Shop update

It has been a bit of a rocky start with my shop, DAAIN. Within a week after the opening, my sewing machine had to be repaired. I was separated from it for six days, which felt like an eternity. When I finally got it back I happily continued to work maniacally and made four new things. After I photographed them in the forest I got sick. I’m still sick, but I did edit the pictures and write descriptions and list those clothes in the meantime.

I made a velvet crop top, a multi-layered asymmetrical skirt, a hooded vest and a sleeveless maxi dress. All up for adoption now! Besides the dress they’re all made from recycled materials. The dress is made from the same eco-friendly, fair-trade, organic fabric that I used for my other maxi dress. The more I learn about the clothing industry, the more I stand by this use of materials.


Kickstart My Heart – The Influence of the Music in Our Lives


I’ve had a realisation last year. A realisation that I keep having lately. It’s about the music, and media in general, we consume and how it influences our mood. I have already written a blog post about my experience, but it felt necessary to revisit.

Over the past few months I have almost exclusively been listening to music that makes me feel good. As much as I love my angst-ridden metalcore, nihilistic doom metal and gloomy goth music, I know that it’s not particularly helpful to listen to on a daily basis. Continually listening to negative music inevitably leads to dwelling on things that make me unhappy. There is a time and place for it and that time and place is not every day.

Instead of Bring Me the Horizon I’ve been listening to Four Year Strong, instead of Cult of Luna I’ve been listening to Mötley Crüe, instead of Lana del Rey I’ve been listening to Elvis, all the pop punk, and so on. Of course I’ve still been listening to Every Time I Die, but more their newer, more positive music, rather than say, Ex-Lives.

These little tweaks have made a huge difference in my life. It’s so simple and so effective. The simplicity and the effectiveness still baffle me. I’ve been singing and dancing through my apartment all day. I’ve been a lot more motivated to do things. I’ve been more creative. I’ve been more social. I’ve gradually been watching less series that don’t directly add to my sense of wellbeing; instead of horror or drama series I’ve been drawn more to stand-up comedy, documentaries about nature or inspiring people, and magical girl anime shows (of which singing along to the theme songs is an absolute necessity). I’ve also been reading more non-fiction books about spirituality and people who fascinate me. These other media have been enriching my life in turn.

This is just scratching the surface. So many positive experiences stem from putting on upbeat music as early as possible in the day. Once you’re in that positive place, so many more positive things will start happening. And then I think of my mom and how she turns on her radio first thing in the morning and cheerfully sings along. She’s been doing this for as long as I can remember. I used to find it insufferable, but now it’s like Mom! All along you knew this secret to happiness and you didn’t tell me!*


Well, my friend, I’m here to let you in on this secret. There are a lot of things that I’ve been doing over the past few months to consciously get into a positive mindset (or into THE VORTEX as Gala Darling and Abraham-Hicks call it) and listening to uplifting music as much as possible is unquestionably one of the most powerful. And unlike I used to think, uplifting music doesn’t have to mean only modern radio pop. There is so much uplifting music in alternative genres: pop punk, punk rock, horror punk, glam metal, glam rock, ebm,  synthpop, 50s rock and roll. You just have to weed it out.

If you’re interested in the sort of music that makes me feel really good, I’ve made a playlist on Youtube (NSFW). It starts with Avril Lavigne, naturally. I’ve tried to keep it somewhat cohesive, but hey, I listen to a lot of different music.


I don’t know if all this is obvious to anyone else, but it was mind-blowing to me. Once you become conscious of the media you consume on a daily basis and how much it informs your experience, you can change your world.

*Then again, I probably wouldn’t have been in such a receptive mode as I am now. It’s something that I’ve had to grow towards.

Shop now open!


I have been scattering hints like breadcrumbs these past few weeks and now my shop is finally open! It’s called DAAIN, which means ‘witch’ in Sarnami. It is, of course, all monochrome eco-friendly witchy fashion. So far I have three ready-made items for sale, and one custom option. The first top I have already shown on this blog:

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The other two are a maxi dress and a crop top:


Before this dress, I had the ambition to only make clothing from repurposed materials. I went to thrift shop after thrift shop, prowled around flea markets and scoured the web for second-hand clothing. But I came to realise how impractical that would be. It would take a very long time to build up a good collection to work with. So I went for the next best thing: organic, fair-trade, environmentally friendly produced fabrics.

I bought a couple of meters of black jersey fabric from SewNatural, a Dutch shop specialising in eco-friendly fabrics that I have only recently discovered. I must say, it’s the nicest jersey fabric I have ever worked with. I would love to buy a lot more of it for clothing for myself, haha. But for now, I made this maxi dress to sell. I thought it was a good basic staple to start off with.

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And then I made this top, from a thrifted lace dress that I’ve only just scored a little over a week ago. I gave that poor dress a much more exciting life as this little top. I hope. The flared part of the sleeves was already part of the dress, its finest feature. The rest was all my own hacking and stitching.

I’m so excited to make more clothing and fill up my shop!

Etsy Review – Vintage Casio watch from LateRabbitWatch

It’s been a hella long time since I did an Etsy order review. I’m not even sure if I ever wrote one for this blog, or if it was something I had only done on my old one. In any case, I’m doing one now.

Last month my beloved Batman watch broke. I was at my temporary job at the post distribution centre and when I took off my gloves at the end of the day, there was a violent clatter on the ground. I looked down. There lay my Batman watch in pieces. It had always been too large for my wrist and it seemed to have been pulled off along with my glove. I was devastated. That watch had been with me for three years.

But, with every ending, there is a new beginning. I thought it was a good opportunity to buy myself a nice, grown-up watch that actually fit my tiny wrist. So I browsed through the small, black watches in the vintage section on Etsy. I came upon this Casio classic 90s watch from LateRabbitWatch. It was more or less exactly what I wanted and at such a reasonable price. So I thought I’d try it.


It was shipped very fast; the day after I ordered it. It took a while to arrive, but that’s to be expected from Singapore. When it did arrive, it was in a small, square box which protected the watch well on its long, perilous journey. I opened the box.

It was love at first sight. Pictures don’t really do this beautiful watch justice. I love the minimal design of it, the colours (obviously) and the textured band. And the size! I was pleasantly surprised at the size. It had looked larger in the pictures, which I had been worried about, but it turned out to be the perfect petite size for my petite wrist. I almost couldn’t believe how perfect it is.

The more I wear this watch, the more I love it. It is so exactly, exactly what I needed. It’s so small, I barely feel it. I even forget that I’m wearing a watch over the course of the day. It’s so lovely to not constantly feel a big chunk of clock on the end of my arm. I can do so much with my hands without having to take my watch off; lovely.

To go back to the shop I ordered from, they have a lot of beautiful, vintage watches on offer. Their service is good. If you’re also in need of a new watch, I would definitely recommend checking out LateRabbitWatch.

A little taste of their selection:

Happy watch-hunting!

More sewing: Long-sleeved hooded top

You won’t believe how long it took me to make this top. It looks simple, but a lot of experimentation and puzzling with materials went into this. And re-doing, oh re-doing. It turned out amazing though. It falls perfectly and it’s super comfortable.

It’s made of all recycled materials: thrifted shirts and a scrap or two left over from old t-shirt reconstructions.

I’m a bit disappointed with the pictures though. I thought I had devised a good set-up with a wire strung across my room and a €1 thrifted sheet, but the lighting in this room is pretty terrible. How I miss the natural light in my old room… I suppose I’ll have to invest in studio lights to make this work. And a bigger tripod.

Thanks for looking!

Starting 2018 off sewing

In the past five weeks I have been questioning a lot about myself, my life and the path that I’ve been on. One thing that has led to is the conviction that I need to get back into sewing. I’ve missed it dearly and honestly, it’s what I’m best at. I will write a whole post about it at some point. But for now, here are pretty things.

I made these two reconstructed dresses over the past week.
The first is reconstructed from a skirt and a top which I never wore, with other scraps added to it. I love how it turned out so much! It’s so cute and comfy. A perfect dress for a casual lolita look, but could also be dressed up with a blouse and petticoat and everything.

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Despite all the layers it’s really light, which I love.

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I got the middle strip of lace from a second-hand market last week. Antique lace is the loveliest.


This old, ill-fitting Queen of Darkness skirt and an ill-fitting thrifted top formed the base of the dress:


I took this skirt apart almost completely, while I kept the top basically intact, save for the closure. (Yes, the skirt was beautiful, but I’m a punk crafter and have no remorse.)


This second dress I reconstructed from a vintage dress I’ve had sitting in my closet for years. I got it from the Brick Lane market in London, back in 2012. It was a shapeless maxi dress with embroidery and long sleeves. Not the type of dress I would have usually considered, but the dye-job on this was absolutely gorgeous.

Because of the dye-job I sought to make it work. I already altered it a bit back then: shortened the sleeves and took in the waist with elastic. It didn’t help much. So it sat in my closet. I only took it out again last week, and now I’ve finally managed to salvage it.


It’s super flattering, comfortable and has pockets! I can see myself wearing this a lot in the summer, and on my next trip to the tropics.


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The little things I added are all old things from my scrap heap. The stringy thing for the bow I made myself, back when I was in fashion school (2010?) and had to research different textile techniques. This method was a sort of knitting; it’s called “punniken” in Dutch, I have no idea what it is in English. At long last, it’s gotten a purpose.

This is what the dress was before:

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Thanks for looking!

My NaNoWriMo 2017 participation


I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s a contest in which writers from all over the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000 draft of a novel in the month of November. I wanted to write something new and the timing of that coincided with NaNo, so here we are. If I’m not as active on my blog this month, that will be why.

Last year I made a video about the pros and cons of this contest. I think my conclusion was that it was a great initiative, but for me the cons outweighed the pros. It’s too focused on word count, which does not work well for me personally. I had to scrap over 26,000 words of vomit that resulted in my previous attempt and was left with only the idea of a novel. And yet I’m doing it again this year.

I’m more laid-back with my participation this time though. I’m not as obsessed with reaching the word goal. Sure, 50,000 words would be nice to have at the end of the month, but I’m more concerned about the time I’m investing in my writing. NaNoWriMo has a nifty new feature where you can input personal goals, which can also be hours instead of words.

I’ve challenged myself to work on my novel for 82 hours this month. That’s 3 hours a day, with some wiggle room. Those hours include both planning/outlining facets of my novel and the writing of the novel itself. So far I’ve been doing very well with my hour-goals. Only last weekend I didn’t put in as many hours as I liked, but otherwise I’ve reached or surpassed the 3 hours a day. I’m behind on the general word goal, but I don’t care as much as I usually do.

I’m writing a new novel. Something brimming with a lot more promise than previous things I’ve written. I’m working on it every day. It’s taking concrete shape. This is how NaNoWriMo can be immensely valuable. Bend the rules, personalise it to fit your own goals and watch the magic unfold.

Video – My top 11 favourite spooky books

Books mentioned:

1. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
The most original haunted house story out there. It’s deeply psychological and genuinely scary.

2. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
The classic story of the mad scientist and his creature.

3. Dracula – Bram Stoker
The classic story of the evil count and the people who band together to bring him down.

4. Drawing Blood – Poppy Z. Brite
Trevor McGee returns to his childhood house in Missing Mile where his father killed his family and himself. There he meets Zachary Bosch, a hacker on the run. They fall in love, even as the house and their past threaten to destroy them.

5. The Bloody Chamber and other Stories – Angela Carter
Dark, twisted retellings of fairytales and legends like Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast. There are no innocent maidens here.

6. Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories – edited by Michael Sims
Vampire stories from a period in which vampires were actually scary. Stories with their roots in Eastern European peasant superstition, romanticised accounts which emphasise the erotic, plus an omitted chapter from the most famous vampire book in history.

7. The Complete Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
Collection of stories and poems from one of the most beloved darkly inclined writers.

8. We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
“A deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the dramatic struggle that ensues when an unexpected visitor interrupts their unusual way of life.”

9. The Vampire Chronicles – Anne Rice
The mesmerising, richly detailed stories of the most seductive of vampires: from Louis, Lestat and Claudia to the mother of them all.

10. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black
In Tana’s world vampires are part of everyday life, though they are generally quarantined in deceptively glamourous ‘Coldtowns’. Tana survives a massacre by non-quarantined vampires, along with her infected ex-boyfriend and a mysterious captive. Determined to do the right thing, Tana takes them to the nearest Coldtown.

11. We Are Wormwood – Autumn Christian
“Ever since she was a child, Lily has been pursued by a demonic girl with wormwood eyes. As Lily struggles with her schizophrenic mother’s decline into insanity, the death of her somnambulist childhood love, and her own painful, disturbed adolescence, she must face the strange girl that haunts her. Yet something is chasing her that is much more dangerous. A darkly surreal, drug-coated romance, We are Wormwood tells an inhuman love story, and the transformation that results from affection among monsters.”