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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Film Review: Belle

I bought this film ages ago but haven't watched it until now - for some reason I'm always nervous to watch something new to me, and have to pluck up the nerve to do it for ages (Aspie problems, I suspect), but I have no idea why I waited so long for Belle. I loved it! It was just my cup of tea; historical, about historical, upper-class, prejudiced society, and with plenty of gorgeous dresses and a touch of romance. The actors were amazing, the costumes were stunning, and the music was very pleasant too. There was also plenty of atmosphere and emotion - I almost needed to cry for poor Dido!

The story follows Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race daughter of an admiral who goes off to sea, leaving Dido in his family's care. At first they are stunned and rather perplexed that she was black, but it seems through the course of the movie that many people love her despite her colour, especially her cousin Elizabeth - whom claims she is like a sister to her - and a few men that try to win her heart. I love the relationship between Dido and Elizabeth - very sweet, and very realistic, as even Elizabeth has to snap at Dido at some point.
There is naturally a lot of racial discrimination throughout this film, very saddening in parts, especially when Dido appears to hate herself because of her race and we learn about the slaves that were killed on a cargo ship voyage. Dido finds herself intrigued by the case regardless of her family telling her not to get involved, and sets about trying to solve it and gain justice for the murdered slaves.

Belle was inspired by this 1779 painting, which I find very inspiring. Hopefully many more 18th Century-based movies can be made based around interesting portraits - I'd certainly watch them!

Art: Aika for Nami

Here's a drawing I did for Christmas for the lovely Sugar-Nami.
I'm really pleased that she likes it! Sorry about the pupils in the eyes looking off - I just realised as soon as I scanned it in to the computer that they're slightly iffy.

Here I was inspired by Georgian style clothes and paintings from the era. I could just imagine her wearing a muslin robe en chemise along with a fichu for a saunter around the countryside alongside Cherry!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Make it Own Dal: Veronica

I think I've mentioned here before that I got a Make it Own kit from Pullip Style this Christmas. Well, I was so excited to begin that I started a couple of days after Christmas and finished today! It was so much fun learning and attempting a new craft, especially as I was combining painting and dolls, two of my loves. Plus, I got to add a new doll to my collection, called Veronica!

First I painted the eye chips. I used my sister's nailpolish in a brown shade with glitter, called "heirloom", which is a rather fitting name for a vintage-styled doll. This was a bit nerve-wracking as it looked very clear in its first coat, but when I layered the nailpolish and added pupils with acrylic paint, it looked much better. Already, with eyes, the freaky alien doll face starts to look more human.

Instead of using the eyelashes that came with the pack I went out and bought some from a beauty store, as I figured that there I'd have more choice (plus, the ones that came in the set were looking a little limp and lifeless after their trip from America). On the same day I sprayed the front and back of the head with matt primer/finishing spray that my Dad had in his mancave (it's good to have a parent obsessed with painting minifigures, as not only did he have primer, he also had the paints I needed!) and applied ground-down pastels to the face for blusher and shading under the chin and eyes.
I used Cidatel paint for the eyemakeup and bottom eyelashes, which are looking rather unelegant and blobby at the moment, and brown pencil for the freckles and eyebrows.

 The dress is what I used Celeste as a model for, as in my mind Veronica is a 50s girl at heart. The hat was something I made for Aika ages ago, with supplies I bought from gift and craft stores in Maine, and the wig is from Pullip Style.


This is my first faceup, so I'm rather thrilled with the cute results. Here you can see her with Beverly and Audrey.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Dal Clair

For Christmas this year I received another lovely addition to my doll collection, Dal Clair! Not only that, but I also got a blank, make-it-own Dal to customize and paint; I'm feeling quite lucky this year to have a new doll project to keep me occupied.

Dal Clair is my first Dal, and I just adore her sulky expression and petite form. Dals are slightly smaller than Pullip dolls, which just makes them all the more cuter in my opinion - it's amazing how many intricate details the Innocent World outfit manages to fit on such a small doll!
Her dark green eyes look stunning combined with the brown of the dress and bonnet, and her ringlet curls are perfectly formed - just like an antique Victorian doll!
I adore the outfit she comes with, naturally, seeing as it is designed by Innocent World, and those boots that she wears are so cute and tiny.

She has to be my second favourite doll, after Aika of course!

Due to her sour, spoiled-child-looking features and pouted expression, a name came immediately to my mind as she reminded me of a girl I knew in my childhood: Grace. I know it's kind of silly, but as soon as I saw her she jogged that memory of the brattiest little girl I ever knew, and no other name would suffice. My Mum thinks I'm rather mean to name her like that based on her expression, but the name has stuck and I can't shake it! I also thought that Grace was fitting, as it's a rather religious name that reminds me of angels, which is fitting for a present received on Christmas day.

In my mind she's a young English child, perhaps ten years old or younger, with rich parents that love to spoil her with adorable clothes and many stuffed animals. She's not a sweet little girl made of sugar and spice and all things nice, rather, she can be manipulative and bratty, throwing a tantrum whenever things don't go her way. Yet despite all that, her parents see her as the apple of their eye and continue to buy her love. However, she also has her good side and can be very polite, kind and generous whenever she wants to be. She also stands up for those that she loves, especially if they're weak.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas, everyone! I hope that your holiday is relaxed and filled with family and fun!
Here are some photos that Carol took of me at the latest Lolita meetup. They're so Christmas-y that I now have an excuse to post them. :D

I spent the day with my relatives relaxing, giving and receiving gifts, eating, and playing a vampire killing game - Dracula's Fury! How was your Christmas?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Houndstooth 50s Dress for the Doll Family

Recently I've been feeling really bored without some sewing to do, so I nipped across the road to the local fabric store for a look at the remnants, with the view of making a dress for my Pullip family. I found a perfect blue houndstooth fabric that is the perfect scale for making a doll dress, and not only that, but it only cost me 2 pounds for just less than a metre!
For Christmas I'm gaining two additional dolls to the family - two Dals; a make-it-own kit Dal and Dal Clair - and I thought I'd make the make-it-own doll as dress, seeing as she will be arriving naked!

I used a Barbie pattern from Herbie's Doll Sewing, Knitting and Crochet Pattern Collection and printed it out. It was very simple and I shall be using this website again, as there are some fantastic patterns there for free, most of them out of print! I really recommend it, as there are patterns for all sorts of dolls, including BJD, Dal, and Barbie.

Making the dress was rather hard, as I'm not very familiar with working with such a small scale. The sleeves were murder, as was the collar! In the end I rather like the results though, so I'm pleased I stuck with it. I've come a long way since making my first doll dress, as you can see here.

The lovely Celeste (Pullip Nella) was my model for the making and photographs, as Pullips, Dals and Barbies are relatively similar in size. I had the idea that if the dress didn't fit either the Pullips or the new Dal, then I'd buy myself a nice Barbie to fit it instead. ;) I have my eye on the Lady Tremaine Barbie from the latest Cinderella film, as her looks are rather vintage and I love the dress!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Mad Hatter's Tea Pot Meetup

Yesterday I organised my first meetup, this time based in Southport with CLAM (Chester, Liverpool and Manchester), the North West Lolita community in England. It was my first time organizing something, so thankfully I had some help from Anna, who lives nearby the cafe in our town. I had such an amazing time!

Everybody looked perfect and the food and service at the Mad Hatter's Tea Pot was great! Everyone in the cafe was really helpful taking photos and such. My friend from college worked there also, so it was nice to see her too. 

Here's a group shot:

I had a gluten free chocolate brownie and Margaret's Hope Darjeeling tea, which I chose because of the name (I have a character called Margaret Baron that I write about sometimes). I didn't get any photos of the food because at that point I had misplaced my phone into a pocket in my Angelic Pretty bag that I didn't know was there, so I panicked a bit looking for my phone, haha. 

Here are some more pics of inside the cafe. The interior was stunning with an Alice in Wonderland theme, as was the cutlery and china; the china was mismatched, which I like as you never know what special design you're going to get - I had a pretty tea cup with bluebells on, which looks similar to a set that my Grandma owns.

Mo, looking very cute as always! It was Mo's birthday at the meetup, so I wanted to make it special. I hope she had a great time!

The elegant Ruth and Nadina.

Mo again, as well as Katelyn, who's favourite colour may or may not be pink, and Emily.

Sweet Anna who helped me arrange the thing, and an angelic-looking Carol.

After a couple of hours inside the cafe, we took the train to Southport town centre and shopped and took some photos inside the Wayfarer's Arcade, which was all decked out for Christmas with decorations and carol singers. There was a Christmas-y balcony where I snapped some lovely shots of the girls, a huge Christmas tree, and an old-fashioned sweet shop. We also went inside the tights store and a shop selling parasols and umbrellas, as there were some very Loli-able finds. 

It was funny due to the reactions we gained from the public. Some people stared, some took a few not-so-discrete photos on their phones, and more than a couple of bemused people asked what we were wearing. "Don't tell me you dress like that everyday", "where did you get your costumes?" and "are you in a pantomime" were some comments. I wasn't too bothered by it, as I let other people do the talking (they explained that it was a fashion trend from Japan), but I thought the people talking about the pantomime were rather rude. 
In the Wayfarer's Arcade there is a sofa and furnishings company, and a lady from the shop came out and asked us to step inside so that they could take a picture and send it to somebody as a Christmas card! I thought it was really funny, and we got some great group shots there.

Afterwards we went to the amusement arcades on the seafront seeing as it was raining, and hilarity ensued, including two sweet Lolitas stuck inside a kid's Cinderella carriage ride! 

I had so much fun, and I'd like to thank everyone that came along for the laughs and a great time!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Haul Post: Innocent World and Closet Child

This afternoon I finally received my parcel from Japan! I've been so excited ever since ordering, and when I heard the doorbell ring just today I literally squealed and ran downstairs to answer and sign for it! 
I'm happy to say that its contents did not disappoint me, as everything is perfect and everything fits well. The only thing that disappointed me was the customs fee I gained, which totaled at eighty pounds - almost as much as the items themselves - it was completely unexpected, as I was under the misapprehension that the shopping service I used (From Japan) would do its best to lessen the blow at customs by marking it down. Never mind though; we live and learn, and I'm completely in love with my items!

 I ordered Innocent World's "Cherub Angel Candlestick Bow Ribbon" JSK in navy as an early Christmas present to myself, as I cracked under how gorgeous it was and figured that seeing as the past few weeks have been tough, I might as well treat myself in an attempt to cheer myself up. I love it! It looks like a sister dress to my Three Archangels OP, as both feature angels as a part of their prints. This print also has candlesticks and stars on it, and for some reason that I can't fathom, it reminds me of A Christmas Carol (my favourite book), perhaps because of the Victorian styled candlesticks and religious imagery. It would make the perfect Christmas coordinate, though I'll wear it all year of course!

As well as that, I saw my dream print since my early days of Lolita on Closet Child - Star Chiffon skirt from Alice and the Pirates - and just had to have it, as I knew it would fit and it was going for a really cheap price (24 pounds!). Needless to say, the shipping and customs made it much more expensive than that, but I don't mind because it's so cute.
I hope the injection of navy blue in my wardrobe will make good on my promise for the New Year's Lolita goals! 

Here's a coordinate that I quickly put together for my meetup this Saturday, using my new dress.

Blouse: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
JSK: Innocent World
Everything else: Offbrand

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Midnight Georgian Petticoat

 I've been doing this project on and off for about a month now, so I'm glad it's done and I can move on to new things. The pattern was referenced from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion volume 1, though I added an additional panel to give it more volume.

 My original design had it paired with a pale blue Georgian sack-back gown that had black trimmings, though I'm always open to suggestions for a new contrasting colour if you have any ideas.

 The back, where you can see the ribbon tied from the front.

I was initially going to gather the skirt, though the material was so hard to work with that I had to give up and try maths with pleats, which didn't really work either, so I ended up with the strangest looking double-pleats ever - perhaps a new sewing invention? (haha)

It looked a bit plain with nothing on it, so I sewed a ruffle and it went really well, even if I was very nervous sewing it! It looks so gorgeous on the end of the petticoat, if I don't say so myself. 

Things I'd like to do better next time I make a petticoat:
  • Use a thicker ribbon for the waistband. Trust me, it will make it a whole lot prettier and easier.
  • Also, make the ribbon longer for tying round the opposite side of my waist. Ten inches is apparently not enough to tie a bow for me!
  • Instead of polyester taffeta, use silk taffeta or cotton - my fabric was really hard to work with. 
  • Do single pleats or gathers instead of double pleats (for some reason I couldn't get the waist measurements right, and had to settle for double pleats, which I don't think look very professional - I'm such a novice!).
  • Use a proper pattern instead of making your own (or following a Janet Arnold diagram, as obviously extant garments are only one size and would be different to my measurements). 
Next time I'll definitely look at buying a historical pattern from a company in my size, rather than rely on providence to make a Georgian pattern my measurements! Still, I had some fun making this, even if I did commit some sewing sins and the material frayed like the dickens. If I make this again, I'll probably do it in white cotton without as much decoration as an underlayer.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Sewing Plans for 2016

 Everyone knows that I'm the world's slowest sewer, so who knows if I can get all this done? In no particular order, I want to sew the following this year:

  • Edwardian (1909-1913) dresses in white, blue and white,  and black and gold - all from this pattern.

  • Victorian-inspired nightgown from the pattern on the top right.

  • Gothic Lolita dress. I'm going to use the Alice in Wonderland pattern as a basis and make it in entirely black cotton, perhaps with some lace in the shape of a crucifix a la Moi Meme Moitie style.

  • Period Lolita dress (inspired by the Victorian era). Something like this, in dusty purple and black. I'd like to look like a little Victorian girl!

  • Georgian francaise gown in blue, made from my Father's office curtains that he no longer needs, haha. I have a sketch but it isn't scanned yet. It will be pale blue with black trimmings.
  • Georgian robe a la reine with pink, purple, black and blue satin or taffeta sashes. I may also make some Lolita versions of the chemise a la reine.

  • 40s summer top from strawberry material. In my mind it's cropped and very summery. I already have the fabric.
  • 60s clothes from a Burda magazine I purchased, specially to wear in Florida when I go next year!
  • Vintage beachwear.

From EGL: New Year's Fashion Review and Future Predictions

 It feels like a while since I've done something Lolita related on my blog, so I shamelessly copied and pasted this from EGL.

End of 2015 Questions:

1. Favorite look of 2015
 I don't think I've photographed many of my looks from this year, to be honest. Mostly I've worn my Three Archangels OP from Innocent World in many different ways, so it probably has to be a coord with that particular dress.

2. Least favorite look of 2015
 I love all my dresses, however I'm not too sure I'm into Sweet Lolita as much nowadays, even if little girls do call me a princess. I do love this Baby dress, don't get me wrong, but I'm not so sure that the shirring suits me.

 I think I was going for an old school look here.

I'm also not too keen on the colour and textures going on here.

 3. Favorite purchase
 Definitely my Archangels OP from Innocent World! I wear it so much and it's so comfortable that I can just wear it around the house. It's also very versatile for an OP.

 4. Least favorite purchase
 I didn't buy it this year, but I'm not too fond of my Whip Showcase JSK from Angelic Pretty. I haven't worn it yet because it doesn't fit! I need it altered, and maybe then I'll love it more. Shown as part of an outfit here.

5. An item you wished you purchased but didn’t.
 I really coveted the Antique Cutlery JSK from Innocent World in the brown colourway, and was about to order it for my prom before it was sold out! Luckily I found my dream dress that I liked even more than that (Three Archangels of course).

6. Trends you liked and didn’t like from 2015
 I know I'd never have a place to wear it, but I really liked the OTT Classic Lolita trends of 2015; they remind me of balls and fairy princesses! I'm not too sure about trends I don't like this year, however OTT Sweet Lolita with the split-colour wigs are one of my dislikes.

 7. Favorite release of 2015
 It's certainly a late release, but I really love the Cherub Angel Candlestick Ribbon JSK from Innocent World. I'm so glad I ordered it, even if the custom taxes hit me hard (80 pounds!!!). I'm also a big fan of the Old School re-releases that Baby did earlier this year.

8. What were your fashion goals of 2015? Did you achieve them?
 My main goal was to wear Lolita whenever possible, especially at college, and I have achieved that goal. My classmates seem to find it very cute, and I even met a girl that ran a Lolita blog on Tumblr (even though she doesn't wear Lolita herself, I think).
New Year 2016 questions
9. Predict the new trends for 2016
 I have no idea really, but I hope Gothic and Old School styles are popular next year. I need more Gothic in my life. Perhaps OTT Gothic and EGA will emerge again? After all, we've already had OTT Classic and Sweet.
I also hope for... Medieval Lolita! Sounds weird, but I want the rich jewel colours and goriness to come to Lolita.
10. 2016 releases you are excited for
It's not really a Lolita release as such, but a collaboration that Baby is doing with Pullip and something called Petit Prince is rather exciting for me. I love this doll!

Look at that print! I'd call her Rosanne.
11. Fashion goals for 2016
  • Incorporate more colours into my Lolita wardrobe, rather than just pink. I'm looking at colours like navy and dark forest green, as well as white and black for next year.  
  • Wear Lolita as often as I can (this week I wore it three days in a row).
  • Accessorize more, use more unusual accessories like bonnets, and wear jewellery.
  • Do some more things with my hair, instead of having it just down or in a ponytail. I'll need my hair to grow more for this, though.