Mar 31, 2011

Loliprompt: Me Sew Loli

For those of you who sew your own clothing, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever made a lolita garment out of? Old bedsheets? Discount fabric with Elvis’ face printed all over it?
If you can’t answer that question, what’s the weirdest material you’ve ever known someone’s lolita outfit to be made of? 

I've not yet been overly adventurous in my sewing attempts, though I have plans for a few... interesting dresses once I think I can manage them. I'm still determined to make a martian manhunter inspired coordinate someday when I can figure out how it could work. I've made a skirt out of another skirt and a corset out of boyscout spats, it that counts. And I'm still working on my last unicorn dress, which truly is a labor of love.

I do have a short wishlist of fabrics, however. The first is a hot air balloon fabric, though I've not found the right one just yet. It would make a really nice JSK, I think. I would call in my Around the World dress. A few others:

I want a skirt made from this to show off my inner geek princess.

 Why not have a dress to express your feelings on Monday?

Book-lover loli!

 Sushi loli?

You can find all the fabrics I posted here.

Pretty of the Week: Chocolate Fascinate Fairytale

Are quaint little houses not adorable? The print makes me think of those cute little model villages, only made of valentines candy and displayed on delicate lace doilies. I love that, though it looks cute and edible, this isn't a super sweet print. It has a pretty, old world kind of charm. It's as if Hansel and Gretel found a candy village filled with perfectly lovely people that gave them sweets and packed them a bag of food for their parents before sending them safely home with an invitation to visit on weekends.

But I must say that the black version of the print has the extra charm of looking like a romantic midnight stroll as well as a strawberries and chocolate village.

 I won't lie, it kinda makes me hungry.

Mar 29, 2011

Books Movies for Lolitas: Tangled

Chameleons are oh so loli.

If you haven't gotten around to seeing the newest Disney Princess, then this is your chance. Today is the day the movie was released for home viewing. I was ever so excited to receive my amazon package today - thank you amazing and wonderful husband!

For those of you that didn't make it to the theater, the movie is about a sick queen, a magic flower, a kidnapped princess growing up in a tower, an evil witch, a thief and an adorable lizard. But I don't want to give away too much, so I'll leave it to your TVs to explain how those are all connected.

I have to say, I wasn't expecting that much from the film at first. The rumors of change in the early stages of production, the drive to market it to boys combined with the unimpressive trailer and the track record for most any non-Pixar 3D animation... it all failed to impress. But I'm still a girl running around in princess dresses with a tiara sitting in my hair accessories drawer, so to the theater for princesses I went. I was very happily proven incorrect about the film. The film is good, and the visuals manage to remember what a disney princess film should look like despite the animation style. The songs were very classic Disney - some more old school and some more in line with more recent films like Mulan. The whole tale was utterly charming and I adored each and every character. I can see where they attempted to cater to the boys but it was blended in a way that made it work in the film where it didn't in the trailer.

Tonight is Rapunzel night at my house. Pasta, pie and the last of the hot cocoa while sitting down to marathon the movie and any and all of the extras. 

Please excuse the diversion to film this week, I just couldn't resist a chance to blog about my new favorite princess.

Mar 24, 2011

Pretty of the week: Walk

At first I didn't really care much for this pattern, but the more I see it the more I'm charmed. It has a simple country feel to it, but the stark color use makes it feel a little bold as well. I like how it leaves off the ruffles and mountains of lace and has only the single bow. This is a dress for doing things, not for sitting in front of a tea set looking pretty. This would be a perfect dress for a day of picnicking, chasing butterflies, venturing into interesting little shops and exploring winding pathways.

Mar 23, 2011

Loliprompt: Some like it hot, some like it cold

Which season tends to be more conductive to your preferred style: Summer or Winter? In the opposite season, does your style change, or do you wear the same things and try to bear the cold/heat?

I've always tried my hardest to have a wardrobe that can change seasons with me. Picking dresses while keeping this in mind can keep me from saying goodbye to a favorite piece for most of the year. That said, most of my lolita clothes are made for cooler weather. I simply love the feel of winter fabrics, which can make spring a difficult season to dress for - silly since it's such a perfect season for flowers and frills. This year, rather than being sad to see all my beautiful winter dresses disappear I'm determined to celebrate the season by going to flower festivals and planning special things to share with friends. Want to throw a spring celebration party of your own? Here are a few ideas:

Tazo Passion tea is possibly the prettiest tea ever.

1) Keep you drinks light. Spring is a perfect time to bring out the fruit and floral teas. Rose tea is perfect for a more elegant atmosphere, but teas with berries and passion fruit are beautifully colored and playful. Stay away from the heavier teas, though, if you want a really spring feel. If the day is especially warm you may even want to try offering a simple punch. You can mix a can of frozen strawberry drink concentrate with sprite for an easy punch that's extremely tasty.

2) Short cake parfait. This is an easy dish that can be dressed up for a super elegant evening or made in a larger bowl for a more picnic sort of feel. Start by prepping your berries the night before. Cut them into small pieces, sprinkle with sugar and let them chill overight. Before the event, crumble your shortcakes and layer them in the bottom of each dish. Then top with the berries and a layer of cool whip. Repeat this for another layer, then add an extra whole berry on top of each parfait for decoration.

3) Rice Krispy 'petifores'. Start by making rice treats and cutting them into the shape you want. You can make the more traditional squares or use cutters to make hearts or flowers. Melt down a bag of white candy melts or white chocolate chips and add coloring. Or, if you want to be a little more adventurous, add a spoonful of macha powder instead. Once the mix is smooth, dip your rice treats and make sure they are well coated. Once the chocolate shell hardens you can decorate with icing or add pre-made candy flowers to really make them look like little cakes.

4) Don't forget to have a savory option! Try for some light sandwhiches like chicken salad - which can be made many different ways for different tastes and effects. Seasoned toast cut in miniature pieces and deviled eggs are also wonderful additions for a spring theme.

5) Swap the scones for plain tea cakes.

6) Don't forget to decorate. What says spring to you? Flowers? Birds? Butterflies? Keep your theme in mind and stick to it. Small vases with single flowers are elegant and inexpensive, or you could collect wild flowers for free for a more natural look. If you don't feel like getting flowers at all, try picking up some fake butterflies from the floral section of your local craft store and scattering them across the table.

Mar 22, 2011

Books for Lolitas: Princess Ben

 Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

This week's book is one based on a fairy tale I'm sure is pretty familiar, but this is no average Sleeping Beauty story. Princess Benevolence has lives a fairly spoiled life, or she does until the tragic accident that leaves her the unprepared heir to the throne. Suddenly she's swept away by her aunt for a crash course in being royal and all the things that go with it. She now has lessons and must follow rules of etiquette and, most annoyingly, must look the part of the willowy graceful princess. But when she finds a hidden wizard's room she takes matters into her own hands. A series of hardships and adventures follow, and she learns a lot more than a few spells in the end.

I have to admit that at the beginning I didn't think this was a book I would review, or possibly even finish. Ben is a hard character to like at the start, which is oddly enough one of the reasons I ended up appreciating the book at the end. She's fairly realistic for a fairy tale princess - it really does get hard to imagine that out of all the privileges girls in these stories that there isn't even one that didn't end up a bit of a spoiled brat. She had potential, though, which kept me reading long enough to see the beginnings of her transformation, by which point I was honestly wanting to know how her story ended. The change is gradual and and I like that about it. There is no singular moment that changes her personality to one that could successfully run a kingdom, rather it's a series of little things that make her just a bit better as a person.

In addition to the more realistic character growth, there were a handful of other moments I enjoyed. Some were funny, some made me cheer. I will say that everyone should enjoy the moment when the prince comes to kiss the princess awake. I also like the fact that Ben has a fuller figure than the other princesses you read about, and that she is more than happy with how she looks. It makes her a decent role model despite her spoiled attitude.

Mar 17, 2011

Pretty of the week: Dear Celine Poet of Spring Rose

This is such a pretty dress. It has a sort of simple sweetness to it that I just had to feature it this week, despite my desire to post about a green dress today. I really love dresses that can be pretty with textures rather than prints, though those are plenty exciting. I'm loving the ribbons and how they are just slightly darker while all the white lace and trim is just slightly lighter. This is a dress for a princess going to a little tea party with her closest of friends. Perhaps somewhere surrounded by powder pink roses and white clover flowers.

Mar 15, 2011

Books for lolitas: Brightly Woven

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

We have another fantasy story this week. Brightly Woven was a book I picked up with a rather large number of 'maybe this will make a good review' books. And I have to say it was my favorite of the bunch, even though I went into it without any knowledge of what I was in for. The story is a little like Howl's Moving Castle but with a sense of the epic rather than the humor.

The main characters are Sydelle, a girl from a desert village with a knack for weaving, and North, a rogue wizard who shows up and ends a ten year dry spell. As payment for bringing the rain, North takes Sydelle as his companion on his quest to stop a brewing war. Though I can't say a whole lot more than that without giving things away, I can tell you that the plot it well... woven. Forgive the pun I honestly couldn't bring a better word to mind. While there were parts I saw coming, others took me completely by surprise, which is a rare treat after a life spent with my nose in a book. The characters are all very amusing and, again, I'm enthralled by the relationships in the book and the ways they develop and evolve over the course of the story.

This is certainly a book I'd recommend to everyone, and is a rather quick read if, like me, you have a hard time putting a good tale aside.

Mar 14, 2011

In which I fight darkspawn in my pretty dress.

I missed this week's Pretty of the Week, and believe it or not, I do have actual reasons. It wasn't only Dragon Age and Pokemon eating my life and free time. But I can't deny that I've fallen in love with both games all over again. And, since I've already spoken a little on the Pokemon subject, I figured I would make a post about the other.

To be fair, I can't really write a decent review yet. I've been slightly sick and rather busy learning new systems at work besides, so the time I've spent playing has been a bit shorter than I'd like. But from what I've seen so far it's going to live up to the original, even tough the pacing is entirely different.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the first game, why? And also, a description. The game takes place in and under a country called Ferelden. It's a country that's both similar to every fantasy country and entirely different. Mages are rounded up and locked in a tower unless they're needed to fight in wars. Elves are only recently freed slaves or are hiding in small groups in the woods. In this country there are also gray wardens, who exist to defend the world from darkspawn, which are similar to orcs but with a much darker history you learn as you play. Every so often they find and corrupt an old god and swarm up to take over the surface. Your character is recruited to join with the wardens and in short order becomes the one that's in charge of saving the entire world from the hordes of demonic orcs and their corrupt god leader. Along the way you recruit others and can then gain approval or disapproval that changes they way they act towards you. Some of these characters may fall for your character over the course of the story.

Some of them are adorable and horribly frustrating.

The game gives you many choices about what you want to do, who you help and who you work against.  And most of these things will change the game as you play or will affect the ending of the story. It's a great game, and I was thoroughly excited about the sequel that came out a few days ago.

The first thing I noticed about the new game (aside from the new and improved visuals) was the difference in storytelling. And I do mean that literally. The first game is straightforward, for all the different ways you can get to the end. There's an army of bad, you raise armies and you go off to slay the bad god. It also thrust you into a fairly important position early on. It's your duty to save the world and if you don't then no one else will and everything dies. The second game takes a different route. You open on a dwarf being interrogated. There are many legends about you, but he's the only one that knows the truth of things, because he was your companion. You don't know what the legend is or what it's about - just how it begins and that at least the dwarf is alive to talk about it when it's over.

This time there is only one origin. You and your family are fleeing one of the cities that were overrun in the first game. You make it to the city of Kirkwall where, as the oldest child, you have to see to your family's survival. And that's it for the beginning of the story. You don't join any sacred order and you aren't trying to save the world. You're just trying to keep everyone you love together. The story also spans a period of ten years, rather than the single year of the first game, which means that everything happens a bit more gradually. I rather enjoy this, myself, as I'm not picturing my character rocking back and forth in fetal position trying to cope. This seems so far to be a fantastic game for those that enjoy character development and letting a story unfold naturally rather than along a planned line.

I don't want to go too far into the story or the characters, as I know many people dislike those sorts of spoilers. I will say that I'm loving everything about it, I've seen a few familiar faces I didn't expect, and also, Bioware seems to think men that glow are the next best romance characters ever.

Because if your lover can't double as your nightlight, then what's the point, right?

Mar 8, 2011

Books for Lolitas: Wicked Lovely

I loved fairy tales as a child, and still love them today. As much as I dreamed about being a Disney Princess when I grew up, however, the books that fascinated me were quite a bit darker. I won't say I didn't love to strap hot pink wings on my back and run around throwing glitter at my brother, but I had at least a basic knowledge that some fairies weren't friendly and wouldn't be at all fun to meet. So even though it's nothing at all like the fairy tale stories I've reviewed so far, I feel it's only right to include one of my favorite books (series, really) in with all the others.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

This story is about faeries, but it centers around a human girl that has the ability to see them and the cursed king of the Summer Court that tries to woo her. But it's far from the typical girl/supernatural boy love story. Aislinn wants nothing to do with him or the magical creatures he rules. Because these things are flipping dangerous. Far more dangerous than vampires covered in my little pony flocking. (Don't hate, you can't deny what those special effects looked like.) Aislinn only wants them all to disappear so she can spend time with the human boy she really wants. Unfortunately for her, the curse the Summer King is under makes what she wants impossible and she has to figure out a way to make a new path for herself, one that isn't either of the choices he offers her.

This. Book. Is. Amazing.

I'm tempted to stop there, because I really could go on and on for days about the series. The description I wrote above doesn't even go into the relationship between the Summer King and the Winter Girl, or the Dark Court characters that play much bigger roles in the second book (which I love even more, despite the fact that it's ten times darker than I'll normally read) or the awesomeness that is the human boy or how the Winter Queen could beat out any Disney Villain or any of the other millions of reasons why this is a book absolutely everyone should read. Yes, it does get dark, things are creepy and there are no happy princesses in the story anywhere. But even so, it's a story about choices and finding the best ones when you aren't really sure what they might be - things that anyone and everyone should be familiar with. And, you know. Awesome deadly faeries.

The first book is one I would recommend to all readers. The second is better, but does deal with some very heavy topics and is more for a more mentally mature audience, though it is still a teen marketed book. Others in the series fall within the range of the first two, but unlike those don't really make sense as stand alone stories. (And the newest only just came out. Hello book store!)

Mar 3, 2011

Pretty of the week: St. Mephisto Cathedrale - my other dream dress

I know many girls that have only a solo dream dress. I happen to have two, though this is a second place to the Infanta striped dress. I have to wonder if that's my mind playing with me and doing what it can to make me happy due to the price of the dress or an honest opinion, but never the less.

Even if I'm unsure where it stands in the dream dress hierarchy, I do know that I love this print. The ivory colorway ties with the purple one as my favorite, though I see myself wearing the ivory much more if I were to ever be lucky enough to own it. There are so many ways I can see it coordinated, too. A rose pink cardigan and pink shoes. A chocolate blouse and boots. And ivory or cream blouse or cutsew, and pink and chocolate hair clips. That's just what I'm picturing off the top of my head. I would love to wear this jsk on a long thrifting adventure, finding vintage pieces to wear it in new ways.

Mar 1, 2011

Books for Lolitas: East

Since it seems that I've been doing a good many YA fairy tale retellings I have decided to simply go with the theme. This week's book is based on East of the Sun, West of the Moon. It's a slightly lesser known tale when compared to Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella or even stories like Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is partly Beauty and the Beast and partly Cupid and Psyche, but being from Norway it includes icy northern winds and polar bears, which makes it the perfect book to review as a farewell to winter.

What by Who: East by Edith Pattou

The story opens with the tale of Rose's birth and an explanation of the superstition of birth directions. Rose, accidentally a north-born despite her mother's wishes, is adventurous and only sits still to practice her weaving. But there is less and less time to pursue her favored art as the family farm fails and her older sister falls ill. One night the family is visited by a white bear who promises both riches and her sister's health in return for Rose. And so our heroine starts off on a journey that will take her further than she expects.

The book follows the myth very closely at the start, but the ending is wonderfully reinvented in a way that makes Rose into a very strong character. The imagery in the words is beautiful, and the voices of the alternating narrators are well crafted and even the smaller characters have personality that makes them memorable enough to be revisited at the end.

But perhaps what I love best about the tale is the romance. Unlike many stories, the romance isn't about heated glances and things done to win the prince or princess over. There is no handsome face that makes the girl's heart flutter and gaze woefully at her own plain, reader-connectible, appearance. Instead the girl and the white bear grow a friendship and a comfort between themselves and the relationship starts simply as trust. Even when she undertakes her great quest to get her prince, Rose is unaware of what those feelings have become and strives only to free him and to make right the mistake she has made. I find that I really appreciate this gradual, awkward and almost accidental love story. It's refreshing. The author isn't trying to put a character in as a place holder so that readers can envision themselves with the handsome male lead of the day. Frankly, I wouldn't want to be Rose for all her pretty silver, gold and moon colored dresses. I'm far too content to admire her bravery while snuggled under my warm blanket. But that doesn't mean I'm not thoroughly in love with her story.

If you are a fan of epic journeys, polar bears, characters with strong senses of honor and subtle but sweet romances, then this is certainly a book I'd recommend picking up.