Handmade Jakarta

Sarinah is an Indonesia department store chain that has all the usual clothes and accessories but also large sections (and in the case of the one in central Jakarta, several floors) devoted to Indonesian handcrafts, including carving, painting, fabric (mainly batik but lots of ikat too); pretty much everything, really.

I spent an afternoon on my recent trip to Jakarta happily lost in there.

This life-size tiger was never coming home with me but it was amazing. As I was crouching to take a photo at close quarters, a shop keeper standing behind me growled in the otherwise silent store. I got such a fright and he and his mate then peed themselves laughing. As did my friend and I. Once my heart rate had returned to normal.

Reams and reams of batik fabrics covered the tables.

Look, it isn’t for everyone but as a long-time Indophile I am very fond of it. Not the shirts so much but there are some beautiful dresses. And check out the lampshades. Want one of those.

This sparkly batik, unlike the wooden tiger, did come home with me.

As I mentioned in my last post, ikat is still very in evidence in the design world. There is lots of ikat-inspired fabric but the real stuff, the stuff that is made in the traditional way where the warp and weft threads are pre-dyed and then woven to create patterns, is much rarer. Not least because it’s such a complex process.

This rug was made entirely by hand using dyes derived from local plants in Sumba, one of the lesser Sunda Islands in Eastern Indonesia that is particularly famed for its ikat.

This perfect example so very nearly came home with me.

But it was AUD$400. Which in many ways is so reasonable for what it is. But expensive for me. Plus after a discussion with my handsome husband I got the impression he may have filed for divorce if I proceeded. And I’m quite fond of him so decided against it.

The ubiquitous crafty owls have even made it to Jakarta.

Fabric headbands.

And these fabric covered bead necklaces (my tutorial here) are so twirling betty. Loved ’em.



Need to go back…

Simple felt and fabric ipad cover: a tutorial

I love any opportunity to make something to snuggle something else within. And this ipad case is snuggly in extremis.

I hit on the idea (and it slapped me for being so presumptuous) the night before our trip to Far North Queensland last year. I’ve been using it ever since and it has held up like a trooper. I also love a pretty trooper.

Yet another thing I love is the ikat-inspired fabric.

Ikat, as I’m sure you know, is so hot right now. But did you know real ikat has been hot in Indonesia since the dawn o’ time? Did you also know we get the English word “amok” from Indonesian? As in “she saw swathes of authentic ikat  in Jakarta and very nearly ran amok”.

What you need:

  • Two pieces 3mm (1/8″) thick wool felt. Each piece measures 27cm x 22cm (10 1/2 ” x 8 3/4″)
  • 1 piece fabric measuring 25cm x 20cm (9 3/4″ x 7 3/4″) (if your fabric frays easily, you may wish to add an extra centimetre or 1/2 inch to the fabric measurements then hem your piece to end up with a rectangle 25cm x 20cm. We are going to stitch along the very edge of the fabric though so if it’s not too bad, just cut straight to size. You could also dab some Fray Stoppa or similar around the edges if you’re concerned.
  • 1 piece sturdy ribbon or twill, 60cm (approx 23 1/2″) in length and at least 2.5cm (1″) in width.
  • Elastic of a similar width to your ribbon. It needn’t be exact.

What to do:

1. Place your fabric in the middle of the sheet of felt that will be the front of your cover. Just eyeball it. Choose an overlocking-type stitch (or even just a tight zig-zag) on your machine and sew the fabric to the felt.

2. Now, leaving a seam allowance of approximately 1/2cm or 1/4″, sew your front cover to the back.

Case done!

3. Fold each end of your ribbon or twill in 2cm (3/4 “). Fold another 2cm (3/4”) so the messy ends are now effectively hidden and stitch around the square end you’ve created to make it really secure.

4. Sew your elastic to each end of the ribbon to create a loop. Make sure the elastic is slack as you sew it.

The last up-close photo shows you little bits of pilling on the felt and wear on the elastic. Bear in mind though, I have been using this baby non-stop for over 12 months and I take my ipad pretty much everywhere.

Slip your ipad in, slip the ribbon loop over to secure and sigh with contentment. Maybe stroke your pretty little trooper just a bit. Up to you.

As if you won’t.

And if I need tougher protection, I snuggle my snuggly case into this very fab protective case.

It was designed in Italy, made in China and I bought it in New Zealand. So it was well-travelled before I even met it. I love a well-travelled travel companion. This is the brand.

Let me know if you make one my loves.

Personalised ceramic heart necklace

A little while back I made these golden heart necklaces for some young friends. This time I made one for me.

As you may know by now, I have an illness which requires me to personalise everything. At least once.

I painted some more of my little ceramic hearts and this time, added a tiny letter to the back of each – one for each of my beloveds.

After the paint and ink dried, I sprayed each heart with a protective gloss coat (I like this because it’s low odour and non-toxic once dry).

I put a jump ring through each and then strung them on a long chain and I’m really happy with the way the hearts fall back into this lovely line with gold on top each time they move around.

Plus, this way you can keep adding hearts as new beloveds appear.

I love the idea of having my three most precious ones on hearts and close to my heart. And in keeping with my slightly superstitious nature (I rail against it but, really, what’s the harm?) I now refuse to travel without this necklace around my neck.

And my lucky edible undies on.

I’m thinking of making some of these for my girls for Christmas but with their whole names stamped on the back; a different colour for each heart. Surely there will come a time in the future where they look at me with a pleading “for-the-love-of-Gaga-no-more-personalised-crap” look in their eyes. But that day has not yet come my friends. And so, in the meantime, I shall personalise it all on up.

PS: If you’ve a mind to try this, I bought my ceramic hearts from this Etsy shop – I recommend it – the owner is lovely and helpful.