Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tattoo tights

I don't have piercings or tattoos, and I don't dye my hair - in summary, I don't like to do anything permanent and irreversible on my appearance... except cutting my hair, perhaps. (I trim my fringe in the sink in front of the mirror, and every year or so, my mum cuts the rest of my mop.)

Consequently, I'm very interested in things like tattoo tights and ear cuffs, which can be removed in an instant. UK is not exactly awash with cool tights and next time I go to China I'm going to get another truckload of tights from the indoor market there, but some luckier souls on Lookbook somehow got hold of some awesome tattoo tights.

I wonder what would happen if I took a sharpie to some nude-coloured tights? Hmm...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Papercraft Riki

Riki with pipe cleaner giraffe

I've never tried papercraft before. When my sister Mir sent me a link to a papercraft Riki, I thought today would be a good day to start. Though I didn't do an amazing job - I was a little over-enthusiastic when bending Riki's punky hair - I think it's okay for a first shot. It's so satisfying watching something 2D take form into a cute little paper Nopon in my hands, with just some folding and a little glue. Very different from the snow Riki I made in winter.

His friend is a pipe cleaner giraffe I made in biology. I got a rollocking for 'wasting' pipe cleaners when we were supposed to be making models of DNA, and it was torn to pieces, but I sneakily gathered the pipe cleaners up again and reassembled the poor thing at home. Of course, the teacher then wandered to another table and complimented a classmate who was making cows. The injustice!

And he even has his little backpack, see?

Here is a translated page of the instructions. Be as precise as you can with the cutting, using sharp, smallish scissors, and if you get bored or frustrated, just take a break and do something else. The solid lines are for cutting, dotted lines are mountain folds, and dash-dotted lines are valley folds. As it's summer right now my hands were sweaty most of the time, which is rubbish for papercraft, so I had to get up and wash my hands then wave around madly to dry them about every five minutes.

Hope you've enjoyed your weekend!

Work in progress

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Rabbit Heart: Ophelia Violetta

It's summer. Exams and orchestras are over with for now, so I am immensely pleased to continue terrorising the blogosphere with my interview requests. Meet the imperiously beautiful and exceptionally talented Ophelia, a seamstress from mainland Europe.

Many of the stunning skirts she wears on her Lookbook she made herself, and sells in her shop, Rabbit Heart. Not only does she pick the prettiest fabrics and cuts, but you can see from the close-ups that her products are of top quality, especially for their price. Free shipping, too!

Now I'm going shut up and let Ophelia do the talking.

'Red Wine' on LB

Hello, Ophelia! What are three things we should know about you?

Hi! Hmm... I was born in Czech Republic, but since last Autumn I've lived in Bavaria, Germany. My pets are a bunny called Fabian and two big Achatina snails called Thor and Loki. My full-time job is my online store with handmade, new and vintage clothing, Rabbit Heart.

I googled 'Achatina snail' and flipping heck, those are humungous. I can imagine that they make pretty cool pets.

How has your style developed into what it is now?

I think my style is developing and changing all the time. I feel so inspired when browsing through fashion blogs, Tumblr photos and Japanese fashion magazines, that I'm always in the mood to try something new. Life is too short to get stuck in just one style. (And it gets boring after a while!)

'The Paris Swing Box' on LB

Your handmade clothes are just beautiful. What's your favourite thing you've ever made? 

Thank you, I'm really happy you like my work! My favourite thing I ever made...? There are too many of them, but from the last few months I like the most this light green lolita skirt I made for my shop - I just love this fabric and I really like the colour combination with the natural cotton fabric. One day, when I'll have time and material I'll probably make one for myself, too.

I absolutely adore the lolita skirts in your shop, and you look so good in them! The lace trims you use are so pretty, and I especially like your dark green one.

For items you don't make yourself, where do you like to shop?

Usually I shop in common fashion stores like H&M and New Yorker... and I choose mostly from sales racks. I just love the feeling of finding something I wanted since it was new and expensive for a super-cheap price in my size and favourite colour! Also I like to shop in online stores - my favourite are those with handmade clothing, accessories and indie brands. Right now I'm really obsessed with Black Craft.

'Grow Till Tall' on LB

What first attracted you to lolita?

I can't really remember the first moment I got to know this style, but probably it was in some German anime-themed magazine. Then I started to search on the internet for any other girls in Czech Republic wearing those clothes. Found out the very first Czech lolita blog where the date of a winter meet-up was and I decided to give it a try. I put on my (super-awful) ita outfit and went there, met a lot of new people, never stopped wearing this style, collected more and more clothes... and yeah, improved my style from ita to lolita, haha!

'I used to be an adventurer like you...' on LB

Which of your outfits is your favourite at the moment, and why?

Because of the hot summer weather and a lot of historical events I attended lately, my favourite outfit at the moment is "I used to be an adventurer like you...". I just love this dress from Anki!

Who are your fashion icons and inspirations? 

That's so hard to choose; there are too many of them! Okay, so the first five I have on my mind: Fashion Squid, Zephyr Elf, The Agent of Anarchy, Iro, The Pineneedle Collective and hundreds of others.

'Tell me life is beautiful' on LB

What do you think of the street fashion where you live?

Now I live in a small peaceful town with a lot of people from different countries and true Bavarian inhabitants, so the street fashion here is nothing special. I really like how people here wear typical Bavarian outfits with lederhosen and dirndl when there is some festival in the town, but even on just ordinary days. It gives me the feeling that the tradition here is still strong and not forgotten like it is in Czech Republic.

What do you see yourself doing, and where, in seven years' time?

The only thing I'm sure about is that I´m going to be thirty-one years old. I don't do plans in my life - I just live for the moment and wait for what is going to happen!

Thank you so much for this interview, Ophelia. I know I'll keep enjoying your style, as you're one of the people I most look forward to seeing in my Lookbook feed because every time, you come up with something fresh, something original, and something inspiring.

'Never sleep inside a fairy ring' on LB

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


I don't even remember how I came across Artka. It's a Chinese brand which caught my eye because of its traditional yet wearable designs. When I say 'bohemian', you probably think of European gypsies, but this is sort of a Chinese bohemian: the layering, tassels, prints and colour palettes are creative but cohesive, drawing inspiration from the traditional dress of China's ethnic groups, and the country's hugely varying landscape.

Flower Dream 9 on yychanson's DeviantART
Flower Dream 4 on yychanson's DeviantART
Being an obscure Chinese brand, it's difficult to find legit sites and it's all a bit dubious, but the pictures I did find were inspiring all the same.

Monday, 22 July 2013


I can barely remember the last time we went on a day trip with the explicit intention of going to the beach, but on Sunday I was in the lovely Llandudno. The morning was overcast with white cloud, which was actually perfect for trecking up a cliff. By lunchtime, the sun had come out just in time for cold chicken and cheesy bread on the shingle.

After dozing in our beach shelter for an hour or so, my mum and I walked through the shallow waves on the freshly-exposed sand to reach the rockpools, where we caught crabs about 10cm across. Only afterwards did we realise that we'd shredded our hands lifting rough rocks! I hear it's going to get showery, but if there's more good weather on the way, this won't be the last you'll see of the back of my head lying listlessly upon a beach.

I caught crabs. (Not the STD kind.)
Salty, wrinkly feet after exploring rock pools.
Ugly, but excellent for beaches.

Trying to draw on a stone.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

"Song as old as rhyme"

Here's another not-quite-lolita but lolita-inspired look I cobbled together from stuff already in my wardrobe. Perhaps you could call it otome kei? This belt came with the dress but I've never worn it because it's so 2D and naff-looking, but the bow was appropriate for my theme.

Collar: New Look
Cardi: New Look
Dress: Marks & Spencer
Belt: Marks & Spencer
Petticoat: Matalan
Socks: Sainsbury's, DIY
Boots: Clarks

I don't usually wear a petticoat under this dress - it's got its own netting - but my pink petticoat fits no problem underneath. I also folded over the top of my DIY frilly socks so the frills go downwards, because I thought it looked better with these awesome Victorian button boots that actually belong to my mum. When I was looking for them in the cupboard under the sink of the downstairs toilet, I literally had to swim through the masses of black leather boots my mum and I have accumulated. It's terrible.

After this weekend I've got work experience 'til the end of time in labs and dental practices and hospitals. Hopefully it will be interesting, but there's some dread mixed in with the anticipation! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Crucian carp: wintering without oxygen

When dissecting crucian carp - as you do - don't be surprised if your specimen is a little livelier than you'd expect for a head disconnected from the heart for several hours. Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) are remarkably able to survive totally anoxic conditions (without oxygen).

Their secret is anaerobic respiration - releasing energy without needing oxygen. Though it's 15 times less efficient than aerobic respiration (with oxygen), which is what animals normally do, by slowing their metabolism, crucian carp can survive up to 140 days in anoxic ponds and lakes that have frozen over. (Goldfish can do it too, but can't survive early as long.) By staying in isolated ponds, they're safe from predators, and the low temperatures lower the metabolic rate.

From Hakon, Flickr
All animals store energy as glycogen, a highly-branched carbohydrate molecule that can be rapidly hydrolysed (broken down) into glucose for rapid release of energy by respiration. Crucian carp build up their stores of glycogen over summer, so come winter, there's enough fuel for the not-that-efficient anaerobic respiration. A lot of glycogen is stored in the brain, hence the history of surprised fish head dissectionists.

To keep functioning properly, crucian carp have to get rid of the products of anaerobic respiration, like lactate, which would otherwise build up. The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) is unique to crucian carp and goldfish, and it converts the waste products into ethanol, which readily diffuses through the carp's biological membranes, into the blood and out of the system through the gills.

Science Direct
New Scientist

Monday, 15 July 2013

Blog buttons

Finally, I can relax a little. Orchestra went great this weekend, though isn't it a little disconcerting when I am applauded for leaving the stage? (Though that's just convention to applaud the leader of the orchestra for whatever she does - it's terrible, because I don't deserve it at all.) I also aced my clinical aptitude test last week, getting a far higher score than I hoped for and expected. Consequently I am now somnolent in a pleasant haze of triumph.

http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/3649936 http://lookbook.nu/cassaela
Bloglovin' / Google Friend Connect / Lookbook / deviantART

And how do you like the blog buttons I made this morning? Lots of people have circular buttons which I'm bored of, so I was planning to do different shapes relating to video games. Nevertheless, in the end I decided that it looks best when the shapes - Mario mushrooms - are all the same.

I used three different programs to make these, which sounds ridiculous, but it was just the easiest way for me. Photoshop to colorise the grey image I used as a base, Paint Tool SAI for drawing or tracing the symbols onto the shrooms and changing the hue of each, and finally MS Paint for cropping. If there's anything you think I should fix, then do let me know.

Saturday, 13 July 2013


Bustiers can so easily look tacky, but I think if it's made of a decently thick material and fits well, and you balance out the amount of skin showing, they can look very classy but fun at the same time.

Perhaps you'd think they wouldn't be my style - and you're right - but for some reason I would really love a bustier. I've looked at loads and I've found that it's very hard to find one that's not too skimpy, and not cropped. The closest I've found to what I want's this one from Free People.

|| Johanne || Kasey K. || Kat T. ||

I've got orchestra all this weekend; I'm shattered already and we're performing in two concerts tomorrow. Plus I'm leader of the orchestra (how that even happened I don't know) which means quite a lot of responsibility and feelings of inadequacy and incompetence!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Diamonds: why do they sparkle?

Why do diamonds sparkle with rainbow colours?

Diamond consists of a giant 3D lattice of carbon atoms arranged tetrahedrally, and can be contaminated by only a few impurities. There are strong covalent bonds between the atoms, so it's the hardest naturally-occuring substance, and has a high optical density. This means when light travels from air into a diamond, the light slows down more than it would slow down if it were travelling into, for example, glass or water. The refractive index of diamond is about 2.4, which means light travels 2.4 times as fast in a vacuum as it does in diamond.

When light enters the diamond, it not only changes speed, but changes direction too: this is called refraction. White light's made up of the full spectrum of colours, but violet travels slower in diamond than red travels in diamond. As a result, violet refracts more and red refracts less, and the white light is split into a rainbow. That's dispersion, the reason why diamonds shine with many different colours.

Dispersion, from TutorVista
But why do diamonds look so sparkly? As light enters a transparent material, some of the light can get trapped inside, bounce around a bit, and get reflected back out. The more light that's reflected back out, the more light enters the viewer's eye, and the sparklier the material looks.

Reflection of light within a material is called total internal reflection. This happens when the light ray's angle of incidence is greater than the critical angle of the material. If you plug in diamond's very high refractive index from earlier into an equation, you can work out diamond's critical angle, which is very low - just 24.4°. So when the light's angle of incidence is greater than just 24.4°, which is quite often, the light is totally internally reflected.

From Omnia
So in summary, white light is refracted when it enters the diamond, and gets split into many colours by dispersion. The many colours undergo total internal reflection inside the diamond until they bounce straight up out of the diamond, where they refract and disperse again as they enter the air. Finally they enter your eyes, which see an enchantingly colourful and sparkly diamond!

Alexander McQueen
Sources: one two

Search 'diamond', 'crystal' and 'mineral' prints and feast your eyes on the brilliant colours and kaleidoscopic patterns.

|| Robyn || Allyssa K. || Mayo W. ||

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tartan lolita

It's not like I have an abnormal proportion of tartan in my wardrobe, but I really, really love tartan. There's that tartan dress I wear every other Monday, a wool skirt, and my mum's chequered shirt, which kind of counts.

Marrying tartan and lolita is, as you'd expect, a match made in heaven for me. Did you know there's a Scottish Register for Tartans? Colours you see most in tartan include red, green and blue. I love my red tartan dress but blue and green is such a lovely combination too, as it's a little more subtle.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

"Misfits living in a world on fire"

How have you spent your blinding hot weekend? For me it was strawberry-picking, taking a walk along the canal, watching Despicable Me 2 with friends followed by a sunset picnic, a day-long orchestra rehearsal, and watching Murray finally win Wimbledon. (I'm not even remotely interested in sport but I am known to watch odd bits of snooker, tennis and the like.)
Jacket: River Island, Asos
Vest: Esprit, China
Belt: Passionella, Oxfam
Skirt: Uniqlo
Socks: China
Boots: Doc Martens, eBay

Now I'm looking for a dark grey t-shirt to mod into the new X/Y Pokemon trainer's top. Seeing as I've already got the skirt, I'm already halfway to another casual cosplay. Customisable trainers, yay!
New Pokemon X/Y trainers, from Jyger's Rant
Going along with the Pokemon theme, my Charmeleon matches the skirt nicely.

Next week I have to sit a clinical aptitude test, which is kind of important for uni-picking, and very worrying seeing as I've done next to no practice this weekend. It's the last urgent thing hanging over my head this academic year and I can't wait to get it over with.

Have a pleasant evening!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Pokémon necklaces

I am so happy I found these. I've always known they were hiding in a box somewhere, but now I'm currently in a Pokemon phase, it means these guys get a chance to see the sun. Despite my constant complaining about how you can only get cool obscure stuff online, we actually possess quite a lot of Pokemon merchandise from when it was all the rage.

Charmeleon, Koffing, Pikachu, Voltorb, Gengar
According to my mother, we bought the necklaces while on holiday in Majorca or some place like that, along with a pretty cool Pokemon towel. (I was around four years old at the time so my recollections are rather confused.)

The Pikachu has a black outline and is a bit clearer because it's official, and the others aren't. Not going to lie - on searching 'Pokemon necklaces' in Google images, I haven't seen any as nice as ours.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


I love discovering a maker of gaming-related bling. It's marrying my two interests of fashion and video games, but typically, it's hard to get hold of except online. Sanshee is one such treasure trove of gaming goodness. They have Zelda, Mario and Portal stuff, as well as all the Pokemon gym badges you earned through hyper potions, full restores and soft resets when the battle wasn't quite going your way. They have all five generations but I picked the first gen badges to show here, as their designs are most familiar.

In other news, I dug out my sister's old Pokemon necklaces. They are so awesome and I can't wait to show you, but it's not very bright right now so I'll have to wait for better lighting to take some decent photos of them. I'm wearing Charmeleon right now and am loving it.
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