DIY // Feathers on my shoes

Here’s that DIY! A couple days ago I sat down and customized these simple nude heels from DSW to include a pearl design on the sides, a cluster of jewels on the front, and a flurry of feathers on the back. Here’s my process.

First, I attached the pearl scrapbook appliqué and placed one on the top and bottom of the shoe’s side. Because the appliqué was already sticky, I could attach it to the shoe but still move it around if I wanted. Once I had the placement correct on the shoe I reinforced it with E-6000 glue, a necessity for these kinds of projects.

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Even this shoe was so pretty as it was, but a little too bridal for this purpose. I wanted something funky.

Next I played around with a design for the front of the shoe. I clustered a couple big rhinestones together into a design I liked and placed a couple thin feathers underneath them, anchoring the feathers with glue so that they traveled up the shoe and stayed put. I also added a couple flat-back pearl stickers to the cluster of rhinestones to match the side design.

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Next I played with feathers! I upended the entire bag of feathers but ended up only using one or two. Oh, well. What I did was strip the feathers that were attached so that I could use the individual ones. I also clipped off the bottoms of many of the feathers because the bottoms tended to be too fluffy.

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See how these feathers were all attached? I unattached them and arranged each feather individually on the back of each shoe:

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I used the spotted ones as the focal point because the bridesmaid’s dress is taupe, so I think it’s the perfect match with the shoe and the dress.

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Next I added clusters of rhinestones and pearls! It’s so sparkly.

IMG_9382 IMG_9384I glued everything with my trusty E-6000, and the next day everything was hard as cement. The feathers are delicate but even if these shoes get utterly destroyed the day of the wedding, I’m still so glad I did them. It was so much fun and made my sister’s wedding a little more special.

I am also bedazzling the bride’s shoes! That DIY is coming as soon as I can finish them! She has blue suede shoes and wants an effect like icicles dripping from them…it’s coming out beautifully so far. Can’t wait to share those photos.

Chasing Inspiration

I’ve always found that reading a favorite poet or novel can seriously help with lagging inspiration. I usually turn to Rilke or Tennyson for that little oomph I need. Reading Rilke’s poems, I came across one that I hadn’t read before, one that I loved and put me in the right mood for writing:

[Dove that ventured outside]

Dove that ventured outside,      flying far from the dovecote:
housed and protected again,      one with the day, the night,
knows what serenity is,      for she has felt her wings
pass through all distance and fear      in the course of her wanderings.

The doves that remained at home,      never exposed to loss,
innocent and secure,      cannot know tenderness;
only the won-back heart      can ever be satisfied: free,
through all it has given up,      to rejoice in its mastery.

Being arches itself      over the vast abyss.
Ah the ball that we dared,      that we hurled into infinite space,
doesn’t it fill our hands      differently with its return:
heavier by the weight      of where it has been.

I’ve also always loved the idea of pulling titles from poems that have inspired and informed your writing. As NaNoWriMo winds down (as does my word count), I find that I have to push myself and find ways to give myself energy. The initial excitement has dissipated, but little things can help prolong the energy. Rilke is always one of them.

Fashion // Gravity Happens

I’m not sold on this dress. I love the style of it but I’m not crazy about the length and the fit. I got it from Sammy Dress, and the prices are so low that you definitely pay for the quality, you know? I wore the dress with my Jordan Baker necklace from Halloween and some new boots from Yesstyle:

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necklace from DSW, boots from Yesstyle, dress from Sammy Dress

DIY Preview // Bridesmaid Shoes

My sister is getting married in two weeks, and today, I’m doing a DIY project with my bridesmaid’s shoes, because of course I am.

She’s having a winterish wedding, with navy blue and taupe as her colors, and I offered to jewel her wedding shoes for her to make it look like ice crystals dripping from the front of the shoe and the back, and when I told her I’d do her shoes, I also really wanted to do my own.

We’re wearing nude heels, so I bought these dainty Barbie-like heels at DSW for $40 and then had an idea while rummaging through craft stores for jewels: feathers. I saw a bag of spotted feathers that matched both the taupe color of the dress and the nude color of the heels, so I bought a couple bags of those, plus some beautiful big rhinestones and a nude-pearl appliqué. Here are my materials:

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I’ll let you guys see the finished product when I’m done!

Book Lust: A Gory Grimm Translation

In case you didn’t know, I loooove fairy tales, always have, always will. I’m also a pretty big fan of sad, weird, twisted stories. Hey—did you know there’s a new translation of Grimms’ fairy tales out?

51lhLh5NW1LThe new collection is the first English translation of the first edition of the fairy tales, the edition the Brothers originally wrote before editing it another six times to suit a younger audience. This is the seriously gory one that’s more popular and well known in Europe, and which contributed to the reputation the Grimm Brothers enjoy of being sick, twisted storytellers. Like, did you know that the stepsisters in the original Cinderella actually cut off little pieces of their feet to make the slipper fit? Or that Rapunzel was basically raped by the Prince? Or that there is an entire story in the original edition called “The Children Play at Slaughtering”?

I have the seventh, fiercely edited collection of the stories that are popular here, but I’m so excited for this edition. It’s the first English translation, as I said, and it therefore preserves more of the oral tradition than any of the subsequent editions. It’s also gory, gross, and horrific, and therefore much more awesome.

The new translation is published by Princeton University Press and is illustrated by Andrea Dezsö. It’s so beautiful, and has me lusting hard for it. Christmas, anyone? 

Seriously, ‘Hunchback’ is nothing like the Disney movie…

…And I am loving it. As anticipated, it is taking forever to read especially because the first 50 pages or so deal a lot with minor characters, all with very French names, and the architecture of the Great Hall of the Palace of Justice. But I really should have known better, after all, I did read Les Miserables this year. I find that it’s sometimes a lot harder to read a short book than it is to read a long one. I put more effort into reading a long book because I expect to take longer to read it. I bully myself into never putting it down and sneaking a page or two whenever possible. With Hunchback, I thought, “this will be pie compared to Les Mis.” I was wrong. But I’m still very much enjoying plodding along at this sluggish pace!

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But seriously: nothing like the movie! Where are the singing gargoyles? Where is the kind-hearted Quasimodo? Why is Phoebus such a jerk? There’s no music at all?! I wonder who read Victor Hugo’s dark novel and thought “Hmm, that would make a good children’s movie.” But anyway, my favorite passage from the first section of the novel is Quasimodo’s first appearance and his crowning as the Pope of Fools. It’s chilling:

We shall not try to give the reader an idea of that tetrahedral nose, that horseshoe mouth; that little left eye obstructed with a red, bushy, bristling eyebrow, while the right eye disappeared entirely beneath an enormous wart; of those teeth in disarray, broken here and there, like the embattled parapet of a fortress; of that callous lip, upon which one of these teeth encroached, like the tusk of an elephant; of that forked chin; and above all, of the expression spread over the whole; of that mixture of malice, amazement, and sadness. Let the reader dream of this whole, if he can.

And then:

Or rather, his whole person was a grimace. A huge head, bristling with red hair; between his shoulders an enormous hump, a counterpart perceptible in front; a system of thighs and legs so strangely astray that they could touch each other only at the knees, and, viewed from the front, resembled the crescents of two scythes joined by the handles; large feet, monstrous hands; and, with all this deformity, an indescribable and redoubtable air of vigor, agility, and courage,—strange exception to the eternal rule which wills that force as well as beauty shall be the result of harmony. Such was the pope whom the fools had just chosen for themselves.

One would have pronounced him a giant who had been broken and badly put together again.

Poor Quasi! No wonder he’s given such a makeover in the kids’ movie (which, in fact, is awesome). Reading Hunchback, I’m struck again by the style of Hugo’s prose. He inserts himself into the narrative so often for dramatic effect or to belabor a political point of view. He’s more a guide than a narrator, and he leads us by the hand into this colorful, grimy, ancient world as if he knows it by its every nook and cranny.

I’m sure that in a month or two when I finally finish the book I’ll be saying that Disney completely ruined the story. Until then—

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Choies Midi Skirts

Choies is really nailing their midi skirt game. I am recently obsessed with midi skirts and disappointed with my height. I also love so many of these skirts but since it’s nearly winter weather, I know a lot of these skirts won’t work with tights. But still:

These prints are unreal. They’re so detailed and dramatic and definitely statement-making. My favorite of the bunch is that Girl Print skirt. I’m thinking of getting that for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Christmas parties. I’d like it with a pair of red heels and a cream top with a fur. Which is your favorite? Check them out here: Yellow Scenery Print skirtBlack Rose Print skirtGirl Print skirtRed Floral Linen skirtWhite Sakura skirt.