Saturday, 30 June 2012

Old house

One of the most nutritious imaginations foods are big old houses: the not unpleasant scent of aged furniture, the muted light patiently fading the upholstery, and the fancied ghosts of residents long gone.

New rooms have been opened in the county house we like visiting, and I feel like I still haven't taken enough photos of it. The first time I went, I just happened not to bring the camera, and today we were in a rush, but we'll go there again.

My mind stages everything from fairytales to ghost stories in this versatile setting. There are also art and photography exhibitions of the Royal Family, and of the grounds, which are inspiring too.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lace skirts

For romantic floatiness or creative layering, it doesn't get any better than lace skirts. Their detail, texture and surprising versalility makes them into a valuable piece in one's wardrobe.

Admittedly, lace skirts aren't known for their powers of insulation so the looks I've found for this trend are quite summery, but I find them immensely useful for layering under dresses to give them more shape, an extra few cm of length, stop the dress sticking to tights, and add a unique, high-end detail to a previously ordinary dress.

Click for LB

Due to my lack of sandals, I tend to wear my light cream tiered skirt with Converse, because I'm weird like that. My black lace skirt (which I swiftly purchased upon spotting it whilst leaving TK Maxx) I originally needed for concerts with music ensembles, but I found myself wearing it all the time. When it is a bit chilly, I just sneak another black skirt underneath it. Sssshhh!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Summer '11

The Thames

Country house on DeviantART

Last summer feels a lifetime away and the next summer is on my doorstep, after this last week of trials and tribulations. This summer has to be golden - no exams, no pressure, no anything until school starts again... pretty much.

Welsh hotel

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Another of my favourite costume designer Colleen Atwood's triumphs is the breath-taking collection of costumes in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Overall, the film is nothing phenomenal, but I only watched in the cinema twice because the visuals are so absolutely stunning.

Atwood's illustrations
While the storyline has always been a touch too random for me, the visual world of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland never fails to capture my imagination, with its motifs of size distortion, card suits, tea parties, disembodied grins and general drugginess. (I regret to admit I cannot read too deeply into it, as I read the books many years ago.)

The visual fantasticality of Tim Burton's film did not disappoint, and I feasted my eyes, fascinated by the characters, costumes and scenery. Alice's signature pale blue dress is familiar, but a little more mature, to suit Alice's age in the film.

Just look at the animal embroidery along the rim of the dress, the little stripey fingerless gloves, the neat row of black buttons, the beautiful lace and ribbon neckline. As I've said before in my wishlist post on Victorian blouses, I absolutely love the elegance and sophistication of Victorian fashion.

"Young Alice is in a neverland between adult clothes and children’s clothes,
 which is why I made the blue dress the way that it is, it doesn’t quite touch the ground, 
it doesn’t have a hoop, it doesn’t have a corset but it has embroidery around the hem 
which acknowledges Wonderland in a way but without saying it."
- Atwood on the blue dress

The showstopper frock, however, was most definitely the red dress. I just could not get enough of it. The asymmetricality, the translucency of the layers, the frayed ruffle, even the little arm wrap Alice acquires during the film, it's perfect.

A display at ArcLight Hollywood

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Experiments to run, research to be done...

I drew a comic! I've been playing lots of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword these few days. I have the habit of getting very bogged down in sidequests and minigames for those evasive heart pieces I'd swim in lava for. Or rather, make Link swim in lava for. We do what we must because we can!

'Experiment' on DeviantART
 It's a masterpiece, I know. I did spend a whole twenty minutes or so on it.

Sometimes it's hard to get Link to do a certain move at the crucial split second, because my left hand twitched on the nunchuck or because I veered half a degree to the right when thrusting the remote forward. Apart from the occasionally temperamental controls, Skyward Sword is really awesome.

I played two hours of violin this morning and it almost killed me. Everything's almost killing me nowadays - I should toughen up. I also had another awful dream - or sensation? - of auditions and violin lessons and who knows what else clashing together. It gets to the point where it's making me doubt myself, but thinking about it lucidly, my violin lesson is definitely not on the same day as my audition, so at least that was only an imagining.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Outfit sketches

I've had an arty few days, and now they can get even more artier because I am officially done with exams this year. The violining is indeed agonising, and I keep dreaming about having more exams I didn't even know about. It's not very nice.
Outfit Sketches on DeviantART
Cardi: New Look
T-shirt: Esprit
Necklace: Next
Belt: Topshop
Shorts: Lee
Socks: present
Trainers: Converse
Blazer: Next
Vest: Primark
Blouse: Topshop
Shorts: New Look
Tights: New Look
Socks: Primark
Boots: Rockport
Bag: Nica
Cardi: New Look
Choker: Claire's
Vest: Esprit
Dress: New Look
Skirt: Malvin
Tights: New Look
Socks: Tesco
Heels: Hush Puppies
Scarf: mum's wardrobe
Cardi: mum's wardrobe
Dress: M&S
Belt: sister's wardrobe
Tights: Dorothy Perkins
Socks: Pringle
Boots: Clarks

I traced these from pencil sketches I did, to help me remember what looks I want to shoot, and what looks I want to try out. I do own all the clothes there - perhaps you can recognise some of the garments - but I suspect my sister is in possession of the green corduroy blazer, which is somewhat understandable seeing as it belongs to her. Perhaps you'll be seeing the ensembles on the right in photographs soon.

Also, I'm drawing my best friends' faces, as presents. The one I just finished is excruciating but I'll show you once I recover.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Lace-trimmed cycling shorts

Last week I struck upon the idea of sewing this wide lace trim I knew I had in my drawer to some cycling shorts, which I also already owned. With all the materials in my house already, there was no excuse for me not to DIY these lace-trimmed cycling shorts.

Surprisingly, I was inspired by Olivia Harrison; while I really like some of her looks, I don't dress like her in the slightest, but she's the most prominent person to me who's sported these shorts.

Nevertheless, I'm finding them very useful for layering under shorter dresses and skirts, as an extra precaution to preserve my modesty. Ironically, I had my doubts when thinking about what to wear them with, in case they would be mistaken for long underwear, which is not that modest... but but that's just me being weird, I hope.

Actually, I originally made them to go with the dress Ginge got me for my birthday, as it's quite short. I also recently discovered that it can be layered with my strappy black vest to make the neckline comfortably higher. The detail of the lace poking out the bottom of the dress is very pleasing, but I haven't got round to shooting it yet.
Click for LB
Unfortunately I can't wear them with shorts because I only had just enough lace to go round that part of my thigh, and it's not elastic. To help me get the tension right between the shorts and the lace, I stretched the shorts by inserting a magnifying glass inside the leg when sewing. It worked a treat.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

"Everything I think I am"

Yesterday was my last exam and the last day I had to go to school. I think my exams went well, so now it's a week of violining in preparation for an audition, which I am terribly nervous about, mainly because I really want to get in.

Anyway, it's so nice having a full set of matching bag, belt and boots.

Necklace: Clothes Show Live
T-shirt: Esprit, China
Shirt: Superdry, TK Maxx, mum's wardrobe
Bag: 'Made in Italy', mum's cupboard
Belt: sister's wardrobe
Shorts: Wrangler, DIY
Socks: New Look
Boots: Safiya, China

Necklace: Clothes Show Live
The pocket watch necklace was a fiver from Clothes Show Live. Our art class were taken there on a school trip. It was a bloody awesome day out for Ginge and I. Recently I told her how I mistyped her URL as 'foxfunk'. She then changed her URL to my typo. Way to shake off the stalkers!

I was watching BBC News, because I like to keep up to date with current affairs obviously, and in just one clip from the new British film, Fast Girls, I spotted Annie, Arthur and Mickey. That's Being Human, Merlin and Doctor Who all in one film. Wow.

Merlin's a bit of a funny one, isn't it? Its younger audience watch it for the dramatically childish plot and awkwardly slapstick humour. Its older audience watch it for its eye candy knights in shining armour, and a little light-hearted gay sexual tension. (Surely that can't just be me.)

The last episode of Silk was absolutely riveting and the finale next Wednesday I am looking forward to with that sadly missed nervous excitement I experience when committed to a currently-airing television series.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Steampunk Long Fall Boot

Lace-up boots are a long-standing love of mine. Portal is one of my favourite games. You already know where I stand with regards to steampunk. So, as part of my art coursework, I designed this boot, which ties in to my fascinator with the concertina newspaper wing. Cogs, heel springs and wings - overkill? Probably yes.

Steampunk Long Fall Boot on DeviantART
On Paint Tool SAI I traced over my pencil sketch, added textures (which I've linked to on my dA) and shaded them in a little. Don't zoom in. Just don't.

Ex-Aperture test subjects will recognise the heel spring
Want to find out more about Aperture's Long Fall Boot, as a potential investor or simply as a crippled test subject hoping to avoid future accidents? Look no further than Cave Johnson's enrapturing advertisement.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Steampunk fascinator

I think the first art project I almost took seriously from its beginning was this hat project, which coincided with the royal wedding. Since it's a style mostly unheard of 'in real life', basing the project on steampunk ensured my work was unique from my copycat classmates, and gave me an excuse to look at pretty things for inspiration.

Unsurprisingly, it has the crudeness one would expect of a school art piece at this level, but hopefully it will get me the marks. The art I really value and wish to keep is the 2D stuff I did more recently, the paintings and such. 3D is not my area.

Does that cog in the middle look familiar? The DT department had some Lego Technic pieces kicking around, which they kindly donated to me. I shoddily spray-painted it with a sickly yellow colour, which was the closest I could find to gold or copper colours.

My starting idea with this was the concertina-folded newspaper... windmill... thing. It's the only place the whole object can be held from safely, because if you try and hold it from anywhere else, the whole thing will just disintegrate.

Admittedly, my final piece was not a hat but a fascinator, which just about stays on, balancing precariously on my head on a plastic comb from the market, provided I don't move. At all.

Traced photo
 I traced over a photo just now just to confirm how awkwardly it sits on the head. There are chains hanging from it, chains I salvaged from a disgustingly tacky necklace from Tesco I bought for a pound or two solely for the chains, which I thought may come in handy one day. Usually when I buy things like that, I forget about it and never use it, but these chains were indeed useful.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

"Starless night will cover day"

I went nuts with the tights layering on this one, but I think the semi-transparent black dotty tights over the red make a lovely purply maroon colour.
Cardi: TK Maxx, mum's wardrobe
Top: Esprit, China, present from Mir
Bracelets: gifts from family and friends
Skirt: Asda
Underskirt: Malvin, TK Maxx
Red tights: Pretty Polly, TK Maxx
Spotty tights: New Look
Heels: Hush Puppies,

Red bracelet: present from China, from Dad
Cherry bracelet: handmade present from family friend
Cardi: TK Maxx
Top: Esprit, present from Mir, China
Heels: Hush Puppies,
Next week is my last week of exams, so see you on the other side.

Friday, 8 June 2012

A Trickle of Meaning: Ciara Baron

Finally I've time to interview someone again! Ciara Baron contacted me on seeing one of my adverts seeking interviewees, and I'm all too happy to feature her. With her creative and versatile style, this beautiful British blogger's Lookbook first caught my eye, and I don't follow many blogs, but A Trickle of Meaning made the cut for me, with its mix of college projects, photography and DIYs.

1. Hello, Ciara! What are three things we should know about you?

1. I adore animals. In fact, our entire family is animal mad. At my mum's house, where I live, we have two cats, a dog, a snake and a boatload of fish.

2. I really don't take much interest in music. I listen the the charts, but once I've heard a song a few times it irritates me, so I never download anything or buy CDs.

3. I'm terrified of what the future holds. I'm not very independent, and when I began college I was really scared. Likewise, I'm now frightened of the prospect of university and I keep putting off looking at any.

Some young people are bafflingly desperate to get away from their childhood and free themselves from their families. Nevertheless, as I fear it myself, I absolutely understand the terror of independence, responsibility and growing up in general.

'Dancing in the Blossom Rain' on A Trickle of Meaning

2. How has your style developed into what it is now?

I was dead set against taking interest in fashion until I was about eleven. I went through my emo, scene and indie stages, but now I just try to dress in a way that makes me comfortable and confident with myself. Sometimes I will be dressed in some slobby leggings and my Doc Martens, and sometimes you'll find me in a little tea dress with some elegant heels. It entirely depends on how I feel when I get up in the morning!

While I also admire the consistency of people with cohesive styles, I agree that it's so much easier being free and changeable.

3. Which of your looks is your personal favourite at the moment?

My most popular look by far has been 'Dancing in the Blossom Rain'. But my personal favourite is definitely 'Extraterrestrial'.

'Extraterrestrial' on A Trickle of Meaning

4. Who are your fashion icons?

I take a lot of inspiration from fellow bloggers. Style Rookie, of course, for her ability to dress however she wants, not caring what anyone on the street will think. Confidence is what makes an outfit. At the moment, I'm also loving Charlotte Clothier, Audrey Kitching, Megan Mcminn and Carrie from wishwishwish.

5. What do you think of the street fashion where you live?

I don't see a lot of individual street fashion where I live, which I find pretty disappointing! Although I did walk past a guy with a killer genuine punk leather jacket a few weeks ago.

'You're only as tall as your heart will let you be' on A Trickle of Meaning

6. Where do you like to shop?

If I go shopping in town I tend to get caught up in the pretty clothes in Zara and New Look. Lazy Oaf and the Ragged Priest are my favorite brands. But really, I prefer shopping in small online stores.  The idea of wearing something that's unique, and knowing I won't find anyone else in it makes me happy.

7. What's your favourite DIY in your wardrobe?

Last year I made myself a navy panelled skirt. I'm quite proud of it because it's the most complicated thing I've made for myself outside of college.

'Diamonds do appear to be just like broken glass to me' on A Trickle of Meaning

8. As an insight into your studies in fashion, tell us about a project you're doing or have done as part of your course.

My current project is titled Eccentric Olympics. The end product is going to be a photo shoot and magazine cover inspired by the Olympics. Through my research I chose to look at politics relating to London 2012, specifically the unfair ticket situation and ever-growing budget. My shoot is scheduled for this Friday, so I'm sure I'll be blogging the photos soon!

Alongside this project we're also designing and making skirts for the end of year fashion show. Model rehearsals start when we return from half term, so it's going to be pretty hectic.

That sounds like a fascinating project subject, mixing politics with art. I can't wait to see the results of your shoot, and good luck with the fashion show!

'I'm from the city where the rain won't cease' on A Trickle of Meaning

9. What do you see yourself doing, and where, in seven years' time?

Seven years is such a long, long time. I'll be going on twenty-four. Hopefully I'll have gone through uni and discovered what I really want to do with my life. Perhaps uni will have given me the independence I really need, and I'll be living in a lovely flat in Brighton or London. I hope I'll still be blogging about my personal style and daily adventures.

It's been a pleasure having you, Ciara - thank you for the interview, and I look forward to seeing more of your style and art!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee weekend

Our long weekend is over, but just before I get back to business trying to memorise a history textbook for my last wheelbarrowful of exams next week, I've a few photos to post up.

The last few bites of Sunday night's leg o' lamb
Our family spent the weekend at my sister Mir's place, where she made us a roast dinner. Hopefully that leg of lamb wasn't used as a murder weapon, like in Roald Dahl's short story. The next day mum and I went to town.

A rare ray of sunshine

I really enjoyed the Jubilee concert on Monday night, especially Alfie Boe of Les Miserables, and Stevie Wonder who I'd heard of but didn't really know. Cheryl Cole, on the other hand, sounded like she'd been stabbed at every 'need' of Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. I wanted to hear more of Barlow in the duet, who can actually sing, and while his partner was beautiful, couldn't he have picked someone easy on the ears as well as the eyes?

The next day, on the way home, we went to a park. You would never guess that I was standing on a tree stump in the middle of a bustling city.

Coat: Antoni & Alison, TK Maxx
Dress: Parisian, New Look
Skirt: Next
Tights: New Look
Socks: Primark
Boots: Rockport, TK Maxx
I hope you guys had a nice weekend too.
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