Welcome to my blog! It's been a long time since I've blogged. I used to have a blog on Livejournal and then moved on to Blogspot, and now I'm here :) I thought for my first post I'd share some more information about myself so you can get to know me a little better.
So who am I?
My name is Niina Aoki, I'm currently 32 and live in Perth, Western Australia. I live with my husband and our exotic shorthair cat, Panko.
I was born in Porvoo, Finland, lived in Uji, Japan until I was 4 then moved to Australia and been here ever since. Fun fact, my husband was born in Newport, Wales and moved to Australia the same year that my family did!
Growing up I loved drawing and being crafty. I used to watch a TV show called "Art Attack" and I'd love to recreate their projects or make my own version. I'd go to the library weekly and borrow a huge pile of fiction and arty books. One of my favourite memories growing up was drawing on big pieces of box cardboard alongside my older sister. She would draw amazing futuristic cities while I would draw little animal families and cottages.
As a child my favourite toy was Sylvanian Families! My mum bought me a house and a bunny family for Christmas when I was 2 years old. Ever since then I've been hooked. In Australia, Sylvanian Families weren't very popular growing up so my collection didn't grow until more recently when they finally seemed to have gain some popularity with Australian children. I still love collecting Sylvanians but my shelf for displaying them is getting a little full!
I also really like making things and recently I've got back into sewing. I think the first thing I sewed was little clothes for my Barbies babies. From there I graduated to making little plush toys, to cushions and then to clothes. I'm still learning but I think with each new piece of clothing I make, I'm getting better! I have a large wishlist of patterns to make that I keep adding to. There are so many awesome indie pattern makers on the internet that I never knew about!
My art career has been a little rocky and I've had different iterations of my brand. I think I'd gone through 3 different branding changes before landing on the current one which I think will finally stick. I spent a while not knowing what I wanted to do and feeling like I had to be a certain version of myself. But now I feel more confident and sure of who I am and what I want to do!
Another big part of who I am and what has shaped most of my adult life is that I have Crohn's Disease and I have a permanent ileostomy. I initially hesitated about sharing this on this blog but I remember in the past searching for people like me online and not being able to find any. Hopefully there's somebody out there who has the same condition as me and by reading this and seeing what I do, it helps them feel less alone and more confident to follow the same career path.
So what's Crohn's Disease and what in the world is an ileostomy?
Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease and it can affect your body from your mouth all the way to your anus. It usually pops up in the small and large intestine. Common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloody stool, urgent need for the toilet and fatigue, but there are many more. My disease got very bad to the point I was bed ridden and in terrible pain. This lasted for over 6 months (previous to that I didn't leave the house much as I was getting so sick) until I had surgery to get an ileostomy. An ileostomy is when they cut your small intestine and bring the end through an opening in your abdominal wall. You then attach a bag that catches your waste. An ileostomy can be temporary or permanent. My bottom end was so damaged I had to get a permanent one. Life since getting surgery has been amazing! Pre-surgery I could barely walk and I couldn't leave the house without crying in pain. Now I can go outside, I can go to the shops, I can cook, all without pain! It's been a big adjustment of course but I don't regret any of it. I finally have my life back after suffering for nearly 11 years. If there's anybody out there who is considering this surgery or even just wants to chat, don't hesitate to contact me I'm more than happy to share more about my experience :)
Gosh that got a bit heavy didn't it?
Anyway, I'm really excited to chat more to you guys on this blog and share my creative journey. I hope you'll enjoy reading my posts and please let me know if there's something in particular you'd like to see!