Wednesday, 29 January 2014

DIY Heart Cutout Dress & How To Time Travel

Dress is DIY | shoes are from Golden Ponies | bolero is thrifted | cherries c/o Sarsparilly

I'm starting to get to a level of confidence in my sewing where I feel like I can just make whatever design pops into my head! It's awesome! And yes, I filmed the making of this dress and it'll be up on my youtube channel in a few days [update: it's up now], if you wanted to learn how to make a heart cut-out dress of your own from scratch (it's no harder than my DIY dress tutorial!)

These boots I'm wearing are new and are from Golden Ponies, a store that was recommended to me after I made my ethical fashion directory. I've gotta say, I'm super pleased with them, no less because I got them on sale for only $35! If I was going to choose another pair to get, I think I'd get these shiny, holographic flats (everyone needs at least one pair of shiny shoes in their wardrobe, right?).

Oh, and by the way I uploaded a new youtube video today! It shows a different method of making your own socks, without a middle seam. Click here to watch it!

Whenever the conversation of "if you could time travel, without coming back, when would you time travel to?" comes up - and yes, this is a surprisingly frequent conversation among my group of friends - I always say "100 years into the future!!" whereas most of my friends will say "the 60s, duh". I am so keen on travelling into the future to see what technological advancements humans have made - plus, it's also more possible than travelling backwards through time because all I'd need to do is find a super fast vehicle and special relativity would sort out the rest; my friends would need a wormhole in order to travel into the past, and that's much trickier.
Anyway, why am I going on about time travel? Because of this awesome minute physics video. Have a watch and learn how you too can travel through time:
What really blew my mind was the fact that if you stand up for a minute, your feet will age 10 femtoseconds less than your head. So unless you spend all your time upside-down, your head is actually older than your feet. Thanks gravitational time dilation, you crazy, crazy thing!

So I'm curious to know - if you could time travel, with little possibility of returning back to the present moment (and ignoring Back to the Future-esque paradoxes where your teenage parents fall in love with you and you were never born/taking a sports almanac back in time with you and making heaps of money from gambling), when would you travel to?

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Monday, 27 January 2014

Mermaids & Paper Boats

Dress is c/o Sarsparilly | cherries c/o Sarsparilly | shoes are from Yeswalker | bolero is thrifted | necklace is super old | petticoat is from Ebay

What was meant to be a quick trip to the lake between rainstorms escalated into an entire themed photoshoot, with me jumping into freezing lake water. I'm going to pretend that I jumped into the water because I really just got into the whole "theme" of boats and mermaids (because of the insanely cute print on this dress), but it's actually because I had to rescue the paper boat, which I very wisely only made one of, then promptly dropped upside-down into the water as soon as we began taking photos. Still, I actually really love how the photos of me in the water turned out - so good on you, clumsiness!

A little bit about this dress - about a week ago I was contacted by the owner of Sarsparilly, Maria, who is just beginning to sell her own handmade designs! She gave me a few to choose from, but there was absolutely no way that I could go past the mermaid print on this dress, and the super-full skirt. Her other designs include a toffee-apple 50s dress and a gorgeous blue gingham dress! At the moment, you can buy the first of Maria's new handmade designs as well as some other gorgeous brands, including Bernie Dexter, from her facebook page photo albums, however the brand new website is going to be up-and-running within the next few days so I suggest you like the page and keep an eye out for it, especially if you love 50s and 60s-inspired dresses [Update: Sarsparilly's new online store is now open]! Also, I'm also going to be hosting a little (actually, a somewhat huge) giveaway to coincide with the opening of in the next few days - make sure that you don't miss out on it ;)

So I apologise if you've been a reader of this blog for a long time and have already seen this post - but I felt like it was a very appropriate time to bring it up again! Now, this is not exactly scientific per se, as mermaids (I am told) don't really exist. However, speculative biology is always fun! This page here features several awesome images that speculate about what the anatomy of a mermaid would look like. The picture below shows the (imaginary) skeletal anatomy of a mermaid:
Also, did you know that in 2012 the US government had to make an official statement saying that "Mermaid's do not exist" following a mermaid mockumentary on Animal Planet?
Way to be a killjoy, guys...

I hope that you all had a beautiful weekend, rain or shine!

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

5 Minute DIY Sock Tutorial

This project is a "5 minute fashion tutorial" collaboration with Aiko from Hapy Friends Shoppe, who is a crafting, upcycling and kawaii fashion genius. And I say genius, because she does things like make bear-shaped tote bags out of old towels. You absolutely have to check out her youtube and blog (after you watch my video, of course). Plus, she's basically the sweetest person that I've ever met! Go go go, visit her channel!

The video that I made is a really quick and easy tutorial that shows you how to make your own socks out of any stretchy fabric! (I just used some old t-shirts in this tutorial - because you can use the hemmed edge of the t-shirt as the sock's hem. But if you wanted to make snuggly bed socks, for instance, an old stretchy sweater would work great as well!) This tutorial was adapted from The Sewing Rabbit's tutorial for making kids socks.

Method 1: Middle Seam Method (easier and faster)
So this shows the absolute basics of making your own socks. What you could do next is to use fabric pens to draw a repeating polka-dot, heart-print or fruit-print pattern (I'm in the process of doing this with one of my pairs!), or you could add some pom-poms in a contrasting colour!

Method 2: Side Seam method (takes longer but is prettier)

Let me know what you think!

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Friday, 24 January 2014

Dorothy Was A Pin-Up Girl / Portraits Génétiques

Top is DIY | skirt is DIY | headband is DIY | shoes are from Yeswalker

Remember my pink top from my last post? I made one in blue as well, but this time I made it look like a dress by pairing it with my gingham circle skirt made from the same fabric. I'm definitely going to make a proper dress using this style pattern after seeing how well it worked - though I think I'd make the skirt longer and even more voluminous, so it's super-dooper 50s! I went a bit nuts looking through fabric the other day, and I am dreaming of making such a style dress in this pastel ice-cream fabric. I just need to get my hands on some US dollars first so that I can buy it, as the australian dollar is currently rubbish (Hey! Want to sponsor my blog to help me buy it?? Shameless plug? :D)

Soooo I also somehow also reached 300 youtube subscribers and I guess that means I need to get moving on making another tutorial. I actually have one all planned to post tomorrow! Guess what the tutorial is about - it's a ubiquitous item of clothing commonly worn on the lower 1/8th of the body (although sometimes it's worn on the hand and paired with googly-eyes). Can you guess what it might be ;)? Subscribe to my channel and keep an eye out for it tomorrow!

Now for some science! If you've been a reader of this blog for a while, you'll know that I am very much interested by biology, and in particular, genetics! You'll also know that I love the merging of scientific concepts with art. Artist Ulric Colette has created these spliced-up portraits to explore both the similarities and differences that genetics creates between two individuals. To do this, Colette seamlessly merges two family members side-by-side into a portrait-style photograph. She compares brothers, sisters, twins, mothers, daughters and fathers. While the combinations can often be quite jarring, they're also extremely compelling.
In the top left photo below, you can see what difference the environment makes on two individuals who are genetically identical - identical twins share 100% of their DNA, and so any differences between them comes from the lives they have lived! In the others three portraits below, you can notice the similarities in genetics between individuals who share 50% of the same genes (this includes siblings, fraternal (non-identical) twins and parents and their children). However, even though these people share 50% of their genes with the other, some look much more alike than others!
See the whole series of photographs here. And a good explanation of the genetics & statistics behind the whole thing is here!

See you all tomorrow!

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sweetheart & Sandgrains

Top is DIY | ring is DIY | skirt is thrifted | headband is DIY | shoes are from Yeswalker

I made this top, I made this top! I'm so excited with this new pattern I've made, with it's sweetheart neckline, and I'm going to be using it for both tops and dresses. It turned out to be perfect for pin-up style, which is awesome because that's probably my favourite style in the world, and since I recently learnt how to do my hair and make up properly (even though I've been blogging about style for two years I am really awful at the whole beauty thing), I think I can just about pull off pin-up style. I still don't really know how to backcomb my hair properly to make a giant beehive, but I can almost hide that under a pretty bow!

So this is what happens when you magnify sand 250 times:

Isn't it beautiful? When you look really, really closely at a handful of sand (like, with a microscope, not just by holding it really closely to your face - unless you have bionic magnifying eyes), you can see that it's actually composed of tiny shell fragments, glass, crystal and volcanic rocks.

A scientist named Dr Greenberg takes these gorgeous photos of the microscopic world (see his website for more sand, along with magnified moon rocks and food), combining both his photographic background with his background in biology to make people take notice of how beautiful the world is - a world that we'd be unable to see without science.

 I hope that you're having a great day!

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Asymmetry & Pancakes

 Shorts and cardigan are thrifted | Top is random singlet, possibly a hand-me-down | Ring is DIY

I had attempted to cut myself an asymmetrical fringe, as you can see in these photos, however I was later forced to abandon that idea and just cut one that goes straight across; unfortunately, when you have such thin hair like me, an asymmetrical haircut requires constant fixing to ensure it's sitting in the right place. I guess I'll have to give up all ideas of becoming Emily Fitch (so 2009 - though I have always been a fan of her fashion sense).

Also, I wasn't content with merely buying food jewelry (as mentioned in this post) - I had to learn how to make the stuff for myself. Luckily, this amazing vlogger called Toni Ellison exists, who has tutorials for basically any sweet western food that you'd ever care to make tiny clay versions of. I just made up these pancakes myself by squashing some clay into round flat shapes, but I also followed her tutorial on how to make miniature polymer clay pies and it worked out SO well. Now I just need this fabric to turn into a circle skirt dress and this bag, and I'll own the most perfect outfit ever: pancake lady!

Also, I'm working on two new DIY videos (oh my gosh, I'm actually putting stuff on my youtube! This is so exciting haha). So if you haven't subscribed to my youtube channel yet, you totally should.

Lots of love,

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Natural Curls & Cute Science #2

Skirt is DIY | necktie c/o Flapper Girl | necklace is from Tash Tash Jewelry | Socks and shirt are thrifted | Sock cuffs are DIY

I can't believe that I didn't know, for maybe two or three whole years, that my hair had become super curly, just because I got up and blow-dryed it into straight oblivion every single morning. Because look how curly it is!! The only thing giving it a little bit of oomph here is a bit of hairspray; other than that, those are all natural curls.

So I mainly just wanted an excuse to post this suuuuper cute video, but I am going to make it sciencey. Bear with me (HAH, get it? No, because I haven't told you what the video is about yet. Okay. See below.)

This is a polar BEAR at Toronto Zoo taking its very first steps:
This little guy made his first steps just 58 days after he was born.

After shedding some tears over the sheer cuteness of this video, it also got me wondering: why do different animals take different amounts of time to learn how to walk? And why are humans so (seemingly) bad at it compared to other baby animals?
i.e. Time it takes different animals to learn how to walk after birth:
Polar bears: 58 days
Cats: 2 - 3 weeks
Dogs: 3 - 4 weeks
Hamsters: 2 weeks
Horses: 1 hour (!)
Humans: 1 year

So apparently the time that all mammals learn to walk is closely correlated with the size of their brains. The reason humans take so long to walk is also largely because human babies are born very "undercooked" compared to other animals (even including chimpanzees and bonobos), who leave the uterus with their brains and bodies much closer to their adult form than human babies.
In fact, a study in 2009 determined that all mammals start walking at about the same point in brain development relative to each other.

So humans and horses actually do start walking at the same time in their brain development - even if horses basically gallop out of the womb - because humans are just born very underdeveloped compared to horses.

And it makes sense, because intelligence, development and pelvis size had to meet in the middle somewhere - human babies are born so underdeveloped because if their brains were any bigger, the mother wouldn't be able to give birth to them! So the fact that humans take ages to start walking is in fact a sign of how intelligent we become.

I hope that you're all having a gorgeous day,

p.s. See Cute Science #1 here.

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Friday, 17 January 2014

Giveaway: An Art Print from Angel Szafranko / CLOSED

Let me introduce you to the super cute artworks of Angel Szafranko from Toronto! I was recently contacted by this wonderful artist asking if I would like to host a giveaway for her etsy store. I am so happy to host this giveaway, because I am absolutely in love with this kind of style right now (see this pinterest board full of my favourite illustrators, and you'll see what I mean). I don't know what it is about the colourful, creepy-cute, pop-surreal, super-flat style of these artists that I love so much - maybe it's the fantastic clothing they all seem to be wearing?? - but I can't get enough!

Here are just some of her works:

If you'd like the chance to win an Angel Szafranko print of your choice, all you need to do is complete at least one entry in the rafflecopter widget below!

Also, everything in Angel's shop is 10% off if you use the code PINENEEDLE10.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This competition is open internationally and will end on the 6th of February, 2014. Please make sure that you have completed any entry that you would like to enter correctly, or you will be disqualified!

p.s. You should also definitely watch this one-minute animation that Angel made... it's super adorable.

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Milk, Cookies and Sugar Cubes (and Dodecahedrons)

Dress is secondhand from Hannah | lace sock cuffs are DIY | belt is thrifted | necklace is from Tash Tash Jewelry

My new favourite thing when it comes to clothes and accessories: food. I'm somewhat obsessed with food and eating - if I'm having a bad day, all I need to make myself feel better is a giant veggie sandwich or a cheese toastie - so making a homage to food through my outfits kinda seems right. After browsing through the "food jewellery" tag on etsy for hours the other week (do it, come on, you know you want to), I found Tash Tash Jewelry, a one-woman jewellery-making-machine from Croatia who makes things like bowls of fruit loops for your fingers (I also bought this, hehe). She also sells them ridiculously cheaply, and with such fast shipping for something that came from the other side of the world (I got it less than two weeks after ordering). I'm definitely recommending this etsy store - in fact, I think it'll be a great addition to my ethical clothing directory - and I am also probably going to go back to buy a pizza necklace and coffee cup ring!

Now, I'm obviously going to have to tell you all about some food-related science; luckily, this just happened! This delicious-looking thing below is sugar, in flavours of cherry, sour apple and mint, printed out by the first commercially available 3D food-printer to ever exist.
Image from 3D Systems
Yup! I've been talking about it for a while, but 3D food printing is actually here, you guys (alright, so it has existed for chocolate for a while - but being able to print with sugar like this is a real leap in the technology)!

This NPR article will give you the rundown on the technology, or you can start drooling over this video of a similar machine (still in prototype phase) called Foodini, that can print a whole range of food into any fiddly, intricate or ridiculous shape that you program.

And I wasn't lying about 3D printers getting cheaper, either - did you know you can get them for $1300 now? Sure, it's not "cheap", but it's cheaper than a new macbook air! You all know that I'm obsessed, and will definitely keep you updated on their rapid price drop - this time last year, it was about $5000 for a personal 3D printer. Seriously, this speculation of mine from one year back:
is actually seeming less and less ridiculous all the time.

I hope that you're all super, super well!

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