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Little Things 225 : 2016 Compilation


It's the final week of 2016 !
Here is the compilation of 2016 goals achieved and failed, as I do this yearly to remind myself that some things in life matters, even how small it is and years from now, I'll remember this moment when I compile all this every final week of the year. Plus, never trust your hard drive to keep data, if you want anything permanent, go to the internet :F


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1. Read 29 books in a year.
This year I only managed to read 20 books - that includes a lot of audio books when I was working and graphic novels. So I cheated a bit :D I've been a little preoccupied with a lot of things lately.

Result : I failed ! Only 20 books instead of my 29 books goal. 

2017 Goal : 30 books :F
Note : Thank God there are a lot of new books by my favorite writers that I'm waiting to buy next year. I'll try to read more next year, InsyaAllah. 

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2. Run 365 km in a year

Yes, I managed to reach my second running goal this year! My first goal was to reach 250km, and I reached that in September. I upgraded the goal into 365km total distance afterwards and I also reached that number too.

Result : 365km, reached !

2017 Goal : Perhaps 450 km? Everyone suggested me to reduce my running activities if I'm TTC, but if I do the math and attitude right, 450km is just around 7km per week and that is still super noob and not hard-core at all - so perhaps, maybe? :F

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3. Exploration : Osaka + Kyoto
I had to postpone the Japan exploration to bring my whole family early next year as promised. The tickets were already bought in last August, the Airbnb house has been booked, InsyaAllah in February 2017 we are going on a family holiday. They are coming with Af & me for a week, and both of us will extend another week exploring together afterwards. 

Result : This year we went to Indonesia for a run and Singapore for an event.

2017 Goal : Osaka + Kyoto, a run in Indonesia again (?) and another event in Singapore (?)

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4. Be a Freelancer + Chief Designer
I have this hard-to-achieve goal that is working as a full-time freelancer, but I only managed to try it out for 6 months. The first phase was the first 3 months, and I continued until the 6th month, before a startup in Cyberjaya asked me to join them : as a Chief Designer. I followed the course of the written path because I believe in the 'flow', so I joined them *plus the pay is good, they bought me with money and big ideas :F It has been around 4 months since I worked there, we are launching soon. 

I still dream of going full-time free illustrator, but for now, I just signed a 1 year contract with them. So mayybe later, we'll see in a year?

Result : I did tried to be a freelancer for 6 months, and I am now a Chief Designer. Alhamdulillah

2017 Goal : Survive the daily work and 1 more year as a permanent in-house designer. I can't believe that I am still working full-time :F

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5. Ptptn
I have another RM 20,000 education loan ! Look how far I've crawled :D When I first started it was RM 38,000 and 5 years later I can see a big reduction, I paid almost half of it. Takpe, I'll pay faster after this, I'll try.

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Others personal stuffs :

Favorite song :
I'm still in love with this song by Maggie Rogers : Alaska even after I first heard it several months. It's my go-to exploration anthem, the song I always heard when I think about my undying day-dream of freedom and places far from home.


Favorite book :
Yes, I only read 20 books this year, among those 20 books, my favorite one this year is Albert Camus's The Stranger.

Favorite series :
I watched a lot of series this year thanks to iFlix ! :D 
UnReal, Younger, Grey's Anatomy, 2 Broke Girls, And there was none, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Gilmore Girls Revival, Scandal, and several more series that I only managed to watch a bit but didn't continue due to the boring first few hours. I never watched this much series, but I'm in front of the computer a lot. Every time I had to prepare stickers or do digital illustration, I turn on my iFlix. My favorite one this year : Scandal by Shonda Rhimes

Favorite song of my life :
Even though I watched Moana when I was half-asleep after we taught those 30 little kids, I remember this song clearly : How Far I'll Go by Auli'i Cravalho. This song tells exactly how I felt since I was 15, when I was still the strong-willed passionate girl that talks about travelling like it was all that matters in the world.  Of course, 30 years later I'm still here. I know I've been to many places, and I'm thankful for that, but you have no idea how even after all these year, the fire is still there calling me to just let go all things permanent and walk away. I have her heart, we wore the same explorer's patch :D But not voyagers - I hate water.  


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Big note : I'm reaching 30 in a week ! 
I'm expecting a lot of awesome books *even though I chose the books myself , Japanese cheese cake and new excuse to buy myself a birthday day. 

Video : Etsy Made Local 2016


Af finally compiled the video he took at the previous Etsy Made Local event - read the post here. Thaaaaank you Etsy team and also to Af who has been right at my side in every events + activities I participated since we got married. 


These final months in 2016 had been great, fun, busy and exciting, I joined an event at Public Garden Singapore, with Etsy Made Local and also Rantai 10th year anniversary. I also taught a doodle class to children for school holiday program and almost reach 100 orders in my Etsy this year alone. T^T

This was a great year, thank you guys  

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Tiny Thoughts : All things random in my life


  • Writing : Other than my personal blog, I write as a Chief Designer of Fin.my at : Fin's Medium , although I have my own personal Medium as well but I haven't write anything except replying to Mike Posner's post and liking other people's articles on weekly basis. Note : I write at Medium when I put on my nerd hat.     
  • Data : My new hard disk, Mr Buffalo *barely 4 months where I kept all data : works, projects, portfolios, inspiration, writings, downloaded vectors and pictures taken since 2009, was having hard time performing since it fell down flat on the floor. I tried to copy all the files *worth 200gb for the longest 5 weeks before any of my computers can no longer detect it. I went to the shop again with the hard disk and the receipt so they can send it back to the factory to get it fixed *3 years warranty and the guy said that all files were corrupted - with no luck in retrieving anything. In 2 minutes, he wiped out all the data when I said 'ok'. 2 short freakin' minutes. So I lost all pictures, the ones that I kept since 2009. What did I learned from this? I should have at least 2 backups, not 1 & don't ever trust ONLY ONE DEVICE to keep all your data - ever, and print out pictures that I want to keep for the future. T^T 
  • Books : New books coming up (they are still fresh on shelves, not even in paperback edition yet): The Spy by Paulo Coelho, Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak, Absolutely on Music by Haruki Murakami, The Magic String of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I'm going to buy all these books once they are available in paperback version, or should I really consider to convert to e-book reader on Kindle (?). This year I only managed to read : 20 books only ! - this includes a lot of audio books and graphic novels, so I cheated !
  • Series : And have you watched Gilmore Girls revival ? I've waited 9 years for this T^T I missed them so dearly, so I didn't waited long to watch the whole 4 hours short series after they were released. It felt more like a new series just about to come out than a continuation of the old series. Not sure whether I'm still in Team Jess or whether I should think like a 30-year old now and be in Logan's team. When I was much younger, I know I would opt for Jess over and over but now I'm older, I'm a bit realistic when it comes to the choice of father-husband material. Ha.

  • 30 days challenge : My current challenge is to digitize everything in my sketch book for at least 1 page, daily. By the end of my 30 days challenge, I should at least have enough for my first printed zine. I still have time for my Saturn returns !! :F


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Random : Spooky Art Swap by Aviva

Image from Alexia's Twitter
So for my Spooky Swap created by none-other-than the famous tumblr : Aviva Artzy last October, I sent my parcel to another awesome illustrator called Alexia Bee. Aviva contacted me and asked whether I was interested to join the arts swap *there was a lot of super-faaaamous illustrators and artists, and I loooove arts swap, so I said yes, yes, yes. 

Here I just noticed that Alexia posted the stuffs she received from me 
Her original post :

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Awesooooome !

Note : But I haven't received my parcel :F (yet)
This is sooo sad, I want to put a padlock to my post box from now on !

Events : Doodle Your Day with Azreenchan


Well it was not really an event, it was just a day with me and a bunch of kids.

In October, I was emailed by someone from one of UPM's faculty : Faculty of Design & Architecture for a "whole day - school kids program" to teach doodling. I'm always up for new things, even though I never really had any experience teaching kids - so I just said yes. I was nervous, but the experience matters, or how else will I learn to do it? 

The week of the event day, I prepared the simplest doodle module that I could think of to teach younger audience. I managed to prepare an eight-page basic doodle materials, and printed it out at Serdang. It was just the easiest thing - *at least that was what I thought lah.

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The doodle class started around 930 am after all the kids arrived and registered for the class. There were around 30 students ranging from the youngest : 6 years old to the oldest : 13 years old. They received a sketch book and morning meals from the organizer, while I brought all the printed material, colourful markers and magic colour.

The basic : Dots & Lines

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All the little things

I gave out some name label stickers for all the kids to put on their clothes, so it's easy for me to learn their names if I need to. I passed the doodle module around and gave basic introduction before letting them doodle it out according to the module.

The name labels on clothes & doodle book

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Determined one : she wanted to finish all the patterns, she kept coming for this page.

In the class, we tried learning the basic doodling from my module, doodle your face and your friend's face, doodle a pattern that can be used as a frame, doodle pattern types on a label sticker so they can stick it in their doodle book, and doodle on an empty file holder that they can bring back. All doodle and colouring for the whole 5-6 hours.

Here I found an interesting findings from the class :
  • The age gap was big, meaning their learning process was quite different : 6-8 years old can be grouped together, and 9-13 can be in a different group. Younger kids take more time and attention than bigger kids, they like to show me their updates and needed approval for next steps. Bigger kids do as they like, mostly faster and without any orders. There are pro and cons of both approach : if all the kids sit together, they won't mix around with one another and the older kids won't be having a chance of helping the younger kids - this is what I thought, so I let them sit where ever they wanted. But, next time I will try the other option of letting the younger kids sit together so it will be easy for me to teach some of them with more attention, and let the bigger ones explore more things to do in their own group with less supervision. 
  • Each kid was unique and different. Some don't want me to see, some need all the attention, some got distracted every few minutes, some don't want to cooperate, some are so easy.
  • 30 kids in a class is too big especially if there are younger students. Preferable around 15-20 students per class so I can sit with them at their desk to show each process step by step, instead of teaching at the white board. 
  • Looooong hours with 2 mini recess is still too long. I need to shorten the class's duration next time. Kids are so easy to get distracted and bored.
  • You've heard about "not letting kids eat sugary stuffs, to avoid them getting hyper & super active" ? Well, it was reaaaaaaal. After morning break, they turned into a bunch of hyper-active uncontrollable kids, from such a nice silent little angels in the early morning. I had to shout and wave around to get their attention. 
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Easy-peasy, right?

Doodle anything you want on your file holder


The oldest boy : One of the easiest, and he is already a doodler *bonus point !

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The class looked something like the image below. 
They were separated into 3 long desks, so hard to give full attention to all the groups as they sit so far apart. Now I understand how teachers in class feel about teaching younger audience in a big class :


It's so hard to not have any favorites because some of the kids are super darlings and cute , while some are divas and a bit of a drama-queens/kings, I'm not sure how to tolerate seeing I don't have kids of my own yet - I shouldn't complain. But every time I got a 'tough' moment, I stared at AF with my arched eye-brows.   

Cute ones !

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Event's poster :

Anyhow, this was a very useful and great experience. 
For any possible doodle/illustration class next time, do contact me : azreen_31@hotmail.com

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Later after the class, Af booked for a movie : Moana at IOI city mall, but we both dozed off all through the movie - especially me! The song keep repeating afterwards, but I can hardly remember the story clearly. I guess I was really exhausted spending the whole days with  a bunch of energetic kids =.=