Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays + Lolita Contest

I hope everyone with an Etsy shop is experiencing some of the holiday rush! I had under 50 items total, and have already sold three this month, so I'm a happy camper. ;)

Santa kind of forgot about me this year, but with a bit of help, I might win something from my wishlist:

My spring lolita fashion wishlist (sort of*)

Please "like" the picture by clicking on it to reach the Lolitadesu Facebook page! You don't have to "like" anything or anyone else for this.

The person with the most "like"s or "share"s wins one item from her wishlist!

*Mine would be all white except white items apparently don't work very well with Polyvore collages

Monday, November 5, 2012

the wind dances with the trees: Though we've been knocked down,the sun will rise ...

the wind dances with the trees: Though we've been knocked down,
the sun will rise ...
: Though we've been knocked down, the sun will rise again, friends. We will rise again.

A friend's Hurricane Sandy haiku. (I hope I'm posting this the right way.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Haiku

Even though I started this blog for Etsy, I just wanted to mention this here, too...

I won a poetry contest!

It's sort of silly, but it does accept worldwide entries, which are judged over several months by at least one real established poet. So at least it's a legitimate contest of a decent scale. Plus I suppose entries support our local Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival by "raising awareness" (definitely a silly phrase, but I digress).

This could almost bring me out of the slump I've been in since I received my last rejection letter (because I stopped submitting fiction afterwards >:P) in late 2011. But I was surprised to find that what made me happier than winning was seeing the "like"s from my former wordsmith coworkers. Of course the little thumbs on Facebook don't mean much -- I spam them all the time -- but these are people who work with words themselves, and who usually don't "like" my inconsequential Facebook posts.

My heart is warm, even if my 1-bedroom is not. ("Utilities included" my arse.)

Anyway, my 2011 entries for the haiku invitational didn't even get an honourable mention, so this year I'll be content with 2nd place.

Next year, though... ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Photo Updates

Just added a new item to my Etsy shop:

I've finally gotten settled in at my new place, where the house is facing the "right" direction so that I don't have to leave the blinds down every day to keep out the blinding sun. Of course, as you can see, my photos are now suffering from the change. :P

It's a lot quieter here, so I've actually been very productive... I've already made a pair of floor cushions for my new living room, and finished a bunch of old projects -- including a coaster/place mat I've been putting off for about two years now (look under the plate below).

A huge chunk of my day is more or less wasted on cleaning (because the previous tenant stank and the place still sometimes stinks) and cooking (I made an ugly stack of ugly pancakes! XD), but over all I think I've been making better use of my free time.


I've tried several new tea houses already, including the above, which opened just last month.

And here are two of the new projects I've started:

A bit of cross stitching, even though I haven't completed my first piece (a traditional bookmark) yet, and a small teddy bear.

The needlework probably won't be appearing in my shop, because I used a pattern (gasp) and haven't significantly altered it -- at least, not yet. I did in fact alter the face to make the bear cuter, but I've also let the candle's flame get into the poor fellow's eye...

Here are a few less embarrassing photos:

Matcha cupcakes, made with about $12 worth of matcha (plus Mexican vanilla), and later served with English Devon cream. :]

Aaand a little gift I made for the buyer who brought the little Jack-o'-Lantern home! The apple is only about 2/8th of an inch tall.

Which reminds me... Hallowe'en is almost here again! It's my favourite day of the year, but having made my own costumes several years in a row, I've also been getting a lot more stressed out over it. Especially because, after Hallowe'en 2011, I had made up my mind to go as Snow White this year, but now two REALLY, REALLY TERRIBLE Snow White movies have come out...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back to Etsy!

First things first, I've made a treasury on Etsy for the first time in months. It is ballet-themed, but not too childish... Enjoy!

Last Saturday, our ballet school held a "bling party" for the adults. Basically everyone brought a bit of craft supplies or just broken jewelry and beads, and we set them all out in paper plates on a huge table right in the studio. Then we fired up the glue guns! (I brought a boxful of thread and needles, of course.)

I'm sad to say that this is the first time I've ever sat and made pretty things with other women. :/  The craft groups or events around here are always 1) hipster knitters, 2) seniors at a senior centre, or 3) intended for small children.

It really was a lot of fun! If only Vancouver were more like... say, London, I could do this a lot more often.

Here is a terrible photo of the hair combs I made:

I felt like making roses that day, so they are both formed around hand-stitched satin roses. I made the blue rose out of a scrap of reptile satin left over from my Hallowe'en mermaid costume, and the mauve rose out of a bit of ribbon.

After the serious sewing part was done, I added feathers, tulle, beads, pearls, and lace with hot glue! Can you believe I haven't touched a glue gun since grade 1? Oh technology. :P

Here's one of them in my ballet bun -- but they'd work with various hairstyles (J. tested a feather haircomb our teacher made, and it held fast and looked great in her loose hair):

We stayed for about two hours, and then I had to rush off to a barbecue, so I finished this green one at home:

They are all available for sale! Full proceeds go towards the Barbara Ann Hutton School of Ballet. ;)

I also made this plush strawberry house as a "thank you" gift for the couple (and their toddler) who invited us over for said barbecue:

(Around the base is a strip of white lace that reminded me of a white picket fence!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July Update: Ballet Recital Over!

I didn't add anything new to my Etsy shop in June, either, but of course I had a good reason:

Our annual ballet recital (my first, actually) on June 23 went off without a hitch! (I'm at the very front in the photo above.)

The adult class "prepared" by seeing the Mikhailovsky Ballet's production of Swan Lake together the week before, on June 16. It was beautiful... I think Swan Lake is now my favourite ballet. ;)

The dress rehearsal was terrible, actually, with everyone forgetting their steps and places, and my being too fast as usual while the girls who, frankly, didn't rehearse enough, being too slow... but somehow, after a week of panicking and last-minute "Ohmygod which leg am I supposed to lift here?"s, everything came together!

Here we are performing our first group piece of the program: Fall.

Up next (for me, anyway, since I had no solos this year) was a demo of the barre exercises we did in class...

And then everyone's favourite: Giselle!

(I'm the foremost person on the right, in the above photo ;D)

And here I am at the end of the day, looking sweaty and pink and entirely flat-chested (hahah), with three classmates to my right. <3

I'm also glad to see that ballet is rising in popularity again, as shows like "Breaking Pointe" (now an integral part of my Thursday schedule) and "Bunheads", plus films like Black Swan and First Position (premiering in Canada in July or August!) are popping up everywhere... even though I'm still having trouble convincing friends and coworkers to take up beginner ballet.

But with only a few classes left in ballet summer school, it won't be long before I'm making things for my shop again! I can hardly wait!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

May is Over?

Oh dear. I've postponed the vacation pictures for so long that I haven't posted about anything else since April! I will get back to posting regularly once our June 23rd ballet recital is over.

For now, here's a quick image-heavy post to cover the end of April, all of May, and beginning of June. XD

I went to Victoria for Easter break and visited another castle! My first "real" Victoria trip with Raccoon (as opposed to quick weekend excursions) took place 2 to 3 years ago, when we visited Craigdarroch Castle and the Royal BC Museum.

This time, we got to see everything we couldn't fit into that first trip.

The castle grounds were just gorgeous. At least half of our few hundred photos were taken there.

We also visited this former nun school. It was too large to fit into one shot, but this is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the full building. I love the history and opulence of the place.

I'm not religious at all, but I think it's reasonable to say most people can admire Catholic iconography on an aesthetic level.

There was a meadow of unidentified star-shaped flowers outside, as well as smaller patches of bluebells, daffodils, buttercups, and (my favourite? :P) dandelions scattered about elsewhere.

This yellow dollhouse was the home of a prominent Canadian painter and writer. I really enjoyed walking around the beautiful heritage house, especially seeing or imagining what she had mentioned in her semi-autobiographical short stories and novels.

No trip to Victoria, however brief, is complete without tea at the Empress!

I also brought back some beautiful Irish linen and Belgium lace (handmade by true artisans!).

And of course, we tried the macarons from a local bakery. I'm not going to mention the name because they weren't very good (too hard, hollow, and lightly flavoured), but aren't the colours pretty? Perfect for Easter! ;)

Speaking of macarons, I tried the ones from Plasir Sucre in Vancouver yesterday:

Despite the flies crawling around beside them (...), we ordered one of each, plus some fruit tarts. The brand of tea they had wasn't very good at all, but the tarts were delicious.

The macarons, however, were uneven in quality. Of the six we had, two were dry and crumbly, two were soft and a little mushy, and two were the proper consistency. Since the owner didn't indicate the flavours, we had trouble identifying the odd aftertaste of the chocolate macaron, and the WHOLE taste of the strange peppery one. (It tasted like steak.)

It was a lovely afternoon, though!

And lest this becomes a "What I did this weekend" blog, here are two pictures from a visit to some iris fields in Washington (US) that show the bow-and-shorts set I made myself.

The thing on my head is a double bow with cotton lace on a flexible fabric-covered band. The bloomers (puffy shorts) are the same, with a vintage-style red resin rose on a lace bow on each side.

100% cotton fabric and cotton lace, completely hand-sewn without a machine. I spent about three days at work (the boss was away :P) and two evenings on them... while multi-tasking, of course.

What I've learnt from this latest project is that I SHOULD GO BUY A SEWING MACHINE.

I plan to keep my Etsy shop handsewn and OOAK, but for things I make for myself -- and I mean human-sized clothing and bags -- there is really no point in putting so much time and care into them!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Enter This Giveaway from Savage Lilly

I think we're JUST at the deadline, but I'm entering this spring giveaway of lolita-related accessories from Savage Lilly... and you could, too!

Visit her blog for details:

Prizes include pretty jewelry, fake nails, and other stuff that would be appropriate for mainstream fashion as well. ;)


On a related subject, I'm making a tiny sale post on the egl sales community right now. Only 3 items at the moment (all BtSSB), but once it's sunny enough for better photos, I'm hoping to post some dresses...

My standard lousy photo

...if I can bear to part with anything in my wardrobe after all.

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Doll and Tea Time Photos

This is going to be a "photo dump" sort of post. ;)

New doll for March

Disclaimer: I made this doll for the Dollmakers Team challenge -- "green and a pattern" -- which ran through the whole month, so it's not a belated St. Patrick's Day doll. :P

As you can probably tell from the photo, Vancouver is finally seeing sunshine again! It actually snowed again last week, but NEVER MIND THAT. Soon I'll actually be able to post new items with slightly less terrible photos!

Well, these two photos are still terrible. :P I took them at dusk.

Anyway, I finally finished the embroidery I was working on, and turned the material into a lavender sachet. It's sitting on my table right now, smelling heavenly.

Made this new head-bow out of beautiful Cath Kidston fabric, to go with my new green lolita JSK. The band is more teal than green, so I'll need to mount it on a different headband or maybe a ribbon.

ETC bolero, In the Starlight OP

Here I am, having tea downtown on St. Patrick's Day. The tea cosies were felted from "upcycled" vintage sweaters... How Etsy is that?!

Scone shot!

Indie Japanese brand JSK, Jane Marple socks, DC blouse

Here I am, a week later, at a brand new tea house by the sea. The tea house itself is a heritage building, and the interior is black and pink and French/princess-themed!

Here's a partial shot of the food. Who doesn't like to look at pretty food? ;D

Yume coat, AP tote, Infanta dress, H&M tights

Here I am, just yesterday, at another relatively new tea place by a different beach. ;)

It was a grey, rainy day, so the area was entirely deserted. I love the rain and my significant other hates parking in tight spaces, so it worked out perfectly for both of us HAHA.

As you can probably tell, this place is more "Asian" than "English afternoon tea". The food was nothing spectacular (Raccoon says it tasted like it came from Costco) but the tea service and tea were solid.

Then, while buying tea at a sweet little shop nearby, I found this adorable miniature tea set!!! It's not the fanciest thing ever, but the bordeaux flowers & gold trim are neatly done. And because it was missing the second cup, I got it for less than $10!!

Raccoon said the pieces would be too large for my doll and too small for our stuffed animals, but I didn't believe him. I guess the picture above proves he was right...


Looking back, it has been a wonderful month! I've definitely been spending WAY too much on pretty clothes and vintage books and delicious tea, but I've also passed the probation period at that new job and gotten a raise, so it more or less balances out. (Sorry for mentioning finances here.)

Soon I'll be heading to Victoria for Easter weekend, seeing the Svengali ballet, and making a royalty-themed doll for the next Dollmakers team challenge. Can't wait for those April showers!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dollmaking Kits

I love dollmaking kits, and craft kits in general. Especially the ones meant for kids.

Kits are generally simple and fun to work with, and won't leave you with piles of extra material to keep reusing in other projects. The results make great mini gifts... for people who wouldn't appreciate something you made from scratch. :P

Raccoon recently got me the ballerina dollmaking kit above. When I opened it, I knew I wasn't going to follow the instructions because her leotard was all wrong(!!), and I'd rather hand-sew than use the glue, double-sided tape, and Velcro included. But somehow one change followed another, and everything SNOWBALLED until my half-finished doll was completely different from the one on the box.

I think the colours I chose are much nicer (orange hair???) and the fabric-pen eyes will certainly last longer than coloured pencils, but I had never regretted a project more than when I was sewing the tiny hem on this doll's tiny satin bodice. HOLY.

Do you ever find yourself unable to STOP making changes to a doll or any other project, whether it came out of a kit or your mind??

Anyway, this reminds me our ballet class will be having a party tomorrow before parting for spring break. I should go to bed and just work on this doll during the (ballet) movie. How much more inspiring could it get?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chirimen Clown

Progress shot!

Miniature clown doll

He's a mix of Western (European pierrot) & Asian (Japanese chirimen fabric). :)

By some crazy fluke, this doll I've been (occasionally) working on for a month or two fit the theme for the Etsy Dollmakers Team February challenge: "circus"!

Although the leader had hoped to see some ringmasters and lion tamers, everyone made a clown lol... You can't blame me, though, I've been so busy with the new (writing) job and ballet classes that I already missed one challenge, and didn't see this one 'til now.

Here's to hoping I finish my clown in time at least... Just four days left in the month!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Neglected Shop...

...sells better?

I've been too busy since New Year's to enter Etsy team challenges, create treasuries or favourite people back, or add more than 1 new item to my shop. But I've actually sold 3 out of my inventory of 40-something items, yay!

I guess amigurumi are still really popular. I've never had an item sell this fast! :P

My niece has also never liked anything I've made as much as she liked this (blue) sock monkey!

I guess these were relatively popular BECAUSE I didn't have time to finish them off the way I would've liked -- ie. with a LOT more details and accessories. Less is more, I guess... just like how our houseplants always die from overwatering, lol. (Not that they fare much better with neglect!)

In the past month, I've also sold a hair accessory, and made another -- a simple one -- as a gift to the buyer. Now I just need to finish a long-belated Christmas gift, and I'll have time to concentrate on the shop again!

Goal: 50 items (again) ^ ^

Thursday, February 2, 2012


January has been a busy month! I've been writing for work -- mainly legal documents, which are surprisingly easy thanks to my otherwise useless philosophy degree -- and restarting ballet lessons.

(Left: Jess; Right: me)

I also saw the Bolshoi Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty last weekend, thanks to Cinplex. Of course the music would've be much better live, and front-row seats would've been much nicer if we weren't staring at a giant movie screen, but it was really a great experience. I loved the gorgeous costumes and dancers!

As a bonus, I even stumbled upon this coupon for any of the Bolshoi ballets in the 2011/2012 season, posted by Maple Leaf Mommy. Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Comic

I've been enjoying the holidays with friends, so there haven't been much craft-related news for a blog post (just Facebook & Twitter updates).

Then this "conversation" took place over Twitter:

Pandy (a web comic artist) tweets:
"beginning my new year detox by flushing out my tear ducts and sinuses with a week or so of non-stop pathetic weeping and streaming snot"

I reply:
"How about following up with some joint exercises? Say, by drawing another strip?"

Pandy says:
"how about you draw a strip for me? make it really funny please! please include a dog called 'wooftown' who wears sandals"


So, taking that as a dare/challenge, I drew this comic:

(Click to see full size)

I think it came out pretty well, considering how I just used a mouse (without even a mousepad) and good ol' MS Paint. :P

I haven't doodled in about 7 years, but I used to love drawing enikki (絵日記 -- literally "picture diary") about my cat and daily events... Both drawing & reading them brings back fun memories!