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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

This post is dedicated to Keva, who hates eggs. She made a fuss about my previous post regarding fake (seaweed-based) caviar a while back, so I thought it was only fair that I share with her the real stuff :-) It showed up in my local grocer’s fish refrigerator last month and I had to get a jar. This isn’t my first run-in with salmon roe this side of the Atlantic, but they were probably the largest ones I’ve seen so far. Still not as generously sized as the ones I got back in Cali but I’ve come to accept that most things in Europe are on a different scale. Mussels, oysters, salmon, lobsters — maybe it’s the colder water or maybe there’s just more for sea creatures to eat in the Pacific, I don’t know. It’s totally noticeable, though.

So anyways, here you go, Keva:

  
I’m so used to freshly-made ikura in the Japanese grocer’s deli that it took a while to get used to stuff that’d been sitting in a jar for a few weeks. Still, not bad and an improvement over the pinhead-sized eggs that were being sold in the deli of our market. I tried making sushi with those my first couple of months here and spent a couple days just trying to plump them up through repeated brining/debrining sessions. It helped a little, but I think those were probably eggs gathered immaturely from farmed fish heading for the dinner table, rather than ones specifically harvested for the purpose from breeder fish.

So yes, I fully plan to have a shellfish and roe buffet night when I’m back in Cali next summer, to get as much of things that I can’t get here as possible before flying home. It’s a small thing to miss, but that’s usually how it goes.


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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

I just decided last night on what I’d be wearing for this one. It’s in the afternoon on the day before the church event, so there’s a lot more room to wiggle. My criteria were: (1) knee-length-ish, (2) more casual, (3) lace, and (4) different silhouette from other two. It actually took really long to shop, because there were so many more options for this kind of stuff. Almost every store has something, while you can eliminate a large chunk of stores when shopping for long, fancy gowns. So these are the runners up, in gallery form with links in the captions for those interested. Thanks TONS to Jam & Cim for their encouragement and hand-holding along the way :-)

Funny side note — my dad was looking through my blog the other day and got really confused when I explained that not a single one of those pictures was actually of dresses that I bought. That wasn’t the point at all. The point was that I saw an awful. lot. of. dresses. And these just happened to be the ones that I’d like to see again, at some point in time :-) Nothing wrong with posting eye candy. This is a fashion blog, after all.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

With a lot of my shopping done, I’m now getting around to deleting bookmarks for stuff that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. They’re still pretty, though, so I figured it’d be nice to put them here as a little memento of several late night hours spent dress hunting. This will be the post of eye candy from the search for the church gown. Yes, I’m making distinctions because there are several wardrobe changes involved :-)


Actually, this was my first choice but I only found the picture originally on TheKnot and then wasn’t able to track down any more information on where to actually purchase it. I eventually found a Chinese place that apparently makes knockoffs of it, but didn’t particularly feel like taking my chances since it wasn’t a company I’d heard of. Boo. Eh, I might get it one of these days anyway because I really do love it.


One in a similar style that I stumbled upon while looking for the previous dress. Same site.


Yeah, I have a serious thing for empire waisted gowns. This one is just adorably Regency. Same site.


From another site run by the same company. I really wish I knew who the original designers of these things were!


Hey, a place that carries that real deal! With corresponding prices, of course. A pretty Mori Lee lace number.


While looking for gowns with a bit of historical influence, I ended up at one place that specialized in modest gowns. They actually had some really cute dresses. This one is very Regency.


Same place as previous. The gown has an Edwardian flavor.


A few more from unidentified designers on yet another Chinese knockoff site. Booming industry, it seems. Loving the use of lace on this one.


Another Regency flavored one.


And one that’s actually similar to what I ended up getting.

And finally, a handful that I couldn’t even find pages for outside of general galleries. So, more for inspiration than anything else. Because, pretty!

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

Right. So I was doing a bit of reception dress shopping last week. Because it wouldn’t be my wedding without a few wardrobe changes, naturally. I found a dress, by the by. I ordered it and it should arrive next month. But that is not really the subject of this post. The subject is, rather, the pages and pages of crazy stuff that I had to flip through in order to find the pretty stuff. Like, really, you have to wonder how some of this stuff even got produced. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself…

(with additional commentary courtesy of the lovely Cimorene)

Angela: good grief how strictly ballroom is this:

cimorene: that reminds me of the prom dresses from the early 90s as well.

Angela: ooooh. no, THIS does.


cimorene: HAHAHAH
Angela: god i would love to put somebody in that as a costume though. it's so bad it's brilliant
cimorene: totally. i feel it's like what you would see in, for example, a poirot or miss marple
episode where the victim was an obvious copy of elizabeth taylor or something.
Angela: good grief. it's like they started out with a swimsuit and forgot to cut away the rest of it.


Angela: now THIS is a halloween dress
cimorene: wow, i love that halloween dress. i really love black net over nude drsses.
Angela: now here's on that says "hello, i'm a drag queen."
cimorene: ahahhahahahahha. that is really something.

Angela: "excuse me miss, there's something growing on your neck."


cimorene: hahaha, that looks like a 90s star trek costume.
Angela: just call me cruella
Angela: another entry for miss drag queen usa


Angela: OMGWTF
Angela: just for you, feathers. i'm not entirely sure if this is lingerie or a
showgirl outfit, but it's really not a dress.
Angela: you want scifi? here ya go.
cimorene: ahahhahah!
Angela: more feathers. just for you.


cimorene: are those feathered PANTS? or just... a split front or something...
Angela: i... really don't know
cimorene: i am definitely impressed.
Angela: this? takes 'something for everybody" a bit too seriously.


cimorene: ...woooow...it's like lisa frank

Angela: tinkerbell becomes a hooker!


cimorene: HAHAHAHA WHAT

Angela: aw man, i ran out of dresses :-) 

cimorene: wow, that's a surprisingly apt description

Angela: okay, that was an amusing evening

cimorene: hahaha. yyyeaaaaah.
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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

So, as most of you probably know by now, I’m in the midst of planning for our upcoming fall wedding. I’ve been talking to people here and there, but it’s getting hard to keep track of who has seen which pictures I’ve put up over the course of all my research and shopping. So to remedy this, I’ll start putting up my design planning stuff here and the finalized event plans on our more official wedding page. This way, I can share the pretty pictures with all my friends who can’t make it out to Europe due to distance/cost/what-have-you. First up, dresses! And also, rings — our engagement ones, that is. We have those on our hands at the moment, but the dresses are still being made. Will parade around and take a couple of snapshots when it arrives, and hope my bridesmaids will do likewise :-)

Notes: We had the rings made by Renaissance Jewelry on Etsy. The dresses are being made by Lightinthebox.

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Trinkets.

May. 23rd, 2011 08:00 am
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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

I didn’t have a lot of time to browse for fashion-related stuff this trip, owing to our tight shooting schedule. However, I did stop by the mall next-door on my penultimate day and browsed haphazardly through several stores. Had to be careful with my purchases because I was getting close to the weight limit for my luggage. Luckily, jewelry is light and could be stuffed in my hand luggage.

Dangly robots! Chunky roses! And a charm necklace that just screams “wear me to work”! Ah, Topshop — Forever 21′s older sibling with a better PR rep, but the same instantly-gratifying-yet-ultimately-disposable standards of young fashion. Basically, the foundation of any cash-strapped stylist’s collection. :-D

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Is it weird that I like taking random pictures of food? Because I totally do. Partly to share with T but also so I can remember whether nor not I should get something again at a later date. And sometimes just because it’s an item that makes me happy… or sad… or scared.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Here is another canned delight from Sweden that brought I back from our trip this past December. Given, this one came straight from the grocery store’s prepared foods aisle and not from a gourmet food boutique. The first picture is slightly misleading, since I mixed a bowl of rice into the can o’ stuff. That disk-shaped lump of white matter on the spoon should be a clue, though.

If it helps, here’s what the stuff looks like in the can, prior to being served. Any clearer?

Alright, then. If you’re still stumped, click to go behind the cut…

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

Yep, I got another pair. Handmade sterling silver bunnies with the most adorable giant eyes.

They’re from Etsy designer Giedre Koloksanskyte. She makes several other little animals as well. I kinda have my eye on the sheep and the cats…

Did I mention they’re seriously teeny tiny? Each bunny is just 1cm wide, so they don’t feel bulky at all. Perfect for spring :-)

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

As many of you know, I am a child of yuppies. This meant that, growing up, I wore a disproportionate number of polo shirts and dainty floral prints. A bit of this deep, dark past still lives on in my fondness for all things Laura Ashley. I also happen to have a big thing for coordinated comforter sets, ever since my parents bought me a gorgeous burgundy jacquard ensemble to take away to college many, many years ago. So it seemed pretty obvious, when we moved to our new apartment a year ago, that the first thing I’d need to feel at home was a well-decorated bed.

A bit of online shopping and a few weeks for shipping later, this was the result. I picked blue and white for our first set as a nod to our new country. And also because I wanted something light and airy to take advantage of the bright light we get from the bedroom windows. The simultaneous use of various floral prints, gingham and eyelet just make me happy. I have a feeling a lot of my decor choices have to do with stuff I wanted as a child.

The top layer is the Laura Ashley Sophia 8-piece ensemble. Sadly, the extra cushion covers and shams were not available or I probably would have gotten the entire set. Yes, I do have something of a matchy-matchy complex :-P Incidentally, the smaller cat ADORES the bottom flounce — it keeps her very well hidden when she dives under the bed to avoid being seen.

The second layer, which is mostly hidden under the more decorative comforter, is a comfy white down comforter 6-piece set. Mostly there because I’m used to having at least 4 layers of blankets in the winter. It’s not strictly necessary, since we have excellent indoor heating in this apartment, but I still find the weight of lighter blankets very inadequate from decades of conditioning.

The one year anniversary of our move has me contemplating getting another decorative bed set now. We could definitely use it so that I can change out stuff more easily when it needs washing or airing out. Not sure what colors I’m going for this time, though, since I’d also like to start changing the curtains to match. Maybe something with a splash of lemon yellow or poppy orange? I’ve been feeling the need for citrus colors to bring back some of that California feel, lately… Anybody got any favorite discount linen stores that sell online and deliver internationally?

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Yes, Mystery Meat is back! Because I’m really too curious for my own good sometimes. Here’s something from this past winter:

It does look like caviar and cream on toast, doesn’t it? That’s probably why I decided to try this stuff out — one of the things I miss the most about SoCal is the variety of fresh seafood. You could easily get at least five different kinds of fish roe at the local Japanese market. Not so much the case here. The only stuff they have is salmon roe, and even those are teeny tiny in comparison to the plump marble-sized ones we had back in OC. Mmmm, salmon roe.

Anyway, love of fish eggs drove me to try this stuff out. But as you know with anything featured on Mystery Meat, it ain’t what it looks like. Click below to see what I really bought…

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

Last up in my sweater show-and-tell lineup (for now) is Sleeping on Snow’s Fisherman’s Companion Sweatercoat, which was my big Anthro splurge from this past December. Yes, there is definitely a pattern here — I typically only find must-have-now items in Anthro’s  autumn/winter collections. Probably because their choices for outerwear are always so pretty and different. Anyway, this sweater makes me smile because everybody who has seen me in it automatically asks if they should be turning up the heaters, before I explain to them that it’s just one sweater made to look layered. Yeah, it’s kinda fun. It actually is a thick garment, but isn’t particularly chunky since there is only one real layer — it’s great to snuggle in around the house and can be worn as an outer coat for a quick run out to the market. You can’t help but feel comforted in a sweater like this. The shawl collars can be flipped up when you wear it under a winter coat and do the same job that a scarf would normally do. The only thing that I (and quite a few others, from seeing the reviews) found annoying was that the designers didn’t extend the oatmeal-colored undercoat panel to the back half of the coat, so the hem has two different levels when you look at the coat from the side. However, I’ll probably just grab some matching yarn the next time I’m in town and knit up a quick strip of ribbing to add on the back, so it’s not too huge a deal.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

“Greatest Hits: Sweaters That Make Me Happy” theme continues! This is pretty much my LBD of cardigans. I got it back in autumn of ’09, mostly because it was on sale and had ruffles. Since then, it has been worn over fancy dresses and jeans, under winter coats and hoodies, and even does well solo (well, maybe with a tank top underneath). It’s just so streamlined and simple without being plain and boring. Small ruffles, handy pockets, shiny gold buttons and ridiculously soft fabric. Haven’t found anything to match its usefulness since, though I’m constantly looking. And will probably reproduce something similar, once I get my knitting skills up to speed. What perhaps surprised me the most, though, is that this was a Juicy Couture production — a brand that I typically avoid like the plague since their clothes tend to be either too over the top or a too casually grungy for my taste. Sadly, I think this classic vintage look lasted for only one collection.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

Moving right along with my “Greatest Hits: Sweaters That Make Me Happy” theme of the moment, another item from that same Anthropologie December 2009 batch. The Juxtaposed Sweater Jacket in red. Another felted wool number that works perfectly for mild winters. This one doesn’t really do well under jackets, because of all the cabling, bobbling and ruffling, so it pretty much only made a couple of appearances last year during our very short autumn season. It’s proving to be great for chilly spring mornings now, though, and the very bright true red definitely combats the greyness of fog and drizzly rain. Once again, crazy detailing and nice construction (as well as the intention to stock up my outerwear collection for the impending move to Nordic climes) made me able to justify getting this one at full price. One thing that particularly endears this sweater to me? It seems to be perfectly made for more petite body types — I’m rather short-waisted and not particularly lengthy in any areas (hi, Asian genetics), so the arms on my jacket actually reach to my hands like any normal cuff. This is usually not the case and I spend a lot of time rolling up cuffs on many other off-the-rack garments. So I was pleasantly surprised by the fit. Surprise turned into mild hilarity when I saw some other (taller) reviewers having issues with how the sleeves were stopping well above their wrists and giving the entire thing a cropped appearance. Sorry, but I have to take my giggles where I can get them — I’m sure other vertically challenged individuals will sympathize.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery. Please leave any comments there.

You know that purple wool pullover I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks? The one I’ve aptly named the What Could Go Wrong sweater? After getting more than halfway through this past weekend, I had to completely frog it and start over because I seriously messed up the neck hole (no, really — did something weird and turned it into a keyhole… and didn’t notice until four rows later). Why didn’t I just pull it apart past the neck, you ask? Because I had knitted the whole thing so tight that the yarn shrunk back in on itself and I couldn’t pick up the stitches using even the smallest needle size without having the next three loops disappear :-( Lesson learned. (PS. Yes, I am using my new Knit Pro circulars with purple acrylic needles and a purple cord. Completely coincidental, but the color coding is kinda hilarious.)

I started over this past Monday, making sure to knit a lot looser this time. The good news is that I’m 1/2 done with the front again (it’s going a lot faster now that I know what I’m doing and what to look for), and this time around it looks a lot more uniform and neater, since my hands have learned a lot since I first picked up needles two weeks ago. Fingers crossed that I’ll have something wearable by Easter, which was the original deadline in my head for this thing.

To make myself feel slightly better about this minor sweater mishap, I’ve decided to post some pictures of my favorite sweater purchases over the last few years. This should also help remind me why I’m spending so much time and energy doing all of this — so I can start designing and making all the pretty stuff in my head. And, y’know, not pay as much for all the stuff I see in the catalogs. Hey, learning patternmaking has kept me from impulse-buying tons of dresses and blouses over the past decade, so it might work.

Click for bigger versions, because the details are super cute. Sparrow’s Cape Coat Cardigan was one of my outerwear purchases in December of 2009 and I still adore it. It was perfect on its own for mild-but-soggy California winters and fit very well (once the cape was removed) under thicker coats when we did our holiday Finland visit. I’m using it more as an autumn/spring jacket now that I’ve got a larger array of outerwear choices, but it still makes me happy seeing this in the coat rack. The color is quite unique — a mustardy-gold just starting to turn to olive green and the felted wool is utterly soft and non-itchy. Details such as the long ribbing on the lower arm, cute contrast lining, roomy pockets, detachable cape and shapely back seaming made it worth paying full Anthro price (which I probably only do on a couple of items a year). Like most of the stuff I tend to fall for, the shape is not entirely modern, but not particularly dated (though with a definite dash of historical influence), which means it will hopefully be usable for a long time to come.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Have been trying to catch up with the huge piles of emails, RSS feeds, and comments from the past month or so’s online inactivity. It’s a bit daunting ! Just finished up the gardening folder late last night, and that was clocking in at 4000 individual posts or so. I felt very accomplished, being able to close it up and see no “pending” marker on it. :-) So apologies to all of you who got spammed with two month old comments yesterday, now you know why. Hee.

Something I discovered just the other day that has been a TREMENDOUS help in organizing all the notes, pictures, posts, documents, and miscellany rattling around in this here machine? Evernote. No, really, why didn’t somebody think of this sooner? It’s brilliant. It’s a web-based program that syncs to your various devices and keeps track of all your notes and clippings, organizing them by sifting through the text (and converting text in pictures at the same time). Plus you can add your own tags to help further sort things. So you can have a copy on your computer or portable device to use offline, plus it’s all backed up elsewhere so there’s no worry about losing all the data. It’s the software version of some beautiful closet shelving system you’d find at the Container Store. It’s love, I tell you.

What else has been going on? Well, I mentioned that the balcony has been cleared for winter (we’re expecting first snowfall this coming week), but it seemed sad and empty with nothing out there. So we went and got some decor/winter interest pieces…

A little wooden bird feeder that dispenses seeds. There’s a little perch that goes all the way around so they can sit and eat like a birdie cafe. We just hung it up last night and I have already seen some cute yellow chickadees (titmice) coming to visit this morning. Coco gets all excited, but the birds seem to know she’s behind glass, because they pretty much ignored her after the first afternoon.

Bird balls! Well, bird food balls, anyway. I got two different kinds of food, to make sure we covered the range of wildlife. These balls have molasses and some suet mixed in, so they’re probably tastier than straight birdseed. The boy said that there are quite a few varieties of bird that stick around through the cold winters, so I want to see as many as possible.

And on the other end of the balcony, a candlelit lantern. Because I love candles and it’ll look so pretty once the nights get dark earlier. Flickering candles along balconies and windowsills while driving around on snowy nights were one of my favorite things, the first time I visited this country. You can bet I’m sticking candles everywhere I can :-)

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

A couple of weeks ago, I impulse-bought a pretty little glazed ceramic strawberry pot at the new general goods store. I had absolutely nothing to plant in it, since my strawberries were wrapping it up for the season and my herbs were all comfortable in their own little hanging pots in the kitchen. But it was a strawberry pot and I’ve always wanted one — multiple pockets are something of an obsession for me. Despite being empty, it was too cute to put away in the closet so I just stuck it on the counter as a decorative piece. Then this evening, I was thinking about how we needed to get a pumpkin for Halloween… and one thought led to another…. so this is our new dining table centerpiece for the winter!

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

We had something of a housewares shopping frenzy yesterday whilst visiting some friends in Turku a few days ago. Which was good, because there’s still lots of stuff in the kitchen that needs stocking. They took us (the poor boy got dragged along, since he had some spare time before meeting up with his buddies and he’s good at carrying large bags…) to a lovely store called Indiska that (rather appropriately) imports lots of sparkly Indian stuff. If Anthropologie and Pier 1 Imports had a lovechild, it’d probably look like this place. Very modern bohemian with floaty cottons, plenteous sequins, painted flowers and shiny silks.

An adorable elephant-shaped teapot! Two mugs large enough to dunk your head into! And quite possible the prettiest colander I’ve ever seen. All very reasonably priced — especially considering that I can readily see some boutiques along Santa Monica Promenade marking them up for double or triple what we paid.

It’s a good thing I went in with a very specific list of what I needed, because otherwise we’d have come home with far too many random purchases. The “ooh, that’s pretty!” quotient was rather high in there. My kitchen shelves are going to populated with many more colorful things in the coming months if I can help it.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

And now, a break from the relentless recipe barrage to contemplate the joy that is Japanese food labels’ liberal borrowing from other cultures’ languages.

I’m sure there have been many posts made on these beauties, in all their various flavors. I decided to go with the green tea ones myself. They’re individually wrapped sweet biscuits — a bit on the dry side but go great dipped in hot beverages. As for the labeling, I’m pretty sure the word “couque” is related to cookies and baking in general, but the second part is just inexplicable. So I won’t try. Rather, I’ll just enjoy it for the hilarious gem that it is, sitting there in the snack aisle of our neighborhood Marukai for anybody to peruse.

pierydys: (Default)

Mirrored from Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden.

And now, a break from the relentless recipe barrage to contemplate the joy that is Japanese food labels’ liberal borrowing from other cultures’ languages.

I’m sure there have been many posts made on these beauties, in all their various flavors. I decided to go with the green tea ones myself. They’re individually wrapped sweet biscuits — a bit on the dry side but go great dipped in hot beverages. As for the labeling, I’m pretty sure the word “couque” is related to cookies and baking in general, but the second part is just inexplicable. So I won’t try. Rather, I’ll just enjoy it for the hilarious gem that it is, sitting there in the snack aisle of our neighborhood Marukai for anybody to peruse.

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