Saturday, December 11, 2010

Of Resolutions and Dreams

It's a little early for New Year's Resolutions, but there are several long-held dreams of mine that seemed like they would make good resolutions. In fact, I've already started on some of them. Although fulfilling any resolution or goal requires effort, these particular ones are the kind that don't seem like work at all (all though they definitely are, I can attest), because they mean so much to me.

Even so, sometimes these aspirations seem more far off than ever, so I thought making them into formal "resolutions" might spur me on. I know that often, making up your mind to do something, or taking the first step, can be one of the hardest parts of meeting a goal. So I'd like to invite you to think about any dreams of yours, lolita-related or otherwise, that might seem a long way away, and let's both try to get closer to that final goal in the coming year.

Some of my resolutions:
~Turn more of the stories in my head into rough drafts of novels
~Make demo recordings of some of my songs (songwriting is a hobby of mine)
~Keep improving my drawing, and learn how to properly color with Gimp2
~Expand my lolita wardrobe, thereby improving my sewing in the process.

Recently there was a post on Daily Lolita in which a lolita mentioned her intent to wear the fashion everyday for three weeks, as part of "breaking a social norm" for Sociology class. This inspired a narrowed down version of "Expand my lolita wardrobe." By next Loliday six months from now, I would like to have made (or loli-fied) enough clothing so that I can wear lolita for three weeks straight. Just thinking about it now is making me go all dreamy-eyed...

And when I start this ambitious project (the three weeks of actual wearing), the Era of Daily Outfit Snaps shall begin! In the meantime, be sure to expect a steady stream of sewing related posts. Of course, I'll be wearing lolita more and more as my wardrobe expands, so I do believe the Era of Slightly More Often Than Not Oufit Snaps will segue nicely into the other, aforementioned Era.

In other news, sadly I shall have to neglect this blog for a few weeks around Christmas. Every year my family takes a trip to visit grandparents and cousins, and its a bit hard to update when you're in a house with 24 other people.  (Oh yes, I'm the oldest of 15 cousins...and I love every one of 'em.)

So if I don't post again before we leave, I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Of Loliday and the sewing it inspired

Oh my, over thirty followers? Thank you all so much! <3

I must say, this week I've been dying to show you my Loliday coordinate, and now that the time has come to post again (what's this? Dusk Rose has a semi-schedule?), I can. The lighting wasn't great, so I messed around with it just a tiny bit in Gimp2.

I stayed home all that day, so excuse the lack of shoes.
My new petticoat really seems to bring out the potential in that skirt, both in poofiness and, well, I just like how it looks over this petti a lot better than my other, more casual one. All in all, I'm happier with this coordinate than I've ever been with one. (I've been saying that for the last several coords, actually, so let's hope the trend continues!)
And a rundown:
~corsage and necklace: handmade
~bow: Hot Topic
~blouse: Walmart possibly? I've had it for ages.
~bustier top: Charlotte Russe
~skirt: handmade
~socks: Target

Loliday made me remember just how desperately I want to work on new pieces for my wardrobe, so this week I finally set to work on that blouse pattern (New Look 6599). Here you can see it almost finished.


One of my favorite parts of of this pattern is the lace-up section across the back. I haven't laced it up yet, but here you can see the loops.

I've also begun making my first shiro piece, from one of the thrift store blouses I showed you before. Let's see if I can find that picture of the unaltered blouse...

And after a few alterations...

As you might have guessed, I borrowed the sleeves' pattern pieces from the black blouse.
I hadn't yet unpicked the pockets (you can't really see them here), but they're off now. I'll have to add some lines of thin white lace and ribbon to disguise all the tiny holes where the thread attaching the pockets was.

I mean to finish at least the black blouse before Christmas, so I can wear it on our annual trip to visit family back east. At any rate, I hope those of you in cold climates are staying warm, and those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, try not to let the Daystar get you down. <3 I know summer can be hard for us loli and gothic types!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Of other places to find me

I hope everyone had a good Loliday! If you like, tell me how you spent your day in the comments.
Partly because my non-loli plans for the day were canceled, I went ahead and dressed up (thus debuting my new extra-poofy petti) even though I spent the day at home. I'll be sure to post pictures soon.

But for now, this is mainly a quick post to ask, are any of you on Tumblr or Twitter? I've started trying to become somewhat active on both, but I'm a little networking-challenged, shall we say (or we could say: shy). I'd love to get to know all of you better, and in general to meet more lolitas online (or gothic types, or non-lolitas, just to make sure none of my dear followers feel excluded). So if any of you are on said sites, drop me a link in the comments and I'll follow you.

Speaking of links, here are mine:

Hopefully those links work. If not, let me know!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Of my new bow!--and some personal Loliday musings

You know, I had the strangest dream last night. I was in my living room, conversing with two of my favorite gothic lolita bloggers, namely akumaxkami of Les Fleures Noires and OpiateVampire of The Dark Victorian. (No, I don't usually dream about the blogosphere, really--I don't even remember most of my dreams for that matter!) We were chatting about whatever lolitas usually chat about, as though it wasn't at all peculiar that we were all there in person (we live very far apart in real life).

I suppose this unusual (but rather pleasant) dream had to do with an obstacle many lolitas face, especially when starting out--that of being isolated, outside of the internet, from others who love our fashion. You'd think I could get involved in my local community in no time, seeing as we have a lot of lolis where I live. But it's been surprisingly difficult to keep an eye out for meetups I can attend, not to mention amassing enough of a wardrobe so that I don't always have to wear the same outfit.

At any rate, with International Lolita Day fast approaching, I suspect many of us may feel that we're going to be left out of the festivities for one reason or another--whether it's a schedule conflict (it is for me), or not having a lolita community in your area, or for some other reason. On the one hand, it can be quite rewarding at such times to do something that brings lolita into your own life, even without a meetup to go to. Others have beat me to this topic, so I'll wait to give my thoughts on making bringing lolita into one's daily life (though as a lifestyler, you can be sure I have a few ideas on the subject--or I should). But like many others have, I encourage you to keep on the look out for a hobby or activity that makes you feel like the world of frills and whimsical beauty is a little closer, whether you're a solitary lolita or no.

Still, I know that even so, it can be very hard to be alone in what you love. And to those who are, I want to say: I know how it feels. I'm there too. Let's wish ourselves good luck that we won't be as solitary by June's Loliday. And in any case, I hope all of my readers have a wonderful Loliday!

And a note: there was certainly some amount of truth in the above-mentioned dream, because I must confess I've been wishing there was some way to meet up with all of my fellow blogging lolitas in person, gothic or not. Well, if and when I have the funds to travel alone, perhaps I'll try to come visit your cities/countries. I'd certainly like to!

Speaking of the fabulous akumaxkami, you may recall that I bought a bow from her Etsy (The Funeral Parlor). A couple of days ago, it arrived! And I have battled through Japanese homework, college transfer applications, and an irksome cold in order to finally take pictures. Behold:

And on my head:

(Sorry, it's a bit blurry, and the lighting isn't perfect.)
The center part of the bow has a nice open slit in the back where some kind of attaching-to-head device can be slipped in, so I've been thinking about how I'd like to attach-to-head. I've decided, although it's a bit of an unusual method (of course, your ballroom host is not known for being usual), that I'll try making a cloth headband that can be tied under my hair--a bit like a bonnet. Except with the ties in back rather than under my chin. Although, a "bow-bonnet" might be interesting.

Now I'll leave you with one more shot, in which I succeed in balancing the bow on my head.


Once again, a wonderful Loliday to all of you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of art (and roses and batwings!)

Recently I've had quite a few new followers, so thank you very much! I hope you enjoy your stay at the Ballroom.

Last month, I participated in a couple of art contests on Deviantart, so this is essentially an art post. The two contests had to do with very different fandoms, but the common thread was Halloween (but of course).

The first contest was related to Avatar: the Last Airbender. In fact, it was hosted by the Ursa x Ozai (or, Urzai) fanclub on Devianart, of which your host is a proud a moderator/co-founder. I love Urzai at any age (or timeframe, or universe, or....), but most especially teenage Urzai. So for the Urzai + Halloween contest, naturally I had to combine it somehow with gothic-and-lolita.

In Night's Arms

Isn't Ursa adorable in her loli? While I admit that I couldn't decide what sort of sleeves and so forth  to give her, that isn't the only reason for the conflicting features of her coordinate. You see, I decided that I liked the effect of having having bits of different outfits combined. It's as though you can see two separate sides of her, or two interpretations of her "fate," or...I can't really explain.
You may recognize the reference to the "red string of fate," a bit of Japanese folklore that I'm not nearly as familiar with as I'd like to be. But it seemed fitting: sort of ominous and romantic at the same time, which is very fitting for Urzai.
Speaking of ominous, yes, Prince Ozai does indeed have batwings. And claws. (And fangs, though you can's see them...) A form in which I can never pass up a chance to draw him. In fact, the first time I drew him in this incarnation, he singlehandly inspired an entire race of batwinged, fire-affiliated spirits that have haunted my stories ever since. <3

Do any of my readers, by any chance, like Visual Kei? How about roses? The band Versailles? Their vocalist? Speaking of that last one...the second contest's theme was "Kamijo + Halloween" (hosted by The Kamijo Fanclub on Deviantart). I drew inspiration from Versailles' song Zombie, as it's very Halloween-sounding (albeit rather atypical compared to the band's usual sound).

Graveyard Prince

I never knew it would prove so useful to know how to draw someone sitting with their legs crossed! (That seems to be the preferred pose of Kamijo-sama, so I ended up incorporating it into the piece.) Those boots of his actually weren't quite as hard to draw as they looked, thankfully. Which is a good thing, as those are Quite Some Boots.

I love using bits of red (especially for roses and blood--they're both so romantic! Yes, I'm serious) in an otherwise greyscale piece of art. One of my favorite things about this picture, though, is the splash of gold and blue for his hair and eyes. It's so startling in the context of a spooky haunting scene, you know? And odd as this may seem, it makes me think of a "rose that blooms even in the shadow of the grave"--which seems like an idea Versailles would like very much, even though I'm not doing a very good job explaining it, I fear. I guess it's because golden  hair makes you think "prince on a white horse" sooner than "gothic vampire." (Although Kamijo tries to be both--and succeeds, in my opinion--and of course, nothing says that gothic folks can't be blonde. I'm proof of that. If I count as blonde.)

The text is from Zombie; it says (roughly translated) "By the master's orders, beat the bones! Sing along with the song of the bats!"

If you'd like to view these pieces on Deviantart, please step right this way (er, click right this way?):
In Night's Arms
Graveyard Prince

I've been wanting to produce more finished art, especially art featuring my characters (most of whom are gothic or lolita -esque in some way or other). So if I complete any more pieces along the lines of these, I'll try to remember to post them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Of recent coordinates and A Proper Petticoat

My dear readers, I have just come from experiencing true cupcake poof at a new level. You'll recall the petticoat I was planning to make (albeit of tulle, not lovely never-apparently-dying organza or chiffon), which I loosely based off of this article and this EGL post?

Well, it is (essentially) finished! And it stands up on its own hem! If asked to stand like this, my old petticoat would gently melt into a circular puddle of black floof. (I apologize for the sun washing things out.)

Eh?!? Is it alive? Seeing as it is a gothic lolita's petticoat, I can't answer that for sure one way or the other. But the poof comes from 8 and 1/2 yards of stiff tulle being gathered as tightly as they'll go. Sure it'll die eventually, but at least I'll be poofy until I can make my organza or chiffon petti.

And now, worn pics, "before and after" style. The "before" is actually one of the recent coords I wanted to show you. A couple weeks ago, I felt like dressing up for a NaNoWriMo write-in my sister and I attended. (Write-ins/WriteIns are sort of like meetups, where a group of amateur authors comes together to work on our novels for National Novel Writing Month. They have write-ins all over the world, as NaNoWriMo has become a global event.)

I was partly inspired by the headpiece I made for Halloween--I wanted to wear it again! This is my first truly kuro gothic coordinate, which is big news because I consider my style primarily kuro gothic when it comes to lolita (or goth)...but haven't been able to realize said style very often, until now.
Also, new boots! They were purchased during the sale that Payless Shoe Source had in October. I still want to collect or even DIY copious amounts of loli-style laceup boots, but I like these to start with. Despite their seeming modernity, they give me that "antique doll feeling" when I'm wearing them, which for me is important in footwear.

Outfit rundown:
~headpiece, necklace, armwarmers and skirt: handmade
~blouse: Target (I think)
~boots: Payless Shoe Source
Perhaps I'll even make this coord my debut on Daily Lolita, if I'm feeling bold...

And now, the "after"! This isn't a complete coord--I just wanted to try out the petticoat and finally see my skirt poof to its full potential (oh, did it ever), so I put on the skirt and petti over my regular clothes.

Zounds! I'm a living (undead?) cupcake!

Now, for the other coordinate, which I wore for Thanksgiving yesterday, and which is much more goth than lolita.

(I apologize for the picture quality. It was very dark, so I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to lighten it with Gimp2. The bow has a netting/veil attached, though you can't really see it.)
Seeing as my primary "style inspiration phrase" for both lolita and goth can be summed up as "dark fairy princess," I was rather proud of this coord because I felt that it captured a certain haunting, fay quality that I'm always looking for. It helped that I have a new set of four eyeshadows (from Target, so nothing too special) to play with, one of them a shimmery white.  I used that one liberally along with black eyeliner and was quite pleased with the result.

And another rundown, just because.
~Tshirt: Target
~skirt: thrifted
~necklace: handmade
~headpiece: either Hot Topic or Icing
~knitted overcoat: hand-me-down (probably either a thriftstore, Target, or somewhere similar)

In other news, I have ordered a gigantic red bow with white lace from The Funeral Parlor, Etsy shop of akumaxkami (of Les Fleures Noirs). I know, it doesn't seem very like me--until one realizes just how fond of red the lady of this Ballroom is. In addition, DuskRose is also very fond of experimenting, and she would very much like to have a few Classic outfits in her wardrobe--while never forgetting, of course, that the darker side of Faerie is her true home. (I seem to have wandered into third person, just now. Ah, well. It happens.)

At any rate, I admire and feel myself drawn to the elegance and understated romance of Classic. While I'll
always be a gothic lolita first, I feel a certain kinship with the classic substyle, from what I know of it. And the bow, while more sweet lolita on its own, might work nicely, if unusually, in a Classic coord. I shall have to experiment.

So yes, expect pictures of said headpiece when it arrives! (And do investigate akumaxkami's Etsy.)

Also (in the second piece of "other news"), I have reached the goal of 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo! Having started late, I didn't even think I would finish, much less with a week to spare! Well, I shall have to see how much farther in Ayava's journey I can get before the month ends. (For the curious, take a look at my novel synopsis and excerpt over on the NaNoWriMo website. They'll be under the Novel Info tab, half way down my profile page.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Of a friend in need

This will be a shorter and rather more serious post, as the title might suggest. Akumaxkami of Les Fleurs Noires, one of my favorite gothic lolita blogs, would very much like you to visit her Etsy account, The Funeral Parlour, and see if anything catches your fancy. She has a somewhat pressing predicament, and there's a time limit: nine days, to be exact. If you'd like to know more, I'll direct you to her post here.

If possible, please do consider whether you'd like to or be able to purchase anything from Akumaxkami. If not, she asks that you encourage others to visit her Etsy account.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this, my dear readers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Of black roses where she slumbers

Well darlings, I hope you had a lovely Halloween. For those of you who have blogs, I've enjoyed reading all of your Halloween-related posts. Mine wasn't perfect, but it turned out rather nicely, all told. But more on that in a bit.

Also, I do apologize for the lateness of this post. I've been very much spirited away by the arrival of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), a mad, starry-eyed endeavor in which thousands of writers worldwide attempt to write a full novel (50,000 words) in the thirty days of November. That's 1667 words per day. And yes, you can start late and still have a wonderful time--the important thing is starting to write a story.

Doubtless you shall hear more dreamy ramblings on this subject in the future, as I travel along with my protagonist Ayava in his quest to discover what he must sacrifice to keep his world from falling into chaos. To learn more about his story, visit my profile over at NaNoWriMo.

Now, back to the topic at hand.

The week leading up to Halloween was, I must admit, quite stressful. Sewing on a deadline is something I can do (I've watched my mother do it for years), but balancing that and classwork is Not Fun.

At any rate, I'm sure you recall my plan to transform a few thrift store finds into a (antiquely romantic but non-lolita) Sleeping Beauty costume, as inspired by Lareine's song Kyokutou no Koibito ? Well, I realized that it would be very easy to make those two skirts I had into a lolita skirt, and found that I could not resist the enchanted call of loli!

The two layers of my skirt, spread out to their full width. Unfortunately they wouldn't quite fit on the sewing table, so do pardon that.

And now, an "in construction" snapshot of my blouse. I had just taken a trip to the fabric store, so that's my newly acquired trim you see there.

I had a bit of a time figuring out how I would take it on and off, but in the end I cut off the strip of fabric that had the buttons attached to it, then took some spare fabric from one of the skirts and sewed in an extra wide panel, over which to put corset lacing. The idea was for the extra fabric in the center panel to fold under the sides of the blouse, but still be able to expand and allow me to slip out of the blouse. Well, wriggle out of it. It works pretty well, but next time I shall consider either a zipper or shirring for my beloved corset-laced style of blouse.

It took a lot of work, but on Halloween night, the transformation was worth it. I think I achieved the ghostly, whimsically melancholy look I was aiming for, and that's a big milestone for someone who's not even sure how to style her own hair.

I had a full-length outfit picture, but it's on my other camera, and I didn't want to delay this post any further. So I shall have to content you with this photo (and stay tuned for a full length ambient shot at the end!).

I like to think you can see the influence from Yoh's art, as well as this exquisite rendering of a slumbering maiden, by Matayosi. My costume wasn't perfect, but I'm very happy with the result considering the time and materials I had.

I won't overload you with pictures, but here's a detail shot of the corsage and necklace, both of which I made from materials I had stashed away. (A stash is something every sewing or crafting loli should have. I'm still working on mine, but it's getting there.)

(I used flash, so it's a bit more bright and shiny than usual.)

You'll recall that I've been wittering on about black roses ("twined in her hair," as my costume's inspiration-song says), and well, these didn't turn out too badly, if I may say so. Lately I've become intrigued by corsages, and I wanted to put this scrap of lace to good use in making one.  I stitched one of those snap open barrette/clip thingies to the back, and braided the ribbons into my front braids, to give the "twined in her hair" effect.

The necklace is actually a remake of one I made this spring, but lost soon after I made it. Although it took only a few minutes to make, I hadn't had the heart to remake it until now, but I'm so glad I did!

Perhaps next time I should go ahead an take a detail shot of the blouse's trim. My hair seems to be in the way. Erm, yes.

Having been away at college for two years, I had missed being with my family for Halloween. We don't decorate much (I will change that in the future, mark you) but we've started carving pumpkins. I'm afraid I don't have a picture for you, but they looked lovely out in the front garden and on the gateposts.

I walked around for a while with my sisters and a couple of children from down the street as they trick-or-treated. I didn't carry a bag this time, but it was fun seeing everyone in costume. I saw the most adorable Draculaura, in the same group as a Mad Hatter. Very fitting that I should meet the latter while in loli! As to the former though---for those who aren't aware, Mattel is producing a new line of charmingly spooky Monster High dolls, presented as the highschool-age children of famous monsters. All of them are darling, but Dracula's daughter ("Draculaura") is my favorite of the bunch!

And now, I leave you with one in-character shot. After coming home, I grabbed a knitting needle to be my spindle. You can't see it very well, but the "spindle" is a deep blood red--one of my favorite colors, and wonderfully spooky against all the white (or so I think).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Of roses and a slumbering princess

With Halloween fast approaching, you know what that means for us gothic types: it's time to put together a costume worthy of the most otherworldly fantasies of our spookily-inclined hearts. At least, it does to me. With that in mind, several days ago I headed to a recently opened thrifts store (Acts Thrift Store, for any interested readers here in LA).

Perhaps because of the approaching holiday, or possibly as a result of my improved thrifting skills, I came across many goth-and-lolita-friendly finds. For those who, like me until recently, were mystified by the elusive Way of the Thrift Store Goer (so to speak), I've found that the way to find treasures is to keep firmly in mind what types of material you are willing and not willing to have in your wardrobe.

You don't have to have extensive knowledge of various types of fabric (heavens, I can't claim I do either). But when you consider a certain item, look at the fabric and try to decide if you're willing to wear that type of fabric. If not, there's not much you can do except use the item's design as a pattern for a similar item. On the other hand, a horrible item made of wonderful fabric can be used for raw materials, even if your DIY skills can't salvage the item's original design.

(Note~ Much of my thrifting knowledge has been gleaned from more experienced thrifters, such as The Lady of the Manners and Miss Lumpy. Their names link to a thrifting post from each of them, in case you're interested. Actually, to tell the truth, I couldn't find an entire thrifting post from the the Lady of the Manners, so in her case the linked post is merely one of several Gothic Charm School columns that has a paragraph or two of wise words about thrifting.)

Now, what treasures did I find? First, I have to tell you a bit about my planned Halloween attire. For the longest time I was torn between several options, but I believe I've happened upon a costume idea that incorporates them all. In short~ gothic Sleeping Beauty, thus combining one of my favorite fairytales with one of my favorite subcultures (the other being lolita, naturally).

For a longer explanation, well, I shall explain. Have any of you heard of the Visual Kei band Lareine? They aren't active any more, but I found out about them because their singer, Kamijo, went on to create the band Versailles, which is my very favorite musical group. If you like roses, vampires, French aristocrats, and a dash of symphonic and power metal, all mixed together in a fantastical epic saga, I highly recommend Versailles.

Little by little, and especially in the past few weeks, I've come to love the sentimental, romantic atmosphere of Lareine as much as I love the dramatic, unearthly grandeur of Versailles. One of my favorite Lareine songs is "Kyokutou no Koibito," which I have seen translated as "The Far Eastern Love." Judging from my still developing Japanese skills, it could also be translated "Lover from the Far East." Take your pick, my dears.

To tell you the truth, I'm really not sure how exactly the title ties into the rest of the song (although I love the title all the same). The song seems to be about a version of Sleeping Beauty with black roses twined in her hair, slumbering "in the midst of briar roses" while her prince searches for her with a sword of glass. From what I can gather, at least. Here are the romaji lyrics at, and an English translation at this website, if you'd like to read them. And of course, a link to the song itself on Youtube!

Rather than wearing loli, I planned to put together a long, flowy gown type of costume--the kind of thing in which you might imagine a princess slumbering. At first, while wandering around the thriftstore, I was trying to make up my mind between a kuro outfit, to go with the roses, and a shiro outfit, which besides having that lovely ghostly look I've been craving, would also feel more like a costume.

That came out strangely, but I mean that while I love kuro gothic, and I'm sure I could pull together a kuro outfit that felt fantastical enough to me, it would take more work because kuro gothic makes up the greater part of the wardrobe I'm putting together. Shiro, however, while it will eventually have it's own place in my wardrobe, lends itself more easily to the "strange and wondrous" feeling a costume should have, simply because I haven't worn white in so long. Dear me, I'm not explaining this very well, am I? Ah well...

In the end, in true Dusk Rose fashion, I picked...both! Well, I will have a mostly white costume, with a few black accents. In addition to tying in the roses, this will give me another dose of the Yoh-esque black x white asthetic I've been craving recently. Speaking of Yoh, I've figured out another piece of art that probably influenced both my love for the black x white look (not exactly the oldschool type of black x white, though I love that too) and my costume choice. I present to you this gorgeous piece by Mayatosi, which I first discovered via Tumblr. Doesn't it have a gorgeous, sentimental air of melancholy about it?

Is it picture time? Yes, at last!

I found a couple of skirts each made of the same, slightly crinkly material, and will use fabric from the all white one to make the other a bit longer and fuller.  

(Is that a "bubble skirt," I wonder?)

 (Sorry, I couldn't get this one to completely stay on the windowseat.)

Speaking of black and white, I love that embroidery at the bottom. The design uses white (or silver?) thread as well as black, which is delightful because one of my favorite types of fabric is the kind with embroidery in the same shade as the background, such as white on white or black on black. A detail shot~

For the top half of the outfit, I took my own advice and sought out an average button down shirt with fabric I love. It's full of the above mentioned white on white embroidery, you see. Even if I can't salvage the blouse, I have Big Plans for that material. I just haven't figured out what said plans are, yet.

I also found this blouse, which has the virtue of poofy sleeves. (Always a good thing. Always.) We will see what DIY can do with it. In order to spare you yet one more in this deluge of pictures, I laid out my third blouse option along with it. Well, not really a blouse option--I bought this one mainly for the sleeve material.

The one feature I knew my costume had to have was long flowy sleeves that gathered at the wrist and just below the shoulder, so I plan to use the lace material to achieve that effect. The lace (which unfortunately you can't see very well) isn't perfect, but it's pretty soft and it has a pattern of roses! To go with the (to be DIY-ed) ones in my hair! Er, excuse my squeeing then, if you will.

If you're like me, you believe that corsets and the like are always a good thing (kind of like poofy sleeves, but even more so--if you can believe it that is). Accordingly, I've found some sort of corset belt-ish thing made out of the most lovely silky black fabric, which will tie in the other black accents very nicely.

The nice thing is that when I'm done with this costume, the separate pieces will fit will into my regular wardrobe, so all my sewing work won't be in vain. Speaking of my regular wardrobe, though, I found the most amazing tee shirt while costume hunting.

It has a chandelier! Besides featuring one of my very favorite motifs, this will make an excellent cutsew to go with my socks (see previous post)! Really, I've been needing more chandeliers in my wardrobe...but then, don't we all? (Oh all right, I mean that all of us probably have some outlandish motif or design feature we adore--such as carousels, or cake hats, yes? Or black roses.)

Of kneesocks, lace and chandeliers

So then, what has your ballroom host been up to this past week or so? Well, a substantial portion of the answer would be: knitting. Do any of you happen to remember that tiny strip of red knitting from one of my early posts, which I promised would someday transform into a lace-up knee sock before your very eyes?

Well, so it has...

I haven't added the ribbon to lace it up yet, but almost-completing this inspires me to get finished more quickly with the other sock! I loosely followed the "Victorian Lace Socks" pattern by Lorri Ann Romesberg on The primary stitch--the mini-melon stitch--is based on a Victorian lace pattern. The yarn is Country brand.

Not many of you besides my fellow A:tLA fans will appreciate this, but I must admit that whenever it came time to make the "melons" I had the urge to declare, "I am Melon Lord! Mwa ha ha!" ~a la Toph. An urge I gave into more often than not.
Speaking of knitting, recently we took a trip to Micheals' (a crafts store here in the US) and my portion of the spoils were mostly of the yarn variety.

I already have some Vanna's Glamour yarn in black with golden metallic flecks, but I fell in love with the grey and silver version too. This yarn reminds me of delicate, spider-web lace--the kind my spider-fay characters would spin.

I remain fascinated by the Yoh-esque black x white asthetic I mentioned before, and I'm in the process of putting together a coordinate that captures it. I have the perfect kneesocks--a pair black with white chandeliers, which may be seen on this page (scroll down) at, but there's just one problem. The socks are not the best quality, and to my dismay they're getting holes in the toe. So, I have attempted to recreate the pattern in black and white yarn. It took a lot of stitch-counting and close examination of the sock, and I had to write down the pattern of black and white stitches in each row as I went along. But I don't think it came out too shabbily.

As you can see, the scale of the pattern is much larger in my knitting, because the yarn is so much thicker. (I'm using two different brands of yarn for this practice piece: the black and slightly finer yarn is Simply Soft and the white is, I believe, Bernat Satin). I would like to see if I can adjust the stitch count to make the chandeliers small enough that they would look good on socks. Of course, using a smaller yarn would help too.

All the same, I plan to use this piece of knitting as some kind of decorative...something, probably for my room. You see, I'm in the process of organizing and loli-gothify-ing my things, and it's still in the hectic stage. But if I start with the decorative crafting now, it will give me a head start--and besides, all organizing and no DIY makes DuskRose a very dull goth loli.

So, have you been knitting anything lately? Is there anything that you'd like to knit but don't quite have the courage to begin? I hadn't worked at all with different colors of yarn before making this chandelier, and replicating the sock pattern was another new challenge. That's to say, don't be afraid of trying something new. I know it sounds cliche, but I a little encouragement is never a bad thing. So if you've knit or crocheted anything recently, or just want to, let me know in a comment!

Of Other Cyber-Castles

Thanks, once again, to my new followers! I noticed several of you have lolita blogs, and I'm always glad to discover more of those!

A short list of my recent followers' blogs, for those interested:
~The Dark Victorian by OpiateVampire, a lifestyle gothic lolita whose views about lolita blogging and lolita in general I can very much relate too, because they are (for the most part) not too different from my own. And really, you should see her tips for gothify-ing one's living space!
~Lemontree by Oli, the lovely host of that first and only meetup I've attended (so far), a lolita who enjoys the lighter substyles and very adorably coordinates them.
~Bloody Fashionista by Crimson, who seeks "dark romanticism" (as she put it) in her preferred style of lolita--a quest to which I can certainly relate!
~Pretty Kiss by Firefly, a sweet lolita (I believe) whose appreciation for other styles, such as classic and even gothic, I very much admire!

My lovely Ballroom-guests will find these and many other lolita blogs in my blogroll, there at the side. If any of you have a lolita blog (whether or not I already follow you--yet, that is!) which you would like me to include here, do let me know in a comment! (Likewise, if any of you to whose blogs I've linked would rather not be featured here, let me know and I will edit the post accordingly.) I don't have a myriad of followers, but if I can help you get word of your lolita blog out there, I'd be glad too. Besides, I always love discovering new lolita blogs!

I should note, of course, that the idea of having a lolita blog listing post came from Miss Caro-chan of F Yeah Lolita, a gothic lolita with strong classic leanings. I'm sure many of you already follow her, but if not, why don't you check out her corner of the loli blogosphere?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Of monochrome flowers

A myriad of thanks and welcomings to my new followers! I do hope you enjoy your stay at the Ballroom.

Now, then. Recently I took a couple of excursions to one of the farther-away-but-massive Jo-Ann's Fabric stores, and you know what that means: picture time!

Browsing with the eye of a kuro gothic, I was unfortunately not able to find much useful fabric. It seems Jo-Ann's suppliers have not realized that subtly embroidered black-on-black wovens (or even just plain polished cotton or cotton sateen) are Absolutely Essiential. Next I will have to try looking online or dying fabric that's already close to black in color.

However, the visit proved useful in other ways.

Lately I've been craving more of a black-and-white aesthetic--not so much oldschool (though I like that too) as "delicate details in black white and grey scale, all mixed together." It's hard to explain, but perhaps you'll understand when I explain that part of my inspiration for this new greyscale craving is the Japanese artist Yoh, who creates beautiful and delicately morbid artwork without a hint of color in sight.

With that in mind, I decided to have a look at the quilting fabrics (which are generally stiffer than you'd want for regular clothes, but not bad for lolita skirts, or so I've heard). They actually have quite a few black and white prints, and in the end I purchased this one.

I love how bold yet ornate it is. It doesn't hurt that flowers and curlicues are some of my favorite motifs. I may try making just a simple rectangle skirt this time, both to show off the print and to hone my skills in skirt-making (drat that waistband).

On the next outing, I discovered some ribbon that almost matches the material. I'd like to figure out some sort of headpiece to make with this, to match with the skirt.

Speaking of the skirt, I found some buttons that will look lovely as fastenings for the skirt. They had several black and white button designs, but after deliberating I decided these pearl buttons would show up better than a button with such a similar design to the fabric.

I also bought a couple packages of these buttons, a while back. I don't know what I'll do with them, but I know it should be A Special Project. The blossoms are so pretty; they remind me of Japanese art.

And last but not least, I have now purchased ten yards of stiff tulle! It was only 2 dollars per yard, and with a 50 percent off coupon we were able to cut the price in half again. I must admit, so much tulle in one place is quite a formidable sight.

 I shall use it to make the petticoat from the tutorial posted here on EGL by LJ user adriannrod (based on the petticoat in this article about 50s singer Alice Lon), and maybe my heavy two layer skirt will finally poof to its full potential! The new tulle  feels quite stiff and scratchy, so I might use my current, relatively-un-poofy petticoat beneath it. But I am quite looking forward to moving closer to becoming a dark, frilly cupcake.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Of clothing alterations and October's arrival

At last we return to October!--the one time of year when the rest of the world realizes that yes, indeed, "every day is Halloween." I hope to find suitably spooky and whimsical ways to celebrate this month, such as going to look for treasures among all the Halloween merchandise at places like Target, JoAnn's Fabrics, and thrift stores.
If any of you gothic-and-lolita types would like to read a really wonderful article on Halloween shopping, let me direct you towards the latest column by the Lady of the Manners, a delightful, gothy rolemodel of mine who writes an online etiquette and advice column for the spookily inclined, at Gothic Charm School. Some of you might know her better as cupcake-goth at LiveJournal--she posts sometimes in the EGL and Daily Lolita communities.

While we're on the topic of inspiration for making the most out of October, I urge you to visit Les Fleurs Noires, a wonderful loli blog of the gothic persuasion, by akumaxkami. The most recent, October-and-fall themed posts have already given me quite a few ideas.

So how am I celebrating October so far? Well, in the last few weeks, the wish to properly gothify and lolify my wardrobe has grown stronger than ever. And so a week or two ago, I sorted through my clothes to divide them into a) the "keeper" pile, b) the giveaway pile, and c) (most exciting!) the DIY pile.

Here's a snap of my closet as it is now (after the sorting process). I had to use flash, as my room is quite dark.

And here is the DIY pile! My first ventures into accomplishing said DIY plans will be chronicled later in this post.

Yesterday my sister asked if I had a spare corset top she might borrow for a special occasion, and what do you know! I have two. Moments like these make me feel legitimate as a Romantigoth, don' cha know?

Anyway, my favorite one (which I bought from Charlotte Russe a couple years ago) had frayed at the top of one of the tubes that the boning goes through, so that the plastic boning piece would work its way up and out every time I wore it. So yesterday I took a needle and thread to that, and was able to fix it very quickly. I used what I believe is called a whip stitch, so that the frayed ends would be covered by thread.

And now, it's almost as good as new! I can't wait to wear it again. I love the lace panels, and the lacing up the back. <3

I would like to incorporate this into a gothic and / or ero coordinate (worn over a blouse in the case of the former). Recently I tried it on with the skirt I made, and was pleased to discover that, of course,  a corset top takes a way the problem I've been experiencing of strange wrinkles in my blouses, just above the skirt. Hopefully the blouse I've been planning to make soon will have less of that problem, but until then...

Around this time last year, a family member purchased a very pretty Halloween-themed shirt for me, at Crackerbarrel. (For those of you who haven't visited the South in the US, that's a Southern-style restaurant chain which has a shop full of curios and knicknacks as its front portion. Until this semester I had attended college in Kentucky, so I had ample opportunity to visit Crackerbarrel.) Oh, and do excuse the pile of mail there in the corner.

As you can see (providing the picture isn't too small), the shirt is inscribed with delightful slogans like "Spooky," "Halloween fun," and "Ghouls Night Out" in the kind of delicate Gothic script that I love. I think this would make an excellent cut-sew, but it has languished in my "to be DiY-ed" pile until now. The three-quarter length sleeves are too tight at the openings and too loose at the armholes, and the shirt is too wide acress the bust (I have a very small bust and shoulders).

So I spent the morning unpicking one of the sleeves, and the other soon shall follow. I would like to see if I can use the sleeve fabric to make a short gathered sleeve, and I may change the neckline as well (not to mention fixing the fit of the shirt). And trim! You can never go wrong with adding silky black ribbon.

In case any of my sewing and possibly pattern-drafting lolitas out there were wondering, this is (apparently) what a sleeve-shaped piece of fabric looks like when you lay it out flat. The wider end is where the armhole was.

And lastly, here is Elf-tiger (Elfy for short), who was napping on my bed when I took pictures of the DIY pile.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Of a meetup and a birthday, part II

First of all, a thank you to Miss Caro-chan of F Yeah Lolita, who included The Midnight Ballroom in her list of new lolita blogs, in a recent post on starting one's own lolita blog. In that list, I was pleased to discover a few more delightful blogs that I hadn't known of previously, so do have a look! I especially enjoyed reading a very new blog entitled Doomicorn Rainbow.

And now, let the meetup report continue!

For the rest of the time until I left, we chatted and took pictures. Here are a few candid/"through the crowd" shots I took. They aren't perfectly posed of course, but I like the feeling of depth or being "in the moment" that they portray (to me at least). Once again, if you'd like your LJ name added or anything of that sort, please let me know!

Pretty soon after, I had to leave, but I look forward to our next meetup! For more (and better) photos, check out the pictures that Oli posted on EGL

And since I didn't get outfit snaps of myself any before, I asked my mom to take a few outfit snaps of me when we got home. I wore my casual mary janes because casual loli was suggested. Also, the headdress tends to fall forward--though it doesn't seem to have been doing it too badly in this picture.

I love headdresses. At the meetup I decided that I rather enjoyed being the only headdress loli there, with my quaintly antiquated obsession with them.

And before I forget:
Skirt and headdress (and necklace, which you can't see very well)~handmade.
Socks and blouse~Target?
Gloves~Hot Topic.

I don't believe I've posted a picture of the complete skirt, so here it is. (I had to lighten the picture a bit--and do excuse the clutter. It seemed the light was best ontop of this table.)

It isn't perfect, but I'm proud of it for a first major sewing project. Here's the button detail...

Well, I do hope you enjoyed my meetup report! There's been talk (on the Orange County lolita meetup group at of having a meetup in which we sing some Japanese karaoke. I hope I can go, and maybe even sing something from Versailles (my absolute favorite Visual Kei band).

Here's an amusing anecdote for you. Currently I'm studying Japanese, but much of my vocabulary came from various songs I've taken it upon myself to memorize. So as you can guess, it's always great fun when the textbook introduces a word or character that I already knew from Versailles, which causes me to promptly begin singing the song from which I learned that word. The current chapter has quite a few vocabulary words and kanji from Versailles, including no less than three kanji from Aristocrat's Symphony!  That was the first Versailles song I really loved, so 'tis quite fun.

Most recently I'm in love with "Prince." It would be very nice indeed if they had karaoke of that song...

-Ahem- Back to lolita, lest I go all dreamy-eyed (again).

In the near future, I hope to tackle some more loli-related sewing. I have some lovely black on black pinstriped fabric, with which I'm looking forward to making that blouse pattern I posted a few posts back (The New Look one).

And skirts! I must sew another one!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Of a meetup and a birthday, part I

At last, the long awaited first meet up report! (Warning--heavy on pictures.) The past few weeks have been full of pleasant and not so pleasant business, so I apologize for the wait. For pictures of my newly sewn petticoat and bloomers, refer to the post just below this one.

The Saturday of the meetup was my 20th birthday, so I was doubly excited. The day before I had baked zucchini muffins for the potluck picnic, using this recipe. (I cut the basil in half, and it was plenty strong enough.)

(I had a picture to show you, but at the moment I can't seem to find it.)

This is the second time I've made these, and they turned out pretty good both times. I don't think I should have doubled the recipe though, as they started to go bad before we could eat them all.

So, I got dressed, and we (my mom, ten year old sister and I) were off to the Santa Monica pier! It took us a while to find the loli group, as we were a bit late. But then a very cordial young man saw us and asked if we were looking for the meetup. If I remember correctly, he was the significant other of the host. He pointed us in the right direction (for which I was very grateful), and soon after, we came upon a grassy bank right in front of the beach, where a multitude of Frilly Ones were sitting on picnic blankets.

Upon seeing me, a group of them motioned me over to their corner, which greatly helped this shy loli to get over her nervousness. My mom and sister went off to enjoy the beach, and I went over to the group that had waved. We chatted and picnicked for a while, and I just sat there taking it in. Later the host, Oli, joined the group where I was sitting. She was an excellent host all through the meetup, and I'm very glad she put this meetup together!

After we were finished eating (the ones who tried my zucchini muffins seemed to like them! <3 ), it was...picture time! Everyone was so adorable. I snapped a few shots of the various corners of the picnic...

And now, some non-candid ones of the lolis I was sitting with. I didn't catch everyone's LJ name, but the loli on the left is Oli (of the blog Lemontree), who hosted the meetup. The loli on the right was my partner in a game we played later. If anyone would like their LJ names added, please let me know!

To my left...

And to my right...

And to my left again! Several of us were quite thankful for our parasols, as it was very sunny that day.

Later, more lolis showed up, including the girl who wore my favorite coordinate at the meetup. I was very excited that a) I recognized and knew the name of the print on her skirt, and b) it was the Midsummer Night's Dream-inspired print from AatP (my favorite brand)! Later I asked to take a full coordinate shot.

I love her blouse too. Aren't those sleeves to die for? When we were chatting, she confessed that butterflies were a favorite motif of hers, and complimented my handmade butterfly necklace. She had a butterfly necklace too, so I guess in a small way we were twinning. ~

After the picnic was finished, we stood in a huge circle and introduced ourselves, saying our name, our LJ name, and one interesting fact about ourselves. I told them it was my 20th birthday, and they all sang Happy Birthday to me! <3 I was quite charmed.

Then we played a few games, including Red Light Green Light, and... Well, I'll have to pause to explain the next game, as I don't know the name. Oli handed out "name tags" that would go on each person's back, and we had to guess what was written on our tag by asking other people "yes or no" questions. Then we had to find our "partner." I was a Pokemon called Plusle, and my partner was "Minum" (the loli in the pink tartan JSK). I don't know much about Pokemon, so I'm glad I had  her to help figure it out!

I especially enjoyed the irony when a sweet loli was "Gothic Lolita." Then another sweet loli was "Maki" (very fitting, no?)--but her partner ("Asuka," of course) was a very beautifully Moitie-esque goth loli!

I believe the creator of the Pink Zombies Etsy shop supplied many of the prizes that were handed out. I received a blue bow (not as dark a blue as in the picture) in a pink bag, along with her card. The bow was crocheted, I think.

After that, we played one more game where we stood in a circle, and sent one person out of earshot. Then we elected a "leader" who would decide what motion we would all do, and then change the motion whenever they wished. The person who had been sent away had to come back and guess who the leader was. It was fun--some of the leaders got quite energetic and disco-y (notably our lovely host).

That's all for now, but do come back for part II!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...