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Meet Mom Nathalia living in Jakarta

Monday, 3 May 2010 by Irene Hoofs

Please meet Nathalia...or Lia as she prefers to call herself. This crafty mom lives in Jakarta, Indonesia and used to be an civil engineer, but currently fills her days with raising her lovely two wonderful active girls and authors her great blog Lia Space showcasing her own craft tutorials, photography and everything else that interests her...


What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?

Though we live in an apartment, I love the area, it’s only a walk away from my parents’ house and our office (literally).  Living in a city where you can’t shy away from the heavy traffic jam, I consider my location to be a luxury.  It is starting to be too small for our growing family and we had to give up our larger studio/office when our second child was born.  We turned our connecting office/studio into Emma’s room.  The kids can be very restless when they’re in the apartment all day, so they usually go down to the playground every morning.  Emma is already at school and I like her school, she gets to do many creative things everyday, like finger paints, food stamps, kindermusic, cutting and pasting and what’s most important is she loves it there.

Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?

I hope I would be one day when we finally have our own house :).


Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?

I love reading blogs.  It started when Isabelle was just born and I had to express my milk, so when I had to express, I usually had my laptop nearby and read my google reader.  I started reading blogs like bloesem, Apartment Therapy, lots and lots of baby blogs like babygadget and I guess it just grew from there to all things crafty.  While I was growing up, my mom used to subscribe to Architectural Digest as well as many other design books, so I pretty much enjoy browsing through them.  These days I love magazines like Home Beautiful.  And when in doubts, I have my architect sister, Stephanie, to help me.

What are your children’s favorite items in your house?

My oldest is currently mesmerized by one of those tapping disney toy!  My youngest loves to bother her sister and currently she is keen on biting her sister too :).

What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?

Entertainment in Jakarta is mostly mall hopping.  There aren’t that many crafty places around, although there are a few interesting ones here and there.  There’s only one small shop that I know of which sells craft notions.  For groceries, we usually go to the supermarket in the mall or there’s a Ranch Market not too far away from where we live.  I love a mall nearby my house called Plaza Senayan because they have the biggest Kinokuniya bookstore in Indonesia.  I love browsing through the Japanese craft books, it’s haven for me.  I must say that fabric and sewing notions shopping in Jakarta can be very fun and very cheap too.


What's it like to raise a child in your town?

I wouldn’t brag about hardship of raising a child in Jakarta.  I hold a full time job and therefore hires a live-in Nanny to watch the children whilst I’m at the office.  Occasionally I take them to the office and I would pick Emma up from school too.  Other days they would go to their grandparents’ house and spend the day there.  We lack good and safe public playgrounds and gardens, though.  


Who do you consider is a good example for your children?

I don’t think my husband and I are perfect but we try to educate them as best as we could and give them lessons by understanding consequences.  Hopefully as we get older, the wiser we become, since we’re no expert in raising children, we’re merely learning by doing.

What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

A perfect day would be when we get to take them out to a park or interesting places that would make them happy.  We just got back from Disneyland Hong Kong and they were so excited.  Going swimming with them on the weekends would also be a perfect day for me.  One day, I hope to be crafting together with my girls.

Can you tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made or happened?

Funny you asked, I find it very funny when my oldest is scared of her younger sister.  Isabelle keeps biting her and Emma would run off once she starts clenching her teeth.  She bit Emma on the butt, on her chest, on her arm, everywhere!  She bit me twice and I literally screamed!  It was so painful.

Are there any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?

I am ashamed to admit it, but I bought so many books on raising children but haven’t even opened one of them till this day.


Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?

I believe in love, discipline and forgiveness. 


What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

So far I have not done a lot of DIY projects with the children.  I always encourage them to draw in hope their artistic sense would grow from there. 

Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?

This is something I could not answer, as I am a totally messy crafter.  I guess I’m lucky to have handy helpers :).

Are you a crafter or DIY person?

I guess I’m a bit of both.  I love to craft and definitely love making things myself and I find satisfaction in doing so.  My dad is a handy man and I guess he influenced me.  Lately I like to think up of ideas and how to make those ideas into reality as well as sharing it online to my readers.  I guess my autoCAD skills come in very handy for drawing those patterns.

Books, websites, local shops you can recommend to get tips and ideas for kids crafting?

I find crafty websites by clicking blogs people read, like in your case, I’d stalk your blog roll and I’ll sure find something I like from there.  If I want something to do with kids craft, I’d go look for children themed blog and would stalk the blog rolls from one blog to another.  I definitely get a lot of my inspirations from Japanese craft books, they’re very creative, and gives out tutorials and patterns in every magazines and books!  Plus, they have so many detailed drawings so you don’t necessarily need to understand the language.

What do you do with all the projects your children made at home or in school?

I display them on their wardrobe’s glass door, it’s like their little show and tell.  Some of the small ones I keep in their baby books, so one day they can see what they’ve done when they were little.

Any nice decoration ideas how to hang them, keep them or use them as presents?

I learned this from a good of friend of mine, Chia Ling.  She recycles her children’s drawings into gift wraps.  I find it very cute, personal and of course, very green.


How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?

Birthdays are always special to my family.  We always celebrate birthdays, and talking about birthday, it will be my husband’s 30th this Sunday.  Blowing candles with family and friends after eating good foods is our idea of a Happy Birthday.

Are there musical instruments in your house?

There’s a keyboard which my misfits managed to break and other chimes they can play with, but what they most love to do is sing.  Emma is a great singer, her first song was Jingle Bells when she was only 15 months old, now she sings just about anything, she even makes up lyrics using her favorite tunes.

What are all time favorite books for the children?

We bought her children bedtime stories, we’re starting with easy and simple ones like Disney’s bedtime stories which I try to read every night before Emma goes to bed.


What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?

Jakarta is not really children friendly, but I would totally recommend places like Bali or even Puncak (just a 1.5 hours drive away on good days).  Bali truly is a relaxing city, we just go lounging around, play in the swimming pool or even play on the beach.  I’d recommend Novotel at Nusa Dua, they have free nanny service as well as apartment-like rooms at affordable prices.  Puncak means top in english, it’s where my parents’ villa is located, up by the mountain.  They can run around and go bare footed, ride their bikes and chase all the butterflies and crickets in the garden.  The only problem is, the traffic can be horrible on the weekends.  The malls in Jakarta usually have little amusement park.  They can play all day, like kidzania for older kids, where they play role playing.

What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?

Emma still loves Playhouse Disney and Isabelle has never been interested in watching TV.  I can’t wait until they’re able to watch Disney movies.


Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?

I do like to cook, but I like crafting better than cooking but I still love it.  I used to like making cakes but Jakarta lacks some of the ingredients available overseas.  When I was in college, I used to cook more Indonesian foods, specially when I missed Indonesia’s jajanan pasar (snack).  Here, you can just buy them easily.  Yes, I’m definitely a food lover...sometimes I feel God should create us, the food lovers, with high metabolism, so we’ll never grow fat.


What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?

I love old and new places.  I definitely love a country where it’s still rich in history and culture, such as Europe.  I love seeing remnants dated xxBC, I find it amazing they’d still exist.  I love beautiful scenery and breathtaking views like Santorini, Greece.  I love modern countries such as Japan for the crafts and fabrics they offer and yet still retains its cultural and historical values.  For online shopping, I find that US still offers the best online shopping experience, price and value.  When traveling with children, I prefer children friendly countries such as Australia and Singapore, places that are not too far away from Indonesia.

Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?

I don’t really do that, but we always take lots and lots of pictures and hopefully one day we’ll make them into photo books for them.


What kind of souvenir can they bring back home?

They can bring home anything cute, lovely and light :).

How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?

I’m definitely a light traveler, because I need the baggage space on my way home, I force my husband just to bring enough underwear (max. 4), max 2 pants and probably 3-4 shirts,  I wash them at the hotel.  I love Tokyu Stay chain hotel in Japan! They have a washing machine in each room!  You definitely only need to bring 2 shirts, they even provide a nightgown.


What place do your children love to go to?

They love going to a place where they can play, where they can run around and do as they please.

Tips for traveling with a plane or a long-time trip on the road with children?

Always bring extra clothing and underwear, wet tissues and an activity book.


Thank you very much Lia!

..Lia space..

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