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Bali, Cosmo Dress and A Little Knittin’

I’m heading to Bali, Indonesia with a friend in less than two weeks. She’s going to Nusa Dua for work. I’m along for the ride and paid-for hotel room. Jordan will be in trial so I think he’s relieved I’ll be out of his hair.  Among the activities I’ve planned for myself, I’m most excited about an all day textile tour. Bali is home to batik, ikat and what we know as Dutch Wax Prints.

Balinese Songket

It’ll probably rain most of the time I’m there. But, as long as I don’t get malaria or Hep A, I can’t say that I care.

I have a few things I’d like to sew before the trip (rash guard, swim skirt, rain bonnet). But, let’s face it. I’m not sewing much of anything these days. So, I won’t bore you with my whimsical ideas and will *maybe* have something to show from exotic locales when I’m home.

Any Bali tips for me? I’m going to take a cooking class, a surfing class and a spa day. We’ll also be doing some biking when she’s done working at the end of the trip. Any fabric store I won’t be able to resist? Tips on bargaining and what I should pay? Give me all the tips, please.

An Australian in my office told me to not act like a Bogan. That was his big tip <– If this is an offensive phrase, please tell me *now*.


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In other sewing news, my most made pattern, the OOP Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan dress is going to have a limited  100 pattern reprint.  You may recall that I have the silk jersey pre-treated and waiting for me to make this for the fourth? Fifth time? Reasons I love this pattern: minimal if any FBA needed, defined waist, great neckline for me… it’s the ultimate dress for an hourglass.


I’m pretty obsessed with knitting you guys. I’m working on a University of Michigan themed scarf for Jordan. And by working on it, I mean I’ve finally figured out the design, how to make fair isle and when to change colors on my machine  🙂  Here’s a photo of the swatch I worked up.  I won’t be able to look at this again until I get back from Indonesia. And, if that’s anything like my trip to Egypt or China, I’ll need a week or more to recover from aggressive food poisoning and jet lag 🙂

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48 thoughts on “Bali, Cosmo Dress and A Little Knittin’

  1. Aussie here! Bogan is not an offensive term – but definitely the kind of behaviour you want to avoid when travelling. It’s referring to generally uncouth, uneducated, uncultured people. Maybe a bit like how Americans talk about rednecks, but not as harsh.

    1. Thanks! He was so… snarky when he said it I wasn’t sure how he meant it!

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 4:56 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  2. Congratulations on your upcoming trip Renee! I know you’re going to have a blast, you always do on your trips and I can’t wait to see photos when you return! I love the sample of the scarf, that’s pretty nice work!! Bogan?? LMBO! Nothing you have to worry about! Have fun!!

  3. Also Aussie here – Kel perfectly outlined bogan. As long are you aren’t drunk and singing vaguely offensive songs draped in your national flag… You are probably all good!

    Have a great trip 🙂

    1. I *might* have one US themed swimsuit. But, I only wear it at my friend’s pool!

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 5:56 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  4. OMG so exciting! I went to bali a couple summers ago and it was so awesome. Spas are legit and so cheap. Don’t bother with the hotel spa, it will be overpriced and closer to western prices. Look up spas outside the hotel. Most of them will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel for free. I think I did a 4 hour spa day for like $40 all together. Massage, mud wrap, scrub, hair conditioning the works. Also be sure to watch the sunrise and sunset. It’s beautiful!

    Have so much fun. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Ahhhh! I’m so excited! I’m doing all the treatments I can’t afford here: ear candle, massage, body scrubs and wraps. Mmmm. Thanks for the tip on the sunrise / sunset!

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 7:02 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  5. When I went 10 years or so ago, I learned to be very careful about what I expressed interest in because it engendered extremely persistent haranguing. The woodcarvers didn’t bargain. I actually bought very little since the whole shopping experience was so unpleasant due to having people grab my arm and follow me around.

    1. This is why I don’t love shopping in Egypt / Israel / Ghana. I hate bargaining. It’s good I don’t need anything. Thanks for letting me know.

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 7:03 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  6. BALI!!!! You lucky duck! Three years ago, I spent a couple of weeks there (business trip) and loved it! I was there in April and found the weather to be really hot and brutally humid, hopefully it will be more temperate when you’re there. The batiks and ikats were amazing . . . stuff that you won’t see anywhere else in the world . . . but be prepared to pay for them. They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it. Because most of them are hand-printed, you can’t buy many many many yards of one specific print . . . you’ll be lucky to get a couple of metres. Balinese silver jewelry is really special . . . very good quality but, again, not cheap. There was no bargaining on any of the good fabric or silver jewelry. That said, everything else in Bali was super cheap when I was there, especially massages! Balinese massage places are like Starbucks . . . you’ll find them on almost every block. They’re nothing fancy . . . many times, they’re a curtained-off area in the back of a store . . . but these little Balinese women really know how to give a terrific massage, for about $10-$20 an hour!!! When I was there, I got at least one massage every day (my idea of heaven)! I went to a fancy spa in Ubud, and the massage I got there wasn’t any better than the cheap ones I got on the streets in Nusa Dua or Sanur. You may want to take an extra small suitcase so that you can fill it up with local handicrafts to bring home . . . everything is so cheap there . . . clothing (kimonos, bathrobes, shirts), beaded jewelry, carved wooden items, metalwork. Bear in mind that most of the world’s souvenir tchochkes come from places like Indonesia (Bali), so this is your opportunity to purchase these things locally. The local food was delicious and cheap . . . seafood and vegetables and rice. Getting there and back is brutal, but you’re SO VERY SMART to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity . . . a dear girlfriend of mine tagged-along with me when I went, and we’d both like to go back to Bali for a month! Have a great time!!!

    1. I think I now remember you posting about this on Facebook! Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know silver was something to check out there. We’re going to Ubud at the end of the trip for two nights of Glamping and biking. I’m, really excited about the food. And, terrified of 24 hours of travel. It’s like going to Australia all over again.

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 8:05 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  7. Bali will be hot and humid at this time of year, and yes, there’ll be rain. It’s a beautiful country, and only a three hour plane trip from here. Let me know if you’d like a recommendation for a driver while you’re there – I know a guy who has driven me around a lot and he’s great. Have fun!

    If you’re interested in the more philanthropic route I can refer you to a Street Kids centre, a Women’s refuge and an orphanage that you could visit as well. 🙂

    Lara from Thornberry had a retreat in Bali last year and she’s written several blog posts about it. https://thornberry.wordpress.com/category/retreat-recreate-bali-2015/

    1. I would love a recommendation for a driver! I have two free days that I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do. And, I’ll check out Thornberry’s posts. Thank you, Melinda!

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 8:58 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  8. Have a great time in Bali! Bring back some amazing things and take loads of pictures!

  9. Jealous. Although my upcoming trip to fabric stores on Oahu and niece moving to Singapore may just balance things out.

    1. If I was able to shop in Singapore on the even vaguely regular, I would sleep on bales of fabric.

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 10:01 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  10. If I remember correctly, I think Lara (Thornberry) was recently in Bali on a sewing retreat, with fabric shopping. (If I am remembering correctly,) she may be able to give you some good info based on her experience.
    Have a great time! Quick get a Hep A shot now, if you haven’t yet. 😉
    Bring back lots of beautiful fabrics, and enjoy every minute of that spa day. I’m no help with that word, Renee, never heard of it! But I am all over that HP dress pattern, mostly because I remembered how much I loved your versions.

    1. I have my doctor’s appointment next Friday (Thank you Johns Hopkins Travel Clinic)! I’m annoyed because I didn’t get the follow up shot the first time I got a free Hep A shot for Ghana a few years ago. I’m also asking for anti nausea pills for food poising and crossing my fingers he’ll give me Ambien for the flight. And, I bought travel insurance. I had a friend break her arm while visiting her native Guatemala. She had to have a second surgery in the US because they did such a bad job when she was there. I am not the one to play with my health!

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 11:31 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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    1. I might. Jordan asked if I could make some for the M Law group in Baltimore.

      On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 11:35 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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    1. I think mine is out of date. I’ll have to get new ones. And mosquito spray. So many things to do! And, I think I’ll be in sports bras the whole time given the 84% humidity I just read about! I guess a hat wouldn’t help with the humidity though, right?

      On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 12:43 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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      1. Bring lots of clothing changes, because I tend to sweat a lot and with the icky sticky sunscreen I change a lot. And for some reasons, I walk a lot on Bali therefore more sweating and changing clothes.
        Everywhere you walk there will be small stalls selling lots of beautiful things cheaply, I just love Bali. But not the drunken swearing tourists though but that’s usually later at night where I’ll be in bed already …

        1. Ha! Thanks for the tips. I’m hoping it will be easy to do clothing washes too locally.

          On Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 7:31 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  11. I stayed on Nusa Dua , at the Melia. Its the oldest , original hotel in Bali. I had the most amazing facial there. I cannot remember the name , but it was this sucking vaccum facial that did not irritate and made my skin plump and amazing. I am still trying to find something similar here in the chicago area 2 yrs later! We had a blast at Turtle island and Ubud was my favorite. We barely touched Bali in 8 days. Pomogranate cafe in Ubud is magical. Its a walk thru rice fields to get there. I still dream about a little carved sleeping Buddha that i passed on in Ubud. It was unlike the others. I went on one of the Batik tours. Wasnt really impressed. Found more unique arty batik in a shop in Ubud. Started chatting with the shop keeper and she offered me a tour of the workshop but i was leaving the next day
    Regardless of your driver – you need to be very firm with where you want to go. They are given kickbacks from business to take tourists to those designated businesses. Tell them where you want to go and if they argue tell them you will use someone else Enjoy. Its the most artistic creative place i have ever been !

  12. Ps. It was much more cool temp than i thought. We were there in Late June It was 80s most of the time. But on the ocean can get a little chilly at night. Certainly not super humid and oppressive like i thought ! I was expecting a jungle type dripping wet temp feel but its more like our East coast weather

  13. A little further info regarding “bogans” – your friend probably mentioned it as Bali is known to attract many, MANY bogan Australians on holidays, being so close and cheap and completely set up for such tourists. So it is also known for tourists with rowdy and frankly embarrassing behaviour. I would just say avoid the places that such people go (unless you are after the “bogan cultural experience”, and perhaps being American, it wouldn’t grate on you like it does us down here 😉 Have a great time!

  14. In Bali, it is rude to say “no”, instead you say “sudah” (already) or “belum” (not yet). So, if you are offered something you don’t want, “Sudah, terima kesih!” I already have one, thanks! Truthfulness irrelevant. “Have you been to Java?” “Belum”, even if you have no intention of going there. You can see inexpensive ikat sarongs being made in Gianyar. The gold jewelery in Denpasar is a bargain, 20 or 24 carat pieces sold by weight. This is how local women store their savings.

    1. Thank you very much! I’ve been wanting to get a plain gold wedding band. I’ll check it out.

      On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 8:32 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  15. This popped up in my newsfeed today and I thought I would come and share it with you, there’s some awesome stuff that most people have no idea exist. http://bali.mehthesheep.com/visit-bali/

    On behalf of Australia, I’d like to apologise for all the bogans you *will* encounter if you venture into Kuta (particularly at night). Once you see them you’ll know exactly what the term “bogan” means 😉 The water sports at nusa dua are awesome, but if it looks unsafe, it probably is! But you’re sensible so I’m sure you would have figured that out.

    If you want anything made, go to your tailor on the first day. You’re on island time, totally different to places like Hong Kong!!

    The Balinese people are wonderful people. Just be polite and friendly and smile lots (I’m sure you will do all of those things anyway!) They will love you and you will love them xxx

  16. Probably too late but visit Alta Moda for fabric, ask any driver they’ll know where it is Also the Gengalla factory for beautiful ceramics.

    1. Thank you! I am able to see it and will dig into it over the weekend.

      On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 12:32 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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    1. Ohhh! I had no idea! Thanks. I’m essentially doing all the activities that are too expensive to do here in the states while I’m there 🙂

      On Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 9:26 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:

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  17. Hi there Renee – just checking that you got my email re Bali! If you didn’t I can re-send. Also re laundry – there are places in the local village near Nusa Dua where you can drop off a big bag of laundry and collect it later – just keep an eye out for signs that say laundry. Very reasonably priced that way (expensive if you get the hotel to do it).

  18. Hmmm, do you think I’d do well with the Cosmopolitan dress? When people like you rave over a pattern because it doesn’t need an FBA, that makes me with my relative bustlessness get worried…

    1. I probably wouldn’t. I was looking at a friend’s post from many years ago with a more critical eye. And, I see that it’s way to big in the bust for her. On Jan 15, 2016 23:35, “Miss Celie's Pants” wrote:

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