Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tiffany Blue Glitter Shoes - Updated for 2016!

Giving up glittering for lent will *fingers crossed* hopefully mean catching up on blogging. So here goes!

In 2014, I did a Tiffany Box Shoe and shared my thoughts/research/insanity on how best to match that iconic shade (at the time, I went with Recollections "frost" blended with Martha Stewart "wintermint") and a recent chat with a fellow shoe-glitter-enthusiast reminded me I've been meaning to write an updated post!

Tiffany Box is a fairly common theme for Muses shoe glitterers - like ruby slippers and Cinderella shoes, it's just one of those themes we all love to put our own unique spin on (full disclosure: I was not the first). Tiffany blue and black are also the official krewe colors of the newest arrival on the Carnival scene, the Krewe of Pandora (their signature throw is a hand decorated glittered box). So maybe some Pandora ladies will find their way here and find this info useful! Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about with all this "krewe" and "signature throw" talk, but want to DIY some Tiffany blue shoes for your wedding day - I got your back.

My glitter collection has grown a lot since 2014, including a new shade introduced by Martha Stewart called "crystal mint," which is pretty damned near perfectly matched to Tiffany blue (probably not a coincidence based on the sheer volume of Tiffany blue that appears in wedding boards on Pinterest). So while I stand by my blending on Tiffany Box Shoe version 1.0, it was time to revisit the concept. I pulled some "top contenders" for the closest mix-free match to Tiffany blue (including the two I'd mixed previously and a Tiffany & Co. bag for comparison) and put it up to a vote over on my Instagram account:

#1 is Martha Stewart "wintermint," #2 is Recollections "frost," #3 is Martha Stewart "crystal mint" and #4 is ultra fine glitter from Joann's in "Caribbean blue"

Popular opinion (and I happen to agree) was that #3 was the closest match to Tiffany blue. So there you have it - just make sure (as always with an iridescent sheer glitter) you're layering over a similar pale blue or white so the underlying shoe color doesn't bleed through (I would prime with white spray paint first, personally or start with a white shoe or purse). I should also note that Martha Stewart "crystal mint" is what GlitterBuzzNola used for her Tiffany shoe, and you can see for yourself how lovely it turned out. I buy Martha Stewart glitter at Michael's (usually using a 40% off coupon), you can buy it online here. Note that there isn't any "crystal mint" in the 12-pack, so you're looking at getting one of the 1.5 oz bottles (which is about the right amount for covering one average sized shoe).

I can't just leave it at that though, as Martha Stewart iridescent glitter is on the higher end of the price per ounce scale. Martha Stewart iridescent glitter is $5.99 for a 1.5 ounce bottle at Michael's, so $4/ounce if you're buying full price, a somewhat more reasonable $2.40/ounce if you use a 40% off coupon.

The #4 option shown, Extra Fine Glitter from Joann's is a bit cheaper: $4.49 for 2 ounces, so $2.25/ounce regular price and $1.35/ounce with a 40% off coupon (though honestly I tend to use my coupons at Joann's on trim, as I think that gives me more bang for my buck, so I'd probably be getting this on a 20% off entire purchase coupon day instead)

If all that math isn't really your thing and you just want to make a decision based on color/prettiness, here are some pictures to help with that:

Tiffnay bag for comparison plus glitter samples (essentially what I posted on IG but no filter)

Samples of (left to right) MS "wintermint," Recollections "frost," MS "crystal mint" and Joann's fine glitter "Caribbean blue" with flash
Tiffany bag on the far left for comparison, and full bottles of glitter with samples of each. The big jar on the far right and the sample below the others is Gary's glitter by the pound which wasn't in the original voting block.
Same, but with flash

So, what I'm doing on my Tiffany Box 2.0 (I'm doing some riffs on the box wedge approach I did for my Chocolate Box shoe, including a Tiffany box filled with jewels), is two coats of the cheaper Joann's and a third exterior coat of "crystal mint" so I can use the pricier stuff in moderation and save it for another shoe (maybe another Tiffany shoe or two or three, who knows?) I'm planning a Disney themed challenge for myself this year, and I imagine it'll come in handy there.

Here's my Tiffany Box after the first two coats of Joann's "Caribbean blue," I will update when the shoe is finished:

I also must add that Gary's makes a powdery blue that I straight up fell in love with this year. Gary's is one of the best prices around ($8.50 per pound the last time I was in there) and who doesn't love to buy local? It's just a hair too pale to be a 100% perfect match for Tiffany blue, but it's pretty close and so so much cheaper than Martha Stewart. When I posted this shoe I was fiddling with over on Instagram, I actually got comments that it looked I was doing a Tiffany shoe!

So, I would definitely recommend a trip to Gary's, especially if you had a ton of boxes to the very least you could give yourself a break by doing 1-2 coats of that, then following up with a coat of one of the pricier glitters if your heart was really set on one of them.

Ribbon-wise, I used an actual Tiffany box ribbon on the first shoe, but for this one I'm using double-faced white satin ribbon. I buy a ton of stuff from (including the plastic gift bags I use for my shoes and sequin trim), and I've liked everything I've bought from them. And no I don't get anything for saying that (don't I wish!) Their double faced real satin ribbon is luxury on a spool. Sidebar: they also sell glitter by the pound and in little 1 ounce's a little less fine/chunkier than Martha Stewart, Recolllections or Gary's, but still workable (what it lacks in fineness it makes up for in brightness). Explore the site a little, and if you're ordering anything get yourself a few of the 1 ounce tubes to check out/play with if you're curious and get a spool or two of sequin trim from them (you have to pay for shipping, but the cheapness of the sequin trim is worth it).

Sooooo that's everything I've got on Tiffany Box glittering...anyone got any other tips? Leave 'em in the comments pretty please!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Carnival 2016 Recap

Hello hello! I've been away for quite a while, due to a combination of business with shoes (this year my sister and I both rode and I started having workshops, but more on that later), business with my son (growing like a weed, and getting extremely mobile and exploratory) and attempts to guard the secrecy of the theme (I did a ton of "Sweet Sixteen" shoes and couldn't trust myself to walk the line).

On the bright side, if you've missed me I'll be back more the next few months - I am giving up glitter for lent so I can catch up on blogging and organize my space (it got way out of hand). So, while I'm sorry I wasn't here for you when you, you know, actually wanted to read about glittering shoes, I do have lots of tips and tricks and eye candy to share for the people crazy enough to start thinking about Carnival 2017 early.

But with the 2016 Mardi Gras season past (sad face), I am reflecting on the past year and ready to post my "Top 10" highlights of the past year's shoe making (my 2015 recap can be found here and my 2014 recap can be found here).


People are often surprised by the fact that I don't ride and am not even a member of Muses, which makes sense because honestly, what kind of nut jar would be so obsessed with a group they aren't even a member of?

For those who don't know, I started making shoes in 2012 (this was my 5th year of making shoes) when some good family friends started riding and we all stumbled through the process together. Not to sound all "in my day we walked 5 miles uphill both ways in the snow" but there wasn't nearly as much guidance available back then, so we did a lot of trial and error that first year. It was chaotic and more experiments failed than succeeded, but I remember it really fondly - we made a total mess of my mom's dining room, but we had fun and spent time together and that's what it's really about, right? Anyways, we're now all glitter addicted, and I starting blogging to keep track of tips and ideas, but I had never ridden. UNTIL THIS YEAR.

Our friends let my sister and I sub in for them (a gift the magnitude of which is difficult to even wrap one's head around) and it was indescribably amazing. Words can't do it justice. I cannot wait to ride again.
Do I look excited, or what? I started making this face when we loaded in (it was "really real" at that point) and pretty much didn't stop making it until I passed out from exhaustion post-ride. I was so, so psyched.

See what I mean about the excited expression being permanently pasted to my face throughout the process? Sister friend was a more seasoned professional when it came to riding, and thus more chillaxed than newbie me. 
Posing at the pre-pre-party, getting psyched for the ride.

I loved the color of this wig, I seriously no joke want to dye my hair this color.
Riding did give me some new insights....I learned a lot about shoe strategy that I couldn't possibly have picked up any other way but first hand (I will share my thoughts on that here in greater length in the near future....)

The other huge "development" in my glitter shoeing this year was that I started holding workshops to hang out with like-minded glitter addicts, share tips in person and generally offer more comprehensive hands-on training than I can provide in blog format. I'm definitely still optimizing, but every single one I held was really fun and I absolutely fell in love with glittering socially. Feedback has been positive, everyone seems to be glad they took the workshops and, regardless of experience level, picked up something new. Pictures of the one workshop that luckily happened to correspond with a professional photographer ringer being in town are here.

 Demand has been crazy, so there will definitely be more workshops in the Spring and onward (maybe even the summer if I can find an indoor space). If you aren't following me on Instagram (glitter_addict_nola), just a heads-up that I post over there more often than I post here (it's just easier now that I have a little one), but I will try to announce workshops in both spots.

3) Meet ups!
Partly due to workshops, partly due to riding, and partly due to really wanting to meet some of the amazing artists I'd been stalking online, I started having digital-glitter-penpals and, better still, meeting other glitterers in person. I've generally been super awkward at pretty much every turn (Me: *spaz spaz spaz* ILOVEYOURSHOES *spaz spaz*), but my embarrassment has been totally worth finding my Sole Sisters. So I definitely look at 2016 as the year I made some glitter friends IRL (as the kids say). This is probably also motivated by the fact that we're moving home this summer, so being part of a community of glitterers is finally a realistic goal (I love Memphis, but nobody does glitter like New Orleaneans).

4) Sweet 16 Themed Shoes
I was so excited about this year's theme I wound up doing a bunch of "sweet" shoes, including the Cake Shoes. It was fun to do something a little different than I usually do, and I learned a lot of new techniques and tricks in the process, all of which I can't wait to share here (just because the "Sweet 16" is passed doesn't mean gummy bears and snowballs won't continue to look adorable on shoes).  I was delighted to see a few other Muses took a swing at some cake shoes. I think it's great fun to try something new, because once you push out of your comfort zone you get to add all those new tricks to your crafter's toolkit.  I got much more comfortable with craft foam, resin, fake frosting, and polymer clay this year, and I'm confident those are materials that will show up again and again in my throws. Mad scientist experimentation for the win!

Sneak peak of upcoming "sweet" techniques I'll be talking about here in the coming month:

Resin embellishments! 
Polymer clay treats!

Baby snoballs!
I will say that while I really loved doing theme shoes (apart from the candy craving that took hold of me and never let up...), for 2017 I'm looking forward to getting back to my "roots," i.e. shoes that embody my love of New Orleans culture. I think that's what people get most excited for (both blog readers looking for inspiration and parade goers hoping to catch shoes), and as an added bonus doing non-thematic shoes means I don't have to worry about what to share and what to keep secret.

5) Constraint leads to creativity
I've always felt this was true on a vague/abstract level, but this year really brought that message home for me. Challenging myself to find ways to translate cakes, cookies, candy, etc. into shoes forced me to teach myself a bunch of new techniques and experiment with new materials. I also had a month where I didn't let myself start any new shoes, which made me finish up a bunch of halfway done ones that were languishing on my glitterage shelves and I felt super productive at the end of the month (I sometimes have focus problems - a new idea pops into my head and I want to make it RIGHT NOW, even though I have other unfinished works in progress). I've been brainstorming some mini-challenges, I think that's going to be great fun.

6) First ever video blog!
After putting together the written tutorial for cake shoes, I felt like a lot of the steps were way easier to show rather than tell. My husband's pretty tech-savvy when it comes to video editing, so we strapped the new baby to his chest and went for it. I'm really happy with it - usually I'm so picky about projects like that, but with the baby we kind of had to just slap it together and not be too hard on ourselves, and I think that was good for me. More videos are in the works/planning phase - next up is hopefully a video on the Transfer Technique!

7) The Flamingos
I must've done something great in a past life, because not only did I get to ride this year, I got to ride with the hands-down funnest chicks in all of Carnival - the Muses Flamingos. There was an article in about the Flamingos pre-pre-party that gives you an idea of how fun they are, and you can check out their Facebook page here. These ladies were lovely, clever, creative, fabulous and so warm and welcoming to my sister and I - everything you'd think of when you'd think of the Krewe of Muses! In December I also did a Flamingos-only workshop (for 18 women!!), and had a great time creating shoes with the "flock." I'm obviously biased, but the fact that they organized a special glitter workshop for the float is just one example of how awesome the Flamingo LTs are. I couldn't ask for a better group to ride with, but now I'm spoiled!!

8) Glitter Addict Shoes in the Newses
It's always thrilling to see one of my shoes somewhere other than my blog or Pinterest (don't get me wrong though, I love Pinterest), and this year I had a few shoes find their way into the media. My Lucky Dog shoe was in the Advocate and the shoe I did based on our float theme (Sweet Charity, skewering Irvin Mayfield) was up on in an article about the Flamingo pre-pre-party. Camellia Red Beans shared my red beans & rice wedge.

Muses Shoes in general got a lot of love this year, most notably Bette Middler sharing Cari R.'s peacock shoe from the Treo exhibit. Glitterers, the eyes of the world are upon us! Local businesses started really showcasing the customized handmade shoes Muses Goddesses granted them like the treasures they are - Sucre shared a really beautiful Sucre-themed shoe they received, and Dirty Coast shared their "Throw Like a Girl" Gator Slipper (not to name drop, but I totally know that shoe glitterer). Happy were they whom the Muses loved this year!

9) The Treo Show
People are always commenting "that's really a work of art!" on Facebook/IG/Pinterest posts of fabulous Muses shoes or Nyx purses. This year (in what will surely go down as one of the greatest ideas of all time), the cocktail/small plates-art gallery combo Treo hosted a show of handmade glittered throws, Mardi Gras Haute Couture: A Joint Nyx and Muses Art Show. Shoes and purses can be purchased, with the proceeds benefiting the respective organizations' charities. It runs until the end of February (02/27), so if check it out!

I have a shoe in the show, the Mr. Okra Shoe (you can see a much better picture in this article, "The Journey of the Muses Shoe"). I also have some shoes headed to an exhibit in Canada, so I'm definitely going to be walking around calling myself an "artiste" for quite some time.

10) Holy crap, glitterers of Carnival, y'all are more amazing than ever (yeah, I don't have an articulate heading for this one)
Every year I remark on how the online glittering community has grown and gotten more impressive, creative and fabulous. This year was no exception. This year's everyone's shoes managed to jump an energy level, surpassing anything I've seen previously. I will share links here soon so y'all can be similarly inspired, I promise. 2017 is going to be the best year yet for glitter.

Only 376 DAYS until MUSES 2017!!