Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Last finish of 2012

Wishing my dear friends a Merry Christmas. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your families

It's that time of the year when there's a lot happening, mostly lot of fun. Even at work it's fun time. We usually have the fun club activities kicked off early December and the activities go on till mid Jan!! We have a whole lot of outdoor and indoor activities, games and finally is closed with a big family event.

Usually around Christmas I go around to the hotels and malls in the city to take a look at the various decorations that have been put up. This year too we did that. Frankly it was quite disappointing. The main reason being that the biggest mall (as of now) in Chennai did not have a tree as is the norm!!! What a shock that was
 Though the decoration is definitely good, I expected a grand tree standing there majestically, and was disappointed to see a Teddy house instead :(

Trying to catch up with all the festive baking, I tried my hand at snow-ball cookies. But due to some reason, the cookies went absolutely flat. I was then left with about half of the cookie dough and I did not want to make cookies with that. I went on a spree hunting for ideas to use up left-over cookie dough and found a choco-lava cookie dough muffin

It turned out absolutely yummy. Got the recipe from here. This was quite adventurous again. The recipe called for melting chocolate chips in a microwave. When I tried that, the ziploc started to burn. I never got the runny chocolate, it just was a little powdery paste. I lost patience and used that as a filling. But it gave a great crunchy texture. After all this, we got 4 lovely cookie-dough muffins and topped it off with cookies 'n' cream icecream and hershey's chocolate syrup!! Oh yumm it was

I love fruit cakes and usually buy from a store every year. This time I decided to try baking one myself

It turned out well, except it was quite dense. I used flax seed instead of eggs. Recipe from here

Now for my finish..

Isn't it pretty as all other cottages. I did a little cottage swap between August and July. I have used the August pattern to make July. That's because I need a flag in my August, and July has a flag.

It's now time to actually finish and mount the cottages to put up. I went about shopping for backing materials and mounting boards over the weekend.

I also found some good even-weave/countable fabric at this place where I got the materials for a very good rate. The store had about 2.5mtr left and he was ready to give the whole thing to me for Rs.150!! Would I miss such an opportunity.

Now I have to find a good way to use that.

Well, that's about it from me today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bloggoversary and TUSAL

Goodness, it's actually 4 years since I started the blog. Thank you all my dear friends who have kept me going real strong and made me stick on to this world. Thanks to you all, I now am much more courageous in trying out new things in baking, beading and mostly cross stitch. I am not sure I would have achieved even half of what I have done, if I had not started the blog and come to know you all by means of this vast world. And not to mention the number of new friends I have made with the help of the blog. It's amazing how small the world can be with the help of the net. Thank you all again

And now to update you on what I've been up to. Well, I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. So much has happened since then - my cousin's wedding, then a trip to Trichy to celebrate M's uncle's 80th birthday and the festival of Karthigai deepam.

First, today being new moon here's the TUSAL for the month. I actually am posting it on time - woohoo

We had great fun during my cousin's wedding, the mehendi being the grand start of it all. V, the bride's sister and I got a small "tattoo" made.

That's us showing it off

V wore a ready-to-wear saree for the main event.

She was swarmed by people and the photographer as soon as she stepped out of the room all dressed up. She got so upset with all the attention that she ran inside the room again and refused to come out. Soon she started crying and wanted me to change her dress :)

I baked a cake - a vanilla walnut sponge with choco buttercream frosting.

This was mainly to celebrate Bhagwan Sai Baba's birthday which was just the day of the mehendi.

Now for the stitchy update.

Here's where I am with July - yep still stuck with it. With so much activity there's not been much progress. And then Mr. froggie made an appearance and I had to frog out all of the cottage and the tree on the left, and re-do the entire part.

So, with that my dear friends I take leave today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Diwali..and TUSAL

Wow, time sure has flown by and Diwali's gone, the most awaited festival of the year. Now all the festivals are over with that.

As new moon fell on Diwali day, I missed out on posting my Tusal for the month (well, I do have a valid excuse this month, hehe)
As I have hardly been stitching, all the inputs are from July Cottage.

As always, lot of preparation and planning went into Diwali celebrations.. what sweets/savories to make, what clothes to buy, what crackers to buy and for how much...
My MIL usually spends diwali with us every year and she takes pleasure in preparing some sweets for all of us. But then, I have to make a contribution as well right?? So, I wanted to try my hands at something(s) new this year. Well, all of them are new.

I made Mawa Kachori and jalebi for sweets and cornflakes chiwda for savory.

The only flop side was with the chiwda, which was a bit too salty. I had to then fry some more cornflakes, raisins etc and toss them in. This really balanced out the taste and turned out quite well.

The hubby and I decided to not buy any new clothes for ourselves and wisely use up one of the new ones from the stash. So, we just bought dresses for V.

We also bought a good amount of crackers, but decided to stick to the "fancy fireworks" kind and not the noisy ones.

In the evening of diwali, we all gathered at my aunt's house to burst the remaining crackers and share more stories. It was absolute fun

On the crafty side:
I made this necklace for my cousin for the upcoming wedding

The beads are all my cousin's, I just helped with the idea and the putting together.

I did some baking as well. Baked this yummy dates and walnut bread for breakfast

and served it warm with a littllee dollop of butter. Boy was it yumm... The recipe is from here. The only variation I made was use flax seed instead of the egg. It turned out very moist and fluffy. I also skipped the prunes as I did not have any.

And guess what V received all the way from the US..

..more stickers from aunty Meari. Isn't it sweet of her. Thank you soo very much Meari. V send you her hugs and a whole lot of thanks. She counted all her sticker to a total of 998 (individual stickers) :d :d

I do have some progress on July as well. But I have decided that I would post a picture of it only after I finish it.
That my friends is all the update from me for today. Till the next one.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another cottage start

Wow, it's been over 2 weeks since my last post. I've been so busy with the festival and work that not much happened on the stitchy front. Finally now I have been able to start on July cottage

Am loving every bit of this SAL. Happy to have joined it.

We have diwali coming up next week and there is a lot of joy in the air, which is so infectious. And there's a wedding coming up in the family. Going to be really busy

Isn't that a quick update :) Well, that's really about it now from me. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Thursday, October 25, 2012

TUSAL and festival

Am reeaaaally late in posting the October Tusal.

Though I had forgotten earlier, I got caught up in the festive season here in Chennai. Have not been able to go on the net for about a week now.

The festival of Navrathri, which means 9 nights, just finished. The festival is basically to drive away all evils and bring in wealth and prosperity. The 9 days/nights are split into 3 - first 3 days symbolize goddess Durga (Shakti), next 3 days goddess Lakshmi (welath) and the last 3 days goddess Saraswathi (wisdom). Many homes are decorated with a golu (display of gods/goddesses in the form of dolls) and women and girls are invited and honored.
 This was our golu this year. We did not have a golu the last 3 years due to various reasons. We invited and also visited many of our relatives to see their golus
We just had 3 steps, some people have upto 11!!! Can you imagine the number of dolls they'd have collected over the years. And imagine putting them all back, gosh
 This was a new addition to our doll set this year - the Tirupathi set with a few devotees

 and a view of V's little park and farm with a little pond. Check out the rickshaw and the bi-cycle!! We bought these at a crafts fair recently. They are such cuties
 And there definitely has to be a picture of V showing off her golu :)
 This is V doing the honors to her best friend and her mom. 

 Look at all the lovely goodies I received from US

2 bottles of lotions from bath&body works, a sewing machine for V, dark chocolate mints from Trader Joe's (thank you Edgar, they are absolutely yummy) and a few strands of beads

 I have not been able to spend any time on stitching the last week. So, no stitchy update today. I did bake some cookies to give people during the festival.
These are almond-coconut cookies. The recipe is from here. The only change I made was to add a bit of cardamom powder and that really added to the flavor. They turned out absolutely yummy

With that I take leave today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, October 15, 2012

Collections and a cottage swap

This has been an over-pending post for quite long. Today am going to show you the crazy collections I have made over the years.

First is the huge collection of stickers I made during my school/college days

There used to be this really small stationery shop near our place in Hyderabad, in a very residential locality. You would not even notice the shop existed unless you looked hard. But the kind of fancy stationery they stocked was awesome, especially in those days. I used to be crazy about collecting stickers and they had a huge variety of them, types which would not even be available in the Archie stores. The collection started building when I was in standard 10 and went on till my college days. How my mother used to freak out. Not that I spent all my pocket money on it. I always had a budget for this kind of expenses and never exceeded it, though it would appear as though I spend a lot.
Last night, while I was hunting out all my magnets, I "stumbled" on these stickers. After looking at them for a while, I decided to pass on the legacy to V. Boy was she thrilled to suddenly be showered upon with so many great looking stickers.

Next is my even-now-building magnets collection. I started this from my first trip to Singapore back in 1999 mainly because, I wanted a souvenir from each place I visited (I was obviously optimistic that I was going to travel around the world), and magnets occupy the least space. Then it went on to not just places I visit, but anything interesting.
As of today, these are the magnets I have collected.

The mural right in the middle is the latest addition, as of last saturday. I bought this at a craft expo we visited over the weekend

I have a few more at my mom's place. And there's this very pretty blue and white magnet set, which I bought at Metropolitan museum of art in 2001. Also, one that I bought of King Tut at the Philadelphia museum of art. I know they are in one of my suitcases, but unable to find which one :(

I started work on July cottage, but stopped now. Because I decided to do a "cottage swap". India Independence is celebrated in August, and there's a provision for a flag in July. So, the July design would be August and hopefully an Indian flag (if I manage to design one) and August design would be used for July. I hope this works

With that my friends I take leave from you today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sooo much to share

I have been very busy meeting my target of making beaded jewellery for my cousin. Let me show you everything!!

 Each set is so dear to me

I love Reese's peanut butter cup, the texture, everything about it. About a few days back, to my horror, I realized that V and her friend had finished even my share of it!! AArrrgggh, how annoying.So, I decided to try and make something similar.

Of course, nothing can beat the original, but I'd say (if I may say so myself) this really did come very close. Recipe from

Also tried my hand at making some cookies - Nutella cookies

I used some of the left over chocolate from the peanut butter cup to top a few of the cookies. Recipe is from here

Last night V and I were all set to bake coconut-almond cookies. The dough was (is) ready and had even arranged them on the cookie tray ready to be baked. Switched on the oven to pre-heat. after a minute or so, it just went off!!! Eh, what, how could you do this to me!!! I was almost in tears. But what could I do, except pack the dough in a ziploc and pop it in the freezer. I really hope the technicians come during the week and get it back in shape for the weekend baking. Oh I so miss my oven.

And guess what, amidst all this I did manage to finish June

I have now crossed half a year. All set to start July now. I am yet to order Sep/Oct  and Nov. I have to also start thinking of actually finishing these, to atleast put them up the coming year. My thoughts are navigating between a calendar and a memory board.

Wow, that was quite a long post by my standards. Thanks for dropping by.

Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I have been on a roll on the beading front the last week. I did so much over the weekend for my cousin's charity event coming up. Here are a few of them

My dad completed 65 last week and I baked this yummy vanilla cake with fresh cream vanilla icing

I used the ready-made gel that my brother brought from the US for the decoration. The cake was fresh and very light. I used a different recipe this time for the cake from here.

With so much beading, I have not been able to progress too much on June

With that friends, I take leave today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir