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Lifestyle Lolita Finds: IKEA

Hello, readers,

The house renovations are going so slowly that I needed a motivational pick-me-up. Therefore, I went to IKEA and picked up some pretty and functional furniture to put in my still-very-unpretty house. It’s hard for me to find things I like at IKEA, since lots of their products are minimalist with clean lines, and I want everything in my life to be covered in decadent swirls. Still, I found some things that I think will work nicely in the house, and I also saw plenty of little things that would be great for any lifestyle lolita looking for home-wares.

First things, first, let’s start with what I think is the single most popular IKEA item for goths and lolitas: the glorious UNG DRILL mirror/frame. Jayne Jezebel already did a post on The Dark Victorian (from 2010!) about how popular this mirror/frame was. She even included several lolita brand ads that feature the frame, which is just neat to see. A little over six years later, and this frame is still the best and most reliable source for cheap Baroque/Rococo goodness. (Talk about an oxymoron…)

The mirror only comes in black, and the picture frame only comes in off-white. To me, that’s not really a big deal as both versions look better spray painted. The frames are both made of plastic, so they give off a (somewhat plasticky) satin sheen if left alone. It doesn’t look bad, but my two frames looked so much better after I spray painted them a matte black. You could even spray paint them both gold to look more period appropriate if that’s your style.

I also found two other frames at my local IKEA I haven’t see people talking about before, the KVILL frames.

They’re fairly big frames for how small an image they’ll display (5 x 7″). You can mount these on the wall, and they also have a little kick-out foot so you can stand them up on a desk or table. These only come in the same off-white color that the UNG DRILL frame comes in, which is not my style at all. Even if you like the color, I would recommend spray painting these. I’m not really sure if it’s the mold or the scale, but these frames definitely look much more plasticky than the larger UNG DRILL frames, despite being made of the same material. I think the round version is my favorite, but I may end up picking up the rectangular version as well.

The last frame on my little list is actually a segway into an entire line, the SKURAR.

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This lacy frame is also a 5 x 7″, and it also has a little stand/foot so you can set it on a table. The color is a nice off-white that isn’t beige-y at all, unlike the other two styles of frame I talked about above. The really cool thing about this frame and the whole SKURAR line is that it’s made of steel.

Metal lace! I think that is just so fantastic. The rest of the line has some really neat things, too, which is great since the UNG DRILL and KVILL lines are just frames.

SKURAR has a magnetic notice board with hooks, hanging planters, plant pots, a picture ledge (i.e., lacy shelf), a clock, and various “candle holders” and “candle dishes.”

I really adore this series. My impulse is normally to paint most everything black, but I actually love how these look in white. I got the large lantern/candle holder, but I’m using it to hold all my large/cooking utensils in my kitchen.

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Just imagine that my cooking utensils are any color other than this hideous yellow-green…

I’m really tempted to get the whole set. I know I’m going to get the smaller lantern to hold my makeup brushes.

Most of the items in this line seem so easy to re-purpose, too. Various people on the internet have done cool things with SKURAR. This person on IKEA Hackers made a tiered cake stand out of the two candle dishes, which I think looks fantastic.

This other person made a regular cake stand out of one of the candle dishes and an IKEA candlestick holder and wrote a little tutorial on her blog.

I think these would make nice little serving trays without any modification needed.

Speaking of serving trays, I’ll just end this post by mentioning a couple of dinnerware options IKEA has.

The pink set of these dishes isn’t for me, but I thought I would mention it as I don’t know how hard/easy it is to find pastel dinnerware. The black dishes, however, look so cool to me. I wish that the DINERA line was glossy instead of a satin sheen, but that’s only so they would coordinate better with my existing all-white dishes.

I don’t need to buy more dishes, but these are black… and I want them… and they’re black.

Readers, did I miss anything from IKEA that looks lifestyle-appropriate? How many copies of the UNG DRILL frame or mirror do you own? I have one of each, but I want so many more.

Stay lacy,

Raven

Alpaca Love

Hello, readers,

Here’s a quick little post just to break the silence some.

Do you remember the delightful Japanese alpaca plushies called Arpakasso that took over the internet a few years ago? They have such cute little faces that they just melt my heart. In case you aren’t very familiar with アルパカッソ, here is a video from one of the best stuffed alpacas chefs in the world.

I just love all the different sizes. Señor Arpakasso is my favorite, though.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to share this little board game I just discovered. If you love Arpakasso, then you should really check it out.

Alpaca Pacapaca!

From the game manual:

An alpaca contest will be held. Breeders from across the country will compete to see who has the most beautiful alpaca. Scoring is determined by fashion sense and length of neck. To be victorious, please grow a beautiful alpaca! Let’s grow a more beautiful opponent than our opponent! Negotiate with other players to collect accessories.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a kawaii lolita extravaganza to me.

This board game, also Japanese, clearly takes a great deal of inspiration from Arpakasso. It’s for 2-6 players, but it apparently is best at 4 players. It’s light, it’s quick, and it’s absolutely adorable. Nettersplays did a fantastic review of the game that she posted on Youtube. She also goes over the rules and shows you how to play.

I don’t know what the availability of this game is like in Japan, but if you’re outside Japan you can order the game from the Boardgamegeek store. They also have a small section of their catalog called “Games from Asia” where you can find many more of these sorts of beautiful games that come in tiny boxes.

Even though our collection of board games keeps growing, I still really want this game. I think it would be the perfect thing to bring to a meetup, and it’s so small that you could even play it while having tea. If you’re looking for a way to instill your day with a touch of the lolita lifestyle, you could maybe play this game during a lunch break at work or school.

I hope you all enjoyed this little dose of alpaca-themed cuteness.

Stay warm and fuzzy,

Raven

My Lolita Room: Part 2

Hello, readers,

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that I haven’t been very active on this blog lately. I’ve gone through a lot of big life changes recently, including buying a house. I’m starting a very big, new adventure with renovating it. As of this writing, I have officially moved out of the little rental house I lived in for the past three years. As much as I wanted change, I was still a little sad to leave it.

In the middle of packing, I stopped to tidy my bedroom to show you the final iteration of my lolita room at my old apartment. If you didn’t see the work-in-progress blog post from a year and a half ago, just try to picture the old walls being a poorly painted buttercream color.

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The major change in the room was the wall color. I ended up buying the paint online because it is too much of a hassle to get to a hardware store without a car, and I was swayed by it’s fun name. I bought a paint called Purple Potion, and it was a lot more purple than I had thought it would be. If you keep up with my blog, you’d have seen it in the background of lots of my pictures. I don’t know what it is about this color, but it refuses to photograph nicely.

Anyway, here is my little room tour. This is the view of the room when I’d walk in the door.

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Behind the door is my poster of British sheep breeds.

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Best thrift store art find yet!

This is a view of the full wall. The bookshelf on the left is filled completely with my books and things. My poor boyfriend had to squeeze his books on the the top two shelves of the right bookshelf because I took over the bottom three shelves of that unit as well.

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Bookshelf Wall

Here’s a closer look at my dolls and our Squishables.

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My Lunatic Queen Pullip is being saucy and scandalizing my other Pullips. The giant Elissabat Monster High doll is faceless at the moment. Sorry!

Underneath, I put my dollhouse. It’s still not finished completely on the inside, but it’s still adorable.

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The box to the left is a kit to make a 1/12 scale grandfather clock.

I didn’t get a close-up shot of our Nightmare Before Christmas vinyl figures, but you can still see them in some of the following photos.

The door next to our bookshelves was the closet door.

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My clothes took up 3/4 of the space…

On the wall next to the closet door, I put my collection of mini-prints from the etsy shop Magical Tea Time. These particular prints (they come in larger sizes) are not always in stock on etsy, but I would just send her a message if you’re interested in any.

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I don’t know why the glare is so weird on some of these.

The sunlight was giving me some problems when I was trying to take pictures of this wall, so here’s a slightly split view of the window wall. When we actually lived in this room, the blinds were always down. The bedroom was way too close to a street with lots of foot traffic for me to be comfortable with the windows open.

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I painted my boyfriend’s computer case pink for him.

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My tiny computer station in the corner where I wrote most of the posts on this blog…

Next, we have the bed corner.

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My lovely Princess Bed

I no longer have this bed. It was my roommate’s, and we gave it back to her since my parents gave me a new queen-sized mattress and bedframe. I will do my best to princess-ify the new bed to make it as pretty as the old one.

As a bonus, here’s the view of my room from bed.

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The Andrew Lang Fairy Books were on the reverse side of the shelf for easy bedtime story access.

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Here’s the view on the way out of the room. P1080657

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Boyfriend’s comics

And that’s it! I’m still a little sad to see it go, but at least the people moving in said that they’re going to keep the room purple.

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Now that my boyfriend and I have a whole house to spread out in, I plan on making it as cute as I can. I hope you like home improvement posts, because there will be a lot of those coming as we finish renovating the new house into a mildly lolified one.

Stay cozy,

Raven

In case you didn’t see their posts before, here are the links to the other Lolita Blog Carnival members that responded to this post over a year ago.

Seraphine & The Striped BoxLittle Coffee ShopArt du noir

Candied Dreams

Also, check out one of my favorite blogger’s room journey. I’m not sure if I’m missing posts in the process or if there are newer pictures anywhere. She’s the artist who made those prints I showcased.

2011: The Dark Victorian, 2012: The Dark Victorian, 2014: Jayne Jezebelle

Lifestyle Lessons: Lolita Tabletop Games

Hello, readers,

To me, there’s something inherently and delightfully old-fashioned about sitting down around a table and playing a face-to-face game. What else feels inherently and delightfully old-fashioned? Why, the lolita lifestyle, of course! There are a lot of very cool modern board games and card games that exist, but not all of them really feel that lolita to me. Games about spelunking (The Cave) or kaiju beating one another up (King of Tokyo) might be a lot of fun to play, but I don’t think that they would remind anyone of lolita-ness.

It turns out I’m not the only one who’s thought of lolita-themed board games. There was even a thread on EGL back in 2009 about making a lolita board game, but it was just a fun sort of thought experiment and they weren’t serious about actually making a physical game. However, there are a lot of games that do exist which are appropriately themed. The following is a compilation of six “lolita” games, three of which are proper, published games available for purchase and three of which are lolita-specific redesigned versions of existing games.

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Parade

This is a card game that you can play with 2-6 players.You can go to boardgamegeek.com to download the rules, read reviews, see images, and generally find a lot more information about Parade. This particular version of Parade is Alice in Wonderland-themed. The art on the cards is really beautiful, and I love that they even include the Dodo. I’ve seen people online complain that they feel that the game has nothing to do with Alice, but I really think that the theme fits. It’s fun to see these characters forming a kooky parade to nowhere. There isn’t any in-game text that you need to read, so everyone can play the game without any sort of reading or language/translation difficulties.

Here’s what a 2-player game of Parade looked like close to the end:

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The bad lighting and the coffee table color are making everything look grossly yellow-orange. This is actually a beautiful game in person.

If you’re interested in getting a feel for this game, you can watch this 20-minute video below. It’s my favorite overview of the game that I’ve seen.

I really like this game. I think it’s easy to understand but harder to learn how to play well. I think this sort of game is normally called “deceptively simple.” It works well as a game with only two or three people. With the ability to seat up to six people, though, I think that this game might be great to bring to smaller meet-ups when everyone could play.

Like with most simple card games, you don’t actually need to buy it to play. If you want to try this game out before/without buying this specific version, it’s possible to stitch together a deck of 66 cards using two different-looking packs of regular cards to create the six suits if you count the Ace as 1, the Jack as 10, and the Queen as 0. There are also some re-themed versions available to print out and play for free. Still, it’s really the Alice in Wonderland theme that makes this game feel lolita-esque to me.

Elevenses

This is a game about setting up tea for 2-4 people. I’ve heard that the game actually drags unpleasantly with four people, though, so I would stick with playing Elevenses with either two or three people. It’s a game that you play with cards, but it feels more like a board game to me because of all the specialized rules about placement and scoring.The game is played in rounds, after which the player(s) with the best tea party earns some sugar cubes, and you play several rounds until one person gets seven sugar cubes total.

The following video is a quick, 7-minute overview of how the game plays. Alternatively, you could look on boardgamegeek for more information.

The art on the box (and the art on the special guest cards that are optional) depicts people from the 1920s. That’s not my favorite aesthetic (and it doesn’t seem very lolita to me), but I do like the art on the regular cards. It’s a small game, but I like how the creators implemented the theme in small details, like calling your hand of cards a “kitchen” and having the grid of face-down cards form your “tablecloth.” Unless you have a very small comm, I don’t really think that this is a game you can just bring to meet-ups willy-nilly because of the small player count. If you have one or two lolita friends that you see outside of meet-ups, though, I think that this would be a very fun little game for you to have.

Piece o’ Cake

In German, this game is called “…aber bitte mit Sahne” (but with whipped cream, please). Oddly enough, those two titles combine to tell you how the game plays and is scored. If you’re interested in seeing how to play, you can watch this very quick video below or check it out on boardgamegeek.com.

I like the idea of using a cake stand with this game to hold the “unmade” cakes, and just to add a bit more dimension to the game. It’s a fairly quick game with a good bit of strategy. My issues with this game are all aesthetic. The cakes look a lot more like pie to me, and I wish that they were thicker so that they actually looked like crazy cakes when assembled. In addition to mostly looking like pie, one of the cakes specifically looks more like pizza to me, especially because the cakes are flat. I know that I’m being petty, but there isn’t much else to talk about with Piece o’ Cake.

Still, it’s a pretty good game about making/collecting and eating cake. That’s delightful! If you’re ever in meetups with 2-5 people, I’m sure that this would be a big hit.

Lolita Uno

This is a game version that I redid. I say that, but I really just spent a couple of days working in Photoshop using pictures from Google Images.

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This was a fun little project that I did when I had some free time, and I paid to get a custom deck printed. Instead of the four primary colors, I used classic, gothic, sweet, and oldschool lolita as the “suits.”

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I’m pleased with my project, and I think the game is a lot of fun. Then again, I like regular Uno a lot, too.

It might be “cheating” a little to include this particular game here, since you can’t buy it or print out a free copy for yourself, unlike the other games on this list. You could always just make your own version, though, using whatever pictures you like. Uno is a really easy game to modify with a theme. I think that using pictures of your comm members might be a cool way to personalize this sort of concept if you want to play it at meets. The regular Uno rules say that you can play with 2-10 people, but you can run out of cards at the higher player counts. You might want to smash together two decks to instead play with 7-14 people.

Cards Against Lolitas

Milky Fawn made this custom deck-expansion for Cards Against Humanity. She talks about it briefly on her blog.

Here’s a video of them testing it out, in case you haven’t seen it already. If you don’t like vulgarity, don’t watch this video. Then again, you shouldn’t be playing any version of Cards Against Humanity if you don’t like vulgarity.

A lot of people found that the cards were funnier when they were mixed up with regular Cards Against Humanity cards. I agree, and I was able to get my housemates to enjoy playing a game with some of the less lolita-specific cards, like “showing knees *gasp!*,” “a DIY project gone unforgivably wrong,” and “farting in a petticoat.”

The whole deck expansion (possibly with some additions) is on Cardcast  if you want to just look through the cards or print them out. MC Melody Doll has her own expansion, too. The last big expansion I found was created by the Milwaukee Lolita Society. I couldn’t actually find their deck on Cardcast, but they have all the cards in a list here. I was able to go through all of these collections and write the more mainstream-friendly ones on extra blank cards to add them to our deck that way. If you go through all of the different lists, you’ll find a lot of overlap, but that’s to be expected.

Cards Against Humanity in general can be played with lots of people at once, although it still might not be the best game to play with your lolita community. I think it all depends on the individual people in your comm and what everyone’s sense of humor is like. I really despise a lot of the actual Cards Against Humanity cards and think that they are unfunny mood-killers, but someone else might think that those same cards are the best in the whole game.

Lolitopoly

This is just super cool. Misirlou of the blog Frou Frous made this. She even has a whole section of her blog dedicated to the resources and instructions you’ll need to print out and assemble your very own copy of Lolitopoly. I had a copy of Monopoly that we never played, so I took it over and turned it into my own copy of Lolitopoly. Since I think most people know how to play Monopoly, this little blurb is going to be a review of this particular print-and-play version.

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The game pieces are so adorable, but they have a bit of trouble standing on their own. I put paperclips on their bases to give them some more weight, but the lolita pawns we were playing with still blew away and fell over when I sneezed during the game. In the printables linked above, there are also some uncolored pieces so you could customize them before or after printing them out.

Here’s what the board looked like halfway through a 2-player game:

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And here’s what it looked like at the end, when I lost horribly:
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Since I was able to take over a normal game of Monopoly to make this version, I spray-painted all the original houses and hotels black and pink to match the design of the board. I don’t actually know what the print-and-play equivalents of these buildings are supposed to be. There were some minor snafus I ran into while assembling my copy. Firstly, I had to bump up the saturation of the $50 bills in Photoshop because the printer was making the color for the $20 bills and the unaltered $50 bills look identical. Secondly, the size of the Lolitopoly board was slightly smaller than the Monopoly board I was covering, so I have a number of seams where I fudged the placement, but that’s not too noticeable. My boyfriend did not like that the $1 bills were smaller than the others, but I didn’t care about that. He was also a bit frustrated that the Brand (original = Property) cards did not have the mortgage values on the back. I affixed all my Brand, Chance, and Luck (original = Community Chest) cards to cardstock, so I’ll probably make that alteration soon. I also want to go in with some light watercolor and color the backs of the Luck and Chance cards.

For the most part, Lolitopoly is identical to Monopoly. There were some changes to the regular game rules that made Lolitopoly absolutely brutal, though. You can actually see all the changes in the pictures below:

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Customs Fees are $200 (the original Luxury Tax is $75), and the Bad Exchange Rate is a flat $200 (but the original Income Tax is either 10% OR $200, which is much more affordable). My boyfriend and I found our $200 payday completely voided several times in the game. The Secondhand Shops (original = Railroads) are only $25 in Lolitopoly, potentially to compensate for the more expensive hazards, but my boyfriend insisted on playing with them costing the original $200, so everything was very expensive in our game. Lastly, look at that ridiculous Chance card. In case the picture is broken when you’re reading this post, it says “Mr. Yan’s New Bride: Should’ve read that contract! Lose $500 during your hasty escape.” I pulled this card, and it was crippling. Thematically, it made an odd kind of sense since I had just pulled a “Pilgrimage to Japan” card, but it was painful.

The theme was very oddly fitting. For about half the game (going around the board, buying Brands, paying Customs Fees and Bad Exchange Rates, and getting a $200 Payday), it really felt like building up a lolita wardrobe and buying more pieces with a part-time salary. (That’s the half of the game that I really loved.) Paying rent after landing on another player’s Brand space and putting houses and hotels on the spaces felt like regular Monopoly, though.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty successful re-theme. Unless you hate Monopoly, I think that this version is worth printing out and playing.

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Well, readers, do any of those games seem fun to you? I tried to pick out games that generally felt lolita-esque. Of course, you could also play several old games like Whist, Cribbage, Old Maid, and Charades, and have a classic 19th-century parlor game night. Additionally, you could add any of the many wonderful gothic or horror-themed board games out there (like Gloom, Mysterium, Letters from Whitechapel, and Fury of Dracula) for a night of gothic lolita gaming. I honestly don’t know what I would recommend for a sweet lolita game night, though. It’s just so far out of my element that I can really only think of playing children’s games like Candyland. (I don’t know that I’d recommend that, though. I love the idea of Candyland, but I’ve never actually had fun playing it.)

Stay playful,

Raven

Lifestyle Lessons: Victorian Slang

Hello, readers,

Here’s a point about the lolita lifestyle that I’ve always seen as controversial. If you want to live a lolita lifestyle, do you have to “speak like a lady?” There are lots of other ways to word this sort of idea. Sometimes I just see people saying that lolitas shouldn’t swear or talk about “crude things” like sex or alcohol (even outside of meets), and sometimes I see people suggesting that everyone speak with a contrived lady-of-the-manor vocabulary.

Personally, I don’t think either approach makes practical sense. (Especially the first one. Don’t ever feel like your lifestyle is restricting your life.) However, I am a big proponent of finding and incorporating old-fashioned things into my own life. Specifically, I am interested in Victorian England.

Without further ado, I present you with the fabulous book! It is a dictionary of Victorian slang and colloquial phrases.

(You can try and read this book while on my blog, but I recommend you just go to the book on Archive.org. It will be a lot easier to read. Curse you, limited embedding functionality!)

There is a pretty, modern reprint that’s known as Ware’s Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase, but its original title was Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Hererodox English, Slang, and Phrase. You could buy a physical copy of this book if you wanted to (I’m sure it would look fantastic on any bookshelf), but you can read the whole thing online for free thanks to Archive.org. There is also a less expensive, less pretty paperback reprint just called The Victorian Dictionary of Slang & Phrase.

From what I’ve casually read about the author, it seems that James Redding Ware was a journalist that tried to record all the lovely slang he remembered being in use during the 19th century before it disappeared forever. I, for one, am very grateful for his efforts. This book was first published in 1909, so it’s probably safe to assume that most of this slang was in use during the mid- to late-Victorian era. Potentially, some of these words and phrases were already obsolete by the time this dictionary was published.

I like going through this book and seeing if there are any expressions that I’d like to take up again. There is a lot of combing that you have to do to find really good ones (I think “basket of oranges” is very funny), but it’s also possible to find some slang terms that we still use today. Some notable ones located in the B section are “bad egg,” “to back down,” “to badger,” and “bark up the wrong tree.” A lot of those were originally American phrases, and they are still in use here. Also, If you look up “Tom,” it’s easy to see how we got tomboy. How cool is that!

Anyway, I just wanted to write up this quick little post to share something amazing with all of you. I hope you go through it and find something wonderful.

Stay bricky,

Raven