Monday, November 30, 2009

Am Not A Natural Crafter

My cousin Wina and I are part of the Ladies Hash here and we decided it would be great to make something to sell for Christmas at the hash to raise money for Animal Shelter Brunei (their site isn't updated often unfortunately). We announced at the weekly gathering and got busy making over the long weekend. I decided to concentrate on cards since I thought it was something I know well, where as Wina concentrated on making felt ornaments since needles and threads are her forte.

When I said I thought making cards were something I knew well was true. When the weekend came I got the blank cards ready all it needed were decoration. All of the sudden I was stuck. I was blank as to what to decorate it with. Felicity was over at that time and she was dishing out snowman cards and santa cards in no time, cut cut here, cut cut there, stick stick stick, voila! Hmmmm, not something I could do.... not something I can do without having to think long and hard and dissecting it down to it's components.

When Wina was over I was passing her instructions on the making and packaging of the glitter tealights she was doing while I was making my recycled flower cards. She already made her ornaments. We also discussed a bunch of other stuff that she could do with her skills. This weekend was when I realised doing crafts is really about experience. The reason why things seems to come naturally is because they have had experience in it. Felicity used to work in a kindy nursery school and she's also a manga artist, and Wina excelled in Home Ec when she was younger and working with fabric is no stranger to her.

My experience has always been with paper in some form. I know how to manipulate it through folding such as origami, and through paper engineering. Since I'm currently in my pop up phase, I decided to make pop up cards to sell, as well as my recycled flower cards, and the few 'crafty' mini wreaths just to finish off stock that has been hanging around in my studio for yonks, and whatever else I can come up with.

I decided to donate my time and skills to create to help raise money and that all the proceeds will go towards the shelter to help with their medical bills and vet fees, that reminds me, I have to go out and buy a couple of large bags of cat and dog food to donate too.

Pictures soon...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Her Majesty's Birthday Greeting

Apologies for not updating regularly, there's a reason, hopefully it won't be for long because it's very draining. Anyhoo, it doesn't mean I've stopped taking orders and if I haven't gotten back to your email or messages, don't worry, I've already blocked in your order in my time schedule, I just haven't discussed the details with you yet.

One of the orders came from the Brunei Women's Group. I think specifically Bistari because it was the president that got in touch with me. How she got to me was because she was impressed with my wedding card (Woohoo!!). Few things she asked me to do, one was create a birthday card for Her Majesty which they are hosting a function in honour of her, the second one was to design the program book for the function.

With the timeline that was given, I could only do one or the other, and I wasn't so keen to do the program book when they already have the committee for it, or else why have the committee in the first place right?

Now the president wanted something nice to give to Her Majesty, and I showed her some of my previous works and she imediately latched onto the one that was given to Muji, and wanted that! The pop up flowers did it.

With colour scheme in tow, dictations over the phone on the greet, photo CD delivered to my place, and several hours just individually gluing every single flower and heart gem, that was after agonising over trying to get the right colours for the internal, this was presented to Her Majesty in celebration with the conjunction of her birthday that was held at the International Convention Center last Saturday night. Through twist of fate I had to be sick that night, go figure...

The original colour scheme given was peach, orange and yellow. I was very worried on how to make all that work, until I remembered they were only a starting point. I picked the base as peach and used my eyes to get the most pleasing colour combination when picking out the flowers, with touches of gold from the bow and heart shaped gems.

With the bow undone and the doors partly open...

I used a textured deep bronze for the insheets and coincidently it matched the photo. I used a particular origami paper to create the vibrant pop up flowers and punched out smaller flowers to tie in the overall look. The frame looked a bit empty and used more gems to fill it up. The body of text on the right have extra space for the Bistari president's signature.

The president was happy when it was delivered and was thinking of asking me to do the same thing for her next wedding anniversary, sure, more than happy to, I'm just a call away!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Buku Hantaran: Gold with pink and purple

I love this shot, I had to make it the first picture for this post, plus, it shows the true colours used for the base, the other shots I think I over did it on AP. Nevermind, artsy shots always good.

See those tassles? Perfect! A bit stiff here because they hadn't soften up yet, but it's all good, don't want them too limp either now do we...

I stuck the flowers down in pairs randomly over the cover, and I used the cylinder glass beads with the tiny pink rosette to finish off the wide organza gold ribbon used to tie up in doors closed.

The base was a two layer process with a cream patterned (you can just see it) and then over layed with a slighty bronzy organza with glass beads, the material was called Princess Organza when I bought it. Pretty isn't it...

Here's the overall look of the folder, the colours don't do it justice, I just can't get the AP right, and I can't retake the shot either since it was already picked up by the client. Fini was cool, in the sense she sent me images of things she liked colours or look of, the only thing was, she kept on changing her mind until the last image she sent. Which we both liked and I decided to use the colour pallet from that for her folder. Glad you like the folder Fini, I hope your engagement day was fantastic and happy occassion!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buku Hantaran: Purple & Pink

This was a double layer process, as I first had to use a light purple base and then an organza which got the deep purple spirals with silver detailing on top. Since the pattern was already busy I kept the embelishments simple, a wide white organza ribbon which edges echoes the silver pattern on the folder tied into a simple floaty bow and pink flower gems to add punches on an already very purple folder, and I just had to add in the deep purple heart gems just because they look right at home.

See, even the interior is pale purple with silver ribbon corners. A very purple-y folder indeed. Who likes purple? A bunch of you out there got your arms up I see...
But then, the client that ordered it, never got back to me when I said that it was all done. I'll hang on to it for a while until the end of the month to see if she'll contact me eventually, after that, anybody wants it for their engagement or other purposes? It is made to fit an A4 list. Any takers, just get in touch with me!

Update March 2010: Finally after waiting forlornly on my shelf for almost five months, it now has a new owner. The buyer just texted me in the morning asking if I have an engagement folder available and I directed him to this one, and it was in his hands by the afternoon. He got a good deal too because I knocked off 1/3 of the usual price I normally have for this size. Thanks again Nordin, I hope your engagement function goes really well!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Buku Hantaran: Gold, Cream and Elegant

This order came during the fasting month, she wanted gold and cream to fit her theme colours, I assume it's also for the wedding, that would be nice... she saw the emo one during Hari Raya. Well, you can't compare really, the style and colours are so different!

I knew I wanted the beautiful spiral pattern on either side with the soft floaty bow for a ribbon in the centre. But I was stumped on how to arranged the gem crystal flowers and hearts. After many attempts I decided that this is the one, normally I'd like the gems to be secured whole onto whatever I'm gluing, but this time around, it looked right for the ones in the center of the folder. I used a different glue (E6000) for that, it is known to be a very strong glue.

The client was very happy when she came over to pick it up. She was very excited seeing it, I'm glad. And to show how happy she was, she texted me again that evening to say how happy she was! See, used the word happy bazillion times in this sentence already.

I love seeing a happy client, makes everything so worth while.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Buku Hantaran: Cha's Silver Black Theme

Remember this...

They contained these...

Silver black with a romantic Emo...

Inside the black folder

Inside the silver folder

I almost had a hard time trying to figure out how to do this. The request was for two folders that could fit an A5. One has to be black with silver, and the other has to be silver with black. And Cha wanted it to be an emo romantic love theme and she loves hearts.

With trusty old google, I checked out 'emo romantic love' and all I'm seeing was red, black and depressing looking characters. Oh dear... Cha added me on FB and was hoping to find some pictures which inspired this whole emo romatic love theme. Surprisingly, there were none. Double of dear...

After trying out several ideas and not liking any of the designs and last thing I want is to recreate depression, I went back to her original email. She mentioned she liked one of the folders that I have already done, and I decided to use that idea and it fell into place. I was over complicating things originally, thought too much about it. I keep on forgetting to stick with my preference of clean lines.

I finished one first before I finished the other. By the time I glued on the roses, it was missing something. They were nice, but they weren't nice enough for me. The roses looked too flat. I messed about with glitter and wondered if using glitter was emo, I messed about with tiny padded hearts and I didn't have any in black for the other folder, it needed something bling, something catchy, wondered where my mini rhinestones were...

Tiny silver beads were perfect! They looked like drops of water catching the light. Added on a pair of budding roses at the corner for blooming love.

When she picked them up, she was so happy. I was happy that she was happy. Makes all that work worthwhile. Later that night she sent me a text which I told her I'm going to share with you all:
Rozi.. thank you very much! I'm loving it! Feel like I wanna cry just now and my hands were trembling (when I first held them)! Hehehe, thanks SO much!
What a fantastic client, I really appreciated her telling me how she felt. You're very much welcome Cha, and I hope your engagement function yesterday was a joyous one!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Wedding: The Dower and Dowry

I know it's been months, I just haven't had the energy, but now, we'll continue with my instalments about my wedding! Ha ha! More cultural lessons...

In an Islamic marriage, one of the requirement is the dower, groom giving to the bride. In the Malay culture, we have the mas kahwin and the belanja angus or belanja dapur as the dower, the mas kahwin goes straight to the bride herself where as belanja angus is to help pay for the wedding expenses on the bride side. There is no fixed amount, but there is a minimum, it's negotiable and depending on current market situation. This sum is normally asked during the engagement proceedings.

The dower consisting of mas kahwin and belanja dapur

This was the dower I received, my mum-in-law and her sister decorated it. The mas kahwin is the brown notes rolled up on the lower right of the arrangement and the belanja dapur is the greenish notes cradling the crystal flowers MIL made. The red box tucked around back is the jewellery, necklace with pendant and bracelet.

Male members of the bride family inspecting the hantaran received from the groom side

The dower is part of the hantar berian or hantaran, loosely translated as gifts given. Traditionally these gifts consists of items that are to help the bride prepare for her wedding and new life as a wife. In the olden days one of the items were material to make her wedding outfit as well as a complete sewing basket set. This wasn't that far back, maybe about two generations ago.

Nowadays, the hantaran can consists from anything from the latest Ipod to a brand new car, depending on the wants of the family. Usually the bride and groom prior to the wedding would get their own stuff for the hantaran, and families can contribute to add on.

Part of the hantaran I received, my beaded wedding shoes

The hantaran is normally arranged and decorated on an elaborate tray which has a stand (click here for picture) or baskets. Depending on the number of items will depend on the number of trays required. The fun part, or headache, is decorating.

Normal practice is the family members will do the decorating, it is a time for family bonding. For his hantaran to me, it was my mother-in-law, the sister, and several female cousins who did the decorating. I wasn't allowed to enter the room where they did it.

People can get real creative with decorating the hantaran, some of the length of cloth given to me got turned into flowers using paper and wires as backbones. Others can be a disaster, like my aunt's white goldfish when her son got married (it looked like a white ghost to us cousins) Then there are those who use hantaran decorating and the hantaran themselves to really show off, sort of like keeping up with the Joneses.

Some soon-to-be-married-couples would send their stuff for the hantaran to the shops to have them 'professionally' decorated, you get charged an arm and a leg per tray or basket!

The balasan hantaran for him from me

Traditional practice was receiving the hantaran from the groom, nowadays the bride would give which is known as balasan hantaran, exchange of gifts. The amount can be the same or less as the hantaran from the groom side and most of the items would consists of food. I'm speculating on various reasons why this practice is becoming more common, maybe because the guys didn't want to be left out, or the girls just like to get stuff for the guys, or the girls just want to have fun decorating the gifts too. So it's a dowry, only it's optional *hehehe*

I remembered helping my cousins who got married with their hantaran and it was always a family affair, each person would decorate at least one item and I have done quite a few.

When it was my turn, I was quite surprised that nobody helped me with arranging and decorating my trays. Turned out all my aunts and cousins figured I could handle it while they were busy decorating the rest of the house.

I spent a week doing the balasan hantaran, one or two tray per night with very minimal tools and items. The trays and tray covers were rented, and I was determind to spend as little as possible on the decoration yet pretty happy with the outcome. I realised several lessons about decorating and arranging hantaran, cellotape, double sided tape and pins are your best friends because I don't believe in using a glue gun and I wanted for the ribbons and roses to be reused again without damaging them when they get taken apart.

Us after our solemnization looking at my handywork

I stuck with the wedding colour theme of red, black and white. Since the tray covers were already white all I used were red, black and silver ribbons in various sizes (which I already have), styrofoam circles (which I had to get, they're costly! about $20 in total), and four bunches of fake red roses (less than $10). Other tools I needed were scissors and wire cutter, double sided tape, cellotape (which I already own) and two containers of darning pins (which were only 20 cents per container). I like clean lines and non fussy, simple and elegant.

I 'm proud of the dastar I made (on tray behind shoes), I learnt it during the adat istiadat, royal protocol, workshop I attended. My DH was well impressed, he didn't want to take it apart *big grin*

By the end of it, I quite enjoyed decorating my balasan hantaran. But I'm not sure if it's something I want to do again. It's a lot of pressure especially when people know you're capable of such things, it has to come out looking really good.

All the decoration pieces I used, his aunt from out of state took them all! The ones they used for mine, my MIL loves her glue gun, I salvaged what I could :-p

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Someone Was Really Pleased Today...

This was picked up this evening, they're for this weekend. I promised her I'll keep it under wraps until next week, then I'll show you what is underneath the wrapping :-D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Selamat Hari Raya or Eid Mubarak

I just love Illustrator don't you, a simple quickie to commemorate.

To celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, the whole month of Syawal is a time for celebration, to seek forgiveness from your love ones and friends, to strengthen ties, to start anew from the awareness of lessons learnt during Ramadan to be a better person. I seek forgiveness to those of you out there friends, clients, potential clients and bloggers alike for any slip ups or wrong doings that happened with and without me realising it.

On the first day of Syawal, my parents, sister and us will be having an open house, all friends are invited and families and relatives will be coming over too. Friends tend to come during the day and bulk of the relatives will come in the evening I noticed. I'm looking forward to this year, I have a whole new set of families and relatives to get to know from the husband side.

Through out the month, there will be open houses invitations. I like going because it's fun to see how people decorate their homes and the many variety of food they searve up from sweet to savoury. Chirstmas or Thanksgiving is a one day affair right, not Eid, it's a test of strength and will power to resist from indulging on all the food and come out unscath by the end of it.

I haven't been doing a lot of Raya or Eid business this time round, which is a blessing really because I don't think I would've been able to cope with so much change that had been happening in my life this year. I know this blog has been quiet of late, am still trying to get used to these life changes and not to mention a whole slew of wedding orders to finish, I got a few due in the next week or so and panic is set on simmer.... *breathing deeply slowly*

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Purple Bins

See this mess, remember a while back I had this to deal with. All my papers and anything that's rolled up. A mess I tell you, a mess!

Then one day, I saw these purple bins with lids. Ooooohhh, how cool is that I thought, because they normally come in black, red or blue. But this one is purple! Wondered whether it was tall enough for what I had in mind, I bought them anyway. Plus, it was a buy one get one free, and for two bins after currency conversion, each bin cost me about USD $5. That's a bargain right?

Turned out it wasn't tall enough as I hoped for but made it work anyway. And look, you can actually see the floor! The basket in front of the bins contained all the wrapping paper that our wedding presents came in, project waiting...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Phone Beeps

Text message received from a crystal friend:
Who am I? I love my life, my work and home. I make mistakes and I put them right. I love to try new things and I want to live my dreams... What about you?

My reply to message:
I am creative,
I make things pretty,
I live in a world where love is aplenty,
I dare to dream,
I dare to try,
the sky is the limit,
I learn to fly,
No earthly shackles can hold me still,
For as long as I have my will...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rozi The Space Hero

This is so cool... ok, was just checking out the links of where people come from, I like to check out the ones that came from a search engine just to find out what word got googled that lead them to my blog. While on one of the track back at the end of the list was this link. And I just had to click on it and it took me to a blog entry. I love the fact that the hero got the same name and she's an art student! Apart from the alien spaceship how coincidental is that! Hehehe.

I do know that on the world wide web there are other Rozis who are also artists, checked them out before, quite a variety of styles, I have yet to come across a Rozi who is a sculpture though, most likely there is one somewhere out there... Oh, I also found a model with the same name. Her body is so fine, imagine looking like that, I'd probably walk around in a bikini, hahahah!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Is For You Sai

Was on msn with an old friend, Sai, who lives in Australia and she's feeling pissed (angry-as-hell mode, not the drunk-like-sh*t mode) lately with good reasons. So to put a smile on her face told her to have a look at the work in progress of 'Fat Fairy'. There's a theme running here whenever I start to illustrate funny things... fat cats, fat pigs, purple flying elephant who's also fat...

Here are the first two initial ideas that I have... notice the teeny tiny butterfly wings on the one on the right? Cute!

Here are the other two preliminary ideas that I had, I wanted FF to be a happy joyful soul...

And this is just me wondering what colours to use... I like how her torso is all boobs and skirt. But no wings, darn it.

So FF is still a work in progress, more sketches until I get a composition that I like. And when I start painting, I'd have to be listening to stand up comedies to infuse happiness into it. It's more fun to paint that way.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Books At Yoga

Talk about a hot and sweaty day, really humid and stifling. We were running around doing errands and to his parents place to pick up books I made that I gave to him and his sister so I could display them as well because I wanted to add variety to the books that I currently have... I'm only down to stab bound and long stitch, stopped production due to preparing for the wedding, will start up again soon.

I always like sharing table with Elaine, something about having crystals surrounding the books... I loved the stripy table cloth, forgot to ask Jac where she got it from.

You could see the yogis and yoginis in a middle of a movement in the background.

Settling themselves into a warrior pose...

I packed a sketch book and a pen and it has been a while when I actually did any figure drawings, so while they were doing all their poses I was trying to capture the various poses they were in. Unfortunately, my hand wasn't moving fast enough, but it was good practice. Showed it to Jac, she loved them, gave me an idea for something I could make for her...

If Jac is planning more of these kind of things, I must come up with yoga themed stuff, nicely tied in with the event. Yes, must do that... So many ideas, must find the time to execute.

Here's a link from Nick who was the photographer for the day. Check them out!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Studio: Stage One

This is how the studio is currently looking, still trying to figure out how to better arrange the stuff and what should go where. Let's go on a quickie tour shall we...

From the door looking left you see...

First rack holds all my art books, the pile at the top are my origami books and the black bag on the floor contains the custom orders that I must get around to doing.
The second rack the top two shelves are my sketch books and boxes from past to present. And the bottom two shelves are junk that I have to thin out again after the rest of the house is settled.
The basket and the two boxes on it, more junk to sort through that I haven't had time to think about what to do with them.
Thought of maybe this will be one of my work surfaces, but at the moment I can't remember what junk I piled on top there, on the shelves is a stack of handmade paper from Thailand and on the bottom in the coloured baskets contain old jeans and materials to repurpose. Box next to that contained small pieces of hardboards which I go through if I'm making small books and at the far end is one of my babies, my handy dandy guillotine! You know, the one that can chop up two inch stack of paper. Only limit is the size. But then I'm not making that huge a book am I. That's the neighbour's house, I can see into their kitchen.

The middle of the room, I don't know whether to keep or remove that table, that's my handmade lamp which works out to about 5USD to make and put together, it was a challenge that I did a while back. I plan on putting a kitchen island from my inlaws here because I like the height since I work standing up anyway, and being a kitchen island it got extra storage! It's currently in the living room until I can get people to help me move it upstairs. Behind the table is a mess on the floor because I'm trying to seaperate the content of my toolboxes into my art and craft toolbox and my hardware-handyperson-stuff toolbox. For some reason I have four sets of screwdrivers and missing my hammer. Bench on the right are the recycled papers to use for gluing and such.
Tall building across the road got my corner shop and various others.

My painting corner! This is by far my favourite spot. I can't wait to start painting here. Greeneries all around me! I wonder if I could put up a birdhouse or feeder somewhere, that would be nice to see them flying around. Next to the easle stores all the mounted canvas that I apparently have. Guess I won't need to get more for a while...

Right next to all the canvases I decided to be the rolled up paper spot. I didn't realise that I happen to have a lot of decorative paper. Rolled up in tubes, in baskets, in poster boxes. All paper! And hemming it all in is my fisherman's basket, which contains more material remnants with the intention to be used for sewing purposes when I get around to getting a machine.
Then the other two racks holds boxes and jars of equipments and stocks. Like the tiered green baskets on the top there, those are filled with asorted colours of paper flowers. Not to mention I have them in other boxes too. Fortunately most of the boxes are labled so it's easier to look for stuff, have to get around to checking out the rest of the boxes.

This is how it looks like from the door looking right. Oh look, my yellow dutch shoes, in my size too.
Well, at least everything is off the floor, more or less. Could be better. Trying to figure out how. But it can wait, at least I know where stuff are so I can get on with work as soon as we move in.
The plan is to make curtains for the racks so they look a lot more tidier when I have classes in here. I also need to reorganize to make space for when I get my sewing machine. And there must be a better way to store the decorative paper without looking like a mess.
The great part about the studio, I only need to turn on the lights when the sun sets. I get to work in natural daylight!

Happy :-D

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yoga Arts Event

Picture borrowed from Jac's Seraphina Yoga blog

This coming sunday, the 9th August between 4 to 6pm, I am invited to show and sell some of the books that I currently have, at the Tai Chi Hall at the Heng Thai Building by the Kiulap roundabout for a Yoga Arts Event for a mini yoga bazaar. Elaine will be there with her crystals, Nadia will be there with her baby cakes, Cindy with her cute cupcakes creation and several others. So, if you want to have a closer look at my books, or got some personal orders you want to talk about and discuss, or information on book classes, or you just want to pick up my contact info do come and I'll be happy to help.

I'm not sure what to expect being there but I'm happy to join in the atmosphere and observe and plan for what I can produce for the next event, Jac said something about wanting this to become a monthly thing. I hope to get inspired while I'm there, and I must remember to pack a sketch book and practice my live drawing of people, I'm so out of practice. I got a whole hall of them so I get to sketch away when I don't have to attend to people... well, that is the intention...

I'm really looking forward to this :-D


I finally finished sorting out my new studio. And I don't think I'm able to do classes this month like I thought I would, because we hadn't moved in yet. Waiting for curtains. Also we haven't found the right dining table either. And I'm looking around for the right work table that I can fold up so we could use it for classes in the studio! I also have to make curtains to cover up the shelves so it'll look all neat and tidy.

Prior to the wedding I thought we would have plenty of time to sort out the house, but post wedding realistically we only have the sundays to do it. The rest of the days in the week was moving like nomads between staying at my parents and his parents place. Then there were some weekends where he had to go down to the other end of the country for work as they had just set up a new branch over there leaving me by myself. It took lots of sundays just to sort out my studio alone. So far the rooms we were able to cover are my studio, his studio, the kitchen and the bedroom.

I have said the house we're moving into was older than me, and it still have all it's original built in wardrobe. When I took out the built in drawers, it apparently was hording what looked like three decades worth of dust. And the drawers were the old school kind, where the runners were made out of wood, none of those fancy plastic rollers that they glide on. I thank the fandangled vacuum cleaner we got to remove most of the dust and I still had to wipe every surface down with a damp cloth to pick up the rest, and the stick of candle that I have in my toolbox and the knowledge that I read from somewhere when dealing with drawers that stick is to rub the candle all over the runners. I now have smooth gliding drawers!!

Post wedding I've been getting lots of orders. But, there was no way I could take them because they were too short notice and I don't really have access to my studio on a regular basis. I've been so tired and drained as you can see I haven't posted anything up on the blog for a while, let alone make books and customs.

I also have a new addiction, I'm probably late in discovering this but thanks to having to wait for an hour for the DH one day when picking him up from work, I discovered sudoku. I've been working at it ever since. While at my late uncle's wake, one of his brother found late uncle's sudoku book and we both poured over it solving a puzzle. It was that bad... I walk around with a sudoku book in my bag, because you never know when all of the sudden you have to wait. Something meditative about trying to figure out where all the numbers are suppose to go, I literally zone out. My DH learnt how to solve the puzzles too now, we take turns filling in the book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Passing In The Family

Two deaths happened in the family recently. One of my aunt, who had been suffering from diabetes and both kidneys failed for a number of years already and was swiftly taken when she developed complications with her lungs. I remembered her well when the time I came over and my uncle was showing me how he would change the drainage bag that was attached to her abdomen to remove the used fluids to put in a new one and my aunt telling me that she can only have one mug of water to drink per day and nothing more. I didn't get a chance to see her one final time before she was covered up for burial, it took the whole of the morning to prepare her body before was finally taken to the cemetary for burial.

A week later, one of my uncle passed away, the cancer finally caught up to him. Went to his house for the wake, and started tearing up as I was saying goodbye to him when I looked in the casket. Every Eid he would come over to the house, never misses a year, always looked forward to his arrival. My DH and I went to the funeral mass and the church was packed, I cried when the service started and again when we were the last to view his body and hugged my aunt and cousins for their loss. We stayed until the casket was loaded up surrounded by all the wreaths that was given to head to the cemetary.

Both days of the funeral, it was clear and bright with blue skies.

The last I saw the both of them, during my wedding. That was the last that majority of us saw the both of them, alive and smiling, surrounded by family. My late aunt who was wheelchair bound for a number of years came for every single function for the wedding when before she would decline. My late uncle who was suppose to have flown off overseas for his treatment the morning of our wedding and changed his flight just so he could attend and be with family. They both probably knew their time was ending and made the effort to come. I appreciated that they did. It saddens me to think but at least they are both at peace, no more suffering from the physical pains of their bodies. I pray that they are in god's good grace, and I shall miss them as they were kind and good people.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Wedding: The Cake

Ta-Da! The wedding cake! It has three tiers, the top was lemon buttercream, middle was orange sponge, and the bottom layer was chocolate fudge. The cake was designed more with him in mind, hence the Superman topper and teddy bears all around. There were 99 red roses representing everlasting love and if you want to know who made it and more pictures go here... no surprises really who made it ;-D

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Wedding: Five Ceremonies

This is for my international friends, blog readers and followers, a brief description to what each ceremony was about... and the reason why I was having such a wedding outfit dilemma since I have five occasions to dress up for...

The Nikah... the solemnization, taking the marriage vow. For the muslims, this involved the groom to utter the vow with the condition it is said in one breath with no breaks or pauses, if he does, he has to repeat until he could. The microphone is there for everyone else to hear it. It was held at my home, in the living room and it was packed with families from both sides and a few friends. This is the most important ceremony out of all as this is the one that says you are married in the eyes of God. You can skip out the rest of the ceremonies as long as this one happens.

The Berbedak... Powdering. This was more for culture than religion. Typically the bride gets all dressed up in the traditional outfit that was the descendent of the Chinese Princess that came to Brunei and married one of the first few Kings at that time, which king I can't remember, and the local people saw and decided to adopt the get up. Along the decades the head gear was updated and made lighter, before it was made from bronze, and other stuff added on. The yellow and white that was wrapped around my head was made out of paper is the present day substitute to flowers that were used originally. In the olden days, the gold woven wrap around the waist was to show the wealth of the country and family as well as to hide the tell tale signs of pregnancy. The powdering purpose is for families and invited guests to wish the bride on the marriage. The powder is made into a thin paste which is coloured, the rule of thumb is for it to be of seven colours. I have yet to get an explanation as to why seven, my guess is it's to do with the seven colours of the rainbow that represent the future. At the end of the ceremony the leftover paste is scrubbed onto the bride (I had mine done the next morning) for smooth skin. The groom have this ceremony as well, only his outfit is different, for one thing he didn't have to wear that thing on the head.

The Berpacar... Henna ceremony. This came from the Indians as they are part of our heritage too, similar to berbedak only instead of powder it's the henna that people put onto your hands. Needless to say the palms of my hands were stained orange for a while. My sister called in a professional henna lady who did flower patterns on my hands and I treated whoever was over at that time to have henna designs too.

The outfit I was wearing is the traditional songket, or woven cloth with gold thread. Usually people getting married would wear outfits made out of this material as only royalties are able to afford them, as you are king and queen for the day it is fitting that you should dress up like one. I for one dislike it as it was hot and stiff. This one was rented, the tiara was my sister's when she got married twelve years ago (something borrowed!)...

The Bersanding... King and Queen for a day! It was held at a hotel ballroom, with a sit down lunch for all invited guests. This was the grandest out of all the ceremonies as you invite all your friends, it is not uncommon to have guest lists that goes beyond hundreds as they are made up of your friends, parents friends, your siblings friends, your aunts and uncles friends... 

We both decided to wear a western style of outfits as a homage to our parents when they got married in gowns and suits. Threw in a couple of page boys and flower girls, made up of nephews and nieces in their dresses and bow ties. The older two on either side of us are known as pengiring, I was told it's an honour to be selected as one, that's his nephew and my oldest niece. The wedding dias is bigger and grander to the one at home, it filled up the whole stage and almost reached the ceiling.

The procedure was that we hold our respective sit down lunch, his was at another place and mine was at the hotel, then he would come over to the hotel with his entourage where I shall be waiting for him to come and we enter the hall together with the kids heading towards the dias. Then it's photo op time!

Malam Ambil-Ambilan... night reception for the groom's side of the family. During the day, not all of his family would have come and therefore didn't see us together. This function is mainly to give an opportunity for his side to see and take pictures with us. This white wedding dias was in the living room for over a week as the nikah ceremony and this ceremony was a week apart. I took the opportunity to wear a different outfit and had a different bouquet, heheh...

So, just a quick rundown of what the past few months and weeks led up to as well as an insight to the wedding culture here.

More photos here:
My make up artist, nikah, berbedak, berpacar, bersanding and berambilan
My aiki friend nikah, berpacar and bersanding

Got more pictures coming...!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Wedding: Only In Brunei...

Occasion no.2, the 'Berbedak' outfit, fooling around for the camera

Once upon a time, before this whole getting married bit happened, I was adamant not to have so many functions because I was single, was not in the frame of mind of getting married, didn't see the point of the functions and was skint. At that time.

Then I had my wedding. With five separate functions. With five different attire. For five different things. Mom had her hands in it. That's Malay weddings for you... more specifically that's Brunei Malay weddings for you. Nikah (solemnization), berbedak (powdering ceremony, the get up is picture above, only in Brunei nowhere else), berpacar (henna ceremony), bersanding (royalties for the day) and berambil-ambilan (that's for the groom side of the family to come see a repeat of what happened during the bersanding for those who were not able to come).

Official pictures are still in the works. Can't wait to see them. Pictures floating around on the net were taken by family and friends. If you're on my FB contacts just click on 'view pictures of me' of people posting up wedding pictures and tagging me. You can tell they're the wedding ones because of the full makeup and fancy shmancy outfits which you'd rarely see me use and wear.

Right now we're trying to get our house sorted, the sooner we get that done the sooner I can set up class! Oooh, aren't we looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to a working studio again, I feel kind of lost not having it. Strange isn't it...

I like to thank all friends and families who helped out and came to the wedding and the gifts and those who were not able and sent their wishes. You are very much appreciated for showing up and did your best and I'm so proud to be your daughter / sister / cousin / niece / aunt / friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

That sounded like an award ceremony speech, hehehe. Stay tuned for more weddingy stuff, I want to post up stuff I did for my wedding. And then the drama about the dress... crying was involved.

Honeymoon? I'm on post wedding recovery, advance apologies if I haven't answered your email yet. I'll get around to it. I have a 'buku permintaan' order to get ready before the weekend...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Wedding: Prologue

Officially I'm now a Mrs! But it still hadn't sank it...

Right now it's running around, getting stuff done. Still working too, my leave hadn't started yet, managed to move a huge chunk of workload. Got lots of pictures wedding preps and first wedding function last Sunday, can't wait to show them especially to my readers in the States and Europe, Brunei Malay wedding is just going to blow your mind. It's full of tradition and culture and my personal twist to where I could... the invitations, corsages for family members, decoration of the dowry, beading my veil...

More stories later but right now, THE dress is not yet done. As of this moment it's in pieces, they had to redo it. Am I panicking? I can't say. THE outfit for THE major function in a few days time is not done. My tailor is working miracles to get that dress done. Wicked bead work that's for sure. I was only able to have my first fitting yesterday, it made me wonder if this is how this normally happens (was asking people I know who went to the same tailor) I wish I could redo this part, but that was past. Concentration on what we can do now and hope for the best.

This weekend is packed with my wedding, I can't wait for next week to start! I love how Monday is going to start. Honeymoon? Heheheh... Gotta remember to charge up the camera and a waterproof casing...

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Red & Black Oriental Coptic Stitch

A while back, I made an oriental journal, the cover was using what I called the 'Louis Vuitton paper' because the pattern reminded me of one of their handbags. I quite liked that book and saved a bit of the paper to make another version.. supposedly... but it never happened, it went into one of the bookmaking kits instead. But I still wanted to make another red and black book with the chinese coins, and decided to use the black Indian paper with the silver leaves print.

It's been a while since I last did a coptic binding, over a year I think and figured I better make one to add into my library. My intention was to have at least one book per binding style in my collection. I may not necessarily keep this book, if somebody out there wants it, it is always up for sale.

Like all handmade paper this particular Indian paper the leaf print had an imperfection. Some times we get lucky, other times we might not. To echo the red ribbon that tied the chinese coins in front, I added a strip of red on the back cover. I like how it's horizontal on the back and vertical on the front.

In feng shui belief, tying three chinese coins together will bring wealth or money luck. You can have in in your wallet, taped onto the cash register or cash box, even your book of appointments and accounts. Click on the link if you want to read more about the different types of chinese coins. Contact me if you want to get some for your wallet ;-p

I'm not too sure what feng shui say about the red and black combo...

The end paper I used for the inside cover is black with gold speckles. I like this paper, and the place where I normally get them I notice is running low and I don't think there're getting any more in, some of the other colours are all gone already. That's ok, it just adds on the uniqueness and limited edition of the book, one of one. I like how the tied up coins float in the middle of the window like that. The red black pages are slightly thicker than the ones I normally use.

Coptic binding was developed by the Copts in Egypt in the early 2nd Century to the 11th Century. In the world there are about just over 100 original complete coptic bound books from that era. All we can do is try to mimic the style. 

The characteristic of a coptic binding is that the sections are sewn through their folds and attached to each other with a chain link stitching across the spine. The good thing about coptic is that you can open the pages flat, 180 degrees, just like a long stitch. The covers are two seperate pieces, which is easier to cover and you can do things to it and jazz it up any way how before you bind the book. How long it takes to bind using the coptic method depends on how many stations (holes) you have and how you arrange it. One day I'll do the woven spine decoration one, right now I'm pretty happy with this, until the next book I make.

Pink & Purple Basic Stab Book with Flowers

This started out life as a demo stab book in one of my classes, the original binding was silver with a small bow at the top corner. After a while I got bored with the look and figured it needed jazzing up. I took off the binding and used the pink and purple ribbons, added my unlimited supply of paper flowers to the tail end of the ribbons...

... and to the bottom corner of the book. I think the rose buds looked really sweet here.  Much improvement to the look of the whole book. Sorta like being dressed up :-D

Add on: I just realised the previous post was pink and purple too, I more or less made these around the same time and the colours just worked together.


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