Sunday, July 22, 2012

Well Heeled


Things that are hard:

- photographing your own feet
- photographing bright red things
- riding a skateboard in heels


Things that are easy:
- snazzin' up yer shoes!


You need:
- Shoes with a hard heel (you could try it on a fabric or leathery heel but I make no promises.)
- Acrylic paint & paintbrush
- Sandpaper (somewhat optional but helpful)
- Nail polish top coat
- Masking tape (optional but a good idea.)

Sand the heels lightly to give the paint a better surface to stick to. Dust it off well, and put masking tape on if you want to use it to help contain your mess (it wouldn't stick to the main part of the shoes, here, but I put some on the sole. As you can see it's still a little sloppy around the edges, but it's not very noticable if you're not super close up (I might try and scrape it off, but I'm a little afraid of damaging the surface underneath.) Paint about a thousand coats of acrylic paint on that sucker, til it's nice and opaque -do thin, even coats, and let it dry in between. (These took me about a week of just walking by, doing a layer of paint, and wandering off again a few times a day.) When you're content with the opaquatude, do a final layer with the nail polish topcoat, to make it good and shiny and hopefully protect the paint. It probably won't last forever, but as long as you don't get them too wet and are reasonably gentle with 'em, it ought to stay on there awhile.


Take off the tape, put on your finest pajamas, and go for a ride.


(One of these days I'll do a craft that doesn't involve either shoes OR glitter. Probably.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yet more glitter shoes...

So I was touching up my shoes from last year, and I thought I'd jazz up some of my plain black flats.


Glitter + modpodge + masking tape + shoes. Hooray! These shoes are pretty bendy so we'll see how the modpodge holds up.

(Also, is it just me or is the smell of modpodge seriously nauseating? I use it outside where I use stuff like, y'know, nailpolish remover and paint, and for some reason the nontoxic modpodge is the only one that gets to me.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Steal Like An Artist


"The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from"

- David Bowie

I just read this book. It's a little gem, packed with lots of quality advice besides the titular nugget*, but it is said nugget that I want to talk about.

"What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original."
- Austin Kleon, "Steal Like An Artist"

If you ask a creative professional where they get their ideas, you'll often get a vague stock answer to the effect of "oh, you know, everywhere!" or "I don't know, they just pop into my head!"

I call bullshit. As the quote above says- we aren't working in a vacuum.

In the art and design worlds (at least, in the facets I have experience with) saying you "stole" an idea is horrifying. We're so worried about being accused of plagiarism or outright replication (things that are decidedly dishonorable) that some of us even deny being inspired by other creatives. "Oh, I never look at other people's designs, I don't want to be unconsciously influenced by them." Mmmhmm. And I'm sure you wear blinders every time you leave the house, lest you accidentally be exposed to fashion.

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole feeling which is unique, utterly different form that which it was torn."
- TS Eliot

The thing is, we do steal. We are inspired by others' works. We "unvent." Nothing is new, it's just tweaked and recombined and changed and made personal. And while I would never condone replication/counterfeiting/plagiarism, I think it's okay to admit that we do this. Heck, I have a giant folder of inspirational photos on my computer. I'm not going to dive in there and copy something outright, but I may browse through, analyze what elements attract me, pick and choose a few, and then use them in my own way to make something entirely new (and at the same time, not new at all.)

"We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can't steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that's how you will find your voice. And that's how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you."
- Francis Ford Coppola

Perhaps "borrow" would be a more polite term for this, but then, it's not really borrowing (unless, I guess, the artist you borrowed from takes from you in return, haha.) But I think it's sad that people get so scared of "ripping off" that they can't even admit to being (or in some cases let themselves be) inspired by others. You will not accidentally make a perfect replica of a thing you are looking at. People who do that are doing it on purpose (and even then will probably fall short from a "perfect" replica anyway, ha.)

“It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”
-Jean-Luc Godard

Inspiration is everywhere, it's ok to soak it in, mush it up with some other stuff, spit a little of your extra-special "you"ness on it (ok that sounds gross) and whip up your masterpiece. And hey, maybe it'll be good enough for someone else to steal.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
- Howard Aiken

*I wish that I had just won a bet by using the phrase "titular nugget" in a blog post.

Addendum: Kristen just pointed me to this awesome series by Emily Johnson about her Monami sweater, which was purposely influenced by another designer's design. If you've got any interest in this concept you'll love it (and it's an amazing sweater to boot.) Scroll to the bottom and start with post # 1 :-)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Makin' Whoopie

Well, sorta.

See, I don't usually buy Oreos, but after their little stunt the other week, I wanted to show my support so I picked up a package of Cakesters, which are basically giant cakey Oreos, ie whoopie pies. It turns out that they are delicious, and I promptly shoved all 14 of them down my gullet and wanted more. Travis assured me that we could, you know, MAKE some, and maybe leave out all those weird chemicals... and as I have an unhealthy passion for red velvet and have been collecting recipes for awhile on Pinterest, I dug up this one from Bakerella.


Super easy. More cookie than cake, unfortunately, which I would've realized if I'd READ THE NAME OF THE RECIPE ("Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies") instead of being distracted by the fact that she talks about Cakesters in the same post. But, nonetheless, delicious. For bonus points, spend a bunch of time mixing up different frosting colors while your husband does the real work. (Turns out, that's the part of baking I'm best at.)

Probably won't stop me from buying more Cakesters though. Hooray for gay-friendly cookies.


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