Monday, December 31, 2018

2018.. the year that was

Time to say Goodbye to yet another year!! WOW.. time sure does fly

Here's a quick recap of the year in pictures

I got my nose pierced this year! This has been something I have been wanting to do for a very long time but never got to, as the total idea just freaked me out. So, happy to have ticked something off my bucket list

All the new recipes that we tried between V and me. I have stashed so many recipes in the form of newspaper cuttings, magazines, recipe books and saved in FB and emails. So, this year I wanted to try as much of them as possible, here's some of them ticked off. Hope to achieve more the coming year

I also have accumulated so many beads and beading accents in my stash. So, I decided that after every stitchy finish I will do some beading. Here's all that we have accomplished this year between V and me. Now my beads bag is significantly lighter!! 

Complete list of books I have read this year. Out of the whole lot my most favorites or the ones that impacted me the most have been - Immortals of Meluha, Northanger Abbey (re-reading after many years), Flawless and Goodbye Jimmy Choo

Cross Stitching
Wow, quite a stitchy year - feel good that I was able to accomplish . I wanted to use up as much from my stash this year and I feel very happy to say that I stuck to that resolve!! Lesson learnt - set smaller achievable goals

Last but not the least at all - I completed a DECADE of Blogging!!! Can you believe that it's actually been 10 whole years since I stepped into this world and how much I have grown. I have come a long way with all your encouragement, motivation and inspiration

As I sign off for the day, here's wishing all my dear blogger friends a very very happy, stitchy, peaceful year ahead

See you next year dear friends. Till then.. take care.. be happy.. keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Finished & Framed..

Wishing all my dear blogger friends a belated Merry Christmas!! You must be busy with the post-festive clearing up and gearing up to welcome the New Year

While we all are getting ready to sign off 2018 and relish the last few days of the year, I have a finish.. yes absolutely, blue lotus is all done
That's both the lotuses side by side. All materials are from my stash. Stitched on perforated paper with anchor thread from my recent thread haul!! The design is from Pinterest - here is the link to the pattern. I loved the design at first sight - it evokes a sense of calm. Also, love how it also looks like a namaste

That's the blue one all framed up. In hind sight, I should have either used the same lighter shade of perforated paper as the pink or lighter shades of blue.  

The pink one framed up

Both these beauties have reached my cousins in Dubai and are adorning the walls in their drawing rooms now. Doesn't it feel really good when we make something for someone and they really like it. I think I might stitch this again for myself :)

Signing off today on that note, take care.. be happy.. keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

TUSAL - December 2018

Wow, already time to post the last monthly ORTs update!!

All ORTs are from progress on blue lotus. The ones on the right are for the month and the ones in the glass jar are YTD

For the pink lotus I had made only the outermost petal a shade darker. But this time I am making the outer 2 petals darker and I think this works well too. Wow, I am getting more adventurous :)

That's it from me today friends. Till next time.. take care.. be happy.. keep stitching.. Au Revoir!!

Monday, November 26, 2018

A decade of Blogging!!

Can you believe it.. well, I certainly can't believe that it's been a decade since I wrote my first post here.

I wrote my first post (if you can consider that a post) in a hurry before my brother's wedding. I almost forgot about my bloggoversary.. only realized when we were discussing at home about my brother's 10th wedding anniversary!!

I am unable to remember what exactly triggered me into starting a blog of my own, but am definitely amazed that I have kept it running for this long!! If not for the blog and all the friends I have made here, I am not sure if I would have been able to continue with the crafts - Cross stitch, beading, baking, reading!! Reading all your blogs has kept me totally motivated and pushing myself to achieve much more, setting new deadlines/targets and goals and working towards that

To each and every one of you who have given me advice when required and also those who have guided me in an invisible way, a very big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!! You can even say this is my belated Thanksgiving wish to everybody
Here's to my 10th Bloggoversary and many many more years of learning, virtual tours, crafting and friendship

With a great feeling of gratitude and warmth, I sign off today my dear friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir!!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Gifts and Stash

Thanks to our blogging world, I have made a few good friends. Meari is one such very good friend and a very kind hearted soul!! Once I had mentioned in one of my posts about V's interests in collecting stickers and that's how our association really started. Every once in a while, she sends stickers and other gifts for us. Just check out the lovely gifts that she sent for us when someone came to India about 2 months ago
The lovely packaging itself stole our hearts away.. we just did not have the heart to open it

2 separate packages - one for me and one for V with lovely hand-written notes 

3D stickers and some eye makeup for V - she just squealed with delight when she saw these

Threads in beautiful shades; there's even a pack of metallic thread!!

There's also some fabric. Totally love the patterned fabric

V and I were so overwhelmed with her kindness that we were in tears!! Never have we seen such kindness. V says 'Amma I want to meet aunty Meari once for sure'. Now I will definitely put all these to good use

I know I had told myself that this will be a year of no buying more stash and that I should only use what's in my stash currently. But who can resist the temptation of ordering some patterns when somebody is flying back from the US!!

Seasons patterns by Lizzie Kate. I have been wanting to do a 4 seasons pattern for a very long time now. Found these very cute patterns on 123stitch and ordered these

Of late, I saw this being stitched up by many people and totally fell in love with the pattern. I had this also in my bucket list and took this opportunity to order 

Another Lizzie Kate. For a very long time, I have been wanting a snowman pattern. When news of Lizzie Kate retiring came out, I checked out all her patterns and found this as well

Now that I have ordered patterns, I do need threads to stitch them up right.. so here goes some threads as well

So, dear friends now that I have quite a haul, I better pull up my act and get stitching!! That brings us to the end of this stashy post. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

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!!