Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting the Most Out of Yard Sale Shopping

Ah, yard sale season: the rush of seeing your neighborhood block converted suddenly to a bazaar of rare treasures ripe for purchase! Having been to a slew of these this summer alone, I'd like take the time to offer some advice from my own shopping experiences. Here are my Top Five tips for yard sale shopping!

  1. Be Polite, even though this seems obvious. At a neighbor's yard sale, I remember one woman who was very rude because they didn't have enough change to break her large bills (we're talking Benjamins) because the yard sale had only just started. When they politely asked her to come back later--even offered to hold the item for her--she snapped at them as if the next words out of her mouth might be "I'd like to speak to the manager!" Her attitude was completely rude and unnecessary. You aren't at a store with items that can be restocked, you're a guest at someone's home, the items for sale are their possessions. Don't be condescending or judgmental (it makes me cringe when I hear people say aloud things like "Look at this piece of junk!" ). People like to do business with people who are friendly--and the next four tips really won't work unless you are being friendly.
  2. Ask if they're going to throw anything away. I know this may sound crazy (who wants to sort through trash at someone's garage sale?), but people throw away plenty at big yard sales because they simply don't believe they'll sell. I've found some fabulous freebies simply because something was chipped somewhere or the paint was scratched/needed retouching. I got a set of two large gold candleholders that just needed a bit of paint for absolutely nothing. True, it could just be garbage you find in the reject pile, but oftentimes people throw out perfectly functional furniture amongst other items. I usually buy a couple items first, then politely ask if there are any items they had gone through that they were planning to just throw out. It never hurts to look!
  3. Haggle, but do so logically and respectfully. If an item is five dollars, for instance, I might try to haggle it down to two or three (depending on the condition,etc). One tactic I employ is to find a group of things I'd like to buy and offer a lower number for the set (ex: if there's a chair and a couple of lamps that would cost fifteen separate, I ask if I can have the three of them for ten). If I only have enough money for a couple of larger items, but I see something small I like (usually one of the less expensive things, perhaps a tiny objet d'art), I might ask if they'll throw the small item in as a freebie or at least discount it. The only thing to remember about these tips is to use them sparingly--aggressive haggling can come off as rude. I usually only try each method once.
  4. Make sure you have a way to transport any larger items standing by, even if you are just planning on browsing. What if you see the perfect sofa or dining room table? Perhaps a large framed work of art? If you pay for it, make sure you can get it home. When yard sale season pops up in my neighborhood, I'm often just wandering around on foot with a tote bag, but I have a family member or friend with a car standing by in case I need it. This is also helpful if the item is heavy or cumbersome. Another piece of advice that might come in handy here is to ask if they can hold the item for you once you've purchased it--that way you can come back later in the day to pick it up.
  5. If it's late in the day, they will give stuff away. When a family has a big yard sale, it's usually an effort to liquidate items they'd otherwise simply donate or throw out. As the yard sale is about to end, there is a big desire to get rid of the remaining items before the day is over. I like to go to yard sales during the final hours of the last posted day when they're having one. If I ask for discounts, I'm far more likely to get them then, but I normally don't even have to: when the sale is winding down, the hosts will ask me to take things off their hands! Maybe not big things, but the last yard sale I went to before I moved I received a ton of things for free after buying just one or two items simply because the hosts didn't want to pack them back up or haul them off. A pair of tapered candlesticks, a large decorative basket, a spice rack, a vintage blouse, a console table and a set of crystal wine goblets are just a few items I can think of that I've gotten for free this way. Now, keep in mind this one isn't a guarantee, and I would never recommend showing up and flat-out asking if they're giving stuff away, but in my experience you are far more likely to get amazing deals when the yard sale is winding down.
So those are my words of wisdom when it comes to getting the bang for your buck at a local yard sale. I hope these tips and tricks are of use to you if you're in the market for used home decor items, furniture, appliances, or even if you're just browsing at a sale you stumbled upon while out for a walk. My being quite guilty of the latter (and happily so). I think yard sales are fun because every item you see has a story behind it--a grandmother's old heirloom, a table a family ate dinner at, a bed that was once a child's who is now grown--every piece was treasured by the people selling it. I like to wonder sometimes where things I've sold at yard sales now are: is a freshman excitedly bringing my old dorm decor and storage to her new home at college? Or maybe a little girl somewhere is playing on my old rocking-horse and mothering my old baby doll? Meeting with those who treasured the items face-to-face is just one reason yard sales are such gratifying secondhand shopping experiences. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little advice post!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Updates, Updates!: Moving Tomorrow to a New Apartment!

Hi everybody! I've been gone awhile due to preparing to move to a new apartment in another state. I'm physically moving tomorrow, and I'm just about every emotional state one could think of! While I'm excited, I unfortunately don't have any financial security coming in to this, so the first couple of months will be job searching. My classes are in the evenings, so I have all day to dedicate to the search for employment. Broke lolitas do not buy brand, and broke graduate students can't pay rent XD

All the trials and tribulations aside, I'm rather stoked about finally having my own apartment. I live in a rented room unit in an older home with other tenants before, but now I'll have my own kitchen and bath and living room--all for me, no others to encroach on the space (except for my kitten, who is presently wondering where all his things are). I live right next to a lovely little gourmet tea shop too, which for a tea addict like me is a dream come true!

I'm working right now on an advice post about getting decor and furniture items secondhand. Since beginning this whole process, I have picked up a lot of tips and tricks for snagging cheap and free (yes, free) items for the home. Can't wait to share with all of you!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

F-in' Tea! : Youtube Funny

The ladylike world of tea is taken on by some EXTREME MANLINESS in this hilarious send-up of fanciness, etiquette and macho culture. TIIIME!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brief Hiatus this Week, Bonus: Cool Japanese Home Design Magazines

Hi everybody, I'm taking a break from posting this week to start the process of relocating to a different state. There will be posts on and off probably until late April while I'm going through this transition, but probably not a Monday Movie every week or long editorials. I'm excited about moving into my own apartment and starting graduate studies, but it's also a big (necessary) change--new location, new people, new work (on and off-campus I hope), and it's all a lot to take in. But all seriousness aside, I finally get to decorate my own home--not a room in my parent's house or half a dorm room, but my own home. I only ever had summer apartments before, so a more permanent locale will--I hope--lift my morale and support my career ambition.

Love the rose garlands, the colors and the drapery (I'm making my own, they are super easy to sew, being rectangles and all lol).

I'm looking at a lot of the home design Japanese girl's magazines right now for decorating inspiration. These girls for the most part live in tiny, tiny apartments (like I'll probably have to), but they really make the most of the space with drapery, lighting, and little touches here and there. I promise when all is said and decorated, there will be photos and tutorials! ♥

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday at the Movies: Jean Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" (1946)

The trailer so you get a better idea of the moving visuals. Truly a work of art.

In keeping with the popularity of fairytale films for adult audiences (read: Red Riding Hood, Beastly), I thought it fitting to look at the definitive fairytale film and one of my personal faves, Jean Cocteau's 1946 art house classic, La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast). There are so many reasons to see his movie I can hardly find where to begin. I suppose I should start by saying that everyone--seriously--every version of this story in film has copied Cocteau's version: Fairytale Theater, Cannon Movie Tales, and of course, Disney (though the Disney version does this the least and is far more subtle, in my pov). This is how far this film's influence has extended over the years.

The Beast gives Belle the Golden Key as a symbol of his love and trust in her.

Perhaps the reason Cocteau's fairytale remains the standard is because it is both hauntingly surreal and perfectly human. Belle as acted by Josette Day is not just a humble, self-effacing peasant girl--she truly is brave and by the end learns the importance of following her own path rather than constantly sacrificing for others. Day's physical acting was also terrific, as much of what needed to be conveyed in the story was done silently through a gesture or a glance. Her Beast, her oafish village suitor Avenant and the Prince Ardent at the end of the film are all played by Jean Marais (brilliantly, might I add). The director wanted to make the Beast so real and pathetically human under all his monstrosity that when the transformation does occur, Belle (and consequently the audience) almost misses his previous form. Avenant is ultimately transformed into a beast himself when Prince Ardent comes back, the latter retaining the former's good looks but not his bad attitude.

Belle mesmerized by the Beast's spellbound castle.

The atmosphere of the film is expressive and surreal--the candles on the wall move by themselves, statues around the castle come to life and all moves on its own as if controlled by some unseen force. This is something best described as "frighteningly beautiful." The final scene wherein Prince Ardent flies through the heavens with Belle to his kingdom is reminiscent of the spiraling paintings of Raphael (current to the period the story is set in). It's almost like the Seventh Seal meets Disney: a charming visualization of the fairytale genre, but done with the intent of making an artistic masterpiece that touches on very grown-up, real-world emotions and ideas. If you haven't seen Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, I suggest you find a copy, turn out all the lights and let yourself experience this extraordinary film.

Belle and her prince fly through the air to their faraway kingdom.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy First Day of Spring (and also Purim) plus a small photo post! ❁

Spring is (calendar-wise) officially here in my hemisphere! Today also happens to be the Jewish feast of Purim (a celebration of the events in the Book of Esther), so a Blessed Purim today to any of my Jewish readers out there. I can't help but feel a little happier on a day like this. I went on a picnic with Marmie and the pooch to take in the flowers that are all starting to bloom.

Still chilly, so long sleeves, but here's some photos! You can't see too clearly, but the headband is covered in little daisies Photos under the cut:

A very happy Spring to you all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2011!

Not sure how many of my readers are Catholic or of Irish descent, but I wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day today!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Youtube Music Tuesday: Beverly Sills sings "Pigoletto" on The Muppet Show

If you love Beverly Sills and Miss Piggy, you'll love this. "I can sing HIGHer!"
RIP Bubbles. I'll always miss your enchanting voice.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday at the Movies: "Peter Pan" (2003)

Sorry for the delay today--our internet was on the fritz. Thankfully it all seems to be working now just in time to bring you today's "Monday" movie, Peter Pan, the 2003 live action version. This is probably my favorite film visitation of J.M. Barrie's classic tale of good versus evil, imagination, and growing up. The main character of the story is not the title character so much as Wendy Darling played by the very talented (and perfectly bright-eyed and boisterous) Rachel Hurd-Wood. Wendy also is revealed to be our narrator at some point. Jeremy Sumpter is extremely believable as Pan (perhaps the first time I felt the character could be real when watching an adaptation), and Ludivine Sagnier is also one of my favorite Tinker Bells ever--her spiteful coquettishness and feisty demeanor are spot-on. Jason Isaacs rounds off the principle cast in the role of a much darker Captain Hook.

The principle characters. I felt the cast totally captured the essence of their roles.

Because this story has been told to death by so many, I wanted to zoom in on the dynamics I felt were unique to this film, particularly the coming-of-age dilemma. Wendy is facing a crisis--grow up and lose her imagination to the demands of a strict Edwardian society, or attempt to remain a kid forever by staying in Neverland with Peter, who represents the wild spirit of childhood wonder that never grows up. She faces two obstacles: one, Captain Hook, the constant reminder of the tribulations of the adult world and two, her father Mr. Darling who has forced Wendy to abandon the nursery and end her girlhood.

Wendy tries abandoning the promise of adulthood for the adventure of eternal youth with Peter.

Captain Hook is a dark "father" himself, luring and manipulating Wendy into feeling she has respect and empathy when she is simply his pawn to destroy Pan. This correlates with the earlier plotline in which her own father forbids from exercising her child mind (of which Pan is the personification). And the director is not subtle at all about this father-daughter dynamic: He casts the same actor to play Hook and Mr. Darling. By casting Jason Isaacs as both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, the director and his co-screenwriter (P.J. Hogan and Michael Goldenberg) really feed into this almost Freudian coming-of-age-dilemma. Not to mention taking Hook's character and turning him into a truly terrifying force of evil. This is the first time I felt the cruelty in his character.

Jason Isaacs as both Wendy's father and the illustrious Captain James Hook.

Wendy finds some relief at first playing house with Peter and the Lost Boys. But while they pretend to be mother and father, Wendy and Peter begin to recognize their own dreams of a future together and the possibility of being in love and having a real family one day. But Peter rejects the idea of growing up at all costs--even losing Wendy. When Wendy realizes that she wants to grow up and that Peter can not go with her, she becomes angry and winds up sympathizing with Captain Hook. Hook goads her on by inviting her to stay and tell stories to the crew, patronizing her work in a manner that no doubt is feeding her ambition to become a novelist (as stated in the beginning of the film). His efforts come off like courtship, which is why I said it gets a bit Freudian. In the end though, he is only promising her an adult world where she can expect pain and loneliness--a world with no imagination. A world with no Peter Pan.

Captain Hook threatens Wendy.

Wendy realizes that she has to grow up, but if Peter is gone then her grown-up world will be without the eternal spark of childhood wonder--the sole thing that keeps us from being beaten into hardness and cruelty in adulthood (like Captain Hook). As representation of the ills of adulthood, Captain Hook attempts to bring Peter Pan and Wendy down by reminding them what will come of their futures. Wendy will leave Pan forever for a new person, "husband," and Pan will die of a broken heart--lonely, forgotten, unable to fulfill his love and join her in the grown-up world. But Wendy realizes she needs Pan even if she can't be with him forever, for what she must truly conquer is the dark part of adulthood that Hook symbolizes. When Hook is gone, Wendy can return to her life with the knowledge that Peter--the spirit of her youth--will never be threatened even by the trials of the grown-up world. And Wendy leaves Peter with the knowledge that he is loved by her forever--no one can live without love, even a boy who will never grow up.

Wendy and Peter, always and forever.

Now that the awkward psycho-gender-analysis part is done (lol), I want to wrap up by commending the special effects team who worked on this film as well as the soundtrack by James Newton Howard. The surreal, magical quality of the story was perfectly reflected by the visuals and score. Howard's work is remarkably in tune with the feeling of Peter Pan: In fact, if you just played me the soundtrack and never told me what it went with, I would still have seen images of pirate ships and fairies and scenes of magical adventures. As an example of the beauty of the visuals and the score and to finish off this post, here is the "fairy dance" scene from the film:

So that's it for this Monday. But sometimes I wonder, what would Peter Pan have been like if he had chosen to grow up? Hmm...say, maybe there's another movie coming up that will answer that thought ;-)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pray for Japan

and all affected areas. I haven't been able to sleep knowing how horrible this is.
Live feed:

Organizations providing assistance:
American Red Cross

EDIT: Please refer to this post before donating,etc. It's very thorough and helpful.

I don't know if some of you recall, but when the tsunami in Indonesia hit in 2004, Japan gave the most relief funds out of any country. If you can donate any amount, please do.

To those with loved ones in the affected area, please try Google's Crisis Relief Center if you are trying to make contact. I hope you hear from your loved ones and that everyone stays safe.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Girl's Generation "Hoot" MV: Youtube Music Tuesday

I must confess--K-Pop is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine (and Korean soaps too XD). But being a huge old school James Bond fan as well, I couldn't resist posting the new music video from Girl's Generation (SNSD), "Hoot!" As usual, their catchy tune and perfectly synced dance moves blew me away, but the retro secret agent/ noir theme is what really hooked me :-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday at the Movies: Marie Antoinette, 2006

Today's Monday at the Movies was inspired by Quaintrelle Life's post on an older Marie Antoinette movie. I wanted to put my own two cents in about a film that pretty much everyone has seen and everyone has something to say about: Writer/Director Sofia Coppola's 2006 film Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst. This is more of an editorial of my personal thoughts about why I love the movie, and my reason for supporting the director's very controversial and non-traditional telling of the story. The screenshot below says it all:

The dauphine tries on shoes with a pair of modern-day sneakers snuck into the shot.

While it may surprise some, the life and tragedy of Marie Antoinette has been the focus of several Hollywood films. One of the most memorable examples is the classic Norma Shearer version from the late 30s (for which the young actress received an Oscar nod). She is a popular subject of documentaries and even holds the position of being one of the earliest shoujo anime princesses in the beloved Japanese animated drama Rose of Versailles and its Takarazuka theatrical adaptations. While I adore the Marie Antoinettes of all these examples, there is something about them that seems...well, stock character-y. She is a caricature of herself almost, and much attention is given to the dramas ruling her life and not-so-much her own point-of-view. Historical pieces become very caught up in authenticity and chronology, so they often feel old. I mean, their subject matter is old, but there doesn't appear to be relevancy to our lives now in them. They play like museums--interesting, often poignant, but still far away from us, hidden behind the glass.

Candy-coated, eye-popping colors makes the story come alive.

Coppola's Marie is so astounding to me because of its tangibility. I can smell the flowers, taste the decadent pastries and bubbly champagne. I get to be inside the mind of the tragic queen, something that I as a fan of Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser (the biography that inspired the film) really appreciate. Coppola chose a palette for her film of bright hues and bolder shades (hot pink anyone?) uncommon in other historical epics--many films of the ilk have a limited, darker palette. In the making-of featurette included on the film's DVD, Coppola says constantly, "No brown!" and "Looks like candy!" In my opinion, using such a vibrant palette really pulls the viewer into the sumptuousness of Rococo Versailles in ways that come alive--the people and places are no longer shadowy monuments of a past dead and gone. They are real--as stimulating to the senses as candy.

The palette is only one unique and controversial aspect of the movie: The story is missing two important historical events. The first is the Affair of the Necklace, and the second is the Revolution and her execution. Many people were shocked that their was no beheading,or why the film ended seemingly abruptly on a shot of the interior of the royal bedchamber torn to shreds. Here's my interpretation: I think Coppola wanted the focus to be on Marie and her most personal emotions, triumphs and mistakes. The Affair of Necklace takes the focus off Marie and easily slides into the drama of Revolutionary France, a drama which I feel that Coppola never intended to focus on in her version of the story. The suffering of the peasant class--while not out of the queen's mind--was not a major concern (unfortunately for her in the end). Her whims, affairs, and heartbreaks are more concerned with Versailles itself--with the monarchy, fulfilling her mother and the old regime's expectations, and making herself happy despite being in the impossible situation of being a teenage ruler of a country. When Marie says "I'm saying goodbye" at the end of the film, it really signals the final change in her character. Removed from her comfort zone and the dramas of her youth, she rides into a world unknown to her but with wisdom and sense of self. If she can't see the guillotine looming ahead, why should we?

Déjà vu: Marie and her palace buddies play milkmaids (left) and Nicole and Paris play farmgirl (right).

Sofia Coppola's version of the story is, to me, extremely fresh and easy-to-relate to. It is really the story of a young girl thrust into the spotlight before she has the maturity and guidance to make good decisions. She is forced to grow up rapidly (as is her husband Louis XVI played by Jason Schwartzman) and publicly, and because of this, she ends up breaking down into escapism and frivolity until her world falls apart. Is it so strange, her story? Is her playing shepherdess at Petit Trianon so very different from heiresses Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie's playing working class girl on The Simple Life? And how many young women in Hollywood--our own glittering and gilded Versailles--have dealt with outrageous scandals or have broken under the pressure of their environment? I can name so many it would be ridiculous to start--for goodness sake, Lindsay Lohan has had her own "Necklace Affair" to name one! Sofia Coppola's film, and indeed, Marie Antoinette's real-life story resonates today with the same power and pull as it did when it did over 300 years ago.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Strawberry Switchblade: Youtube Music Tuesday

I haven't done a music post for forever now, and I'm always listening to music and being inspired by captivating music videos so there's really no excuse ^0^

This week I thought I'd share one of my favorite "synthopop" 80s girl bands, Strawberry Switchblade. Strawberry Switchblade consists of by Jill Bryson and Rose McDowell, early members of Scotland's strand of the UK punk movement. Strawberry Switchblade are known for their fusion of pop synthesizer, punk rock and new wave sound. The band has only had four official promo music videos to my knowledge, all of which Tim Pope directed. Their style is somewhat neo-historical, goth, punk, and who could forget their signature polkadots and mass amounts of ribbons. Here's the music video for their song "Who knows what love is?" and also their cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Maybe they're too much for some, but I really love their style. If I had been born a decade earlier, I bet I'd be sporting ribbons in my big hair, fun tights and poofy polkadotted frilly clothes too. Gotta love the over-the-top 80s!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday at the Movies: Disney's "The Great Mouse Detective" (1986)

For those who couldn't tell from my hint last week, this week's movie is the Disney animated classic The Great Mouse Detective, featuring the wickedly good voice talents of the late Vincent Price. Younger audiences today might not recognize Price's name, but they've certainly heard his voice in Michael Jackson's Thriller and perhaps even in school in an audio-taping of selected works of Edgar Allan Poe. As a lover of classic Gothic horror (not to mention Poe), I've seen all his collaborations with director Roger Corman, but Price's role here as Pr. Ratigan (the mouse version of Sherlock Holmes' nemesis Pr. Moriarty) is can't-miss. It was also a big risk for Disney--remember: Disney had a huge slump in the 70s and 80s which they didn't recover from until 1989's Little Mermaid. Their last feature film The Black Cauldron was a huge flop that critics slammed for being too dark and not the typical Disney fun. A mystery set in London's grim alleyways and pubs with Vincent Price of all actors doesn't really indicate a break from "too dark."

Did I mention that Vincent Price is so awesome that even in rodent film he has a trained pet cat to eliminate his enemies? Yeah, he's that badass.

However, the story--based on the Basil of Baker Street books, a sort-of retelling of Sherlock Holmes with mice--is reminiscent of such "animalized" versions of classic stories as Robin Hood. Black Cauldron was more esoteric in its source material, so it's likely this movie's Sherlock Holmes references made it easier for audiences to relate.

The Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of the mouse world.

The story begins with Olivia Flaversham, a the young daughter of a toy maker who has been kidnapped. When she is guided by a somewhat reluctant Dr. Dawson to Baker Street where the detective Basil lives beneath the famed Holmes, the three are immediately thrown into a partnership once Basil realizes the culprit is none other than Pr. Ratigan--his greatest nemesis. With the help of an adorable basset hound named Toby, Dawson's logic, Olivia's innocent curiosity and Basil's rather eccentric attention to detail, Ratigan's plots begin to unravel and a secret threat to the monarchy is unveiled.

Olivia, Dawson, and Basil.

Despite some rousing song-and-dance numbers from Price as Ratigan (possibly one of the best villain songs EVER in my opinion) and a great storyline, this movie has some questionable moments in it. They aren't bad, but are certainly questionable given the context of a children's movie. In fact, the first time I watched this film again as an adult was while baby-sitting and THANK GOD those kids' parents picked them up before the final third of movie or I would have had to explain this to a three and five year old:
Burlesque mouse stripper singing songs filled with innuendo whilst being leered and lusted over by the scum of a seedy London riverside pub--I need a parent here right now(Oh, that 80s sexual revolution)! But seriously, the song and burlesque number need to find their way into the next Sherlock Holmes movie. I nominate Dita von Teese.

The other scene is more just scary--in fact, it's probably one of the most frightening final battle sequences I've seen in an animated Disney film simply for the fact that it's very believable. It takes place inside Big Ben--in the gears and then on the clock face, during a thunderstorm nonetheless, and during the scene Ratigan seems to morph into this rabid, demonic-looking Mr. Hyde of a rodent. The animators show his fur and teeth raised and poised to kill, and he moves steathily--it almost reminds me of the way the Beast moves in Beauty and the Beast (perhaps an early inspiration?). I don't know how the burlesque number and the terror of the final scene went over my head as a child, but WOW--some dark, adult material for a kid's movie,eh?

The climactic battle on Big Ben.

All things considered, it really is a great movie and lots of fun. It may be a bit dark for Disney, but the mood is kept up by the music and the charm of the characters. A great nolstagia film, just be sure to be present as a parent if you're introducing it to younger kids. It's great for Disney fans as well as those who love a good Vincent Price film. And basset hound lovers:

He's sooooooo cute!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Mini-Album with Pockets from 1 Sheet of Paper

The promised craft tutorial is here! I'm very glad I'm not the least bit sick, and it appears my mother is much better too, so to celebrate I'm sharing this cool papercraft with you. I've divided the video into 3 parts, all below. This isn't my original tutorial, it's one I learned from Creations by Christie's tutorial on youtube, so all credit goes to her. If you like this craft, she has variations on it as well as other fun ideas! I like to make these as hostess gifts, thank you gifts, or even holiday cards. As I mention, they are also perfect for holding small photos such as Purikura photostickers which are popular in both lolita and gal culture.

Part 1: Intro and materials:

Again, the materials I used were: 1 sheet double-sided scrapbook paper (12x12 in), a ruler, pencil, scissors, about 22 in of ribbon, a hot glue gun and a decorative button. I meant to say printer paper when I said notebook paper.

Part 2: Making the Pocket Mini-Album!:

I think this video cuts off at the end, but I basically just say how the ribbon holds the book together, and then show where to place the button over the ribbon on the front cover (as illustrated in the next video). You could alternatively use craft glue (such as Glossy Accents, as Christie does) rather than a hot glue gun.
Tip: when you make your 2 inch mark with your ruler and pencil, put it in the very center for more precision. Also, about 7 minutes in--Napoleon cameo appearance (my cat)!

Part 3: Finished product:

I would have taken a final photo, but the finished mini-album is already on its way to the recipient. But Christie's original video has really quality footage of the results, so I would recommend referring back to her tutorial for more precise images and instructions.

As I said, I'm not an expert (only made about 3 or so as gifts), but I found these very easy to make--not to mention they're not too costly to produce, and they are so fun to personalize with ribbon, buttons, charms,etc. There are tons of possibilities!


P.S.: If you don't have a Purikura photo-sticker machine near you (or a photobox that does similar at your local mall), you can take your photos and make printable Purikura-style pictures at Puricute, then print them on photopaper or stickerpaper at home. You can also buy sticker sheets directly from the site. I just made this one as an example:
Hope you all enjoyed this project idea--if you make some please send me a picture or link to your blog/tumblr entry so I can share your creation ♥

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fun Meme on EGL and Fighting off the Neighborhood Bug

Hey, everyone--sorry I missed Monday at the Movies (I have the movie post all ready to go for next Monday though--hint: It's a little bit Disney, and a little bit "Pricey") this week. We've had an awful bug going around my apartment complex and my immune system went all to heck yesterday and much of today. I got a lot of good sleep though, and it would appear I didn't catch the worst of it.

Speaking of catching what's going around, I wanted to share this adorable image meme going around the egl comm. It was created by lemontree11 in this post on egl, so if you use it, be sure to credit. The theme is what you're wearing and what's in your purse today. I did my Sunday outfit with the accessories I took to the park:

So cute! Hope to post a cool craft for you all by the end of the week.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vlog: Giveaway Package from Dolly's Misadeventures!

I received a package from Samantha @ Dolly's Misadventures the other day from the giveaway on her blog awhile back and just had to do a little video post about her and her blog as a thank you (I'm also going to send you a little thank you gift too, Samantha, so I'll let you know when it's on its way)♥

Coordinate shots for today: 1, 2, 3, 4

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday at the Movies: "The Lost Valentine"

"I think people will take away how people can, you know, get along with a lot of people, but so often there's that one special relationship that is your whole life--and you live on it your whole life." That's what actress Betty White had to say in her behind-the-scenes interview on the set of The Lost Valentine, the new Hallmark film that premiered late January on CBS. I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Love Hewitt's Ghost Whisperer series and an enormous Betty White fan, so I decided to sit down with my mother and enjoy a little sappy melodrama. Except for this sappy melodrama was actually pretty good. Very good, even.

Left: Susan meets Lucas, Caroline's grandson; Right: Caroline with the stationmaster, waiting for Lt. Thomas to return on Valentine's Day.

The story is based on the New York Times Bestseller of the same title by James Michael Prat, and follows the path of a young journalist named Susan Allison who has been assigned to do a story on an old woman who waits for her husband to return to her every year on Valentine's day. At first wanting to passover the story for less sentimental material, Allison can't help feel pulled into the dramatic war-torn past of Caroline Thomas. Caroline's husband was reported MIA in the Pacific during World War II, but she never received closure as to what happened to him. When he left on Valentines Day as a young soldier in the US Navy, she promised she'd meet him back at the station when he returned--and so she waits there, every year, hoping for a miracle. And as Allison is pulled closer into Caroline's world and the strength of her love, she begins to question her own relationships and slowly unravels the mystery surrounding the fate of Lt. Thomas...

Left: Caroline and Susan prepare for Lt.Thomas' return; Right: a Valentine's Day farewell as the soldiers ship out.

I was very impressed with this. As a film on its own, it isn't anything terribly special. However, as a Hallmark primetime special airing on a Pro Football Sunday timeslot, this is one helluva triumph! To beat out Fox and NBC and Football to take home the largest amount of viewers that night is pretty damn phenomenal, no doubt also attributed to the staggering drawing power of Betty White whose performance was heartwrenching and inspiring. Just goes to show how versatile an actress she is, at any age. Hewitt was a great opposite her for this because she's well-known enough to catch your attention but not so much that she takes away from White and Meghann Fahy (who plays younger Caroline and definitely deserves a nod for her performance). She appears naive but focused, an intelligent woman who is ready to learn from someone older, like Caroline (or indeed, Betty White!).

The young couple vows to be together again one day when the war is done.

The story touches on some relevant cultural issues, such as the disconnect that exists between Americans and our military families and--of course--how the loved ones that soldiers leave behind fight their own kind of battles everyday. We know friends of the family with children and parents in service right now, so this movie really made me think about that. Of course, history buffs and lovers of 1940s culture (my best friend included, I told her I'm getting her this movie 'cause she has a penchant for the era) will also find the story moving and filled with vibrant images of both the homefront and the violent Pacific battlegrounds. I'm a sucker for period movies told in flashback frame device (read: favorite movie Titanic), so I had to see this one. It was not as predictable as one might expect a sappy Hallmark film to be, but I promise you: you WILL cry. A lot. Bring tissues. This is a story about hope, about sacrifice, but ultimately about love--love that you live on, as Betty so poignantly put it.

Valentines Day Coord and Goodwill Snags

I have a video blog entry coming, but I'm having some audio sync issues right now so I apologize! Here's a preview of my Valentines Day outfit in the meantime.

I'm trying my smolder out,lol. It probably still registers as derp though XD

Full shot of the coordinate A, B, and C. The hat is a new thrift find of mine--more on my Goodwill shopping hoard later this week. I'm getting used to my new webcam and it seems to be working fine except when I go to upload it to youtube, the audio goes all screwy. When I patch the vlog entry up, I'll repost it here.

I fixed it! The vlog entries seem to be a-okay on my photobucket, so there they shall go. Sorry for the technical difficulties--Happy Valentines Day!
Please excuse my "styrofoam" comment, they are of course regular rubber foam faux flowers, and I don't know why I called an atomizer an "aromatizer" or whatever. Too much/little caffeine methinks, lol. I also don't think I'm going to post to daily_lolita, just because I don't feel polished enough--I want to add long white gloves and white or red lacey tights with white Edwardian style shoes like the pair Julie Andrews is wearing! Rest of goodwill hoard later this week (including some cool vintage finds and more hats):

Monday at the Movies later on today featuring the lovely and talented Betty White!