Thursday, December 31, 2015

What's in my Mailbox?: Mori swaps!

I realized the other day that I haven't shared much on my blog about the swaps I've been a part of. So I thought, before 2015 has comes to a close, that I would share some of the wonderful things fellow Mori Folk have sent me this year!

One of the most recent swaps was a "self care" swap. We sent items that might help us feel better on our bad days. The box I received contained many things in my favorite color, lilac, which instantly made me happy! There were a few different kinds of green teas, a handmade brooch, a handmade flower door-hanger, and a pen with a little floral notepad. It was quite sweet, and I loved everything in it! It was quite a fun swap to participate in, as we got to customize the gifts to fit our partners.

This second swap was a letter swap with the lovely Rosette. She sent me a charming card with a vintage picture of her city, and some vintage stickers to go along with it. I loved how well everything went together, and how beautiful it looked!

A photo posted by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on

This swap was summer themed, and came all the way from Switzerland. It contained a large bag of loose leaf tea, a handmade notepad with pictures from a vintage bambi book, a recipe for berry cobbler, and a carved pencil with a mountain goat head on the top. I'm a sucker for loose leaf tea, so I was super excited about this one!

This last one was from our recent Christmas swap. It contained truffles (which were delicious and I ate them immediately...), some tea bags, a little journal in a plaid pouch, a light up crystal star, and a roll of silver star washi tape. It came just a few days before Christmas, which was quite amazing. I really like the washi tape! Normally, I stay away from shiny things, but this is just so pretty and I can't wait to use it.

Those are all of the swaps I've participated in this year. There were quite a lot, and I had a lovely time giving and receiving things with my Mori friends. If you haven't participated in one yourself, I'd recommend giving it a try! It's a ton of fun!

I hope you all had a wonderful 2015, and I wish you all a Happy New Year. Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What Not To Wear: Mori Girl Edition (aka Critiquing My Coords)

Over the (almost) four years or so that I've been wearing Mori Kei, my style has grown and changed dramatically. And I've really learned a lot over the years about what does and does not make a good coord. So recently I thought, why not take some of my old (and really awful) outfits, and talk about what could have been done to improve them? I'm hoping that in trudging through my mess-ups, I might be able to help out at least a few people who are struggling with how to create their own coords. So without further ado, let the personal torture begin! 

This first outfit I'm going to critique has a few different points to talk about, but they all center around the shirts. Ah the shirts. (This is already getting painful for me to look at.)

Critique: The first thing wrong with this outfit is the undershirt. When layering a t-shirt length shirt in mori kei, you have to be careful how it's done. Unless you're going for a casual look, your shirt and it's length can make or break your entire coord. In this case the shirt is too short and doesn't flow with the other layers. The other problem with this outfit is the over-shirt. You can't really tell in this photo, but unfortunately I remember this outfit well so I can tell what's wrong. The shirt itself, first and foremost, had a kind of polo shirt like collar. That can be fine I suppose, although I'm not fond of them in Mori coords, but that's not the only thing wrong with it. The second thing wrong is the sleeves. You can kind of see this one, but the sleeves were very, very wide. They fell at an awkward length around the middle of my shoulder, and the shirt that I chose to layer underneath, the too short one, barely had long enough sleeves to show. And to add insult to injury, it also fell at an awkward length on my shoulder. Third, (yes there is a third thing wrong with this poor shirt) It wasn't long enough. If you're going to layer a shirt on top of another, it at least needs to be a few inches shorter or longer than the shirt you're layering with. When it's the same length as the undershirt, then it creates an awkward bulk around your middle, and stops the flowing feeling of all the layers.

Remedy: The shirts need to be switched out for shirts with contrasting lengths, and suitable sleeves. 



This over-shirt's sleeves cover all of the layers underneath, and makes the look more complete. The shirt also works well on top length wise, and keeps the layers flowing. (Tip: I've found that buttoning the first few buttons of a shirt can often create a really cute look. Try it out for yourself! I think you'll be surprised!)

Onto the next coord!

Critique: With this outfit, there are two major things wrong. The first again lies with the shirts. The over-shirt and the undershirt together are fine, but where we run into issues is the undershirt in relationship with the over-skirt. There is a large amount of distance from the over skirt to the undershirt, and a short distance between the over shirt and the undershirt. This creates a very uneven feel, and makes the look feel very choppy. The second thing wrong with this outfit is the underskirt. The underskirt I was wearing in this picture was a bit to long to layer with the over skirt, so I had secured it up with a belt. Now nine times out of ten this is a bad idea. When you secure a skirt up with a belt, it often makes the hemline uneven, as you can see. Another problem with this skirt is the fact that it was a lot less flowing than the over skirt. A tight skirt never layers well with a flowing skirt.

Remedy: The undershirt should be replaced with a shirt of a bit longer length, and the underskirt should be replaced with a well fit, and more flowing skirt, in order to match the over skirt.


In this outfit all of the layers of skirts are flowing, and the shirt used is an appropriate length in relationship with the skirts.

One more coord!

Critique: Where to start with this one... I suppose I'll start with the skirts, again. The underskirt is quite flowing, but the over-skirt is very tight. Obviously, this doesn't work. A tight skirt on top of a flowing skirt looks extremely unnatural, and bunches the skirt underneath in awkward ways. And on top of that, the underskirt is a bit too far down (especially with the tight skirt). The rest of it isn't too bad, although the almost cream shirt in contrast with the very dark brown seems a little off. Normally, I try to set colors next to colors of a similar, or a close, shade (unless it's white which you can set next to anything). It flows a little better that way.

Remedy: The tight skirt needs to be switched with a different, flowing skirt, and the layers need to be closer to each other a bit.


This coord is a lot better. The layering here flows much better, and the dark colors have been balanced out with each other by including more dark than light. It's a bit plain, but it still works well I think.

Well, that's all I've got for now. If I could have, I would have recreated these outfits and fixed them up. But sadly (or maybe not) I've since gotten rid of a lot of the clothing in these pictures, and my closet has changed considerably. So, no reworks. I hope this was still a bit helpful for you in some way. 

Maybe you can relate to me, and you have an old coord you can't stand the sight of? I'd love to hear your stories of how your style has grown and improved! Until next time, my deers!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The NaNoWriMo Experience

Hello my deers! I'm afraid I haven't been updating this blog very much, but I have a reason for this.

This year I decided to take a leap of faith and participate in something called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, that consists of writing 50,000 words for a novel from November 1st to the 30th. The only writing I've ever really done is blogging and school papers, but I've had a story playing around in my head for around five or six years, and I figured it was about time to get it out!

The story I wrote is called "The Tapestries that Covered the Stairs" (a working title), and is based on a dream I had a while back. The dream was more of a nightmare to start out with, but was one of those dreams where I told myself I wouldn't be scared anymore, and so I wasn't. But when I woke up in the morning, and recalled this crazy dream, I found that while the circumstances in it hadn't made much sense, the atmosphere had been quite amazing. It was creepy, dark, detailed, and decadent, and I knew that I wanted to do something with it. I played around with drawing it out, or having my mom write a story on it (my mom actually is a very talented writer), or maybe even making a short story about it, but none of that seemed to do it justice. So it sat untouched in the back of my mind for years. Until this month, that is.

The decision to try out NaNoWriMo was completely last minute. I'd watched a fellow blogger, Hedgefairy Tales, participate for a few years, and I'd always thought it was interesting but not something I'd ever participate in. But a few weeks before November began I stumbled across the NaNoWriMo website for the first time, and it awoke an interest in me. I browsed the site for a few minutes, before I decided to take the plunge.

I've been writing much more in these past months than I ever have, what with starting college and all, and I felt a bit more prepared for something like this. But I honestly thought that the story I had in my mind would only be about half of the 50,000 word count, and I prepared myself to not meet the goal, and only get a little bit of writing done. I had very little idea of just what I was getting into though, and I read through all of the emails that the NaNoWriMo people sent me very carefully, as if they were my syllabus for the month.

As I began to write, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the words came to me. They seemed to flow out of me naturally, and in no time at all I had my first chapter written and a storyline established in my head. The word count still seemed like an impossible goal, but I was having fun writing, so who really cared about that?

But as I continued to write, this simple story grew and changed.

I started out with one character who had actually been in my dream, and her father. I named her Emile, gave her a back story for my own reference, and decided that those would be my only characters, just like in the dream. I began writing with that notion in mind.

But then I found John. He wrote himself into my story so smoothly as a plot device, but he decided to stay when I discovered all the possibilities he could bring. So then I had two main characters, and I decided that would be it. I continued writing, and I tweaked my plot slightly to fit him in.

But, surprise surprise, I found another main character on the way. Eileen wrote herself in as well, and just like John, she was supposed to be a plot device. She charmed me enough, though, that I kept her around as a main character as well.

After that I wrote in a few more characters that I hadn't planned, but I managed to stick with my three main characters.

The story took a change in genre as well. The original feel of it, simplistic and psychological horror, began to change into a complex psychological horror story coupled with a mystery. As it stands right now, it reminds me of something one of my favorite authors, Frank Peretti, would write, coupled with one of my favorite books, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I'm quite happy with it so far.

I ended up reaching the 50,000 word count goal in the end, and I've still have quite a lot more story left to write. But I've learned so much this month about writing, and perseverance.

I've taken time out of my busy schedule everyday, and written sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. But I wrote something every day, and I managed to not get stuck with any serious writers block (miraculously).

I write all of this not only to update you on what I've been up to, but to tell you this: NaNoWriMo is a fantastic experience that you should be a part of. It's a chance to stretch yourself, and to use your imagination in ways you've never used it before. So for everyone who's been teetering on the edge of whether or not to do this, or maybe for those who have never even heard of it, I want to let you know that participating will not be a waste of your time. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

And who knows, maybe next year I'll be writing alongside some of my followers and friends?