tutorial

Bringing Back “Coupon Busters” One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time

bringing back coupon busters, one pair of shoeclips at a time, the artyologist

In one of the later season’s of Foyle’s War, (a British crime drama set in the 1940’s, which I highly recommend, by the way, if you enjoy murder mysteries and period wartime dramas) there was an episode where the character of Sam is seen discussing shoes with a coworker. Her coworker had recently purchased a pair of “coupon busters”, which were an ingenious pair of shoes that came with detachable heel covers and shoe clips. The heels and clips could transform the single pair of shoes into three different pairs, simply by removing the sensibly shaped heel cover, which made the shoe appropriate for office wear, to reveal the more sensuously curved heel which was perfect for evening. Adding a shoe clip to the toe created yet another fashionable look.

I don’t know if coupon busters were a real invention in wartime Britain, as a way for women to stretch their rationing coupons, allowing them to purchase one pair of shoes, instead of three separate pairs, or not. I couldn’t find any information about them at all. I think that coupon busters are rather a clever idea though, and it really is too bad that they are not being made today. Even though we don’t have to worry about rationing coupons today, I would love to be able to transform one pair of shoes into three, wouldn’t you?

Although a manufactured shoe like this is not readily available, there is, however, an easy way to transform the look of your shoes, and that is by wearing shoe clips. Shoe clips are one of those accessories that have wavered in and out of fashion throughout the years. Shoe buckles were very popular in the 18th century, not just for function, but fashion as well. In the 1950’s shoe clips rose in popularity with the invention of proper shoe clip hardware. My mom had shoe clips in the 1980’s, and I remember a few years ago they were a trend again. However, they are not a common thing to see for the most part. I really don’t know why, as they are so fun and versatile, and can transform your shoes into a completely new look. I personally think they make your shoes look like “princess shoes”- don’t princesses always seem to have big bows and what-have-you on the toes of their shoes?

I have been wanting to find shoe clips for years, at least five years now, as I got these coral flower decorations with the express intent of attaching them to shoe clips. However, apparently shoe clip hardware is an impossible thing to want, and I could never find any for sale. I put the flowers aside and forgot about them, until recently, when I found them again in my craft stash, and got the idea to look online to see if shoe clip hardware was available. Sure enough, on Amazon I found a pack of ten pairs of clips! Score! I immediately pulled out the flowers, and set to work creating several different pairs of shoe clips. I mean, I do have ten sets of clips now, so I can make a lot of pairs of shoe clips. At this rate, I’ll never have to wear the same pair of shoes again! 😉

I thought that since shoe clips are such a versatile accessory to change up the look of your shoe, I would demonstrate with two pairs of shoes. Shoe clips work best on open, classic style shoes that don’t already have too many details, straps or embellishments, and they work equally well on heeled or flat shoes. Here you can see how shoe clips transform the look of the shoes and lend themselves well to any occasion.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, Navy shoes, no clips

First up are these navy peep toe pumps. I wear these shoes a lot as navy is such a versatile colour, and this pair is so comfortable. They are a plain and serviceable shoe, so you’ll see how much they change just by adding some clips.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, Navy pumps- princess pompoms, the artyologist

Round pom-pom flowers turn these into statement shoes. These are Cinderella shoes for sure- don’t they look like something the Disney princess would wear?

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, Navy pumps, sparkly brown clips, the artyologist

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, Navy pumps, green clip ons, the artyologist

Did you know you can also use clip-on earrings as shoe clips? You have to be careful with which ones you use- I have some pairs which have too weak of a clasp, or come up too high above the edge of the shoe, but some pairs clip on rather nicely to add some sparkle. Both of these, the brown and the green are clip-on earrings I seldom wear, but I think they work rather nicely to dress up the shoes. Clip-on earrings are also much easier to find than proper shoe clips.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, navy silver clips, the artyologist

These are true shoe clips which I found at an antique sale. They add just the right amount of sweetness, sparkle and vintage flair. Vintage stores and sales can be a good place to look to find real shoe clips.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black no clips

Now here are my black pumps: they have a band across the toe which has sparkly gems on it, but you’ll see that they still work rather well with shoe clips, because of the open shape of the shoe.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black, coral clips

Here are the coral coloured flowers. I absolutely love the shape of these as they are very “princessey” too. Unfortunately I have very few clothes that go well with the colour, so that is definitely something I’ll have to change!

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black bows

I think that bows work really well for a vintage look. Bows were a very popular shoe decoration in the 1940’s, and they have a very classic look about them. Bows that are the same colour as the shoe, work very well for daywear as they look like part of the shoe.

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black, yellow flowers

The last set of shoe clips are these ribbon flowers I made. They add a nice splash of colour, yet are small enough to be discreet.

And case you would like to make some shoe clips for yourself, here is how:

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, making your own shoeclips

I used a pre-made flower for these, but some of the others I made from scratch. Attach your decoration to a felt disk, either by sewing or gluing it on. Once it is attached, you can then sew your shoe clip onto the felt. Attach it near the top of the disk, so the decoration will sit lower on the shoe. Clip them onto your shoes and enjoy! I got my shoe clip hardware off of Amazon- if you search “shoe clip blank” it should bring some up for you. I am sure there are other places that sell shoe clip blanks as well, I just purchased them from Amazon because I live in a rural area which apparently doesn’t see much demand for shoe clips and the stores didn’t carry them! 🙂

One note of caution I do have, is that depending on the material of your shoe, metal clips may leave indentations or marks. If you have soft leather, or suede like I do, you may want to put some kind of “padding’ in between the clip and the shoe to keep it from getting ruined.

So, have you ever worn shoe clips? What do you think of them? And, would you want a pair of “coupon busters”?

Bringing Back Coupon Busters One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time, the artyologist, black, shoeclips assorted

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist

‘Tis the season to . . . organize! I don’t know what it is about a new year, but I just get the itch to organize and declutter and get rid of everything. I’ve never really bothered with “Spring Cleaning”, but New Year’s cleaning? Oh yes! Maybe it’s because we are pulling all the Christmas decorations down already, and if you are going to the effort of cleaning up after the holidays, it isn’t that far of a stretch to start cleaning up other areas too. I was a bit late this year to get to my regular organizing habits, as I was traveling the first week of the New Year, but last week I was able to finally get around to doing some much neglected organizing.

I was originally going to do a wardrobe declutter, but as I went through my entire closet and found only two sweaters that I no longer needed, I thought that would not be a very exciting blog post! Thus, I turned my attention to my jewellery collection. One of my “style resolutions” this year, is to wear all of the things that I own, and never seem to get around to wearing. One of the major things on that list is my jewellery collection. I have necklaces and bracelets given to me for Christmas last year (as in 2015), that I have never worn. 🙁 This is obviously ridiculous, and I decided that I needed to do something about that. One of the main reasons why I don’t wear much of my jewellery is because it was such a mess. If I can’t see things at a glance, I forget that I have them when I go to choose accessories, and I always end up grabbing the same old things over and over again. Am I lazy when it comes to getting dressed? Yes. Yes I am.

Thus, the first step to start wearing more of my pieces, was to do some jewellery organizing in order to make it easier to see what I have. I also remembered to take pictures, so you can see what I unearthed along the way. . .

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, The Artyologist, Before

About 10 years ago, I made this jewelry organizer with an old picture frame, some cotton fabric and a glue gun. Over the years it has proved invaluable as an organizing solution for my ever growing collection of jewellery. Back when I first made it, I sewed 3 pretty buttons across the top (to hold 3 necklaces) and pinned a few brooches along the sides. Well, since then, my jewellery collection hoard has more than doubled in size and this organizer has gotten quite unorganized. What a mess. (This is not all of what I have. I also have two small jewellery boxes for pieces that cannot hang on this frame, and one large one for all of the sparkly special occasion jewellery I don’t wear very often.) As you can see, there are so many items overlapping each other, and all jumbled together that it was nearly impossible to take them off and wear them, let alone find them in the first place!

The first step was to take all of the items off of the board, and then sort through each piece to evaluate whether it needed to go back onto the frame, or whether it was time to pass it on, fix it or store it somewhere else. I decided that this frame is where I want to put my “everyday” jewellery, and the special occasion items can be stored elsewhere.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, favourite earrings

For some, these would classify as “special occasion” earrings, but I love to wear these sparkly earrings everyday. I’ve only owned them for a little over a year, but they have already proven to be invaluable accessories. I wear them all the time, as they give a nice bit of bling to an outfit. Thus, they were all given permission to go back on the frame.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, brooches

My collection of brooches has grown quite a bit lately. I love brooches, but seldom wear them as I am often afraid of them putting holes in my clothes. (I’ve had blouses ruined before from brooches). However, recently I have started wearing them more on my berets, as well as pinning them to my wool coats, so they are definitely getting more wear. I like all of these- some of them are gifts, like the artist’s palette, which was given to me by Jessica. Some, like the goose, I’ve had since I was a child. Others, like the pink basket, are passed down from my Great Grandma. The buckle, I would like to try wearing as a scarf slide, and the stick pins, I would like to try as hat pins once my hair gets a bit longer. Thus, I like each of these pieces and am willing to give them a place on my frame.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, pendants

One of my favourite things to wear, are pendants on long chains, and I have a lot of them. However, I was not wearing many of these, mainly because the chains were all jumbled on the frame, so I always grabbed whichever one was on the top. Also, some of the pendants didn’t have proper loops, so it was difficult to put them on the chains and I always passed them by. I have now added proper loops to all of the pendants, and have given each chain and pendant their own place on the frame. This way all I have to do is grab and go.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, statement earrings

These are my “statement” earrings. I used to wear big earrings 90% of the time, but for some reason I have started to gravitate away from them. I never reach for these more “earthy” pieces, even though I do still really like them. I have placed them on the frame, and have made a note to try to reach for these pieces first, when planning an outfit. Hopefully I will get more wear out of the them now, but if I find, after a while, that I don’t wear them anymore, I will pass them on. It’s OK to change your style over time.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, jewellery to pack away

These are all pieces that were on the frame, but really didn’t need to have such a prominent place. I only wear the Christmas pieces . . . well at Christmas! So, they don’t need to be on display year round. The necklaces and earrings I’ve had since I was probably 10, and I never wear them anymore. However, they hold memories, so I want to keep them. The lion pin I bought at a theatre production of “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”. It is more of a souvenir than an accessory. So, all of these pieces are going to go into my little jewellery box, where they will be safe, but not taking up valuable display space. And, come next Christmas, I’ll know where to find them. 🙂

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, pieces to fix

These are all pieces that I don’t wear, because they are broken. Leaving them in my room is obviously not the right place for them to be, as some of them have been broken forever, and I always forget to fix them. The earrings needed cleaning. The ring needed to be glued back together. The gold chain needed to be re-looped as it hung crookedly. The butterfly’s antenna needed to be straightened etc. I took all of the pieces and have since fixed them, (or am going to bring them to the jeweller’s for repair) and I am now able to wear them again. Fancy that!

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, pieces to get rid of

And here are the jewellery pieces, and other interesting things I found, that are not going back onto the display. A random blue flower, (I have no idea why this was on there) some coins and a key. These are not jewellery, and do not need to be on display here. The pink flower and feathers are hair accessories, so they can go elsewhere. The owl is adorable, but not a colour scheme I ever wear, so I gave him to my sister (who loves owls). An earring that has no pair (and makes me cry every time I see it, as those were my favourite earrings!) The rest of the pieces are just not my style anymore, so I also passed them on.

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, After

After sorting through and deciding which pieces were keepers and which I was giving away, I put each of the items back on the frame (or into the other assorted jewellery boxes). I have now organized the jewellery by type (all the brooches together, chains together, earrings etc.) Each piece has it’s own place, and hopefully now will not turn into a messy disaster within the week!

I am so much happier with how this looks, and how neat and tidy it is. Already I have been purposefully grabbing pieces to wear for my “style resolution”, and I think that I am going to be much better this year about wearing the things I have. Being able to see the majority of my jewellery at a glance is so invaluable to my dressing routine. Now I can be as lazy as I want to with choosing accessories, because it is all right there at my fingertips 😉

So, have you made any “style resolutions” for 2017? How do you store your jewellery, and what are your jewellery organizing tips? Do you find yourself wearing the same old pieces all the time, or are you pretty good at branching out and wearing everything you have?

Style Resolutions: Jewellery Organizing, the artyologist, jewellery frame

How to Create a Modern 1920’s Makeup Look

Lipstick:  Mary Kay, True Dimensions (I was not happy with this product either, and have since returned the lipstick.)
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One other note: I was not sponsored in any way for the making of this post (although that would have been nice!) These are all products I have purchased myself, and use daily 🙂 Except for the ones that I didn’t like. 🙁 -Nicole

The Unconventional Way to Make a Hat

how to make a hat the artyologist

Millinery is the ancient and detailed profession of designing, making and trimming hats. Despite the fact that hats have largely fallen out of fashion, millinery is still alive and well. It is an art form that requires a high level of skill, and the knowledge and use of materials and techniques such as steaming felt, straw and buckram. There are tutorials and classes out there that teach the proper methods to forming hats.

how to make a hat the artyologist

This is not that kind of tutorial.

This is the quick and easy, but perhaps not “proper” way to make a hat. Someday I would like to be able to improve my proficiency in hatmaking, but in the meantime, using the resources available to me, and the limited knowledge I do have, I was still able to come up with a way to achieve the effect I was looking for. So if you’d like to know how I made the coral hat I wore in this post, keep reading!

little hat before the artyologist

(Little hat, you are so cute, but such a failure)

I made this little flowered hat a few years ago. However, it was a first attempt and it wasn’t very good.  When I took a good look at it, I decided that (like the coral hat) it was just too small and never worked with my hair styles. Me Made May was a perfect time to try and fix it so I could wear it! My first thought was to add flowers to the sides, like I did to the coral hat, however that didn’t work out as there was the netting to deal with, and I couldn’t just widen it like I did with the coral one. However I liked the idea of an explosion of flowers atop my head, so the only way was to take it apart and start over.

how to make a hat starch and fabric the artyologist

(The brand is Api’s Crafters Pick Fabric Stiffener)

The base of this hat was made with an old curtain. The weave of this lace reminded me of the hats from the 50’s. For the coral hat I used an old piece of goat hair interfacing I had. You could use any piece of stiff material, as it will be starched into shape. First, cut the fabric into the size needed (and make sure not to cut it too small like I did!) if you have a hat similar to this already, you could just measure it and cut the fabric to the same size.

Now, saturate the fabric with fabric starch. I used this brand that I picked up at Michael’s craft store. It kind of looks like white glue, but it dries stiff and clear. The easiest method I found was to put the lace into a small bowl and just pour some of the starch over it and work it in with my hands. It’s messy, but don’t worry: it washes off easily! You could also use a brush if you wanted.

Once the fabric is completely saturated, you are ready to form it. You can use a hat form if you happen to have one lying around, but as I mentioned this is the unconventional way to make a hat, and I do not have a hat form. But, never fear, lot’s of things can be used instead! I have heard that bowls make great forms, and I would like to try that for the next hat I make, however for this hat, as I wanted a “cap” style, I used a foam head.

using a foam head as a hat form the artyologist

(Dear foam head: you are creepy, but you work!)

Wrap your form in a layer of plastic wrap, if it is porous, so the starch won’t wreck it. Then place the lace over the form and wrap it in another layer of plastic wrap to secure it in shape. Let it dry overnight, and then carefully remove the outer layer of plastic. The cloth will probably still be wet as the plastic doesn’t let in enough air to dry completely, but it will most likely be dry enough to hold shape. Once you have removed the plastic outer layer, let the fabric dry completely, until it is hard and in shape. You are now ready to make a hat!

wire gridwork how to make a hat the artyologist

(The wire grid on the inside of the coral hat; the wire won’t show so I didn’t cover it)

Measure the circumference of the edge of the fabric and cut a length of wire, adding an inch to overlap and secure together. For this lace hat, I only wired the edge, but for the coral hat, where the wires would be covered, I made a framework of wires. A great place to get wire is in the hardware section rather than in the craft section, as the supplies are usually cheaper there. I use a roll of wire I got from the dollar store (I don’t remember what gauge it is). Note that this is not memory wire, as it doesn’t spring back into shape, but can be bent out of and into shape. I used two pieces for added strength, and taped them together by wrapping them with washi paper tape. You could also use masking tape or florists tape- I’ve used them before- I just used washi as that is what I had handy.

building the wire edge how to make a hat the artyologist

(Taping the wire together first, and then wrapping with ribbon)

Now you are left with a nice solid ring, or gridwork, but an ugly one, so it is time to cover it if you are making a mesh hat where the wire might show. If the hat is solid fabric, you don’t need to cover the wire, as it won’t show. Covering the wire can be done in two ways: either sew a narrow channel and slide the wire into it, or wrap it with a ribbon. To wrap with ribbon, secure the end with some hot glue and then wrap, adding a dot of glue every once in a while to keep it nice and tight.

Now bend the wire into the shape that you need it to be. I simply placed it on my head and pressed it into shape.

Now it is time to secure the wire to the base! Using a needle and thread, sew the base onto the wire around the circumference. Make sure to keep it even the entire way around. Then trim off any excess material. If some of the starch has dried across the lace (see picture below) then just poke through it with a pin to remove it.

how to make a hat the artyologist

Now you are left with the perfect base to embellish!

Play around with options before you commit, by pinning flowers, bows, ribbons (anything is game!) onto the hat before sewing them. I pinned the flowers I took off the old hat onto the new base. I also decided to try a veil to see how that would look. I pinned it all together as a mock up and tried it on!

decorating the hat the artyologist

Unfortunately, it looked like the entire 1980’s had exploded into a hat. This was not quite the look I was going for. 🙁 So, perhaps this tutorial should actually be entitled, “How to Start Fixing One Hat and End Up With A Completely Different One”!

I decided that I did like the pink peony though, so I started thinking about how I could incorporate that into my design. Then I had an idea: edge the hat in ribbon leaves!

Here’s how to make ribbon leaves. They are very easy and quick to make. (I made them all in the time it took me to watch a movie. Actually, I trimmed the entire hat in that time, so you can see it is actually very quick to whip up a hat). Cut a length of ribbon long enough to fold both sides in at a 45 degree angle. Press into shape. Sew a running stitch along the bottom of the triangle and then gather. Trim off any excess, but make sure not to cut the gathering stitch.

ribbon leaves

I also decided to make a new centre for the peony so that it would coordinate with the ribbon leaves. Once you have figured out your design, sew the pieces onto the base. You can also use hot glue (but make sure to test first to make sure that the glue won’t soak through and show to the proper side, or you’ll end up with a spotty look). As you are sewing, make sure to catch only the under layers, or make very tiny stitches, so they won’t show to the front.

make a hat sewing on the leaves the artyologist

When I made the coral hat, I covered the goat hair lining with a piece of satin, but stitching it around the edge of the base (in case any showed through) and then I just sewed a thousand peach coloured silk flowers to the top of it. This took a while, but I used long stitches, making sure to only catch tiny bits of the flower, (like the ribbon leaves above) so you wouldn’t see the stitches.

coral hat how to make a hat the artyologist

(I also added a little pouf of veiling, just for some fluffiness)

I decided to add a veil to the lace hat, so I gathered a piece of Russian netting to create a short veil. I got the netting at Fabricland, but if you don’t have access to this kind of netting, and you want to add a veil, you can use any kind of netting or tulle.  I made the veil narrow, as I didn’t want it to come over my face, but rather just over my forehead. If you need to cut the netting to size, make sure to cut through the middle of the squares. This way you will have a nice edge and the netting won’t fray. (If you are using regular tulle, also try to cut along the edges of the pieces where the threads join, otherwise you end up with thread “legs” sticking out, rather than a neat edge) If you gather the veil in a semi circle shape, it will pull into a rounded shape and the edges will meet up with the sides of the hat. To gather, put your needle through the little squares in the Russian netting and gently gather into shape. Trim off any excess netting, but make sure not to cut your gathering stitch. Then, stitch the veil onto the hat, but make sure not to stitch through the good side of your hat.

russian netting how to make a hat the artyologist

(cut through the squares, and gather by stitching into the squares)

how to gather russian netting how to make a hat the artyologist

(I used only 1/2 the width, but you could use the entire width for a veil that would cover your face)

Now you have a hat, but how will you secure it to your head? I used a length of elastic, as I have found this works best with my short hair, but you could also use a comb, attach the hat to a headband or add loops and secure with hatpins or bobby pins. I use a black elastic, as it blends better with my hair than white would.

make a hat attaching the elastic the artyologist

(the messy inside of the hat- but it works!)

Now you have another hat to add to your collection!

Oh and a couple of notes:

-The fabric stiffener is water soluble, so do not wear your hat in the rain!

-I have not been able to come up with a good way to line the hat, as of yet, so for now the coral hat is not nice and neat on the inside. I’m OK with that, as when I am wearing it, nobody can see the messy inside, but if I figure out a way to line it, I will someday. Do you know of a good way to line it?

So there you go, the unconventional way to make a hat! Would you try making a hat, or have you ever made a hat before? How did it go? What kind of hats do you like the most?

Also, stay tuned for a post later this week, where the hat will make it’s debut! (Or rather, I guess since I have already shown you the hat, it will not be a debut, but . . . )

how to make a hat the finished hat the artyologist