Hello friends,

It's officially June 2021 and no matter what happened in the first half of 2021, you've managed to walk it through, so give yourself a pat on your back :)

LIFE CYCLE OF TREE monthly series is an ongoing personal goal experiment that began in Jan 2021 and will last through to Jan 2022. Here, I will share my step-by-step journey in learning a new skill from scratch. 

June is the month of budding. Whatever you've planted at the beginning of the year will start showing "signs" on whether the seeds that you've planted will sprout

Sign #1: Overwhelming schedule
Although I am still able to find time to complete most of the tasks which I had set for myself, I have been struggling big time in cooping with my 5 personal goals. Time management has been a challenge and I felt completely overwhelmed with the expectations that I had set for myself at the beginning of the year. 

When I planed the goals, I forgot to include my resting time, time to pack orders, time to craft my monthly blog and the"unexpected" life sceanarios that came as a surprise. There had been no buffer for these 4 activities (previously I just tried to squeeze time here and there from my sleep and mealtimes). It completely drained me when these 4 activities occured concurrently in May. My orders have increased this month (all thanks to your support), which meant I had to put everything aside and manage my orders on Etsy as top priority. Last week, I received my first dose of COVID19 vaccination and thought that I could immediately get right back to work, but unfortunately, my body felt so sluggish and I had to take rest for days. These experiences forced me to create a more flexible timetable with buffers for life's unexpected, which also meant having with fewer goals squeezed into my packed schedule. Hence, pattern drafting was removed to ensure more breathing space for my own good.

It is perfectly ok to let go when you have to.

"When you let go you create space for better things to enter into your life."
- Unknown

Sign #2: How do I learn?
Through the process of accomplishing each goal, I gain a clearer picture of how I learn (which I was never aware prior). It took me a long time to discover that I have learning disabilities - I can't learn without knowing the why!
For me to learn a language I will need to find out
What is the origin of this language? 
Why was this language created?
What is the main influence behind this languange?
Who created this languange?
How does someone create this language?
What is their inspiration when creating this language?
Why does language sound this way?
and etc....

Knowing how I learn from my learnings help me to connect to a new languages smoothly. Practicing new languages help me to gain muscle memory and understand a specific language through a different perspective, through a different set of lenses.

When I was young, I find people who could understand theories, have a vast imagination made up of words. It was something that I used to dream of having. Now, I've learned how to see this learning disability of mine as a special gift. By understanding a subject inside out, not only do I get to connect with the creator, I could at the same time simplify its contents into bite-sized information to digest.

So, how do you learn?

"Signs" have highlighted both my flaws and gifts to make room for growth.

So here's the monthly update of my personal goals:

1. Gift Wrapping
Exploring endless possibilities with scrap papers, origami, paper cutting and paper netting (in the upcoming post).

2. Natural Dye
  • Practicing Ayurvastra
Last month I started to research and practice the Ayurvastra process on natural fiber. There are not much references on Ayurvastra practice on the internet, but I fortunately found one at and decided to give it a try.

The source of the fiber has to be 100% organic (for this, I could not be 100% sure, even though I bought my fabric online but I will still carry on with the experiment to understand the entire process).

Before transferring colors to fabric (dyeing), each fabric will need to be treated in seperate steps in order  for it to absorb colors. For this experiment, the pre-process (RFD = Ready For Dye) for Ayurvastra practice is more organic than what I had previously learnt. I'll walk with you through the entire process of how it was done.

Step 1: Desizing to move the impurities from textile 
Step 2: Sourcing to wash out the impurities
Step 3: Dyeing to transfer color to the fabric
Step 4: Fixing to prevent colorfast
Step 5: Softening to make it comfortable for the skin

• The full details of this process is vast, hence I will create a seperate post to map out the whole process of Ayurvastra.

  • Keeping Nature Journal
When I started my natural dye journey last year, I have been keeping a journal to document every related experiment. It is a space where I can observe nature and learn more from nature. 

3. Needle Work

Continue on LOVE dress with chain stitch
I continued to work on the chain stitch on the "LOVE" dress in May. It's one of the needlework practices that I've I started in February 2021. I was perturbed by the source of the black stain which was observed all over the dress even inside the lining. It turned out that it was the front button which had oxidized and became black before I owned this dress. 

Till date, I've embroidered a total of 30 pairs of leaves + 26 flowers to cover up the stains. This month I will continue the embroidery and mending for the rest of the dress.

4. Pattern Drafting (re-adjusting timetable due to overwhelming schedule) will be omited from this month onwards

5. Illustration

  • Finding the why
When returned to practice my illustration, I was lost and didn't know where to start.
Why do I want to learn illustration in the first place?
Looking back at my January post, I started to recall the reasons. And now after I doing further research on the topic, I would declare that my big why is to have the ability to illustrate a meaningful art piece through utter mundane that will inspire people to think. I will show you example of what I mean later.

By studying my sources of inspiration and what they did, gave me a clearer picture of what I want and what I value. But how do I achieve what I want?

Here's my list of illustrators who inspired me:

1. Makoto Kagoshima 高橋真琴
My first brush of Mr. Macoto's artwork was on a Colleen color pencil box (every little girl's dream of owning one), which I fell in love at first sight. Notice how the outline of his painting is done so delicately and softly? The girls who he drew will have a perfect complexion, and with big and starry eyes. The watercolor palette in his illustration is dreamy, girly, and romantic. Even today, his merchandises are still my biggest obsessions. 

Mr. Carter's artwork is deep and I personally really like the one he did for the NEW YORKER. Each page requires you to re-consider the life you've surrounded yourself with. Such meaningful content inspired me to observe daily life with a different set of lens.

Her illustration is light-hearted and the freedom of her organic lines and girlish color palette makes my day whenever I look at it. You may discover more of her lovely work with gauche on her IG account.

I don't remember seeing anyone who can create such faded oil painting-like details with color pencils, which results in amazingly soft and dreamy textures. Her work is healing and therapeutic. If it heals you too, do check out more of Furze's poetry work on her IG account.

  • Finding the how?

When I finally listed down my sources of inspiration, I now can proceed to the next question: How does an illustrator practice when they're still at the beginner stage?

Here I found a useful youtube video to get myself started. If you are feeling lost like me, do click on Finding your illustration style by Pierre Kleinhouse to guide you on your illustration path (we all need to start somewhere).

My next exercise is to practice what I wish to learn: human movement. So I start my practice with my own hands as the object of illustation - learning the anatomy of my hand and trying to draw it, over and over again to get its proportion right. It hasn't been perfect, but I am on my path of improvement.

The month of May had a lot of details, but I will keep it short and simple for you to digest. 
Next month I will do an update of how I progressed in the past 6 months, so stay tuned and stay safe for now :)

Make space for come what may,
Waee Waee