What week is this again?

Okay, I’ve been quite lax in keeping up on this blog this week–and there’s been so much I’ve wanted to share with you!!  I’ve been keeping incredibly busy with schoolwork (and when not doing that, going out on the town).  Last weekend, Sam and Louie took me out to an independent film afterparty (the Blackout Film Festival)–the food was great!  I was kind of disappointed I’d missed the films, as they were all responses to the current economic climate.  I heard many good things about it and look forward to perhaps finding the independent works online.

I can’t even remember much of what I’ve done since then–worked on my first collection for sketching class, done laundry, more schoolwork, school loan and accounts drama, fantasy-shopping for boots on ebay… all of it has been overshadowed by the reminder of a small obsession I acquired at eighteen on my first shopping trip to Toronto…

Cat had taken me to a store just south of TO’s Chinatown that sold mostly small designer goods and custom boots, where, incidentally, she bought me my very first designer piece–a gorgeous Diesel purse screened like an old dutch painting. I still have the purse.  Although this is not the point of my story.  There was along the wall a pair of boots that made my heart stop (this back before I cared ANYTHING AT ALL about footwear). They were a pretty, slim-fit pair of high wedge ankle boots–only they had cloven hooves at the toe box.  Be still, my beating heart!!!

They had been made in a limited edition by a custom bootmaker, and the biggest size left was an 8.5 (I remember that exactly because Cat is a 9 and they were too tight for her, too–I’ll admit, it would’ve broken my selfish heart if they had fit her and not me–I’m mature enough to admit it now).  The price tag was just under $2000, but I didn’t care (thank goodness they didn’t come in my size because I would’ve had them home without batting an eye!), I would’ve bought them anyway.  For weeks after, I obsessed over those boots and vowed that I would someday have my own pair.

Flash forward to about 3 years ago, wanting to be a circus pony for Halloween (think of the feather possibilities!), that I googled “horse costume.”  It was through an innocent google images search that I first stumbled upon “ponygirls.”  Now, if you don’t know what these are, do not, I repeat, do NOT google the term.  For the unsuspecting, it can be quite… er… surprising.  Pony people are part of a small, clandestine group of people who, shall we say, are quite enthralled with dressing up and acting like, well, ponies.  This is no innocent game of make-believe: it is a very adult sexual fetish…

And it… is… fascinating!! Grown men and women, full equine regalia!!  I tell you, those costumes are downright attractive!!  Although I’m really not interested in riding/being ridden by my mate while whinnying like a frisky filly, I love the idea of this fetish, and knew from that moment that I wouldn’t mind at least dressing up like one… for Halloween, of course.  And I also knew I could blow their existing costumes out of the water.  You think you’ve got gear?  HA!!  I’d have the best-dressed bronco in the barn!  Sadly, as so often happens, I ended up having to work a show that Halloween, and my best-laid costume aspirations fell by the wayside.

::Giggles:: Do you know where I’m going with this yet?

Carol put the bee in my bonnet with these...

Carol put the bee in my bonnet with these...

Early this week, Carol sent me a pic of an artist’s work she’d stumbled across while doing some wearable-art research–yup, you guessed it: hoofed shoes!  Now I don’t think these are actually wearable.  They’re really nowhere near as beautiful as the cloven-toed numbers I saw a decade ago. But darnit! I haven’t been able to get them out of my head all week! I’m dreaming about them, for heaven’s sake!  I’ve stayed up nights trying to find them online–I HAVE TO HAVE A PAIR OF THESE BOOTS!!!  I ended up finding teasing taglines–only to find them linked to blogs raving about “hoof” fashion boots.

These are quite lovely, to be sure, and I wouldn’t mind having a pair of them either, but I thought to myself, “Now why can’t I find some bloody HOOVES?!”

Mmm... the shape is just grand!

Mmm... the shape is just grand!

Then, I stumbled upon an enchanting blog entry singing the praises of so-and-so’s hoof boots, and how lovely they are, yada yada yada… same old, same old, but… hel-lo: end of the entry signed Mistress-somebody.  I had stumbled upon a ponygirls blog!  And they were discussing where to find the best hooves!! CRIPES!! Why hadn’t I put two and two together sooner?!!  It was brilliant in its simplicity!!  Find the most hard-core horsey-people in the world and ask them where they buy their feet!

There are no words for the sound I make when I see these boots... I'll take TWO, s'il vous plait!!

There are no words for the sound I make when I see these boots... I'll take TWO, s'il vous plait!!

Good Lord, now we’re cookin’ with gas!  Everyone had their own opinion of how they should be shod.  Among my favs were these hot numbers to the left… as you walk away (tail swishing provocatively, no doubt), you leave little horseshoe prints in the dirt!! HA!! GENIUS!! How do I love these, let me count the ways.  This is a prime example of fetish fashion going mainstream–Nina Ricci sent her models down the runway in these bad-boys a couple years ago.  Insanity.  I must have a pair!

Still, this is not what I’m looking for… what I want is a perfectly lovely, daytime pair of hooved ankle boots.  Enter youtube.com.  Somewhere somebody wanted to dress up as a faun, and abrakadabra, she made this inspiring video:


Watch it and be amazed!  What a great bloody idea!!  From a costumer’s perspective, think of all the possibilities!!  Bondo will be my new best friend!  I will take this woman’s technique and perfect it for my own needs.  In a few months time, I will have the perfect daytime hoofed wedge boot!  And it will fit me!!  The shape of the Antonio Berardi boots above, combined with the calf-hair idea of the artist’s statement shoes, plus a little tibetan lambswool, the perfect wedge base (which I’ve found on ebay), and the materials in this video all add up to one exciting craft week for me!

Would I ever wear these things out in public, you ask?  And I shall answer you…

Yes… oh yes… I will wear them every day it’s not raining…

Last night as I walked home from John H’s loft party, I stumbled across this display window from Macy’s:

Trapeze Night NYC 004

…and I took it as a sign from God.


Third week down…

As I type this, I’m hearing the lovely lilt of a bagpipe outside my window…

No, I haven’t gone crazy–there is a crazy man playing the bagpipes outside of my window.  He’s really going all-out, too, in full regalia: kilt, sporran, even those sexy knee socks and tam o’shanter!  I say, good fun!

The rest of the week has gone quite smoothly–we started to learn leather lacing in my decorative techniques class, and I’ve been drawing shoes up a storm.  I also got the last of my things moved into my dorm, which is an enormous relief.  Wednesday night I went out (no class on Thursday) for Sam’s goodbye celebration from her job (she just got hired for the best job ever at Delia’s) out in the Lower East Side at Verlaine.  It was quite lovely!  I tried a lychee martini before settling on a Vietnamese Bloody Mary as my favorite (don’t ask me exactly what was in it, but it was spicy and it was good!).  All of the vodka was organic, which made me quite happy.  We all had a rollicking-good time bashing around.

My emergency stash of craft supplies arrived in the mail, and I’m anxious to work on some designs I might be able to sell on Etsy to earn a little extra cash for incidentals.  I’d like to hone my brand-building skills on a virtual storefront–my plan is to color-coordinate everything and eventually sell enough of a medley to be like an online boutique.  Of course, that will come when I have more time to invest in the project.  For now, I’ll try to get a few headbands up in the next month and see if I can’t sell a couple before Christmas.

Finally, I decided to do something about the horrible way my skin has been treating me lately.  My face has been especially angry.  I think the city makes me break out!  So my brilliant self came to the conclusion that she needed a chemical peel.  I thought, “Well, I can’t afford one, but I’ll bet I can make one!”  I made the assumption that since vinegar is a mild acid, that it might be perfect to put on my face for a quick, exfoliating peel.  Sure enough, I did a little research online and found that chemical peels often have a base of cider vinegar.  I then looked up recipes for face peels to make at home, even though none really seemed to be anything more than hydrating masks.  I figured the basis would still be the same if I wanted to use vinegar.  I settled on making a paste out of an egg white, along with 3 teaspoons of organic cider vinegar and then just added cornstarch (about 6 teaspoons) until it looked thick enough to stick on my face.  Then I applied it with a makeup brush (***carefully avoiding my eye areas***) and waited for it to sting.

This may or may have not been a good idea.  It didn’t hurt very much at all, and I didn’t leave it on more than 10 minutes.  My skin looked pretty red after I rinsed it off, but it would’ve looked red after any chemical peel, whether I’d gotten it at the salon or doctor’s office, besides.  It’s been a little over an hour now and my skin feels pretty amazing.  The redness has almost completely disappeared, too!  I think I may be on to something… either way, I’m very proud of my cheap-ass ingenuity!

Friday Night–Week Two

Today was amazing.  I woke up exhausted (stayed up late doing homework after flying back from a one-night layover in Buffalo) and headed to school. My first class was Sketching Accessories. 

Horrific!! :(

Horrific!! 😦

Our homework had been to design 3 oxfords for 3 different customers: Victoria Gotti, Pamela Anderson and Diane Sawyer.  I’ll admit, I could’ve done a lot better had I not been so dog-tired last night.  I never realized how difficult it is to draw mid and low heels!  The results were downright shameful–my pride really dreaded the critique in class this morning.  None of them turned out really the way I wanted them to.  Add to that my bad habit of drawing everything extra tiny, and you have a recipe for disaster.  My proportions were way off, the oxfords looked like orthopaedics, and I was more than discouraged.  It was little comfort to see everyone else’s work on the board.  This isn’t Buff State anymore.  Still, I was not the only one having trouble. 

After critique, our teacher showed us a technique for sketching a proportionate sample size 7 pump.  We would be using it as a template thereafter.  Within the last 24 hours, due to this demo, my shoe-drawing skills improved exponentially.  See the before and after here:

I say now, that's more like it! :)

I say now, that's more like it! 🙂

Incredible, right?   I can’t wait to see what we learn next!

After sketching, I went to my shoe construction class to work on our first project, a thong sandal.  I had spent a good part of last weekend tooling the top portion (straps) in the shape of a peach tree (don’t ask, I just couldn’t get it out of my head and thought it would be cute if it looked like it was growing out from between my toes).  I actually ended up finishing one of them today, so that was very cool as well!

The process went a little something like this:

"I am thong parts... thong mouth... thong heart..."

"I am thong parts... thong mouth... thong heart..."

Cut out all pieces from the patterns we made, then the materials, including sole (from ultra-thick soling leather), bontex (the equivalent of crazy-heavy interfacing, for all you sewers out there–read, composite plastic), insoles (purchased from Duane Reade and cut to fit), straps, and the leather that would be closest to and touching the bottom of the foot.  The soling is cut just outside the pattern line, as we then take it to a grinder/sanding wheel and, keeping the edge perpendicular to the wheel, finish the edges of the soling to our marked pattern lines for a slick finish.


A classmate sands her sole

A classmate sands her sole

Insole to Bontex

Insole to Bontex

Stretching leather over Bontex

Stretching leather over Bontex

Pinch and cut away

Pinch and cut away

Glue the insoles to the bontex.  Glue the soft foot-touching leather to the insole side of the bondtex and stretch the edges around to the back of the bontex.  Secure it tightly, using needle nose pliers to pinch the leather at the points where it pleats, and shaving the pleats down with an X-acto to remove bulk.  Then we line up the topsole pattern with the “shoe sandwich,” and punch a hole through the place where we had marked between our toes for the thong.

Thong in place--ready to glue!

Thong in place--ready to glue!

Then, I threaded the peachtree-shaped thong through the hole and held it up to my foot to make sure it was poking through to the right length, etc, and glued all ends in place on the underside.  No sweat!  Then I took it back to the sanding machine and ground down the straps on the underside so that they were smooth and wouldn’t be able to be felt through the shoe.  Then I glued the shoe sandwich to the piece of soling that I had cut out and sanded so carefully.  Done!!  It’s crazy, right? 

Glue on the sole...



I’m glad our teacher decided to give us this project before we did the mule (our next project).  It has definitely inspired confidence for me.  After class, I walked home to the dorm, watched the latest episode of Project Runway, and passed out.  ::Laughs::  I was so tired!!  Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday–I have so much to do, but at least I can do it on my own chosen schedule.  That does not mean I will be sleeping in, thank you very much.  I hope I can get all of my work done with enough time to play a little before I fall into next week…

The wait is killing me!

::Sigh::  I finally finished catching up on the second season of True Blood and now I must wait for the final episode due out Sunday.  I’m excited and yet dreading to see it. You see, once I see it, I’ll have had my fix, but then I’ll have to wait just around 9 whole months before I can see what happens!  Which totally… SUCKS. Ha! Sorry… couldn’t help myself.

In between episodes, I’ve been furiously doing schoolwork: research, projects, and buying supplies.  May I just add that supplies are bloody expensive??  I wish that all of our teachers sectioned off the supply lists by dates, so that if you were just a little short on funds, you could buy the absolutely imperative items right away, but then acquire the others as you went along (as in, after your school loan money comes in?!  Which, by the way, is in the middle of September, long after classes have got into full swing?! WTH?!). 

I’ve never been in a situation like this before.  I hate being broke.  I hate not having a stream of income or the option to make more of one.  I’m hoping to get a hold of the wardrobe union in town and get on the call list, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath for the phone to ring anytime soon.  There have to be a million people on that list already. So phooey!!  Still, I will try…

If only I could have my supplies here with me at school… I could be casting resin and selling on Etsy.  I wouldn’t be able to do it full-tilt or anything, but it could make a dent at least.  I had to tell a previous buyer that I couldn’t do a custom order for her because I have nowhere and no way to do it here.  Grr.  I hope she thinks of me around Christmas!  Say, maybe I could send out a promotional email to all of my customers and offer them a special pre-seasonal discount… then I could make the pendants once I got home.  I’d have to cross-reference my school calendar and see if that’s reasonable…  All this scheming gives me hope, though! 🙂  And, it’s making me quite hungry…

Okay, please forgive the rant–I just had to complain a little and it made me feel better, too. 🙂

So far, I’ve begun a few projects: a pair of thong sandals for my shoe-making class, a checkbook cover for decorative leather techniques, and a few modified photos for my Adobe Photoshop class, which I spent the better part of this afternoon working on.  We’re supposed to have 10 different modified pics to show next Monday.  I’m not sure how crazy she wanted us to get, it was just to get us mildly acquainted with the interface.  However, I couldn’t stop, I was having too much fun, and I came out with this:Carrot Cadet

Hehehe!  Isn’t he cute?  I know, it needs work.  But I’m hoping my teacher can show me how to get a more similar texture between the two images…  I’d really like to master this, as I’m planning on doing a series of our pets’ portraits using this technique in full color–with my kitty as some charming young huntress, of course!  Shadow can be a funny wigged Louie XIVth or something… and the Lambs?  Well… I haven’t quite figured out what he will be…  But then I will turn them into paint-by-numbers and truly paint them onto canvas.  They will hang in my future dining room… Funny, sick or cute–any thoughts?

First Week of Classes

So much has happened in the past week–FIT called last Friday with a spot in the dorms for me. I took it. It was the logical thing to do, being right next to school, and I have to admit, it makes my life much easier so far…

I’m in a 4-person suite (2 to each bedroom). So far, my roommate hasn’t shown up yet, but the other two suitemates seem just lovely! I’ve been running around like a madwoman trying to get all kinds of dorm things together. My parents are planning to bring down the rest of my things that couldn’t fit in my suitcase on the plane. Not quite sure when that’s happening, though.

I wish I could post some pics that I’ve been taking, but until I pick up a cable, I have to use the quad computers down in the basement of our dorm. 😦 I was excited to see a cable tv hookup in my room as well as internet hookups–maybe I could find a cheap tv and watch Project Runway on that instead of waiting for it to come out online…

Hmmm… what else? I plan on doing some embroidery–maybe embroidering individual squares for cards that can be disassembled after they’re sent and saved for a quilt? I think that could be really cool… I’d like to start that now, but I have a bit of homework to do–some trending and sketches. Here we go, onward with the semester! Cheers!

Email Me at StarsAndGartersWP@gmail.com