Thursday, November 8, 2018

Deepavali, TUSAL

Belated Deepavali wishes to all. Deepavali is a festival that we all look forward to right from the start of the year. When the annual holiday calendar is announced each year, first thing we look for is Deepavali.
Here's a brief background on the significance of Deepavali. Deepavali is known as the festival of lights. 'Deep' means light. There are many stories associated with Deepavali. One is that this is the day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and winning over Ravana.
Another story is that this is the day when Lord Krishna killed the evil demon king Narakasura. Hence this is also called Naraka Chaturdasi
Also, this is the day when Goddess Lakshmi is said to have wed Lord Vishnu

In our region, TamilNadu, we wake up and have the traditional oil bath (known as Ganga snaanam) before the crack of dawn. Then we proceed to burst crackers till about 7 or 8am. This is the day when the entire neighborhood is able to meet and greet each other. We share each other's crackers - there is no sense of 'I, you, me, mine' on this day. There is total sense of joy and peace in the air

In North India, the festivities are normally held in the evening to invite Goddess Lakshmi home. There is a Lakshmi pooja conducted at dusk in almost all households and even shops.

As is the norm, V and I celebrated in our apartment along with friends and neighbors. In the evening our entire family gathered at my aunt's place. It was an evening filled with bursting crackers, fun, food. This year we had a time restriction imposed by the Supreme Court for bursting crackers - only 2 hours!! Despite this we had loads of fun

This year we asked our cook to make the sweets and savories. I only tried my hand at Chocolate Peda which turned out absolutely yummy.

 I am a part of this FB group called OPOS, where the only utensil required for cooking is a pressure cooker. This recipe was shared in that group and it turned out very good:

110 gms Sugar 
60 ml water 
A Tsp ghee 
Cook On high for 5 Whistles 
Mixed in 140 gms Everyday milk powder 
10 gms Hershey's Cocoa powder 
Allowed it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes if it is gooey (resting time depends on the texture you get soon after mixing and needs self assessment; if you feel you can shape it immediately do not rest as it tends to dry on resting ), Shape it.


I have promised myself that after each stitchy finish, I will do some beading. This way I get to work on all crafts. I am sticking to this promise as much as possible and here are my most recent beading expeditions

I bought this pendant a few years back from 'Jew Street' in Cochin. I found the perfect beads to go along with it, which I think my brother bought from Michael's 

All the beads are imported - the pink beads are ones that my brother got from Michael's. The pendant and the elongated stone beads are from a site called 'Fire N Mountain Gems'

TUSAL Update:
Wow, the months just seem to whizz by!! It feels like just a few days ago that I posted my ORTs update and it's already a month

What with festival season, stitching has taken a back seat. But I managed to start off on Blue Lotus. All Orts for the month are from finishing off Pink lotus and start of Blue Lotus

Orts in the glass jar are year-to-date and on the right are for the month

That's all from me today folks. Till next time.. Take care.. Be Happy.. Keep Stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Navarathri 2018 & a Finish

It is festival season in this part of the globe. The first big one, Navarathri, just finished.

Let me give you a brief background about the significance of the festival. The festival is celebrated for 9 days - the first 3 days we worship Goddess Durga, second 3 days Goddess Lakshmi and the last 3 days Goddess Saraswathi.
Durga represents destroyer of evils. These 3 days as we start the festival by worshiping Her, we destroy all our inner evils
Lakshmi represents wealth. Once we have conquered our inner evils, we fill ourselves with the eternal wealth of love
Saraswathi represents Wisdom. The last 3 days we then pray for inner wisdom and get proper knowledge of the self
We read the Lalitha Sahasranamam on all 9 days for the Goddess

All these 9 days, we invite people (mostly women and girls) home for Vethala Paaku (called Haldi Kumkum in North India). This normally consists of a few betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric and kumkum. These are the absolute necessities. We can add howmuchever we wish over this - like mehendi cones, bindis, bangles, coconuts, fruits, the offering that we made for Goddess that day and (if we want) a small gift. This year V and I gave organic soaps as gifts. Basically all things that represent Shakti (Women)
Similarly we are also invited to other's houses. So there is a lot of people visiting us and we going over to theirs - whole lot of fun

Each day of Navarathri has a color as well, which is as per the below chart

This year we had all the more fun, as most of  us tried to follow this colour code - lots of pictures taken, but too many to share here. This is the time of the year when we bring out all our heavy sarees, jewellery etc. In this process V and I realised that we miss a few colours in our wardrobe. So, we are working towards filling that gap.. griinnnn

Golu is another part of Navarathri. We setup the golu in odd numbered steps (3/5/7 etc). Ours is mostly setup in 5 steps. Though there are many ready-made steps available in the market, best part is to assemble the steps with whatever furniture we have at home. 
When I was a kid, my grandmother used to have a huge golu of upto 13 steps - all put together with furniture and racks available at home
Our 5 steps were made using my craft chest, 2 tables of different heights and 2 suitcases (both antiques)

A full view of our golu

The best part about setting up a golu is that it brings out all our creativity. 

V setup a small park - a small waterfall using the hot glue gun, a bridge using popsicle sticks and used a black chart as the base

I tried something new as well - Rangoli in water
I have seen my grandmother do an elaborate rangoli during golu every year and have always wanted to try this out. But each time I thought of it, I would be intimidated by the idea. This year I somehow overcame that and got down to actually trying my hand at it. Though it's not a great one, it's definitely a good start and helped me get over the fear

Amidst all this, I also have a finish!!
Here's The Lotus - all done!! I simply love the way it has turned out. Again I used all materials from my stash - perforated paper and the threads. The original pattern used only one shade of pink. As I fell short of the shade, I combined 3 different shades and I love the way it has turned out

 My next project is going to be the same pattern, but this time a Blue Lotus. Both these are going to be gifts to my cousins
Here are the 3 shades of blue I plan to use - again using perforated paper, but a darker shade

Wow, that is quite a long post by my standards :) If you have reached this point, thanks a lot for reading through till the end
Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep Stitching.. Au Revoir!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October ORTs

I have been meaning to post for so long, but it's time again for the ORTs post!! Sigh, time really flies

All ORTs for the month are from progress on Lotus. This month I very diligently saved the monthly Orts in the box on the left. The glass jar on the right shows the year-to-date collection

I have only one more petal to go to finish lotus. My next project is also going to be the same lotus - these are both gifts for 2 of my cousins. I am still trying to decide what shades to use for the next lotus. Am planning to stitch that on perforated paper as well, a darker shade though. I think a lighter pink will look good on that one

It's festival time now - Navarathri is in progress and that's keeping us all busy. This is the time to invite friends and relatives over, go visiting people. My next post will be dedicated to details of our celebration this year

Till then.. Take care.. Be Happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Lotus progress & September ORTs

Friends it's new moon and time to share ORTs for the month

Progress on lotus has been slow, as too many things have been happening at home - birthdays, weddings and hence outstation trips, get2gethers.. wow it has been a busy month indeed

So, here's my ORT jar
I have not segregated the ORTs from August stitching alone, hence it is the year-to-date

Here's a closer snap of lotus. I love the way it is coming along - looks like a namaste and a lotus too

That's the update from me today friends. Till next time.. take care.. keep stitching.. Be happy.. Au Revoir

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Books, a birthday and cake

I had got The Bookshelf framed recently and posted the framed picture here a few weeks ago. I got just the right spot for it, right above our study area 

V turned 14 recently and we had a small celebration when my cousins were all in town. This year I decided to bake a cake for her birthday
This is a simple eggless caramel cake with caramel buttercream topped with Hershey's caramel syrup. The link to the original recipe is here. The only change I made to this recipe was to replace plain flour with whole wheat flour. I could not have even a single piece of the cake, but everybody just loved it

I have had quite a few things happening, will post each individually soon. Till then folks.. take care.. be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, August 13, 2018

August ORTs

Another new moon and time for our ORTs display!! Time sure does fly

I started on Lotus and all ORTs for the month are from there
The loose thread are for August and the ones in the jar are year-to-date.

This is the pattern I am working on now. This is a pattern I found on Pinterest
 I changed the pink to a slightly lighter shade, from my thread haul

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Finish and some stash

Really really happy to show you Rose
This is probably my fastest finish till date! This is a free design from pinterest and has been a very quick stitch 

I could not find some of the shades in my stash and hence had to visit my nearest craft supplies store. I was totally saddened and shocked to see that all the skeins were literally dumped in his carton and asked them why are they in such a sad state. So they said that these were slightly older supplies and I could have them all if I wanted at a lesser price. I said I would think and come back. I am not joking when I say I lost some sleep just thinking of all these skeins of threads sadly dumped in a carton

So, I went back to the store and asked them what they would ask for the whole thing. Currently a skein of anchor thread sold at Rs.10 for new stock and these were sold at Rs.8. As they were all old, they said I could have them for Rs.4 per skein, which I felt was really a steal!! I brought home all these goodies!! Happy me.. happy skeins  

This is the complete carton of skeins. Those that are in the plastic cover were not full skeins and they gave them without charing

This is the complete lot all spread out

These are the lose 'skeins' which I got free

There are no bright shades, like the red's or blues here. I suppose I will have to go to the store for those. I think I have a lifetime of Anchor thread with me now.. hehe

Meanwhile, I have decided on the next project - A Lotus

This is also a pattern that I found on Pinterest. This is not a free pattern, but cost only $1.8. The link to the pattern is here. This is going to be a gift to another one of my cousins

So, that's the story today dear friends. Till next time.. take care.. be happy.. keep stitching.. Au Revoir