Friday, December 30, 2011

Dressing Gown for Dances of Vice

sources: Costumes of Nashua and the Quilt Museum and Gallery
Nightgowns and dressing gowns were once incredibly lavish! Ladies of leisure often spent time in a boudoir-- their private dressing room-- to bathe, dress, and prepare themselves for the day as well as relax with some tea or embroidery. While I dont own any antique dressing gowns like the ones pictured above, I do have some vintage pieces in my closet, so I tried putting together a coordinate inspired by traditional dressing gown ensembles (click the photos for larger versions).
My outfit for the Dances of Vice: Pure Imagination brunch was a sort of stylized boudoir look using a vintage nightgown and dressing gown and handmade accessories. At first glance, it doesn't seem to fit the theme of the event since it's not related to winter or candy, but some fairy tales characters do wear a nightgown or dressing gown in their stories, such as Wendy Darling from Peter Pan or Clara from the Nutcracker.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dances of Vice: Pure Imagination

source: Dancesofvice.com
Two weekends ago, I attended the Dances of Vice event called Pure Imagination: A Winter Toyland Holiday Brunch and took a few photos! Click the pictures to see the larger versions.
Click the jump cut to see more photos and an I Do Declare fashion show!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I decided to create a witch outfit this year for Halloween, so I just used what was in my closet already and added a hat! My inspiration was the stylized type of witch you find in fairy tales, so I tried to make the coordinate cute as well as creepy.
The hat is from the Shannon Dockery Bakos hat shop on Etsy. This seller makes many interesting hats, but this one was my favorite! The crumpled shape of the hat crown and the tassel on the end give it a lot of character. I made a brooch of feathers, velvet ribbon, pom-pom trim, and a paper flower to add to the side of the crown. It's rather difficult to see the details with all the black, so here's the brooch by itself:
This dress is one of my favorites, an older release from Innocent World. The bodice has a quaint lace-up style and the skirt is a mass of gathered tiers bordered by delicate rose lace trim. To see the details of the outfit better, here's a closeup without the hat:
The blouse is a 1980s secretary blouse I found on Etsy as well. I tied a black georgette scarf in a bow and pinned it to one side of the collar so I could balance out the tilted hat.
Here's a closeup photo of the bodice itself. I love the criss-cross laceup! The necklace is from Innocent World as well. The mirror on the back of the watch face design came off, but I always wore it facing this way anyway.
The skirt is very full and heavy with all that gathering, so I usually only wear this dress in the colder months. This is one of the things I like about wearing solid color dresses: the design isn't as striking as a print, but details like this can make it feel luxurious and special.

In the spirit of this spooky season, here's a necklace I made for a friend recently! I chose antiqued bronze for the metal rather than silver or gold so it would have a more old-fashioned look.
The miniature heart keys and diving swallows are puncuated by a single tiny porcelain doll arm for an understated creepy touch. I think this necklace could be worn with casual outfits as well as styles like dolly kei or gothic.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
If you're dressing up today, I would love to know what your costume will be ~

Sunday, October 9, 2011

End of Summer Coordinate and NYCC 2011

It's time to put away the summer clothes because autumn is here, but I thought I would make one last summer coordinate to celebrate the passing of the season...
Natural kei can be worn year round because it's all about layering, but in summer this style conveys a truly nostalgic feeling. The color palette of light green (I've been calling it "antique pistachio"), dusty rose, and antique white adds to the romantic mood.
The cardigan is a lucky eBay find! I've always been a fan of floral embroidery and harlquin checks, but never seen them combined until now. The miniature scallop along the edges is a delight as well. The ruffled camisole worn underneath is from Pink House. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the ruffles actually alternate two similar shades of dusty rose. What detail!
The ruffled rosette skirt by Wonderful World is full of details as well; each ruffle layer has pin tucks, along with yet another miniature ruffle. I love the stylized rosette print.
I finished off the outfit with the straw bowler hat and a Pink House rose corsage. The soft silk roses and bits of straw surrounding it really lend this corsage a natural look.

If any fans of natural kei are attending New York Comic Con next weekend, please come to my panel-- Natural Kei: Little Pink House on the Prairie on Sunday, October 16 at 12:30 pm! This year I'm focusing entirely on natural kei, so I'll be describing it's origins and characteristics, explaining where to find it and how to wear it, and presenting a natural kei fashion show. Even if you can't make it to the panel, I'll be at the convention all weekend so please come up to me and say hello ♥

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Changes for Moss Garden

As some of you might have noticed, I recently created a Facebook page for Moss Garden (see the right side of the page), so if you click "Like" then you'll be notified automatically through Facebook about new blog posts! For those who don't already use Google Reader or Bloglovin', this Facebook page may make my blog easier to follow.
If you've already seen my new business cards, you'll notice that I added two new items to my roster of subjects: music and book recommendations. Some people have emailed me requesting suggestions on these subjects, so I thought I would make it official. Also, I'll probably throw in some movie recommendations now and then, so I hope everyone enjoys these additions!

Also, I want to thank everyone who's been reading. I've been writing this blog for over a year now, and even though I don't always have time to update, but I appreciate your comments and email!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Otakon Tea Party photos

Here are some photos taken at the Otakon tea party hosted by myself and fellow American designers and blogs Morrigan NYC, I Do Declare, Perianth, and Tea, Love, Crochet! Here we are greeting the guests with candy and a raffle number:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Otakon Tea Party crafts

I'm so pleased with how this tea party went! Thanks to all the hard work of my co-hosts, we were able to pull everything off without a hitch. For my contribution to the gift bags, I made a combination brooch and hair accessory:
I cut some green velvet into leaf shapes and hand-stitched them together, then added lace remnant circles, paper leaves, and paper roses. The finishing touch is the miniature key charm, which dangles from a pearl chain. These accessories look good worn as a hair accessory on the side of the head, or perhaps worn as a brooch on a jacket lapel or pinning up a scarf. As you can see in the photo below, I made four color varieties: lavender, mocha, cream, and pink.
I attached my new blog business cards to each favor with some ribbon. I ordered them on Etsy a few weeks ago and I'm really happy with how they turned out! One side has my information and the other has a lovely damask pattern in light blue and cream.
For the main raffle prize, I made a necklace in antiqued bronze with a leaf pendant. The design is fairly understated, so I think it can be worn with practically anything. Those little swallow-in-flight connector charms end up in almost all the jewelry I make.
There were also little bags of Jordan almonds for each guest, so I put them in a basket I decorated (which also ended up being the raffle prize basket). The robin's egg blue organza treat bags and bird decorations gave the basket a distinct "nest" impression.
In my next entry, I'll post photos of the event itself!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Otakon

I apologize for not posting in a long time, but I have big plans in store for Moss Garden! For one thing, I'll be at Otakon again this year, not running a panel but instead helping to co-host an American lolita brand and blog tea party (see more details in the egl livejournal community post).
Inspired by the Japanese tea parties from brands like Victorian Maiden and Baby the Stars Shine Bright, a few of us American indie designers and blogs have decided to try to recreate that experience. Other cohosts are I Do Declare, Morrigan NYC, Perianth, and Tea, Love, Crochet, all of whom are contributing to gift bags for the attendees as well as a basket of lovely raffle prizes! If you're coming to the tea party, please come up and say hello to me because I'd love to meet more of my readers in person.

After the convention is over, I'll post photos of the favors and raffle prizes my other co-hosts and I made ♥

Hope to see you at the convention this weekend!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring Blossoms Coordinate

It's been a lovely spring so far! Here are a few pictures I took of the trees in bloom at a local park, and a spring-themed coordinate:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Innocent World Victorica dress

I haven't been buying much lolita fashion lately, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Victorica dress from Innocent World! This dress is part of the collaboration series Innocent World did with Gosick, an anime about the adventures of a secluded young girl who solves mysteries à la Sherlock Holmes. Here are images of the dress and other items from this series:
image from Innocent World website
I was glad these pieces can all be bought separately because I only wanted the dress. It comes in three colorways and three sizes! The bordeaux and chocolat colorways looked too flashy to me-- a bit like a costume-- so I chose the beige colorway. Here are some photos:
I prefer the way the neckline looks without the detachable lace jabot. If it needs any more decoration, I think it a necklace would be just right.
There are many different styles of lace on this dress, but most of it is soft embroidered net lace. Here's a closeup of the different styles of lace used on the skirt:
Since I received the package in the mail, I've been trying to figure out the best way to style this dress. It's surprisingly versatile! I was even able to create a pirate lolita coordinate using an Alice and the Pirates jacket and tricorn.
Here's a closeup:
A few other ideas I had are a natural spring look using a floral hair wreath, lace shawl, and floral brooch, or a princess look with a mini tiara, pearls, gloves, and fan. ♥ How would you coordinate this dress?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brothers Grimm series, part 3: Brother and Sister

It's been a while since I made a post in my Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale series! Look below for a morigirl coordinate inspired by this story.

Brother and Sister

Little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, "Since our mother died we have had no happiness; our stepmother beats us every day, and if we come near her she kicks us away with her foot. Our meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left over; and the little dog under the table is better off, for she often throws it a nice bit. May Heaven pity us. If our mother only knew! Come, we will go forth together into the wide world."


They walked the whole day over meadows, fields, and stony places; and when it rained the little sister said, "Heaven and our hearts are weeping together." In the evening they came to a large forest, and they were so weary with sorrow and hunger and the long walk, that they lay down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
Illustration by Sir Arthur Rackham 

The next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in the sky, and shone down hot into the tree. Then the brother said, "Sister, I am thirsty; if I knew of a little brook I would go and just take a drink; I think I hear one running." The brother got up and took the little sister by the hand, and they set off to find the brook.

But the wicked step-mother was a witch, and had seen how the two children had gone away, and had crept after them privily, as witches do creep, and had bewitched all the brooks in the forest.

Now when they found a little brook leaping brightly over the stones, the brother was going to drink out of it, but the sister heard how it said as it ran, "Who drinks of me will be a tiger; who drinks of me will be a tiger." Then the sister cried, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a wild beast, and tear me to pieces." The brother did not drink, although he was so thirsty, but said, "I will wait for the next spring."

When they came to the next brook the sister heard this also say, "Who drinks of me will be a wolf; who drinks of me will be a wolf." Then the sister cried out, "Pray, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a wolf, and devour me." The brother did not drink, and said, "I will wait until we come to the next spring, but then I must drink, say what you like; for my thirst is too great."

And when they came to the third brook the sister heard how it said as it ran, "Who drinks of me will be a deer; who drinks of me will be a deer." The sister said, "Oh, I pray you, dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a deer, and run away from me." But the brother had knelt down at once by the brook, and had bent down and drunk some of the water, and as soon as the first drops touched his lips he lay there a young deer.

And now the sister wept over her poor bewitched brother, and the little deer wept also, and sat sorrowfully near to her. But at last the girl said, "Be quiet, dear little fawn, I will never, never leave you."

Then she untied her golden garter and put it round the deer's neck, and she plucked rushes and wove them into a soft cord. With this she tied the little beast and led it on, and she walked deeper and deeper into the forest.
Illustration by John B. Gruelle

And when they had gone a very long way they came at last to a little house, and the girl looked in; and as it was empty, she thought, "We can stay here and live." Then she sought for leaves and moss to make a soft bed for the deer; and every morning she went out and gathered roots and berries and nuts for herself, and brought tender grass for the deer, who ate out of her hand, and was content and played round about her. In the evening, when the sister was tired, and had said her prayer, she laid her head upon the deer's back: that was her pillow, and she slept softly on it. And if only the brother had had his human form it would have been a delightful life. For some time they were alone like this in the wilderness.

But it happened that the King of the country held a great hunt in the forest. Then the blasts of the horns, the barking of dogs, and the merry shouts of the huntsmen rang through the trees, and the deer heard all, and was only too anxious to be there. "Oh," said he, to his sister, "let me be off to the hunt, I cannot bear it any longer;" and he begged so much that at last she agreed. "But," said she to him, "come back to me in the evening; I must shut my door for fear of the rough huntsmen, so knock and say, 'My little sister, let me in!' that I may know you; and if you do not say that, I shall not open the door." Then the young deer sprang away; so happy was he and so merry in the open air.

The King and the huntsmen saw the pretty creature, and started after him, but they could not catch him, and when they thought that they surely had him, away he sprang through the bushes and could not be seen. When it was dark he ran to the cottage, knocked, and said, "My little sister, let me in." Then the door was opened for him, and he jumped in, and rested himself the whole night through upon his soft bed.

The next day the hunt went on afresh, and when the deer again heard the bugle-horn, and the ho! ho! of the huntsmen, he had no peace, but said, "Sister, let me out, I must be off." His sister opened the door for him, and said, "But you must be here again in the evening and say your pass-word."

When the King and his huntsmen again saw the young deer with the golden collar, they all chased him, but he was too quick and nimble for them. This went on for the whole day, but at last by the evening the huntsmen had surrounded him, and one of them wounded him a little in the foot, so that he limped and ran slowly. Then a hunter crept after him to the cottage and heard how he said, "My little sister, let me in," and saw that the door was opened for him, and was shut again at once. The huntsman took notice of it all, and went to the King and told him what he had seen and heard. Then the King said, "To-morrow we will hunt once more."

The little sister, however, was dreadfully frightened when she saw that her deer was hurt. She washed the blood off him, laid herbs on the wound, and said, "Go to your bed, dear fawn, that you may get well again." But the wound was so slight that the deer, next morning, did not feel it any more. And when he again heard the sport outside, he said, "I cannot bear it, I must be there; they shall not find it so easy to catch me." The sister cried, and said, "This time they will kill you, and here am I alone in the forest and forsaken by all the world. I will not let you out." "Then you will have me die of grief," answered the deer; "when I hear the bugle-horns I feel as if I must jump out of my skin." Then the sister could not do otherwise, but opened the door for him with a heavy heart, and the deer, full of health and joy, bounded into the forest.
Illustration by Kay Nielsen

When the King saw him, he said to his huntsmen, "Now chase him all day long till night-fall, but take care that no one does him any harm."

As soon as the sun had set, the King said to the huntsman, "Now come and show me the cottage in the wood;" and when he was at the door, he knocked and called out, "Dear little sister, let me in." Then the door opened, and the King walked in, and there stood a maiden more lovely than any he had ever seen. The maiden was frightened when she saw, not her little fawn, but a man come in who wore a golden crown upon his head. But the King looked kindly at her, stretched out his hand, and said, "Will you go with me to my palace and be my dear wife?" "Yes, indeed," answered the maiden, "but the little deer must go with me, I cannot leave him." The King said, "It shall stay with you as long as you live, and shall want nothing." Just then he came running in, and the sister again tied him with the cord of rushes, took it in her own hand, and went away with the King from the cottage.

The King took the lovely maiden upon his horse and carried her to his palace, where the wedding was held with great pomp. She was now the Queen, and they lived for a long time happily together; the deer was tended and cherished, and ran about in the palace-garden.

But the wicked step-mother, because of whom the children had gone out into the world, thought all the time that the sister had been torn to pieces by the wild beasts in the wood, and that the brother had been shot for a deer by the huntsmen. Now when she heard that they were so happy, and so well off, envy and hatred rose in her heart and left her no peace, and she thought of nothing but how she could bring them again to misfortune. Her own daughter, who was ugly as night, and had only one eye, grumbled at her and said, "A Queen! that ought to have been my luck." "Only be quiet," answered the old woman, and comforted her by saying, "when the time comes I shall be ready."

As time went on, the Queen had a pretty little boy, and it happened that the King was out hunting; so the old witch took the form of the chamber-maid, went into the room where the Queen lay, and said to her, "Come, the bath is ready; it will do you good, and give you fresh strength; make haste before it gets cold."

The daughter also was close by; so they carried the weakened Queen into the bath-room, and put her into the bath; then they shut the door and ran away. But in the bath-room they had made a fire of such deadly heat that the beautiful young Queen was soon suffocated.

When this was done the old woman took her daughter, put a nightcap on her head, and laid her in bed in place of the Queen. She gave her too the shape and the look of the Queen, only she could not make good the lost eye. But in order that the King might not see it, she was to lie on the side on which she had no eye.
Illustration by Warwick Goble

In the evening when he came home and heard that he had a son he was heartily glad, and was going to the bed of his dear wife to see how she was. But the old woman quickly called out, "For your life leave the curtains closed; the Queen ought not to see the light yet, and must have rest." The King went away, and did not find out that a false Queen was lying in the bed.

But at midnight, when all slept, the nurse, who was sitting in the nursery by the cradle, and who was the only person awake, saw the door open and the true Queen walk in. She took the child out of the cradle, laid it on her arm, and suckled it. Then she shook up its pillow, laid the child down again, and covered it with the little quilt. And she did not forget the deer, but went into the corner where it lay, and stroked its back. Then she went quite silently out of the door again. The next morning the nurse asked the guards whether anyone had come into the palace during the night, but they answered, "No, we have seen no one."

She came thus many nights and never spoke a word: the nurse always saw her, but she did not dare to tell anyone about it.

When some time had passed in this manner, the Queen began to speak in the night, and said --

"How fares my child, how fares my roe?
Twice shall I come, then never more."

The nurse did not answer, but when the Queen had gone again, went to the King and told him all. The King said, "Ah, heavens! what is this? To-morrow night I will watch by the child." In the evening he went into the nursery, and at midnight the Queen again appeared and said --

"How fares my child, how fares my roe?
Once will I come, then never more."

And she nursed the child as she was wont to do before she disappeared. The King dared not speak to her, but on the next night he watched again. 

Then she said --

"How fares my child, how fares my roe?
This time I come, then never more."

Then the King could not restrain himself; he sprang towards her, and said, "You can be none other than my dear wife." She answered, "Yes, I am your dear wife," and at the same moment she received life again, and by God's grace became fresh, rosy, and full of health.

Then she told the King the evil deed which the wicked witch and her daughter had been guilty of towards her. The King ordered both to be led before the judge, and judgment was delivered against them. The daughter was taken into the forest where she was torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the witch was cast into the fire and miserably burnt. And as soon as she was burnt the deer changed his shape, and received his human form again, so the sister and brother lived happily together all their lives.


Since much of this fairy tale takes place in a forest, I created a morigirl coordinate that reflects some elements from the story.
The gold heart locket necklace brings to mind the golden garter that the sister places around her brother's neck when he becomes a deer (interestingly enough, the sister does use a gold necklace in some versions of this tale). The fawn collar of course reflects the brother's transformation into a deer.
This is an example of h.Naoto GRAMM styled in a morigirl way. GRAMM clothing is very versatile; pieces from this brand can work with gothic, dolly kei, morigirl, and even lolita fashion depending on how you style them. To make this dress correspond with the morigirl look, I added a ruffled underskirt in a neutral color and made sure to choose accessories-- items like a lace scarf and fur tippet-- with a natural feel.
Outfit rundown:
Scarf and Necklace: Forever 21




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pink House photoshoot

Last weekend, I visited my friend Bianca and decided to put together a natural kei photoshoot. I hope everyone enjoys the results! Click the photos to see the larger versions.
For anyone who isn't already familiar with it, natural kei is all about loose fit, layers, and a natural, country look. Check out my "What is natural kei?" page for more information about this style.
Regarding the layers of this outfit, I used one dress, two underskirts, and three shawls. I gathered one side of the dress up with a pin to make the underskirts more noticeable from the front and create the appearance of even more volume. Natural kei doesn't typically use crinoline petticoats, so multiple layers help create the impression of depth and softness.
It was really fun trying to style her in the traditional Pink House way, with lots of layers and volume mixed with cute, quirky accessories. The red dress, teddy bear skirt, and teddy bear brooches are the only actual Pink House items. The tassel accessory and green bow in her hair are from the Etsy shop Mousse au Chocolat, a brand that works really well with morigirl and natural kei.
I think Bianca looks lovely in Pink House clothes! Many people might be overwhelmed by this much material, but she seems completely at ease in the many layers. If you can't get enough Bianca, check out her blog, Curly B!
I couldn't let the day end without getting one moss picture. I don't want winter to end, but seeing that patch of velvety green was very stirring. I think I may be ready for spring now!