Friday, 29 April 2016

Mix It Up a Notch: Babydoll Batik

The first year of blogging got me all inspired. When I came back home for a while, I had this drive to blog as much as I could and—apparently—design a dress for myself. This was August 2012. I found this lovely batik fabric—which I think used to belong to my late mother, unused and forgotten—in my closet. It was perfect and I immediately went to the drawing table and sketch up a design. Not some designs; one design! At this point, it's safe to say I knew nothing about designing a garment, but I took it to a tailor and he fixed some details and voilà, it's turned into this number. 

First things first, the collar was supposed to be peter pan collar but this was way back before it became a hit, that the tailor couldn't quite grasp it and, well, made it a rounded collar instead—although just as adorable. The skirt consists of two layers—the batik fabric and the black fabric—almost like an apron. It has a zipper on the back and merely decorative buttons on the chest. I absolutely love how perfect it is on its own, that I can both wear it casually and formally. The material is suitable for warmer weather, although the layering makes it compatible for colder seasons as well. It is snug and accentuate my figure. Definitely a keeper.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016


Since today is April 24 and the last day of Fashion Revolution Week, I thought I'd join their campaign, called Haulternative, and show you some of the thrifted items I've accumulated over the last few years. There are some items from flea markets, bloggers and secondhand stores, all of which I have worn and loved. These are not ALL my thrifted items, mind you—as you may know from this blog, but it is all I could fit into this video before it gets too long and boring—man, I could ramble! Please let me know what you guys think! I hope you enjoy it and will join in on the movement too~

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Friday, 22 April 2016

Ethical Fashion: Olive

Since this week is Fashion Revolution week, I thought it was appropriate to introduce you to a new ethical fashion label that I recently found. If you don't know what that is, this week Fashion Revolution is asking revolutionaries to take it to social media to ask clothing brands who made their clothes and where they come from. It is a global movement to commemorate the terrible incident at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013, which swallowed up 1,134 victims. This wasn't the first time something like this has happened; fast fashion has been devouring victims for decades and this needs to stop. To find out more about this, you can read my previous posts here. Which is why it is important now more than ever to support ethical practices instead.

It was first through Larkspur Vintage did I find this wonderful brand Olive. I fell instantly in love with the dress that Alexandra was wearing and decided to check it out. It delighted me to find out that they are an ethical brand—and try their best to maintain the status. Founded in 2010 in the UK—and still based in Regency Cheltenham until now, this brand introduces a large choice of styles by collaborating with various independent designers and combining heritage with modernity with culture as their sole focus. They are very open and elaborate about the way their practice and production is running, including their attempt to be transparent about their work and to monitor their supply chain as well as retailers they work with, which you can easily read on their website. Their main goal is to have their ethical trade grow with the customers, instead of being shoved to the wayside as the business expands.

If there is any label that would be perfect for me, this might be it. Olive can incorporate my love for adorable styles and mix it well with casual wear. With four brands in the shop, each specialising in different parts of an outfit, Olive really offers their customers with unlimited choices. Their minimalistic style is also easy to remix with other items, but their quirky pieces are easy to adore as well. Their items tend to have a summery, soft hue to them, making them look almost Japanese-esque, especially the abundance of flatlays pictured above. It is fairly easy to see that their pieces are unique and designed specifically for them. The best part is, they have something for everyone—even children!

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Monday, 18 April 2016


Photography class has come in handy a lot lately for me to sneak some shots for this little ol' blog. With its abundant field trips in photogenic locations—not to mention the plethora of cameras—it is so hard to resist my narcissistic pull. The other day our class went to Taman Museum Prasasti, which is an old Dutch cemetery—although most of the grave is devoid of bodies now. It is so gorgeous and beautifully laid out, with trees hanging about and tons of classical statues of angels and Christian deities laying around. After we first snapped some photos for our assignments—as field trips are usually all about—I asked a couple friends to help me take photos for the blog. After they all left, however, I decided to stay behind and take some more shots myself. It really brings me back to the good old days, when I used to take photos of myself in the wild—no tripod, no photographer, just me and my lens. The place was so vacant too, on a Thursday afternoon, it really felt like the good old days when I used to sneak around to have some private photo sessions.

thrifted top via weirdoinpink // Picard backpack (old) // vintage skirt // thrifted loafers // Urban Outfitters hat // Sox Galeri socks // photos by various people

In reality, life is keeping me so well and busy that I hardly ever have time to care about what I wear anymore. Blog posts come when they do—although I'm quite happy to say everything goes according to schedule so far. If I'm not doing my assignments, I'm working on other things in the same field. It's kind of nice, I hardly ever have time to feel sorry for myself anymore. But at the same time I wish I had some spare time to work on the blog—overdue blog makeover much? On a different note, I've been exploring life more and more lately. Taking the public transport has opened my eyes to so many things and, hopefully, made me braver. Funny how much easier it is once I decide to do it instead of looking at other people doing it—even during the merciless rush hour, by God. I'm making decisions for myself now and, for the first time in a long time, I remember waking up without regret on my mind. Is it possible that I'm happy—despite all the things that makes me unhappy?

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Friday, 15 April 2016

Not-so-Swedish Mozzarella Meatballs

Ah, meatballs~ They come in different variations across the globe. Here in Indonesia, we usually eat meatballs with noodles and vegetables—and maybe some chicken—or on their own with tofu and a soup of delicious broth. This variety originated from China. There are tons of different kinds of meatballs that we usually eat, such as the smooth ones, tendon meatballs and even tennis meatballs—they're bigger than my first. In Italy, they usually eat their meatballs with spaghetti and bolognese sauce, sprinkled with oregano or basil perhaps. But Swedish I have yet to try. They usually use pork, with white/brown sauce and possibly some potatoes. But this recipe puts a twist on that traditional variety, adding mozzarella into the mix—as well as changing the sauce a little bit. So, if you're Swedish—and, yes, Mona, I'm looking at you—please forgive me if you feel I've ruined your beloved Köttbullar. 

For the meatballs
  • 500 gr ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. tapioca flour
  • 200gr mozzarella, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 6 tbsp. cooking oil
  • a bit of water
For the sauce
  • 250 ml cream
  • 1/4 tbsp. tapioca flour
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Chop the garlic and onion finely
  2. Put the ground beef into a bowl and add the chopped garlic and onion
  3. Add salt, pepper, tapioca flour and egg then start mixing them together well with your hands
  4. Start rolling the mixture into little balls with 3cm diameter each (more or less)
  5. Make a hole in each ball and put in the mozzarella cubes then close off the ball
  6. Move all the balls onto a frying pan, add the cooking oil and let them fry on medium heat
  7. Once one side has fried over, flip them all, add the water, put on the lid and let them sit on low to medium heat for 2 minutes
  8. Afterwards, add the cream and tapioca flour and let them boil
  9. Add the salt and pepper then let them dissolve
  10. Seså! Time to serve!
Tips: Watch the heat to make sure that the cream will not break—like mine does here. Mushroom works really well with this recipe, I reckon. Cut up the mozzarella small enough to fit into each ball or they will leak and melt outside. Careful not to add too much water or the sauce will be too runny and end up being a soup—as you can see here. It's okay not to flip all the meatballs before putting the lid on, but don't let them sit inside the lid for too long. Lass euch schmecken!

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Illustrators Arise: Aufa Aqil Ghani

Hiya there, art lovers! How's it going this fine morning? It's going to get better 'cause I've got some great news: it's time for another edition of Illustrators Arise! Woohoo! In case you're unfamiliar with it, it is where I introduce my favourite illustrators from all over the world every month through an interview so you guys can read along and get to know them too. This month the Indonesian feature introduces a VisCom student who already has quite a following and tremendous artwork. I first found him in a passing, possibly at Pasar Seni ITB two years ago. But it definitely struck a chord as I would remember his style anywhere. Please give it up for Aufa Aqil Ghani! Born in Serang and raised in Tangerang, now Aufa pursues his dreams at Institut Teknologi Bandung, where he spends his free time exploring and finding new things. His hope is to keep on growing as an artist.

Hi there, Aufa! Shall we start with what introduced you to the world of illustration and why you keep on doing it?

Hi! Actually, it all started with my fondness for drawing since grade school up to high school and my drawings used to be very different from my style now. It used to look more manga-ish, since I used to copy from scenes of comic books, such as Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Doraemon, etc. But, since I entered high school, I started getting acquainted with Instagram where I started to discover artists and change my course—so to speak—from drawing manga to trying out many different styles, starting with realism, abstract, etc. Since then on, my curiosity grew bigger and bigger until I decided to apply for the Visual Communication major to explore it further. The reason I keep at it is actually rather simple: I've been swallowed into this world ever since I was a kid and became a daily activity for me. You can say I'm quite ambitious, with the "if they can do it, why can't I?" mindset. If there's someone with better skills than me, I start to learn their technique and take away what I can. From there, I start to develop and grow and, because I love to draw, I really want to become an illustrator. I never do it halfway; I'd like to be one of the best ones in the future.

You are currently pursuing your Bachelor’s degree on Visual Communication Design at Institut Teknologi Bandung, right? What have you learnt from the experience so far, aside from art?
Yes, indeed. Here I study, as the name suggest, visual communication design. How does the visual communicate? I've learnt a lot here: design thinking, concept and other incredibly new things, because I used to be quite blind in terms of design.

What kind of materials do you usually use?
Watercolour, gouache, pen, digital drawing using pen tablet are amongst those which I use most frequently, but I never limit myself and like to explore new media.

Your style is quite significant, mixing colours and black-and-white, with prominent black lines and soft touch of paint. Is there a story behind how you developed this style?

Oh yes, there is. My tool of trade used to be a ballpoint pen, from grade school to high school. I loved black-and-white pieces and never really gravitated towards colourful media, such as coloured pencils, watercolour, etc. However, since high school and I was introduced to Instagram, I found Paula Bonet and Carne Griffiths, who work with paint, I was greatly influenced. I also felt like I could relate to them as I felt I could imitate their techniques with the media I was already using—the pen. From then on, I became entranced in art. At first, I copied other people's style, because by copying there is a degree of quality that you would want to achieve. By doing so, we can get the feel of how the artist uses the media to create their artwork. Aside from Bonet and Griffiths, I also started liking Sha'an d'Anthes's watercolour work. By copying her style, I started getting used to watercolour—along with other watercolour artists I've observed. Do not simply copy from one person, because it would qualify as imitating/stealing, but you should also observe other techniques that you like and develop your own style from there—apart from other styles. In conclusion, my style was developed from my own experience in drawing all this time and combining all the things I've tried out and the media I've explored. I don't think I will stop here, I will keep exploring and find out where my limits are.
Girls and fashion seem to appear quite a lot on your illustrations. What interests/intrigues you about them? Would you consider ever pursuing fashion on a professional level?
Yup, I quite enjoy people's fashion sense, especially since in my campus everyone around me seems to be very fashionable. Actually, it is just one of my explorations in drawing. To be honest, I only draw what I like, whatever that is. Fashion is just one of the things that I enjoy, because I don't want to be stuck in just one thing that I have to draw. I want to be able to draw anything and I hope that I will develop several different styles and do anything in this field of illustration, one of which I hope will be fashion.

Speaking of which, recently, you turned to textile to produce your work. How did this come to be and what are your thoughts on the experience working with this new medium?
It was actually a collaboration with a friend of mine, Atika Rahmi. We have mutual interest in illustration and exploring media. Coincidentally, there was an exhibition using our own products with the theme of design in everyday life and we both thought to implement our illustration into everyday objects, one of them being a scarf, with two designs—one from each of us. You can see one of the designs on my Instagram. I'm very happy to be able to apply my work into a solid, useable object, as opposed to simply letting it hang on the wall. Although it wasn't made to be sold, if there is a demand for it, we wouldn't mind considering to put them up for sale.

For a student, you have gained quite a following on social media. Do you have any tips on how to grow your network or get recognised?
Yeah, I also didn't expect that. I created an Instagram account when I was in 12th grade (2012-2013), which was quite a long time ago, I guess. Unexpectedly, it's gotten this much exposure and following. I'm so happy, because many people like what I draw. Hmm...the tip is to maybe be consistent in posting your work and start getting involved in such events, be it exhibitions or anything. Honestly, I feel quite sad that I haven't uploaded much lately due to my own swamped schedule.
Have you ever done commission work? If yes, what is your most memorable memory of it?
I have, but I don't do it very often. I only do it when I really, really have time to get to it, but I still want to focus first on my studies. Hmm...the most memorable thing, I suppose, is having to draw someone's significant other, when you don't have a girlfriend yourself? Yep, very memorable.

What does the future look like for Aufa Aqil Ghani?
To become one of the greatest illustrator there is, not only domestically but also internationally. And I hope to be able to inspire and help others.

What kind of tips would you give a newbie illustrator out there (such as myself)?
Don't be shy if there is someone who has more skills than you. We can all do it! Explore more, be it with media or style and don't get stuck on just one thing. Keep being creative and do what you like.

A little note from me

There is a certain serenity in Aufa's artworks. He uses the contrast of colour and ink very beautifully, creating a mixed feeling of cheer and calm. The element of nature, which keeps popping up in his illustrations, also offers an organic feel to his pieces. Their disorderly nature quietly disrupts the subtle background of his work, again creating a wonderful contrast. Aufa's openness toward new media and style development is really refreshing. It allows his followers to note that his growth is happening slowly but sure, although he doesn't stray away from things which make up his style at the very core—and also himself, ultimately. The layout of his illustrations offer an aesthetic which can only be found in traditional media paintings, transforming beauty and ideas into something you can only imagine—but he successfully executes. I love how he draw faces in such a way that it generates beauty but not necessarily identity, taking away skin colour and specific characteristics making it seem more general and relatable for everyone who sees it. I'm really intrigued to see more of his growth, because God knows he's capable of it.

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