Friday, 30 January 2015

Meal Prep #6 & #7

Long time, no meal prep posts. That's because for most of January, we haven't had the time to do a proper prep. We did one on New Years Eve and just did another yesterday and since I never posted about the NYE one here's a double post. And man, is it good to be back into it. I ate one of yesterday's meals while writing this and it is so good to have an easily microwaveable, fairly health bundle of varied foods from fridge to mouth in under five minutes.

This is how our fridge looks right now, meals all taking up one shelf with fruit salad and other bits above. Grainy as hell photo, because it was like 9:30 when we finished up, but wanted to share anyway.

For our NYE prep we made five lots of meals. Salad and stir-fry aren't remarkable enough to warrant photos, but here are the other three meals we made.

This was roast lamb with sautéed mixed zucchini and mushrooms and baked potato and sweet potato. The great thing about this was the zucchinis were fresh from my mum's garden, and the sweet potato came from ours. Super fresh veggies for the win!

More fresh veggies here too, the beans are also from my mum! Roast lamb, corn and beans over rice.

And this meal is the potato and sweet potato mix with sausage and broccoli.

That's what we cooked on New Years Eve, keep scrolling for yesterday's cooking bonanza. Actually, you don't have to scroll far, I just wanted to write "keep scrolling". In addition to a big bowl of fruit salad we made six each of the following meals.

Firstly, canned salmon with a baked potato and carrot mix and beans. In case it's not obvious, baked potatoes is one of the best things ever.

Second, more salmon! This time with cauliflower, corn and fried rice. I love plain rice, but James isn't as much of a fan so I made a simple fried rice to change it up a bit. Just peas, onion, rice and soy sauce but definitely a step up from regular rice with a few herbs.

This lot is the baked potato and carrot mix with lemon herb chicken and corn. You know how I said I was eating one while writing this post? This was it, and it was tasty.

Lastly, honey soy chicken with fried rice, beans and cauliflower. I do pretty damn good honey soy chicken.

So that's the last two lots of meal prep we've done. We're planning to get back into a regular routine with it, so there'll be more posts of this nature. Feel free to share any of yourown meal prep ideas or recipes in the comments ^__^

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lolita Sewing Goals

I like making lists. And then ticking things off them. So, since I really do want to sew more this coming year, a list of sewing  projects and ideas, roughly in order of importance, seemed like a great idea.

Things I Really Want To Sew

Firstly, I want to try a variation of the pattern I used for my brown and green floral JSK with full back shirring using the lovely fabric below and a matching solid blue bodice. This isn't a wardrobe essential but I fell in love with that fabric and though I'd never buy this dress, I'd still like to own it. Also, I really want to figure out the perfect version of that pattern to continue using in the future so this is also an experiment in that.

After that, I really want to make a black and a brown long-sleeved bolero that will be simple but elegant with just a bit of lace trim or small ruffles or braid. These will go with nearly my entire wardrobe and give me some more options.

Things I'd Like To Sew

More boleros! And I'm not even joking. Though the brown and black ones are the most important, I'd also love to eventually add baby pink, dusty pink, red, burgundy, ivory and dark green ones, and possibly make a long and short sleeved version of each, or at least the main colours of black and brown. Though more realistically a short sleeved baby pink, long sleeved ivory and short sleeved red are the ones that I really at this want level. Everything else is more of an "it'll be great when I get to it" level of importance.

I also want to try making a dusty pink blouse and also a sax blue blouse. These are colours that aren't big in my wardrobe, but they would really give me some more interesting coording options. Though I haven't found a blouse pattern I really like yet, so this may take a while.

Things That Would Be Nice To Get To Eventually

Something I'd love to make, but gets low priority because I don't have the fabric, is a fawn fur beret. I need to practise on other faux fur first, but I think I've figured out how to make berets.

I'd also like to make a JSK with a patterned bodice but plain skirt. I think I have enough brown tartan to maybe do that with a plain brown skirt, and I think that'd be really cute. Along with that I'd love to make an old-school tartan JSK. I'm perfectly willing to use the same pattern for both of these [which hopefully I perfect with the blue JSK I mentioned above] as I think they'll still end up sufficiently different when I'm done with skirt variations, trims and other embellishment.

Things To Sew If I Actually Sew Everything Else

To expand into more casual territory I'd eventually like to make a red and a black-and-white cutsew style top.

I'd also like to make bustiers in different colours, because I love the faux JSK look you can get with a bustier and a skirt, and there is nothing easier to make than an elastic-waisted skirt and if I had lots of bustiers, I could also have lots of elastic-waisted skirts!

Eventually I'd like to work on an OTT classic dress, something perhaps with gigantic princess sleeves and lots of layers, or maybe something in regal black and gold, or something with an amazing print. It'd purely be photoshoot only, because I currently don't go to any events where wearing such a dress would be appropriate, so it's really a low priority thing, though it would be fun.

Overall I want to get to a point where I have the perfect JSK and bolero patterns which I can sew up easily with some variations. Getting to the same point with a blouse would also be awesome. There are lots of JSKs I'd like to make [florals in different colours, mostly, and something in a kimono print, and stripey ones] but the things I've listed above are the distinct things I actually want to make, roughly in the order I'd like to make them. We'll see how I go!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

2015 Lolita Wardrobe Post

I did it again! I posted my wardrobe to EGL and you can see it if you click here. I just wanted to share some of my favourite shots here and have a bit of a ramble about my wardrobe, because it's mine and I'm proud of it.

This shot I love for two reasons. Firstly, it's my newest JSK next to my oldest... and they're both pretty florals! Second, Anniversary Rose is my first brand-new, non-lucky pack brand that I've kept. I still don't think I'm ever going to be a solely brand lolita, but I feel quite proud that I've added several brand pieces to my wardrobe this past year.

My shoe collection hasn't grown much [only five new lolita pairs in the year] but I just loved how pretty this photo was! It's nice to have a wide variety of footwear.

Similar to how I'm glad to have added some brand to my wardrobe, I'm also happy to have worked in more good indie stuff and a little handmade! The Lyris dress is still my favourite piece, and I'm really happy to have finished the brown and green JSK.

None of these socks were in my wardrobe last year, but now I have them I can't imagine being without them. Brand OTKs are comfortable, stretchy and wonderful... I don't think I can go back to offbrand. I've also acquired more tights, including a black and a white lace pair.

This year I also own bags! I've never been much of a bag person but thanks to the cheapness of taobao and the gloriousness of Axes Femme I actually have a variety of bag I use when wearing lolita. The gobelin one is my favourite, I don't even have words for how awesome it it. And my other Axes Femme one is super cute, it's one of those three-way bags and it would be the cutest in a school-girl inspired outfit.

I also discovered that I love coloured blouses. A lot. And I've added quite a few, including the two above. I just feel that coloured blouses can make outfits that much more unique and really make prints pop.

In 2015, as I've already mentioned in another post, I want to buy less and sew more. To keep myself vaguely organised and accountable I'll be posting up a "want to sew" list soon. But overall, I'm really happy with how my lolita wardrobe has come together. It really feels like a cohesive collection now, adn I'm proud of it.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Review #36: Innocent World's Anniversary Rose [and socks]

Another Innocent World order, another saga, though this one fortunately didn't involve getting the wrong merchandise. It just took a while. I ordered on the 12th of December during their 15% off sale, received the automated message immediately and then nothing until the new year. One January 8th I got the PayPal invoice, which I paid right away. Then my order shipped out on the 14th of January and I received it on the 19th. So it was over a month from order to receiving, which I don't think is very good. However, other than the delay there were no issues with the order, so overall I'm quite happy.

This is what I ordered:

Anniversary Rose Just Waist JSK 
Anniversary Rose OTKs
Rococo Rose OTKs

Everything was inside an IW bag inside an EMS satchel, along with the "handwritten" note you always get. The first thing I noticed was that everything was darker than I was expecting!

The bordeaux socks are incredibly dark, not the rich red of the stock photo, and the base colour of the dress is more what I'd call a tan colour instead of the more muted yellow-beige of the stock photo. It's still lovely, and after I got used to it I think I like it more. It's more muted and will probably be easier to wear than if it really was the colour of the stock photo.

I forgot to take a photo of the full dress, so have some detail shots instead.

I really like the fabric used in this dress; it's a nice, slightly rough textured cotton, for lack of a better descriptor. The shirring panel on the back is nicely done and has a lot of give. The straps have a button sewn on about two inches from the end which I'll be moving down right to the end of the straps for more length. The laces used are very nice and a good colour match. All in all it's a really nice dress and I'm happy with it.

I don't have much to say about the socks except that they are quite nice, even if they are a bit darker than I thought they'd be. The colours at the top and bottom in my photo are most accurate, I think.

Overall I'm quite happy with my newest wardrobe additions, though I'm probably not going to buy from Innocent World again unless I'm head over heels with something because, even though I know it's a small sample size, 100% of my orders with them have been problematic in one way or another.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Lolita Sewing: Brown and green JSK

Today I finished sewing my first proper lolita JSK. I'm not 100% happy with it and there are several flaws but I'm really glad I finished it anyway ^__^

Ignore the exposed overlocking on the straps and the fact that I didn't iron it before taking pictures [it was getting dark!]. This was the first time I'd used this pattern and I never bother finishing things too finely on my first try because my first tries often don't turn out too well!

I used Simplicity 2176 for the bodice with a very full rectangle skirt. A brief review on the pattern: it was simple to follow and has a nice shape but it was gigantic! I made it in a size that was meant to be slightly too small and I had to take it in by at least ten centimetres. So if you're using this pattern either their measurements are off or they assume you need a humongous amount of seam allowance. Either way, go a size or two down to what you think you need, or at least be prepared to have to take it in.

There's a bit of a back story to this dress. It was originally going to have a skirt of brown and gold plaid, but then I realised I didn't have enough of that fabric left. So I made it with a pink-and-brown tiered skirt  but messed up the measurements so it looked awful. Finally I bought this green fabric and managed to complete the dress one and for all! The skirt fabric was a lucky find, it reminds me of Bouquet Stripe by Innocent World a little.

I may still add a big bow or several small bows of the green to the bodice, but I'm not sure yet. I laid out an outfit with it and I think it looks quite nice. I paired it with a F+F blouse, meta socks, taobao green velvet headbow and Bodyline shoes. Those shoes are fresh out of the box, don't worry I'm not putting dirty shoes on things!

Overall I'm pretty happy with my first handmade JSK. It's by no means perfect but it's wearable, it's done and I've found a pretty good bodice pattern that I think will be nice and versatile once I can get the sizing right.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Review #35: Lyris Design

For my birthday last year, James bought me a custom-made lolita dress from Lyris Design. Carly, who runs Lyris, is a lovely lady who I've commissioned from once before. I asked for a quote for an underbust JSK back in September and she let me know that due to her workload she wouldn't be able to start until late October/early November, which was fine by me. I said I'd get back with measurements around then but got lazy and towards the end of November Carly contacted me asking if I still wanted to go ahead and sent me a measurement chart. I replied and she started work!

I received the first mock-up in the mail on the 8th of December. It wasn't quite right, so I sent her pictures and descriptions of what needed doing and she sent me a second mock-up which I received on the 18th. That one was pretty much perfect, so she started making the final dress for me. She sent it out on Boxing Day and I got it January 5th, which is a bit slow for domestic postage but hey, it was Christmastime. Since it was taking a while to get to me I messaged to ask if there was a tracking number and she replied despite being on holiday overseas. Great customer service ^__^

The dress came to me wrapped in tissue paper inside a gift box.

And it is perfect! The fit is lovely, it's very well made and of good fabrics. It looks fantastic on me and it's the nicest thing in my lolita wardrobe. The photos I took really don't do it justice, but I'll be doing a photoshoot in it soon so you can see it in all its glory!

This shot is fairly accurate as far as colour goes, and shows the lining, shirring panel and Lyris label.

Throughout the whole order Carly was pleasant and helpful. She was the one who suggested making the button straps out of brocade fabric, which I think added a great bit of detail yet is something I wouldn't have thought of doing. It was also her idea to use the lace as trim. All in all I'm very happy with my new dress and the process of ordering it.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015, here we go!

Well. It's 2015 already. Wow.

I suppose it's time for resolutions and such, though I'm of the school of thought that you don't need ot wait for the new year for them, and in fact, it's often better to set goals and resolutions at whatever time is best for you, personally. However, I have made a few lolita related goals lately and since they make for vaguely interesting blogging I thought I'd share.

1. Keep up the blog!

And by this I especially mean coming up with more original content. I do love the wardrobe challenge series, and all the hypothetical I do but I want to focus more on posting real, original, 100% me stuff as well. So expect to see more outfits and such! And also more meal prep posts, even though that's not lolita it's something I like sharing.

Bodyline skirt, Infanta blouse, Metamorphose socks with offbrand shoes and flowers.

2. Spend less on lolita.

I have a wonderful lolita wardrobe. I can pull together outfits ranging from full gothic to full sweet, with most of it sitting firmly in classic territory. So I'm putting myself on a six-month spending ban. My only exception is I can buy things that cost under $50 if it's something I can get a lot of use out of. But I really want to focus on getting the most out of what I have, rather than getting more. I have two things in the mail and then that's it for a while.

3. Sew more things.

This ties in with resolution two, and sewing materials are the exception to my spending rule. This year I made a old-school skirt for my lolita wardrobe and I've almost finished sewing my first proper JSK, and I really want to make more of my own lolita clothes going forwards.

The skirt fabric of my almost-done JSK. It is actually nice, just didn't photograph right...

So the result of all three goals will probably mean that there will be far less reviews on this blog, but more sewing posts, which I think will make for a nice change of pace.

4. Actually attend a lolita event.

I'll be honest here; I'm a bit shy and as a result really don't like doing new things. And lolita meets involve new people and sometimes new places as well. So I always wuss out. But there's a big community about an hour and a half away and a smaller one about an hour away and I do want to try and get involved in the social side of lolita this coming year.

5. Keep up with the meal prep.

I know I said lolita goals, but this is tangentially related. I've found meal prepping has been the best thing for my diet, and the better my diet, the better I fit my lolita clothes so it is kind of connected! It also saves a lot of time, money and effort so I really want to make sure to make this a strong habit.

Did you set any goals or resolutions for the coming year?