COMPREHENSIVE Paris Accounting: The REAL costs of Paris for almost a MONTH for one, and a week for TWO

Update: When Cody arrived, I didn’t take the time to do proper accounting, but what I got through should still give you an idea. ūüôā


I’ve mentioned before that Paris really isn’t an arm and a leg when you know a few tricks. ¬†I’m going to share a more-or-less running tally of most things. ¬†Fabric-sourcing isn’t a typical tourist expense, and so will be kept out. ¬†Almost everything else will be included. ¬†Skip to farther down below for daily expenses, and I’ll update this post daily until the last day.

I decided to do the because, if you read a lot of websites online, you’ll walk away disheartened. ¬†The prices given are ABSURDLY high. ¬†One woman spent¬†$1,757.64 for one week in Paris, not counting getting there. ¬†I’m perplexed by that. ¬†To be frank, that kind of spending seems like she was trying to see how much she could blow. ¬†Almost $90 a day for activities…how? ¬†This site says $2,605 for a couple for five days. ¬†Here you’re told to budget an average of 126‚ā¨ in 2013 money,¬†not including accommodations or anything else. ¬†On the Rick Steves forum in 2017, people were saying to budget 70-100, in both dollars and euros, for food…PER DAY. ¬†Here, we are told the average daily cost for one person is 162‚ā¨, or 4,853‚ā¨ for ¬†a month, again, not including getting there. ¬†In 2008, 150‚ā¨ per day not counting getting there or accommodations, for a budget trip. ¬†And another stating 770‚ā¨ for a budget trip for one once you get there. ¬†I’m not doing what I consider to be a budget trip, and I still can’t figure out these expenses.

Let me explain my timing here. ¬†Leaving to France the 3rd of March, returning the 28th. ¬†My husband is flying out to join me the 19th. ¬†So 25 days for me, and a little over a week for him. ¬†Stretching my time to a full month wouldn’t cost much more either, nor would having him here for he same time.

To start with the up-front costs: My ticket on AirFrance was pricy this year, $733.53 including extra baggage. ¬†Sunday is a prime travel day, and so comes with a slight premium. ¬†I used to tinker around and find some reasonable travel dates, then checked the recommend websites directly for lower costs. ¬†My ticket would have cost less if I had chosen a different layover time. ¬†The two-hour lay-over would have saved about $100. ¬†I picked a layover of over eight¬†hours so I could meander around the airport in Amsterdam. ¬†Vancouver is referred to as “New Vansterdam.” ¬†So Amsterdam is something of a pilgrimage. ¬†Cody will be flying out later in the month, and he has the shorter layover. ¬†He’s also not taking extra baggage. ¬†He’s going to be going for $505.

We also checked all airports within three hours of us. ¬†Last year, flying out of Seattle was so much less ($405 with extra baggage versus about $900 out of Portland) that Cody driving me there was worth the savings. ¬†This time, Portland is less. ¬†Flying into Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport is almost always less than Orly. ¬†If you’re near an airport Wow Air or Iceland Air regularly service, round-trip flights can easily be under $300. ¬†I’m not even kidding.

The AirBNB for the month is $851.28. ¬†Most places give pretty steep discounts for renting by the month, even if you end up having a few days early (like me!). ¬†Weekly and monthly discounts add up to it often costing less to stay longer. ¬†Sometimes just one or two more days will initiate a bigger discount. ¬†Also, by renting an apartment, I’ll save a fortune on food costs by not having to eat out all the time. ¬†French markets are cheap as heeellllll compared to what we pay in Vancouver, Washington. ¬†Also, I’m staying in a small town right outside of Paris. ¬†I don’t care if my place is two minutes from the Eiffel Tower. ¬†It’s not hard getting there via transit. ¬†If you don’t mind renting a room instead of a full apartment, the can drop easily to $600.

Speaking of getting there, you’ll often hear that the cheapest way to get around is to get a carnet of ten tickets for¬†14.90‚ā¨, or the Paris Visite Pass. ¬†You’ll blow through that in a couple days, easy, and that Visite Pass is a bunch of BS. ¬†Spend¬†5‚ā¨ to get a Navigo D√©couverte card, and top that up. ¬†Locals get the Navigo, and the only difference is that they can get it replaced for 5‚ā¨ if they lose it, whereas we non-residents just plain lose altogether and have to get a new one in full. ¬†Otherwise, costs are the same. ¬†Pay¬†22.80‚ā¨ and you’ve got passage on every transit there is from 12:01am on Monday (technically 12am, but putting it as 12:01am makes it clearer which 12am) through Sunday at 11:59pm. ¬†The train to Orly is excluded. ¬†No matter when you pay, the window is the same. ¬†You can also pay¬†75.20‚ā¨, and it’ll be good for the whole month, 12:01am on the 1st to 11:59pm on the last day. ¬†You can get passes that don’t go to Versailles or Disneyland, but the cost savings is negligible. I still have my card from last year, and so will pay¬†75.20‚ā¨ once, and all my transit for the entire time is covered. ¬†Cody will arrive the 20th. ¬†I’ll have a card ready for him, topped up, and he’ll be covered through Sunday at 11:59pm for¬†22.80‚ā¨, and another¬†22.80‚ā¨ to cover him for the rest of his time here.

I’m also going to London for a couple days, and that’s $112 for airfare, including priority seating and an extra bag. ¬†I plan on bringing back books. ¬†Lots of books. ¬†And $90 for the AirBNB for a couple days. ¬†And I’m paying $70 to get a membership to the V&A so I can get into a sold-out exhibit. ¬†Otherwise, the V&A would be free.

Regarding food,¬†compared to pricing at my local grocery stores, French stores are cheap. ¬†1.50‚ā¨ for a kilo of organic apples? ¬†YES. ¬†That’s under $2 for 2.2lbs. ¬†Amazing meats for 6‚ā¨ per kilo. ¬†At that per pound, it would still be less than here. ¬†Yet that’s for over twice as much. ¬†4oz of fresh mozzarella cheese for under 1‚ā¨. ¬†I pay $8 per pound here. ¬†It’s about $5 converted for a pound there. ¬†Stuff we have here, like Nutella and Bonne Maman preserves are so cheap that it makes me cry inside. ¬†The big Nutella jars are about 3‚ā¨ as opposed to over $8 here, and those preserves that I pay $5 for on sale are all under 2‚ā¨, with some being under 1‚ā¨. ¬†Same brands. ¬†So, straight up, the cost of food is less than where I live in the US. ¬†Since we have to eat regardless, we’re saving money on food by going to Paris. ¬†Something to favor in, that no one ever does, is that you have to eat even when not in Paris. ¬†Subtract what you would spend at home from what you spend in Paris to get an idea of how much it really costs you to eat in Paris. ¬†If you spend $10 a day on food at home, and 15‚ā¨ in Paris, you aren’t really spending 15‚ā¨ for being in Paris. ¬†You’re spending the difference between that and the $10. ¬†This doesn’t work for accommodations since you’re paying for your home and for accommodations in Paris. ¬†You’re just transferring your food money, not paying for it on both sides.

Touristy stuff? ¬†First, Notre Dame and a lot of things are free. ¬†If you want to go to the top of Notre Dame, you’ll pay a small fee. ¬†But the cool stuff doesn’t require that. ¬†Second, find the free stuff no one thinks about. ¬†Go walk through Victor Hugo’s apartment. ¬†That’s free. ¬†Go stand in Marie Curie’s lab. ¬†That’s free. ¬†Go to Trocadero Plaza, and see this view for free…

Skip the tourist stuff for the most part. ¬†A lot of it is overrated. ¬†Cool, yes, but overrated. ¬†Go live in Paris like a Parisian. ¬†Get the real experience instead of a curated tourist experience. ¬†It won’t cost you to do that. ¬†Walk on¬†the Seine at night on weekend nights when the weather is what most people consider to be nice, and you’ll discover the parties that go on there .

If you want to do the tourist stuff, get the Paris Museum Pass. ¬†Specifically that pass. ¬†There is a Paris Pass and a Paris City Pass, but the small extras aren’t worth the big price increase. ¬†The 6-day Museum Pass, which is 74‚ā¨, covers entry to almost everything from the Louvre to Versailles, and even if you don’t go to enough things for the cost of the pass to cover the cost of the tickets, getting to go in the short line is more than worth it. ¬†I got to the Louvre a couple hours early, and felt such despair at the length of the line. ¬†I decided WTH, may as well get the 4-day pass for 62‚ā¨, and didn’t have to get in that long line. ¬†I meandered around until a few minutes before opening, got in the short line, and was inside in under ten minutes. ¬†Same thing at Versailles.

That small goes to the left at the opening of this video is my line (caution: I swear at the end). ¬†That little group. ¬†That long line is just ONE of the general entry lines. ¬†The Museum Pass is worth skipping that line. ¬†Every other site I have ever come by says to add up the costs of what you want to do, and if it’s less than the cost of the pass, to skip the pass. ¬†Well, NO. ¬†Get the pass anyway. ¬†Take my word on this. ¬†By the time Versailles opened, that long line there looked very short compared to what it was at opening time. ¬†Your time has value. ¬†Do you want to wait in that line for four hours, or get in and get to do stuff?

I myself nearly fell for the “add up what you want to do,” and what changed that was the day last year when I got to the Louvre over 2 hours before opening, and went down to the “secret” entrance where the line is shorter than the main entrance, thinking I’d be somewhere between maybe and 50th and 100th in line, and instead…OMG, the line was so, so long that I thought it wouldn’t end and started to feel dismayed. ¬†I kept walking, and walking, and walking, and gave up on the idea of getting in at all, and decided to just find the end and see how long it was. ¬†I finally found it after several minutes of walking. ¬†By some freaky coincidence, it ended near a little shop selling the Paris Museum Pass. ¬†I gladly plunked down the 62‚ā¨ for a 4-day pass, and decided to salvage my day (heh…having to salvage a day in Paris…but I was very sad at that point) by seeing how long it would take me to get in. ¬†I killed some time in this little underground mall, then went to the special pass line nearer to opening, and holy schnikes, folks. ¬†I was in literally within ten minutes. ¬†That line gets the priority. ¬†They let that line in, then start on the regular line at the main door. ¬†If more people get in the pass line, they go to those people, get them through security, then go back to the regular line. ¬†The other line I found didn’t have a pass line near it, but they were still going to take forever. ¬†I went to the Louvre and Versailles, which was 33‚ā¨, and I can’t remember what third thing I did on that pass, but it didn’t total 62‚ā¨ in admission. ¬†But damn, was it ever worth my time. ¬†Even if it had only been those two things, it was worth not having to deal with being in line half the day. ¬†As far as Versailles, I was in fast enough that I got to the Hall of Mirrors in time to get a photo with only the docent in it.

Cody and I will get the 6-day passes when he’s in Paris. ¬†148‚ā¨ will cover pretty much all of our entertainment for six days, and fast-track us on the things he wants to do. ¬†(I say “he wants to do” because I told him to give me a list of the things he most wants to see–as I figure it, I’ll be here 2¬†weeks more this time, and was here 2¬†months last year, and have had my time, and so his eight days here should be centered around what he wants to see.)

Now what about phones? ¬†That’s trickier to answer. ¬†Our cell plan is $10 per 24-hour period for everything unlimited. ¬†For 25 days, this would mean $250 for my phone. ¬†But last year I had my phone unlocked for $110. ¬†So this year, I’m starting off with¬†34,90‚ā¨ for a new SIM and 12GB of data from SFR. ¬†Instead of using cellular for calls, I use WhatsApp, and that’s free. ¬†Have everyone you want to talk to sign up. ¬†Literally it’s free. ¬†I’ll use that through data or WiFi. ¬†My better value. ¬†But my husband’s phone isn’t currently unlocked. ¬†The 8 days he’ll be here will be $80 through out cell company IF he uses his own phone everyday, or $110 just to unlock his phone. ¬†Even if he used his phone everyday, that would mean he’d come out ahead using his phone like normal. ¬†But since he’ll use my phone with any remaining data, he won’t need to use his phone everyday, and getting 12GB¬†would be¬†34‚ā¨. ¬†So it’s not a cut-and-dry answer. Longer than 14 or so days, and it’s definitely cheaper to have a phone unlocked and get an SFR. ¬†Shorter than that, and it depends on your carrier.

Now! Onto…

So let’s see what is spent overall to give an accurate, real-time accounting of what Paris costs, and where expenses can be shaved.

Pre-leaving expenses paid, in currency used:
Flights to Paris and home, extra baggage: $733.53 for me
Flights to Paris and home: $505 for Cody
AirBNB: $851.28 for the ENTIRE TIME
Flight to London and back to Paris, extra baggage an seating upgrade: $112
AirBNB London: $90
V&A membership: 70‚ā¨
$2291.81 and 70‚ā¨
ALL of the HUGE expenses for the month were paid before I left.

TBP means To Be Paid. ¬†These may change, but likely won’t.

Tuesday, March 5th:
Navigo D√©couverte (now called √éle-de-France Moblit√©) charge for the month: 75,20‚ā¨
√éle-de-France Moblit√© card for Cody, not charged: 5‚ā¨
SFR SIM and 12GB date for my phone: 34,90‚ā¨
Marks & Spencer groceries (this’ll last 4-5 days): 64,90‚ā¨
Produce at overpriced market (I didn’t feel like up to the grocery proper): 10,64‚ā¨
Cr√©pe Grand Marnier: 4‚ā¨
Huge chocolate meringue: 2‚ā¨
Coin purse: 3‚ā¨
3 scarves: 15‚ā¨
Most of the “big” expenses to be paid while on this this are out of the way now. 210.64‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81 and 284,64‚ā¨

Wednesday, March 6th:
Palais Garnier: 12‚ā¨ (website said¬†14‚ā¨, but was¬†12‚ā¨ since I like to go without tour guides)
Souvenirs: 41,50‚ā¨
Croissants: 2,60‚ā¨ for 2 (expensive for Paris…usually under 1‚ā¨ each)
Grocery snacks things: 27,65‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81 and 368,39‚ā¨

Thursday, March 7th: Notre Dame
Bra-shopping: 20.15‚ā¨
Souvenir-ish shopping (rain started, got some rain stuff): 27‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81 and 416,08‚ā¨

Friday, March 8th:
Lindt chocolate: 9.24‚ā¨
Marks & Spencer: 41.85‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81 and 467,17‚ā¨

Saturday March 9th:
Cr√©pe Grand Marnier: 4.50‚ā¨
Marks & Spencer: 35,18‚ā¨
Robert-Fran√ßois Damiens letter: 100‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81 and 606,35‚ā¨

Sunday, March 10th:
none–stayed in for the day

Monday, March 11th:
Train to London: 23.50£
Coat check: 4£
Shopping for books, etc: 141£
Uber to AirBnB: 6.71£
Bus fare: 3.50£
Shopping for pens, notebooks, toiletries: 59.50£
KFC: 3.99£
Running total: $2291.81, 606.35‚ā¨, and 242.20¬£

Tuesday, March 12th:
Stuff, lots of little stuff that I didn’t keep track of individually, but about 200¬£¬†(I used cash, have a bit left)
Running total: $2291.81, 606.35‚ā¨, and 442.20¬£

Wednesday, March 13th:
Souvenir-gift thing for Charlotte: 11£
Bus ticket to Luton: 18£
Uber to apartment: 27,60‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81, 633.95‚ā¨, and 471.20¬£

Thursday, March 14th:
Crepe Grand Marnier: 4‚ā¨
Crepe Grand Marnier: 4,50‚ā¨ (different place)
Hair brush since mine disappeared from my checked bag…weird…and micellar water: 10.98‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81, 633.95‚ā¨, and 471.20¬£

Friday, March 15th:
6-day¬†Paris museum passes: 148‚ā¨ for both
Disneyland Mini x 2: 126‚ā¨
Charging Cody’s Navigo: 22,80‚ā¨
Groceries: 34,58‚ā¨
Running total: $2291.81, 965,34‚ā¨, and 471.20¬£

Saturday, March 16th:

Sunday, March 17th:

Monday, March 18th:

Tuesday, Match 19th:

Wednesday, March 20th:

Thursday, March 21st:

Friday, March 22nd:

Saturday, March 23rd:

Sunday, March 24th:
TBP: Weekly charge for Cody’s transit: 22,80‚ā¨

Monday, March 25th:

Tuesday, Match 26th:

Wednesday, March 27th:

Thursday, March 28th:


When did the US start using the imperial system (inches, feet, yards, gallons, etc.), and why?

Some trivia for you:

Q: When did the US start using the imperial system (inches, feet, yards, gallons, etc.), and why?

A: Prior to 1965, even the UK was on the…imperial system. The metric system wasn’t even official in the UK until just 54 years ago. The US didn’t change on this. The rest of the world did.

When global trade started becoming more common, there came a desire for a worldwide standard. France proposed the first metric system in 1790, which was met with considerable resistance. Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg were the first to require its used in 1820, and France followed the mandate in 1837. The alternative was the imperial system, which was too closely associated with Britain to be palatable.

In 1875, most industrialized nations, excluding Britain but including the US, signed the Treaty of the Metre. The definition of a metre has changed over time, though, and a lot more recently than most people realized.

Initially, the definition was one-ten-millionth of the distance between the equator and the north pole. You might see the problem with this. The earth isn’t entirely spherical. So which ten-millionth? For which starting point? Thanks, France.

In 1983, the definition moved away from geographical distance to using lightwaves. As far as we know, light travels at the same speed, or some such nonsense that will be debunked a few centuries from now, as everything seems to be.

It had been changed in the meantime between 1791, when the first meter was officially set, and 1983, when it was set at its current length, the most recent prior it 1983 being 1960. The 17th Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures now defines a meter as:

The weight of the kilogram has also changed over time, including in the past few months, but I don’t work in weight, making this really irrelevant, though still interesting. Here is a starting point for your own research on this, and how there are three keys kept in separate locations that all must be brought together to access the official kilogram, which is a physical object kept under a series of bell jars, Whoville-style.

Seriously.  It is.  The real one rarely sees the light of day because Science, but this is a replica.  Now off you get to do your own research.

Consider this your  moment.

Nutcracker and the Four Realms

(Highlight the text in brackets to see potential spoilers.)

Although this movie did very badly (and deservingly so for changing the story beyond all recognition…if they’d just called it The Four Realms and use different names, I think they’d have done better), the costumes are gorgeous, and the sets are stunning. You have no idea how annoyed I am that such amazing designs were basically wasted on a movie that isn’t good. When I saw the promotional photos and the dolls and the other pretty stuff, I hoped so hard that they wouldn’t mess it up. ¬†Just look at these. ¬†Wow. ¬†No joke on that part. ¬†Almost any single still shot looks like an individual piece of art.

But when it turned out that the only things this movie has in common with the VERY-well-know version of the story we absolutely all know practically from birth is that a girl gets a gift {one gets a Nutcracker, the other an egg}) on Christmas Eve, and ends up in a magical world {(one really through a dream/”The prince takes her”, and the other through a wardrobe…like Narnia}, and the names, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. ¬†And it hasn’t. ¬†And those are all it has in common. ¬†Period. ¬†The Nutcracker stand-in is a {human} from the get-go, the gift came from a different person{(a gift from her dead mother)}, a relative in the story we know is {dead (her mother)} and there’s another relation who has no point {(she has an older sister)}…

I’ve read summary after summary, from several different reviewers, and the summaries are pretty consistent, and sounds like it could have made a semi-interesting story if it had been treated as its own original story to begin with. ¬†Don’t offer someone warm chocolate brownies, and then give them an icicle and tell them it’s your version of brownies. ¬†The icicle may be good, but after anticipating that brownie, it’s a let-down.

I’m still trying to decide if I want to spend $16.50 to see this movie when it would be just for the costumes. ¬†If I went, the worst is I’d be out $16.50, which is less than Disney’s $110-mil loss so far (plus promotional expenses) (it’s made about $20mil worldwide on a budget of $130mil). ¬†There’s no rush to decide.

But I do want to recreate some of the gowns. ¬†So far, I haven’t seen any fan-names. ¬† I also haven’t seen many people consider themselves to be fans of the movie. ¬†So blue dress, queen dress {(she finds out she’s a queen…yes, a queen)}? ¬†And Sugarplum’s costume name is obvious. She has one. And she’s Sugarplum.

So I will be attempting something of a costume study on them. Regardless of the story, I suspect there will be people wanting to cosplay, or who are just plain interested in more.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.5, Miscellaneous

Today’s post is fairly simple, just a look at the McFarlane Jareth figurine¬†(link goes to Amazon’s listing). ¬†I ordered this figuring, not expecting a lot, but was stunned to see how beautiful it is. ¬†I like to buy figurines like this to compare them to the original things, and just because they’re fun to collect.

All photos are from McFarlane, except the one at the table by a Cornish game hen. ¬†That’s mine.

This figurine looks so much better in person, and the photos are pretty sweet.

Right away the real difference that is apparent is that there is gold on the coat, and the it’s a lighter shade of blue. ¬†But just look at that face, that face, that dangerous face…

I mustn’t be unwise…those lips, that nose, those eyes…could lead to my demise…. (Bonus points to those who can name the reference.)

Yes, he looks this realistic in person.

As you can see above, the black lace is blue on this figure.

His mask is amazing.  The bones on the hand at the end!!

And here is the big difference I don’t care so much for. ¬†The three drips of lace and beading in the back or one dip. ¬†The swirls of gold make me think of an 80’s denim jacked. ¬†But the face…

I really don’t mean to turn this into a review, just a good view of the figurine. ¬†I find that looking at similarities and differences between the real deal and figurines can make me notice detail in the real thing that I might otherwise miss. ¬†(Edit to add: ¬†In my home, Jareth held a place of honor on Christmas, and we gave thanks to our god, David Bowie ūüėÄ )

Also, I’ve found that a new figure is coming out in June of 2019! ¬†Dance Magic! ¬†You bet this is pre-ordered.

Anyway, I will continue to be on the look-out for figurines, and lament the lack of anything Sarah.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.4, Back/Lapels

This post is just a comment less photo-dump of some details from the back and lapels to give a better idea of the kinds of sequins and beads that were used. ¬†If there are other photos you’d like to see that I may have, let me know for a future post. ¬†Tomorrow’s is photos of a Jareth figurine.



















Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.3, Back/Lapels

First post of two about the back and lapels! ¬†Tomorrow’s post will be just a bunch more photos. ¬†Remember, all photos enlarge when clicked.

This first photo shows a great selection of the types of beads and baubles. ¬†The tiny little 16/0 beads are the only ones sewn on, and they follow a floral pattern that isn’t part of the lace. ¬†The floral pattern exists only because of the beading.

The smooth beads that look like small glass fishbowl pieces are glass, as are the faceted rhinestones that come to a point at the top and the 9-faceted black rhinestones (the table is a facet). ¬†The rest have the glow and roughness of plastic, which makes sense since they’re meant to be rough, and that’s a difficult look to get with glass. ¬†Say hello to those strings of hot glue! ¬†I will be experimenting with different options since hot glue melts in areas with hotter weather, like Arizona, or Burning Man! (I learned that one the hard way…also, m Green Fairy costume caught on fire. ūüėÄ ) ¬†Even if not worn, traveling though hot areas could melt the glue. ¬†So I’ll report on what I tried in post 2.5

This photo shows well the cut of the tail coat in the front. ¬†The seaming almost gives the appearance of a separate vest, but there isn’t one. ¬†The lace/baubled bits (I’m just going to call the decorated pieces “baubled bits”) follow the seams in the front down to about 4″-5″ below the waist, and continue up over the shoulders.

The exaggerated¬†labels are glorious, and that wonderfully high collar are just…*sigh* ¬†Notice also the single button on the front. ¬†I’m going to come back to this on post 2.5.

Pay attention here to how the baubled bits on the back extend all the way to the waist, to the two buttons, before sharply curving back up, then to the waist again, like three long drips.

The lace is folded to cut over the sleeve cap, but is the same piece. ¬†Click on this pick to make it larger, and you can see that the fold terminates about 1/4″ below a blue bead.

More photos tomorrow! ¬†If anything isn’t clear enough, or more explanations of any sort are needed, let me know.


Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.2, Cuffs

I can hear it already.¬† “But, Aria, why are there so many pictures of just cuffs?!”¬† Well, I can tell you with authoritative certainty that the spot that people are most likely to skimp on is the cuffs because the main focal point is the back and lapels, and this is what drags down an overall look.¬† If more time will be spent anywhere, it’s usually going to be where you expect the eye to go.¬† Yet it’s actually the secondary features that need to be more impressive than the primary.¬† This seems counterintuitive, but bear with me here.

Let us call them Yummy, Chair-dude, Beach Bros, and Street Man.¬† Let us define primary clothing as that which you would wear to say you’re wearing something.¬† If you’re wearing a suit, that means the coat and slacks.¬† If you’re in casual stuff, it’s the stuff won’t take off if you’ve got friends visiting.¬† So, your top and pants (or skirts, but I’m using the example of men since women are too often used to make positive and negative points).¬† Everything else are accessories, the things you can change easily and still be dressed.

A suit is typically considered dressy.¬† Jeans and slacks without blazers are considered casual.¬† Well, Yummy and Beach Bros are wearing primary clothing that is considered dressy.¬† But Yummy’s casual undershirt and un-shellacked ponytail and the Beach Bros’ bare feet make them look like they’re dressed down.¬† They have a casual, laid-back vibe to them.¬† But Chair-dude and Street Man are wearing primary things considered to be casual, yet are wearing shined shoes, dress socks, a hella nice outer coat and scarf, with nary a hair out of place, and come across as dressed up.¬† If you have a business meeting, you’d be better off wearing Chair-dude’s or Street Man’s technically casual ensembles than to go in how Yummy or Beach Bros are dressed, even though they’re wearing blazers, and one of the thing making Yummy look casual–the t-shirt–is also on Street Man.

What’s so different here?¬† Well, the secondary things, also known as accessories, even when necessary (e.g. a shirt under the blazer), are the finishing touches, and those can make or break a look.¬† A couple common phrases are “the shoes make the man” and “the accessories make the outfit” (I don’t know of any equivalents that are about women in particular, though Coco Chanel is known to have been very much into accessories how how they can make or break the ensemble, regardless of formality).

What all of this means is that the thing you expect to be the main focal point isn’t the thing that will form your opinion on something.¬† Cuffs that don’t get much time because they aren’t the main focal point will pull down Jareth’s ensemble, but better cuffs with lapels, collar, and upper back that didn’t get as much time will come across as more put together.¬† The state of what we consciously think of as lesser important affect our subconscious view more than we realize.¬† Take my word on this–after doing this stuff for almost 20 years now, and fairly consistently being considered among the best, I’ve learned a thing or two, and if you critique my work hard enough, you’ll come to see that that thing you can’t quite put your finger on that makes my work so jaw-dropping (and that makes me cringe and think much of my stuff is so flawed, ironically) is the secondary details that don’t seem to matter, things like the lapels, or the stripes lining up even in the arm pits, even if that are small flaws in the primary parts of something.¬† If there’s anything to let go of, it’s perfection in the part people already expect see as perfect, and if there’s anything to make sure is perfectly right, it’s the part where people expect to find the flaws.¬† Since we tend to look for problems where we expect to find them, and don’t bother looking for problems where we don’t expect to find any, when those problems aren’t there, and we aren’t looking for them elsewhere, we see perfection.

It’s psychology, and that’s why cuffs aren’t just cuffs, and now you know my secret to everything.¬† And now I’m screwed since y’all will be looking for flaws in the primary things. ūüėÄ

So there is your answer.  There are so many photos of cuffs because they are more important than the lapels.  They are more important than the collar.  They are more important than the upper back.  This is the detail that will make or break your recreation.

So, to the cuffs.¬† Scroll four photos down.¬† Click on it.¬† Notice how there is a section there that isn’t decorated.¬† The rest is black lace with a bunch of stuff on it.¬† That stuff includes plastic green/blue plastic faceted iridescent buttons.


It also includes a bunch of stringy hot glue…

…with chunky glitter and beads tossed on top…

And some teeny tiny black seed beeds, the 16/0 annoying kind, and they’re the only beads that are definitely sewn.¬† Because of course.¬† Glue the beads with the big holes, but sew on the painfully tiny things.¬† What were you thinking, Brian Froud?¬† Giving the baby beads the power, were you?

I love the lace.¬† It’s such a lovely lace.¬† If it didn’t look so pretty with glue and glitter (we’re all familiar with my loathing of the glitter glue on the live action Belle yellow gown, right?), I might want to rip my hair out for it being used on such beautiful lace.¬† At least there are some teensy short glass tube beads mixed in.¬† But this is an ensemble where these measures not only make sense considering the quality of film at that time, but it makes sense for the character.

The beads used on the cuffs are the same as on the lapel, collar, and upper back.  Those posts will show a lot more detail about those beads.

Why yes, that is Ludo in the background, next to a Firey.

Glitter.  And beads.  On glue.  Over black tulle.

Now there’s been a question about hot glue and the heat….¬† Stay tuned for post 2.5, Friday for my public posts, Thursday for the day-early-Patreoners.¬† I’ve got some ‘sperimentin’ to do.

Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.1, Lining

The least exciting part first, shall we? ūüėĬ†Cherie Lovell, a follower of my page, confirmed that the serging is a 3-thread for both layers.¬† ūüôā So if you want the same serging, that’s the method to use.

This photo shows well the fading.¬† It’s definitely not intentional.¬† This side, the right side, has a good deal of fading.¬† The left side doesn’t.

Here is the left side, and the fading is very little.

Another of the left showing how little fading there is compared to the right side.

Happy September Equinox!

At the moment of this post, it is the September Equinox, the official beginning of fall! ¬†No more hot summer! ¬†No more “Why are you already making pumpkin pie when it’s not fall?” ¬†As if there’s any a time that’s not for pumpkin everything? ¬†Psh! ¬†I love me some pumpkin! ¬†Time for the leaves to turn, and for more fires in the fireplace, and for our forest of a backyard to lose some green and hopefully turn into a winter happy land. ¬†Since Charlotte is partly homeschooled, she won’t get out of school on snow-days! ¬†(We all know the jokes about people here freaking over a little snow, but there’s a reason for this–the temperature hovers just above and just below freezing, and that few inches of snow melts, then freezes into ice, and that ice is what’s so dangerous and panic-inducing.)

I’m more motivated to sew, more motivated to bake pfefferneuse… ¬†Mmmm. Pfefferneuse. ¬†Let me stare for a moment at my glorious¬†pfefferneuse… ¬†It’s a good time for reading, as if there’s ever a bad time, and a good time for snuggles and movies and wine and talking about all the travel we’d love to do, even if it’s to places not entirely possible. ¬†Antarctica, anyone? ūüėÄ

It’s time agains to make gingerbread houses and sing Christmas songs in the store without the strange looks we got last month!¬†

Time to head out to the farms for fall produce, and to make cocoa and sit in front of a fire with my critters.  
But it’s also the time of year to remember that there are a lot of people who are struggling, and to ask everyone to just be a bit kinder to one another. ¬†You never know who is without family, who is struggling harder than usual to get by, who just plain needs to see an occasional smiling face as well rush about enjoying a season that tends to be about togetherness, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs. ¬†One of my favorite things about this season may be how it does tend to help bring out the better in a lot of people, at least at first. ¬†Find that in yourself, and don’t let go of it. ¬†Find motivation in the coming holidays, whether that’s Halloween or Dia de los Muertos (or both!), or¬†Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Epiphany (or anything else, or more than one), and find moments to do good, to send a letter. ¬†Read out this year to anyone, and try to find ways to use your skills. ¬†Charlotte wants to make blankets for the homeless. ¬†I’m going to make stockings to fill with things people may need. ¬†As we go into autumn, remember it’s a happy time for many, a tough time for many, and just aim to do good for everyone around you.


Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.0

(Please let me know if you don’t see 11 photos.)
This post has given me grey hairs. The first time I posted this one, it disappeared. I spent scads of time on it, then…POOF. Finding the time again has been very difficult. Then, when I finished it a second time, it wouldn’t work either. Thank goodness the text was saved! This time, I found out that the problem is too many photos that are too big. We had to increase storage capacity and a few other things, including having to resize some photos. So, at full size, some photos make be smaller than they otherwise would be. I also rearranged photos, and will have fewer n this post than I was otherwise going to have, and the rest will be posted every day or two (the posts are already set to auto-post, so expect a new post on Monday¬†at 1pm PST, Tuesday¬†at the same time, etc.) in smaller posts that will hopefully not have any issue posting.

Monday: Lining
Tuesday: Cuffs
Wednesday and Thursday: Back and lapel details
Friday: Miscellaneous

Those are all already done and scheduled, and I’ll be biting my nails waiting to make sure they post without issue.

Expect this post to be something of an overview with more photos for each part in the coming days. ¬† One day will be more photos of the lining, another will be cuffs, another of buttons, etc., which will also make it easier to find the specific part you’re looking for.

I was also planning to make this coat as part of making this post, but then had the brilliant idea (well, “brilliant”) to have it be a make-along. ¬†I’m likely heading back to Paris at the end of this year, and, if I do, I plan to try tracking down more of the metallic velvet I got before. ¬†If anyone is interested in that, it was¬†‚ā¨75 per meter, and sold in 3-meter lengths, and I charged the actual cost converted to US-dollars. ¬†It’s not cheap, but it’s perfect. ¬†I got some for myself as well as for one of my followers. ¬†Once tickets are booked, for those who are interested, I would ask for a refundable-if-not-found deposit, and fabric would be distributed on a first-signed-up order. ¬†I’m regretting not choking down the cost of a few more lengths, but I was already over my baggage weight limit. ¬†Having me get the fabric wouldn’t be required to participate in this make-along.

So let’s start with the lining and the hem. ¬†The lining is a simple silver lam√©, and it’s serged with cream. ¬†I’ll be honest–I don’t serge enough to know if that’s a 3-thread or 4-thread, though it looks like a 3-thread. ¬†(I serge so rarely that I got a Baby Lock Imagine since it adjusts all the tensions automatically, and I suuuuuuuck at that part.). Click on any photos for larger versions.

The bottom of the coat looks like it’s been light-damaged. ¬†Yes, light causes damage. ¬†This is why flash-photography isn’t allowed. ¬†The flash from one camera seems like it wouldn’t do anything, but over time, all those flashes add up. ¬†But it does make the hem of the velvet easier to see as well, and it’s also serged, but with navy. ¬†You can see in these photos that the backing is woven, not knit and the metallic fibers are also easier to see. ¬†In Monday’s post, you will see some tulle that I suspect was used for display purposes.

Movin’ on up, we get to some buttons. ¬†There appear to be already-made buttons, nothing custom, and that makes sense. ¬†Unlike the broach, this isn’t a detail that will get much notice. ¬†There are two in the back, and one in the front. ¬†more on that in a bit. ¬†In place of a coat vent, there are three pleats under each button, and this piece is cut separately. ¬†In the first button photo, the seam is clearly visible.

Next up: Cuffs. ¬†I really want to show more of these in this post, but am not wanting to come up against whatever limit on files there is. ¬†So more photos will have to wait for the cuff page scheduled for Monday. ¬†The bottom of the cuffs are gathered tulle with a gorgeous soft black lace. ¬†It looks like silk, but no silk was used. ¬†This Is probably rayon. ¬†It’s too soft to be nylon. ¬†All over this, following various parts of the design, is glued-on chunky black glitter and small black short bugle beads. ¬†The beads are glued as well, but mixed in with the glitter and sprinkled on the glue.

The top of the cuffs are cut pieces of lace that wrap around, but don’t go around the back. ¬†The method used on this lace will be shared in the section below about the back and lapels since it’s the same method. ¬†Simple plastic buttons in shiny peacock colors are used. ¬†The faceted mold is meant to look like crystal.

The third button is on the front. ¬†Look below the cravat (as pointed out, it’s technically a jabot). ¬†The coat covers left over right and closes at that button. ¬†I’m going to speculate that the button is decorative and that it likely covers with concealed hooks and eyes.

The collar is a standing collar with a fold.

Now to the big part. ¬†This is going to be a very quick overview since there are so many photos of this that I’d definitely hit the file cap. ¬†On Wednesday and Thursday, these dozens of posts will be metered out. ¬†Notice, at least quickly for now, that the sleeves are gathered in the caps, not tremendously so, but enough to help pad out the lace that falls over it.

The trick here is that hot glue is drizzled all over lace (it’ll stick better to the netting of lace than to velvet) with chunky black flutter, small sequins, small black faceted beads, opalescent round and oval beads, deep green and blue leads that look like broken pieces of glass (definitely aren’t, though!), 4mm faceted black beads, and shards of plastic beads that look like shattered mirror pieces scattered all over it. ¬†Just go full ham on this. ¬†You can’t overdo it. ¬†No, the beads aren’t sewn. ¬†Look at the shattered-mirror piece in this first photo. ¬†You can see the hole, and there is nothing through it. ¬† About halfway down, about two-thirds of the way to the right, is a black bead with a hole, and you can, again, see that there is no thread. ¬†While the method is just about as cheap and quick as possible, it manages to work without looking cheap. ¬†It’s perfectly Jareth, and reflects the concept of being shattered and broken, a sense of vulnerableness crossed with rocker glam. ¬†To me, it feels like tis goblin king living a simple, yet complex existence, dug up whatever he could pull up in an attempt to seduce this young lady he’s fallen for.

Keep a watch here this next week for the rest of the posts. ¬†As said, they are ready and waiting to auto-post. ¬†I have the text all saved. ¬†If there are any snafus, I’m ready to tackle them.