered flames to each, which I make from cut up silk flower petals.

Mixing a little chunky glitter in with fine pale yellow glitter results in a Funtetti effect. I used about five shades of chunky glitter, but only the blue and pink really show:

The Martha Stewart cake box favors DIY I linked above uses more realistic fake cherries (I use glittered foam spheres that Michael's carries from time to time as vase filler), which is definitely a cool effect, if a little pricier (about $1 each per cherry, plus shipping). You could use either bing or maraschino cherries. Here's another fake food supplier (there are many) that has bags of 48 bing cherries for $13 (plus whatever shipping costs).

For the oreo on the cake, I used a silicone mold to make cookies out of black polymer clay and piped a little white silicon caulk between them. The first couple of cookies came out a little imperfect, so I crumbled them up to stick in the icing. I've been making other fake candy out of polymer clay to decorate cakes and loving the results (next I need to make some false pecans for some Southern cakes).

I also made some fake "2016" candles using translucent polymer clay with floss for the wicks (seen above on the yellow and pink Funfetti cake).

Martha Stewart and Recollections both make microbeads (Martha Stewart here, Recollections here), which I'm planning to try something like that out as fake sprinkles. There are also microbead mixes on etsy and you can also make sprinkles like these from polymer clay. Plenty more to experiment with!!

I will continue to update this tutorial as I learn new things, but that's more or less everything I've worked out so far! If you have any questions, definitely drop me a comment, and if you figure out any tips and tricks for cake shoes I would of course love to hear them!!!

Had my glittering workshop today.

Well.....That. Was. Amazing.

For once I'm at a loss for words for how much fun I had glittering shoes.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Jazz Fest Skywriting Shoe - 2016 Muses Shoe

During the second week of Jazz Fest (I went the first week and missed shoe glittering - cue sad face), my Facebook and Instagram feed were full of pictures of the lovely blue sky and the various inspirational words that were mysteriously appearing for the fest-goers' viewing pleasure.

Here are some links for more reading on the subject:

This inspired me to do a skywriting shoe for 2016. For the sky blue, I used Martha Stewart "crystal mint" (which is, I think, a fairly new shade and would be superb for a Tiffany shoe). I don't usually use this much Martha Stewart iridescent glitter on a shoe since it's so pricey, but it was such a pretty sky blue, it was too perfect not to use.

To carry on the cloud theme, the heel and sole are silver (as in every cloud has a silver lining). The shoe is trimmed with silver sequin trim around the bottom and fluffy white marabou with silver tinsel that was in my stash. The cloud writing is iridescent white Scribbles 3D paint ("white mist," which is always out of stock in Memphis, but I scored at Joann's in NOLA at their Memorial Day sale) with white glitter over it.

If I had it to do over (and I may do more because I think it's a cute theme), I would use the sky blue glitter I bought at Gary's instead ($8.50/lb pretty much kicks the Martha Stewart glitter's butt all the way around the block) and I wouldn't put white glitter over the iridescent paint of the writing (it didn't add much sparkle to the shoe overall, and I think the plain paint looked more cloud-like).

Another one down, with 240 days to go!

Tally so far:
- Cake Shoes (six total)
- Storyville Whale Shoe
- I SPY Boot
- Skywriting Shoe
= 9 done, plus some secret ones I can't share yet

Edited to add (06/19/2015): Before I chuck it, here's my "master list" if anyone wants it:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy June!
The struggle is real!

Also, I know I just raised the "glitter sale" alarm, but the Halloween 4-pack is 30% off (if you're on the mailing list, you can get a code for free shopping on orders $50 or more)

Gary's is probably still the better deal, but I love OT green and purple, so wanted to share that info.

Monday, June 1, 2015

In other news...

I haven't had new shoes to post (and have fallen way behind on Handmade Hall of Fame Mondays), because I've been getting ready for the workshop June 13 and getting so very very excited!!!
Shoes in various stages of completion
Getting everything organized! The pink folders are going to hold a bunch of write ups: step by step instructions with photos, tips & tricks, resources
Boxing up glitter
Oyster shells and pretty king cake babies all in a row...that's how my garden grows.

We are going to have so much sparkly fun!

Opinions wanted!

I'm trying to pick a submission for the contest to pick shoes that will appear on the 2016 shoe photo beads. If you don't know the beads I'm talking about, here they are in a screencap from the Muses Facebook page:

I have to pick just one shoe to submit, so I have to make my selection count! The pictures on the beads aren't huge, so I tried to narrow it down to shoes that don't have a lot of tiny detail. After posting some candidates on IG and getting opinions from immediate family, I've pretty much got it narrowed down to these two: The Artichoke Shoe and The Vintage Mardi Gras Queen Shoe.

If you have an opinion between these two (or a third option - write in votes are totally allowed!) I'd be very grateful to hear it in the comments. Thanks in advance!!