It has been a long time since I last stitched, or wrote here for that matter. So one fine day when I got the urge to design and stitch, I was not gonna suppress it. Never mind it was at 11am on a Wednesday morning while I was at work. I took a half day leave and went home to bask in the glory of my creativity 😀
Lucky for me, there is always fabric in stock at home; thanks to my favourite supplier of plain and stretchy fabrics – Atlas, Valelevu. Since it had been some time since my last stitch and my machine has started to give me trouble, I choose a $2 metre fabric which I wont feel bad ruining.
I thought of a fairly simple design and give it a look of sophistication by adding an overlap piece to the front slit. It didn’t take too long to stitch but boy am I impressed with the results. Paired with a statement belt and cute sandals, I took this dress from the morning to the night! All in all, it was well worth using the half day from my vacation leave.
You know that feeling of wanting to be on the road soon after being back at home? Well, Vee and I aren’t too good with managing our itchy feet so we were scouting for a new cheap destination soon after our Indo-China trip last Nov-Dec. In the running were India, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Since we didn’t have too many leave days left [having been just back from a three week long trip], the destination had to be reasonable for a 10 day trip. So India was out as both of us felt we should do multiple states per trip and it could get overwhelming in 10 days. Similarly Philippines didn’t make it because Vee had wanted to do Bali and Philippines in the same trip to that side of the world – again too much for a 10 day trip. So we went with Sri Lanka and it turned out to be one of the best trips.
Having decided to take advance of the long Easter weekend and taking a few more days leave from work, Vee and I were set to celebrate our our dating and wedding anniversaries in Sri Lanka, 9 and 3 years respectively 🙂
So Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean separate from India by Palk Strait. Truth be told, I know Sri Lanka because I know Ceylon tea and had probably seen some TV adverts early in my childhood. For those who know a bit about Hindu mythology, Lanka features quite prominently in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana. And those who are into myths or mysteries of lost lands [example Atlantis, Hyperborea, or Thule]; Kumari Kandan aka Lemuria mentioned in South Indian literature would know a bit more about Sri Lanka. I do so because I read Sumathi Ramaswamy’s Lost Land of Lemuria in Year 1 of my undergrad years which started my fascination with narratives of lost land [this is a story for another time].
Now to the travel details, those residing in my island country would be glad to know that you could take a return trip from Nadi to Colombo for as low as FJD2,345. I booked with Fiji Airways and SriLankan Airlines during their sale period. Both airlines take excellent care of you and make travelling long hours a breeze. Our accommodation costs came to around FJD800 for the 10 nights in Sri Lanka. We used a mix of Airbnb’s and hotels [via Agoda]. And the total of our daily expenses despite heavy eating and tea tasting came to FJD1,500. So the whole trip was approximately FJD3,500 per person. That is inclusive of the dozen sarees I may have bought 🙂
These are a few things I thought to share [there are many other travel tips available online]:
Travel light if you plan on taking a train or bus.
Eat local food at local joints. Local food is extremely tasty and cheap. Even the most nitty-gritty food joint is reasonably clean. Look out for “Sri Lankan curry and rice” on the menu, the rice comes with 5-8 different curries – all for FJD10.00.
Indugle in the fresh coconut water. I over did it. You can get a coconut for FJD1.30 [100LKR]. So unless you are growing these yourself, these are a steal.
It gets hot an humid, wear cotton blends and carry an umbrella.
Side note: If you are planning on taking the train [and you should], you must book the seats as early as possible. Have a read up of the details on The Man in Seat 61. However, if you aren’t able about to book all your trips, do not stress too much. The unreserved seats will likely cost you approximately a dollar and some discomfort, but you can still travel. We were unable to reserve seats for the Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and Nuwara Eliya to Ella trips, so we ended up buying tickets for the unreserved cabin. Which is basically filled to the brim with people as there are no capacity limitations it seems. What you need to do is, put on your backpacks, navigate through the crowd and get on board as fast a possible. Better if there are two of you, so one can find seats and the other manages the luggage.
This of course didn’t workout for us as I am no good navigating in crowded spaces. So even though Vee was carrying both our backpacks, he got on way ahead of me. Lucky for me, the people are extremely nice and one little girl gave up her seat for me [she sat on her mum’s lap], and shared strawberries with me. Vee got seats a few stations later when some passengers got off. Now because the scenery is so beautiful, so even if you don’t find yourself a seat, try and find a window and enjoy the views while the train chugs through the hills.
Overall I felt completely safe and comfortable travelling in Sri Lanka; there were no instances of harassment or leering. Everybody we met and spoke to, treated us with respect and care. I must say though, Vee got a few looks for conversing in English when he looks so Sri Lankan.
Some 14 months ago, I had started on a project for my friends as a Chrismas gift. I am not sure what had transpired but I didnt finish the project until December 2016! :\
So in January 2017 I had some very pretty leftover fabric which wasnt enough for any project. Or so I thought, until the bright idea of using the prints as sleeves popped into my head. I had done print and plain before, but it was a floral print. I had also recently made a long sleeve “Bula Shirt”for the mister and quite loved the idea, so I set to work on a print and plain long sleeve dress for myself.
Its a very simple cut and make, but the finished product has turned many heads! 😉
While planning for our trip to Europe in August, I desperately searched for a long coat. One that wasn’t too thick but would still provide some cover on a chilly evening. Needless to say, I didn’t find anything to my liking anywhere in Suva.
Since I had already set my mind on a long coat, I couldn’t shake off the idea. So, I created one 🙂
Its a simple make, but took me a good 3 hours to cut and stitch as I had never made a coat before. I have since then taken every opportunity to sport the SJmade piece around the world!
Being the self-centred artist that I am, I very rarely stitch for others. Even my better half is denied the pleasure of adorning SJmade too often. Therefore, when I do stitch self-lessly, it must be blogged 😀
So here is what I had set out to create for him [I am not at all good with sketching]:
For yours truly, I used the stitch on neckline and embellishments:
One fortunate Saturday I found myself in Atlas where they had just restocked their $2/m fabric rolls. After a few minutes of digging for treasures, I found three fabric which I could imagine as SJmade pieces.
After much soul-searching, I embarked on cutting up the green rayon blend for a jumpsuit – because, well, I haven’t made one before!
Me thinks that the jumpsuit turned out pretty good. It has turned a few heads 😉
With the left over fabric, I made a colour block shift dress. Which not only looks lovely, but is comfortable to wear in our forever tropical climate.
When out fabric shopping, I usually tend to buy a little bit of extra for those ‘just in case’ cases and love it when there is fabric left over from the initial project. Lately, I have been turning the leftover material into skirts. They are simple to make and can be mismatched with different coloured blouses. Although my personal favourite are vests. I haven’t photographed all the bonus skirts but here are the two latest ones.
Here is the left over from the mint green shift dress. It is a straight cut with gathers at the waist.
I had also made a wrap skirt as the fabric was cut out in the corners, so I just made a curve in the corners and added buttons to hold them in place. I still have a load of leftover material, just need to find the time to create something from it 🙂