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 :)