I had a wonderful experience last week while working with Barbara Jo, a new client who wanted me to custom paint and embellish some shoes for her. A friend had told her about Sassy Feet and she was thrilled because she has to wear very special shoes with orthotics in them to fit her delicate feet. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a lot of choice about the style of her shoes, so you can imagine her delight when she discovered what Destiny and I could do.
Barbara Jo and I had just decided that we’d keep the shoes the color they started out (black), but add some really fabulous embellishment. I’d pulled out three trays of embellishments for her to look at, some I’d purchased and some I’d created myself. She was going through the trays and picking out her favorites when I ran upstairs to get something to show her. When I came back into the studio, Barbara Jo had combined two very different embellishments and was holding them up against her shoe. They looked great! And it would never have occurred to me to combine these two pieces.
“Cool!” I said, “you just designed your own shoes!” The embellishments she chose were two pairs of sterling silver lightning bolts and a button stack I had created using a white stick pearl as a topper. I sealed the sterling silver so it would never tarnish, then stitched down the embellishments. Nice job, Barbara Jo!
The next shoes I want to share with you were painted and embellished by Lynn R. She started with a pair of yellow sandals. Lynn wrote me, “First I painted them with (Lumiere) Pewter, Pearlescent Turquoise, Pearlescent Emerald and Pearlescent White. Then I added beaded fringe, silk flowers, buttons and dragonfly charms. Like em?”
The answer was a definite yes! I especially liked the heart painted on the inner side and where she’d placed of the beaded fringe. Take a close look.
Next, I got an email from Demaris, who’s a jewelry designer, about some Xhilaration flats she found at Target. (They’re still available, just $16.99). She had bought these shoes four months earlier and finally figured out what she wanted to to do with them.
She wrote, “They started out a pewtery-goldish color, that’s still on the toe. I was going to wrap and make a bow out of this cool blue, silver and black plaid ribbon. But I just got an order of Swarovski crystals in and loved this blue, it almost matches the Pearl Blue paint. So, inspired by your “Orchid Sunset” shoes [these are flats that transition from purple through violet to burnt orange, going from heel to toe — they are in my book Sassy Feet!] and up for a challenge, here’s the outcome.
” I started out with the Pearlescent Blue at the back and did what you did by sponging varying shades of blue mixed with Pewter until I got towards the front.
“Then I realized that I had some beautiful shell buttons that that would look great too. I messed around with a few different bead mixes on top and decided on two pewter rondels and one crystal per button. Thank God I had exactly six buttons left! Can’t wait to wear them with my jeans!”
Last but WAY not least, I want to show you a pair of boots done by a most prolific DIY shoe designer, Sandy from Pennsylvania. Sandy is always sending me interesting questions and photos of what she’s been up to. Recently, she got into an online dialogue with Maria Daines, a British musician who is devoted to rescuing abused animals, and decided to create a pair of vegan “leather” boots for her. She said she especially enjoyed adding chain to the boots — she chose double chain in antique bronze, which she got from artfire.com.
Sandy wrote, “The chain is on the outside of the boot with different textures and colors of animals attached to it (silver, gold). The other animals and fire hydrant are plastic buttons that I got from Homesew.com. The feathered splashes of paint really pulled it together.
“The words ‘Shelter Me’ (on the toe) are from Maria’s CD. The printing is not perfect at all, but I wasn’t going for perfect. The back of the shoe is Metallic Bronze, the heel is Metallic Bronze and Metallic Rust, like the straps on the boot, the feathered splashes are also done in the Metallic Bronze.”
Sandy opted not to paint the whole boot because she thought it might be a hassle to paint the slouched area. I think she’s right. And I think she did a great job color-blocking the boot instead. I know Maria will be touched and delighted with this gift.
That’s it for this week. Those of you with digital cameras, keep sending me photos of your shoes and purses! I love seeing all the great ideas and color combinations you come up with. Email them to me at email@example.com.