my sewing weapon(s) of choice

as i was browsing through other seamstresses’ blogs some time ago, it suddenly occured to me that i’ve never shown my sewing knickknacks to anyone. i mean, other than my husband and his family who had sometimes came to our place while i was sewing, no one has actually seen my sewing weapons of choice. other seamstresses would lovingly take pictures of their ongoing projects, along with their lovely sewing machines and sewing accessories, and fabric collections, and whatever else… whereas i would usually just take pictures of the finished sewing project. just for my own recording (in case i move on to much better weapons in the future… right) and for fun, i’m gonna give a small tour to my sewing land and its inhabitants.

workshop

my so-called sewing land is actually our living room. where is my sewing machine, you ask? it’s in this mirrored closet.

insidecloset

many years ago, i sewed a cover for it using a heavyweight cotton fabric and ‘coated’ it with adhesive plastic so that it would be easy for me to clean it. nowadays that i keep it inside a closet, it doesn’t seem necessary to put a dirt-proof cover, but it still helps so that no dust will rest inside the machine (since i generally hate cleaning my machine). when i’m about to sew, i would just put the sewing machine on my desk and start sewing. when i’m done, i (try to) clean up the table, put the sewing machine back under its cover and back to the closet.

machine cover

and this is what the machine itself looks like.

machine

it’s a real basic sewing machine, bought when i had no experience in sewing at all, so of course i chose the cheapest yet one that still has quite okay quality. it has now served me for almost 7 years. :’)

anyway, if we go back to the mirrored closet… on each side of the sewing machine, you’ll see some plastic containers. they contain… my lovely fabrics. and there’s another one of those on the top shelf… and even more fabrics are still in their plastic bags at our storage downstairs. 😀 perhaps now you’ll truly understand when i say i’m addicted to fabrics.

closet

next, we move on to the sewing accessories. they are mainly kept in one compartment of this bookshelf right next to my desk, and some are in one of those green boxes kept on the same bookshelf.

accessories

my ‘starter kit’ i got from Jakarta, thanks to my mum, consists of fabric scissors, coloured carbon copy tracing paper, tracing wheel, chalk, and seam ripper, and white sewing thread. those were the first things i got. then i realized i needed sewing pins (doh!) and transparent pattern paper (for tracing patterns). so i got those here instead. another important thing to have: sewing machine oil to clean your sewing machine once in a while.

accessories2

the small box on the pic is a second ‘starter kit’ i bought from Lidl, and let me tell you, it’s very handy to have one of these! once you start sewing passionately, you start to realize how annoying it is to change the thread on your lower bobbin if you only have 3-4 bobbins. you need at least 10 or 15 bobbins. and the small fabric scissors are easier for me to maneuver, so if i’m not cutting thick fabrics i actually prefer to use these small ones.

so, you’ve got the sewing machine, the sewing accessories, the fabrics… what else is missing? well, for me, the answer would be clothing patterns! i guess it’s a different matter if you can draft your own pattern, but since i’m still learning, having ready patterns is a big help.

minidrawer

just like fabrics, i’m also addicted to patterns. like… seriously. see this mini drawer? well, the only drawer that does NOT contain my patterns are the top most. there must be around 200 patterns in total, give or take.

patterns

most of them are Burda patterns. the vintage patterns were from the lovely writer of Indonesia In My Pocket blog. since there are soooo many of these patterns, i put them here in numerical order and made the inventory/list on my computer based on what type of clothing the patterns are. so if i want to make, say, a dress, all i have to do is type “dress” and it will show all dress patterns that i have (= a lot!) for me to choose from. the other patterns are my own tracings from my Japanese pattern books and BurdaStyle magazines.

oh, right, my Japanese pattern books and BurdaStyle magazines. they’re here on yet another bookshelf.

patternmags

and then, as you may have noticed from my finished sewing project pictures lately, another important part of my sewing life is my twin.

dummy

since i am still learning to make my own patterns, draping the fabrics on my twin aka dummy is the dumb way to learn how to actually make the clothes. it costed around the same as my sewing machine, so yes, this and my sewing machine are one of my most prized possessions!

i would still love to someday have a better sewing machine and also a serger (overlocker), but since they cost so damn much here–even the used ones–i guess i’ll still have to make do with my lill ol’ sewing machine. 🙂

and that is all! actually, looking at these & writing these down made me worry a bit. have i probably gone a bit overboard with all those patterns and fabrics? but then, remembering the other seamstresses’ blogs, i guess not. and my co-workers actually also have the same problem as me. 😀 as long as i keep creating things from these fabrics and learning at the same time, it can’t really be a bad thing, can it? after 7 years of sewing, i think it’s safe to say that this hobby of mine is not going to die away anytime soon, so i believe that all these things are good investments and they’re all for a good cause. 😉

(back to) 1 year

exactly this day, one year ago, for the first time, i finally stepped in to the house where we have now been living in for a year. we had packed our stuffs for days before that, and on this day, one year ago, i actually went to work just ‘normally’.

but instead of going home to our old house, i was supposed to come home to this new one. since our stuffs were still packed, i could not even go straight home to our new house yet. instead, we ate dinner first at my mum-in-law’s. all the while, i was so excited to see our new house, and everyone else on the table were saying how it (our new house) looked so nice. all i wanted to do was eat quickly and go ‘home’.

and we eventually did, of course, and my husband let me open the door myself.

when i did… i felt like Dorothy when she opened the door of her house to see the colourful world of the Munchkinland. 😀 well, okay, of course i’ve seen colours everywhere, it didn’t suddenly turn technicolour just after i opened the door, but it was like seeing a new world i had not been into, though the packed stuffs all around the house were familiar.

the night continued as we cleaned the house, and then unpacked, unpacked, and unpacked. we had to return the rented moving boxes in 2 days time, so there was a deadline. the next day was spent for more unpacking and a bit of arranging the furniture. when the man from the moving company came to collect the boxes, everything was in place, the boxes were all empty. we were so proud!

and that was the beginning of the count for this new house.

ever since then, we have added more stuffs, rearranged the furniture again multiple times (= my husband’s hobby. sigh), also of course gotten to know the surrounding area by going out for walks and biking.

so far, we’re loving this place. there are tiny minuses about the area itself (compared to our previous one), but they are easily compromised by the so many other pluses of the house itself.

the funny thing i just realized after taking these pics was that when i was back in college, like, 14 years ago, i had this dream/obsession about my future house. i would flip through the Ikea catalogue, write down a list of things i would like to have in my future house, and i dreamed that the theme colour of my house would be all white.

lo and behold, 14 years later i am living in my dream house. 😀 almost everything there is from Ikea, and at least our bedroom & my workspace is almost completely all white (to be completely honest, the colour theme of our house is black and white, but the black is dominant in my husband’s workspace). strangely, my instinct when we go shopping for our house was to get colourful stuffs (because i love colours), but my husband always reminded me that i can still be colourful in the clothes i wear. i’m glad he did that, because otherwise i wouldn’t have even remembered about the dream house i had wished for when i was younger.

so here’s to one year of living in our new place, and hopefully many happy years to come!

parting gifts

partinggiftswhen i decided to accept the offer of being transferred to another workplace at the end of last year, i was excited, but also nervous of what would become of me. will i like the new place? i mean, REALLY like it, that i would stay there for as long as i stayed at my old workplace (5,5 years) or even longer? did i make the right decision?

and then there were the colleagues. they were the first colleagues i have ever had here in Finland, some of them i’ve worked with for as long as i’ve worked at my old workplace. will i be able to make as good friends with my new colleagues as i did back there?

i thought it would be an easy thing to just pack my stuffs from the old workplace and go to the new one. but when one by one my old colleagues started to give me parting gifts, i began feeling that maybe it wasn’t so easy after all.

it started with chocolates, because it was nearing the Christmas time anyway, and usually we would give one another some chocolate as a friendly gesture. and then the next thing i knew, they started giving me other things: a Moomin Christmas mug, candles (so many of them, and yet we’ve used up most of them that i couldn’t even take pics of them anymore), earring (just one of a pair, because she knows i love asymmetrical/unidentical things), shopping bag with bikes pattern (because she said she got reminded of me when she saw it, since i only learned how to bike about 1,5 years ago), a wooden box with ceramic decoration, Melli Mello zebra napkins (because i told her that the design matches our black/white-themed interior) and tealight candle holders.

i’ve always wanted a Moomin mug! and i’ve always loved Iittala design (the tealight candle holders)! these gifts were all just perfect, and they’re all especially for me! :’) i wanted to cry. thank you again, all of you, dearest colleagues! i’ll always remember you when i see these things in my house. 🙂

after all these, it felt like Christmas came early for me, so much that my husband & i decided not to give each other any gifts last year. instead, we got ourselves a little something to add to our new house.

owngift2the classic paperdoll was a greeting card i got for one of my parting gifts. i just had to show it, since it’s SO ME! i’m crazy about paperdolls! but anyway, the Christmas present we got for our house was the soft fluffy white thing underneath the paperdoll & my feet (= that pink/black stripey woolly thing).

owngiftit’s a very nice carpet that goes with our living room. FYI, we’ve always only had the kind of carpets that aren’t hairy (?), and they usually have some kind of graphic/pattern. now we decided to “grow up” a bit and get a solid-coloured one, and hairy. and we love it! it’s so soft that all we want to do is just brush it with our feet (yeah, we’re kinda silly like that).

now it’s been about 2 months that i’ve worked at my new workplace. it’s been going OK, though i still have quite a bit to learn & some things still need getting used to. sometimes i get down at work because of something silly, but then i would remember the parting words from my old colleagues and get positive again by thinking that one day, i will be as good as i was in the old place. one day, my new colleagues will also be my “old” colleagues, and they too will mean a lot to me like my old colleagues did.

yesterday was the end of my winter holiday. and to say goodbye to the holiday, my husband & i also got some “parting gifts” of our own!

booksahem, looks like Christmas came late after all. :p

we blame it on the crazy sale at Akateeminen bookstore. it began last Friday, we’ve just spent a day in the city and decided to stroll over to the bookstore, thinking we would flip through some magazines & books just for fun. (yes, we’re geeks, going to bookstores is our fave pastimes.) and then i “accidentally” found The Casual Vacancy hardcover book with a 5€ price tag. excuse me?? 5 euros?? and i haven’t read the book. so, quickly i went to the cashier… and was almost flabbergasted when i only needed to pay 3€. it turns out that on top of already discounted prices, they added another 40% discount.

so we went there again yesterday and went all out. the Dog Breed book was something for both of us, and the final price was 8.94€. now we’ll have no problem identifying dogs anymore! 😀 the Contemporary Fashion Design and the 100 Years of Menswear books are for me, which costed 5.94€ & 7.14€ respectively. the Computer and the Aircraft books are for him, priced at 11.94€ & 5.94€ respectively. and i mean, these are all thick books with hardcovers, except for the fashion books. and they are all published circa 2012-2013, so yes, they’re NEW new. —> !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we’ve never gone this crazy before for books, but it was definitely worth it! (the sale is still going on until this Friday, do check it out! unfortunately during the sale season, they don’t ship anywhere outside Finland, but for Finnish residents, the shipping fee is free.)

so bye bye holidays! thank you for the great fun! see you again in the summer!

rewind & replay

it was a hot and humid night, just like any other night in Jakarta, Indonesia. we had a chat-date, as usual, but he had good news for the night (evening for him, night for me): he had seen the house that was going to be ours.

it was September, 2006, and  i was excited about everything. my sister was expecting, i was getting married, and i was about to move to a new country… so many things to be excited for!

since i was going to move to Finland, he had to look for a place for us  to live in, fast! after about a  month of searching and applying, we were finally offered this one. he went to the place right away, and took some pictures for me. he showed them when we met online. there was the bedroom, there was the bathroom, there was the living room, the kitchen, and a small balcony. they were renovating it a bit at the moment, so we could see people working on the floor, etc. so what did i say?

i said, i love it. i did love it, and the price was perfect, too. it was a good place, quite close to the train station and a shopping mall, so yes, yes, take it!

October 2006, he moved in to the new but empty house. we would see furniture websites together from our own computers at opposite parts of the world and try to decide what furniture to buy. we had found the perfect bed earlier, and his dad graciously said he would get it for us for our wedding gift. so as he moved in to the house, he went to get this bed too, and assembled it so he could sleep on it already that same night. when we met online that day, we quickly searched the internet again for a nice, non-expensive dining table + chairs, so he could eat his dinners there.

when October ended, the waiting for me also ended. i managed to greet my little newborn niece and spend time with her for 2 weeks before it was finally time for me to go abroad.

it was early in the morning, November 1st 2006, when i had to leave my parent’s house, the house i’ve lived in for all my life at that time. my niece was crying, my sister tried to calm her down, but with a quick hug and farewells, i was gone. my parents took me to the airport, where some of my uncles, aunts, and my cousin also were, and after the smooth check-in, i hugged all my family members… and off i went.

the whole trip that day (and night) was bittersweet. i would cry for some moment, and then i would feel elated the next moment. i was sad for leaving behind my old life, but i was happy to start a new journey. i was sad for leaving my parents and sister, but i was happy about being reunited with my husband.

about 20 hours after i left my hometown (including the wait in Singapore), i started to see it. the white land down below. we had just passed Russia, and as the plane came closer to the ground, the windows started to be frosty with ice. it had been snowing the day before in Finland, perfect timing for welcoming little old me!

after getting my luggage, i headed out, and he was there already, waiting for me. 🙂 then i knew, everything would be alright.

we arrived early in the morning at our new home, where he had been living for the past month. it was just as i pictured it would be in my mind, except that it was still empty. there was only our bed, the dining table and chairs, and one tiny desk with his work chair and his laptop. nevertheless, it was perfect, because it was ours.

it took us a while to completely decorate the house, and when summer came, each year, we would try to jazz it up a little: new curtains, new foot stool, new table here, new lamp there.

and then, out of nowhere, this happened. as we went to look for solutions, one idea came up: moving to a new place. the timing was perfect, again, as we got an offer for a new place almost right away.

due to some problem, i again couldn’t make it to see this new house, and only my husband went to see it before we agreed to take the offer. just like before, he sent me the pictures. it was so strange, two times of us choosing our house, it was always the same thing: he had to see it alone and i could only see it from pictures. but perhaps it was all it took. i loved what i saw, and yes, i could imagine us living there. so yes, please, take the offer!

and so it happened. October 2013, almost exactly seven years after my husband first came to live at our first new house, we moved to our second house.

now, November 2nd 2013, exactly 7 years after i stepped out of that plane that brought me here, i am typing this from our new home. it is just as wonderful as i thought it was (from what i saw from my husband’s pictures), and right away, we feel right at home. we were sad, of course, to leave our previous house, but the last few months of living there were just pure hell, that in the end the move seemed to be the best solution. now we could finally feel like we actually do have a place called home again.

with this move, there are other things that need to change as well, but that’s okay. the last time i had a journey to the unknown, i ended up with big happiness and satisfaction. this time, though the journey seems smaller (i’m not moving to a new country or anything), i feel that it is time for me make that change. start anew again.

yes, i am ready for this new journey. 🙂

wishlist #3 – for home

i know, i said that i won’t publish any blog post for a while, but i guess i lied.

i just got too excited now about the possibility to redecorate our house (after more than a month of living in this junkyard) that i made a simple wishlist. and just like wishes often are, these things are wayyyy too pricey for our budget, but anyway: it’s okay to dream. 😉

wishlistforhome

note: images are not mine, only borrowed from their websites (which i will give links to, below)

i often notice quite a lot of similarity between Scandinavian/Nordic and Japanese design. they’re usually very simplistic, functional, and the colours are either white, black, or natural wood. and i LOVE them. thankfully, my husband also love them, and even said once that he couldn’t think of getting something for our house that’s NOT Scandinavian/Nordic or Japanese. 😀

so now please allow me to explain my wishlist, in clockwise direction, starting from the top left picture.

1. Marimekko Pirput Parput floor cushion. i’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with Marimekko, a Finnish design brand, mainly known for their bold & colourful patterns. with their patterns, they design interior stuffs and also clothes. for the longest time, i’ve always dreamed of having a living room with no sofa at all, just a big cozy carpet and lots of cushions… including floor cushions. don’t ask me why, it just feels kind of nice to sit on the floor. this Marimekko one steals my heart (though i’m afraid somebody has to steal the cushion for me, because it’s certainly out of our budget).

2. Iittala Vakka stackable boxes. Iittala is another Finnish design brand, mainly for glass and porcelains, but they also design other stuffs for home (you’ll see what i mean soon). this one is just a very sleek and nice-looking box for keeping small stuffs or whatever, but when you stack multiple boxes together, they look like a small table.

3. Iittala Meno felt bag. right, so how did a bag end up in my wishlist for HOME? well, because this is actually meant to be put on the floor, to collect your magazines and newspaper, or your knitting stuffs, etc. this is made of very thick & hard felt, which is also actually strong enough for you to put your groceries in if you want to carry it to the supermarket. i WANT!!

4. Ikea Regolit floor lamp. i definitely won’t have to introduce Ikea to any of you anymore. so yeah, this is a floor lamp that is quite huge in real life, and the paper-lantern shape is just nostalgic for me (used to have something like that at my parents’ place, i believe). i love the curved stand, it reminds me of a fishing pole, and it also almost gives the kind of relaxing/peaceful feeling to the whole lamp shape. (yeah, i know. it’s just a lamp, for crying out loud! but still.)

5. Kartell Componibili storage unit. this one is NOT Scandinavian/Nordic nor Japanese, it’s actually an Italian brand. seeing the picture along with the Marimekko Pirput Parput floor cushion at a website made me want to have them both, so that’s why it made its way to my wishlist. 😀

6. Artek Kanto magazine rack. this is, like, some ‘luxury’ brand of Finnish design, created by none other than Alvar Aalto himself. this has the same kind of purpose as the Iittala Meno bag, except that you can’t  carry your groceries in it. :p other than magazines, you can also put wood logs for your fireplace (not that i have one, but thanks for the idea).

7. Marimekko Oiva/Siirtolapuutarha teapot in Räsymatto pattern. i’ve wanted this teapot for years now. in my opinion, this is like the perfect marriage of Finnish and Japanese design. *sigh*

8. Iittala KitchenGarden table garden. i’m not a plant person, AT ALL. in fact, i have a teeny weeny phobia of plants. that’s why we don’t have any plants at our house. yet. but this one actually looks nice. and the most important thing is, the plant is in a CAGE. haha! well, actually, this is supposed to serve as a “jar” to the herb you’re planning to plant, or when you buy a ready-packed/potted herbs from the supermarket (they sell them a lot here). the idea is that you put this on the dining table (or kitchen), and when you need to cook/use the herb leaves, then you can just pick some of them from this thing, and then put the lid back on so it stays good (and sterile. another important thing! especially for when you make salad, or anything that you don’t need to cook the herb leaves). nifty, isn’t it? i wouldn’t mind that at all!

9. Muji aroma diffuser. Muji is a Japanese brand of no-brand. the name is actually short for Mujirushi Ryoohin, which literally translates to “no brand quality goods”. anyway, we saw this aroma diffuser on our short trip to Stockholm this summer, and we both kind of fell for it (but didn’t buy it back then for some reason). it can serve as an air moisturizer too, i believe, and that would be very handy for Finnish winter! (= extremely dry weather.) it uses ultrasonic waves to vaporize water, and it has a built in lamp so it would also look nice in the dark.

and that’s it. if you’ll excuse me, i’m gonna continue on dreaming about these things now.