My significant other of six and a half years (feels strange to type this, I barely realized this is how long we’ve been together) had his twenty-something birthday yesterday!
The spotlight of this post should probably be on him, but I’m afraid this won’t be the case. If you read this with the intention of hearing a story about A, be prepared to get disappointed. Mainly because in this post, I would talk mostly about some of the past birthday gifts that I’ve crafted for him throughout the years – thus this post is more about my crafting journey than A himself, lol.
Although in the past few years we’ve been getting each other more practical, functional, and long-lasting gifts – mainly because we’re way past the adolescent era where we still had the utmost need for attention, treatment, and so forth, and now we realize we could really use some useful “adult” tools to help each of us get through life – today I’m feeling nostalgic and just feeling like reminiscing the good old days where I would try so hard to shower him with those self-made pretty-pretties excessively.
Those who have known me since at least my undergraduate years may know that I’m a huge fan of DIY, designs, or basically anything that screams arts and crafts. So basically, I’ve been using A‘s birthdays as an excuse to nurture my passion about creating artsy-craftsy handmade knick-knacks – apart from the fact that he deserves the token of appreciation as well, of course. From the classic birthday card, birthday book, birthday lunch decor, and a couple of other things, his birthday has basically been a special occasion for me to experiment with papers and scissors.
His birthday was actually a couple of months before we started dating, and even until this point I still don’t understand how I got possessed to have the courage to send him these handmade gifts. I made him a birthday card with lyrics from Sufjan Steven’s “Happy Birthday” and a desk decor from a modified film roll.
This was our first year together, and I think I probably, most definitely, went a bit too extra. Well, I mean, we were in our first year of being together and I was in my earliest stage of being 20’s, so obviously I was being all “bucin” about it. The gift was a book that is still available online to check out here, and on a Tumblr link that apparently has been deleted by Tumblr now due to its years of inactivity, and also printed out as a physical book.
One thing that I particularly like the most about this book is because I’ve always wanted to design and create my very own book. This book is not about me at all, but technically, I’m the creator, so it counts! (Amazing how I manage to make this post all about myself when the title indicates it should be about A, right. Yeap, sometimes I hate myself too.)
My favourite part was that I got in touch with almost 70 people (!!!) to ask for their birthday wishes for this book. For an introvert like myself, I would gladly take it as a personal achievement any day of the week. In the end, there were 60++ pages which I designed by myself (with a lot of help a.k.a inspiration and ideas from Behance, of course – because who are you kidding, I’m not a certified graphic designer) about his family’s and friends’ birthday wishes as well as mine, some song lyrics, some movie quotes, and so on.
Looking back at this particular gift, I think it’s strangely amazing that the power of bucin-ness could unleash the ultimate productivity potential within us – considering that at that time, I was juggling between schoolwork, field school, some organization stuff, and so forth for most of the behind-the-scene. Things we do for love, am I right. Especially when it’s a combo between someone you appreciate and also the love for arts and crafts.
There was a bit of hiatus of creativity in 2015, probably due to this year being the year where I was trying to complete my undergraduate thesis. I still made some memento for A’s colloquium, undergraduate thesis defence, and graduation, but more on these in a later post if I ever feel like sharing it, perhaps. Maybe in a post about my crafting journey overall beyond this scope.
Move along to the year after, 2016.
This was the year where we were going to embark upon separated journeys for our graduate school. His birthday was the only occasion where we were both still going to be in Indonesia, so I made for him a small birthday bash attended by his (mostly) high school friends – because they all lived around Tangerang area where he lives – and also his family and mine.
Everything that involved designing, crafting, and decorating was created hand-made by me. I know, I know, I went quite a bit too extra, again. From decorations to souvenirs for those who came, setup, and so forth were meticulously designed and selected by me. Even food selection was also primarily based on whether or not they were pretty enough to be on display (wink).
I must admit that especially for this one, I didn’t do it only because I wanted to make A’s birthday memorable, but also because I had this passion about event decor that I had never got the chance to channel somewhere else before. It just so happens that his birthday conveniently occurred when I felt like finally executing that idea, before commencing my further studies.
Apart from that, I made also these designs with birthday wishes from most people who attended, that you can still find here. Still one of my favourite designs to date!
We were equally occupied with schoolwork in 2017 and the year after, that I didn’t manage to create anything other than this quick collage design I made last-minute. Nothing fancy, I know, but it’s the thoughts that count, no?
That’s it, that’s the recap. I guess as we both got older, we came to the realization that it’s better to give each other things that each of us could use as well when we move in together later in the future. It’s not really because the passion for these kinds of stuff that is lost per se, but we’re perhaps already past that era when affection requires some evidence that involves dedicating a lot of times to creating something handmade for each other. And luckily, none of us is complaining.
I certainly miss those days where I would do something purely out of passion and curiosity. I’ve had about a half-year experience in earning pocket money out of those, back when I created this @dhaniaalbani side project on Instagram, but that’s it. It’s still on hiatus up until now – although certainly not stopped – because at that time eventually I had to continue my school somewhere else. Always wanted to come back but never really had the time ever since I started my full-time office gig. Maybe sooner or later, hopefully.
How about you? If you’ve ever been involved in any artsy-craftsy project, maybe for your loved ones as well, let me know! I’d love to see some inspiring craftsmanship to keep my passion ignited.
Also, feel free to drop any question you might have about any of the projects above. I’d be more than happy to answer.
Until next time!