Friday, December 31, 2010

Diary Post~60s Style and New Year!

: "My fashion class chose 60s as the topic to wear to class on 12-30! So this is what I wore :) I even did the makeup with top and bottom falsies, but you cannot see it very well ^^;"

My Technical Drawing class spends a lot of time chatting :D I love that class, and the people in it! So last week we learned about different eras of fashion (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s) and decided that yesterday was going to be 60s theme and all wore 60s style clothing! This is my take on it

Honestly, I am not very style-savvy, so it is hard for me to do challenges like this! It is fun, though :) This is the shortest skirt I have ever worn in my life with no safety pants! O_O I definitely prefer lolita skirts more... I could hardly bend over in this mini-length!

Next week we have no class, but the week after is 70s style, and I'm aiming for 70s British Punk. We'll see how that goes...

This class has made me think more creatively (surprising, since it is a technical drawing class where we learned how to draw flats...) and I would eventually like to do style challenges like this within Lolita Fashion. It really helps you expand your wardrobe and see old clothes in new light!

I would also like to wish everybody a Happy New Year! After work today I am meeting up with a friend to go see the fireworks at Taipei 101. It will be extra spectacular this year because it is Taiwan's 100th year! 10/10 was the "birthday" which is sort of like 4th of July in the USA (Independence Day) where it is sort of already the 100th year, but we don't start writing 100 until 2011 starts... yes, confusing now that I think about it...

I'll be sure to take photos!

What are you doing for New Year? Have you got any New Year's Resolutions planned?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When Life Looks Down, Pick it Up with some Hot Chocolate?

Recently life has been a bit more down than usual. To make a long story short, my cousin had heart surgery (don't worry, she's fine now!), we went to KTV but my cousins got in trouble with their mom because apparently they are NOT allowed to go KTV without adult supervision, which they failed to mention to me, I went to my great aunt's funeral, forgot to bring the 奠儀 (white envelope? Gift of money for the family of the deceased) and had to mail it, and then I got in trouble with my grandmother because my great aunt's funeral apparently "took too long". Yea, I don't really understand the last one either.

Anyway, I don't like to mope around thinking about bad things, so I am going to share some NICE things now! Yesterday my aunt, my cousins Vanessa, Libby, Steven, and I went to the night market. We tried a chocolate milk stall where he really melted down chocolate and heated milk and mixed it together. Since the weather has been chilly recently (9*C/48.2*F), hot chocolate milk really feels like a pick-me-up! While it is not quite the same effect as a big, steaming mug of cocoa after shoveling snow for an hour, it is still really nice and makes a gloomy week seem better.

So today I am going to link to some hot chocolate recipes (and don't forget the delicious-looking photos!) from some food blogs I follow! Real hot chocolate made with melted chocolate, not a mix, has a thick, creamy richness that just cannot be replaced!

3 Types of Hot Chocolate from Victoriana
Warm Chocolate Soother ooh I just love the name! It is a more complex recipe, but is described as "drinking brownies" which is enough to make me want it!
Roasted Hazelnut Hot Chocolate Also includes some tips on making hot chocolate in general. It took me ages to figure out that adding a bit of hot water to the cocoa powder to make a paste first lets it blend with the hot milk better!
Gourmet Hot Chocolate A "hot chocolate bar" party sounds AMAZING! This posts includes some creative flavor ideas and recipes, and even a video :Þ

Well, I hope that you are inspired to go make some real hot chocolate now :) Enjoy the small things in life!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers and followers!

Actually, I am not celebrating Christmas this year ^^; But I want to share some joy with all of you. Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, I received a wonderful gift. I received a text from my boyfriend, Rick saying that he'd gotten his cell phone back (haha), he'd received the gift I mailed to him (just in time!) and he will be coming to Taipei on in January!! GLEE! We have not seen each other for 5 months so I am very excited!

Have a wonderful, happy day!

What good things have happened to you recently?
No matter how small, if it brought a smile to your face, it is worth sharing :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Tutorial~Four Faced Card

Stores are bursting with fancy, embellished cards this time of year! I have seen so many cute, 3D, pop-up, glittered, fuzzy, and otherwise elaborate cards for sale. With so many options available, I was tempted to just buy a card for my boyfriend, but decided to make one by hand instead. Handmade cards seem much more meaningful and are more likely to be saved.

This type of card is based on a little free gift card from Sanrio many years ago. My sister got a Chi Chai Monchan card as a gift with purchase and we flipped through it so many times it fell apart! Determined to recreate this fascinating design, I took scrap paper and cut and glued until I perfected it! Now I will share this cool design with you!

You will need:
1 sheet of fancy paper. 2 if you want a front and back side

I am using two sheets of paper so my card will have two backgrounds. Start by cutting your paper in half width-wise
The finished card will be 1/2 the size of your starting paper


Cut one half into halves width-wise, and the other length-wise:


Do the same for the second sheet for the back of the card, then glue each of the 4 pieces together with their back sides if you are using a different paper for the back side. Then take the "fat" halves of the cards (top two pieces in the previous photo) and fold them as shown in the following photo:
It may be difficult to see in the photo, but basically fold the top and bottom edge to the center

Fold the other two pieces as seen in this photo:
Fold the left and right edges in to meet at the center

Flip the pieces over so the folds are pointing up:

Place the long pieces face down, and put one of the fat pieces on top as seen in this photo:

Glue them together by putting glue in the corners only. This photo shows where to put the glue on the left top corner:
Basically, there is a box formed by the two fold lines (shown in white) and you can glue within the box

This is a sideways shot to show that the middle sections are free - only the corners are glued together:

Now glue the left side on (corners only) and you should have something like this:
This is the first face of the card. Open it up like the arrows indicate to find...

The second face of the card:
Open it up like the arrows indicate to find...

The third face of the card:
Open it up like the arrows indicate to find...

The fourth face of the card:
Open it up like the arrows indicate to find...

You are back at the beginning!

I recommend using a piece of scrap paper first to make sure you understand which parts of the card will show and what can be glued down before using expensive paper or decorations. Have fun!

If you make this card, please share your photos in the comments!

And as always, if you have any questions or need clarification, please ask! This is a little bit difficult to show in photos and words only. I will be happy to give more tips if needed~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Mini-Post!

This is just a quick mini-post to share a cute idea for a Christmas party dinner. I will be posting a tutorial on a how to make a very cool type of card later, so don't worry, I did not forget about updating my blog!
Victorian Christmas Snowball Dinner
This is pretty easy to recreate at home and would be fun for everybody, not just children :P

Have you got any plans for the holiday season? Christmas decoration is in full swing here, but I keep thinking it is far in the future because there is no snow ^^; Yesterday I went Christmas shopping with my cousins at 西門町, a large popular shopping area in the Taipei area. Shopping is a lot more fun with friends and family!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sparkle Stitches~Ribbon Bustle Skirt

How was Winter International Lolita Day 2010 for all of you, my dear friends? I had a wonderful, delicious day, but that is for another post. Right now, I come bearing gifts - a tutorial on a ribbon bustle skirt! I worked hard to finish it this week and hope you all like it!

I love the print on this fabric!

Versatility is a big point for me. It is one of the main aims for Carousel Cafe, so this 4-ribbon bustle skirt is a great design! It can be worn in varying styles with 0-4 of the bustles in action.

1)Cut your skirt panels into 4. You will be using the seams as the casing for the ribbons. If you will be adding a ruffle on the bottom, add them now to each individual panel and treat them as a panel now

2) Sew the panels together, but use a wider seam allowance. I used 5/8". Press them open.

3) Stitch down the seam allowances. This creates little tubes on either side of your seams.

4) Take a length of your ribbon or cording that is two times the length of your skirt plus about 6" extra and thread it from the bottom of one tube through to the top. Attaching a safety pin or bobby pin to the front of the ribbon to help it thread more easily.

5) Then turn around and thread it from the top down the other side. Having the ribbon folded like this makes it sturdier than using two separate ribbons because there is no way for the ribbon to detach from the waistband and pull out the bottom. Tie a knot at the ends of the ribbons to prevent them from getting pulled up into the channels on accident. Finish the ends by hand (I turn and stitch the raw edges).

6) Because this skirt has 4 seams already, a zip opening would be unattractive so we will make it a full elastic waist. Cut your waistband WxL
W should be 2x your elastic width plus seam allowance
L should be larger than your hip measure so you can get the skirt on and off!
Press up your seam allowances, and then press your waistband in half lengthwise.

7) Sew your waistband into a circle and press open your seam allowance.

8) Re-press your seam allowance and fold it in half again.

9) Gather your skirt to one seam allowance of your waistband if it is smaller than your skirt.

10) Stitch, then fold the waistband in half and either top-stitch or stitch in the ditch. For this tutorial, I showed the stitch in the ditch method, but a clean, straight top-stitch gives a wonderful finish, too. Remember to leave an opening in the waistband for your elastic!
From the outside. The stitching is invisible because you stitch right on top of the stitching line that attaches the waistband to the skirt.

From the inside. I lightened the photo to show that the stitching has to catch the seam allowance on the inside

11) Thread your elastic through the waistband, sew the elastic ends together, and sew the rest of the waistband shut. This next step is optional, but it is nice for keeping the elastic from twisting. Stretch your waistband so the fabric is flat, and stitch a line down the middle all the way around the waistline. No in-progress photos because it takes two hands to stretch the waistband out :P

Wearing Style
This skirt can be worn like a regular skirt with none of the ribbons tied as seen at the beginning of this post. Here are some more ways to wear it with an underskirt (or perhaps a cage skirt for ero style?)

This is one of my favorite ways to wear this type of skirt. Pull up only slightly on one ribbon in the front, revealing a layer or two of ruffle. Pull up all the way on the other front ribbon, revealing all the layers of ruffles on the inside.

Double Bustle! This can be done in the front, back, or both sides of the skirt! Just pull up your gathers as far as possible on all your ribbons and tie them in a pretty bow

This is a more subdued version of a bustle and I think it looks wonderful when all four ribbons are used. Pull up slightly and tie a small bow, revealing a layer or two of your underskirt. It creates a slight scalloped look and adds more visual interest to the hem.

As always, please do not hesitate to ask more clarification if there is any point you do not understand! I am going to offer this skirt at a discount (for the ugly insides) on my ArtFire shop soon, so keep an eye out if you are interested! Underskirt not included ;) But they are available for a decent price on TaoBao shops.

P.S. How do you like my Photoshop skills? ^^;

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sparkle Stitches and is Technologically Challenged~Basic Skills - Cording

I have been trying to put together a video tutorial because I think it is easier to follow, but I am pretty horrible at it so here is a photo tutorial instead

This is just a basic skill, but it is useful! Making cords this way can be used for spaghetti straps, button loops, or as a ribbon, which is what I made mine for! And if you don't want to use ribbon for the ribbon bustle skirt tutorial I am working on, this cord is a perfect substitute. I like to use cords because you can make it out of matching fabric, and it is not as slippery as ribbon.

First, cut your fabric into strips four times wider than your finished cord. I wanted 1/4" wide cords, so I cut 1" wide strips. Fold in half and stitch at your cord width (1/4" for me)

I used white thread so you can see easily. Obviously you want to use matching thread!
Make a snip from the FOLDED edge to, but not through, your stitching line

Put a bobby pin in the little loop you just made

Thread the bobby pin into the body of the cord. Start feeding the bobby pin through and the cord will fold in on itself. Don't try to turn too much at once or it will just bunch up! Start small. Once you have a good few inches turned, it becomes much easier! I find that if the end gets a little bit bunchy, especially in the beginning, twisting and rolling it between your fingers helps.

I showed the twisting portion in the video I recorded but I can't seem to make a good video edit
If you need more explanation, please let me know!