Back in the saddle.

12 Days?! My oh my, that really goes against all the “yeah, like, I’ll be posting 2 or 3 times a day from now on” talk that I was throwing around when we moved house, but never fear! I have new shoes to show! … and some cute kid photos to calm everyone down and get their “awww” face on.

So, when we last spoke I had finished my first only-one-shoe Chloe sandal rip-off, and although it was lovely, I couldn’t get any walking/wearing feedback when I didn’t have a matching partner.
I got my shoe-tryer-on-er-er sister Jen to come over and give it a whirl, and we found that some of the measurements and fit details were a bit off, most likely due to my making it up by eye, and also a trap that I have now learned not to fall in to – making the shoe / straps / buckles so they work at right angles with the sole, not heading straight up the direction of the leg / ankle.

First up, failed attempt #1:



See what I mean? The ankle straps need to point UP the leg, not across it, so the buckles stay level.

The leather looks all nice and even when it’s standing on it’s own, but with a foot in there it was all in the wrong places. The front bit was too short and was pulling the buckles downwards = ugly.

Step 2 = make another pair, correct the mistakes, reduce the disgruntled mumbling about how I got it wrong the first time. (I expect a lot of myself, and screw ups dont go un-noticed)

Back to the workbench I went and here are the usual progress shots that I hope you all like to see:


Inner soles + Shanks


Cutouts for cork inlays, as per the pair of fancy, comfortable Bally shoes I deconstructed.


cork and tape…


some more veg tan and we’re getting there…


neoprene foam inserts…
about 20mm too far forward, Jen thinks they should be further back where the pressure ends up.


wrapped (badly) … measure TWICE cut once. sigh.


stitched up suede…


Heel attachment. Countersunk screw + 5 long nails + bad hammering technique.


Neoprene foam padding…


Cooper decided to ‘assist’ me for the afternoon… aka soaking up sunlight.
Heels that I got that I couldn’t find matching (2 hole) Supertaps for (why sell one item and not the matching part?) so these ones got an additional hole drilled ever so carefully in the middle.


Logo action. Haven’t decided on an official business name or font yet, but this stamp works well I think with my Phillips surname.


4 x straps and buckles… I’m thinking i’ll make Jen a mathching belt?


Final pair done, about 8 – 10 hours later (spread over 3 days) and ready to be worn.


Soft and suede-y…


Done! The last one I made had an assymetrical toe area, these ones are more squared off. Not sure which is better, one looks better on the shelf, one looks better on the foot… hmmmm…

The following shots are of Jen trying them on and striking some ‘foot model’ poses… and me using a crap camera with no flash in what appears to be a subtle earthquake.

She has promised me she will hit the streets and give them a good wearing so that I can get some pointers on strength, comfort, wear and tear etc.
The sole has been Topy’d so I am expecting that to hold up fine, but probably  a broken buckle or something. Heels should be tough enough, as they’re now no different to the Mollini ones I pulled apart for reference.

My other job has been super hectic for the last week, as we have an unfathomable amount of work to do. Even with me doing a hollywood-esque ‘using two computers at the same time with one hand on each keyboard’ workout, we’re still behind schedule. I smell a weekend of work coming up, and a double amount of coffee consumption.

Now, just to lighten the mood again, and let you all know that in the Even Steven world I live in, everything, um, evens out.
Today Dani and I are doing our first all-day babysitting job for our heart-warmingly beautiful niece Tahlia!
Not much work getting done, but when I get to dance with her to some Paul Simon and then sit down to an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, its all worth it.

Check out her squished up ‘cheeky’ face… classic. (click it to see it full size)

And this one (these are video thumbnail things) where she eats the camera, films me, then eats the camera some more. Ahhhh, Unkie Steve is a big softie for sure.

Next up on the cards is a pair of moccasin / loafer type shoes (to learn a new construction technique) and some f*ck-off-tough-as-nails Alexander McQueen style black ankle boots with studs on them (for a journey to the dark side of shoe making) as inspired by our pals over at DI$COUNT.

See you soon!

Listening to : Paul Simon – Graceland

Waiting…

Not much news so far this week, my animation job has been keeping me super busy (and a trip to the snow last weekend ruled out any weekend shoemaking)… but I have been keeping on the ball by reading other shoemaker’s blogs.

I just found this quote on Bespoke Shoes Unlaced, and thought it was pretty apt for this week’s post:

“How many shoemakers does it take to change a light bulb? Only 1, but it takes 6 months.”

Ha.
I’ll be back next with with something more informative.

Listening to : Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Salami Making

** apologies in advance to any vegan / vegetarian / meat afraid readers out there **

Finally, last Sunday was SALAMI DAY!
Dani’s family are Italian and pride themselves on making a mean homestyle salami that has been the family recipe for god knows how many years.
We have got our hands dirty for the last few years at her uncle Nick’s house on a cold night in June / July, but this year with the ever expanding family we decided to branch off an host a Maugeri / Phillips salami day so that we don’t keep on crowding more friends and family into Nick and Rosa’s basement.

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Most of the gang getting rrrready to rrrrumble.

This year we had to keep the numbers a little low as we weren’t 100% sure we knew what we were doing or how many people would fit in our kitchen, but now that we’ve done it once we want to do a big communal batch next winter, and you’re all invited (just RSVP before May 2011).

The whole process begins with the peppers… 4kg of capsicums that get cooked down to a kilogram or so of intense puree a few days before the meat arrives.
No photos of this bit, but you can imagine…. It’s very red and smells like capsicum.

Click through for all the meaty goodness, or scroll past if you’re just here for the shoes and jewels…

Where the magic happens…

Hello, and welcome back… it’s been a while!

I’ll begin today’s lesson with a quick introduction to the new setup we have here.
We are now (renting of course) in a lovely big house in Yarraville as mentioned earlier, Dani has a room inside and I have converted the shed to a workshop.

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All this fog and cold makes for some nice Bill Henson-esque photos.

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Inside the shed panorama wide-angle beastie-boys-filmclip style photo.
My workspace still a bit wonky in places as I’m using plastic shipping pallets to create a false floor (to avoid any cold/flooding issues in the future) and I dont have enough to do the whole floor yet – so things are a bit ‘up and down’… I keep thinking about that Seinfeld episode where Kramer is talking about converting his house to “all levels Jerry…” except these levels are more annoying than stylish.

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Leather stack… starting to get a nice little selection now.

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This piece of GENIUS is from our old studio pal Jeremy Ley
He’s the kind of guy who makes you want to miss phone calls just so that he has to leave you a note.

The pics below are from Dani’s little sunroom / studio setup, which I think is as close as she can get to her old Carlow House studio for now.

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(promo posters from her lauch party at Alice Euphemia give her someone to talk to)

Anyhoot, I have settled in and revived a few old shoe projects that had been neglected for a while.
I’m planning and test-fitting some shoes for my little sister who is now a 2nd year apprentice hairdresser and needs good shoes… so I hope to rectify that by hooking her up with some comfort-central hand made ones.

I also finished the ‘deluxe’ desert boots that I started way back in March, and Dani has been rocking them on the streets of Melbourne over the last week.
I changed plans a little and decided to go for a randed edge instead of a stitch-down construction as the whole hand-stitched thing was testing my patience (I don’t know how you do it on every pair James!).

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These ones have lining etc too, so they’re essentially desert boot styled shoes, with the fit and construction of a derby/oxford.

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Leather soles + Topy = ready for the streets.

Next up will be a new pair of winter boots for Dani, based loosely (or quite closely depending on how lazy I get with my pattern making) on the ones in the photo that she has almost worn out.
A bit of pattern tweaking and some “reverse engineering” and I’ll be ready to go.

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I also bought what I could from Leffler in 70mm heels to match the lasts I have here, so they’ll be put to use on something more glamorous than boots and more boots in the coming weeks (perhaps like this blue masking tape + texta mockup)

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So, that’s it for today, thanks for reading and thanks to all of our friends who have popped in over the last few weeks to make our house VERY warmed indeed – considering we are yet to actually throw a houswarming party!
Special mention to DB for being a one-man dancefloor, humping my TV, trying to steal soccer merchandise from our local pub AND riding my bike home in the rain last night…  a stellar effort for a non-party night.

Listening to : The Vines (they all sound a bit same-ish, but in a good way, so pick any album)

Oh, and a super sized congratulations to out pals Nicky and Tom on the arrival of their baby boy Milo, nice work kids.

Home SWEEEEEET Home

Hey people, Dani and I have relocated to our new place and although it’s painfully overcrowded with boxes and a magazine collection from a TV special called something like  “The sad reality of people who never throw anything out”… we still have room to move and are already happy with our choice of location.

We’re living in Yarraville now, amongst a whole crew of other late-20s-nicely-dressed-with-kids-on-the-way-or-at-least-planned-to-be people. There’s good coffee to be had, second hand furniture and 2 book shops, goodbye Sundays with nothing to do!

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Cornershop – good food, good drinks, warm heaters.
Photo: Eddie Jim

I will post up some shots of the new setup soon… until then, be excellent to each other.

Listening to : Damaged – Nails
* thanks to Tom for putting this on a mix tape in 1996 as a laugh, little did we know how “metal” my tastes would become. I listened to this album last night, whilst wearing a black beanie with “Kings Cross Sydney” on it, in my Toyota Camry, which is unfortunately one of the least brutal Metal cars around.

Finally NEWS!

Hey people,

Dani and I are soon to be Yarravillians, we have just signed on to a new lease on a house in Yarraville with 3 bedroom AND a garage.

Dani will be working from the 3rd bedroom (the first is for sleepin’ and the second is for my collection of awkwardly large bits musical gear and for me to sleep in when I’m in the bad books) … and I will be setting up the garage to be shoe making central. I assume there is some sort of man’s man rule against setting up a garage workshop and then filling it with pictures of high heeled shoes, but if I don’t tell any manly men, no one will know.

It has been about a 3 week turnaround from deciding to look for a new place and getting the keys, so it’s all a bit frantic at the moment around here.

We’re packing up things already, and looking forward to our first stroll to Ballarat St for a coffee and Smoked Cod pie at Hausfrau… mmmm…

On a nerdier note, I have also discovered that there is a little handful of people out there putting their years of practice making Lego and jigsaw puzzles to good use and creating something that was – until recently – completely out of the hands of the home craftsman… RAPID PROTOTYPING!

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http://reprap.org/wiki/Mendel

For those of you who aren’t industrial designers, Rapid Prototyping = 3D printing = a machine that can create ANY form from plastic that you can imagine once you model it in a computer.
Luckily for me I am:

a. A nerd – with nerdy friends
b. Good at Lego and building model cars
c. Employed as and therefor quite good at being a 3D animator / modeller
d. About to move to a house with a garage
e. An Industrial Designer

… so with those powers combined I hope to make one of these bad boys before the end of the year, and then I’ll be able to manufacture my own heels and shoe parts at home in ANY shape, size or crazy assed construction that I want. Ahhh… that makes me happy, as I hate having my designs dictated by what I can find laying on the shelf at Lefflers.

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this is the sort of stuff I’m talking about.. all printed in 3D from plastic… AWESOME.

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Throw some hand-dyed leather into the mix and I’ll be equipped to make 100% custom shoes that wont be the same as everyone else’s.
So things like this will be possible, rather than “oh yeah, like that’s gonna work”…

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Oh, and one last thing… Sydney ladies, I applaud you.
My god, we were there on the weekend and the ratio of jaw-dropping beautiful shoes to ‘crushed to death ballet flats with my foot hanging out the side’ was the opposite to what I’m seeing around Melbourne.
Granted, there are some very snappy dressers in Melbourne, but Sydney was killing it last weekend with the “I’m popping out for coffee in my Chloe’s” stakes.
Lucky for me Dani knows that my roaming eyes are locked groundward, so I don’t get a slap in the head for checking out the ladies when it’s ‘business related’ hahaha.

Anyhoot, back to packing for me….
Listening to : Beck – Bottle O’ Blues (not intentionally, it came on the iPod just now)

oh no! zombies!

driving in the burbs the other day- we came across this sign that someone hacked.

zombies

… and we’re back.

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It’s time for us to get up off the couch, out of the kitchen and head back in to the studio tomorrow!
Finally.

The 3 week ‘you’s guys don’t got a permit to be workin’ in here’ council ban has officially passed, and so we are heading back in to get back on track.
My apologies for the whole lot of nothing that has been going on here lately, I promise to get something worth showing online in the next few days.

First up is some desert boots, then something more adventurous.

Thanks for watching, and thanks to Mr Lynch for the screen grab above.

Listening to : Gallows – Black Eyes

Save our City

Just a quick one – If you’re in Melbourne, and like seeing bands real bands at venues OTHER than the Casino or Etihad Stadium you should head in to the city today to show some support for the SLAM rally.

http://www.slamrally.org/

I’ll be there making a racket so that hopefully I can still go and see bands at places like the Arthouse and the Towny, and so that future generations might have a chance at discovering pub rock for themselves instead of being forced to see overblown gigs at stupid kilometer-away-from-the-band venues or worse still, just be left with nightclubs, strip clubs, Jager bombs and a punch in the head as a “good night out”. Sigh.

Our craft is now illegal

yep,  in a way anyway.

so we don’t have a permit (what!) to make art and craft in our warehouse and were forced to down tools yesterday for 3 weeks while an application is put through!

Not our fault…we didn’t set up this studio, we sublet (for those that know us personally- this was a welcome change from the last 4 years of running a space).
It’s totally out of our hands and now we will be working from home.  god knows how!!

Seriously- what has the world come to?

Special thanks go to the crazy hammer man next door and his council friend “the permit enforcer”

Thanks for supporting design in Melbourne, Melbourne.