Friday, March 30, 2012

DIY Suede & Chain Bracelet II

Remember my tutorial for the suede and chain bracelet? Here's another one:

I made this as an afterthought with the leftover leather (no, I do NOT believe in throwing scraps out. NEVER!). I was ogling over my other chains and I realized that my bronzey-gold chain was actually cut into 2 pieces and wired together. How sneaky! If I needed that piece for a serious project, I would be pretty pissed that I wasn't given one continuous length. Very bad, Toho Shoji.

(Look! A lighthouse charm! I haven't used it yet, though.)

But anyway, now I had a length of chain exactly the length of my wrist. I took my leather leftovers, about 10 inches, and weaved in and out of the chain (think of the strap of a classic Chanel purse- leather through chain). I also picked up a few little charms at Toho so I stuck the gold ship wheel in the middle of the chain.

This didn't leave me with much leather left to use to fasten the bracelet by tying a bow. I decided to use a sliding knot but could not for the life of me figure out how to tie one. I literally spent 5 minutes staring at a diagram and could not understand it.

Luckily I found another tutorial here and realized that all I had to do was tie two knots, leaving the tail end going through each. It's really pretty simple once the dots connect in your head.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Heyhey, just a head's up to all you advertisers, promoters, whatevers out there: I'm now moderating comments. If you leave a comment as such: "Nice wedding pictures. My friend used for all her wedding planning needs," it will be deleted. If you're a Real Person and you sign your name with your blog link, that's perfectly ok! Just don't spam me! Thank youuuu, that is all. :]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My outfits for different occasions

Here's something a little different! Using my favorite fashion collage site Polyvore, I've put together a few recreations of what I wear on a daily basis without showing you grainy pictures of my mug. Observe:

For an average day going to class (Well, maybe not heels to class. But I could if I really wanted to...). Sheer black tops are my new favorite thing, I have 3 at the moment.

This is what I wore last week to my internship at the BG, almost exactly. Same concept. I try not to be too boring without completely scaring people. *This is the only time I have to think about being appropriate for a certain environment. You never know with internships, do you...

This is what I'll wear for a weekend day of doing homework at Newhouse and running errands, exactly the outfit I wore today, exception being that my black sweatshirt is shaped like a peacoat and not like this one. What's with the red hearts on the gingham top? I sewed red heart buttons on mine. :] Also wore my hair in a bun with a bandanna Rosie the Riveter style.

An outfit for sitting around at home, I have everything exactly in this pic down to that same issue of Nylon. My blue teddy bear is one of my favorite things and I prefer thigh highs with shorts over pants in the spring. I won't put my contacts in unless I'm leaving my house and I drink tea continuously pretty much ALL day. 

Welcome to the life :P

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DIY Dip Dye

Hey everyone! I'm back from a lovely spring break in the Chi with a backlog of DIYs to share.

I finally found a white collared shirt to dip dye! It's made of 100% cotton, which is best for taking dye. And I used navy blue RIT dye (the bottled kind), although my shirt turned out purple. How did that happen? I don't know. I also don't really mind either. My wardrobe could use more color.

I found the tutorial on Refinery29 and followed it almost exactly. The part where I always skimp on is mixing the dye... fail. You should probably measure out your dye and make correct dye-to-water ratios and know how much salt you need. I usually just dump some dye into a glass bowl of hot water and throw as much salt in as I feel like. DIY stands for Do-It-(MY WAY). The fun of DIY is making things up as you go along!

The only important rules to follow are to wet and ring out your shirt to the point where you want your dye to run up to.

Leave it hanging in the dye for at least 2 hours. After a half hour, pour water down the shirt to encourage the dye to spread upwards. I found that the dye really liked running up the seams, making my front seam like a stripe.

After a few hours, rise your shirt until the water runs clear through it. Use gloves unless you want stained hands. Yes, this will take forever. Patience, grasshopper. Wash it separately from the rest of your clothes; I wouldn't be surprised if dye kept seeping out no matter how much you think it rinsed out.

Here's how mine turned out...  bit more purple than navy blue usually is! I like it :] I wore it with my purple cameo ring and DIY suede chain bracelet.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I realized that I never made a geisha photodump yet... how odd. Fixing that now.

I love geisha and maiko. I've done 2 research projects on them for separate classes, including of course, reading and watching Memoirs of a Geisha (don't get me started on them. OH the inaccuracies of both the book and the movie) and I've read Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography that sets her record straight.

Before I get any further here, let's shoot down the popular myth: THEY ARE NOT PROSTITUTES. Got it? If anyone wants to say contrary, I will drop kick you instantly. Geisha are artists trained in everything from dance, conversation, music, flower arranging, etiquette, etc. They train longer in their craft than Olympic athletes and share the same lifelong devotion to their profession. 

Side note: This picture was titled "Two Japans." Too right. Look at how they're looking at her! It's like time travel- present looking at past.

And I think they are the most beautiful, artful people. Their outfits coordinate with the seasons, as do their hair ornaments. It takes them hours to get dressed, including traditional rituals that are followed every time they leave their house. Every detail in their appearance has a meaning: for example, a maiko (geisha in training) changes hairstyles with important landmarks that she reaches through her training. It's said that maiko wear more elaborate kimonos, hairstyles, and ornaments because they are still in training and learning about their performances. A full-feldged geisha's beauty comes from her skills rather than her clothes and decorations, so she dresses in a much simpler fashion.

They are, above all, graceful. At least, that's what I always take away from photos.

Flickr is a goldmine for geisha paparazzi and probably the most accurate sources for authentic geisha pictures. Anyone can throw on a kimono and claim to be a geisha... posers, all of them. I snagged pictures from OnihideMomoyama, and Milestone, all of whom have excellent galleries. I can scroll through their flickrs for hours.

The whole exotic mystery surrounding geisha is that you don't know what goes on behind closed doors (until Mineko Iwasaki told us, and I'm sure that wasn't everything). A geisha's time is very expensive and they only cater to a small margin of important people, none of which include Westerners (most of the time). You have to be super important to be invited to a tea house with geisha company. And super lucky. 

You can dress a model up in the latest fashions, make her pose unnaturally, and it'll never be anything close to this kind of traditional beauty.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lighthouse: St Joseph, MI

This semester, just going home from school was enough for Spring Break. However, I went to Michigan with my parents for a night because they love going there for wine trails. We came home with about 12 bottles! And of course, I dragged them to a lighthouse. It was almost 80 degrees (!?) so it was pretty nice. This pier is in St. Joseph and has two structures, one more "house" shaped and one that's more of a tower.

^ what's with my freakish long stick legs in this picture? It was a strange angle...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thrifting Haul

I made some really good finds today at the thrift store in my town, check it:

I've been looking for a white collared shirt to dip-dye navy blue for a long time. Most of what I find seems too Kohls-circa-2005 for my liking, but this one is pretty decent. It's more of a western style, which I'm ok with. It's also too big so I have to take it in... but I'm reunited with my sewing machine at the moment so it won't be a problem. Looooove!

This is one of those pieces that I would consider "vintage." It's that nice flowey material that will be good for spring and it has a sash that goes around the collar for tying into a bow or simple knot, which is very "trendy" at the moment. It also had shoulder pads, which I took out.

Ooooo yeah, this one is my crown jewel of the day. Sweetheart neckline tube top romper onesie. Hellz yeah. It originally had an ugly strap that wrapped around the neck and buttoned onto the horn button (which I left on for the moment... I'll probably take it off in about 5 minutes). I cut the strap off immediately and sewed it over to the inside. If you remember from my last thrift post, I picked up a sheer short sleeved dress, but wasn't really sure what I would wear under it... THIS will be perfect.

Going home is so good for my soul; Northern Illinois has my heart forever. It's 70 degrees today, I baked cookies, modpodged a clutch (DIY to come later), grilled some Vienna hot dogs for lunch, got shamrock shakes with my brother... just general stuff I always do when I'm home. I'd take that over sitting around in gloomy Syracuse any day :]

Monday, March 5, 2012

DIY Suede & Chain Bracelet

As promised, here's my chain and suede bracelet tutorial. I’ve seen bracelets like this before which use plastic lanyard, like the key chains you used to make at summer camp. That looks way too homemade to me, so I thought I’d class it up by using suede instead!

The materials I’m using are a length of chain (with links big enough to thread through with suede), a suede lace, 2 rings, and a clasp. First, attach a ring and a clasp to the end of your chain.

Wrap the chain around your wrist until it fits comfortably. Attach the second ring to the chain to mark off the length of your bracelet.

Take of the bracelet and match up the doubled chain. This part is annoying, but actually count the number of links instead of eyeballing it. If you end up with extras, it’ll show at either end of your bracelet.  When the chain is perfectly doubled, cut the chain with wire cutters and attach the loose end to the ring with the clasp. Now you’ll have a bracelet of doubled chain.

Now you can start weaving the suede through the links. Start on the second link and leave at least a centimeter or two left unwoven to finish later. Getting started with the suede is tricky because you need to develop a consistent weaving strategy. Make sure the suede doesn’t get twisted while you’re threading through links; that’ll create bumps and you want everything looking the same. I weaved over a chain and under the next. Just pick one pattern and stick to it!

When you finished weaving, cut the remaining suede off, leaving a centimeter left. To secure the ends, dab a bit of crazy glue (because that glue can adhereanything!) on the last stitch of the bracelet and fold the end over.

You’re done! You can use a variety of different chain or suede colors, or even use more than 2 chains at a time. 

If you want to see this tutorial in "official form," head over to Craftistas inspiration blog!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Favorite Blogger: Paula Ilona Viktoria

I'm taking some time out from the recent slew of personal posts (surprising, right?) to feature another one of my favorite bloggers. I love intruding you all to the people I follow because... sometimes they can be my inspiration and I love sharing their unique styles with whoever I can.

This is Paula Ilona Viktoria of Intergalactic Radio Station from Finland, as about half of the people I follow are from Finland. Why is that? I have no idea. It must be a super fashionable country. Not to mention dedicated; it's snowy and freezing there nearly all winter and they still can pull together amazing outfits all the time. I live in the snowiest city in America (which is at a record low of snowfall this year anyway) so I should never blame snow for getting in the way of outfit plans.

I found her by scrolling through Lookbook one day and her bright pink hair stopped me instantly.

I love that she wears a lot of black but her hair is this childish bubblegum pink. It's such a contrast. She pulls it off really well.

This outfit is perfection. All those belts...! Wearing all black at once has the potential to become very flat and boring. She keeps that from happening by wearing different textures: chiffon, jersey, leather... all of that keeps it interesting. And how great is the closeup picture on the left? The snowy blackground makes her really stand out.

**Keep an eye out for a new DIY coming soon! It'll also be on Craftista's inspiration blog.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

ME: A day in the (NYC) life

WARNING: extremely picture heavy post ahead.

Friends and family are curious to see what I'm doing in NYC, so I decided to give them a snippet of “A Day in the Life...” of a commuting intern in the city. It's really not all that exciting, but a change of scenery is nice once in a while, especially if that city is the biggest one in the country. I really don't get to do too much in NYC, since my schedule is as follows: bus-sleep-work-sleep-work-bus. 

Technically this is the day before, but this is what the 5ish hour drive from 'Cuse to NYC looked like, sans Catskill Mountains. It was snowing, that fluffy kind of snow that looks like emptying a bag of powder sugar on absolutely everything. White ground, white trees, white sky. Most of the time on this particular ride, I was spacing out from my theatre reading to just stare out the window.

Myself and 4 other Ajs stay at Hotel 309. Sometimes we get our own bed, sometimes we share. Sometimes we get a bathroom sink that's literally smaller than our faces. But we don't mind, it's part of the experience. Manhattan is expensive as hell. This place is pretty affordable, especially split 5 ways. This is Mary, who interns at Town & Country.

Morning! I walk the 14 blocks and 1 avenue (takes me about 20 minutes) to work. I pass by a ton of shops that sell flowers right on the street. I always wonder how often people just walk by, snag one, and run.

I live in the Meatpacking/ Chelsea district. Much of the street looks like this. Kind of... damp and dirty, haha.

I'd SO much rather walk than take the subway to work, which would be about 3 stops away. I like knowing what's around me. If I took the subway, all I would see is underground dirty rail lines and be sandwiched between other morning commuters. Pass.

This building is where I work, which is on the next block from Fashion Institute of Technology. Bridal Guide has the tenth floor. 

Yup, Fashion Ave.

After work, I came to the obvious realization that I work in the fashion district, so I should really be hitting up the fabric and trimmings stores since you really won't come across a selection like NYC has anywhere else.

I had heard of this place, Toho Shoji from some DIY blog the other day and decided to check it out after reading about their wonderful selection of chains.

This place blew my mindhole. You walk in, see all these little boxes, and immediately want to grab everything. You definitely have to use blinders here. I came for the chains, basically. All in all, I probably got around 10 feet total and some other trimmings. It's well worth it, I can't even find normal chain anywhere, let alone complete walls full of the stuff.

I walked the 23 blocks back to the hostel and was reminded why NYC is always so dirty. Every evening, there are piles of trash bags on the sidewalk waiting for garbage collection. Gross. They don't have alley ways or dumpsters.

Oh hey, here's me looking like a tired, business casual librarian. One of my contacts fell in the sink and disappeared (?) this morning so I'm stuck in glasses for the next 2 days.

Toho loot. Oh yes, I've got excellent plans for you.

Sri, another AJ roomie, and I went to the Chelsea Market later because I wanted to go to their bookstore. And the market is adorable and never too crowded at 7pm.

I wanted fashiony books... but they were either "here's a pile of pictures/ sketches" or "this is how you should dress." Woe behold anyone who ever tells me how to dress. I wanted something more intellectual, so I left empty handed. 

Ok, that's kind of a lie, I got this peach drinkable yogurt thing. I only went into the store because it was called a "Milk Bar" and I couldn't help chuckling and thinking of A Clockwork Orange. 


Sri being cute! She interns here, upstairs at IVillage.


Back to the hostel, back to my top bunk bed and my laptop, ready to repeat the process tomorrow. And then get on a night bus back to the 'Cuse.

Is all this travel and extra expense worth it? Well... would I ever be in NYC and working for a major magazine publication otherwise? Probably not. Our wise program director once told us, "The money will come eventually. Time is something you can never get back." Truth.