bedtime (short) story 2

i haven’t written any stories for a while, but now seems like a nice time to start again.

this is a story i often joke about with my husband. when i first found out what pesukarhu means in Finnish (= raccoon), the name made me giggle. because pesu in Finnish means wash, and karhu means bear. so basically a raccoon means washy bear. that was what first gave us the idea of this joke story. however, in my story, Pesukarhu is a bear, not a raccoon. 😀 hope that’s not too confusing!

meanwhile, kura means mud. since there is no animal in Finnish that has kura as a name (and in Indonesian kura-kura means turtle, ha! but i’m saving the turtle for another adventure), i just made it up as a name for a dog (= koira), obviously playing with the letters a bit, k and r.

so, this is my second attempt to write a children’s story, and since i had an extra time i even made simple illustrations to accompany it.

ladies, gentlemen, and babies, let’s meet: Pesukarhu & Kurakoira.

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Behind a faraway forest, in a small village, a washy bear named Pesukarhu lives. He likes to wash and clean everything he sees; he cleans his own mess, his family’s, his neighbours’, his friends’, and then it’s time to clean his own mess already again. His life is so full of cleaning!

pesukarhu1

He cleans so much that those around him start to complain.

“When Pesukarhu was a baby, I used to have many things to do, because I was the one who cleaned everything,” Pesukarhu’s mother complains to a neighbour. “Now I barely have anything to do because he cleans everything! My life has never been this boring!”

“Tell me about it,” the neighbour rolls her eyes. “Sometimes I have just started to eat and already Pesukarhu comes to our house to wash the dishes. Doesn’t he have anything better to do?”

“This has really got to stop,” says a friend of Pesukarhu, who has lately become irritated by him. “Whenever I meet up with him for fun, he would always just end up ignoring me and start cleaning up the road. I think he’s addicted to cleaning, and I don’t know how to make him realize it.”

It is not long until the unpleasant news reaches Pesukarhu’s own ears. They all want him to stop his cleaning addiction, otherwise he will get evicted from the village.

Pesukarhu tries his best. In the morning he lets his mother clean the windows. But when she misses a spot, he quickly wipes it clean, and before he knows it, he ends up doing all the cleaning again, making his mother fold her hands and thumping her foot impatiently.

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Feeling ashamed of himself, he goes to his neighbour’s house. The neighbour sees him from the window, looking so sad and down. Even when she is annoyed by what Pesukarhu does, she still feels sorry for seeing him sad. So she invites him in for lunch.

Pesukarhu gladly accepts the invitation and tries really hard to stop himself from cleaning the kitchen while his neighbour prepares the lunch. Everything goes well while they eat lunch together, and the neighbour actually starts to become hopeful that maybe Pesukarhu can stop his super-cleaning habit after all.

But when the neighbour accidentally knocks down her drinking glass, Pesukarhu cannot hold it back any longer and jumps to clean it… along with the rest of the floor of the whole house. And the kitchen which he has been itching to clean. All the neighbour can do is let out a deep sigh.

Now feeling even more guilty than ever, Pesukarhu apologizes and runs out from the door. He is beginning to believe that he will really be banished from the village, never to return. But what can he do? Just then he hears somebody calling his name.

“Pesukarhu,” it turns out to be one of his friends who notices him walking alone. “Come join us for ice cream!” the friend says.

Instantly, Pesukarhu’s eyes lit up. Ice cream, who doesn’t like it? He nods to his friends and together they walk to the ice cream kiosk. They start talking about things, and for a moment Pesukarhu starts to think that maybe things are not as bad as he thought. But that is only until they reach the ice cream kiosk and see a little piglet eating an ice cream cone… and as he does so, the melted ice cream starts to drip to the floor.

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Suddenly Pesukarhu cannot take it anymore. He desperately wants to clean the mess, but he knows that once he starts doing that, he won’t be able to stop himself from cleaning the rest of the kiosk. His addiction cannot be stopped. He is sure of it now.

So he excuses himself from his friends and the ice cream kiosk. Before anyone can evict him, Pesukarhu decides to leave the village. It must be better that way.

He leaves in a hurry, before anything else can change his mind, or worse… before he starts cleaning something again. He walks to the direction of the forest, not really knowing where to go or where to stay.

As he enters the forest, he realizes that he may just like it there. Back in the village, Pesukarhu can always spot the uncleanliness among the clean. But in the wild nature, it is different. Sure, there is the ground, mud, and anything else that can be seen as dirty, but they are where they belong. As long as Pesukarhu gets himself cleaned, he is fine with this condition.

Although… after a few hours of not cleaning, Pesukarhu begins to feel different. He is bored… and now he knows what the others at the village must feel when he does all the cleaning. And thinking of them makes him feel lonely. If he is going to live in the forest from now on, who is he going to talk to? Without any cleaning, what is he going to do?

Pesukarhu goes to a river bank and sits down, feeling sad once again. All of a sudden, he hears a bark.

A bark?

Pesukarhu tries to see where it comes from, but all he sees are rocks and trees.

“Woof!”

There it goes again! Now Pesukarhu knows exactly where it comes from. Except that it is impossible, for it looks like a big brown rock was the one who barked. A big brown rock… with a wagging tail.

“Hello?” Pesukarhu greets it, feeling unsure. Maybe he has completely lost his mind.

“Woof, woof!” the rock wags its tail happily. Pesukarhu can actually see its mouth when it barks, which is a relief, because now, finally, he understands it.

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“Come here, doggy!” he calls to the dog. The dog, formerly known as the brown rock, comes closer and greets Pesukarhu excitedly.

Incredible. The dog is so filthy that Pesukarhu at first thought it was a rock. Now from up close, Pesukarhu can see that it is just a normal dog. And a very dirty one as well.

Being a washy bear as he is, Pesukarhu immediately washes the dog with the water from the river. He feels useful once again as soon as he is done cleaning the dog.

“Where did you come from, doggy?” asks Pesukarhu, not expecting it to answer. As he brushes the dog’s fur, he notices that the dog wears a collar. Attached to the collar, is a letter.

Pesukarhu opens it and reads it, and meanwhile the dog is already playing in the mud again.

“To whom it may concern,” the letter starts, “the name of this dog is Kura, and it is named so because its hobby is to play in the mud, garbage bins, and any other dirty place you can imagine. It is with heavy heart that we decided to let it go, because although it is a sweet dog, we cannot keep bathing it every 5 minutes. We hope it will bring you joy.”

Pesukarhu looks up from the letter, and sure enough, Kura is already as dirty as when he first saw him. But instead of getting angry, Pesukarhu smiles. He has a feeling that he and Kura can be best friends.

And so it goes, that Pesukarhu cleans up whatever Kura does, and Kura makes himself (and Pesukarhu) dirty again so that Pesukarhu never runs out of something to do. And the best thing is that none of them is ever tired of the other one. They keep each other happy by just being themselves.

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When he feels ready, Pesukarhu goes back to the village, bringing Kura with him. He apologizes to everyone for what he did before, promising that he has changed because of Kura. Though everybody is sceptic at first that he can really change, they soon see that taking care of Kura–er, or rather, cleaning it–takes almost all of Pesukarhu’s time that he barely has time to clean anything else, and they begin to see that the washy bear and the muddy dog are really meant for each other.

The whole villagers live in peace and harmony ever since, and Pesukarhu and Kura continues to fulfill each other’s lives.

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note: the fiction is 70% written by me, Sax Silverain, and 30% by my husband. the illustration is 100% drawn by me. and i admit, i can’t draw animals. 

a different kind of paperdoll

when i was a kid, my sister & i had these special Japanese colouring books. they were otherwise normal colouring books, except that they were small (about 12 cm wide and 25 cm long), each page only consisted of 1 manga-style woman figure in certain positions, and each page were meant to be cut in 2 places (the cutting line were marked on the paper) exactly cutting apart the head, the torso + hands, and the legs. the idea was that we could mix and match the heads/hairstyles, clothes, and shoes that the woman figure on each page had. it was like a different kind of paper doll. and as a paper doll lover, you can probably imagine how much i loved those books. i could not properly colour them back then (i was probably younger than 5), but i liked flipping the pages randomly and got a random mix & match fashion tip of the day (or more like tip of the minute, since i did it ever so often!).

fast forward a few decades and i stumbled upon this book when i was in Amsterdam last year. it’s called Flip Fashion, illustrated by Lucille Clerc.

Flip Fashion: The Mix'n'match Lookbook

i was drawn to it because, well, i get easily drawn by anything that has to do with fashion illustration. when i opened it… it was exactly like that colouring book i had!! except that i don’t need to colour it anymore, ha! 😀 and instead of 3 parts, each page on this book has 4 parts. that’s more fun!

i didn’t immediately bought the book back then though… but i kept thinking about it, dreamed about it, because honestly, i missed playing with my old colouring book! so finally, a year later, i decided it was time to ‘spoil’ myself with it.

flipfash1another difference is that this book has ‘labels’ on the left side of each page. but i’m not complaining. this was one of my first randoms: Romantic Ivy League Casual Countess.

flipfash2

and then there’s (left-right): Edgy Rodeo Anarchist Chick. next came Sixties Noir Fairytale It Girl. and lastly (for the day), meet Twenties Clubbing Classic Lolita.

i’ve got plenty more randoms, but i’m sure you get the idea already. 😀 this book is my new inspiration bible.

so, the verdict: if you love paper dolls, need fashion inspirations, like finding random things to do with your free time, love fashion illustrations, get this book. or, if you just like randomness, get this book.

i got mine from Book Depository for around 12€ (free shipping worldwide!), and i can personally guarantee you loads of fun.

PS. the cover picture is borrowed from Book Depository page.

PPS. i am most certainly not paid to do this review. 😀 just wanna share the fun!

odd shapes

last night i suddenly realized that i haven’t drawn anything for a while. i don’t mean just doodling, but “serious” drawing. last time i did it was i think at the end of year 2012. wow.

and to think that when i was younger, there was not a single day wasted without me drawing.

so i took a piece of paper and started drawing…. i may have become a bit rusty, but whatever.

oddshapessmall

as i drew this, i could hear my dad’s voice in my head, just as he did in reality many years ago when i was a child. he would criticize how i always draw people. human figures, nothing else, night and day. why couldn’t i draw something else?

i don’t know. nothing else interested me more than the human figures. i like drawing people doing anything and everything (hence i made lots and lots of comics back then), figuring out how a hand or leg looks from this and that angle, what is a possible pose for humans and what is impossible. and of course, i LOVE drawing the clothes. that was the cream of the cream for me, trying to decide what this figure would wear, and what that one would wear.

when i went to the manga course, my sensei often gave me comments on my drawings, like “oh, so trendy!”, because even when we were only supposed to practice drawing human figures from all directions (frontal, 3/4, and back), i made the extra effort to dress up the figures as i pleased. it made me happy that she encouraged me to give style and personality to my own characters by the clothes they wore.

when i went to the fashion illustration course, my mentor told me that i should explore the human figure poses more. back then i was always drawing the same old poses, and he told me to be brave, give stronger strokes & colours, and choose different poses, poses i’ve never done before. he was right, of course. in fashion, you are allowed to exaggerate the poses.

back to the drawing… i didn’t really have any specific theme in mind when i started it. but as i continued drawing, i felt like i wanted to try drawing “odd shaped”-clothings. well, not as odd shaped as some haute couture-kind of fashion, but things i’ve never tried to draw before. so there you have it. i used 2B pencil to draft it, pigment ink to trace the outlines, copic marker to colour the skin, and coloured the rest in Photoshop.

i wonder if my dad was actually disappointed that i never got in to Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) as he, my mum, and my sister did. (yep, they all went in there, and they all went to the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design! except me. :p) i was (am) the only one in the family that has never gotten a formal education in Design.

but then again, i wonder, if he sees this, will he still ask the same question as he did back then. or will he, finally, understands my passion?

failure is not accepted

in my 6 years of sewing experience, i can’t tell you how many times i’ve come face to face with problems that might just make me have to accept defeat and call the sewing project a failure. ask my husband. he knows how many times. 😀

at times like those, i usually stopped sewing (usually from being too disappointed) and did something else to take my mind off of it. then when i felt like i was ready, i would resume the work and try to fix the problem.

up to this very moment, thankfully there is only one sewing project i could honestly call a failure (because i ran out of ideas on how to fix it, and the amount of energy spent on it was too much for me to try to fix it again), and that was years ago. so i’ve come to get used to accepting no failures at all.

some weeks ago, i wanted to make this lovely cocoon cardigan from BurdaStyle magazine (November 2013 issue, pattern no. 107):

cocooncardi

picture from BurdaStyle.com

i had the perfect fabric and time, and while i was doing it, i could already imagine wearing it at work, etc.

when it was done, i tried it on… and found out the problem immediately. it was the wrong choice of fabric. it was too stiff, the kind you would use for coats (and doh, it IS supposed to be for coats, i just thought it would work as a cardigan too). looking for reassurance, i turned to my husband and asked what he thought about it.

this is what he said, “Yes, that’s a nice bathrobe.”

BATHROBE. B-A-T-H-R-O-B-E.

there’s nothing wrong with a bathrobe, except that this wasn’t supposed to be a bathrobe, dammit! (moral of the story: you should never turn to your husband/spouse for reassurance.)

so i tried cooling down my head by cleaning up my work desk, stowing away my sewing machine and fabric remnants etc.. i was not going to give up, but i was depressed since i just spent the whole day sewing something i thought would look cool and MOST DEFINITELY NOT A BATHROBE.

that was when i started browsing for cocoon/oversized coat images around the internet. well, guess what?

cocoonoversizedinspiration

pictures from various sources around the internet

there really are such things as bathrobe-looking coats. 😀

i compiled these pictures and showed them to my husband with triumph all over my face. one, because even if he was right and my cardigan looks more like a bathrobe, bathrobe-looking coats are actually IN (okay, they’re called oversized coats, some are cocoon coats, some are oversized cocoon coats). and two, i may have failed in making a cardigan, but i turned out to be making a coat instead. this counts as a score! 🙂

so i began hatching these ideas on how to dress up my cocoon/bathrobe coat. suddenly i got quite a bunch of ideas, i needed to sit down and draw them. the results?

furcoat1compl

vintage blouse from UFF, self-made top and coat, Zara trousers, studded flats from Dappermarkt-Amsterdam, batik bag given as a gift from my aunt, Miffy watch, jersey fabric worn as headband.

furcoat2compl

Lord Shiva tee from India, loose pants from Dappermarkt-Amsterdam, self-made coat, Bianco shoes, CottonInk tubular shawl, Zara belt, vintage purse from UFF.

furcoat3compl

second-hand shirt from Pasar Senen-Jakarta, self-made top, skirt, and coat, H&M tights, ASOS cage shoes, & Other Stories clutch, Miffy watch.

furcoat4compl

H&M boys blouse, H&M girls dress (worn underneath blouse), self-made tights and coat, Bianco shoes, H&M necklace, Sophie Martin clutch, Miffy watch.

just so you’ll understand why i thought this was the perfect fabric, i have to show it in close up:

furcoatdetail

it’s a kind of furry wool fabric, much like what was shown on the BurdaStyle pic up there. i bought 2,3m of it for only around 15€. seeing how many ways i can dress it up now, as a COAT, not a cardigan, i must say it was way worth it.

once again, i think & i believe i have successfully avoided a failure. 😉

PS. all illustrations are drawn by me using 2B pencil, coloured pencil, and copic pens.

my imaginary spring

it’s April, and there’s still snow outside. the roads are still icy in some parts, and at nights, the temperature is still below 0C degree. it’s hard for me to imagine that spring is really coming, but these things might help:

1. remembering that the daylight saving time has started. that should mean spring is coming.

2. with the daylight saving time starting, the days are getting longer. the sun sets around 8pm. yep, spring is coming, alright.

3. put more colour into your wardrobe. no, better yet, put flowers into your wardrobe. okay, i WANT spring to come, whether or not nature is ready for it.

… if they all fail, then draw yourself a full spring scenery. nothing too fancy, even black and white will do. and…

flowerdress1

self-made dress, & Other Stories straw hat, Swatch watch, gift bracelet handmade by Sekar, Up shoes.

ta-daaah! spring is here!

i used printed viscose crepe for the dress, instead of a knit fabric as recommended for the pattern. i just fell in love, as always, with the print on this fabric. i’m sure you’ve noticed it too, that there’s a faulty on the print, but at 4.50€/m, i’m not complaining. (and come on, it makes my dress one of a kind! nobody else in the whole world would have a dress with faulty print like this!)

the pattern is the no. 3 from the Drape Drape book (vol. 1), Drop-Waist Gather Drape Dress. the whole dress consists of only 1 piece (meaning no side seams, or top and bottom parts… it’s all in one). should be easy, right? wrong.

perhaps it was because of my fabric choice that i encountered problems with the back seam/zipper. when i first sew the dress as was (according to the measurements in the book, i’m a size L), the back seam/zipper looked so terrible. it was loose in all the wrong places, and because the fabric is loose as well, and the zipper is stiff, it made me look like i have 2 humps on my back. i repaired the neckline and resew the zipper 3 times just to get it right. oh, and 55cm zipper is also too long for me. i used 50cm in the end.

flowerdress2

even so, when i saw the dress from the back on this picture…

flowerdress3

… i had to cringe. the zipper still goes right and left in all the wrong places. ah well, but that was the best i could do, and if you had seen what it was before, you’d understand my being proud. :p

the gatherings came out nicely, thankfully.

flowerdressdetail1

flowerdressdetail2

in the original pattern, the hemline is straight. i modified it because i wanted to learn how to make the hi-lo hemline. i think i got it quite right, seeing the second picture from the top. it was a good thing too that i made it like that, because otherwise the dress would be way too short for me to wear. i wouldn’t be able to squat and feed the duck without showing off my butt.

flowerdress4

so, can you smell the spring air now? the fresh grass, the newly bloomed flowers, the moist ground from the rain… yeah, neither can i. 😀

but i’ll hang on to these pictures and imagine that it’s here. soon (hopefully) it really will be!

PS. the background images for these pictures were hand drawn by me.

and then… the holidays are over, the end.

last day of the holidays! argh!

and it’s still… 5 months away till the summer holidays. gulp. let’s hope this year flies by as quick as the last one. amen.

to help pass the time, i guess i’ll write some posts, and i’ll start with announcing that my 6 years of hairdresser-celibacy (= not going to the hairdresser) has finally ended. for 6 years, i promised myself to not step into a hairdresser since i couldn’t accept the fact that a haircut here costs 10 times more than i’ve ever spent on a single haircut back in my home country. i’ve always up to this point cut my own hair, and my husband helps with the back side. but this time we’ve just cleaned the bathroom and my husband refused to help, so… what else could i do? it’s been more than a year since my last haircut, and i’ve had enough of eating my own hair whenever there’s the big wind gushing down on my face. so, to the hairdresser i went.

it wasn’t even that complex kind of a hairstyle that i ended up choosing, because frankly, i felt like i’ve tried every possible hairstyle throughout my whole life. i’ve had long hair, straight, curly, Japanese curly, short, super short, with bangs, parted from the middle, parted from the side, asymmetrical, red, blonde, green, you name it. the only style i’ve never tried was completely bald, but i know that if i had gotten that, my boss would send me straight back home until my hair grows back. so for now, i opted for a nice, normal, parted from the side, short haircut.

yes, i’m happy to report that it was a success. however, i’m not in the mood to post pictures of my new haircut right now, so i won’t. it’ll be posted whenever there’s something else worth posting about. :p

but i’m in the mood to post other pictures.

the illustrations i made for the magazine are now officially out. 🙂 for privacy reasons, i can’t tell you what magazine it is, except that it’s from my home country. i’ve promised to show my illustrations here, but since i only hold the copyright for the illustrations i made, i’m blurring the other parts of the pages. for the other pictures shown in those pages, they’re not mine and i do not own them. aaaand, since there are so many copycats out there in the vicious world of the internet, regretfully i will only show them in small sizes. okay, i know there are so many restrictions, and i do apologize, but one can only be too careful of what one puts on the internet. you’ll never know what might happen one day, and where it will end up later.

so, here they are. 🙂 you can click on each of the picture for a slightly bigger version.

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3

4

5

6

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first i drew them with pencil on regular A4 papers, and inked them using permanent markers 0.5 (for the body & bigger outlines) and 0.1 (for eyes and other delicate parts). for some i also gave shadings using 6B pencil after i inked them, and gave the skin colour using copic pens. and then i scanned them and did the rest of the colouring with the computer, including some of the figurines’ skin colours.

if you see the real thing, you can see that there are actually the star signs of each of the figurine embedded as the patterns of their clothes, or on their accessories, or as the shapes of their accessories. it was a super fun project, and one of the “biggest” illustration set i’ve done for quite a while now. so happy with the result, and even more happy to hear that they (at the magazine) are happy & satisfied with it too. 🙂

i was told that they are also to appear on their website, but up to this point they haven’t appeared yet. well, all in time.

guess i’d better log out now and enjoy the few hours left of my holidays. toodles!

PS. if you ever need any freelance fashion illustrator, feel free to contact me! 😉