Thursday, May 22, 2014

Updates from the Studio #2 : Living with Style

Thursday, May 22, 2014
It has been more than a week already ever since I moved into the studio. Lately, besides swarmed with work, I have been settling in and getting used to the place. Most of the people I know move out and get their own place in their early 20's; I on the other hand had to wait until I am in my late 20's to do this. Looking back, I still can remember wondering when that day will be, fantasizing having my own place and what I would love to have to make my home a home. At that time, it felt far away...

In a blink of an eye, I am here today. I successfully made it happened, and I am grateful for being able to cross this off my list in this year's resolution.

"Note to you, yes you my reader: any dreams or goals you have, stay positive and continue working towards it. Don't give up because I am certain you will achieve it."
Deco Ideas
A tray of candles and aromatherapy burner. It's my dining table center piece.

I really enjoy being able to decorate my space. In my previous update from the studio post, I didn't really share much about my decorating plans because of the time constraint (Penang travel plans and all). I finally had the chance to work on styling up the place. Before we moved, we discussed on the style direction, and what sort of concept we want. We both agreed on 'warm minimalism' or 'zen' concept, so allow me to share it with you:

When it came to colour selection, from decorative items right down to fabric, we selected a lot of grey, white, light brown, hint of beige gold, along with complementary colours such as dark red (for bedroom, for sensuality), pale rose pink, blue and definitely black.

We also used a little dark brown here and there for tables and basket organizers, and played with black & white colour combination for our pillows.
Light grey couch with a white throw; playing around with shapes, patterns, design and colours with the pillows.

Most of my items was purchased at Ikea (I have never gone there so often in my entire life, well, at least ever since Ikea opened their outlet here in Malaysia). I was thinking of a large carpet, so that I can throw the pillows on the floor for a cozy living space, but since there wasn't a right one yet, I decided to get a regular size black mandala carpet. I love it so much, it's my favourite! I love the "doodle" style mandala on the carpet.
Since it's "zen" style, I bought these brown chopsticks with metal pieces at the end. I love it!

The so-called-balcony overlooking the fountain. Lucky me, there's no direct sunlight otherwise it will be hot!

I also try to add in some water plants, to give it some uplift especially the area overlooking a water fountain.

I personally think, interior designing is important; there's nothing luxurious about it, it is important because your well-being very much relies on your surroundings, or space or environment. If you come home to a dull, poor lighting, not much colour space, it can affect your mood. Plus I think colours is as important as styling the place too.

Work Space
Use a cork board for self-motivation, keep track of goals or
as a mood board if you are dealing with creative projects.
Apart from the Studio's deco, this part is my favourite, my most important of all; my work space. This is where I make magik and blog. I am happy, because ever since I moved to the Studio, I have been creating more and more art. Having an organized and well-decorated work space is important. It keeps you motivated and always eager to create at your desk. I have been drawing frequently and always looking forward to work at my desk.

My books are right next to me, now I can access to it easily. Clutter is not a problem anymore!

Creative Elements
My art on mounting board on display. I used the shoe rack cabinet to be the center of attention at the living area.
My love is very supportive of my art; he likes the fact that I can make stuff and paint at the same time. He has always encouraged me to do more, and encouraged me to put up my artworks. I told him that I am really excited because now I can DIY for our studio.
Made my own fridge magnets using wood pegs. 

My current (biggest) project I am working on is an Arts & Crafts Cupboard! I am really looking forward to sharing it with you on the blog, but in the meantime, I got to work on its transformation as well as taking pictures of my progress.

Til then, while you wait for my next update, check out my recent "home" work here- DIY fridge magnets made of wooden pegs and glass jar lid.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Recycle Glass Jar Idea: Store Art Markers and Make a Jar Lid Fridge Magnet

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello Monday people! I haven't done a tutorial in awhile because of the big move; honestly, I really miss the fun, and I told myself, now that I have settled in The Studio, I shall be focusing on doing lots. There's a couple of interesting blog posts lined up this month until the next, so stay tune with me. For the time being, check out this really quick and easy tutorial. 

I whipped this up on Sunday, when I was cleaning up the glass jar. I wanted to use it to store my forks and spoons, but then I realized it looked so much nicer on my table if I store my art markers with it. Then there's the jar lid, which at first, I didn't know what to do with it; I almost threw it away, but then I remembered that I wanted to have fridge magnets on my fridge. Since we are on a tight budget (and also my love said I should put my artworks), I decided to make my own.

So here's a quick DIY tutorial for those of you who wants to recycle your glass jars. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

POP Art: MIRO by Miriam Omar

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ryan Gosling - WOW!


MIRO is another awesome homegrown artist I recently got to know. Her art is eccentric and unique. The black pen style gives the entire art piece an edge, with a combo of fun and modern!

There’s some fashion illustration style here and there too, and what I love most about MIRO’s art is how down-to-earth it is, reminds me of today’s hipster generation.

However, when I asked MIRO about her style, she describes it as POP Art / Black and White Illustrations.

I feature MIRO’s art because I know it would be something unique for a change, especially for inspirations. After all, how often do you come across art like these, right? I’m beginning to turn into an “art collector”, I think. Not so much on purchasing the art though, of course if I have enough cha-ching, I definitely would invest in these indie artists art pieces; but more like seeking them out and featuring these amazing artists and art on the blog.

MIRO’s art is certainly one of a kind, one that I would invest in. It’s commercial yet not, it’s modern yet old school, it’s serious yet fun! It has the combo of it all.

Miriam Omar, self portrait

Here’s a little info about MIRO artist, full name Miriam Omar. She’s a graduate from London College of Fashion and Raffles Design institute where she studied Fashion Marketing (now I see the fashion illustration style in it). She moonlights as MIRO the artist, but by day, Miriam is a Marketing Consultant where she provides Marketing and Branding solutions, specializing in E-commerce and Social Media marketing. According to Miriam, she has always loved drawing. MIRO came to be when she was found shopping for the right wedding present a tough task, especially for a friend who has it all. Finally, she realized it would be meaningful to draw her friend & husband on a canvas as a wedding gift. When Miriam posted it online, she started receiving lots of good feedback and from then on, she started a Facebook page and never look back!

MIRO currently offers, custom portraits (pop art / black and white), wedding cards, fashion illustrations and apparels featuring her own series of illustrations.

If you would like to check out more of MIRO’s art, visit her Facebook, Instagram and for more info, email her.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Up close with: Fat is Fab

Sunday, May 11, 2014

On the 27th April 2014, I had the chance to cover an awesome event, the FIF (Fat is Fab) Plus Bazaar at SS Two Mall. It was a 2-day event that was organized to celebrate beautiful plus size women everywhere.

I've been to various types of bazaars, and to be honest, shopping for clothes there isn't easy because most of the available sizes are "free size". Sometimes I wonder, what is so "free" about it, when it is only made for really thin girls. But at the Plus Bazaar, I realized that the plus size range boutiques are growing, and I am happy for plus size girls because of the available choices. I was surprised to see BLOOK + there with their plus size range too! *thumbs up!

I met Tantiyana, one of the Fat is Fab committee on Facebook one day; we chatted and she told me all about FIF Plus Bazaar, and after getting to know in depth about the event, I volunteered to feature them on the blog as part of my support them.

I myself do not have a skinny or thin figure. I have my own personal experience on getting remarks about my weight, whether it is by my own relatives or friends. I didn't support the event because I have grudges against slim girls; I supported the event because I wanted to let my female readers, all around the world, all ages and races, all body sizes, that you don't need to have a perfect pin-up model figure to be a true woman. Being a woman is about embracing your inner strength, inner creativity and the female within you that makes you, YOU!

Read on to know more about the plus size community, on how you can show your support and learn how these 3 beautiful witty women stand in the forefront to empower men and women all sizes. Let's hear what they have to say:

·        Hi girls! Congrats on your first event, the FIF (Fat is Fab) Plus Bazaar 2014. Share with us how you feel about it:
     Merl: I am just so happy that our first event was not only successful but our vendors made good money! hahahah... and seeing the smiles on the faces of our vendors and their customers is just priceless. And having all these girls coming up to us thanking us, congratulating us and wanting to take picture with us... it’s just WOW! I don’t know about Yana and Viv, but I felt like a Rock Star!
     Yana: Ya... Oh My God! To say I am extremely happy is an understatement. Honestly, I am in shock! I didn’t expect this overwhelming response. I am also humbled by the response and feedback from not only the vendors but the customers as well. The level of appreciation and admiration from them was like none other. I have no idea the effect was that deep! I am extremely happy we get to do this for them. We already have people buzzing us asking when our next bazaar is! Hahaha...
     Vivien:  It’s a WOW factor for me.  Being able to kick start for the first time just simply ROCKs. The vendors were all awesome with their good collections of clothes.  Most importantly, they are there not just to make money but being able to ‘feel’ the needs of the community and being very cooperative to each other.  That is just exhilarating.

·         It was definitely a remarkable experience at the event. Any life lessons learned in the midst of planning and execution?
     Merl: The three of us learn a valuable lesson: We can’t do it all. We need extra hands in the future so that we can actually have the time to mingle around and getting to know not only the vendors but also visitors that came to our event.
     Yana: We also learn and embrace not only our own strength and weaknesses, but each other’s. And we notice that even though we are three very different women personality wise, but we complement each other well. I think that’s the main reason why the event went extremely well.

·         Tell us more about Fat is Fab and the story on how it was founded:
     Yana: Well Shia, FIF started by 2 gentlemen that was outraged by how society and the media's definition of beauty. They are Aaron Foo and Zeldon... They started by giving free photoshoot and open it to plus size people of all background, race and religion. From there, they realize that the photoshoot combined with the gathering of likeminded individuals, made those beautiful people's self-esteem and confidence increased tremendously and are happier! Including myself! Then we start to realise we can’t stop at just taking photos. We have to help other that’s still struggling with body image issues.

·         What is Fat is Fab’s objective and how do you plan to bring it to a higher level?
     Vivien: The objective of FIF is to create awareness and acceptance to the public that the plus size community should not be labeled as a second class group. The angle that we are trying to approach is first on the individual itself.
     Yana: Ya, that’s right, Viv. Plus size people have feelings too, you know. Hahaha... Like everybody else, we too do not liked to be judged or discriminated by just our size. And we want to expand our focus to not only plus size problems but all body image issues as well.

·         Is Fat is Fab only targeted to women? How do you think this community can benefit plus size individuals?
     Yana: Oh no, definitely not. FIF is open to all individuals.
     Vivien: Ya, we are looking to equalize the participation of gender in FIF, but at the moment, we receive mostly response from women.  Of course we are planning to attract the male gender to participate in.  Definitely there are many benefits that can be attained from FIF group community and it’s mainly from personal aspect, i.e. acceptance of themselves by instilling or increasing their self-confidence. Aspects to address are dressing well for your body type, to look good, to smell good & etc. In short, look great and at the same time comfortable in your own skin. This would indirectly, eliminate a person's psychological and emotional disturbances. This would be a tough and an ongoing journey for many. Hence, FIF is ready to help and support on how to overcome the challenges.

·         After the first FIF Plus Bazaar 2014, I can tell it has received tremendous feedbacks! For your future events, what sort of support, collaboration or sponsorship you are looking for to kick start the next awesome event? How do you think the creative community (arts, crafts, fashion, food, lifestyle, etc.) can contribute their part in Fat is Fab?
     Yana: Oh yes, the feedback was beyond my expectations! It’s a humbling feeling to know that you can have that much effect on someone's life. Well, we definitely need to ensure that these events are continuous for a long time. Therefore, we need sponsors and volunteers to help us expand and reach more people. Example of sponsors needed such as sponsorship of clothes and accessories for our Miss Phab contestants from let’s say, an established fashion house or mogul. Or even a caring generous company or individual that’s willing to support our marketing and promotions campaign costs so that it is able to reach to a bigger audience. We also welcome any interested parties from any field to join us to add dimensions and variety to our events.

·         During the FIF Plus Bazaar 2014, there was also a Miss Phab 2014 pageantry. Do share how can the pageantry helped individuals and what sort of message can it deliver to individuals of all sizes?
     Vivien: Miss Phab is not a beauty pageant. It is a personality competition which the focus is to enhance the participants own personalities and uplift their confidence level. These two aspects may be simple yet it is fundamental to promote the beauty within. Most importantly, we want the girls to have fun!

·         As individuals, we all have our own fair share of experiences, good or bad. What are the challenges that you have faced as beautiful plus size women?
     Vivien: There would be series of occasions, but I would remember only the good ones JThere would not be any bad ones, once I have accepted the fact that I am big. We can’t please everyone.
     Yana: Ya, I realize for quite some time that you can never please anyone but yourself. And that’s most important. Of course I do get teased and been given lectures on 'being healthy' (for them is totally based on size, instead of actual health!) from family members and acquaintances, but to quote my late father: 'Everyone has an opinion about everything! If you start listening to everyone, how do form your own?’  Oh and one more thing. I was a little frustrated in the past finding cool and nice clothes in my size! Well, don’t have that problem now because of Plus Bazaar! Hahaha... 

·         How did you overcome these challenges?
     Vivien:  I see the challenges faced by most of the plus community in a positive manner.  If I have accepted myself as a plus community. I don’t treat this as challenges.
     Yana: For me, I just surround myself with people that knows and loves me for who I am, not how I look like. Even though the numbers maybe small, but they are quality ones.  And that’s all that matters.

·         In your opinion, what sort of knowledge do you think society’s lacks about plus sizes, and why do you think society behave the way they do towards plus size individuals?
Yana: To me it’s not about knowledge per say, its more about embracing diversity. It’s respecting each other’s differences, its empathizing challenges faced and accepting all flaws and imperfections. There is no one standard mould to define beauty, as what media tends to promote, over and over again. Hence, the society takes the lead from the media and start to judge and act nastily towards those who do not fit that mould. So to me, conditioning and mind set is the root of the problem. That’s why FIF plan to break that mould and open the eyes of the society, media included.

·         In your opinion what can Malaysians do to advocate our own nation to stop plus size discrimination? What are the activities or actions should be taken to spread this awareness or support this movement?
  Yana: In my opinion, there are so many ways for us to do to advocate against discrimination, not     only among plus sizers but in general. And because there are many, many ways, no one dare or       have the resources to do anything. That’s why FIF decided to get the ball rolling with plus size       discrimination issue. We are hoping that with our awareness campaign, the community would take   heed and take this issue and body image issues in general, more seriously. And in time, we hope       the numbers of voices would be enough to have the attention of the relevant authorities. For us, a   great start would be to reach to our impressionable children. That is the stage where characters       and view of life is being formed. Well, that is the goal, we hope and will definitely do our best to     achieve that.

·         Most people don’t realize that the things that we do in life, or how we go about our lives, have a lot to do with the idea of cause & effect.  Perhaps society’s lack of knowledge in showing their care & support, has led them to behave inappropriately towards the plus size community. There are also violent and abusive cases, such as indecent remarks, bullying, etc. In your opinion, how do you think these acts can affect plus size individuals, or what sort of damages it can do to them?
     Merl: I am thankful that growing up I am blessed with wonderful family and friends. I won’t lie that some of my distant relative do sneer and make fun of my size but I couldn’t care less because I don’t see them all the time. hahahah... But I've seen the damages it does to them, they will have low self-esteem, they are depressed all the time and they have no confidence at all up to the point they hate to socialize and ended up being a loner.

·         What sort of effects, “ideas” or perceptions do you think media has conveyed to society about plus size individuals? And what do you think media can do to change this?
      Merl: Malaysian media likes to put pretty normal faces on TV (no discrimination here) but I think it’s about time we add more variety to the faces/sizes on TV. For example REBEL WILSON is the star of the sitcom Super Fun Night and she is a plus size, but in Malaysia the plus size actress will always act as the funny friend of the main actress. Even in the movies stars like Melissa McCarthy, Rosie O'Donell, Queen Latifah are given the leading role. But in Malaysia??? NO, and it’s so sad. Malaysia should have me on TV because I don’t look so bad and I know i can do so much better than the ones they have now... Hahahah...

·         Unfortunately, there will still always be that percentage group of people that will still make remarks or stereotypes such as “She shouldn’t be wearing that, look at her!” or “This job/profession doesn’t welcome people in that size” or “Why is that guy with her?! He’s good looking and she is the opposite of him!”; In your opinion, do you think plus size individuals should miss out on any goodness in life just because of their diverse body size/weight? Share your views on women of diverse body size is no different from any other women.
Yana: Oh dear God, no! In fact i strongly suggest that not just plus sizers, but everyone to embrace and accept their so called 'flaws' or 'shortcomings' and strut them proudly for everyone to see. Just to prove a point that the society may have their opinions, and no doubt they are entitled to it, but we too have the right to be ourselves and entitled to our own opinions and taste, like everybody else. I know this is hard to do, but my advice is to take small steps, one day at a time. Example, start by a makeover! Go shopping, redo your hair style! Something that you want to do all these while but had reservations due to it being 'inappropriate' in society’s eyes. Do what you want to do. And trust me, after doing that, you will feel a great sense of relief, of at last being free. Yes, free. There's no words that could do justice to describe that feeling. So, stop hesitating, and seize the day! hehe.. 

·         We have often heard all kinds of personal stories from individuals, majority females young and older, that they have to endure challenges. What sort of advice do you have for women, especially the younger generation who are currently going through puberty or finding their individual selves?
Yana: Well, to be absolutely happy in your own skin, able to truly be yourself, you have to know and accept who you are and be confident about it. But trust me, the journey to self-confidence and self-realization is a treacherous one. Just stay strong, surround yourself with people that sincerely loves and supports you and wants nothing but the best for you.

·         Finally, what can plus size men and women do to love themselves, besides resorting to matter?
     Merl: For me before others can love and accept you, you must first love and accept yourselves. It’s not going to be easy but you must give it a try. List down things that make you feel good about yourself and focus on it and surround yourself with loving and supportive people.
     Yana: That’s so true, Merl. Chill, enjoy life as it comes. Just remember, you can’t control anything in this world, except yourself. You can control how you feel, react and who you surround yourself with. In time you would be able to see that there are bigger and more important things to think and do. Life is too short to waste time by caring what others think, especially those who do not matter. 'Do and say what you want cause those who mind don’t matter and those that matter won’t mind' to quote my darling husband.  

Thank you very much Tantiyana, Merl and Vivien for your time in sharing your thoughts and enlightening message with us! You girls are amazing! As I have said this before, you are all true earth goddesses and an inspiration to all women.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Travel Art: Penang - My 1st Art Exhibition + Updates from the Studio

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I am finally back! It feels like such a long time ever since I had to be away for the big move and my trip to Penang for my first art exhibition.

It has been such a hectic week for me, with the move and the trip, so much has happened. I have taken leave of absence several times before, and this is the first time that I'd say that it feels like I have been away for a month!

My last post was last week; and in the past 1 week, I learned so much, cried a little, experienced anxiety, felt closeness, bonded with my mom and expressed myself creatively!
Travelling to Penang changed my life! Considering that it is still well-developed state, it is nothing compared to KL, where I'm from. Being in Penang reassured my belief in having a balance lifestyle. Here I am, encouraging having a well-balanced life through my blog, over there, not only it is a common practice, but you can see how this healthy culture influenced the community. Every where you go, has "creative" in it. Everyone you speak to, is polite and friendly. Every building you see, has a balance between modernization and heritage preservation.

 I fell in love with Penang. 

On Sunday morning of my art exhibition, I was awakened by bells ringing and people laughing; it sounded like bicycle bells. I peeked from the hotel window and saw family biking together and laughing away. The streets were blocked on Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai); I was told that Occupy Beach Street an arts and crafts bazaar with street performers is held every Sunday.

How can I not fall in love with this place, people were walking and cycling on the streets and there weren't many cars around.

I see families everywhere.

I see smiling faces and lots of thank-you's.

I see different races gathered in circle in front of their homes, laughing and singing along with the guitar.

I see old couples, taking walks.

I see young couples, taking photos, enjoying the little things around them.

It was a lovely sight and an eye opening experience.

As for my art exhibition Momentary Lost, Permanently Found, I spent most of my time by myself, walking around looking at the artworks by my fellow artists that I already know and taking photos while observing my surroundings. Most of them were mingling and explaining to visitors about their work. We received good feedback about the event, according to my project partner, there were requests for us to do the show in KL. I was in charged mostly for the promotional materials and my project partner's artworks that came with copy. Compared to the rest of the artists, I only had two artworks whereby my "copy" was the main focus. My partner was kind enough to put it into visual for me. My work was so mind boggling that it was so fun to see visitors' reaction when they are looking at my work.

Perhaps next round I'll showcase my artworks instead.


When I came back, I didn't get to rest. It was back to the 'big move' schedule instead. We had so much to do with so little time because I had to make sure that I get it all done before going back to work. Truth be told, I was not used to waking up in the Studio. It was also very weird when I spent few hours alone there, but it was good weird.

I couldn't identify the reason to my roller coaster emotions; perhaps it's PMS, perhaps it's just me being tired, haha! I am not sure. I felt a little wave of sadness when I was moving things. There was a slight feeling of unworthiness; I try to remind myself that these feelings weren't real because whatever it is, it was all caused by outer experiences.

I felt that I was missing supermom more but at the same time, she was there with me most days during my move. She helped me sort my little kitchen, my wardrobe, unpacking, cleaning, and I don't know what I'll do without her if she wasn't there for me. I was glad to have her around, and feel at ease that I am now closer to her.

I also got a lot of questions, people asking me why am I not living with supermom instead since I've moved nearer to her. I saw that these questions was one of the reasons why I felt unworthy, but supermom was understanding and supportive, and that is the only blessing I need.

The Studio is a nice and cozy place for just the two of us. I managed to create space out of the one big-ass room. I finally get to have a proper desk to work on my blog plus drawing, crafting and video recording. The landlord didn't want one of the wardrobes he left there; it was used by a previous tenant. I told him I'd keep it and turn it into a craft cupboard instead. There's more to do with it, so I will not share with you the picture until I have completed it.

As for now, I want to embrace living life at the Studio. Start fresh, make great things, and create amazing work! Because the universe and I, we had a deal!

Happy Friday.