Tuesday, 30 September 2014

DIY Couple Rag Dolls

WARNING: This isn't a thorough tutorial as I took bits and pieces from other tutorials and lack expertise

Last week I spent most of my time sewing these cuties for Firu. He's going back to Germany tomorrow and I wanted to give him a memento of myself so he won't forget me. Silly, I know, because he's my boyfriend but that's just who I am. Sewing a doll was something that popped into my head long before I went home but I only looked for the tutorials after I decided to buy the materials. Also, I got pretty lucky for the most part because people were providing me with extra materials left and right. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Since I'm modifying a lot, there are certain materials in the original tutorials that I didn't use and vice versa. I'll try to make this as clear as possible, so here we go.

For the base doll as well as the clothes for the girl, I was saved by Katie's tutorial on A Beautiful Mess. You can start by downloading all her patterns - trust me, if you're a newbie, this will help immensely! - and cut the muslin out. Since I was also sewing a boy doll, I didn't make the faces the same to hers. Mine's pretty simple actually; just sew on two buttons as eyes and a red/maroon thread as lips then glue on a smiley-felt for the girl's lips. The button eyes can look pretty creepy but it reminds me of Coraline so I'm perfectly content. For the clothes, I still followed Katie's instructions in regards of the dress but made a patternless shirt for the guy. Big mistake! I don't recommend you do this. Here's what you should do:
  • Retrace the pattern you used for the dress top on the fabric using a pencil
  • Before cutting, make sure you measure it by putting the doll on top of the fabric and lengthen the top if it seems to be a bit on the short side. Remember, long is always better!
  • Follow the instructions regarding the sewing of the top
  • You're done!
As for the pants, here's what I did:
  • Put your doll on top of the pants fabric and trace the hips as well as the legs area, making sure you leave ± 1 cm between the lines and the doll
  • Cut two pieces of the traced form and hem the ankles and hip parts
  • With the pants still inside out, sew the two pieces together
  • Cut a line at the front leading to the crotch but not all the way through and hem one side
  • Turn them right side out and put them on the doll
  • Put the hemmed side over the other side and sew a button on top of them
I actually put them on first before hemming the ankles and hip area but I find it quite difficult to do - although doing it the other way around might find to be hard too. Please take your pick and choose wisely. 

Oh but we're not done yet! After all that is done, you'll definitely have two bald dolls with jazzy outfits. You've got to put the hair on them though, right? If you don't want to, you can just skip this step. But if you do, I used this tutorial from YouTube. I find it quite easy to do although I think getting thicker yarn would've helped. As I tried to explain in these pictures:
  • You cut a strip from your leftover muslin and lay it out
  • Take a thread of the yarn and start lining it left to right. One side will be the fringe/bangs and the other will be the rest of the hair so make sure you get the length right. They don't have to be the same length but be careful not to get them tangled. 
  • After you're done, sew the yarn onto the muslin strip. This is tricky so make sure you get all the yarn in place. 
  • Then just repeat until you get the thickness that you wish. Mine was 3 layers thick.
  • Now hand stitch the fabric with the hair in place onto the top of the doll's head
  • After it's all set, cut out the extra muslin
  • If you wish for your dolls to have a certain hairstyle, you can just give your dolls haircuts afterwards

So that's how I did it. As you probably would have guessed, I'm not an expert in this by any definition of the word. Thought it would be nice for another newbie to hear from a fellow amateur. Those experts can always make something hard look easy. I know, in learning something new, sometimes we're too afraid to stray from the forged path but don't be scared to try something more compatible to you. Also, I thought you might like to see what I did to the back of the dress so you can see it on the photo above. And I'm not ashamed to show you the botched shirt of the guy doll.



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Friday, 26 September 2014

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Lady


“The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question.” ― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


So do I look an artist yet? A beret always reminds of the artistic type. That being said, I have never owned a beret myself though I consider myself pretty creative. This one was gifted by my best friends from Japan! And it's orange! Double the adorbs-ness. The night they gave me this, we tried out wearing it various different ways but Uli, one of my best friends, ended up saying, "Just google it!" Which I did. Does this look even slightly socially acceptable to you? I think it raises me to a higher class. Feel like I should be in Louvre or MoMA or somewhere, trying to replicate a masterpiece an actually professional artist has once created. Although, having gone to an art school before - theoretical department notwithstanding - I know that art school students don't wear outfits like this anymore. Well, at least not in my part of Germany. They're more up for the hipster, we're-too-cool-for-you vibe. Also, the sketch book I'm dragging around is my actual sketch book that I actually use to draw things - including the sketches for my "book" and my font. You can see the cover that I designed here.

Gifted beret (from Japan!) // Cotton on shirt (Sis's) // drsv symmetry skirt // Kmart pumps (Sis's) // Celine bag (Sis's) // gorgeous photos by my sis

While I wanted to make this look a little artsy, I also want to inject a bit elegance into it. The other item that I really adore from this ensemble is obviously the newly-acquired skirt from drsv. This is a local brand based in Jakarta that I just happened upon at Local Fest. I really love the fact that they make their own patterns. And, trust me, there were some amazing and adorable patterns to behold! They were all origami-themed this time around. There were some amazing and soothing colour palette as well as cute forms inspired by animals, such as goldfish, cats and birds. Aside from the pattern, I fell in love with this cut of the skirt. It's definitely different from what I'm used to. But I thought to give myself a challenge and wear it. The lady at their stand told me that this was meant to be worn around the hips but this size will only go so far as my waist. My sister said, this was way better. What do you guys think?

P.S: Props to my sister, Akita, for the wonderful shots!



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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Local Fest Jakarta 2014

Last weekend my sister and I went to Local Fest at Grand Indonesia, Jakarta. Being a total hermit, I wouldn't have known about this event if it wasn't for my friend Enggar. We were planning to go there together but for one and other reasons, it fell through. Enggar, if you're reading this, I am again so sorry! But thank you for the info because the festival was amazing although I was only there a short time. Enough time to make me go broke yet again. There were plenty of amazing clothing pieces, art deco thingamajigs and adorable footwear. My sister was already rather familiar with some of the stores as she has been here far longer than I have. I fell in love with many of them. Not only clothes, they also had many food stands, mini concerts by local musicians and screenings of indie films by local filmmakers. Too bad, I only had time - and energy - to go through the fashion area. But next year - as I'm pretty sure it's a yearly ordeal - I will want to look at other fields.

As of lately, I have been noticing the rapid growth and development of the fashion industry in Indonesia. Local brands have been decorating local fashion blogs with their names. Plenty of stores open up on instagram and - guess what? - they're pretty popular among society. It's crazy! How long was I gone again? But, I have to admit, plenty of them are still very hard to find. Sure, there's instagram but how are you supposed to know the usernames? This festival was an amazing opportunity to find out new local brand names. Scouting was all about I wanted to do. I promised myself I wasn't going to purchase. But - yep, you guessed it - I ended up going home with two items from two different stores. There's an adorable tote bag fro Koola Stuffa and a quirky skirt from drsv. Please look forward to the styling of both of these items. And remind me not to shop for clothes in the near future, thanks!


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Monday, 22 September 2014

7 Things That Happen Upon Homecoming from Living Abroad

When my sister came home permanently after living in Melbourne, Australia, for around 4 years, she went through a whole emotional crisis back home. At the moment, not having experienced the crisis myself, I thought she was being overdramatic. It turns out, she wasn't entirely wrong. So we both listed these things that will definitely happen when you come home after having a life abroad. It might help some of you go through this phase or help you see that you're not the only one with these problems. It might be fun to see, for those of you who've never lived abroad. Either way, here they are.

1. BITTERSWEET CHANGE
My sister's story: I was contemplating on going home or staying in Melbourne when Dad told me to go home. I already leaned towards staying but the chances are tough there, and here...here I have opportunities as well. But I was still torn because my friends are still there, my way of life was different and the environment I already got used to. I felt lost when I had to go home. I also had to get used to my life here, which wasn't easy.

Okay, so you will be going home. It's a good thing! There are people waiting in your home country for you, such as your family and friends. You had a whole life there before you moved out which you are ready to get back into. But, wait! You realise that a part of your life was lived abroad and going back home means you had to say goodbye to that, just like you had to part from your old life when you left. Personally, when I was packing, I didn't feel sad at all. The last part of my life there was lived unhappily; I was happy to end it. Happy to finally go home and be with the familiar. Later on, however, I understood that there is a huge chunk of my life left in Germany, where I used to live. There is also a great chance that I will never go back and return to that life anymore. Realising this, obviously I was torn. But, at the same time, I eased back into the life that I once knew so well.

2. REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK
My sister's story: This one's a huge shocker for me, especially when I started my job. Mainly, because new places and new people start popping up. When my friends talk about this place or that person - or even the new slangs! - I could scarcely understand. I was completely lost. Not to mention the traffic, what with the abundant amount of motorcycles and the chaotic way of driving. Don't even get me started about getting used to the transport system out here. It's a complete chaos!

As much as you knew your own culture so well, you had to learn to live with the culture of your destination country. And, if you've been living there so long, it starts to get into your blood. You start to get used to it, so much so that you experience a culture shock in your own backyard. All of a sudden, you just don't recognise the culture that was once a part of veins anymore. People go to live abroad and promise they won't change. But that's impossible! Of course you'll change. That's the hope! And your culture will change too. It's only natural. You just need to adjust the new 'you' with the new culture. It won't be easy but it's doable.

3. ROUTINE SEARCHING
My sister's story: Coming home was like being sidetracked; I was still confused of what I was going to do next. But people seem to expect something different and awesome from me since I studied abroad even though I'm still not sure what I'm going to bring to the table. The pressure is unbearable. 

Unless you're coming home after accepting a local job, people will start expecting you to find a new routine. Be it finding a job/an internship or starting school all over again, they will ask you to move out of the house at least a few hours a day. Not just your parents, everyone will suddenly be super curious about your next move. Aside from your parents and your friends, other people will start to get nosey about what you did abroad and why you came home. These two questions will probably be the first ones to be raised the first time they see you again. Then the third will be "What are you going to do now?" I know, it's annoying. I usually give out different answers to different people just to shake it up a little.

4. CULTURAL REFLEXES
My sister's story: When I first arrived home, I sometimes forgot that public toilets have water sprays, I stand at the left side when I am on an escalator, and queueing at the side of the public toilets (while people here usually queue in front of the individual stalls). Eventually, I got used to the water spray in the public toilet (or got used to it again). But sometimes my friends asked why I am standing behind them while there are still space beside them, and I just shrugged it off. But the most annoying one is I often got cut when I am queueing in the bathroom because people simply thought I am queueing "the wrong way".

Like I said, having lived in one place for so long, you start to feel accustomed to the ways of things in that place. Not only the language, which you will surely get so used to you will have reflexes upon it, but also the policies and habits. For instance, even now, I still feel the need to put away the tray after eating at a restaurant like I always had to do in Germany. In Indonesia, there are people who get paid to clean it up. But I still feel bad if I just leave the trays be. You would know that these reflexes just happen without your intention. However, people who have never lived abroad might not. They will think you are stuck up for still speaking in the language you used abroad and for having foreign habits. You might end up being despised for your reflexes. That's okay, because if they are your true friends - experience abroad or lack thereof notwithstanding - they will accept your 'quirks.'

5. HOME DUALITY
My sister's story: I actually wrote a story about this for my assignment, how the idea of a 'home' seems jaded after living a few years overseas. There are times when I struggle between staying and leaving, not really sure where 'home' is anymore. But as I determined that Melbourne was my home, going back to Indonesia gave me a heartbreak because I have to leave a sanctuary that I'd build for the past 4 years.

What many people don't understand about living abroad is that it's not much different from living in your own home country. Sure, the culture is different, the people are different and the way of life is obviously different as well. However, in the end you have to eat, breathe and do normal everyday things to survive. Basically, people who live abroad have to create a home elsewhere. And, when they go back to their home countries, they have to leave the 'home' they created abroad. But having lived so long in wherever they lived, it has become a home to them. Later on, the idea of 'home' will no longer be as clear as before. Their 'home' will become two places at once, which, sadly, cannot co-exist. And their life and their soul will forever be torn between these two places. And, unless you've lived with them out there, you will never understand the longing they feel for another man's land.

6. THE COLLISION OF THE TWO LIVES
My sister's story: One thing that I cannot let go when I moved back home is probably all my uni textbooks, readings and my old assignments. I see it as a 'treasure' that I bring back from Melbourne. It may sound silly, and when I tidy up my room with my mom and sister, my mom even asked "why do you need to keep all this?"

Yes, I did say that the two lives we have in our homeland and in our destination country cannot co-exist. It is mostly because you can't bring all the people you know from one place to meet the people you know from the other. But by going home, you're forcing a part of your new life to collide with your old life. And sometimes, the two don't fit together. For instance, you buy new things because you need them in your new life. But, chances are, you already had them in your old life but it just wasn't possible to bring them into your new life. When you detached yourself from your old life, either the sentimental value of these things or for whatever reasons, you decide to bring them back to your home country, causing the two lives to collide. Or you change in your new life and, as you reunite with your old friends, your new thoughts and principles will collide with that of your friends and the 'old you.' They don't always fit in with each other and this is when all the cutting out begins. A little sad, a little harsh, but that's how it is.

7. EVERYTHING IS FAMILIAR
My sister's story: Despite it all, there are a lot of positive things in my home country compared to Melbourne. For instance, I don't have to worry about food because my mom cooks it for me, I have a driver that will help me go to places I want to visit, and most importantly, I don't have to worry about my residency to stay because I am basically a local resident with a legal ID.

Although you have culture shocks and home duality as you come home, you still can't deny that being back home is so much easier. For one, you don't need to look for a new place to live. Your parents will most likely accommodate your homecoming. You already know the language and the culture so you will most likely know how things work in your homeland. You're already familiar with the environment. And, though new places and new systems might start popping up, you will at least know the old ones. If you don't, you know people to ask about whatever you're looking for. You don't need to hold on to your passports for dear life because you have IDs. Chances are, if you lose those, you can just apply for another one. You've got to admit, life is much simpler where you come from.


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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sister's Sister: Celebrating Unemployment

Q's wearing: Primark dress (mine) // Guy Laroche purse // Kmart shoes // Elle watch // photos by B

Recently, my sister embraced her unemployment once again as her contract has just finished. I know, it could be a strange notion to celebrate unemployment. But after months of hard work, inadequate payment and inappropriate treatments, popping a hypothetical bottle of champagne is more than she deserves. We celebrated by going on a stress-free sisters date a couple days ago. It started with this photoshoot - of course - and ended with a movie. The said movie being The Maze Runner, which I had been meaning to read and happens to have Thomas Sangster as one of the casts. Yes, you can probably tell I was squealing throughout the whole film. Oh, the movie and unemployment aside, this was a much needed quality time for us both. Since my sister started working, moved to a new room due to my disease and started a long distance relationship, we barely ever had any time to hang out anymore. So, yeah, many things to be celebrated with this unemployment. But don't ask us about finances. Just don't.

B's wearing: Thrifted hat + skirt // Vibrantcache top (Sis's) // Gelugu Van Accessories necklace // DKNY purse (Mom's) // ModCloth oxfords // photos by Q

For a second there, it seemed like we exchanged personalities. My sister was always the one with cute shoes, accessories and great sense of style. That was my judgment anyway, being one with a lack of such senses. Not only that, we both borrowed each other's clothes again. This was the first time I put on a peplum top. I don't know why I'd never been tempted to purchase one. Peplum tops do add flares to feminine outfits. I really love the way it looks and feels just above my skirt. It was as if I had fins - the glamorous ones like a goldfish's. Umm yeah...a gorgeous and dry way to feel like a mermaid. Not to mention, this peplum top is lacey! How much more feminine can you get? The purse, by the way, is my favourite out of all our mother's legacies. It was my go-to purse before I moved to Germany. It's so high class/stylish, practical and huge enough to fit everything in. Even my camera! The perfect, classy outfit for the summer.

P.S: Today is my grandma's birthday. Yaay! Happy birthday, Granny! ♥



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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ghosts of Autumn Past 2014

Okay, okay, I know what I said. I said, the last one was the last one. But I thought I'd finish this year first before stopping. Soon it will be autumn in the northern hemisphere of the world whereas in this tropical archipelago I am stuck in an eternal summer. Those golden leaves, the smell of cinnamon and the perfect season to be baking muffins, I will miss them greatly. Heck, I miss them already. Soon the internet will be overloaded with the image of the changing leaves and autumnal rituals. They shall be a great temptation to me but I shall be strong. Oh, scarves, coats and tights. One day, I wish to revisit that time again. Not only that, autumn is the season I part from Firu for Godknows how long. A year, at the least, but two or three is my best bet. He will be in Germany this time next month and I will miss him with all my heart. So, here to all who will be going through autumn. Please use your time well and take at least 15 minutes everyday to appreciate the beauty of this most gorgeous season! (Click on the photos to read the posts!)


Enjoy the golden leaves! 

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