Project: Deer Antler Twin Tail Hair Bows

lolita antler themed headdress diy project

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s fawn fur cape has been patiently waiting in the wardrobe for its day to come.  For some reason the just-right coordinate to pair it with has been elusive.  Not anymore.  At Walmart, of all places, I had an epiphany.  They had a collection of Christmas Ornaments that caught the corner of my eye I was racing through the store to pick up things for the new house.  Upon closer inspection, a rustic set of miniature antlers tied together with some raffia cord screamed out – buy me now! And at $1.97 why not.

By luck, some cream velvet fabric just happened to be in the recently unpacked monster pile of fabric occupying the sewing studio. Mix in some lace and pearls and maybe just maybe this could work, I thought to myself.  So from Mood Board to My DIY – its time to try out the antler trend.

step 1 make your fabric pattern and stitch the pieces together

To keep things harmonious, I decided to match the shape and style of the bow from the cape.   It took a moment to realize how the bow’s specific shape was made.  The bottom layer is a trapezoid while the top section is a simple rectangle.  This small addition of fabric gives the tail of the ribbon a curved look when finished.  Opted to add in one extra layer of lace however for good measure.

step 2 trim corners flip and close

To be honest my perfectionist roots are showing on this step.  I wanted to maximize the volume of the lace, which is very thin, so instead of just gathering and basting it to the fabric before sewing the edges I choose a more scenic route.  The lace is sandwiched into the fabric but only at the corners.  This gives them a professional and clean finish when the fabric is flipped to the right side.  I then hand gathered and stitched it to the bows edge working from the corner to the middle.  The center will be covered so the raw edge of the lace will not be visible.  Yes this took more time than necessary but it make me happy in the end.

step 3 gather and secure the bow

The velvet fabric is a bit thick, so for stability I tied the two main pieces together before wrapping the small strap around the middle.  This also made it easier to get the shape of the folds just so.  Normally I fold the fabric, stitch along the edge and flip the center strip. Instead, to reduce the bulk, on this DIY project I simply tucked under the edges and gave them a running stitch to keep them nice and neat.  The serged edge made a nice measurement for how far to fold under each side.

step 4 place and attach antler

Originally the little jingle bells were attached to the wire in the middle of each antler.  I snipped the wire with clippers and removed the bells.  Then, using jewelers pliers, I twisted each half of the wire into loops.  The loops are just big enough to sew through and secure the antler in place.  The biggest challenge is that they are both the same antler – kinda like having two left feet.  So when positioning them I had to determine what angles gave each a balanced look.

repeat all steps for second hair bow

 

step 5 attach pearls and bells

Its usually at this stage in a project when I can hardly contain myself.  Adding the icing to the cake is what always makes it pop.  In this case the icing is a few strands of pearls, the re-purposed jingle bells, and some small rosebuds.  The BTSSB cape’s ribbon had gold chain, but I only had silver in my bead collection.

step 6 add clip and roses

Usually I am lazy and hot glue the clip on.  However, the weight of the antler made me second guess stability.  So I choose to sew the clip on.  Even if over time the string should happen to break (which I doubt) it can be re-sewn, but glue on top of glue is just messy.  Speaking of glue, a few dabs were placed strategically here and there to the antler to further stabilize the piece.  The wire sewn earlier carries the weight while the glue ensures the antler doesn’t jiggle around.  A few more dabs of hot glue were used to place three rose buds and hide the wire.  This is the only pop of color on the otherwise neutral base.

lolita deer and roses hair bowsAnd here is the result!!  I can’t wait to try them out!  Will be meeting some friends later today at the Cloisters and I hope they like them as much as I do.  We shale see.

deer inpired winter lolita coordinate

 

 

Project Update: Wicker Handbag Leather Hinge Upcycle

vintage wicker handbag diy lining repair

As soon as I returned home yesterday I went right to work on my wicker handbag project.  First things first, I had to remove the paper lining.  It was musty and had some spots of mold.  Well and it was really dirty.  No sense in trying to salvage it, simply not worth it.  After removing the paper, there was access to give the handbag a thorough cleaning.  And it sure needed the cleaning.

My original plan was to reuse the original leather hinges and just give them a coat of white paint to spruce them up.  But the leather was in pretty bad shape.

wicker purse leather hinge replacement

I turned to a very recent purchase to replace the leather.  The Baby, the Stars Shine Bright stationary set that arrived last week contained a vinyl diary cover.  Vinyl means no fraying edges and fairly strong material to withstand some use.

diy vintage purse hinge repair

I removed the feet from the purse and used the original leather hinges to make a template.  The leather straps are more decorative than functional.  They cover up a set of metal hinges that are nailed to the bottom of the bag.

btssb strawberry book cover recycled

I increased the width ever so slightly.  The vinyl is not as thick as the original leather so I wanted to ensure good coverage of the metal hinge when all is said and done.  Using a circle template I rounded the corners of the new straps.  The vinyl was easy to cut with an Exacto knife.  To finish them I used a craft hole punch to make nice clean openings for the brass feet to insert into.

Did my best to polish the brass feet before putting it back together again.  I am tickled pink with the result.  I doubt anyone will notice this small detail since it is on the bottom of the purse, but if I am going to all the trouble to upcycle the vintage purse there is no point in half assing it.

I’ve got some chores to attend to this morning, but then I have the rest of the lovely 4th of July holiday to continue working on the handbag.  Should be a fun and rewarding day.

Happy 4th of July!!

Project Kickoff: Cherish My Juicy Cherry Wicker Handbag DIY

etsy vintage wicker handbag

I started putting together a coordinate for an upcoming convention.  My second Con to be exact.  Once the dress form was lookin all good and frilly, it came to purse options.  I have tried every bag I own and no joy.  So I hit the brand sites and still no love.  What’s a girl to do?  Then it came to me – Etsy!  And score! For $26 + shipping, this beautiful vintage wicker handbag was on its way.

juicy cherry handbag mood board

But you know me.  Can’t be that easy.  No this vintage jem is about to get the full treatment.  The package arrived late yesterday and I could wait to start the creative process.  The Plan: decorate to be a perfect match for Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Cherish my Juicy Cherry.  The purse is missing its original lining.  But that isn’t a problem, that’s an opportunity.  I have some nice pink cherry fabric from last summer’s DIY marathon that will be a good match.

BTSSB juicy cherry wicker handbag layout

As you can see above, the outside is starting to take shape.  I played with a bunch of embellishments, laces and various compositions.  So far this option using the waist bow from the dress along with some pearls, lace and crocheted cherries is my favorite.

And the best part?  We have a nice long holiday ahead which couldn’t be a more perfect time to start some DIY July.  Get ready glue gun.  Here I come.

Credits:  (1)   (2)   (3)   (4)   (5)   (6)

TBD

Review: Kinokuniya Bookweb Service

Recently Kinokuniya promoted a  free shipping day.  Anything ordered on their Bookweb  site (kinokuniya.com/us) could be shipped for free with in the US.  While we are lucky and have a physical location here in NYC, it isn’t always convenient to run down from the burbs.  I used the site once before to purchase the latest Lolita Sewing Book (乙女のソーイングBOOK 3) which I doubted they would have on the shelves in the city.  That went well, so I couldn’t miss out on the free shipping opportunity.

kinokuniya free shipping offer june 2013

Their website has undergone many improvements over the last few years.  But I think they still have a ways to go to compete with the larger online book retailers.  They are the top dog when it comes to the niche on Japanese literature here in the States.  But what I found myself doing was opening two tabs in my browser; one to look up the ISBNs for the books I want on Amazon.jp and the second to use the advanced search form of Kinokuniya to add the books to my order.  On Bookweb most of my keyword searches were unsuccessful or my attempt at keying in the appropriate name in kana/kanji were not right.  Amazon was both more forgiving and easier to search.

On the free shipping day the site was also not performing well in terms of speed.  So I received several timeout errors from their server.  I was determined to complete my purchase and stuck with it to the end.  But my guess is many other people would have given up.

Their shipping service is great.  The package arrived very promptly.  They packaged the books well using good thick paper to keep them from shifting around inside the box.  I also signed up for their membership program some time ago, which meant on top of the free shipping I received 10% off my purchase.

All in all I will definitely use the service again.  It is the easiest way to get my hands on some of the most esoteric kawaii mooks and other books from Japan.  In fact there is a mook from one of my favorite brands Milk that I am coveting currently.  If I had to give Kino a rating, right now I give them a 3 out of 5 stars for easy of use on the site and 5 out of 5 stars for access to hard to come by Japanese publications.

loving kinokuniya bookweb service

And with that said, now onto the goodies I got: the latest Gothic & Lolita Bible, Angelic Pretty Museum mook with totebag, and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright stationary set.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Stationary Set

The best part about this item?  It is listed as Out of Stock on Kino’s site.  But they allow you to add it to your shopping cart anyway and will research if they can get it for you regardless.  In this case, they got back to me within 24 hours saying they are able to get it (despite the Out of Stock listing) and automatically added it to my order.  You can’t beat that!

baby the stars shine bright staionary set

btssb stationary and cosmetics bag

I debated ordering the stationary set and my initial gut reaction was right.  It isn’t the highest quality promotion around especially for the price once you add the markup for getting it out of Japan.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it is from Baby {I am a brand whore} and has their fabulous prints I would pass; the quality of the materials used is mediocre.  Alas, I’m a sucker for the Strawberry Letters print and so I will absolutely put the set to good use.  Small post-it notes come in very handy when doing Japanese homework so those will most likely be the first item to go.  Not sure what to do with the book cover yet.  Might cut it up and do a DIY project of some sort. We shale see.

Angelic Pretty Museum Mook & Totebag

This was a no-brainer – MUST HAVE IT.  And yep, it is pretty much fantastic.  The tote bag is a vinyl material, which I thought I might not like, but I do.  Means it can easily be wiped clean and put to some thorough use.  I also thought I would like it in one of the pastel color ways, but black is awesome.  I matched it with a sax blue coordinate already and it added a nice additional layer to the overall look.

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote bag

angelic pretty logo on mook packaging

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote detail

inside the angelic pretty museum e-mook

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Fashion Show – Part 2

baby the stars shine bright animenext show

“Since I was a child, I was always genuinely happy to see girls wearing clothes with frills and lace, looking like princesses and feeling cute and pretty.  I developed BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT to make clothes with that at their heart.” That is the quote from Akinori Isobe, the CEO of BTSSB, which adorned Anime Next’s website and was the call to action for East Coast lolita’s.  So without further ado, here is the Baby runway show!

Baby the Stars Shine Bright

baby nanairo prism sweet alice

Nanairo Prism ♪ Sweet Alice (なないろプリズム♪アリスちゃん柄) in Saxe Blue

wiz me over the rainbow jumper-skirt

Wiz Me Over the Rainbow in Red

baby fashion show victoria suzanne parfaitdoll

twin juicy baby love love berries

Twinning Juicy Baby Love Love Berries in Mint and Ivory

some day of ranunculus lycia

Some Day of Ranunculus (ある日のラナンキュラス柄) in Lavender

btssb blooming fairy doll pink

Blooming Fairy Doll in Pink

la robe vert clair royal bow

la robe vert clair echarpe butterfly crown

La Robe Vert Clair (collaboration with Midori-chan)

baby the stars shine bright wedding gown

Wedding Onepiece

After the show the designers both joined the stage to take a bow.  And the show concluded with Isobe-san and the designers taking a session of Q&A.

baby the stars shine bright fashion show models

baby designer masumi kano

Masumi Kano, Designer

baby designer saki tachibana

Saki Tachibana, Designer

q&a with isobe-san of baby the stars shine bright

FIN

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Fashion Show – Part 1

welcome to the btssb fashion show

The ever lovely Grace braved a 3 hour train ride then joined me for another hour and half by car to make it down to AnimeNext on Saturday.  We were determined to see the Baby the Stars Shine Bright fashion show.  Well worth the journey.  The show was stunning.  Best of all, I love that the models are locals (mostly) from the J-Fashion scene in the Tri-State area.  Real girls with a real love for lolita.  That passion resonated on stage.

Somehow our loli-posse managed to score front row seats.  Yay!  Not so yay is the bad hair day and derp face I was making.  I look like a granny in a bow ( ̄へ ̄)

btssb fashion show front row seats

Now on to the show!  The show kicked off with Alice and the Pirates and concluded with Baby.  And who better to make the first grand entrance other than MC Melod¥ Doll herself!

Alice and the Pirates

mermaid in the jewelry box

Mermaid in the Jewelry Box (宝石箱のマーメイド柄) in Cream

ap trump alice onepiece

Trump Alice in Saxe Blue

ap clockwork aristo kitty

Clockwork Aristo Kitty (時計じかけのおすましキャット柄) in Black

ap white rabbit salopette

White Rabbit Salopette (時計うさぎのサロペット) in Camel

ginger doll jumper skirt and cape

Ginger Doll (ジンジャードール) in Black

alice and the pirates mens clothing

albert jacket and lace noir dress

Albert Jacket (アルバートジャケット) and Lace Noir Dress (レースノワールドレス) in Black

That concludes the Alice and the Pirates runway.  Will continue with the Baby runway in Part 2.

A Cup of Tea with Isobe-sama and the BTSSB Designers

animenext tickets to baby the stars shine bright tea party

This weekend was the crescendo to an exhilarating spring.  I’ve been to Tokyo, San Francisco, St. Louis and spent a week in Manhattan.  Enjoyed a lovely sail in the Hudson, started my 5th semester of Japanese, and attended my first “con” AnimeNext. Just in the past 5 days I meet shamisen virtuoso Agatsuma and lolita fashion kami-sama Akinori Isobe.

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Tea Party

It was only by chance that I was able to attend the Baby the Stars Shine Bright Tea Party on Sunday.  My friend Grace was the original owner of the ticket.  But unfortunately she was unable to make it and was sweet enough to extend her ticket to me.  I owe her big time!

baby the stars shine bright tea party

Only 10 precious tickets existed so it was a very intimate affair held in a small room of the hotel hosting AnimeNext.  Everyone gravitated to sitting around the dinning table with a cup of green or black tea in hand.  Isobe-san, the CEO, and his two designers Masumi Kane and Saki Tachibana, stood at one corner of the table entertaining questions from the attendees.  MC Melody Doll and a translator assisted with the conversation.  Petrina of Lolita and the City accompanied the party as press and snapped lots of candids.  Can’t wait to see them.

tea party with the btssb designers

At first there was no mistaking that everyone was nervous.  But gradually the questions became more relaxed and casual.  We learned that Masumi plays piano and takes inspiration from classical music for her design process.  While Saki is influenced by books and spends time in the library and bookstores.  I learned that I had something in common with Isobe-san.  When inquiring about what types of music everyone enjoys, K-Pop and Visual Kei bands for the girls, Isobe-san said he isn’t as much into music these days but was really into techno.  To this I can relate (see my last post.)

baby isobe to kane to tachibana desu

After the tea we all stepped out into the garden for photos.  As you can see there was a group shot, individual shots with the designers, and then some of just the designers.  I wish I had a photo of all the camera’s lined up, waiting their turn; lots and lots of photos should be filling Instagram and Tumblr by now.

The party concluded with the designers handing out small gifts to the attendees.  Inside the little bag was a handkerchief featuring a recent print, an Usakumya snap bracelet, and a small package of cards and notepaper.  We were also given a choice of a poster from either Baby or Alice and the Pirates.

My bag included the navy Twinkle Polaris version of ☆Twinkle Constellation and the Stars of Confeito☆ design.  But Stephanie and I traded.  She likes darker prints but had received the white Dreaming Vega color.  Which means I now have a handkerchief to match the skirt I bought when in Tokyo. Yay!

saki and masumi hand out gifts

btssb tea party gift bag and poster

My Coordinate

tri color toy hat alice and the pirates

The tea party provided me an opportunity to wear my first ever Alice and the Pirates coordinate.  I picked it up on Saturday at the Baby booth in AnimeNext.  I fell in love with the Tricolour Toy hat the minute I saw it.  But turned away as I have nothing to match it.  But then the JSK also lured me in.  All of this with a bit of encouragement by Nancy who was working at the booth.  Well and you can’t stop there, so I ended up with the matching socks too.

Throw in a blouse from Bodyline, red tea parties from Antaina, as well as Angelic Pretty’s Fantastic Ribbon necklace,  and voila!  Felt very English school girl.  I think this is a start of a new love for me.  I am crazy about the pink sweets, but this really felt comfortable, more familiar, somehow more me.  Perhaps I’m a pirate now?!?!

tricolour toy jsk in the garden

alice and the pirates tricolor toy

 

Bonus Trip: San Francisco Frill Stop

Sometimes having a “corporate” job and being a “creative” type is challenging.  But every now and then it rewards you with an incredible treat.  Last week I was urgently sent to San Francisco for meetings at a new branch of our company.  Poor me.  He-he-he.

The trip was short but had enough wiggle room to squeeze in a very expeditious tour of my favorite SF spots:

Angelic Pretty

san francisco angelic pretty milky planet

Walking into AP was a lolita’s dream come true – a major shipment had just arrived and dresses were literally everywhere! Milky Planet adorned the window along with a gaggle of Shyness Bear socks.  They were too tempting; I walked out with a pair in sax plus a Milky Planet Ice Cream pin.

Baby The Stars Shine Bright

san francisco baby the stars shine bright

I was slightly disappointed at Baby.  For some reason the shop seemed to be pretty thin on variety.  At first I thought, maybe it was my perspective after the experience at AP.  But I don’t think that was the case.  Last time I was there I was ready to blow the bank and walk out with about 4 different dresses.  This time a floral chiffon piece was the only temptation.  So I managed to keep my credit card nicely tucked away.

That didn’t stop me from splurging on a couple goodies at…

New People the Store

kawaii goods at new people store

Came home from New People with a Ribbonholic Tripple Ribbon bag charm and kawaii deer earrings.  I have an idea of reusing the earrings somehow with Milky-chan. There were lots of Liz Lisa and Rilakkuma items on the main floor as well.  Too much cuteness!

Needed to chill for a few minutes to check in on emails and make a call so made myself at home in the Crown & Crumpet tea cafe.  Not a bad place to work remotely if you have to ;) The decor was a mix of Victorian and French Country somehow perfectly blended into the ultra modern building.  The tea pot flower arrangements were simply adorable.

SF crown and crumpet japantown

Daiso

daiso moco moco and nail art

Up next was a race through Daiso.  Everything is $1.50 so impulse shopping is fairly safe.  I walked away with lots of moco-moco gloves and legwarmers for next winter, pink sparkly nail art packs, a couple plastic ribbon hair ties, rhinestones to deco my new camera, and set of pink strawberry bento boxes to keep sewing embellishments in.

West Mall

sailor moon binder and file folders

Best find of the day was a Sailor Moon 3-ring binder and plastic file folders.  While Usagi-chan is not very good at homework, she will be a good inspiration for me to do mine. (Semester 5 Japanese just got underway!)

After speed shopping I realized the Japanese Garden would be open for another 40 minutes just before sunset.  Figured it was worth a try… but that will have to wait until another post (still need to sort through the ton of photos.)

Ponies & Bunnies

The postman brought 2 pretty packages yesterday.  Felt a bit like Christmas opening up all the little goodies from the Baby the Stars Shine Bright Dream Pony Ribbon Happy Pack.

dream pony ribbon jsk, bodyline blouse and skirt

Credits: BTSSB Dress image from TokyoRebel.com; Skirt image from Bodyline; Blouse image from momo6548.

There goes my budget

A girl’s best friends in this century = PayPal and international shipping.

My new dress.  Baby The Stars Shine Bright Strawberry Letters.

Picked up a new dress this week.  It is Baby the Stars Shine Bright’s Strawberry Letters from 2008.  It was my first time buying second hand on fairy-angel.net.  Very pleased.  The dress is in perfect condition.  I need to fix the attachable bow, it is a bit loose from its clasp.  But that is about it.

Matching Baby Hairbow and Jane Marple OTK Socks

So pleased with the whole Fairy Angel experience (dress shipped in a record breaking 4 days) that I just picked up the matching hair bow and a pair of Jane Marple socks.  The socks are a gamble.  Very hard to tell the colors online and if they will really match or not.  But they are cute and simple so even if they don’t match its no fuss.

 

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