Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Boho Chic and Victorian Romance


Inspiring Etsy Seamstresses

It's no mystery, I'm poor! My student loan is in repayment and I'm at risk of losing my job due to illness. And for some reason that doesn't stop me from perusing various indie fashion shops on Etsy. I know that I'll never be able to afford such treasures but I can't help but be inspired by the artists that I find. Today I wanted to share two designers who have very different aesthetic styles but are both insanely talented.



Somnia Romantica

Is a design label from dutch fashion designer Marjolein Turin. Her pieces are inspired by historical fashions and appeal to Goth, Lolita and Steampunk enthusiasts. I am head over heels for her dresses, in particular anything in that warm oatmeal, cream colour. You'll notice her signature style is a lot of lace, which I love. While her short dresses are more simplistic in design and more affordable, I prefer her "exclusive" pieces which can go anywhere from $500 to $1000 CAD. Not surprisingly, the majority of her sales are caplets and cardigans. While I may never be able to afford my favorites from her shop, I find myself inspired by her use of lace and trim embellishments, ruffles and layering. 



Majik Horse

Dawn, a designer and artist, describes her Etsy shop as selling "majikal fairy tale jewelry and illustration". I can't say I've seen either her illustrations or her jewelry but a look back through her sales reveals she started off selling primarily vintage fabrics and clothing. Eventually, she started dabbling in upcycling which lead to some of the most stellar boho fae dresses I've ever seen. In the pieces shown above you can see that Dawn has a clear understanding of texture and colour, she's not afraid to experiment and I find that truly inspiring. These old cotton dresses are given a new life through recycled doilies, lace, a little fabric dye and crocheted accents. I have a bunch of doilies sitting in my craft bin, I have never once thought of using them in my sewing but this designer has me seeing them in a new light. Sadly she has no items in her store at the moment but her pieces are not outlandishly expensive. I recommend bookmarking her. :)

Conculsion

Ideally I would like to pull inspiration from both of these artists into one of my projects. I like the idea of an upcycled boho Victorian style dress, I don't think such a thing has existed before lol. 

Do you have any favorites from these designers?

Best,

June 2016


Wishing I was there...

Happy end of June and soon to be Canada Day! Yeppers, July 1st marks Canada's 149th birthday. That means next year's 150th celebration should be really important somehow, right?? I don't know. We honestly just get the day off to sit around and drink while someone lights up some fireworks. The good news is that I'm going on vacation starting this weekend. Initially the factory was supposed to be shut down until the eleventh but now some big asshole company ordered up 100,000 Christmas cookies so everybody is shitting themselves trying to get the order finished. I know, that seems early for Christmas but I guess the cookies will be placed inside a giant freezer. I appreciate that this company is ahead of the game, unlike Farmboy who was ordering shit right up to two weeks before Christmas, but I don't understand why there's such a rush to do this. I mean it's going into a freezer, whether that's this month or next month doesn't really make a difference, does it? I don't know. Just another reason why I never want to run a food factory.

If you haven't noticed I'm home and blogging. I took a sick day. I feel like the biggest douchebag for taking a sick day. I have two days before vacation! But I'm home combating a fever and cold sores. I am in excruciating pain and I have no medicine to take for it. And no, we still have no clue as to what's wrong with me. My doctor is still useless, proving again that it's apparently very difficult to remember a conversation he had five minutes ago. As soon as he left the office he forgot all about me and some three weeks later I had to phone in and inquire about my rheumatologist referral, only to have the receptionist nervously tell me that there wasn't one, then she backtracked and lied to me pretending like they misplaced it and they'll have someone "look into it". 

Let's pretend: I'm an old woman dying of something. This "misplaced" referral could have gotten me in sooner to be treated for my life threatening disease, but my neglectful doctor has ultimately cut my life short because he's an idiot.

Sooner or later my doctor is going to land himself in a malpractice lawsuit and it better not be with me.

Wedding shit!

I am working away at completing wedding shit and we are no where near finished. The good news is we're about half way there. The ceremony will be a courthouse wedding, quick and easy, finishing with photos in the backyard of a B&B that we're hopefully dressing up to look like an Alice in Wonderland tea party. There's a pergola which will be dressed up in drapery, flower bouquets in vases and a chandelier (similar to this). I might have a fashion photographer on board and I hope that's true because I love her work, everybody else either sucks or is way too expensive. 

Above are my wedding shoes and some of my inspiration photos. Because my fiancé wasn't on board with the Goth wedding I decided to go balls to the wall with using colour. :) It's only two months away! 



Stuff to do...

I would like to take more photos while I'm out on vacation. I have to sew the crystals onto my wedding dress and I'm half way done a cat quilt for my big baby, Gimli. I'm also making a vintage inspired red polka dot halter top for my mom, her birthday is approaching. I don't know if I'll get any sewing done for my wardrobe but I'd like to. I also have to work on my folk art and possibly prep for teaching sewing. I have to seriously consider a new job because the current one is taking it's toll on me physically. Ideally I would like to work from home so I can take rests when I need to.

What's going on with you, my darlings?

Best,

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Artist Spotlight



Thomas Kuntz Automata

I'm writing a script...*scoff* aren't we all? But I'm toying with writing a screenplay or children's novella, for that day when I get around to doing something with my life. One of the scenes I'm developing involves a brief interaction between the protagonist and an automaton. You might be wondering, what's an automaton? It's a self-automated mechanical device typically made to look like a person performing an act. At least that's what the majority of them were but automata can come in a variety of designs, some simple, some mind blowingly complex. 

In keeping with the Halloween in June theme, I wanted to spotlight an automata artist whose work literally had me on the edge of my seat in excitement. Thomas Kuntz's portfolio features themes of horror and the macabre. Each piece is skillfully rendered; his sculpting is to die for and I am utterly perplexed by his ability to program these automata. It's like watching a magic show, even though he shows the behind-the-scenes of how his pieces are created, I still don't understand how he does it. 

My favorite pieces are probably his most recent; The Babylon Vampire, The Last Prussian Conjurer, Moonlight Sonata, and Une Saison En Enfer. I also like Fusion, Death and Resurrection, Pulling the Will, and the Tiki Drummer's Bar, however he hasn't any videos to demonstrate the last two (the video for Fusion can be found on his Youtube channel but not on his website). Of course all of his pieces are pretty drool worthy, The Alchemyst's Clocktower isn't my favorite but it's complexity is worth admiring. Kuntz also has a variety of figurines and models, including a Vampira kit that I'm swooning over (god I wish I could paint). 

If you're curious to see his pieces in action, visit his website Artomic and look under "Automata".






Happy Halloween in June!
Best,



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Top 5 Pumpkin Pie Sodas


The Good, The Best and The Meh

If it's Christmas in July than Halloween must be in June! To be fair, I'm always in the mood for Halloween. It certainly doesn't hurt that my work has begun producing this year's batch of Halloween cookies (complete with bats, jack o' lanterns and ghosts). If you find that you're having difficulty getting into the Halloween spirit this early, you might be interested in giving pumpkin pie flavored soda pop a try! That's what today's post is all about, five carefully selected pumpkin pie flavored sodas.


5. Pumpkin Pie Soda by Jones Cane Sugar Soda

I'm going to start with my least favorite sodas. It's not to say that these sodas are terrible, they're decent but not my top choice. Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda is a rather synthetic interpretation of pumpkin pie. It was described to me by a co-worker as tasting like a pumpkin spice candle. Surely that sounds odd but you'll find it a rather befitting description if you happen to try the drink for yourself. It's super synthetic. While it's unmistakably pumpkin spice flavor, it's overwhelmed by something peppery. It's a very sweet drink too, in a syrupy kind of way. I don't mind a spicy drink but when I think of pumpkin pie spice I expect it to be accompanied by cream. I think a hint of cream soda might have toned this pop down and made it more enjoyable. I mean c'mon, who doesn't love a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top?


4. Pumpkin Pie Soda by Lester's Fixins

This soda places fourth in my list. Like Jones it has a synthetic flavor to it but it's not nearly as off putting. This pop has strong notes of ginger ale and cinnamon. Unlike many of the pumpkin pops featured in this list, this one doesn't contain cane sugar. I appreciate that cane sugar is better for you but I find at times it has a somewhat metallic taste. I really enjoyed that this pop didn't have cane sugar in it, however, it did border on being sickeningly sweet. This soda has a nice cinnamon candy hearts aftertaste to it with maybe the slightest hint of cream in there somewhere. The ginger gives the drink a kick and brings some heat with it. It wasn't as convincing for a pumpkin pie flavor. Overall it's an alright drink I just feel that it lacks the richness of other pumpkin sodas. I also didn't care for the label on any of the Lester's Fixins sodas, they make it look cheap.


3. Pumpkin Pie Soda by Maine Root

When I think of Maine I don't exactly think of gourmet soda pop...but I suppose now I will lol. This drink fell into the middle of my list. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. There were a few aspects that I enjoyed about it. The flavor is fairly mild and not as intense as the more synthetic sodas. It contains a mixture of nutmeg. ginger, maybe cinnamon (although I couldn't tell for sure), and cane sugar but that's not a deal breaker. There's a nutty aftertaste to it and the ginger overwhelms the other spices a little more than I'd like it to. I feel like thist soda tastes far more like gingerbread. Gingerbread and pumpkin pie flavoring tend to use the same spices so it can be difficult to distinguish between the two, but I felt that this pop was lacking something that's essentially pumpkin. I encourage trying it out but I didn't think it was worth all the hype that it gets.


2. Avery's Pumpkin Pie Soda

As the slogan suggests, Always Ask for Avery's! As my runner up, I would certainly heed that advice if my number one choice was unavailable. I was attracted to the label on this soda. It's a nice design. It's eye catching and you know exactly what the flavor is without having to get up close to the bottle. I really like this soda. It has the pumpkin spice flavor but a distinct dash of cream in there to give it the smoothness that other sodas have been lacking. This soda definitely uses apple flavoring to achieve the "pumpkin" flavor. I've noticed this in my loose leaf tea as well; it's advertised as pumpkin spice but there isn't any pumpkin in it, instead it's apple. I understand that getting the actual pumpkin flavor is probably very difficult and apple seems like a sufficient substitute, but I question whether it tastes more like an apple pie instead of a pumpkin pie. It sort of has an apple Jolly Rancher aftertaste to it. That being said, it's a very good soda and I recommend you give it a try if you ever come across a bottle.


1. Pumpkin Spice Tonic by Orca Beverage Inc.

Rich, dark, sultry temptress in a bottle. I found it accidentally last year when I was searching for Halloween decorations. It came in a four pack. The bottle describes drinking it on a dark night by the campfire...or something to that effect. It has a distinctly rich flavor to it. This is a dark cream soda base that's been flavored with spices. Yes it has cane sugar, I wish it weren't so, but the flavoring is handled very nicely. The pumpkin spice flavoring in this soda presents warm hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, which I wish were a little more prominent. The cream flavoring is what won this soda first place. It's what I have yearned for in almost every other soda! The only way this tonic could be improved is if the spices were slightly stronger (but not by adding ginger ale, that would ruin it, just more cinnamon). I'm bummed because I haven't seen the Pumpkin Spice Tonic in the Orca Beverage Inc. catalog. I'm not sure if it's because it's seasonal or not. I hope they don't discontinue it. If you're curious to try it it's for sale through the American Amazon website but you'll pay a pretty hefty price for it!

Conclusion

It was a lot of fun trying the various flavors of gourmet soda and seeing how each company has its own take on the pumpkin pie flavor. I'm a true fan of the tonic at this point and if I see it again in person I'll likely buy up hoards of it! I know I can still get Avery's from a specialty shop a few hours away (I'll be in the area again this summer, I should take advantage of that). I might try the Maine Root again but I probably won't buy either of the other pops. Perhaps this fall I'll find a new tasty treasure to add to the list. :)

Have you tried any of these delicious pie pops before? Do you know of another brand you'd recommend?

Best,

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Cosplay by McCall's Notched & Intrepid


New Steampunk and Viking Costumes

Much apologies for being late with this post. I have rarely been online because work has been very busy and I've had to do a lot of wedding stuff. I only have a few months left to the date and I still have a bajillion things to do! There will be more on that later. I'm still trying to keep up to date with McCall's new cosplay releases, we now have a men's Victorian style topcoat and a women's viking costume (likely inspired by the television series, although I don't watch TV so I couldn't say for sure).


NOTCHED

I like this design and I know my brother would love it. I can't wait to show it to him. Is it Steampunk? That's debatable. We could technically say anything is Steampunk, from pants to a pair of shoes, because when it boils down to it all Steampunk is is Victorian garments with a cog thrown in here and there. Honestly, I just like this coat as it is. Forget costumes and cosplay, how many Goth boys would love a coat like this? I can see it made in black wool, piped in cherry red, drafted with epaulets and more unique detailing along the sleeves. Overall it has a nice simplistic construction to it and I'm eager to own it. Do you have a man in your life who'd like this pattern? What do you think of it?


INTREPID

I'm in the habit of being honest about everything I put on here. I'm not paid to kiss McCall's ass. I do like them but I don't consider myself biased. I appreciate their efforts to create a higher caliber of costume pattern. This pattern was described to me as the most "costumey" to date and I feel that's a very accurate description. I'm not a fan of the Vikings show. I don't watch TV. The last thing I did watch was Karl Pilkington's The Moaning of Life! If I do watch anything else it's either Ink Master or a cooking show. I can't speak to the accuracy of this interpretation but I imagine fans will be quick to point out its flaws. I've perused a couple screenshots of the one woman in the show and I can see where they pulled inspiration from. The problem is that they're trying to recreate something that is so immensely detailed. We don't all have access to chain mail or can sit around weaving bits of leather into ornately woven garments. It's hard, right? So where are they going wrong?

Well, first off, in terms of construction things are far too simplistic to the point that they look unfinished and ill fitting. The cincher sits too high on the body causing it to bunch downward underneath the bustline. While yes it does sit that high on the character, there's obviously a difference in the construction of it. And while the shapes are similar in the tunic, there's something lacking in the design of the pants. I also don't think the fabric selections for the prototype were the best choices as I think they make it look worse. Faux suede and leather are super cheap looking and I think a different kind of fabric would've photographed better. Looking at the costume designs for the show as a whole you can see that there's an emphasis on a variety of texture. There's chain mail, lace like fabrics, mesh, wool, I think I even saw denim in there at one point. Maybe if someone tries this costume using a variety of materials it could look more convincing, but I certainly wouldn't recommend the use of synthetic leather.

If you're a fan of the Vikings TV show and you want to see some really awesome Viking and fantasy inspired period costumery, I encourage you to check out this blog. I've been a follower of hers for quite a while and I love her style. Have a look through her archives and marvel at her creations.



Conclusion

I always appreciate seeing what new treasures McCall's will bring us with their cosplay brand, I'm a little underwhelmed this time around. I like the topcoat but there isn't anything particularly outstanding that makes it a "cosplay" pattern. And in regards to Intrepid, it's not up to snuff with the patterns that have come before it. I just don't think it's worth the $21.95 USD price tag, especially since you could piece together elements from their Vault Collection for less money than that. This hasn't thrown me off the brand though, I figure it's simply a little hiccup and that there will be better patterns to come.

What are your thoughts?

Cheers, loves!

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