Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! This year is the Year of the Dragon!


Wishing a prosperous and enjoyable year for all my wonderful readers!

I realized that I never posted the legend of New Year on my blog, so I will tell it to you now! Of course, this is only the version that I grew up with. There are many, many more variations!

I do realized that I am not a stellar novelist by any means, so please bear with my attempt to make the legend more story-like and less "Hey, listen!"

The Legend of New Year

In ancient times, there lived a horrific beast by the name of 年 (Nian, meaning "year").

(source)Artist depiction of 年獸 (Year Beast)

(source) Here's a cuter one in case the first is too scary

Every year on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar, 年 would come down from the mountains of China and terrorize all the villagers. It ate livestock, destroyed property, and would even eat children!

Villagers left offerings of food outside to keep the beast away from their homes where they hid, but it was still a fearful time for everybody.

One year, as the first day of the first month was approaching once more and the villagers were despondently preparing for the worst, a wise old lady came up with a new idea.

"Let us all light firecrackers outside our homes to scare 年 away," she said. "We will hang magical red papers around our doorways so it cannot come inside. Make a lot of noise with drums and cymbals to scare and confuse the monster."

The villagers were tired of living is fear and desperate enough to try her plan, so instead of preparing food, they prepared the magic papers and firecrackers. When 年 came down from the mountains, they lit the red firecrackers and ran inside their homes sealed with papers around the door frame.

The loud explosions from the firecrackers and instruments successfully scared 年 away! In its dazed and confused state all it saw was red pieces of the explosives and red papers on all the doors, so red became a color it feared. Today, we wear red for good luck and to keep the bad monsters away.

(source) Decorative firecrackers. We used to have something similar to this in our MN house!

Everybody was so happy that they danced and played their drums and cymbals all night long.

The magic papers hung about our doors are called 春聯 (Chuen Lian) and generally come in a set of 3 - one for each side of the door and one that goes over the top. We also have square/diamond papers with a single word written on them, most commonly "wealth" 福 and "spring" 春. These are hung upside down as the word for "upside down" 倒 is pronounced the same (and actually written quite similarly) to the word for "arrived" 到, meaning wealth and spring have arrived!

Other common symbols include bats (pronounced the same as "prosperity"), fish (pronounced the same as "surplus"), and four-word "lucky sayings." One of my favorites is "招財進寶" (Acquire wealth and treasure will follow) because it can be written as one character:

Can you find all 4 characters in it?

Of course, one cannot forget about red envelopes! Red envelopes are given from older to younger generations in "lucky number" quantities, most commonly numbers starting with 6 or 8 because they sound like the words for "smooth" and "prosper." Once you have a stable job/income, however, you should repay your parents by giving them red envelopes instead of the other way around. I am currently still a broke college student ^0^ Ahaha!

Alighty I hope this wasn't too long or poorly worded XD But I do hope it was interesting to read!

Happy New Year and may your wishes come through!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sharing a Sewing Project~ Lolita Corset

The Sew_Loli community on LiveJournal has a New Year's Resolution contest going on so I'm taking this opportunity to try and make my first corset :)

I thought I would have a ton of time over Winter Break, but really I'm just working more ^^; Still, I hope I can get it done!

Progress thus far~

It is 3 layers, has waist tape, and will have a busk front opening and lace-up in the back.

I like the look of Lolita fashion with corsets, so I want to add this to my coordinates if it turns out all right ^0^v Sometimes I wear a corset under my clothes, but my current ivory corset doesn't really match anything in my wardrobe...

More interesting posts coming soon ;)

Don't forget about the New Year Sale on my Etsy shop!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Misako Aoki x Kawaii.i Lolita Contest!

Lolita idol Misako Aoki has collaborated with Kawaii.i to host a Lolita Fashion Contest!

This is the video explaining it:

There are 3 prizes from Misako's personal collection!
Will you be entering the contest?
I am considering entering, but I don't know if my coords are very special or unique enough ^^; Especially with how popular Deco Lolita is, other styles might seem too "plain" in comparison... Though Misako doesn't do Deco Lolita, so it may still be worth a try!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Enter the Dragon

Exciting news! I am running a sale on my Etsy shop! Get FREE SHIPPING on everything from now until the end of the month by entering coupon code "CNYDragon"

It stands for Chinese New Year Dragon ;) This year is going to be the Year of the Dragon! Even though the 12 animals of the Zodiac are supposed to be equal, Year of the Dragon always feels a little more special ^^; It's not even my own year (Year of the Horse)!

Jan. 23 is Chinese New Year this year. Will you be celebrating? Treat yourself to something fancy and support independent designers while you are at it ;D I will have more time to do custom orders for about a month until school starts again, so this is a good time to order! I really need to make some sales in order to keep my Etsy shop open ^u^ If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sparkle Stitches~ Magic Wallet

Hooray this post took a few days to edit and write! But it is done now (hopefully)!
This post is already ridiculously long so I won't say much here ^0^ but if there are any steps that are unclear or if you have any questions, please comment below and I will do my best to explain!

這篇寫了好幾天! 終於寫完了! (倒


First decide on your finished wallet dimensions.
Width=W+1/2" (for quarter-inch binding)
Length=L+1/2" (for quarter-inch binding)

長度=L+半吋 (包2分寬布邊)

First piece is Fashion Fabric (FF). Width:2W Right Length:L Left Length:2L
Next is the Lining 1 (L1). Same dimensions as FF,flipped.
Third is the Reverse Lining (RL). Same dimensions as FF.
Last is Lining 2 (L2). Width:2W Length:L

第一塊布是表面布Fashion Fabric (FF)。 寬度:2W 右邊長度:L 左邊長度:2L
旁邊是裡布Lining 1(L1)。 尺寸和FF一樣,反過來
接下來是反面裡布Reverse Lining(RL)。 尺寸和FF一樣
最後一塊是裡布2(L2)。 寬度:2W 長度:L

Pocket 1(P1) Width:2W Length:2(L-1/2")
Pocket 2(P2) Width:2W Length:P1Length-1"
Pocket 3(P3) Width:2W Left Length:P2Length-1" Right Length:Left Length+L

口袋一 Pocket 1(P1) 寬度:2W 長度:2(L-半吋)
口袋二 Pocket 2(P2) 寬度:2W 長度:P1長度-1吋
口袋三 Pocket 3(P3) 寬度:2W 左邊長度: P2-1吋 右邊長度: 左邊長度+L

Fold each pocket piece in half lengthwise, press, and stitch 1/8" from folded edge
In the photo P3 has been flipped to show the backside


Align the bottom edges of P1 and L2 (P1 is slightly shorter than L2)
Measure 2" down from the top of P1 and stitch

Align the bottom edges of P2 and P1, measure 2" down from P2, and stitch

Flip up the raw edge of P2 and trim the seam allowance from P1 to reduce bulk
(I accidentally attached RL already so disregard that...)

Same thing with P3, align, measure 2", stitch, trim P2 seam allowance

Stitch a straight line down the center to split the pockets into two halves

Align top edges of L2 with RL right sides together, stitch, flip to right side, and topstitch

Line up FF with L1 and pin. On the little rectangle at the bottom, draw a rectangle measuring the length and width of your zipper. At each end, draw a little triangle (like the photo)
FF和L1裡面對裡面用大頭針固定。 在下面的小方形上畫出拉鏈的長度和寬度。 頭尾畫個小三角型(如圖)

Cut along the inner lines and press seam allowances to the inside

Sandwich the zipper between FF and L1 and stitch all around

Align FF/L1 with the pocket piece(RL/L2/P1-3)and pin

Bind all around with bias tape (The one I used was a bit too narrow; I suggest using bias tape that is at least a quarter inch wide when folded)
Create a small snap button tab to keep the wallet secured when folded



How to Use/使用方法:

Stick your bills and coins into the inner pocket and fold as shown. The coins will fall into the change pocket at the bottom and can be retrieved via the outside zipper
將鈔票和銅板丟進皮夾後折起來。 銅板會自動掉進靈前口袋裡,能用外面的拉鏈來拿錢



Pockets for your cards!口袋!

I hope this was helpful (or at the very least, interesting)
It took me a long time to figure out the schematics of this design and also to write this tutorial ^^; For extra strength, you can interface the layers.

If there is interest, I can also custom-make these wallets for you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tutorial Forthcoming, Seriously!!

I made another magical wallet! This time is for myself :) I changed the dimensions of the wallet and took photos of the process, but it is taking very long to edit them all.

There will be a tutorial for this soon ^u^v Just thought I would update very quickly~

Finals week is also almost over ^0^

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fashion Bringing Friends Together

Woohoo I'm pretty much done with the bulk of my Final tests and projects! Just sitting at school waiting for class now, and I figured now is a good time to write a serious, albeit perhaps a bit sappy and sentimental, personal post.

This may be a bit long with many photos, which have taken a very long time to edit and censor, but I really do feel like it is a worthy thing to talk about. As you may have guessed from the title, it is about how Lolita Fashion has brought strangers together as friends.

At first it seems like a cliche, overdone topic. Of course meetups bring us all together to bond over Lolita fashion and then move on to other topics and make new friends. This happened in MN of course, too. But the main difference is that almost 100% of Lolitas already have a group of friends, Lolita or non. When I went to my first meetup in MN I wasn't afraid of being ostracized and being forever alone in this world. If everybody hated me, fine. I have other, non-Lolita friends I can hang out with and they were all totally cool with Lolita fashion. Luckily, that didn't happen and I met a ton of cool people through Lolita meetups ;)

When I came to Taiwan, however, I didn't know anybody. I was not in school, which is usually how people make friends. I did not have any cousins or relatives to introduce me to friends since I was living with my grandparents. For the my first year in Taiwan, all my friends were exclusively Lolitas whom I met through the Internet and via meetups. This has made me realize just how big a part of my life Lolita fashion is. If I were not a Lolita and moved here, I would have been utterly alone for the first year. Yes, I did go out on my own, but it is exceedingly rare for strangers to strike up conversation here. Everybody tends to keep to themselves.

So I thought that I would create a sort of documentary of my first year here and how Lolita fashion actually affected almost every aspect of my social life up to and including my school and classes! I feel like I owe a lot to the lovely ladies who went out of their way to help me with things I didn't understand, and things I didn't even know I didn't understand!

My very first meetup here was not exactly smooth, to say the least ;) but it was here that I first met DORO喵 (pronounced doh-roh miao, like a cat saying meow) who found the location for me and was generally very nice to me. Since this was my first meet, I really don't have many photos :P You can click the post link to see the ones I did take!

There were no more meetups until February when 小芙 (xiao fu) hosted a meetup at Madam Rose. So I saw DORO喵 again, and also met 琪琪 (qiqi in Chinese, said like "chi-chi" or kiki in Japanese), both of whom later did make an impact on my life, so it is important!

After this meetup DORO喵 invited me to another private meetup where I met and got to know a bunch of other Lolitas better including NiYa and Hako, the queen of Group Orders!
After this meetup I made a Plurk account because Plurk:Taiwan Lolitas::EGL:Western Lolitas

More meetups and things were had, I became better friends with everybody, tested into school, etc.

Then, at the Rabbit Rabbit meetup in July I met LOI(luo-yi) represented by the coffee cup below:
She is a graduate of Shi Chien University (my school) though she ended up going through the business side of fashion rather than the developmental side.

After I transferred my school credits so I wouldn't have to retake classes i have taken already, DORO喵 arranged a meetup for me, LOI, DORO喵 and another Lolita named Pigi胖 (hereby shortened to Pigi) who has been taking classes at Shi Chien to help me choose my classes *u* it was IMMENSELY helpful because the required classes and elective classes were separated into "Fashion Program exclusive" and "Whole School" sections and is just quite confusing, overall. Pigi helped me choose my first semester classes and explained some of the more complex class types, which ones should be taken first, what teachers to avoid, which classes would be redundant if take alongside another class, etc. Yea, complex stuff!

In September at the Yukata meetup, I met another schoolmate who is currently in Third Year of the Fashion Program!
L to R:

KAMIKO has become one of my good friends :D She's really sweet, though quiet, like me ^^;

Throughout the school year there have been a handful more meetups, which is always a lovely break from the stress of school!

Occasionally I would get very down because to be honest, I have very little self-confidence and probably rely too much on outside approval ^^; Sometimes I vent on my Plurk, and once when I was feeling especially down because my group for Western Fashion History had done the group project completely without me, 琪琪(QiQi/KiKi) told me that I seem to look negatively at myself often and I should try to love myself more. Though that may seem like a really simple, cliche statement, coming from somebody who is as confident and unafraid to speak out as she is, it really made me want to be more like her. While I find it hard to believe, 琪琪said she used to feel the same way about herself (what??) so that gives me more hope that I can become more confident. Though I am optimistic about most everything, I am pretty negative when it comes to myself XD;;

I am truly grateful for all the help and positiveness all these lovely ladies have brought into my life. Time has been flying by, but the photos and memories I will cherish forever ♥♥♥

Congrats if you read all that ;D
Also, thanks for reading and following my blog! I love reading your comments and feedback. Lolita has brought together people who may have never otherwise met online or in real life.

Actually, as I was finishing up this post KAMIKO came and gave me a bracelet she made:
She has one too, so we're matchy-matchy!

I am in emotional turmoil at the moment due to both feeling touched by all the fantastic friends I've made and also my own sense of accomplishment for finishing the project due today.

I realize this post is probably too long to be a "good blog post." It is probably too personal or sentimental to be "reader-worthy." But I feel really awesome right now. So I'm gonna post it.

Please, please share in the comments how Lolita has affected your life! Though it may seem like some trivial vanity thing, Lolita is more than just fashion. It is a community, a lifestyle (which doesn't mean tea and cookies all the time), and a fantastic bonding opportunity.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Belle's Library~Princess Syndrome

Lolitas are often compared to princesses most likely due to the extravagance and expense of our wardrobes. Even though we know that we are not royalty, passersby occasionally make the assumption that a Lolita has Princess Syndrome (and may even voice their opinions in exaggerated whispers.) I tell myself that it's sort of like people who think all Goths are Satanists. And then laugh, because it's ridiculous.

That was sort of a tangent, but the real reason I'm putting off my homework to make a quick post today is because of some Lolita in Mass Media!

One of my favorite singers, Jay Chou, recently released an MV for his new song 公主病 (Princess Syndrome) where the girls wear real Lolita from real Lolita Brands!

The outfits have already been identified to their respective brands, so if you are curious just follow the jump!

The first girl is wearing Angelic Pretty
Country of Sweets JSK

The second girl is wearing Chatilly
Chantillic One Piece

in blue

The third girl is wearing Atelier Pierrot
I won't even pretend to know its name

Anyway, that's it for my quick break :P Back to homework!

Let me know what you think of the song/title/MV! I like to know what other people think of Lolita in Mass Media ^u^

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Meetup Report~ RinRin Dolly in Taipei

Happy New Year to my lovely readers!! How did you spend your new year? I spent mine curled up on the floor all alone painting my homework for Creative Basic class and didn't notice the clock tick past midnight XD

Anyway, I finally got some time to edit and put together a quick post about the RinRin Dolly tea party!

On Dec. 26 there was a Lolita meetup for Angelic Pretty model, RinRin Dolly! When RinRin first posted on Facebook about wanting to come to Taipei, a Singaporean lolita I'm friends with on FB tagged me in the comments so I contacted RinRin about having a tea party. At the Le Petit Fruit meetup Kitsune offered to help organize the meet, which was fantastically helpful because she knows more cafes and locations than I do :P

After we got final details we had only 2 days to put this whole even together, but with a lot of rushing, teamwork, and extra effort on Kitsune's part, it was completed successfully! The guest list filled up extremely quickly since there were only 15 seats available.

Our lovely guest of honor:
RinRin Dolly!

The lighting at Rose House is incredibly dim, but luckily Kitsune knew a cosplay photographer who was able to attend on such short notice and with his magical lighting equipment we got some nice shots!

After everybody was settled, we first introduced ourselves, how we got into Lolita, and how we know of Angelic Pretty. There was a lot of interesting translations going on since RinRin only speaks English and Japanese :P But it went quite smoothly and was a lot of fun!

Me doing my intro :P I just did mine in English and Miss Cat translated into Chinese for the other Lolitas

Sneaky photo (that's my hair on the side haha!)

Then we all had food! In order to help things run smoothly, we'd all looked at the menu online and put our orders on the Facebook event page. Then, Pigi copied down all our orders and ordered for us so we wouldn't have to take forever waiting for people who arrived a bit late or had to look through the menu. Pure brilliance, in my opinion!

I got the Rose House Afternoon Tea with Rose Latte!

After eating we had free time to take photos and play paper, scissors, stone against RinRin for prizes! It was really fun though I don't know when to throw out the sign in the Japanese version (we played in Japanese) so I messed up both times haha! Doesn't matter though, because RinRin threw scissors both times and I always throw paper first. I'm not sure why D:

Then we had free time to talk and take photos!

Group photo with my schoolmates!
Left to Right:
LOI, Pigi, RinRin, Me, Kamiko

Mass group photo!

琪琪had brought her Polaroid camera so we all took Polaroids! I am halfway blinking in mine and look bad, so no scans for you!

RinRin signed them all for us *u*

Afterwards, Kamiko and I went back to Pigi's house along with 琪琪 to get changed out since we actually both cut class to go to this meetup.... ^^;


It was a lot of fun, RinRin was very sweet and elegant in real life, and I hope Angelic Pretty will host an official event here in the future!