Tuesday, January 28, 2014

nail art: golden rose + sakura aqualip pen

This week, I recently uncovered a forgotten nail art treasure that I've actually had for a number of years. If you come across this gel ink pen called aqualip by Sakura, you have to get it in black at least! 

I'm not sure what it is made of but it functions like a true pen, and the ink flows out in liquid but will dry and harden and turn into plastic(?) So it is actually just like varnish in a pen. That makes it super useful in the world of nail art because, just imagine all the possibilities you can make with this bunch of pens! You can literally draw anything you'd like on your nails now and they make it so much easier to do! They do, however, come off a tad transparent except for the black and dark purple because I used to use them to draw on transparent folders for that stain glass effect. So white will come off as almost transparent. I am definitely going to restock my stash and use them to draw on phone covers as well. Yes, you can use them on any surface but I can't quite remember how to remove them other than scratching them off. You can try acetone. 

On to this week's nail art, I painted this in preparation for Chinese New Year. I used a glittery gold base and pink for flowers. Both colours are from Etude House. This has seriously become my favourite gold nail polish because it is just so shimmery and sparkly! 

Two coats of that and wait for it to dry. Remember, your nail polish has to be completely dry before you use the aqualip pen on it because you will need to apply some pressure to make the ink flow. Otherwise, you will end up denting your nail polish. For this colour, I only had to wait 15-20 minutes before it was completely dry. I'm guessing that it's because of the high glitter content. Draw on your florals and fill it in with colour and you are done! You can even paint on a top coat and the black ink will not smear unlike with permanent markers! 

I bought mine from Times bookshop at $2 each many many years ago, so I'm not sure if they still have them or where to find them at the moment. I will update this space again once I've restocked my stash. Update: I think they are called Glaze now.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

diy: phone cover collection

Recently, I updated my phone cover collection with two newly painted ones - the ice cream and city skyline. If you've been following my nail art, my phone cover designs are pretty much the same as what I paint on my nails. So to paint them on phone covers would be the same, just a bigger canvas. They are not perfect because the nail polish doesn't spread very widely but they are fine for personal use, plus they are super unique. My city skyline one is almost perfect but I messed up part of the ombre and because I used metallic, it's even more obvious. Otherwise, it is super pretty because there is so much glitter and it is my current favourite phone cover. I can't wait to start using it! 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

diy: hair bows

From the cloth I bought recently at Daiso, and with the major diy mood I was in, I decided to make a bunch of hair bows to wear when school reopens. My tutorial has been inspired and sourced through many inspirations on pinterest. 
  1. Start off with a rectangular or square piece of fabric. Squares will result in bows like the blue floral one above while rectangles will be like this bow in the tutorial. Mine measured about 24cm by 12cm. For my blue floral one, i used a 15cm by 15 cm square. 
  2. Fold your fabric in half, with the insides facing out and straight stitch as highlighted. Leave a gap at the edge because you will be inverting the fabric after you're done sewing. This gap should also be of reasonable size, not to small or you will have trouble inverting the cloth. 
  3. Once you are done, invert the fabric and  straighten it out. You can sew up the gap at this point if it bothers you. 
  4. Using a pin or a needle, make some pleats with the fabric and pin through to get the bow shape. Once you are happy, sew through it and around it a few times to secure it in place. 
  5. Cut out a smaller piece of fabric. This will be used for the center of the bow. I used an approximation here so you can use whatever length and width you deem  fine. Just remember that you will be sewing it in half again. If you want to skip step 6 then cut a width as desired. 
  6. Fold the smaller fabric in half and sew a running stitch as highlighted. Invert it when done. This may be tricky because you will be inverting through a small hole. Be careful and ise a pencil to help poke the fabric through. Alternatively, you can just skip this step and proceed to the next. 
  7. Wrap the smaller fabric around the center of the bow and sew it into place. You can cut off any excess length at this point as long as you sew the fabric securely to the bow so that nothing unravels. Also, if you intend to attach a rubber band to your bow, make sure to do it in this step as well - wrap the fabric strip around the bow and rubber band and sew. 
  8. And you are done! If you are using a hair clup or pin, you can choose to either sew or glue them onto the back of the bow or both for extra security. I used beacon's glue but a glue gun will also do the trick. 
Anyone can do this diy as it only involves straight stitches which is the easiest stitch to make! Definitely a project to try. And a great way to recycle or preserve your favourite fabrics. Play around with the size and number of pleats. The center fabric can also be replaced with ribbons or embellishments! Let your creative juices flow!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

diy: cut-out knotted dress

I did this simple diy last night and it only took around 30 minutes! So, if you have any old or big loose shirts to spare, you could try this out. I chose a school shirt that was a tad big and I figured I wouldn't be wearing it soon or often because I have many other school shirts to wear. Plus, I only wear them at home. Since I was feeling quite inspired by Pinterest and some of the super cool diys I found, I decided to start on this dress. I don't own any of such dresses so this was a super good diy to do. Oh, and it would be best if the shirt is long as well. Mine's a bit short, so I wore some shorts underneath, which is also a cute look. Looks like a playsuit. 

This is the shirt I first started out with. Very big. I decided to cut the neckline lower so I snipped off about 2-3 inches of neckline. Also, in that way, I can wear the dress reversibly. As for the logo, I haven't really done any touch-ups to it yet but I was thinking of either making a heart shaped cut out or putting a lace overlay on it. 

So, put the shirt on and mark out your waist line with a pencil. I also decided to snip off the sleeves because they were droopy. Take off your shirt and fold it in half. Then cut along your waistline as shown above. You should end up with two triangular bits of cloth. Do not over-cut because this will determine how tight or how loose the waist is. It is better for it to be too small than too big because you can always cut more off after you've tried it on.

To get the knotted twist, you can either use your excess cloth to cinch and tie the middle part or you can invert the bottom of the dress. To achieve this, what you do is that you reach in from the cut-out waist portion and grab the end of the dress. Do this diagonally, which means if I reach in from the top left (arrowhead), I will grab the bottom right of the dress. Do this and straighten it out. Now you have the bottom of the dress inside out. So, repeat this process by pulling diagonally in the same direction you did before to set the bottom of the dress with the insides in. 

And you get your finished product! No sewing required! Unless you would like to hem your dress. I used a cotton shirt so the fraying shouldn't be that bad. Not sure if I would wear this out yet since I have so many other clothes to wear! 

I'm going to try and do bleach pen diys next.

Monday, January 20, 2014

graphic tanks/tees

Latest obsession: graphic tanks and tees! So, ever since I posted the outfit featuring a graphic tank and chunky knit cardigan, I've kinda been obsessed with graphic shirts. They're versatile and they make great school outfits. Not too dressed up and not too dressed down. Over here, I'm wearing a diamond graphic tank from h&m. Below are more outfit co-ordinates that I've put together featuring graphic shirts. They all look great paired with some denim shorts and checkered shirt or cardigan. Throw on a few chunky bracelets to accessorise or go with none at all. For shoes, you can go with boots or sneakers. If you are going for a more casual look, match it with a casual bag or backpack as well. Otherwise, a satchel would never hurt the look. 

I'm thinking I could just wear these to school everyday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

nail art: cityscape

I haven't painted my nails for about two weeks, mainly because I was lazy but also to let my nails have a breather. They were sort of getting dry and chipping off. This week's nail art is inspired by gabbysnailart on instagram. It features a blue and purple/pink ombre sky with a cityscape skyline. It is relatively simple and quick to do as well.

Colours needed: White, black, blue, pink/purple, glitter
I used a metallic purple for that extra sheen.

  1. Start off with a white base
  2. Using a sponge, paint on the blue and purple and sponge it onto your nail to create the ombre effect. Do this about two times to make the colour more intense and try to blend the colours. I dabbed some purple over the blue to blend the colours more. A coat of clear nail polish will also help to blend it.
  3. Paint your city skyline and building outlines with black
  4. Use white or yellow and a dotting tool to paint the windows 
  5. Add some glitter to the sky
I really love doing ombre nails and combining it with extra designs such as this makes it even prettier. 

If you have any troubles doing this, leave a comment! I will definitely get back to you!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

valentine's ootd ideas

I know it is still about a month till Valentine's day, but better to start planning earlier right! Time to start choosing and making reservations for your restaurants or places of interest to spend your day or night with your loved ones. Valentine's day falls on a friday this year, so even if you don't get a chance to celebrate on the day itself, you still have the whole weekend to go out and chill together. 

Apart from food and presents, I'm sure us girls would love to dress up specially for the night. I've compiled some looks to give you some inspiration and ideas on what to wear for the day! 

First outfit is the hear cut-out blouse at the top. I've paired it with a maroon lace skirt (although the lace details now look like velvet). Now, I personally wouldn't just wear it out like that because the blouse is super sheer. I most probably would wear a caged bralet inside or a pink camisole, and maybe wear the blouse as a tie crop. Alternatively, I could wear a pinafore so I can cover my front and show my back. But I'm not sure if my mum will be thrilled to see me go out like that... I thrifted the blouse at just $2.50 so I'm quite happy with this find. Skirt is from taiwan. Not very sure what kind of shoes would be perfect for this outfit, but I'd go with my favourite kind of shoes - oxfords. If you want to diy your own heart cut-out shirt, it is quite easy to do without hemming! You'll just need to fold your shirt in half and cut out half a heart shape! 

For the cute and girly look, you can go with a bralet crop top and a cute skirt! This hearts all over top is from hervelvetvase.com and the skirt is thrifted. I like to cover up and wear layers, so I would top it off with a denim jacket, which is from abercrombie&fitch. Hair bows are a must to complete that cute look!! For shoes, you can go with oxford heels or litas. 

If you have absolutely no idea what to choose, pick a dress! Dresses are always suitable for special occasions and you will look pretty, of course. I've picked a floral dress for the sweet and girly look. Thrifted this dress online. I'd pair it with my favourite knit cardigan that has super gorgeous knit details and lace from thelabeljunkie.com! Finally, I paired it with this red satchel bag from forever 21. White heels for shoes! 

If you'd like a more casual look, but not too casual at the same time, you can go with a floral bralet crop top and high waist shorts. I've chosen an embossed high waist shorts because I like details and more details. Pair it with a slouchy knit cardigan and a satchel bag. 

For a more elegant look, why not try high-low or maxi skirts and dresses? You'll definitely look like a princess for the night. Match it with some pretty heels. I was going for the elegant and chic look so I wore my denim jacket too. Forever 21 has the best and widest selection of high-low skirts. I can't help but fall in love with their high-low skirts whenever I see them. Perfect length, and perfect waterfall. 

If you read my flea market finds post, you'd know that I thrifted this outfit for around $15 altogether. The cute bird prints and pink and brown colour combination make it a super sweet outfit for a picnic! So this is an idea if your date happens to be a picnic! 

I also have a heart cut-out dress in red from labellavita.com. I was keeping mine for valentine's day because of the heart cut-out but it doesn't seem like I will be celebrating vday :( so I'll keep it for future vdays. 

I hope you girls have fun choosing your outfits and planning for vday. Remember, even if you do not have a significant other, you are still loved <3 You do not need to spend valentine's day with a guy. I'm sure your girlfriends will be there for you when you need them. 


Thursday, January 9, 2014

skinny girl alterations

If you do not already know, I am quite skinny and I face this problem where lots of cute clothes will not fit me and my frame because they can look oversized or too shapeless on me. Another problem is that some clothes are still too big for me even though they are supposed to be an S or XS size. Well, if these pieces are relatively cheap and I can think of a way to do a simple alteration on my own, I still get them anyway. In this post, I'll be introducing some simple sewing tricks I have used to tighten my skirt waistband. They can be modified to be used on other types of garments as well. Disclaimer: I am no sewing expert. 

The denim circle skirt you see up here is in S size but it was initially a tad too big for me. It would sit below my belly button so it didn't really look nice in my opinion. If you go onto lookbook or just google denim circle skirts, you'd see that everyone wears it high waisted and that's how it should be. So, I had to think of a way to make it more fitting for me. 

And here is what I did. I sewed on two sets of snap buttons (which I bought from Daiso). One on the original bronze snap button so that it wouldn't flap around when I wore it and another one to provide more secureness. End result would be like how I'm wearing it in the first picture. Simple alteration. Note that since the waistband is made of more than one layer of fabric, you just need to work on the surface of that fabric to hide the thread from peeking through the other side. 

Another simple alteration would be the use of a hook if your skirts are too loose. They can also be found at Daiso for just 2 bucks for a few. This hook was already attached to the skirt but i shifted it in a bit more to make it tighter. As you can see, the skirt is actually a size M but the cutting runs small. It was also thrifted, so I didn't have much choice. Well, but that solved the problem for me because the skirt has so many pleats that moving the hook to tighten the skirt didn't affect the look when it was worn too much. 

Here's how it looks like when I wore it. The hook closure is at the back so it's not visible as well. It also doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. For shorts, I've shifted some of the buttons to make them more fitting but if the button is made of those metal studs like those on jeans, then you might need to find a different way of altering them like maybe inserting a rubber band into the sides. I do need to try that out some day because I have a couple of good pants that need to be tightened. 

The last and simplest trick to altering the waistband of skirts (if they are not an elastic waistband) is to just sew a straight stitch as shown above (when the skirt is turned inside out). Make sure to do the sewing on the sides of the skirt so that it is not obvious when worn. The other side of the skirt should be a zip or if the zip is in the centre of the skirt then you will have to take in both sides of the skirt evenly.Try to sew at an angle for the best result because a straight line will mean that the skirt will not be hugging your body and it won't look nice with crop tops. 

Make sure the stitches are tight though. When it is turned back out it will look like that above. Don't have to worry about the extra hidden piece of fabric because it will lie quietly against your body when you wear it. It will look exactly like this when worn. This can be used for some non-stretchy tops as well, but try to stick with skirts for this method. 

I will try and address questions as best as I can if you have any. I am a sewing noob as well and all these have been done via trial and error. They involve simple and basic stitches, nothing complicated so it is really easy to do. 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

chunky knit cardigan v2

Black rose tank & bralet - H&M | Denim high waist shorts - Forever 21 | Cardigan - thrifted

Just got the opportunity to photograph these outfits. I actually bought the H&M items just before I left for my trip. They were on christmas sale so I picked up a few items. The tank was going for just $7 and it is so pretty with all the lace details and a black rose print! The bralet was not on sale but it was only $7.90 with lace details as well so I just grabbed it. I also got a pair of black corduroy pants for $15 and teal green jeggings from the kids section for $15. Quite a bunch of good buys, I must say. 

Bunny top - Zara kids | Plaid skirt - Forever 21 | Cardigan - thrifted

Got the bunny shirt here from Zara in Taiwan for 390NT only. It is really super soft and the rabbit has a ball for its tail! How cute is that! Thrifted the cardigan from a local reseller for $16 and I love it to bits. Love the knitted details and ripped portions and how super soft it is. I'm just worried about it hooking on to unwanted things and widening the knit holes :(

These are actually quite nice autumn/winter outfits. The colours are looking quite neutral and you can easily pair them with stockings or leggings if it gets cold. 

Which is your fave?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

taiwan loots

I just arrived home from my trip to Taiwan yesterday afternoon. Unless anyone is interested in the details of my travel, I think I'll just be posting on the stuff I bought there because that was the only highlight of my trip for me. I visited other places like memorial halls and waterfalls and night markets but they weren't as fun. Plus, Taiwan is not my ideal holiday destination. I'd rather go to the States or Europe. 

So, firstly, I bought 4 new pairs of shoes. These are only two which I bought when my shoes got soaked and my dad decided to get all of us new shoes. They are from a shop called "MIKI" which sells both clothes and shoes at really cheap prices. The shoes are made in Taiwan and are very comfortable to walk in. I already owned a few pairs from my previous trip. The left one was not from MIKI but still good. Both were 490 NT which is about 20ish bucks. 

Bought this bunch of stuff at ximending. Nail polishes were 89NT each at buy 4 get 1 free. I chose mostly glitter polishes because I don't really own that many glitter nail polish. Took dark colours as well because my collection lacked them. Hair bows were at 4 for a 100NT, so I took 2 and my sis took 2. 

We visited Zara in Taiwan as well as our Taiwanese family friend told us that the Zara in Taiwan was cheaper than any other country. We went to the one at Zhongxiao Dunhua area. Come out of the train station and you'll immediately arrive at this huge Zara. There was a storewide sale going on so women's wear were going at prices like 1190NT or 1590NT or 2290NT, something like that. 

I headed for the kids section, of course. I love the kids section because everything there is so cute and cheaper! My mum, sis and I bought the above items for about 3500NT altogether. The two tops were 390NT each and the pants were 690 - 790NT each. 

Round 2 the next day for myself. Floral pants from the women's section for 990NT and a bunny shirt for 390NT from the kids. 

These bags were bought at shilin night market for 390 NT each, which is a very good price as they were on sale. I love them both very much. The quality of the bags are also very good for the price. I own a backpack from the same shop which I bought in my previous trip and it is still in pristine condition after a bunch of uses. 

I also bought 2 pairs of jeggings at shilin night market but I didn't photograph them. They were at 2 for 500NT and they matched all my criteria for a pair of jeggings, including functional pockets and a button and zip. I also got a maroon lace skirt for 290 NT there but didn't have the opportunity to photograph it. 

nail art: chevron

I did these awhile ago and because I was having such a hard time with them, I didn't do up a tutorial for these. These are the hardest nails I've ever done because I don't have a thin brush to help me. 

So, the easiest way to go about with this would be to start off by placing tiny dots to serve as a grid for the chevron stripes. I did this with a toothpick. Next, you connect the dots up in a zig zag fashion and fill it in. Needless to say, I messed up the process many times and a single hand took me 2hours to finish. I went around with one hand painted for a day before I embarked on the process for my right hand. 

Otherwise, there are actually so many cute chevron nail designs out there that I wish I could try.