Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Faeries' Oracle Review


Reviewing Divination Decks Part 1

I wanted to review this divination deck I picked up recently. I found it in a church-run thrift store of all places! It was a whopping $2.50. In it's day (originally published in 2000) it fetched as much as $37 CAD. I obviously saved a bunch and the kit is in immaculate condition.

Now, it may seem odd that I'm reviewing a divination deck. I'm someone who approaches anything in an empirical manner. I'll give it to you straight, I'm not spiritualistic. I don't believe much in divination or faeries, witchcraft, or any thing supernatural (unlike preternatural, which I feel differently about). I'm very scientific and I love a good chunk of proof to base my beliefs off of. So why the hell do I own two tarot decks and an old school oujia board?! Because I find them mildly interesting. I don't believe I'll contact the great beyond, but I enjoy the symbolic imagery in tarot cards, and I find them about as amusing as reading my horoscope.

I tend to use my tarot cards for self reflection, to ask questions about how I approach things. For instance, if a card proposes I might be acting childish, I take a good long look at my recent behaviors. I don't believe the cards are providing any supernatural insight, I'm the one doing the reflecting. I think "reading" tarot cards is a lot like being interviewed by someone; you pick a card, remember what is represents, then meditate on it for awhile. Maybe by the end of a session you'll have learned something about yourself that you didn't know before, simply because you had never asked yourself the right questions.

I received my first tarot deck when I was fourteen years of age. My deck came from a starter kit and it was kind of ugly. It was the Jonathon Dee Rider-Waite tarot kit, and the art style was some kind of weird abstract wood cut art. It looks like clipart from the 1990's. You remember that don't you? Hideous! I just found it somewhat repulsive to look at, although some cards bothered me more than others. The Sun card being my only true favorite. After learning what the Rider-Waite cards actually looked like, I felt that my deck was a watered down version of it. It was an alright departure point, but in time I came to donate the kit to my friend to give to her daughter. I craved something with better, more stimulating imagery.

Jonathon Dee Tarot Deck as Illustrated by Shirley Baker

I eventually came to own the Vampire Tarot deck, which I have a love/hate relationship with, but I'm going to leave that for a separate review. In summary, the deck does have some symbolic imagery that I can pull meaning from. One of the main things we're encouraged to do when looking over a deck is to develop our own associations with cards. I had a little trouble doing that with some of the cards in the Vampire Tarot deck. It makes me want to buy other decks, mostly out of curiosity. I have always wanted the Halloween deck because it looks adorable, or the Gothic deck, which my ex had but the art was sadly inconsistent. In a way, I look at these things as trading cards, or collectibles, I enjoy them mostly for their artistic merit. This is what lead me to purchase The Faeries' Oracle.

The Faeries' Oracle Deck Review

I picked this deck up because it looked pretty. My mom is really into faeries. I thought it would be nice to share the artwork with her for inspiration, because she paints watercolor. She and my father found the cards very interesting to look at. Sadly, that's kind of where it ends with this deck. They're neat looking cards, but for a divination deck I found it lacking in quite a few areas.


First, this isn't even a tarot deck. Apparently this was originally commissioned to be a tarot deck but the artist changed his mind and made it only 66 cards (the Rider-Waite containing 78). He then calls it an "oracle". There are cards in the deck that were clearly designed with the tarot in mind. For example the Death card is the same, Solus (Sun Card), The Journeymen (Fool Card), The Bright Mother (Empress Card), The Dark Lady (High Priestess), The Sage (Hermit); so on and so forth. There are only a handful of cards that have an apparent connection to the tarot. The rest of the cards are more like afterthoughts, and some are downright confusing. To add to that, the book isn't any better and the author seems entirely aware of that fact. It starts off suggesting to ditch the book entirely and meditate on the cards yourself. "Don't read the book" is repeatedly thrown at you, as if to say, you'll only be disappointed if you do. And truth be told, it is entirely disappointing.

It seems to me that after the artist changed the deck into an oracle, there was this disconnection between him and the author. The author was forced to come up with meanings for cards that had never existed before. Cards that lacked detailed imagery and might as well have been ink blots out of a Rorschach test, only you'd probably get more meaning out of ink blots... While there are a handful of cards in the book that have meanings that are distinctly unique to them, well over half of the deck features definitions that are repetitious and generalized. Perhaps the author warns you not to read the book, not for the sake of developing your own intuitive interpretations, but to avoid the embarrassing truth that she is completely unaware of the definitions, herself.


Now onto the deck. The majority of this oracle deck looks like the artist's portfolio. It honestly looks as though he ran out of ideas and pooled together as many sketches and collages as he could to make up for the unfinished project. That's a good word to use, unfinished really describes how this deck feels. I broke down the cards into groups so you could see that parts of the deck look entirely different and all their own. Other than faeries, there appears to be no unifying element that brings the deck together as a whole. One section looks as though it has come out of a sketch book, all the images are sketched in charcoal. Another grouping shows abstract auras, which happen to be my least favorite cards in the deck because they lack substantial symbolism and almost all look the same. Yet another grouping of cards is all collages in sepia tones, which appear to me to have the most symbolic meaning and are my favorite cards to look at. Another grouping, which I refer to as the creature or character cards, are cards that feature faeries or creatures that are paired with a partner or are completely alone. The creature cards may do nothing for me because I have the personal bias of not believing in the supernatural. Whereas, if you do in fact believe in fae, you may choose to create certain associations with each character. I just find it difficult to get my head around them and lament seeing them whenever they show up in a reading, but not nearly as much as I hate the aura cards. I hates them so much!!


I feel that this deck could appeal to fae enthusiasts, but I think it kind of fails as a divination deck. Since so much of the character art looks identical, it's likely you'll end up mesmerizing the cards by name only, and to me that makes this deck a failure. Decks, whether they be oracle or tarot, should be visually rich; they should have a cohesive and meaningful colour palette; have multiple elements in each card to read from; and be distinctly unique in their own right, yet unified as part of a whole deck.

Overall the deck gets only ★★☆☆☆; ★★★ for the art and ★ for the book and its interpretations and information.

Best,

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Yule, Merry Christmas!


December 2015

Hello darlings, forgive me for my prolonged absence. I thought that after moving things would be back to normal and I'd be blogging my little heart out. It's not gone as planned at all. I was released from my work contract and am now awaiting EI. It's earlier than I was told it would be, but I think my boss was a little too hopeful and thought we would get more orders for the end of December and beginning of January. We didn't, so I got axed shortly after my birthday. It's been a tremendous relief on me physically. I'm able to nap during the day so I can recover, which is good, because apparently for the last couple of weeks I've had a kidney infection. I noticed an unexplained stabbing pain in my back and front left side. I finally went to a walk in clinic (my doc was unavailable - as usual) and I had a urine sample taken yesterday. The doctor confirmed that white blood cells were present. So I'm sick. I feel nauseated and feverish most of the time. Bed rest is my main priority, and drinking plenty of fluids.

My birthday was alright. I had some family over and decorated the place with colourful balloons and streamers, and floral elements that were reminiscent of the Day of the Dead. I had a skull cake (photo above) and it was good. It was more like a giant muffin than a cake lol. My fiance spoiled me, and I really appreciate that. My birthday can sometimes feel sad and lonely. People don't really come to see me often. They usually use the weather as an excuse. For reasons beyond me, my Nana didn't attend and gave me a card the day before. My grandmother was home with a broken finger, and my parents almost didn't come (I had to ask them). I'm glad they did, because I was really worried no one would show. I'd still have my fiance, but it's really depressing when people decide not to come, especially when I decorated and made a cake and got hors d'oeuvres. Is it just me, or do people not treat birthdays the same any more? Even holidays. We're approaching Christmas and my parents still don't know what's happening. I mean ffs, it takes five seconds to call people and ask. I think my parents are becoming more lazy and anti-social as they get older... And they used to criticize me for that shit. 0.0

***Please forgive me for these blah pictures, I had to edit them in GIMP instead of my usual Photoshop, so some of them are a little lack luster, not properly coloured or titled. I plan on fixing them eventually.



Christmas 2015

The first thing I did after moving was put up my tree. I think it's beautiful. I really wanted to go with fun jewel tones this year. Most of our decorations actually came from the dollar store, and they're better quality than a lot of the shit I've been seeing elsewhere lol. The tree has both multi colour and white lights, the reason for this is that I tried multi on their own and it made my tree look orange. The coloured lights have yellow and red, but the yellow is actually orange when lit, and there are far more of them than the blue and green lights. Adding white lights helped to tone it down, and it looked good with my snowflake topper. My mom and dad bought me a set of blue and pink ombre bulbs, and I love them. 




I also made a small Christmas tree for my fireplace upstairs. I bought this tree back in November and had planned on giving it to my mom. She made mention that gold wasn't her thing, so I decided to keep it for myself. The tree was from Home Sense, an overpriced home decor chain in Canada. They never mark their shit down for sale, unless it's damaged. I got this tree for a whopping $4 off the original price ($19.99). It was just a plain champagne coloured tinsel tree that was missing a base. The base must have shattered. Everyone overlooked it, it was just lying there on its side in the clearance section. I scooped it up, I knew it would be an easy fix. I visited the thrift store across the street and bought a replacement planter for a $1. I spray painted it in gold, stuffed the tree and the foam insert inside, added some glitter and jewels (it had been white styrofoam, which I felt was a little garish on its own). I glued the tree in place and then I started to decorate it. I picked up some pearl, gold and silver coloured mini bulbs from the Superstore for $4. The only thing I was missing was the tree topper, which I fashioned out of galvanized wire, cardstock, paint, glitter and a star shaped jewel. I love my tree. Aside from the supplies that I already owned, this thing pretty much cost me $25 to make. I think I did well with this project. :)

I also put up the stockings and my usual Hello Kitty tree in my sewing room. Although I haven't spent much time out of bed to enjoy any of it. :/



The House

You may have noticed I've neglected to talk about the new townhouse... There's a good reason for that. We might not be living here, soon. I'm not going to lie, the house is lovely. It's very beautiful, but I think new places are a tad overrated. This four year old building was poorly built. I can hear the pipes running through the walls, the master bedroom is drafty, walls and windows were built on weird, unlevel angles. It's total bullshit. If you've ever felt like you were missing out on something by not living in a new house or apartment, you can rest assured that it's not the case. The major problem here is our asshole neighbors. The guy next door is one of those self-centered showboat pricks. Can you believe he has a Dodge Charger and acts like it's all that? When there's an AUDI across the street? It makes me laugh, except for when he blares his surround sound system, which is almost ALL the time. 

When we first experienced it we were certain a train was rushing past the house that we weren't aware of, or a moving truck stalled in the parking lot. But no, it's these pricks. We asked them about it and they just lied and pretended like it was someone else, even though we could see them watching movies and hear it blaring all through their unit. I've asked property management about this repeatedly, they've talked to the couple twice, we've talked to the couple twice, there hasn't been a shred of improvement. The noise is so loud it shakes the china in my cupboards and makes me feel physically ill. The stress alone is killing us and seems to be driving us apart. There's no where in the house we can hide, it penetrates all walls, in every room. I tried to hide in the bathroom with a relaxing bath, but I could feel it in there too. We're prisoners in our house. It's devastating. We've spent so much money to live and move here. 

I'm awaiting further information from property management, but if I don't hear from them this afternoon I'm calling their asses up and giving them an ultimatum. Either they fucking fix this problem, or we seek legal compensation. It says outright in our lease that we have the right to enjoy our unit in peace and quiet, and that no tenant should be allowed to create noise that will effect the enjoyment of the premises. What should happen is that the team should either tear down the wall and install more soundproofing in the next door unit, or the condo lawyer should go after them for violating the condo laws. The problem is, though, is that most property management teams don't like the idea of spending money on the lawyer, and since we're tenants and not owners (like these dickbag neighbors) we'll probably be kicked out. I have legal grounds to break the lease without penalty, but what a fucking nightmare. If the property developer honestly believes the next tenants will put up with this shit, he's out of his damn mind. I'm happy that asshole will lose money on this.

Conclusion

So yeah. I haven't sewn, I don't have the heart to. I'm so depressed and stressed I hide in my room all the time, which is probably for the best given my health issues. I cry a lot and wish that I were "home", only I don't actually have a home. This is just an overpriced hotel suite. There is no home to run away to. 

I hope in the New Year I can have better luck, but right now I just don't know what to think. I miss blogging, I miss reading your blogs, and I will read them more often now that I'm off work. But until I can unpack my stuff and have a reliable living situation, you might not hear much from me. :( 

I wish you a Merry Yule, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. 

Best,


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Plus Size Holiday Finds


Holiday Finds from Torrid

It's almost that time of year again, cold winter nights, warm cups of cocoa, and adorable sweaters. I have to admit, I'm disappointed with most of my go-to sites this year. I haven't seen much in the way of new stuff for Christmas. A lot of what's out is regurgitated from last year's collections. Torrid is about the only e-store where I've seen something not available in all the other shops. This is good news for my plus sized friends!

Now, if you're hoping for hoards of amazing finds, I'm sorry to say that there's not a whole lot going down this year. What I could find was largely skull themed, which is getting a little dated, but considering the alternative is sweaters with "Santa's Little Bitch" or "Fuck Christmas" on them, I figure it's best to keep it tasteful and PG. Most of us come from families, and lots of those families have kids. Sweaters with swears are fine for wearing to tattoo parlors or concerts, but maybe not for family gatherings...


Torrid Holiday Collection 2015

Skull Knit Sweater - Available in sizes L-6X
Plaid Full Length Leggings - Available in sizes 12-28
Rubber Faux Fur Cold Weather Boots (Wide Width) - Available in sizes 7-13


Sweater Weather ♥

I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore throwing on a warm sweater and lounging around the house. There's just something about the sweater that's comforting and dependable, like a much loved childhood blanket. I've seen a lot of sweaters this year, and I'm pleased that Torrid has kept their collection very tasteful. While you may be sick of skulls, at least these sweaters are bit toned down and more subtle. I adore the sweater on the left, mostly because this year I'm going gold and gray in a lot of my decor. It's a very feminine colour combination, and I think it's neutral enough to suit many skin tones. The skullflake sweater in the middle is really cute. I like that it takes a moment for it to register that there are skulls there. This would be an excellent piece for the Corp Goth who wants to keep things toned down. Finally, the always admired fair isle print, featuring skulls and hearts. This is a classic wardrobe staple. I remember wearing fair isle sweaters all through my childhood, I'm definitely planning on getting another one some day.

Left - "Skull Lurex Raglan" Sweater by Torrid - Available in sizes L-6X
Center - Snowflake Skull Knit Sweater by Torrid - Available in sizes L-6X
Right - Fair Isle Skull Sweater by Torrid - Available in sizes L-6X



Gothic Glam for the Holidaze

For those of you who enjoy getting dolled up for the annual Christmas party, there are plenty of glitzy and fun garments to choose from. For this mood board I selected three of my Torrid favorites, which I'm sure you'll enjoy. First and foremost is this insanely cool Alice and Wonderland dress from Disney. It's not very Disney in appearance, which I think is why I find it so appealing. It reminds me of the printed Restyle skirts. I especially love that the printed skirt is soft and flowy, and the bodice is in satin with a keyhole, corseted back. Second is this lovely red and black lace dress. I like the cut of this dress, it looks very flattering. I normally say no to short sleeves, but these are just long enough and dark enough that they could help diminish the appearance of fullness, if that's something you struggle with. Finally, the last gown on the right is both fun and sophisticated. It looks very well constructed and tasteful. The way the skirt drapes is very flattering, especially if you carry weight in your hip and thigh area.

Left - Alice in Wonderland Collection Corset Swing Dress from Torrid - Available in sizes L-6X
Center - Lace Contrast Skater Dress by Torrid  - Available in sizes L-6X
Right - Sequin Ponte Party Dress by Torrid - Available in sizes L-6X ***Selling fast!***


All I want for Christmas

...and for the other 364 days of the year, are accessories! Lord, I can't have too many. I felt these accessories would be well paired with any of the dresses from the previous mood board. Isn't blood red such a holly jolly fucking colour?! I'm dying for this vintage inspired bracelet and earring set. You rarely get to wear such bold statement pieces unless it's for a special occasion, and these look perfect for the holiday season. I love this little red wine pump with slate gray studs. I think it goes well paired with this fabulous patent leather skull wallet (yes, it's long enough to be a clutch, and I might need to buy it). 

Shoes - Stud Toe Platform Pumps (Wide Width) by Torrid - Available in sizes 7-13
Bracelets - Bangle and Stretch Bracelet Set by Torrid
Earrings - Statement Chandelier Earrings by Torrid
Wallet - Embossed Skull Wallet by Torrid


Conclusion

I'm satisfied that Torrid has yet again delivered on some cute plus sized finds. I've looked at Forever21, H&M and Urban Outfitters and I'm completely disappointed at the selection this year. I think it's safe to say Torrid is a much more reliable source for good looking plus size threads. What are you wearing this winter?

Best,

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

My Gothabilly Spider Dress


DIY Goth dress using McCall's 6838

One of the very first posts I made for this blog was a product review about Sourpuss dresses. As I mentioned in that article, I like many of the products Sourpuss has to offer but I take issue with the quality and cost of their dresses. After owning a few of them, I've become painfully aware that these dresses have a tendency to wrinkle, fit awkwardly and fall apart over time. The only real positive thing I can say about them is that they're cute and unusual. If you like the aesthetics of printed dresses from Sourpuss or Hell Bunny but you dislike the quality and price tag, you could make your own. It's a lot easier than it sounds.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween 2015


Happy Halloween!

Too bad I'm posting about it now, but I suppose that only goes to show how incredibly bat shit crazy it's been. The whole month of October has been overwhelming. I've been a very busy girl, both in and out of the sewing room. Good news, which seldom happens in my life so I figured I'd mention it first, is that we're getting out of our dumpy semi! At the very end of September we visited a townhome that I had been skeptical about looking at merely because of it's location. After spending a good few weeks staring down houses and townhome rentals I honestly felt as though my brain was turning to mush and most certainly would come dribbling out of my nostrils. It's awful house hunting, even as a renter!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Lockshop Mermaid Wig Review


Reviewing Lockshop's Cornflower Mermaid Wig

Some of you may recall that I've been growing out my natural hair colour for the previous year. Many times I've been tempted to dye my hair again, but the upkeep and damage would bother me. I had fried my hair to a horrid muddy mess last I dyed it, and I have since sworn off doing anything unnatural to my silky (super fine) mane. That being said, I still dream of purple and blue hued hair. I've messed around with temp dyes with little success. Suddenly it dawned on me, why the hell don't I just get a wig? No mess, no fuss, you just wear it and maintain it. Right?

I've never owned a real fashion wig before, just that junky Halloween stuff. I figured in a time of Cosplay and high fashion we'd have tons of wigs to choose from, but I was a little disappointed in colours and styles. At first I was aiming for a more Gothic style wig. I wanted something long and black but couldn't find anything that didn't actually look like a wig. Most of the black wigs are parted in a weird way with awkward bangs, and I just wanted something that looked natural, not like a helmet of long hair. I couldn't find anything in black but when I discovered Lockshop I was presented with an array of beautifully coloured pastel wigs. 

Almost all of the wigs I did like (the premium collection) were completely sold out. There was one wig that stuck with me though, the Mermaid wig in Cornflower. The Mermaid wig collection features a long wig with big curls/waves and medium length bangs. They come in a handful of colours ranging from naturals to pastels. I have a thing for anything periwinkle. Since I had been so disappointed with the fake look of black wigs, I figured why not go all out and get a crazy brightly coloured wig? So I took the plunge bought the wig, and hoorah! It's arrived.

I ended up paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 CAD total for the wig and the shipping. The shipping was very reasonable. I wish our dollar matched the EUR but the EUR is more like the USD and that sucks for Canadians right now. Strangely, this wig was still cheaper than to buy a Canadian made wig IN CANADA. No kidding. One Canadian site I looked at, a few hours drive from where I live, would've cost me around $80 CAD, and their wig colours looked dirty and muted. The shipping on this wig took very little time, seriously, ONE WEEK!! But their tracking is horrendous. Even though I've already received my wig it still says it's processing on my order status. If you ever buy from them totally disregard the tracking (and keep in touch if it doesn't show up in the 1-4 week range). 

Now onto the wig. I had read an announcement three days prior to my delivery, that this line of wigs was defective. Great way to start off your first wig purchase, isn't it? Apparently they had been having issues with wigs losing hair, being frizzy and not sitting properly. I'm sorry to say I've experienced all of the above. I definitely have had and still am encountering shedding. I expect a bit but I was pulling out small clumps of hair which is disappointing, I expected better than this. It's definitely frizzy and knotting. What sucks about this is that you have to use a special wig comb or detangler (I have neither) to comb out the wig. Instead I'm forced to finger through the knots and it is taking forever. There's also an odd kink that looks like the wig was sharply folded, even though it was delivered snuggly in a hair net in a bag with cardboard supports. I think that was also a factory defect. The good news is my wig is still completely wearable, it just might not have the lifespan of other wigs. I have contacted the owner and am awaiting assistance on this complaint but I imagine I'll be reimbursed slightly. They've put the Mermaid wigs on for 25% off. 

Overall it fits well, the wig cap that came with it is too tight but that's no problem I can just buy another here in town. The wig itself has small adjustable clips and I'm using them on the first (most loose) set at the moment. Fits alright. Feels like a wig lol. I've seen reviews with girls petting these wigs saying that they're the softest thing ever, but they aren't really. It's certainly softer than a Halloween wig but it does have a starchy scratchiness that synthetic hair has. Colour wise it's spot on. Naming it "Cornflower" was brilliant, because you can go out and find a cornflower and see for yourself that it is the same colour. The wig features blue, purple and pink hairs that create a slight dimension, although I find the wig still looks a little flat. It looks like a wig to me, I'm not sure if this is because the colour is so unnatural or that there's a slight gloss to the hair, but regardless it's a very cute wig. My biggest complaint about it though is that the bangs are way too long, they go below my nose. I'm going to have a professional cut them to above my eyebrows, for now I've pinned them up and under. 

If you're a ginger and you're interested in getting a pastel wig, I have to warn you that blues will make your eyebrows lunge out. This periwinkle colour makes my freckles really apparent under certain lighting. It's also difficult to cooridinate a wardrobe with a pastel colour so I feel that's another important thing to consider before you purchase a wig like this. They aren't great for hot days either, and I don't want to know how rank these things smell after sweating in them lol. 

Wearing a wig isn't the most comfortable experience. I can't see myself doing it for a whole day but perhaps an outing with friends. Maybe I might buy a black wig some day but we'll have to wait and see!
Visit Lockshop if you're interested in getting one for yourself.


Overall Ratings:
Quality:    
Color:      
Fit:      
Style:     

Best,


Monday, 20 July 2015

Cookies and Cream


A sprinkle of colour in the Gothic wardrobe

I've talked about adding colour to the Goth wardrobe a few times on this blog and it's been met with mixed reviews. Some of you prefer to keep your closets blacker than night, whereas others are curious about colour but aren't sure how to style it. I think the key to adding colour to the Gothic wardrobe is to do it gradually and to complement it with the right accessories. 

Antiquary Mary

(Photo above) Although I believe most any colour could be incorporated into the Gothic wardrobe, I suggest using more neutral shades as a start. Subtle shades of brown, blue gray or linen are good choices for the colour virgin. Not only can these colours brighten your complexion but they are easily accented with black accessories. In this outfit, I selected a sweet linen coloured dress as my main inspiration. It has some edgy accents, like the buckles on the straps and the faux corseting. On its own, the dress might seem a little underwhelming, but when paired with this black moth cameo purse and these adorable cat shoes it takes on a new life. I chose these items because they too feature neutral tones, like the brown in the moth, the brass in the buckles on the purse, or the gold embroidery on the shoes. These little hints of colour tie the outfit together. For accessories I chose a gold skull and pink rose bracelet, and a Ouija planchette necklace and earring set. Similar to the shoes and purse, these accessories are subtle and complement the dress. 

I love anything that uses the combination of black and cream. I find it very pleasing to the eye and it makes me think of Goth with a vintage touch, like something that perhaps Theda Bara once wore. 

Dress - "Victoriana" lace dress by Jawbreaker
Purse - Black Moth Satchel by Restyle
Shoes - Sophisticated Kitty Heels by T.U.K.
Bracelet - Skull and Pink Mother of Pearl Bracelet by Charles Albert
Necklace - Ouija Hands Necklace by Punky Pins
Earrings - Ouija Planchette Studs by Punk Pins




Beauty in Bone White

For this mood board I chose a beautiful cream coloured lace dress. I have a thing for burlesque style stuff and thanks to Steampunk we have a plethora of these items surfacing in the alt shops. I know that lace is a big wardrobe staple for many Goths. If you haven't before, you should give cream coloured lace a try. There's something really beautiful and vintage about it. Paired with a dark purple lipstick and black glittery eye shadow, this look can easily be adapted to suit the Gothic style. To avoid looking too Steampunk I recommend using traditional Goth motifs, like bats, spiders, roses and skeletons. For example, in this ensemble I chose a black cross necklace from Restyle, these cute little bat stud earrings, a skeleton cameo purse and lace style pumps. If I had used anything with a lot of rivets, cogs, buckles and brass it would have strayed too far into the Steampunk style, which might be acceptable for some of you but I prefer the Gothic look.

Dress - "Ophelie" Dress by Burleska
Purse - Flocked Skeleton Cameo Handbag by Banned Apparel
Shoes - "Bella" Heel by Pin Up Couture
Necklace - Gothic Black Crosses Necklace by Restyle
Earrings - Bat Stud Earrings from Attitude Extreme
Lipstick - Lethal Lipstick by Manic Panic
Eye shadow - Black Metal Eye Shadow by Concrete Minerals




Floral Fancy

Lip Service has come out with some surprisingly cute pieces in recent seasons. If you're looking for something with a grunge or vintage influence, head over and check out their new collection. It's very reminiscent of The Craft. It features some dreamy lace floral garments, each is subdued enough to incorporate into the Gothic wardrobe. I really love this long skirt on the left, it reminds me of late August when the trees and plants begin to darken. On the right is a cute baby doll dress that I could certainly see a grown up Wednesday Addams wearing. In the middle is a stunning sheer maxi dress from Widow (by Lip Service) which could really pop with a plum or burgundy coloured body suit beneath it - I'm not really feeling their use of this caged bikini with this dress, it looks kind of whorish to me. >.<

Left - "Peter, Paul and Bloody Mary's" Long Black Skirt by Lip Service
Center - "Dear Departed" Lace Maxi Dress by Widow
Right - "Peter, Paul and Bloody Mary's" Ivory Baby Doll Dress by Lip Service

Conclusion

As you can see, with a bit of styling and accessorizing you can pump any ordinary garment and imbue it with dark energy. Remember to start off simple and try to keep colours subdued by using darker or more neutral shades. Try to accessorize with black pieces or items that feature prominent Gothic motifs. 

Best of luck to you in your adventures with colour!


Monday, 13 July 2015

McCall's Online Purchase Review


Buying online from the McCall company

Recently I purchased a few Kwik Sew patterns from the Kwik Sew Out-of-Print sale. I received my package today and I'd like to write a review of my experience buying from the Kwik Sew website. Now in case you're confused, Kwik Sew is from the McCall Pattern company, so I'll be reviewing McCall's as a whole because it's all the same company.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

What's in a name?

Seamstress, sewist, sewer?

If you frequent online sewing and craft communities or you're an avid sewing blogger, you might encounter a variety of terms used to describe the hobby. I have been visiting sewing forums for years and I've come across some interesting opinions on what one should call themselves. There are sometimes huge drawn out debates on this subject, which I feel is kind of silly, but it's clear that terminology means something to people. How you identify yourself can reveal a lot about your skill set and tastes in sewing.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Simplicity Caters to Cosplayers

New Simplicity Costumes for 2015

Look out Cosplay.McCall, Simplicity has opened up a can of Cosplay whoop ass, and what great timing too. Simplicity has released a handful of Cosplay related sewing patterns for autumn of 2015 and I'm pleasantly surprised at what I see. It's rather interesting following this month's earlier post, McCall's Caters to Cosplayers, where I discussed McCall's recently debuted, and rather anemic, Cosplay website. Simplicity has certainly stepped up their game with these pop culture influenced patterns! Let's take a look at what they have to offer.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Gothic Thrift Store Adventures


What did I find?!

I usually talk about my thrift store adventures in my end of the month recap post, but sometimes I buy so much crap that it's monumental and requires it's own separate post. Like this one! After having my surgery I found that clothing wasn't fitting as comfortably around my mid section, pants or shorts were unwearable. I embarked on a mission to find dresses and skirts secondhand, and I was fairly successful. Well, sort of. I ended up buying only two dresses and a lot of neat stuff. 





When I visit my mom it's pretty much guaranteed that she'll ask me to go shopping with her. Ever since I was a little girl my mom would drag me around to local thrift shops and garage sales. I hated it back then, but nowadays I enjoy it because of my love for fashion and antiques. In the beginning of the month I went on a vacation with my family, naturally my mother insisted on thrift store shopping. We went to roughly two or three thrift stores. Because it was a small town the selection wasn't great. There were some items I found to my liking, a cropped chiffon blouse and a tartan peacoat.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Gothic Homemaker: Dye fastness

Keeping your blacks, black!

What's a Goth's worst nightmare? I mean aside from when your blacks don't match... How about when your beautiful blacks fade to gray? It drives me crazy. For the last ten years I've strived to maintain the deep sultry dyes of my wardrobe with mixed success. I've found some techniques to work better over others and today I'm going to share those tips with you.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Shopping for Plus Sizes



Goth & Alt Plus Size Fashion

Before I wrote this post, I felt optimistic about plus size Goth and Alt fashions. I felt that the big name clothing companies were accommodating the plus size community. It turns out that I was dreadfully wrong. While sourcing materials, I became painfully aware of how difficult it is to shop for plus size clothing, especially in the Goth scene. I thought that the internet had paved the way for a more diverse size selection. Hell Bunny and Sourpuss have advertised themselves as having plus size garments, and they do, it's just not as much as you'd think...

Sunday, 7 June 2015

McCall's Caters to Cosplayers


New Site: Cosplay by McCall's

I'm not sure how late I am on reporting this, but I've been busy so it's news to me. Apparently McCall's now has a site dedicated to Cosplayers. I noticed a few months ago that some patterns were emerging on the McCall's site that were just bizarre. This includes the two photographs above on the left, they vaguely resemble something anime. I thought, "Oh, here we go. They've finally realized Cosplayers sew their own costumes." It's actually rather smart of them to take advantage of this. And if you're thinking the site is merely a breakdown of McCall's costume category, they also sell books and share photos of McCall's Cosplayers... and that's about it.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Gothic Green Thumb: Plant Talk


Can love and nurturing grow a garden?

I'm sure many of us recall Morticia Addams cooing to her beloved African Strangler, Cleopatra, but can love and encouraging words really have an effect on the growth and quality of our botanical buddies?

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Cemetery Photo Shoot: A matter of taste


Artsy? Tasteless? Kitsch? 

Although it seems customary within the Gothic scene, I find cemetery photo shoots a rather awkward idea for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, the question of taste comes into mind. In my lifetime it is likely that I have seen over a hundred images of Goths photographed in cemeteries, some of which appear harmless whereas others are distasteful and cringe worthy. Not to mention they are about as cliché as the Goths-up-trees photos (tradition courtesy of Robert Smith). Overall, I have no real problem with these images, provided the cemetery goer is respectful and chooses to photograph themselves (or friends) in an artistic and mindful way. That means no gyrating or dry humping grave plots or headstones.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Happy World Goth Day!


What is "Goth" to me?

Last year I celebrated World Goth Day with a pic and a small caption, this year I had plans of writing a long drawn out, well researched article about my feelings about what it is to be "Goth". Since my recovery has monopolized my time, I'm not able to invest as much into this year's post as I had hoped to. The message, however, remains the same.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Let's Talk 90's


Happy Birthday! And Discussing Late 90's and 00's Fashions

It's been a full year since I started Bien Aimée! To celebrate I figured I would revisit a popular topic on this blog: 90's fashion.

In my This is NOT the 90's post, I discussed recent trends that have failed to correctly reflect the fashions of the early 1990's. These garments are paraded around and labeled as grunge, however, most of which are actually more reflective of late 90's early 00's fashions.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

No More Body Shaming!


Let's put an end to body shaming!

I want to put an end to all the horrid body shaming that's been taking place. I want plus sized, thin and mid sized people to live together harmoniously! I want the young women of tomorrow to not have to start worrying about their looks at such a ridiculously young age (because I'm sure we all started to worry about that shit when we were far too young). I've been planning this post for months but I've finally decided to post it because it's spring and spring is a time for cleansing and purging. It's also a time when most women start to worry about their "beach bodies"...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Fun with Florals!

Alternative Fashions for Springtime 

Spring is almost officially here! I've been hearing the many mating calls of birds and believe it or not, I've seen grass!!! I'm excited for sunnier days. I've even been feeling the change inside myself. All winter I felt lethargic and unmotivated but now I have a sense of renewal, like I can take on any task. I have many plans for my wardrobe this year and I am now beginning my spring and summer sewing. I often daydream about the outfits I would like to make and when I do that I like to look at what's out there in shops. This is what lead to today's post which features alternative outfits for spring!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Fighting the Home Made Blues

How to make handmade garments look professional

Anyone who has taken up sewing has gone through the pains of being a beginner. Nobody makes a perfect garment on their first try. It can take years of practice before you start seeing real progress in the quality of your work. I was an absolute horror when I started sewing! I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I cut out pieces of fabric haphazardly with no pattern, or ruler, or any instruction what-so-ever. I was only a child with a big imagination and absolutely no patience. I shudder when I think of my first sewing "creations", as I'm sure many of us do. It was only a few years ago that I was still making garments that I felt looked like crap. Back then I wouldn't wear what I made and I would often feel defeated because they looked so bad. They looked really, really home made.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Rest in Peace Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 - February 27, 2015)


A truly cool fellow

I grew up in a Trekkie household. My father adored Star Trek (although he clearly appreciated Next Gen over all others) and I recall him holding a Trekkie party in our house, complete with an enterprise shaped cake, which I remember the taste of for some reason lol. I guess I never understood the attraction. As a child I found every series entirely boring. Now as an adult, I prefer the kitsch of the original Star Trek. I loved watching Spock. Something about that pointy ear Vulcan resonated with me, although I can never be sure of what or why. I think it's possible that it was Nimoy's endearing personality shining through that attracted me. I've always considered him to be a wise, soft spoken man. Not to mention, he kicked ass as a voice actor for Mr. Moundshroud in The Halloween Tree.

Since his passing, I'm definitely interested in learning more about him. He apparently was into photography and did a collection of photos involving plus sized women called "The Fully Body Project." It is really neat and I recommend you check it out. (I plan on referencing these photos in a body positive post in the future). It's also very evident that Nimoy was into poetry, as seen on his Twitter account. It saddens me to think that we will no longer share in his thoughts or talents, but it's clear that he's left a wonderful history on this world (whether you appreciate him for his acting or his art).

I felt his last tweet was rather ominous... but looking back, it's both beautiful and befitting:
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

McCall's 6173 - Crushed Velvet Shorts


My crushed velvet shorts

First, I'd like to apologize for the low quality images in this post. My camera is acting up and isn't focusing properly any more, so all of my images are grainy and blurry, hence the reason I've made them smaller. It certainly doesn't help that I feel like shit again today, as I have no patience for taking pictures of myself to begin with. Instead of working away on my current sewing project (which I really want to finish) I only feel up to writing and napping today. I figured I'd finish my shorts review, which is a few weeks overdue now.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Talk about old school


Patterns from when I first started sewing

I moved out of my parent's home over a year ago. I was pretty sure I had packed up all my belongings, but there are still items of mine that surface in their home from time to time, largely because my mother has misplaced them on me (her cleaning philosophy is out of sight out of mind, so things end up in drawers, cupboards, boxes and everywhere they shouldn't be; it made for a rather tumultuous relationship). When I was last visiting I was ordered to go through my things, again! It was a lot of stuff that I had already told my mom to throw away, and I was rather irked to see that these things were still there and I was getting the blame for it. Luckily, I rescued some sewing patterns that would have otherwise been tossed in the garbage. They had been misplaced since I was a child. You read that correctly, I haven't seen these patterns since I was fifteen!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Trends that I'm already over.

Have they worn out their welcome?

I try to keep abreast of current and upcoming fashion trends within the alternative scene. In recent years, we've seen an abundance of change within Gothic and alternative styles; there's been a revival of 70's inspired fashion, bold prints, occult symbolism, sheer fabrics, body suits and bondage straps. But have some of these trends already worn out their welcome?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Goths and Dandruff


A Dandruff Treatment Product Review

Nobody likes to have dandruff, but for Goths it can be the bane of their existence. It's hard to disguise this problem in an all black ensemble! I have struggled with dandruff on and off for years. Like many people, I have an especially hard time in the winter months because of the drier conditions. A few months ago, my scalp got so bad that I could no longer pull my hair up in a ponytail. It was absolutely embarrassing. Today I'm going to review a handful of dandruff products and share the results with you! Hopefully I might help you find a solution to those embarrassing flakes.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Drawing Fashion


Just Killing Time

I don't exactly have a reason to be killing time today. I'm sick and I have no real motivation to do any actual work or sewing. I have a full shift tomorrow, for the first time in weeks, and I need to get better for it. I should spend the whole day napping, but on sick days like today I remain wide awake and not willing to stray far from my bed. My options are; watch things on my computer, read, or draw. Today I opted to draw because I haven't done it in a while. 

I like to draw all kinds of different stuff but the one thing I particularly enjoy drawing is fashion. It's just another creative outlet for me. It combines my love of fashion with my passion for creating art. I often draw the things I plan on sewing, or am sewing at that time, to help visualize the final outcome or perhaps how I might wear that particular garment. It's a wonderful pastime and although I've long since abandoned my career as an artist, I find myself coming back to this hobby again and again. Even when I'm watching tv or talking to someone, I'll have my sketchbook at hand because I need to get an idea down on paper. I have books and books full of comic style doodles and fashion drawings, so many of which I had hoped to publish or create some day. I may share some more drawings on this blog in the future.

Do you draw? Fashion or otherwise? Even if you don't think you're a stellar artist, if you sew, I think drawing fashion could be a fun thing for you try out. :)

I'm off to sleep again! Best wishes~





Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Bodyline Review


My Boxing Day Lolita Finds

I'm not much of a Lolita girl and I'm referring to any substyle of Lolita (although I'm taken by Black Forest Mori but I don't connect that to Lolita at all). It's just one of those things that I feel costs too much and takes too much of my time to get into. I also feel I'm a little old for it - I have a particular disliking for sweet Loli and bonnets. I'm the kind of person who just wants to throw on some clothes and get out the door without having to worry about the proper petticoat, or doing my hair and make up so that I look like a living doll. It's just too high maintenance for me. With that being said, you're probably wondering why I like Lolita at all, the truth is is that I like aspects of Lolita. I might like a dress here and there, or a top, but I wouldn't style it like a Lolita girl, instead I'd just wear select pieces matched with other parts of my wardrobe. This is how I ended up with my recent purchase...
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