Thursday, January 5, 2017

Finishing 2016 with a finish!!

Here's wishing everybody a very happy, crafty, fulfilling 2017!!

Yesss.. finally seashells is finished. I literally stitched my way into the new year. I was putting in the last few stitches in seashells when the clock struck 00:00 on 1st January 2017!! Isn't that a grand way to finish a year and start a new one

Isn't she a beauty. I started this in December 2011 and finished in December 2016. It has taken me exactly 5 years to finish this - phew!! V was beginning to ask me if I would manage to finish this by the time she reached college :)

So now I am totally excited to start working on my next project. It's going be a pattern from LHN - The Bookshelf.

I have kitted it up and all set to start. I also have accumulated quite a few strands of beads from all the travel this year. Hoping that 2017 is going to be a year dedicated to fulfill all my crafty dreams

Signing off with this today friends. Wishing you all a brilliant year again.

Take care.. Be Happy.. Keep crafting.. Au Revoir

Monday, December 26, 2016

South African Sojourn

Wow.. it's already that time of the year when we look back and think 'WOW the year just flew by'. This has been yet another such year

I have traveled to South Africa twice in the last few months, each trip lasting for a month. There's so much work in this new assignment that I did not find much time to go around. Of whatever I have seen so far, this is such a beautiful place!! Unfortunately, there's not much public transport due to safety concerns

King of the jungles - in all his majesty!!

A panoramic view of the Hartbeespoort dam

Union building - what a beautiful place it was

A panoramic view from atop the Union building

What fun is it if you have been to South Africa and not visited a flea market!! This was one of the higher end flea markets

Hand painting on ceramic. Every single piece was so beautiful. Unfortunately the airlines imposes a baggage limit!!

Signing off today by wishing all my dear friends a very Merry Christmas a very Happy 2017

Till Next time.. Take care.. Be Happy.. Keep crafting.. Au Revoir

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A crafty long weekend

Last weekend was an active one - busy and yet relaxing too! We had a long weekend  as we (India) celebrated our 70th year of independence. Usually this time of the year we plan our family get2gether as most of my cousins come down for their annual vacations. It was a low key affair this year though, as one of my cousin's father-in-law is unwell.

During our trip to the US, we bought some beads from Michael's to gift our nieces. V and I thought it would be better to make necklaces out of those than give just strands of beads. So we got down to do some beading for gifts.

We found these very pretty pinkish tinted metallic accents, which we do not get here in India
This is for one of my smallest nieces, who is about 4 years old
We combined these pretty enamel beads with black crystals and a silver accent
Ever since Harry baked some brookies in Masterchef Australia, this has been the craze in the baking world. We found this simple eggless recipe for brookies and decided to bake some for our get2gether

The recipe can be found here. It was a super duper hit and disappeared within minutes of taking out

I also made fairly good progress on seashells. But I have decided that the next picture of seashells I post will only be a completed one!! And that is going to be in just a few days :)

That's the updates from me dear friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching/baking/crafting.. Au Revoir!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stashy Update

I was very curious to know how much stash I was hoarding. Two reasons for doing this - one to get an idea of how much I have pending. Second to see if I am allowed to buy more ;)

 Here are a few kits.

Below are a few patterns only

Threads and fabrics

A complete picture

I also kitted up my next project. It's going to be 'The Bookshelf' by LHN!!

Now I am all excited to see the end of seashells, which is not far off. Though there is no picture at this point, I have made good progress. Have just a few more rows of half-cross stitch and the back stitches left

That, my dear friends, is all from me today. Till next time.. Take care..Be happy..Keep Stitching.. Au Revoir!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Cookie Time

V tried her hand at cookies alone (when I was at work) at my mom's place and ended up burning them. Thankfully mom smelt something burning and woke up in time to find the cookies burning. Ever since then V has been wanting to bake cookies with me only watching while she did everything from scratch

So here was her first one - Cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies

It turned out totally yummy. Everything went very smooth, no burning down the place!! The recipe source is here. We used flax seed powder in place of eggs


We had a tub of cream cheese which we wanted to use up. Found a very simple recipe to make Rugelach in one of the baking forums in FaceBook

150gm each of cold Cream cheese and plain flour, 100 gm cold butter.

Mix the three and rub till they resemble coarse bread crumbs. wrap in a cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour to an hour. Roll out like rotis, spread any jam/nutella and cut it out into long traingles, roll up each triangle and bake for 20-30 minutes.

NOTE - refrigerate after rolling up and stuffing before baking. This will help retain the shape

We made a mistake - the cream cheese was in room temperature. Hence the dough was very soft and we were not able to roll it out and cut into triangles. So we made a round disc and filled with marmalade/nutella/peanut butter

The saltiness from the cream cheese totally compliments the sweetness. Also the pastry was nice and soft. Very simple and quick snack

Both the cookies turned out great and no burning down the place!! So, I am guessing that V did not get the setting right in the oven at mom's place

That's about the adventures today friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep crafting..Au Revoir!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Trip down New York..

That's right.. V and I visited my brother's family who live in New Jersey and spent our vacation with them

When the trip was finalized, I had already fixed my agenda of the few specific places I wanted to see and specific things that I wanted to buy. Top of my list was to visit NYC at least twice and visit the largest Macy's store there

We spent at least half a day and did not cover even a quarter of the store. I actually just realized that we did not even visit the children's section!! Wonder how V did not bother me about it at all

This picture below has a funny story behind it. While walking along times square we came across so many 'characters'. My brother did warn us not to click any pictures with them, else we would get rounded up and asked for money (and none of us had any small change). Apparently V did not gulp this down her throat (we realized this much later).

When she saw these characters she screamed 'Hey angry birds, minions' and rushed to them even before any of us had time to react. When we came out of the shock she was happily shaking hands with all  of them and was posing proudly in the middle for a picture to be taken. And I, like a robot just clicked while looking on in horror. After the picture all these characters were on me demanding 'mommy we need money'!! My brother and family had gone on a few steps ahead of us. When they turned around they saw this commotion and did not know what was going on. Finally they gave the smallest of notes they had and said bye to our dear friends!! Still when we look at this picture we shudder and then laugh at V!!

Next on my agenda was to buy all the berries I could as we do not get fresh berries (other than strawberries) in Chennai

Boy was I happy when I found all these berries. 

I had decided that I will not buy any more stitchy stash and that my next purchase will be only after I finish seashells and start off on the next project
Speaking of which, here's where I am with seashells

All I have now is to finish the sand and all of that is half cross stitch. And the back stitch. 

That's about it from me today friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mangoes and Desserts

There was a challenge announced by a Facebook group to create desserts with Mango and we could submit as many entries as we wanted. I usually never participate in culinary challenges, but this one was totally irresistible. This was sponsored by Rena Germany. If not for winning, I just wanted to participate. These were my entries:

Mango Kulfi:

Here's the recipe:
 ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml):
2.5 cups almond milk or cow's milk
2.5 cups mango puree - approx 3-4 large sized alphonso mangoes can be used
¼ or ½ cup sugar - depends on the sweetness of the mangoes. so adjust accordingly.
4-5 green cardamom crushed or ¼ tsp cardamom powder
a pinch of saffron/kesar
12-15 unsalted pistachois - blanched or soaked, peeled and sliced. keep some for garnishing
2 to 3 tbsp almond paste/almond meal or khoya/evaporated milk (optional)
21/2 or 3 tbsp rice flour or 2 tbsp corn flour dissolved in 3 tbsp almond milk or regular milk
take saffron and almond milk in a pan.
heat on a low flame. just let the almond milk come to a gentle heat. don't boil the almond milk.
if using cow's milk then simmer on a low flame for about 15 to 18 mins.
add sugar. stir till the sugar has dissolved.
dissolve the rice flour in 3 tbsp milk.
add this rice flour paste to the milk. keep on stirring so that no lumps are formed.
cook on a low flame. stir in between.
continue to cook till the mixture thickens. switch off the flame.
add the almond paste/powder/meal or khoya/evaporated milk. stir and let the mixture cool.
add the mango puree, chopped pistachio slices and mix well.
pour mango kulfi into serving bowls or kulfi moulds. freeze for 8-10 hours.
serve mango kulfi cold and sliced with topped with saffron, sliced pistachios, cardamom powder

The 2nd one was a sugarless Mango brownie topped with Mango mousse. Now this was very interesting as I am trying to cut down on the sugar and also the hubby is diabetic!! So, this was a must try

Here's the recipe

Mango brownies
To Be Sieved Together
1 cup plain flour (maida)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch salt

Other Ingredients
1/4 cup melted dark chocolate
1/4 cup mango pulp
1/2 tsp mango essence
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp crushed almonds (badam)
2 tbsp chopped chocolate

Combine the olive oil, melted chocolate, mango pulp and essence in a deep bowl and whisk well using a hand beater.
Gradually add sieved flour mixture and whisk well.
ADd the remaining ingredients and consistency with mango pulp or water only if required.
ADd the chocolate pieces and almonds, mix well and pour in the greased cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Celsius for 40 minutes or till cooked.
Cool on a wire rack and cut horizontally into 2.
Garnish it with mango pieces and whipped cream.
Serve it immediately on sizzling plate with cold vanilla ice cream.
sprinkle some roasted almonds and chocolates pieces on vanila ice cream.

Mango mousse recipe
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml):
2 medium size mangoes, chopped
½ cup thick cream
1 tbsp honey or 1 tbsp sugar (I used honey) - ad more or less for your preferred sweetness

in a blender, add the mangoes and honey.
blend till smooth.
now add the cream and blend till smooth.
chill the mousse in the refrigerator for some 20-30 minutes or more.

With that I wind up my post today folks!! Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep crafting.. Au Revoir!!