Saturday, 12 November 2016

New Batch Of Vintage Kimono Jackets On My Etsy Shop

A few days ago, a new batch of kimono jackets arrived. Here they are!

I had picked out some of the best ones during my vintage kimono hunting. Six out of seven are made of silk, while one is probably not. The owner couldn't determine whether it's silk or not. But it must be of excellent quality since the expert of kimono couldn't even tell if it's silk or not. I can't wait to list them on Etsy.

Would like to see how these kimono jackets look like? Check out my vintage & supplies shop Jagatara Art Vintage & Supplies on Etsy.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Colorful Floral Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

I perhaps write very little or even I haven't written much about batik for ages. And maybe I haven't mentioned that I had opened a new Etsy shop when I sell Indonesian batiks and Japanese vintage kimonos. I love traditional textiles.

Well, as per December 2015 (if my memory is correct) I opened a new shop on Etsy. I decided to sell batiks and vintage kimonos, two of my favorite textiles and garments.

I obtain the batiks from various batik centers in Java. These two batiks are from a batik center in the north coast of Java called Lasem. Batiks from Lasem have been known for their intricate designs. It may look crowded and yet the crowdedness make the batiks of Lasem look even more beautiful. These batiks, for example, have beautiful color combinations.

These batiks are all hand drawn, which means the batik artists draw the designs directly onto the cloth, and hand dyed.

First one is floral blue green batik fabric cotton. The background color is dark green with white floral design while the highlight flower design is in blue and yellow.

Floral Blue Green Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

Floral Blue Green Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

Floral Blue Green Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

The second one is just as beautiful as the first one. This one has brown white floral design and the main design are in green and purple.

Floral Green Purple Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

Floral Green Purple Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

Floral Green Purple Indonesian Batik Fabric Cotton

These beautiful pieces can be found and purchased here, Etsy Shop.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Country Chic Crochet Flower French Barrette Hair Clips

The last weeks of September were so nice. The weather was starting to get cooler and much much less humid. I was enjoying the beginning of autumn so much! But I knew that I couldn't stay relaxed enjoying the comfortable weather for too long because soon winter would come. So I'd have to make use of this opportunity to make as many items as possible before the holiday season came.

I completed this batch of crocheted flower French barrettes at the beginning of this month. All are in country chic, shabby chic colors such as soft pink, tea rose, soft purple, blue, coral, turquoise, mauve, magenta. These French barrettes are all listed already on my Etsy shop.

All of them are hand-crocheted and hand-dyed, mounted on silver toned metal French barrettes. It took me about 2 weeks to complete them, from designing, crocheting, hand-dyeing and finally assembled all the flowers into 6 French barrettes.
Country Chic Crochet Flower French Barrettes

Roses and cabbage roses in tea rose, mauve and magenta.
Pink Rose Mauve Magenta Cabbage Rose French Barrette

Turquoise cabbage roses and magnolias.
Turquoise Cabbage Rose and White Magnolia French Barrette
Soft purple roses.
Purple Rose French Barrette
Various flowers including pansies in coral and tea rose.
Shabby Chic Coral and Tea Rose French Barrette

This one is the same style as the above but in different colors - blue, soft purple and tea rose.
Shabby Chic Blue Purple Pink French Barrette

And finally a rose French barrette in coral and tea rose color.
Shabby Chic Coral and Tea Rose French Barrette

Which one is your favorite? :)


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Indonesian Potato Croquettes

One of the Indonesian dishes that I miss the most is potato croquettes.

I have tried Japanese croquettes or コロッケ that I bought from supermarket. It's not bad. But I find Japanese croquettes too plain despite the minced meat in them. Perhaps they don't add enough spices (according to my opinion). I think that having grown up in the spice islands, I can't live without spices.
Spices on potatoes are yummmm!! You don't even need meat to make croquettes delicious. Just spices. My mum used to add corned beef. But I prefer just potato as the main ingredient.

So what are the spices? Garlic, pepper and nutmeg. Yes, only these spices can make meatless croquettes so delicious!

I tried to make Indonesian potato croquettes when I just arrived in Japan and was so homesick of Indonesian food. But I failed. The reason was that I didn't realize how different potatoes in Indonesia and those in Japan are. In Indonesia potatoes are more starchy and contain less water. So when you shape the mashed potato into a ball or patty shape, it holds its shape perfectly when you are frying it. No need to coat it with bread crumbs, just dip it in beaten egg and fry. The croquette will not crumble while being fried. While potatoes in Japan contains more water. The good thing is that Japanese potatoes don't take longer time to cook. But since it contains more water, it's hard to keep the croquette shape while being fried. So when I tried to make croquettes a la Indonesia, all the croquettes fell apart.

Just a week ago, I attempted to make potato croquettes again after over 6 years since my first attempt. And I did it! Yaaay!

So I'd like to share a simple recipe of Indonesian potato croquettes. But I can't determine the exact amount of each ingredient. I always go with what I think is enough. For example, I love garlic so I like to add lots of garlic and pepper. So feel free to improvise.

For the main ingredient, you need some potatoes. Here I use 5 - 6 medium size potatoes. I simply wash them clean and steam them with the skin on. This is different from the way we do in Indonesia where we peel the potatoes, cut them roughly into four and fry them. This doesn't work with potatoes in Japan because frying makes the potatoes more watery. Also potatoes must be steamed with the skin on, so don't peel before steaming them. It takes 15 - 20 minutes perhaps to steam the potatoes. When they're cooked, cool them and peel the skin with hand. No need knife. The skin comes off by itself. Then cut the potatoes before mashing them. Add some flour in the mashed potato if you think the texture is still too watery.

After that, prepare the other ingredients such as minced garlic, some pepper, some salt, some nutmeg, an egg and some fried onion (this one is optional. I just love to add it as that's how my mum did when she taught me how to make potato croquettes). The amount? hmm well if you don't like garlic, maybe just 1 - 2 cloves. I like garlic so I use 3 so that my croquettes taste garlicky :) As for salt, pepper and nutmeg. You can add them little by little. As you are mixing them with the mashed potato, taste a little to know whether it is to your liking.

When you've got the taste that you like, shape the mashed potato into ball or patty shape. Prepare a beaten egg in a small dish.

Heat some oil in the frying pan. Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg to coat before frying them. Fry them until golden brown. Take them out and set them on oil paper towel. And your potato croquettes are ready.

Hope you like this version of potato croquettes!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Two Custom Orders of Crocheted Flower French Barrettes

Remember my recent post of crochet flower French barrettes? When I was posting the link of one of them on Facebook, somebody saw it and asked me if I could do a custom order with different colors. I said yes. This lady wanted me to make one barrette with purple flowers for her and one with autumn colored flowers for her mother.

The original flower barrette I made has about 15 tiny flowers. But the lady asked me to use bigger barrettes because she and her mother have thick hair. Bigger barrette means larger barrette top, so I had to make about 16 - 17 flowers and 7 - 8 leaves each so that they could cover the whole surface of the barrette top. After making the flowers, which took me about 2 days, I hand-dyed them with fabric dye using a paintbrush. I had to it very carefully otherwise I'd fail to create ombre. Then I let them to dry overnight. The next day, they're ready to be assembled. And here they are:

 Autumn colored flower French barrette for the mother.

And purple flower French barrette for the daughter.

 If you'd like something like this in your color preference, contact me via my Etsy shop to discuss.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

My First Batch of Crocheted Flower French Barrettes

August is here! Yaaay!

Although the weather condition is almost (if not more) as uncomfortable as last month, but we are nearing the end of summer, which is YAAAAY for me! Can't wait for it to be over.

Despite the heat and the almost unbearable humidity, I managed to make 5 crocheted flower French barrette. All hand-dyed and all are listed on my Etsy Shop.

Check out this batch and let me know what you think!

Light teal lily flower French barrette
Blue bougainvillea French barrette.

Calla lily French barrette.

Rose French barrette in pastel blue, yellow and purple.

 Colorful flower French barrette -  turquoise, pink, yellow.

Find these pieces on my Etsy shop. They're ready to ship. And if you'd like something like these in different colors, feel free to drop me a message in my etsy shop inbox message.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

My First Attempt to Hand Dye Crochet Flowers

I had been tempted to hand dye crocheted flowers, but I never got around to it with moving and settling down in the new place.

I love the colors of crochet yarn! Whenever I browse Etsy or local craft supply shops, those yarns are just magnets to me. And I have to admit that I can't resist buying them. I end up having tons of yarn.

However, when I wanted to create ombre, I realized that it means that I would have to have different shades for each color. And that also means more money. Plus the ombre effect did not come out as I wanted. I was thinking what I should do in order to create ombre. I browsed and browsed and found out about hand-dyed crocheted flats. This DIY look awesome! I wanted to try it on my crocheted flowers.

Unfortunately, Rit liquid dye is not easy to come by here. I've checked out several craft supply shops in Tokyo and most of them have only a little selection of colors. Rit powder has more selection. But I found it to difficult using powder dye. Since I use very very little amount at a time, it's easier for me to use liquid dye instead of powder. So I use Best Color, a local product I think. They don't have as big selection of colors as Rit but it's not bad. I've learned to mix colors to produce different colors.

I also found that using size 40 yarn produces very nice outcome.

My first attempt of hand-dyeing crocheted flowers is on the flowers of some of hoop earrings. I tried to create ombre on tiny roses and orchid. It was not easy since they're so tiny. But I managed it somehow. Fortunately.


But for these lilies, I did not create an ombre effect. I simply hand dyed some parts of the flowers.

I'm quite satisfied with the result. In fact, I'm kind of addicted to hand dyeing crocheted flowers :)). But I will not hand dye all the time. I will use colored yarn for my future crocheted projects for sure.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Custom Order Crochet Earrings

I'd been busy with restructuring my shop that I forgot to write about a recent custom order I'd made.

Some weeks ago I got a message in my Etsy inbox from a lady. She said she loved my crochet earrings. She'd had already seven pairs of my crochet earrings! And this time she asked me if I could make a custom order crochet earrings. She liked one pair of earrings on my shop, but she wanted to have something like those in different colors.

I was a bit unsure about her choice of colors, but I went on making her order anyway. And it turned out to be very nice! I was quite surprised myself. When I showed her the picture, she was very happy, which made me even happier!

These are the crochet earrings I made for her.

These earrings were made based on my previous design. But she wanted me to add pink beads. The original don't have beads.

From Jagatara Art To HandcrafKu

I should have announced this earlier on my blog - I decided to change my shop name.

I had been thinking of changing my etsy shop name, I mean the shop that sells my handmade items. The thing is that Jagatara Art is too long and not easy to pronounce. I'd met some friends who had difficulties pronouncing it. Therefore, it's not easy to remember.

I used some busines name generator to help me with ideas. One actually helped me get one. The name that came up was HandcraftMe. I loved that name! So I proposed the name to etsy but it said the name was not available. I was a bit disappointed. But I kept thinking and thinking and I came up with HandcraftKu. Basically I just changed the syllable Me with Ku. Ku here means my in Indonesian language. So HandcraftKu means My Handcraft.

Not only a new name, I decided to have an icon or sort of a brand for my product. I'm not good at drawing to be honest (you should see my sketches when I'm designing my tsumami zaiku). Luckily, there are tons of online photo editors that dummies like me can use. I use picmonkey to design an icon for my shop.
I chose a cute flower to say that all my works have flowers on them or have flower theme.

This is my new shop name and icon.
But my other shop that sells vintage and supplies keeps its old name, because I think the name suits the content of the shop.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

A Summer's Ramble and Fresh Spring Rolls

It's the beginning of July and I can feel the humid and hot air that I really dread.. As I may have written before how I hate summer in Japan some time ago, this time is no difference. More ramble and perhaps the same things. So forgive me for writing almost the same thing. Need to let go of this summer's heat.

Many Japanese I've met often ask "How do you manage to hold up in winter?", "Are you okay with winter?" and never ask "How do you survive summer?" for example. They seem to think that since I come from Indonesia, summer shouldn't be a problem to me.

Well, first of all the idea that all areas in Indonesia is hot is not true. Depending on the region. I come from Bandung, a city located over 700 meters above sea level. It's not too hot and not too cold. The average temperature is 23.6 °C (according to Wikipedia, which I think is quite accurate except for the fact that Bandung is not as cool as it was 25 years ago when my family moved there from a six-year nomadic life in Borneo). Dry season in Bandung is, as far as I can remember, cold and dry. The sun is very strong though it feels so nice when you're under a tree.

While summer in Japan is completely different from dry season in Bandung. It's hot (even during cloudy day) and humid. Even the wind is hot. I'm drenched in sweat day and night, night and day. Taking a shower 2 or 3 times a day helps a little. I often lose appetite and suffer what it's called natsubate or summer fatigue. It's the thing where I feel drowsy but can't sleep because of the heat. I feel hungry but all I want is just drinking.  I feel sluggish and heavy. So to survive this dreadful season, I choose very refreshing food that does not require a long cooking process (standing near the stove in summer is certainly a bad idea). I tried an Italian dish before. Tried it once but never did it again. I guess it's not so addictive as fresh spring rolls.

My husband and I really like fresh spring rolls. We love them! It's not difficult to make and basically just veggies. We always have the ones with shrimp when we eat at a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, but making them by myself, I don't feel it's necessary to make exactly like them. So I just throw in some rice noodles (boiled), some carrots (julienned) and some coriander leaves. And voilà!

I love coriander leaves! The smell is just amazing! No need meat or shrimp. These three should be enough. And for the dipping sauce, (being lazy that I am when it comes to cooking especially in the summer) I just got ready-to-eat sauce in a bottle that I can buy at the nearest supermarket.

We never get tired of fresh spring rolls!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A Wonderful and Touching Review

Whenever I get a good review from a customer, I feel elated. I really really appreciate their taking time to write good things about my works. All reviews are wonderful and very informative for me. But the recent one is not only long but also so wonderful and touching.

I had received a custom order to make a tsumami zaiku bridal hair clip from a lady about a few months ago before moving to Tokyo. The lady wanted me to make this clip for her future daughter in-law's wedding in August. Every time I get a custom order for wedding, I get so nervous. So this time I was also very nervous. Not only it's for a very important event but also everything was hectic for me because of the moving.

Luckily everything went well. Coincidentally I received a bolt of vintage silk fabric from my mother in-law's friend. And it was pink, just the right one that I needed for the hair clip. A few days after having tidied up small working place in my new apartment, I started making. The hair clip was completed within 4 - 5 days. I took some pictures and she loved it, which made me feel so relief. So I listed on my Etsy shop and once she'd made payment, I shipped it the next day. After almost 2 weeks I hadn't heard anything from her. I began to feel worried. I used EMS Japan Post. It comes with a tracking number and is fast. Based on my experience a package shipped by EMS arrives within 7 business days to United States. I wrote to her and she said the package hadn't arrived. I traced it on EMS Japan Post site and it said the package was still held up by custom in San Francisco. Oh I was so worried.. This had never happened before. Just as my worry began to escalate, I got this wonderful and touching review from her the next morning.

I was so thrilled and touched by such heartwarming words. And of course I feel so relieved..She's promised to take a picture of her daughter in-law-to be wearing the hair clip. I can't wait!

I wish I could put the picture on my blog when it comes, but I will not. It's so personal. I don't want to invade someone's privacy. So I just attach here the picture of the hair clip that I made for her :)