Friday, June 28, 2013

Skeleton Closet: Tentatively Barefoot

One thing I love about other blogs' outfit posts is that they're almost always different from the next.

Back in Canada, I probably could've done the same-- I had mountains of clothes and footwear to choose from.
These days, I am finding it harder and harder to formulate an outfit for Skeleton Closet... quite frankly, it's bare bones in my current closet (badum-tss!). My shoe rack is especially sparse... I think I've worn all the shoes I have more than twice already in my current posts.

Without becoming redundant, and also because it's different-- I went barefoot this time.
I know... blasphemy.

I also noticed two exciting things:
1. I am currently 5 readers away from 100
2. July 22 marks an entire year of blogging

so you know what this means...

Whichever one I get to first, it means a giveaway! And boy this one will be a good one, I promise.

This time it'll be more goodies over candy-- my first was mostly candy because it was for Hallowe'en, and you can't do a giveaway on Hallowe'en without candy... it just doesn't work like that, in my book.

Let's just say I have a few favorites I would like to share with the winner...

What I am Wearing:

  • Skirt: Self-made
  • Top: Thrifted
  • Corset: Louise Black
  • Necklace: Self-made
  • Barefeet!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spooky Basket: Gifted Goodies

Boy, it's really hard not to come off as brazen in the wake of both really good, and really bad news...
It's actually taking more willpower than it should, just to write this post... I wouldn't say it's completely inane, but certainly the importance of the rest of the content is unavailing comparatively to other news.
It's got me all mixed up, because despite the bad news, I received the very welcome news that my husband does not need to go on furlough anymore.

We can just call this post neutral ground, shall we?

The 24th marked a quarter century living the life that I do. I'm still wondering where the past 8 years went, because I still can't fathom I am even in my 20's... and this certainly seems to be the mentality of many others, because no one believes me still that I'm a mere few years from being 30; they believe my husband is robbing from the cradle.

My husband spoiled the heck out of me; I'm still gobsmacked over the amount of TLC I lavished in.
He bought me lots of pretty things, and took me to pretty places...

The books and bracelet were given to me by my in-laws, and the rest was my husband. Perhaps one day, I'll feel up to posting excerpts of these books, as I imagine the titles might pique a few readers. The story behind them being from Goodwill is that we were shopping there with my sister-in-law. I usually head straight for the book section, then try to make my way to the crafts... but by the time I get there I usually blow most of the money I take on those trips on just books. I'm too stubborn to change that thrifty shopping habit or give up what I find, so my sister-in-law relieved some of that "weight" as an early birthday present.

Excuse the awkward looking skin of my arm... it didn't feel photo ready, apparently.
The bracelet was given to me by my mother-in-law; a very glitzy and glamy piece that I was all too thrilled to have received.

I hate to sound absurdly biased, but the gifts my husband gave me invoked a frenzy of joy which I still haven't come down from yet. First he bought me the mini cookware set; it appears to be for children, but was in fact made for cooking single serving breakfast; it comes with a poacher pot, griddle pan and skillet.  However, I am using it to brew up my potions and serums for natural beauty.

Second, he bought me a 32 piece makeup brush set along with 2 shadow pallets from wet n' wild, that I still haven't stopped using... and now my eyes are completely sore from wiping off all the "make up fun".

My husband has always been very perceptive of my material desires, so it should've come to no surprise that he bought me this... and yet, I still feel happily surprised.

I saved the best for last...

My new one that has my heart aflutter
The irony is that he claims this purchase was more for the sake of his wallet than it was for me.
My previous camera had an insatiable appetite for batteries; it easily went through a 20 pack of batteries in one month. Blogging started becoming an expensive hobby at the rate I was going...
The features, memory and megapixels of my new one blow my old one right out of the water with dynamite; it's also sleek and pretty...

My old one. Yup... just a meager 7 MP...

In the defense of my old one... it was completely free. My mom bought it for a measly 500 air miles-- it was the bottom bin kind of camera, but the one before it was only 2.5 MP which was also free, won in a employee raffle.
So in case you're thinking it's impossible to have decent photos with a "crappy" camera, it really isn't... and all the photos before June 21st 2013 prove this statement. Just have to get to know your equipment, that's all.
Which is funny because I'm still on the learning curve of my new one, so the photos are currently coming out to be the same quality as my old one... once I get to know it better, I'm quite hopeful the quality will reflect into my blog.

I had a chance to give it a good test when my husband took me out to a couple hiking trails and a picnic during the summer solstice... these are just a few of my favorite shots I was able to take.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Eenie Meenie Miney Mo


That's right, ugh! There's no other response for such a trivial predicament that I can't seem to resolve on my own. I am filled to brim with mixed feelings (a story for another time), and I literally ache to distract myself from such inner discombobulation.

My dear readers, help me to put this decision out of its misery.
I am still deciding which piece of clothing to sew...
But now I have more of a choice, since my neighbor lent me a pattern I had my eye on; funny story that. I was on the brink of purchasing a pattern for shorts, but was reluctant to do so because I could've just as easily drafted them myself... but you see, I really wanted to make an honest and true effort to craft commercial patterns in all basic silhouettes; pants, shorts, blouse/top, dress, and jacket. I know I have already crafted a blouse, but I fell in love with this other pattern and another one from burda...

Anyway, she invited me over one day and we got to digging through her collection of patterns. We brought them out for fun since she had more costume and vintage patterns than any other type... and lo and behold, she was waiving around that one pattern; she had no idea I was looking to buy it by the way, she waved it around thinking we could possibly redraft them into jodhpurs.

It is Simplicity pattern 2367, and I was piqued by the shorts (view D). She lent it to me; I was wholly relieved I didn't have to buy it since I can't ever seem to stumble upon the dollar pattern day at Joann's craft store, and I also wasn't entirely sure I'd even make more from it after I finished the first ones.

But now I find myself confuzzled over which article to make first? Its contender is New Look pattern 6599. Both patterns are ones with the same amount of enthusiasm and excitement attached to them...

The New Look pattern has two tops I really wish to create, while the simplicity only has the one... and I guess the capris that look similar to it also (view C). But these are the main three I can't decide upon.

All the fabric and notions are purchased and accounted for, for each one...

 A nice lightweight black and white stripe fabric for either blouse; I have more than plenty yardage of this to make all the blouses of this pattern-- it's very exciting fabric! Black lace, ribbons and buttons for all the trimmings.

I chose a medium weight black material with the slightest stretch to it for the shorts. I bought some really damn cute metal skull shank buttons; I had the venetian lace in my stash for a little while but it's only a yard and a half with a 2 1/2 inch width-- I didn't know what to use it for, for the longest while.

I leave the decision in your capable hands, my batty darlings; 
which one shall I make first?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: Mental Traffic Jam

I can't believe how much I am struggling to form a thought, so bare with me as I sort through some of the muddled thoughts drowning each other out in my noggin'. Fair warning, folks, this will be a rather long (by my standards) and random one...

Where to begin...
First, I am working on several projects at once; attempting to calculate solutions for each simultaneously. I'm at the point of my thought process where I am the most unproductive; I am impulsive by nature, and that can often lead to a clash of ideas, such as now. Turning my delightful recreations, into an obsession with sharp pointy teeth, bearing down on numerous facets of my consciousness.

It happens at least once a month, and I can usually manage to suppress this surplus of ideas through careful planning, a.k.a. a "to do" list.
But at this moment I am have having trouble prioritizing.

It all started after achieving relative success with version one of my eyeshadow primer imitation, I started wondering what else I could substitute... which inevitably led to setting sprays.
Research is key, as they say; the most concise explanation for these kinds of sprays came, of course, in the form of a youtube video:

This is part one of a two parter on the low-down of these sprays (here is the 2nd).

Anyway, I took to my kitchen again and started brewing up a setting spray-- the idea of appearing a just a little more natural with my make up is an appealing one, cake face is not attractive in the least... but then neither is the "glory" of my natural very uneven colored skin.

Here is what version one looks like, which is still undergoing trials so I won't be sharing it until that stage is complete.

And here is its result combined with my homemade primer:

I feel like it still needs so much tweaking; this batch works just fine on the patches of dry skin I have, but it puts a fierce shine on my oily patches; I have to re-powder all those problematic shine spots.

Other than that, my mind has also been plagued by what to sew next. I received tons of fabric as an early birthday present; I'm particularly obsessed with 4.5 yards of lightweight black and white stripped matte polyester/cotton fabric from the lot-- the dilemma lies with what I'm going to make with it first. I have all these views from all these patterns to choose from!

Well, with all this cluttering up my thoughts, it's a much welcome distraction that Ms Misantropia has nominated me for a Liebster Award.
I realize I could make this a post on it's own, but I try and do right by one post a day, keeps the inbox clutter away.

1. How would you describe your home decorating style?

When I lived back home, those who have visited my abode often said my decorating style was like a hermit witch. I had bottles upon bottles of dried botanica, odd mixtures, books and drapes of fabric with curiosities in the mix. It also lacked any natural light because it was in the basement of my mother's home, hehe.

2. What is the original color of your hair and eyes?

Dark brown, and dark brown.

3. What are your 2 favorite colors?

I haven't so subtly made a bias towards black and purple, heh.

4. Do you have any pets?

A cat named Poe; his full name is Hans Poe Gruber according to my husband.

5. What are some stereotypes about your country and its people,

and do you identify with any of them?

Generally we live in igloos, say 'eh' and pronounce 'about' as 'aboot'. We have moose as pets, and hockey is the only leisurely activity played. Severely pacifist, but overall naive/carefree.

I've actually never seen an actual igloo or moose in my life, just deer and the occasional coyote. I say eh on occasion, but it's so seldom it is seen as general purpose talk; I don't think anyone has ever even jokingly pointed it out, yet. I do identify with pacifism, and I wouldn't describe myself as carefree.

6. Do you have any siblings?

2 brothers, one older and one younger. Where the gene lacking height is inherent in my body, clearly their's didn't get that memo; my youngest brother is over 6ft tall.

7. What prompted you to start blogging?

Plain and simple, what prompted me was the need for a social outlet that isn't as direct as an actual social situation. I do well socializing online, but in person it's like I'm a whole different person.

8. Which 3 personality traits do you like most about yourself?

That's a loaded question for me, in that many of my personality traits are hindered by my introversion; online, I've been told I seem friendly and articulate. Sadly, that makes a complete flip in person, which is often seen as aloofness. The only thing that remains unchanged by the situation is my creativity.

9. Which vintage era do you find most interesting style-wise?

It literally varies day to day, so it's hard to say.

10. What is your view on feminism and gender equality?

I believe that saying you're against feminism, is a lot like saying you're against justice. The fight for women's rights remains as important as racial rights; both of which, as you might guess, are quite important to me. On the same token, I'm not particularly pleased with the sudden turn of tables that some feminist groups have taken to-- vilifying men. It's trading one social injustice with another, and that's just not progress in my eyes.

11. Do you have any religious beliefs?
There is one belief that I hold quite dear as the rest changes, and that is the belief that karma is the resulting energy we absorb after what we put out. It really pains me to see that the idea of karma is often seen as some kind of perverted sense of revenge assured over time, instead of the pursuit of well being and balance that it should be. For example, say you've been put into a bad situation-- it is up to you to decide which energies you absorb into your mental state-- good or bad? Vengeance is a form of bad energy, you're essentially stuffing your subconsciousness with fear, doubt and anger; situation after situation, altering your perceptions.

The people I'll nominate (method borrowed from Ms. Misantropia):

  • Michelle from Crafts For Misfits: It's interesting to hear how she solves storage issues when living in a uniquely designed apartment. She also weaves the most appealing infinity scarves and modern tapestries I've ever seen.
  • Sophie from The Gothic Bureacrat: A fellow Canadian, I often find myself compelled by the emotion behind her words; she posts about her life after surviving DV.
  • Lesthi from Lesthi : Lesthi posts about her daily life, and wishlists-- I find many of her finds quite inspiring to my own wishlist, heh.
  • Laura from Roses And Vellum: She has recently took it upon herself to teach herself to sew, and the results are always so beautiful. She posts intriguing articles and inspirational posts about steampunk and Edwardian fashion, events, books, and movies.
On-come the questions:

1. When seeking inspiration, what method do you find works for you most often?
2. If you could live the life of one person for a day, fictional or not, whom would it be?
3. If you became highly accomplished, what would you be most famous for?
4. If you could travel back in time, what would you change or witness?
5. What are 4 items you can't live without?
6. What type of movie/book genre do you most watch/read?
7. If you could make one renovation to your current house, what would it be?
8. Do you believe a day should be attempted to be tackled systematically, or on a whim? 
9. What is a quote about life you try to live by?
10. What is one beauty product you swear by?
11. What is your thought process when you deem something worthy of purchasing?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mortem's Apothecarium: DIY Eyeshadow Primer Follow-up

As per the kind request from lady Karoliina from Bones and Lilies, I shall follow-up on the recipe I shared with you all for a DIY eyeshadow primer.

I was rather negligent; forgetting to post the most important part: exactly how long is a long time for this recipe?

To be certain, after I put on my make up for the Professor's assignment, I left it on and went on about my day after all the shooting and writing was done.
Well... I put a little extra effort forth throughout the day, just to be good and sure.

I don't work out at all, I'll tel you that now; I also don't sweat a whole lot-- not enough that my skin would feel damp, anyway. Nevertheless, I put myself through quite a work out; I danced vigorously while attempting an equally vigorous whole house clean up-- admittedly with large breaks. The house was kept around 79 degrees Fahrenheit all the while, which is roughly 26 degrees Celsius.
I have combination skin; my t-zone is bone dry, while the rest is oily. Skin type might factor into the durability of this formula.

Here is a pictorial progression of the color of my eyeshadow throughout the day:

The rest of my make up melted off, but my eyes seemed to have kept up with the pace I set fairly decently. This'll sound completely subjective, but I feel like the last two photos aren't accurately portraying the vibrancy of the color left over; it seemed better than what the photos are showing, and it could be the twilight and florescent lighting involved in the two-- my camera is finicky with those two types of light. In any case, the color still remained.

I lost my blending brush, so that might have something to do with the poor blending... I take responsibility if that was my own lack of skill. For those of you who are blending savvy/able, please let me know if it's the actual primer that hinders the ease of this process. I would love to improve upon the formula, if improvement is what it needs for the majority. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it!
Although, in reality, I'll probably be tinkering with this recipe regardless if I think it needs it or not... heh!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: Polka-Polka, Polkadots

It's time for the Professor's Homework Assignment!
This month she asked us to base a post around polkadots; one of my favorite fabric patterns... perhaps my only other favorite aside damask. Polkadots isn't limited to just fabric, for example many have already posted polkadot nail art,
But for the sake of doing what I do best, I will stick with fashion... with a twist of the past.

Once upon a time, a young Mortem (pre-highschool) took it upon herself to draft her very first pattern! And it just so happens I still have the result of such an endeavor. The article in question is:

This skirt.

It's not just the dots that are relevant, but the fact it is about to be a little over a decade old; made by the hands of 14 year old me. I must admit I'm surprised how well it held up, considering I was no more than a novice then.

The real question is whether or not it still fit... 11 years is a long time, much has definitely changed. So, it occurred to me that this should also be a BatFit sort of test, to see how much I have changed in that time.


Not much at all.
To my shock and awe, I didn't have to do any squeezing or sucking-in to put it on. Since I have so very few pictures of myself when I was young (it really means none), I decided I would dress and do my hair (more or less) how I used to in the latter part of my babybat years.

The ensemble would've included purple fishnet or stripped stockings, that I currently don't own anymore. Also my hair wasn't quite as long back then, and I usually wore pigtails... yeah, I know. 

I honestly can't get a grip on what style I once was-- it wasn't fully goth, though I adorned myself often with skulls and bats. I wore an extensive amount of color in the past, and made a transition to purely black, lace, satins and velvet over the years as I grew.
Perhaps one day I will stumble upon an old photo of me wearing this exact skirt those many years ago...

And what would a polkadot assignment be without polka music?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mortem's Apothecarium: DIY Eyeshadow Primer

Let's face it, when it comes to things that don't pertain to sewing or jewelry making, I'm a bit of a scrooge.
I would rather spend the time I'm not using to find inexpensive ways to achieve those expensive make up looks, than to spend all that money on something that doesn't last me longer than say a skirt made for the same amount of money.

One such product is eyeshadow primer. Some of us may question the importance of an eyeshadow primer, but not me! Though to this day I am not willing to pay more than $10 for a skinny bottle of the stuff...
So I went online in search of a fairly decent recipe to cook up.
One such recipe that has received many raves was Budget Savvy Diva's eyeshadow primer concoction.
It does work, but after several batches I didn't acquire the lasting umph that I was looking for, and it was also a little too sticky-goop for me.

So after a little bit of experimenting in my kitchen, I now bequeath you all version one of my own recipe. It makes an almost mousse-like primer; it feels quite airy. The yield depends on the size of the container you're going to keep it in.

You'll need:

  • Light face moisturizer: I use one by Simple in the Hydrating line.
  • Lightweight cream foundation: The brand I use is Annabelle in their SkinTrue line. My color is medium beige
  • A block of natural beeswax: Found nearly everywhere, especially in health food stores. A small block costed me 99 cents
  • Small microwavable glass bowl
  • Mixing spoon/tooth pick
  • Sanitized/cosmetic container
Before we begin, I am using a 0.25 oz. (7 ml) container-- the kind you get at Lush for a sample of product. I didn't fill it in this tutorial, but the ratios are the same; 1/2 part beeswax, 1 part lotion, 2 part foundation cream.

1. To start you'll need to grate or cut your beeswax. I couldn't find my mini grater, so I just cut off slivers.

You want the beeswax to be as finely chopped as you can get it; ideally you'd grate it, so it'll all melt easier.

2. Next you'll want to warm the wax in the bowl until it has melted. You can do this via the double boiler method on the stove, or with your microwave/convection oven. Keep an eye on it as it heats, making sure it doesn't burn. The amount of time you leave it to warm up depends on which method, and how hot your appliances get-- use your best judgement.
Note to self-- don't mix the rest in the bowl!

You can be a ditz like me and attempt to mix the rest of it in the bowl, or you could pour the wax into your container after the next step, like the sensible people I know you all to be.

3. While your wax is heating, you'll want to prepare the rest of your ingredients into the container before you add the wax. When your wax is a full liquid form, stir and mix as you pour the wax into the container so that you don't form any chunks-- work quickly! The wax cools fast unless you're working in a hot environment; adding the wax before the lotion and foundation could cost you precious mixing seconds, causing unwanted chunks of solid unmixed wax.
My bad attempt at transferring from bowl to container...
The reason you want to mix everything inside the container, as you can see, is because once the mixture cools off it is really finicky; you might have lots of left over product in the bowl and on the mixing implement instead of where you want it-- in the container.

That's that, you're done! A homemade eyeshadow primer that actually matches your skin tone thanks to your foundation cream.

And now for a test...

Top with primer, bottom is without.
This is lightly applied, mind you; I didn't want to waste too much of my favorite color, but these are usually hyper pigmented, especially the dark ones-- see how stingy I am? Yes, I probably should've used a color I didn't like much... but it wouldn't have been so eye pleasing for my blog, hehe.

Enjoy, and happy crafting!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Skeleton Closet: Marking The Occassion

With our 1st year wedding anniversary not more than a few days behind us, and my birthday coming up full steam; my hubby, in all his sweetness, ignored the throbbing of his tired feet and legs, and took me out for a day full of fun the following day after his return home.
I have this stinging inclination to boast about how much he went through, only to go through some more on my account... but I'll just leave it with, I'm a very lucky gal! My actions are not without gratitude, of course...

Edited to add:
My birthday isn't that soon! But I thank you for the early wishes nevertheless. It's still in June, but since the month is flying by it'll be right in front of us more than quickly, heh. He combined the two occasions because I don't think there will be a chance to go out like this when my birthday does come around.

Anyway, as promised, I shall reveal the outfit I was to wear for our celebration of one year of wedded bliss that I spent it planning and sewing during my week alone:

The fact it is very lolita was nearly unintentional. I guess I imagined it more "cute halloween addict", than "halloween lolita"... which if you really think about it, there's not much of a distinction between those two ideas...

The neck bow tie is not originally drafted into the pattern, but with an itty bitty teeny weeny bit of savvy, I added it in there. The skirt itself was drafted by me from the memory of one I once saw; it's a tad wrinkly... it was a long drive home!

This was also a chance to bust out my knee high pumpkin socks which have barely seen the light of day because I don't didn't have an outfit that suited them well enough.

What I am wearing:
  • Blouse: self-made
  • Skirt: self-made
  • Socks: dollar store
  • Shoes: local flea market

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Hurly Burly

My hubby left on Friday, and since then I've kept my mind and hands busy in order to prevent any negative thought from emerging.
Alas, I crafted my hands into a coma...

Yesterday I spent the night nurturing a crippling episode of carpel tunnel, but thankfully it happened only minutes after I finished my intended projects. 
Today isn't so bad, as you can tell from my typing this post, but I'll be taking it easy.

Sunday was my 1st wedding anniversary; it was spent celebrating as well as one could do on her own: sewing, of course.

Finishing the final "piece"
I made an entire outfit to commemorate this somewhat joyous occasion, but its final showcase will have to wait until I can put it on and celebrate my hubby coming home. For now, let me whet your appetite with the reveal of the mock up of the above pictured piece.

I saw this skirt... somewhere. Being unable to locate the original, coupled with having zero money to purchase it, even if I did... I thought it would be a nice piece to recreate from the vague memory I have of the skirt.

The ties are long enough to come forward or stay backwards. The final product will have a lot more lace, and of course it will be black. I might add some white lace to this mock up... then who knows what will happen to it, heh.

I made yet another blouse from the same view I've been using in pattern 6078, but I added a little extra touch to it so it'll match up with the skirt. I know, I keep making these blouses! I'm currently obsessed with them-- this is the last one... I think. Probably not... but hopefully the last one you'll read about.

Anyway, aside from all that, I took a look at my most recent candy find and realized I could upcycle the tin instead of just having it jingle around just for the pleasure of how it looks.

Left is my sewing kit tin, and right is my candy tin.
I bought the left tin from China town during my visit in Vancouver a year a go. I purchased it because it was the only sewing kit I've ever found with a tiny pair of scissors with black handles. I purchased the right tin at It's Sugar during my visit to Phoenix last month for my brother-in-law's graduation.

I pulled a switcharo so that my travel kit now suits my tastes. I added in a couple extras; a tiny wood spool of black thread, a spool of purple thread, and a stitch-remover.

These tins also come in a white skull, or pink-- which I completely intend on buying before too long.

P.S. if you haven't seen Frankie's tattoos, have a closer look in the older post about her here.

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