SSS

… stands for a Surprise Short-trip to Singapore!

just like the name, it was a surprise trip–not something we planned for from a long time–and it was short. the main idea was just to meet my parents and spend quality time together.

and that we did!

and because that was the main idea, i don’t really have much to tell about the trip itself, nor that much pictures. we mainly stayed in, going out only to get lunch and dinner, talked & played cards. might be boring for you to see, but it was so much fun for us. 🙂 most of the pics we got was from our last full day together, when we visited the Botanic Gardens, the only place we went to other than restaurants/grocery stores. 😀 (okay, we also went to Mustafa Centre, of course, but that doesn’t count.)

though the jetlag left us tired but it was at the same time so refreshing and came at just the right moment when i was so fed up with work. i miss my parents again already now, but hopefully our next gathering isn’t too far away from now. 🙂

happy summer & mid-year (and soon midsummer), everyone! ❤

PS. the pictures were taken by 4 different people and 5 different cameras, hence the quality differences.

my 2016 in sewing

last year for the good half of it i sewed as i normally did, guided by my passion. but then for the other half of the year, i started to veer into a whole different direction: only sewing what i needed. truth be told, i don’t think i actually need anything, which is why i haven’t touched my sewing machine for a while now. it pains me for not having any sewing project, but it pains me even more to sew something that i know i am not going to wear. so in order to ease up the pain, here’s my regular ‘end-of-year’ list of what i had sewn in 2016.

that was a total of 17 sewing projects, out of which only 10 are repeatedly worn throughout the year. i could have saved my energy and time just to make these 10 useful ones instead of 17, though of course to be fair i think i learned something out of the 7 non practical ones as well.

6 items were done without any pattern, and 3 were done completely out of some ready made patterns. the rest were done by modifying ready made patterns.

in 2015 i figured out what sewing actually meant for myself, and 2016 was a journey much like that. while i will always love fashion and sewing, and figuring out how to sew something or some shape i want, i took a deeper journey within myself and found that i don’t always have to turn my ideas into being.

i grew up and lived for a long time in a big city. a big city that, as i grew up, tells its people more and more to buy this, buy that, you need to have this, you need to have that. it’s not just the advertisements (which are literally everywhere), but also the people in it. as if not having this or that means you’re poor, or worse, you don’t even belong in this city.

and then i moved here. i don’t live in a big city anymore, though for many years i think my mindset was still the same. i needed this, i needed that, and i had always wanted to dress up differently than others, so the cheapest & best way to do that (other than thrifting) was to learn how to sew. i was excited about this newfound hobby for 8 years, and sewed whatever idea i had in my mind. i had an unsatisfied hunger for new and trendy clothes, and was feeding my hunger by always sewing what i envisioned.

i’m not in any way saying that this is a bad thing. but when i really think about it, count the things i actually wear versus the things i made over the years…. i was suddenly overcame with the feeling of having given births to stillborns (and i apologize beforehand if i offend anyone with this example). i went through all the trouble for things that i couldn’t even fit into my closet, things i ended up not wearing for more than once. that was when i realized i was still the same ‘big city person’, believing that if i don’t sew the latest trends or come up with at least 1 sewing project every month i would be left behind. i had no idea by whom i felt i would be left behind, but that was how i felt anyway.

for a while after that realization, i went through a sort of abstinence period. October and December went without me sewing a single thing. my hands are itching for a new project, but i really need it (my next project) to mean something. i want to feel again what i felt when i first learned how to sew: doing everything nicely, with my full effort rather than ‘just get it done and over with so i can wear it once’. i was calm enough when i wasn’t sewing, and did everything else normally, like reading, etc. but i still have (fashion) ideas, and i still have my own dreams that i want to nurture.

looking back at these pictures of projects i’ve made, i’d like to think that all is not lost even with what i decided to do. i just need to remember what makes me wear an item over and over again, what makes me feel the satisfaction of having completed, and that, yes, they can go hand in hand.

if i have to name my favourite sewing project of 2016 (yes i do, because it’s my own blog!), it would have to be my universe bomber jacket. that was done after more than a month of abstinence, and it felt really good to do something that was completely me and completely useful. i’ve been wearing the jacket a lot lately!

the boyfriend jeans come close at number 2, because i also put a lot of effort to make them my own by the details and they’re the most comfortable jeans i’ve ever had in my life. i wear them like all the time!

the green slit dress is my number 3 because of its simplicity: simple shape, and everytime i put it in the laundry machine & tumble drier, it came out perfect without any wrinkle. no ironing needed! i could wear it straight away again the next day if i wanted to!

the African wax cotton dress is not the most practical dress (it’s stiff and cannot be easily ironed due to its glitters), but i love it so much and have always found occasions to wear it. i once wore it to the COS store and a salesperson suddenly came up to me only to say, “what a lovely dress you have on! and with your necklace and shoes, they all go so well together!” (i was wearing it exactly as in the picture.) since Finns don’t usually comment on one’s appearance (much less a stranger), this was a rare occasion i will always remember!

so i would say that i had a pretty good sewing year last year. time will tell how this new ideology of mine will go, but for now i am satisfied with what i have made so far. i hope 2017 will be that year for me, when i can finally build a bridge between the ‘big city’ me and ‘show me the meaning’ me.

take it slow

in case you’re wondering (which i’m sure you haven’t been doing) where i have gone to for the past month, here is the answer: nowhere. i haven’t really been offline, though i have been lagging in terms of reading other people’s blogs & updates. here’s something new: i haven’t been sewing either.

it’s not another case of depression this time. it’s simply the realization of just how much clothes i have vs how often i actually wear them. sounds familiar?

usually one would have this problem when one buys clothes, cheap ones, clothes on sale, etc. but when one sews one’s own clothes, is that really possible? well, yeah.

you know how it goes. you can’t seem to stop yourself from getting a nice looking fabric–same thing that goes for nice looking clothes applies as well to fabrics–and you end up getting a few too many. and when you finally have an idea to make something, you open up your fabric stash only to find that nothing there is the right one for your idea! you quickly have to go out and get a new one. repeat by a hundred times.

and then you finally get to make what you wanted. you wear it with pride once, twice, and then you already have another idea for another sewing project, and you repeat the same process all over again.

i’m not saying it happens overnight, of course. i’ve only been sewing now for about 8 years, and already i can see that i have a problem. so i started ‘throwing away’ my old(er) clothes that i bought from stores, and by this i meant either giving them up for charity or bringing them to H&M for recycling. but still it seems that my closet is just getting more and more clothes.

i don’t know yet how it’s going to end, but at least i can tell you that i’m trying to reduce it now before it’s too late. i mean… i’m sure we all know by now just how ‘dangerous’ fast fashion is, right? dangerous for the environment and dangerous for the human resources. now if you thought by making your own clothes you can at least reduce that danger, think again. where do you think the fabrics come from? not all of them grow on trees either. there are still human resources, other than you, the seamstress/tailor, involved in the making of that. it makes me sad sometimes, seeing somebody make dozens of clothes a month, either for him-/herself or for others, and this is just because he/she can. of course i can’t tell just how hollow or full his/her closet is, but still… i think it’s wiser to not be excessive in anything, don’t you?

with that in mind, i am trying to be more careful in what fabrics i buy & what i’ll make from them. i no longer set myself to sew at least 2 sewing projects a month or at least 20 projects per year, or whatever, but instead sew something i actually need & will definitely wear for a long time. i hear you, i’m saying “good luck!” to myself as well! 😀

so anyway, to really answer that question as to what i’ve been doing for the past month, here are some things:

  • read the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book. i wish i could one day see the production of this, it looked great in my own imagination! 😉
  • got a short social visit from my uncle and aunt, yay! auntunclenmeit was their first time here in Finland and of course it had to be super windy when they were here. ergh! but at least the sun was shining, the foods were great (i again of course had to introduce muikkuja aka vendace to them), the talks were fun, and i was just so grateful that somebody from the family could visit me!auntnmewe got to visit Suomenlinna – the Fortress island despite the harsh wind, enjoyed our walk in the city and the market square, and also went to the Helsinki City Museum, which is also very nice and surprisingly nostalgic for all of us (even though we come from a different part of the world!). they were really nice 2 days that i spent with them! and hey, that’s the second time this year already that i got to play tourist in my own (new) country!
  • my husband & i and my mum-in-law taught our nephew to say our names, and he succeeded! he remembered who we were, and whenever we ‘tested’ if he knew which one of us was which, he always got it right! and he liked our names so much that my sister-in-law sent us a video a week after that, where it showed that he just kept saying our names over and over again. ❤ that feeling when somebody small who couldn’t really say much of anything yet suddenly kept calling your name is just unbearably lovely!!
  • i learned how to make my first lasagne! also how NOT to make it, LOL. i only followed a recipe though, so it really wasn’t any rocket science. the first time i made it i only managed to put in 2 layers of the lasagna sheet, because the sauce were all already used up, ahahaha…. needless to say, i had to make another one, pronto, and with advices (and okay, a little bit of help) from my husband, i finally got it right this time. lasagne1no picture of the first lasagne because it was quite embarrassing, haha! not that this second one is a good looking one either, but whatever! lasagne2it’s a vegetarian lasagne with spinach and cottage cheese as the main content. it was really good for a beginner’s attempt!

that was pretty much it. of course there are other boring things like going to work and doing house chores some time there in the middle, and oh, watching some series in Netflix, but really… nothing else worth mentioning. :p

it’s time for me to take it slow and enjoy life as it is.

the highlight of 2015

after a dark period in my life in spring/summer 2015, something came up that cheered me up and made me look forward to it. you know how you get excited when there’s something good to look forward to? it gets you going no matter how tough your present day feels like.

this thing is a gift from my mum: a year-end trip to Bali, Indonesia.

before i start, i would just like to say that many people (Indonesian and others) take it for granted that they can be around their families throughout the year. many of the people i know who live outside of their own home countries can visit their home countries & families at least once a year, some even many times a year. those people are quite lucky, and i hope they know it.

the last time i went to Indonesia and met my family was 4,5 years ago. the last time i spent Christmas and new year’s eve with them was 10 years ago. i couldn’t even remember anymore what it feels like to celebrate both events in +30C degrees!

the last time i went to Bali was about 5,5 years ago, and all my life i had only always visited Bali for a maximum 7 day trip. this time, i was there for 2 weeks.

so what all did i do there in 2 weeks, you might wonder. which temples did i go to, did i surf, did i snorkel, did i dive… well, sorry to disappoint you, but both my husband & i had been there as tourists a few times that now we didn’t even do any tourist-y thing. the main point was to just spend as much time with my family as possible, doing everyday stuff that might be boring for some but very precious to me as i can never do it while i’m here and my family is half a world away.

in a true Indonesian style, to be honest we had some mishaps in our trip, one of them was my sister getting food poisoning right on Christmas day and ended up in the emergency room. other mishaps included unexpected traffic jams that lasted 2 hours (it was in front of the Monkey Forest in Ubud), the AC in our hotel room being broken (not funny when it was otherwise +35C degrees outside), and… actually, let’s just forget about the other mishaps. :p because the most important thing is, i was with my family! yay!

the highlight of this trip, and probably of my whole 2015, was the new year’s eve. my whole family & i went to stay at a villa in Umalas, and not only the place itself was gorgeous, but what we did was something i hadn’t done in a long time with my family: sitting down together watching TV, playing cards and dominoes, listening to my dad’s choices of music, having lots of laugh… and when midnight came, we watched the fireworks (& flying lanterns) from all around Bali and hugged each other at 12 o’ clock. 🙂 that was simply priceless.

now i am back here in cold Finland (it just turned -20C degrees right on the day we came back here. thanks a lot, mother nature!), and seeing these pics got me teary-eyed again. i don’t think parting with my family will ever get any easier, no matter how many times i have visited my home country and family over the course of my stay abroad.

but anyway, without further ado, here are some pics of my trip.

first, our hotel, which is more like a lodge than a hotel, since it only has 10 rooms. very peaceful & lovely.

next, the sights we saw and things we did when we visited Ubud. unfortunately it rained every day when we were there, and then there were the traffic jams. but like i said, at least we were all together during those days!

after our stay in Ubud, these were all the other things we did, which was fun for us but maybe boring to you… 😀 some were taken in Sanur beach, some were in Batu Bolong beach, and most of them just around our hotel.

and lastly, our new year celebration. 🙂

that’s it for now, and my, what a lengthy post this turned out to be! again, i wish you all a great 2016! may love and happiness always be with us! 🙂

PS. the pictures shown in this blog post were taken by 3 different cameras & people, but most of them were by my husband and my sister. thanks for letting me use them here!

my 2015 in sewing

this year i didn’t really have any target. which was probably good, considering my unexpected dark moments in the middle of the year. i just sewed when i felt like it, and some of the projects i made this year were quite simple. and yet, i still managed to surprise myself when i counted how many sewing projects i made.

that’s 22 sewing projects in 12 months. whoopee! that is my personal best achievement so far, in terms of quantity.

other than these, i also made 2 remake projects:

whew, that really was quite a productive year!

so let’s see how it went: this year was rather special because i finally got an overlocker, yaay! by now i’ve slightly gotten the hang of it, though i am still wary of handling the threads. a small confession, i still haven’t got the guts yet to only use 3 or 2 threads. maybe next year i will!

also, it looks to me that this was a year of giving. out of 22 projects, 3 of them were gifts for other people. giving a gift is always a joy, but the feeling of creating something out of nothing and giving it to someone else AND they actually use it… it’s priceless. 🙂

what i learned this year, other than using my overlocker, was to make children’s wear. they are tiny and easy, so i might just keep doing them in the future as well!

i also learned how to sew piping (= not a very nice experience). i still have a lot to learn on this one, but yep… i’ve done it!

i learned to love solid-coloured/non-patterned fabrics, which opened a new door to a whole lot of new possibilities! not that i have any new fabrics yet for future solid-coloured sewing project, but i already have some ideas in my head. 😉

lastly, though definitely not the least, i learned that for me sewing should always be to make myself happy. fashion and sewing have been my greatest passion and hobby now for almost a decade (longer than a decade for fashion), and somewhere along the line this year i got derailed when i started comparing myself to other seamstresses and their achievements. i would love to blame it on the social media, since other seamstresses have more followers, they get more comments and likes and thumbs up and whatever else. but gradually, i realized that i had no one to blame but myself.

once i started comparing myself or my work to someone else’s, i would lose my happiness. in fact, i would never be happy, because i would feel like whatever i did, it was never good enough, not for me, not for anyone else.

so i started by not looking elsewhere and concentrated only on my own feelings. what did i feel like sewing? something cute and frilly? something simple and quick? and when i was done figuring that out, i did the project and kept it personal (= posting it only on my blog). if some friends and family liked it, i was grateful. if they didn’t, well, it was okay, because i did it for myself. i was happy when i sewed, and i was happy with the result. that was enough.

nowadays, i have gotten a bit better and started to take a few peeks at other seamstresses’ works. just enough to know what is going on in the sewing world, which i think is healthy, right?

all in all, it was another good year of sewing for me, and i am so thankful for it. i love each and every one of my sewing project, but if i have to name my most favourite this year, it would have to be the layered buttoned-up shirt. maybe it’s because i came up with the idea myself, and managed to do it just right. i’ve been wearing it like crazy ever since i made it.

i hope your 2015 also went well! merry Christmas to all and have a blessed new year!

winner

a lot of times in my life, if not all the time, i feel like such a loser. an unlucky loser. like, when it just so happens that i decided to take the bus because the train was late, and just when i was already waiting at the bus stop for the bus to come, i saw the train coming and it was too late for me to run back to the train station. like, trying to sew the something really nice and cool but still didn’t get featured in a certain sewing community or even any comment from anyone (except from my mum–thanks, Mum!), though i don’t know if that one has anything to do with luck or just plain unpopularity. also, like entering contests and competitions where everyone has the same chance of winning, and never winning anything.

once in a while, i do feel that the wheels turned and i was on top of things. and this time, i want to share one winning experience, because this is supposed to be a positive blog after all.

a while ago, Indonesia In My Pocket celebrated their 3rd anniversary. i swear, the writer behind this blog is just the nicest person i’ve ever known, and the blog is full of interesting things, places, & facts about anything, not just Indonesia. so to celebrate their 3rd anniversary, of course they had a giveaway. when the winner was announced (chosen by a random winner generator), i nearly couldn’t believe that i was the one.

but the package arrived and i knew i wasn’t dreaming.

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when i was entering the giveaway, it said that the prize would be a package full of things from UK and the writer’s travels. since i’ve been following the blog for a while, i have known that her taste in things are quite similar with mine. so it doesn’t even matter what she would give me, i was pretty sure i would love it!

so, slowly and gently, i opened the package…

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indinpocket4

my thoughts up to this point was: aaaaaaah, i already fell in love with these wrappings! must i really open them?? noooo!

but of course i did. i already promised her that i would post them. 😀

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half of the gifts were not wrapped. the chicken stickers are SO CUTE!!

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the other half of the gifts. i was ready to die from too much awesomeness.

the C.R. Mackintosh book made me squeal in delight, for just a while ago there was a blog post in Indonesia In My Pocket about him & his work. the pocket notebook, made by London-based company Pygmy Cloud, i thought was perfect for me aka Silverain because of the design. clouds & raindrops? yes, please! the super cool geometric necklace (that triangular thing) is handmade by Mica, a British designer of the Mica Peet.

after unwrapping these lovelies i was a bit amazed. i mean, i knew that we have similar taste, but how could it be that i felt that the items in this package were so ME, when i won by random? i mean, what if the winner was someone else?

and that was when i suddenly noticed a note tucked under the lid of the package.

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it turned out that she handpicked them for me! (after the winner was decided, of course.) how thoughtful! that really touched me and made me feel like a complete winner. ❤

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ps. this thank-you card’s design is a map, and it conveniently features “Finland” in the center of the card. 😀

HUUUUUUUUGE thank you to A from Indonesia In My Pocket! sorry for the crappy pics, but please know that i love every little thing in the package & am so grateful for our friendship! thanks for making me really & truly feel like a winner. 🙂

on July 2015, i…

1. did 3 sewing projects and 1 remake project. this is all thanks to the rainy summer days right when i was having my summer holiday. summer? what summer? :p

2. turned 34. this time i let it slip on my other social media account exactly when my birthday was, and people actually congratulated me. wow. i mean, even those whom i hadn’t talked to for years. it felt weird, in a nice way. since i just had a slight mental breakdown some months ago, this made me appreciate my life, and myself, a little bit more. so thank you, those who cared to drop me a line & wished me happy birthday. 🙂

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birthday dinner: sushi!

3. went to the family’s summer place & spent quality time with my siblings-in-law, and baby A! he was just so cute & i’ll never forget how he smiled at me when i “danced” with him. during the same stay, i got to have my very first sighting of a wild deer. it just came stampeding in the middle of our summer place one morning, stopped in its track when it noticed me (i was alone, we were about 20 m apart), and then continued to stampede away. unfortunately i didn’t even have my phone to take any picture, but it happened. i felt so lucky to be the only one who experienced that.

mokki

babysitting & relaxing at the same time

4. lost an aunt. she was one of my dad’s older sister, whom my husband had fortunately also met almost a decade ago. she once invited us to her house just so that she could also get to know my husband (then-boyfriend) and took us out to eat. there are countless times when my family and i spent times with her during the Eid al-Fitr & Eid al-Adha celebrations, going on trips to Bandung, and other family gatherings. she was somehow always there, it’s hard to imagine that now she won’t be anymore. but i hope she has found peace now. you will be missed, Bude. ❤

5. was again reminded that i do have friends. so they may not be the same kind as the ones i had once in my life a long time ago, but it felt nice when i met them at a party, after a long time that i had not met them, and the first thing they wanted to do was hug me, and take pictures with me. when i was having my breakdown, i ‘complained’ about the fact that i never have any pictures of myself & (a) friend(s). i felt like i had no one, except for my husband and family (well, they’re always there for me, so they don’t count. sorry!). so imagine my surprise when this happened. i would walk around in the party, and all the time somebody would call me and say, “i want to get a picture of us together!” and ask somebody else to take the pic. maybe to them i will just be in one of their 1000 pics uploaded to FB or Instagram, but to me it actually meant a lot more than that. thank you, for whatever your reason was to get that picture of us together, you made me realize that i am not alone.

collage

i ❤ these people. 😀

6. had my first experience of singing karaoke in front of everybody… outside of my own home town. this happened on the same party as number 5. for those who don’t know, karaoke in Jakarta is just like in Japan, done in private rooms, only to be shared with your close friends/family. well… this is Europe! karaoke = singing and embarrassing yourself in front of the whole bar. or a party. but i did it! HA! though i did it with 2 of my friends, not completely alone. people danced to our song, so i don’t think it was that bad! 😉

7. went to Copenhagen for a day. it was fun!

8. got contacted for a possibility to become a model for a world known brand/company. it was the same agency as the one in this blog post. what surprised me was that they actually contacted me (!!! after all these years!), and the brand/company is THAT famous. this was another reminder of everything i wrote there on my old blog post, that i should be happy with the way i am. though i knew that since it was still a pre-production election, and they only ‘judged’ it solely by our looks, i wouldn’t stand a chance among the other candidates–this is because i never, ever, won for anything based on my looks–but still i felt good about myself. the agency cared enough to contact me & give me a chance, so that was nice. i didn’t end up getting it (just found that out yesterday), which is a bummer since i could really use some extra money (who wouldn’t), but it’s okay. i think maybe the whole thing happened only to remind myself about the fact that i am good enough to even be considered. 🙂

yay, i got through another month! welcome August!

PS. for safety & privacy reason, i heavily edited the pics. obviously most of the pics were taken by other people, and the credits go to them, not me.