LenaLoo:Looking at ADD Life Through a Creative Lens
One of my best friends, Karen, loves "Pretty Little Liars" as much as my Sis-In-Law, Amy, and I do. We decided today that Aria is our favorite and that her fashion leans toward the Lolita and SteamPunk styles quite often. I fashioned a SteamPunk outfit for Karen (in my head) after the beautiful homecoming dress Aria is wearing in the majority of the photos above. If she likes it enough, maybe I will make it for her to wear to the fantasy convention in August, otherwise she is wearing her ren faire outfit.
This is what I would do to make it more Steamy than Lolita:
In my head, I saw this dress (2a) as being red with a black lace overlay (so it looked more burgundy, but I guess it was just the lighting). I also thought I remembered that it was long sleeved (3). I want it to keep it's high collar (2b), but maybe I would make it a teeny bit more frilly but not quite so exaggerated as this (4), somewhere in between would be good. The clutch Aria is carrying (2a) is cute, but to make it more fitting, I would go with a Reticule style bag (5). Some cute heels and spats (6) would be essential. And for hair, I think I would just add a pretty feathered facinator (7); Karen has a very cute, but modern, A-line hairstyle, and this, along with some well placed finger waves might just make it work.
Item Credits:
1. Red Dress by KMKostumes on Etsy
2. Aria' Pretty Little Liars Homecoming Costume by Mandi Line, Dress Originally by Bebe
3. Black Lace Long Sleeve Overlay Mini Dress by flirtcatalogue.com
4. Annie II Neo-Victorian Neck Ruff by misfitchic on Etsy
5. Velvet Flocked Taffeta Drawstring Purse by KMKostumes on Esty
6. Spats by faitavec on Etsy (the pic is actually of these spats from the same shop)
7. Burlesque Red and Black flapper style Hair piece by olgaitaly on Etsy
Of course we've got to "steam it up" with the accessories. All are from the following Etsy shops:
1. "Gearings" in Ruby Red and Brass by noveaumotley
2. Fire Opal Ring by earthfire studios
3. Sanguine Gears Ring by Girl2Goddess
4. Angelique Ruby Red Gothic Choker by DarkEleganceDesigns (in lieu of the above ruff or high collar)
5. Mechanical Key Pendant by SMStudio
6. NeoVictorian Cuff by edmdesigns (I would probably rather have some wings than the skull and crossbones on top)
Lastly, I might add this Bolero by maryandangelika on Etsy to make it a little more modest for Karen's sake :).
    I am preempting any negative comments I may receive due to admitting to playing "Magic: The Gathering" (MTG) in this post. This is in no way meant to coerce anyone who does not like the game to play, or to say that you should let your children play the game based on my personal opinion. However, I do have an opinion, and since this is my blog, I will share said opinion with whomever chooses to read this.

    Let me start with the official age recommendation for the game. On the box it says "Age 13+." Thirteen is about the age that children begin to fully grasp that there is fantasy, and then there is reality, and that there is a line between them. Granted, children are as varied as the fish in the sea, just because the box says they are "officially" old enough to play, does not mean that they necessarily are grounded enough. I also am aware, from playing these games (along with playing "World of Warcraft", an MMORPG on my PC) that a lot of "20-somethings" are not grounded enough in reality to take a healthy approach to fantasy games, but they are adults capable of making their own decisions about what they do for entertainment purposes, and what they choose to spend their earned income on.
Circled is the age recommendation on the box.
    I personally feel that this is an adult game and my child will not be allowed to play this particular game until he is an adult and can make his own decision in the matter. However, I will allow him to play other Trading Card Games (TCG) that his father and I have fully review, played, and comprehended to be appropriate for his age and maturity level. For example, there is a TCG that is sold at Berean Christian Bookstore called "Redemption" that is said to be appropriate for "Ages 7+." When Cohen is about to turn seven (if he is interested at all) Toby and I will pay a visit to a friend (who leads worship for a Friends Church in Southern California) and borrow his (and son's) cards to try out for ourselves. So when the time comes to address the inevitable, "You do it so why can't I?" I will have an appropriate alternative for him and an explanation that there are different games for different age/maturity groups. We will tell him that we have played a game that is okay for him, present him with his starter deck, and excitedly play with him like my friend did with his son. In their situation, the child quickly went from being the kid who wasn't allowed to play the popular "Yu-Gi-Oh" TCG to being the kid with the coolest collection of Redemption cards and an awesome Dad who spent time doing things his son was interested in.

    Back to MY personal reasons for playing, I play purely for entertainment purposes. My husband enjoys the game and we have a few friends who enjoy it as well who are perfectly emotionally healthy and grounded in reality. They are professionals and grad students, who are very well rounded, well read, intelligent people that we enjoy spending time with. It is something interactive to do with our friends while we discuss theological, philosophical, psychological, and sociological themes (these are interests we as individuals bring to the table, I am not claiming that by playing MTG you will become versed in said topics).

    MTG has some light, scripted, turn based Role Playing involved in it. I have recently come to a personal understanding of the very therapeutic benefits one can receive from Role Playing. Many psychologists use Gestalt therapy which according to Wikipedia
            "is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the               individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a             person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation."

    Again, I am in no way claiming that everyone who needs therapy for something should get into Role Playing Games (RPG) or TCGs. I have personally found that I benefit from metaphorically stepping out of myself and into a made up role for the length of a game (2 to 20 minute for a two person game, double for a four person game). I also enjoy making up a character to dress up as and Cos Play (Costume Role Play) for a day or so at a Convention, but that is another blog post for another day.

    My base argument is that "Magic: The Gathering" is just a card game intended for fictional entertainment purposes only. It is not recommended for children under the age of thirteen and some children of the recommended age are not necessarily mature enough to play MTG. I advise parents who may be concerned about the content of any game to play it for themselves at least one time through in order to judge for themselves if said game is appropriate for their particular child despite age recommendations on the package. I have personally found MTG to be a fun way to encourage face to face social interaction between players who sometimes have tenancies to spend a lot of time playing more introverted single player console games at home. I have also found the light Role Playing aspects of the game to be entertaining and a therapeutic tool for me to take a break from the stress in my life for a short amount of time. To reiterate, I am not trying to convince you that "Magic: The Gathering" is something that everyone should do, I am merely defending my reasons for playing while attempting to educate those who have never actually played, but have heard "bad things" about the game. The content is not appealling to everyone and that is okay, but that does not make this fictional game evil. If you are an adult who is well grounded in reality, but enjoy fantasy fiction, I see no reason not to play this game.
Dressing Up! 03/26/2011
I bought this lovely Corset today from Damsel in this Dress and I need it to serve two purposes. I am dying to go to a convention and there is one coming up in Reno that my friends Deb and Blake go to and I <3 the idea of being a steam punk fairy! But I also need it for the basis of my Elven Mage costume for Deb and Blake's Middle Earth wedding! I can't draw to save my life, so I used photo shop to conglomerate my hours of searching Etsy and forums for inspiration into two usable idea boards. I linked underneath to give credit where credit is due, none of these beautiful pieces are of my design, but they have inspired me to get to work on my own interpretations for personal use. Can I pull the corset off with both looks? I have no experience with Cos Play other than hours of lurking! So please give me feed back! :)

Steam Punk Fairy

1. Shoes
2. Bag/Reticule (different color way, olive and either black or brown leather depending on shoes)
3. Spats
4. Wingsmade from this tutorial
Combo of 5. Bracer meets 6. Cuff with 7. Vials
8. Mini Top Hat or 9. Fascinator
10. Brown or Black Skirt like this made from this tutorial
11. Garters with flask
or 12. Necklace flask with other cogs added from here (plus other jewelry to be made from cogs, etc.)

Elven Mage

1. Nature Inspired Necklace
2. Kirtle from Simplicity Pattern 4055
3. Circlet, Ear Cuff and Earrings from Etsy
4. Custom potion vessel (In a different colorway than photo)
5. Elven Ears
6. Wand holster
7. Wand
Robe from Simplicity pattern 8. 9887 or 9.5794