Monday, April 21, 2014

How to make sandals

I try to learn something new every year. I guess it should be "I try to learn something new every day" but I'm a mom and, believe me, I learn something new about myself, my kids, my husband, about life and about God every single day! So I try to take up something so completely far off from my everyday life. Last year, it was doll-making. This year, I learned how to make shoes. Or sandals, to be more specific. It is one of the most difficult things I've ever done!

The idea came to me suddenly as I was idly scrolling down my Facebook feed last month. I'm subscribed to the page of Craft MNL, which hosts regular crafts workshops. I'm actually not a crafty person. I'll do the occasional homemade cards but that's about it! Still, I subscribed to Craft MNL because I wanted to learn a skill, in case the world decides it doesn't need writers anymore haha. Anyway, I saw that Craft MNL had partnered with Renegade Folk to offer a shoemaking workshop, and I signed up!

The fee to the workshop is Php 3,000. The style of shoes we were going to make is called Summer Breeze and it's for sale on the Renegade Folk website for Php 1,450. So the workshop fee is actually Php 1,550 and that covers the venue, the tools (cutter, hammer, screwdrivers) and the instructor fee.

There were lots of straps since we were making strappy sandals. There was plain leather (silver, neon yellow, nude) and snakeskin leather (pink, nude). I chose pink, of course!

The soles were already pre-cut and pre-holed. Hehe, I made that term up. We had to squeeze the straps into the holes. That was not easy at all. We had to use screwdrivers to make the holes bigger.

Then we used a special set of pliers to pull the strap through the hole. All you need is half an inch of strap for each hole. Snip away the extra length.

Two holes down, eight more to go! That's just one shoe! My fingers were not happy at all, even though I looked happy in the photo haha

Yup, the bottom holes are for two straps each so that was an extra difficult step. Anyway, once all straps are in, you fit a foot form into the sandal, tighten the straps around it, then cut off the excess straps.


Here are the instructors from Renegade Folk and my classmates, too. 

So here's the assembled shoe. The insole with the straps, welt, outsole and heel.

Being pregnant, I had to step out of the room when it was time to apply the rugby to the welt. Our instructor (I forgot his name!) had to do that step for me. I do think that that was one failing of the workshop—the venue. Since we were going to be working with rugby, we should've been outdoors, or at least in a well-ventilated garage. Inhaling rugby fumes is not good!

Anyway, after applying the rugby and letting its sticky magic work for a few minutes, you help the sticky process out by hammering the welt and insole together. I suppose this is to get rid of air bubbles? The hammering step wasn't explained but hammer away we did! I also hit my thumb with the hammer. Ouch.

Once you've hammered in the welt to the insole, the straps underneath will make the welt bulge out. This is not going to be comfortable to your feet so you take a sharp knife or a cutter to level the material. This is careful work. You can slice yourself! After my hammer-meets-thumb incident, I did this slicing step very carefully.

And here it is! My almost finished sandals! Pretty! We had to leave them with the Renegade Folk people so that they can finish it by sanding the sides so that all the soles are perfectly aligned. But I took a photo of me wearing my new sandals (that I made myself!) and shared it with all my Instagram and Facebook followers:
Excuse the swollen pregnant feet and ankles! I insisted on getting my real shoe size (US 6) since my feet always go back to normal two to three months after giving birth. So there! I now know how to make sandals. I have a deeper appreciation for all my shoes now. Also, I am never going to buy cheap shoes ever again. The amount of work that goes into a single pair is amazing. That work should be compensated well so I guess cheap shoes mean the brand is paying slave wages to their shoemakers!

To shop from Renegade Folk, click here.

To check out Craft MNL's workshops, click here.

Now you know what to do this summer!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

What I wore 7 years ago today

Seven years married today, folks! Fifteen years madly in love. I was looking through all my previous wedding anniversary posts and blushed at how I completely adored my husband (I still do!), so I was wondering what to do this year on the blog that wouldn't make me sound like an infatuated teenage girl (to my husband's disappointment because he says he loves it when I gush over him haha).

Well, since it's Fashion Friday, I decided to do an OOTD hehe. Seven years ago, this was what I wore:

It's a Kate Torralba design, back when she was still making clothes. Now she's making music. I didn't want something bridal, since at my age (I was 30), I wanted to look sophisticated and elegant, not virginal and sweet. Vince just wanted me to look sexy. He even wanted me to expose my back.

Kate came up with this super tight mermaid dress. In the course of the making of that gown, I had it loosened twice because I kept insisting I wanted to be able to move around. A week before the wedding, however, I had the flu, and the stress just made me unable to eat! So on the eve of the wedding, the seamstress came over to the house to tighten the gown because by then it had become very loose!

My earrings are borrowed from Kate, too. Makeup by my high school friend, Jigs Mayuga. He gave me his services for free, as his wedding gift. Yey!

At the church entrance with my parents! Well, I guess that even if I hadn't wanted to look like a bride, the veil just gave me away. Vince said his favorite part of the wedding was when I ran down the aisle to him. Ya, I couldn't contain myself. I left my parents and threw myself into Vince's waiting arms. I was that excited!

And this is us. I love our wedding clothes. I loved our simple but stylish wedding. I love that we laughed all day that day. We're still laughing today, fifteen years down the road, seven of which as married people, and with two-going-on-three kids, the love we share just gets better and sweeter and deeper. Happy anniversary, Vince!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My new fabulous clutch: the Ni-QUA Paper Bag!

Many moms (well, many women for that matter) can't fathom how I absolutely love clutches. "How do you fit anything in that small bag?!" Well, I actually just need four things: my asthma medicine, my wallet, my phone and my house keys. That makes me almost like a man, I guess! I do have a long wallet so I can't stuff it in the back pocket of my jeans so I still need a purse, and in my case, a clutch is my favorite.

I have a new addition to my growing clutch collection: the Red Paper Bag clutch from Ni-QUA. It's so fabulous!

Here are the reasons I love my Red Paper Bag clutch:
Ni-QUA is a homegrown brand so I'm loving that my new clutch is Proudly Pinoy.

It's pure leather. It's soft and buttery. The heady aroma makes me happy.

The simple design is based on the brown paper bag so it's so roomy! I can fit a TON of stuff in it—my camera, the kids' toys, diapers, my small vanity kit. One time, I even brought a manuscript! Of course, I couldn't seal the bag anymore but that's ok. I just carried the bag like a paper bag!

I'll be sporting a few more Ni-QUA things soon but for now, I'm super loving my Paper Bag clutch!

Show this Pinoy brand some love!
Like their Facebook page.
Follow them on Twitter (@niquashop) and Instagram (@NIQUAshop).
Shop at their website!

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