Monday, December 27, 2010

This Christmas...



I couldn’t say too much about what we did this Christmas, apart from that everything was so pleasantly simple. Since harvest is still going, we decided to celebrate Christmas in Greg's parents farm as a small family. The rain that’s meant to bless them this year had ruined some of the crops instead. They lost the quality of the grain which means they will worth less money, but the quantity of grain will make up parts of the damage.

The Christmas tree had no tinsels or had been over-decorated, and although the room had been decorated with some Christmas items, it wasn’t overdone which was really nice. The usual 'Melmoth' Christmas is basically to wake up in the morning to go to church, came back home at 11am and sit around in the living room with some snacks while we open up the presents. We had a few people visiting us during the weekend for some snacks, a chat and a laugh. It makes the house is sitting in the middle of nowhere feels unbelievably alive.



I never celebrated Christmas properly in my own family. I love it that I get to experience my first Christmas as a married woman sitting around the living room, and exchanging presents with the people we love- the way most people would celebrate Christmas properly. Hopefully Greg and I will be able to make our own Christmas tradition this way when we have kids.

We got some unexpectedly awesome stuff this year. Greg’s brother Luke gave us some money for us to buy ourselves a pet fish because he couldn’t wrap them to give it to us. I used it to buy some neon tetras and a catfish with it so far. His other brother, Phil gave us the book, “Ministry of Cooking” by Jamie Oliver which I’ve been burying my head into throughout the weekend. Greg’s parents bought us 2 fold up camping chairs, a tent and a set of gorgeous handmade glass coasters.

Here's some photos for a sneakapeak review of what's going on in the Melmoth house:








Greg's mum got a bicycle from her husband which was a big thing. Greg's dad is really into cycling and so he bought her a snazzy bike in hope that she'll ride with him whenever they can. Although she's not sure if that's what she wants for Christmas, but they end up going for a ride in the evening to test it out. The dog, Lizzi went chasing them away as they ride up along the road and back again. You can see her in the photo chasing the bike, she was pretty determined! She was so exhausted after the run that she collapsed straight to her cushion for a nap.





I had the honor to cook the family Christmas dinner for the night. I was making Indonesian fried rice and the Indonesian fruit jelly that I used to have all the time growing up. Both dishes turned out to be disastrous!!! I'm not used to the house’s electric stove and didn’t realize that I didn't cook certain things through properly. The jelly didn’t even set and we just end up having this failed jelly fruit soup. I was so embarrassed, and I can’t believe everyone ate it regardless. They said it was part of their responsibility that they're willing to take when they agreed to accept me as one of the Melmoths. Hehe… how gracious! I love my family. At least I didn’t make them get sick in the morning! :p

I didn’t take a photo of that moment at all. It was all too embarrassing and I made sure everyone quickly ate all the evidence before somebody took a shot with my camera. So in case you feel cheated, you will get to see some photos of the wheat harvest in action instead…





So, how’s YOUR Christmas been? I'm really looking forward to hear everyone else’s stories when all the madness is over. Happy holidays! =)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Amuseme vs Beadsforpeace


So, immediately I need to clarify the reasons behind changing a shop entirely even though I’m still focusing in jewelry for both shops. One reason behind it is because I moved from Indonesia to Australia, so automatically everything changes. I have to change the details on every info in listing I give because of the location difference, the postage, the policies, and the list goes on and on. I could still keep the name beadsforpeace and change all those details, but I think this is a great time to wipe it all out because I’ve learnt A LOT after being 2 years in Etsy and felt that Amuseme is going to be too big of a step up from beadsforpeace for them to be combined together.


When I opened up beadsforpeace, I absolutely had no idea what I was doing. I just needed a creative outlet from my super deadly boring job that I’m totally not passionate about. Beadsforpeace was more like, I’ve got stuff, a computer, a camera and internet, let’s do it! Etsy is so affordable that I thought the shop would just be a mini gallery where I can show people the stuff I made. And so, that one fateful day as I was listing my first few items, I got a sale WHILE I was listing them. The moment I found out I ran hysterically to my mum and we started jumping around her room like nuts and spent the night trying to figure out how to pack the stuff! Hehe, that was fun! So, this is gonna sounds a bit silly but unlike my expectations, the night I opened the shop was the same night that I was actually open to the reality that I AM a seller. Though, I was still a bit shy and I never really promote myself or tell people that I’m doing this. I only have one way to promote: do nothing, let mum do all the talking.

Of course everything didn’t really go all that smooth. Year 2008/2009 was pretty much wasted on my stupid 12 hour job (9 hours in the office, 3 hours in traffic) So boring that I thought I might as well be dead. Think that year was like, 60% being bored to death 15% getting strange diseases, 15% travelling and 0% socializing. Anyway… the point is, I just didn’t create enough to actually run and learn about the shop and to be happy.


Year 2010 however, is looking up, waaay up! I can almost say that besides dealing with loads of silly paperwork to move and be married, I spent this year predominantly getting high on creating stuff, and it has been super awesome!!! It’s probably the side effect on being bored to death, I suddenly have the capacity to just burst like crazy. Unlike beadsforpeace, I’m actually planning what I want to see in Amuseme before I open it. My motto, my goals, how I will market my stuff, super exciting stuff like that….

The product is going to be different between the shops because I have found myself getting so ADDICTED to wire. Maybe it’s one of those “You don’t choose the medium but the medium choose you” sort of situation. I just go through rolls and rolls of them without realizing, and the busier I get, the more of a wreck my house gets… I know I’m a girly girl, but I still wish that I’m better at multi tasking than I am now….

So...it’s exactly a week before Christmas… hope you all are getting your preparations sorted and have fun while doing it! :D

Xox

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Beginning



2 weeks ago, I stayed up late sketching round about what my new Etsy shop is going to be like. The what, the branding, the logo, the do’s and don’ts. The next morning I unconsciously made the ultimate decision, that being an artist is going to be my primary concern. If I get a job, it will only be part time or casual. Before this I would be looking for full time job if I could. So I went to go for more job hunting in the rain. I came home to the conclusion that the jobs I'm interested in are not available until after Christmas, and I thought that worked out well if I want the new Etsy shop to open up properly by January/Early Feb.


It wasn’t hard to know why I made this decision and what I’m going to do with it, but I try not to think where this journey is going to take me.

I’ve come up with the shop name ‘Amuseme” one frustrated afternoon, it was one of those days when I know I’ve got lots of stuff to do but don’t know what it is…. And the name sort of struck me like someone shouts at my brain. I’ve taken a poll to some friends about the name and they seem to like it. I’m sure whatever it is, it will eventually grow on me.

Although I try not to think about the importance of the brand name when choosing one, I picked up a valuable point from the acapella group ‘The Idea of North’. When they picked their band name, they intentionally picked a completely random brand name because they don’t want their music to define by the brand. I personally think that’s a really good decision to go for. So instead of calling my shop ”beautifuljewelry” I’d rather call it “Possums n Squirrels” or “blah” even.


As soon as I made the commitement, everything seem to fall into place, and my days are becoming more purposeful. I’m suddenly chased by time and becoming more focused in developing my shop before Christmas is over.

It seemed like it was the right decision to make for now. I’m loving my life everyday to just drink tea, be creative, work at home while listening to movie commentaries in the background. I’m really content to just work from morning until the husband arrived home in time to cook dinner. Some days a friend would call to meet up for lunch and it feels SO good to just go without having anyone sneering at me.

One of my favorite things to do for short breaks from work is watching my plants grow. I only planted the seeds with my friend Liz a couple of weeks back, and they’re already sprouting so beautifully and looked sooooo cute!


They're all the flowers and herb seeds I've received from wedding presents and from the bridal kitchen shower. Think I've planted most of them already. The flowers I've got are Dahlia, Nasturium, Forget me Nots, Swan River Daisy and english daisy. I've also planted herbs and cherry tomatoes.


Oh the simple joys in life… I may not ever be satisfied with my own achievements, but I gotta say that God has been very good to me to let me experience this level of happiness in life. =)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rain in West Wyalong



When most people hear about Australia, they would probably imagined Uluru and the hot dry dessert in which most of this island covered with. This great country can be seen to be unpleasant sometime, and unfortunately it has been true for the farmers in the past 10 years of constant drought. But, our prayers had been answered in this special year as Greg’s parents farm has finally been getting lots and lots of rain, and it was so incredible to see everything becoming green again!

I remembered when my parents visited their farm for the first time in 2007. Everything was so dry that they were even having sandstorms! The dams were all dried up, and water supplies for the houses are very limited, even in the cities. This is a photo we took of the farm in 2007. Most of the ground is dry. The canola only grows in wet patches and it didn't grow very tall at all. (Greg also still has his crazy hair-do like a Dragon Ball kid back in the day... :p)



Greg’s parents live in a small town called West Wyalong which is North West of Canberra. They own 4.500 acres worth of land that they have been working on for a long time alongside Greg's uncle. After persevering 10 years of drought, they're finally experiencing the complete opposite and had a little too much rain for their crops this year, which is amazing to see! Crops can get 'too much' rain which will make them drown and die, but most of them had grown very well. Some crops that are closer to the house are growing as high and as big as they can get, like chickens on steroids, they almost look like something else other than what they are. The main crops that they’re growing on their farm are canola, wheat and barley with a little bit of lupins for stock food and chickpeas. You can imagine how exciting it is to see these crops reaching its potential growth once again after the farm had been dry for so long!

This is a photo of the canola seeds that developed from the canola flowers. They have very strong distict smell, and are mostly used to make vegetable oil.



... the wheat that's bursting like fireworks,



and the drooping barley.



Greg and I went to visit the farm one weekend and his dad let us ride with him on the windrower. I didn’t know what a windrower was when I got there. A windrower is basically a machine that is attached to the tractor. They're used to cut the dried, tall canola plants that are full of seeds and lie them on the ground so that when it has been cut down, the wind won’t blow all the canola seeds away. We basically went round and around the farm to windrowed the canola, and I've realized that the ride can get a bit bumpy and tricky to do. (No wonder farmers are great drivers!) When we were there it took Greg's dad 3 hours to do the last paddock. They had to do nonstop rounds of windrowing during the previous days so he had to swap with his brother every 12 hours so the tractor never stops.

This is the windrow cutting all the crops, leaving a trail of canola behind it.



This picture shows what's left of it, the canola pile, and sticks of the 'beheaded' canola... Well, they're pretty much dead anyway. :p



I wasn't there when it happened, but Greg's mum sent me a few more pictures to put up on this blog. This is a photo of the header with the draper front picking up the windrowed canola



And this is the header filling the mother bin which is filling the truck to take to the silo (a silo is basically a huge barrell where the grain is kept) with Greg's dad and a huge smile on his face! =)





I'm so amazed by this event. A lot of farmers have given up, but Greg's parents hadn't stop praying and always had patience and hope, even for 10 years! That's like, almost half my life time! We always felt the struggle but we very seldom saw them getting too caught up about it. They always keep trying to celebrate everyday in other things knowing that there's 'bigger' things other than the farm.

Congratulations mum and dad, we love you and are sooo proud of you. You totally deserve the rain. =)

xoxox

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Settling in...



I have to say that it's not that easy to just put up with this much change all at once. Being married, new house, new studio, trying to make new targets…. I thought I'll have a job by now, but so far, I haven't got any call backs. I don't know... maybe it's a good thing to just enjoy my free time.

My days as a housewife have finally arrived. I wash dishes everyday, laundry every week, I try to wake up early to make Greg his sandwiches before he leaves for work and give him his daily dose of hugs when he gets back from work. I watched more tv in these 2-3 weeks then the past 2 years of my life put together. First watching loads of actual tv, and now I’m an Avatar addict (anime Avatar, not James Cameron Avatar). I'm starting to think I can bend certain elements in my dreams... Overall, our first month of married life is great! =)

Applying jobs had been rather exciting. I mean, how is it possible, that when I look online for weeks now, there’s a job opening for floristry in every state of Australia, EXCEPT Canberra??? Now I’m left to knock on people’s door. I've never had to walk into shops and ask for work in my life so it turned out to be a really good experience. I still wouldn't underestimate the first time I had to do it though. I was so nervous and scared I thought my heart was about to pop out of my chest. I've applied to 7 florists so far who told me the same thing, ‘we’re fine now, but we’ll have your resume just in case’. Think it’s time for me to apply for jobs outside floristry hey?

Regarding the house... well... I think it's getting there. We had a house inspection last week. It was quite funny because when the agent came by the house at 9:30 am, I was asleep on the couch in front of the tv! Haha! XD The house were already clean by then so I don't have any problems with it apart from being awkward. The TV is still sitting on a crate and we still don’t have a bed but The inspection was a success regardless. If you see these photos, you can see that the house has well... it's neater...

Before..



and after...



And finally... my Etsy shop. My studio is starting to take its shape slooowly, and when I start complaining to Greg that life is starting to get frustrating (usually caused by my inability to prioritize, which caused by lack of pressure to do anything) , Greg said to me, “You should set yourself some goals. What about try to make at least 1 jewelry per day?” I started on Monday, today is Thursday, and I’ve already given up. It’s my fault really, I tried to design and make 1 jewelry per day, and wire jewelry is not exactly simple and straight forward to make. Hm... need to rethink of new strategy...



This is the earrings I started on Monday, and finished on Tuesday arvo... I'm really proud and love the result! Except the earrings are facing on the same direction, so I will have to make the mirror image of this shape to pair these 2.



This is really cool that the internet is moving fast in this country. Should try to sharpen my inner journalist and blog more... :p

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mmm... Rhubarb Souffle!


In the midst of moving around funiture, applying for jobs, re-setting my Etsy shop,cleaning the house, I have been cooking quite a bit. I've never spent this much time in the kitchen. It must be an early sign to being a housewife! :p Our kitchen is tiny, but it turns out to be a neat little place to be!

The cookbooks that I've bought is coming to use. I'm a very unexperienced dumb cook but always tries to achieve higher things without knowing. Normally I just look for a recipe in a book that uses ingredients that I already have in the fridge. I thought that if I have the ingredients in the fridge, as if I won't be able to do what a recipe tells me to? And of course, I was very wrong...

So yesterday night, I was determined to make a rhubarb souffle, not really knowing what a souffle was. I just happen to have 4 unused egg whites in the fridge and the picture looked yummy in my book. Good thing Caroline came over randomly just as I was about to make it. She is such an incredible and versatile cook, and I think she had saved my stupid attempt. She told me that I'm brave wanting to tackle a souffle. Think that just made me realize, I probably shouldn't do this on my own...



I have to say the progress of making this souffle is reeeally delicious! We couldn't stop licking the rhubarb compote out of the bowl! We also made Rhubarb bellini, which is rhubarb compote stirred in with champagne while we're waiting 20 minutes for the mix to cool down

(Hm... don't you think our dessert is starting to look a bit like the picture...?)



we folded the meringue with the compote and put it on top, and it's ready to be put in the oven!



30 minutes later, this is what we get! Doesn't that just looked amazing...?! :D



As soon as Caroline pulls the tray out of the oven, it's time to eat! 3 hours of cooking, and we finished eaiting it in 10 minutes! Shouldn't take that long, but it was our first attempt so we think we did well. Afterall it was VERY yummy, everyone should try making it! It was totally worth the effort and now I finally know what a souffle really is! Yippie!



Ps: If you're curious, I got this recipe from Jamie's Oliver cookbook that I own (which is an awesome book btw) , or you can click on this link for the recipe and try it out yourself! Have fun! =)

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/rhubarb-and-custard-kinda-souffle

xox

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A very big update



It’s been exactly 3 months since my last post. A lot of things had happened during those times, that I really wished I had time to blog about, but I guess it will just have to catch up eventually. So, here’s my story in a nutshell:

I have nearly finished my bridal floristry course that I mentioned about in my previous blog. Just before I had my final exam left to do, I have been granted my prospective marriage VISA and it’s time for me to move to Australia and get married! It was a very painful process to get the VISA so it was very big news when I had the green light to move over.

So I packed everything into a container and sent it to Australia. When I got there, I was living out of a suitcase for 1 and a half months and the wedding preparation had been extremely busy and stressful. I’ve been trying to do as much preparation as I can while I’m in Indonesia but lots of them need to be prepared in Australia. I was trying to design and make my own d├ęcor and flowers and I got a bit obsessive about the projects, but everyone was very supportive about my crazy ideas and we managed to pull off most of the projects. This is a photo of a bucket of origami paper roses that we made to be use as the table placement.



While that was going on, Greg and I managed to secure a house for our married life and organized our honeymoon trip to Japan. We managed to get there in the end and we visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka as well as visiting our friends in smaller towns at Yamanashi and Yusuhara. Here is a photo of Greg, Me, Yuka and Hoshi in front of Mt. Fuji on a clear day. =)



Hopefully I’ll be able to blog a little bit more about the things we made for the wedding because it has been a very interesting development. The wedding was a big success, everything went beautifully and the weather was perfect for our outdoor wedding venue. Our wedding video is even featured on Australia’s wedding website: www.theknot.com.au

This video is shoot during the day and is shown in the evening at reception. I think they've done an amazing job, so check it out if you can. And yes, Greg managed to play 'Left for Dead' with his groomsmans just before the ceremony.

video

And now here I am, sitting in my messy little home with my husband, waiting for the next big thing. Christmas is coming so getting my Etsy shop up and running again would be essential. And wow, I'm still trying to get used to their new look! It’ll be a bit of a challenge with the house still messy and we’re still trying to get furniture inside the house. We have no bed, no microwave, no studio (which will be exciting for me to set up), even our tv is still sitting on top of crates!

The next obvious dilemma for me now is to find a new job. I'm looking to work in a florist, and as far as my searching capabilities can see, there is no positions open in Canberra at the moment. So I'm picking up my courage to face my fears and knock on florist doors to simply drop my resumes in! Wish me luck!



The first photo is courtesy of silas-photo.com
The last photo is courtesy of benthomasphotos.com
The video is courtesy of papercranes.com.au

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quest for the black bouquet


My mentor Andy held a grand opening for his brand new floral school! To celebrate, he held an exhibition of floral arrangements made by everyone who are willing to put in.

What makes this event even more special is that Andy had incorporated his passion for the colour black in every aspect possible. His new studio is filled with black furniture. Him and his assistants always wear black outfits to work. So it seem natural that the theme of the exhibition would be, "Quest for the black bouquet"

It's very interesting that as a world class florist his favorite colour is seldom found in a natural floral materials. So I guess you could say that this exhibition is a step forward in completing that journey to explore the not-so-obvious possibility.

I was only signing up as a new student the day I got offered to put in a piece for the exhibition. And here is my piece:



I'm so grateful that Andy is open to combine my interest in wire jewelry and plants for this piece. This piece is made out of thick, but light aluminium wire that is wrapped with 5mm black ribbon. (Took me about 5 hours to just wrap the entire wire with ribbon). I decorate it with pearls and garnet with swarovski crystal that sits at the throat area as focal. Just before the necklace is being displayed I worked on putting the fresh baby roses and ivy leaves in incorporate the floral element. Without water, I knew the baby roses will shrivel up after being displayed for a day so I named the piece "Rose Tea Lariat"

I had no time to shop around for fabric to dress the mannequin, but the batik that's been sitting idle in my cupboard for months had proved itself to be useful! =)

Click on this link to see photos of other exhibitors:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=236186&id=522165445&l=7e3d998b96

Enjoy! =)

Still here!

I don't know if anybody reads my blog but I still feel guilty about not updating it. I'm not trying to make excuses, but there are reasons for that. The internet at home is not fast enough to update photos. When I had an office job, I used to be able to upload photos at work. I have now lost that advantage.

Admitedly, the only thing that suffers is not just this blog, but the speed in which I update my new items in shop and updating facebook photos.

To make it even worst, I have discovered from my recent trip to Shanghai that China had banned facebook, blogspot, and google. They didn't block Etsy, thank God. I think I would suffocate if they did. With that being said, I had a lot of fun in Shanghai. =)

So worst comes to worst, I often visit the closest starbucks from home to buy my tall vanilla chai latte and high speed internet.

I just want to share treasuries that have included items from my shop. They're not that new now, but I've been itching to share this and am still very honored and excited to be included by these artist.

Treasuries compiled by Sema from www.zuzusworld.etsy.com:

"Choose your Style" featuring my mountain tears earrings



"My best friends" featuring my gift box:


"Rain, rain go away" complied by www.kidsloveletters.etsy.com featuring my partly cloudy earrings:



Many thanks for you both in adding my items in! I love the look of them as always!:D