Thursday, December 30, 2010

Special moments of 2010!

As we come to the end of year 2010, I want to list out the special moments that enlightened our lives this year.
January was a quiet month, nothing special.
Feb, we visited Shirdi, the holy place of Sri Sai Maharaj.
March, we went to an IPL match played between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. This was a surprise birthday gift to my Mother who incidentally shares her birthday with my Father in March, and who has been a great fan of Sachin Tendulkar. Her long-time wish was to watch her idol play live and the moment was right as she was in Mumbai with us in March when the IPL matches were being played.  The look of surprise on her face and the tears of joy in her eyes will always be remembered!
April, we celebrated another birthday, this time my Mother-in-law's who celebrated her 60th birthday this year. Our efforts paid off when we managed to have a surprise birthday party for her with all our near and dear ones.
May, this year was special. For one, my husband entered his 30th year and two, we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. "Five years so soon", I quipped. My husband added, "29 years so soon!"
June and July, I spent at my parents' place as my dear hubby was out of the country. Two months filled with travel, fun, pampering, and relaxation. Most important, I started blogging!
August, we went on a family trip to Rajasthan with my parents, my sister and her husband.  Ten amazing days of travel through the entire length and breadth of Rajasthan covering places like Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Mount Abu, Udaipur, and Chittorgarh, and gorging on rich royal food of the state.
September, again, was quiet, nothing out of the ordinary.
October, I started my online shop at Etsy.
November, I celebrated my birthday with my loved ones.
December, a month of celebrations with three of our dear friends getting married. A Punjabi-Maharashtrian wedding in the first week of December, a Konkani-Tamil wedding in mid-December, and a beautiful Catholic wedding last night.
All in all, a great year and I hope that the coming year brings with it lots more love, happiness and peace all around.
Wishing you all a very happy new year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Fruit Cake

Our colony which is predominantly a Catholic one,  the air is filled with heavenly aromas of baking cakes, cookies, pies, etc. I decided to bake a cake today. This was the first time I was trying my hand at decorating the cake with icing n all, but luckily it turned out great! It was a very tasty cake, a recipe which I got from here. Do give it a try. The cake was really really moist and flavoursome.
Of note, it took me about an hour to bake this cake. Almost at my wit's end on finding the cake uncooked after the suggested 35-40 minutes of baking, it finally baked to perfection after almost an hour.

Sorry for the amateurish icing. Tried it for the very first time.

Yesterday was a dear friend's birthday and since he was visiting us today, we decided to get him to cut this cake. Had a great Sunday afternoon with friends and this yummy cake. Will surely make it again :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Turtleneck clutch for the winter

This year we are facing a cold winter in Mumbai after many years. This is the coolest winter we have had since February of 2008 when the temperatures had plunged to 8 degrees during day time. This year the minimum temperature has been hovering  around 13-14 degrees centigrade. Early mornings, I sit by my window, covered in a nice warm woolen shawl and a hot cup of green tea as I read the newspapers. Some of the evenings, I have had to keep the windows almost closed to save myself from the cold winds. So keeping with the wintery situation we are facing now, I decided to make a turtleneck clutch for myself. Thanks to SkaMama at for this wonderful pattern. I tweaked it a little to match my sari which I plan to wear for a dear friend's wedding next week.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Clutchin' it in style!

A couple of new clutches made by me this week. 


The latter one is made as per client's order.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FBB-style black beaded clutch

This time I used the fat bottom bag pattern to make a smaller clutch with black yarn and pony beads.  Instead of the usual handles, I used cane handles for the clutch.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spicy macaroni and corn on toast!

Yesterday, I decided to make something different for breakfast. Something out of the ordinary. So I decided to make a macaroni and corn toast. Here's the recipe.

Brown bread : 8 slices
Sweet corn: 1/2 cup, boiled
Macaroni: 1/2 cup, boiled
Oregano : 1 tsp
Onion: 1 medium
Tomato: 1 medium
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Green Chillies: 2 (depending on your taste)
Cheese for garnishing

Grind together onion, tomato, and green chillies. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the ground paste. Fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the ginger garlic paste. Continue frying until the raw smell goes off. Then add the macaroni and the corn and mix well.  Next add the salt and the oregano. Mix well and allow to cool.

Take a slice of brown bread. Top it with the macaroni and corn mixture. Cover it with grated cheese and grill it for 5-6 minutes, until the cheese melts and gets a slightly brownish tinge to it. Serve hot. The toasts disappeared within minutes!

Last night I made another cellphone pouch, a simple one with shaded yarn.

It took me just a couple of hours to complete this one!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Some more creations

These days, with God's grace, I have been inundated with so many orders that I am tempted to refuse some but feel guilty to do so. But I am happy!! very very happy! This is what I have always wanted to do. I have always been interested in craft. I love to create something beautiful with my own hands. May be I love to play God ;)
No, maybe keeping my hands busy keeps my mind busy, keeps my creativity running, and no bad thoughts are allowed to venture closeby...I believe that everyone should take time out to develop a hobby which will keep one's mind busy and interested and active. These are some of my latest creations, all client orders.

The above pictures are of a mobile pouch as requested by a client who wanted one with a sari clip so that she can just tuck the mobile clutch in her sari at her waist and her hands are free of all bags, mobile, purses etc.

The following pictures are of a bag which is again for a client who liked a granny square bag made by me earlier. She wanted the same colour combination as the earlier bag, but sadly I could not get those exact colours for her, since here in India, there are no standard colour or colour charts for yarns. Nevertheless, the new combination of colours turned out good and I am satisfied. Just hoping my client is too.

I like it when inch by inch the design grows like in the above picture, to finally turn out into a beautiful bag.

Suneera, hope you like this bag! Thanks for all the support and appreciation.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A shelly affair!

Two new creations with the shell pattern.  One, a beige-coloured clutch with the classic shell pattern.

Another one, a tote, in green and black.

Monday, December 06, 2010

New creations

Just made a cellphone pouch and added a couple of crocheted flowers to it.

A small handbag for the young at heart!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Time just flies!

It already December, the last month of the year!!! Already the year 2010 is at its end...and I just stepped into my 30th year!! I remember it was just the other day when we were kids and used to think people beyond 25-30 yr olds as aunties and uncles. Today I am getting used to the neighbourhood kids calling me "aunty"!  It is more than a decade since we passed out of school, near a decade since we graduated, but I am still in contact with so many of my friends from school and college.  I am from a small city in South India and I am used to keeping in touch with friends. I was and still am the contact point for all my friends and I keep them updated about each other.  Whenever I visit my hometown, I make sure I meet my friends from school and college, or at least give them a call. Just before I got married, my husband, who is from Mumbai had mentioned that he has some friends who he has not met for over 3-4 years in spite of living in the same city!!! I was shocked to hear that and I remember wondering what kind of friends do not meet for such long periods of time in spite of being in the same city. But it indeed is true!! Life is so busy here that there is no time to meet friends that often. Each one has his/her own priorities and commitments that there are times when the friends do not have time to even give a call to each other for months at a stretch.  Nevertheless whenever we all meet now, the friendship and the camaraderie is always there as if they have always been in touch. There is no awkwardness or loss of warmth. Just last week, a childhood friend of my husband and now a dear friend of mine too, got married and we met the whole gang at the wedding reception. We were meeting many of them after almost 3 years but instantly connected and enjoyed every bit of the evening. Now I realize it does not matter how often we meet nor the number of phone calls we make to each other.  It is important to keep in touch, but what  matters most is that we all are genuinely happy to see each other and enjoy some quality time with each other.  May be distance does make the hearts grow fonder!!
my new clutch

Btw, when I was deciding upon what to wear for the wedding reception last Thursday, I realized I did not have a clutch to carry, not that I do not have any, but I did not have any made by myself!! So a few hours before the reception I got to work on a beige colored yarn and managed to make a compact clutch that matched my outfit. Yay!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My new creations!

It has been nearly a week since my last post. Over the last few days, I have been extremely busy trying to finish my pending projects. A couple of bags had to be repaired, a couple of them had some finishing touches to be made, and some were midway.

This is one clutch that I completed over the last few days. Also made a new fat bottom bag.

This bag is one of the quickest projects I have finished. It took me just a couple of days to make this bag!! For a change, I used wooden handles and wooden beads for this bag.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A great beginning to a great new year

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday thanks to my dear husband and my loved ones.
yummy chocolate truffle!

First, there was the cake-cutting at midnight, at sharp 12. Then there were the gifts. Then lots and lots of wishes over the phone from family and friends, followed by a nice birthday lunch with my darling husband at my favorite restaurant. This was followed by meeting relatives and then friends with whom I shared some wonderful moments yesterday. A truly great day!!! Thanks one and all for all your best wishes and for making my birthday, a great day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 things to know about me!

On the eve of my 29th birthday, today, I decided to put down certain things about me that I would like other people to know. Since I am entering my 30s tomorrow, I decided to find 30 things about myself. So these are the 30 facts about me, not in any particular order.

  1.  Born in the early hours of a wintery Friday, 20th November 1981, in Mysore, I am the eldest child of my parents.
  2.  My favourite colour is pink.
  3. My hobbies include reading, mostly nonfictional like biographies etc, embroidery, and crochet.
  4. I spent the first five years of my life in Kanhangad, Kerala, the next 18 years in Mangalore where I grew up and had my education. For the last almost 6 years I have been in Mumbai where I settled after marriage.
  5. I have a younger sister with whom I fight a lot, but also am protective about her. 
  6. I love to cook, love to eat, love seafood, love to try new cuisines, love to experiment in food but no plans of eating giraffe/crocodile/cockroaches etc.
  7. I love to travel. In the last few years, my husband- who shares my passion for travel- and I, have traveled to most places in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Singapore.
  8. I am a very organised person and love to take up responsibilities. Any responsibility allocated to me is considered done.
  9. A graduate in Microbiology, I am working as a medical transcriptionist since the last six years now.
  10. I  make friends with great thought, but if friends with someone, then friends for life. 
  11. Try to betray me and you will feel my scorpion sting forever.
  12. I am very good at running a household and taking care of a house, all thanks to my Mother who trained us well.
  13. I was good in studies, never had to read before exams all thanks to a great memory. Always scored well.
  14. Love to play with colours, be in embroidery or painting or crochet.
  15. I have a great collection of novels, fiction and nonfiction, ranging from the Enid Blyton series, Nancy Drew, to the biographies of Maharani Gayatri Devi and other prince and princesses of ancient India.
  16. I am very short-tempered, something my family and friends will vouch for.
  17. Blessed with good parents, sister, family, in-laws, and also a supportive and loving husband.
  18. I had a love marriage, which some of my friends still find hard to digest that I, being as practical as I am, managed to fall in love.
  19. I used to write poems, but it has been ages since I wrote anything new.
  20. A good agony aunt to friends and colleagues.
  21. I can be lazy at times, many a times actually, but will spring into action the minute some responsibility is handed to me.
  22. I don't shop often, but if I do, then I prefer to go for quality than quantity.
  23. When I got married, I was not even aware of the basics of makeup. Even applying lipstick was with great difficulty.
  24.  If I know about something, I know it well. If I do something, I do it well. If not, I will not speak or do it. Nothing is half done. It is either done well or not done at all.
  25. I can be very very dominating, but then that is the way I get things done. It is my way or the highway!
  26. I am very good at embroidery, be it the basics, mirror work, kutch work, Kasuthi work, shadow work, ribbon work.  
  27. I get very excited about my birthdays.  In school and college, I used to remind everyone a day prior to my birthday, not for want of gifts or cards, but I felt happy when everyone wished me.
  28. I get emotionally attached to my loved ones. So I get angry and sad pretty soon.
  29. I hate my photos. I don't feel I ever look good in pictures.
  30. I am very independent, want to do everything myself, find out about things myself, but if my husband offers to do that for me, which is very rarely, then I just love it. But even then I do find out about things, just in case he forgets, which is often ;)
Anybody wants to add more points about me, good or bad, please feel free to do so. 
Anybody wants to negate any point from above, good or bad, please feel free to do so.
And guys, please do remember, its my birthday tomorrow!!! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This granny troubled me a lot!

This granny troubled me a lot!! Since the last one week, I have been having some trouble or the other with this one.

Granny hexagon bag

This is the first time I tried granny hexagons and I liked it in the first try. But I could not decide what to make of these hexagons. It took me almost 5 hours to finally decide to make this bag. Once I started making the bag, one of the yarns got over and I had to wait for two days to get a fresh supply of that colour. Then I was not sure as to how big or small the bag should be. Finally when I decided upon the total number of rows and columns, I just could not get the base attached properly. Since afternoon today, I had been working on getting the base right. Finally when the base worked out properly, and all the loose ends tied securely, one of the upper hexagons gave way, and the petals opened up. So I had to remove that hexagon, do it all over again, and finally take a picture of the completed bag. Phew!! Never had so much trouble with any other bag till date!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hand embroidery

Hand embroidery is something that I hated for years before finally falling in love with it some 7-8 years ago. I have always seen my Mother embroidering since ages but I always avoided it. May be this was because we had been forced to learn and do embroidery in school. There was a mental block against embroidery and anything to do with needle and thread.
It was the summer when I graduated from college and I had plenty of time on my hands, not knowing what to do to while away my time. That is when I saw my younger sister take a keen interest in embroidery. First out of curiosity, and then later with genuine interest, I learnt the basics of embroidery all over again from Mom. Slowly, I got so occupied and enthralled by embroidery, that most of my waking hours would be spent doing one design after the other.  One by one, I learnt new stitches like shadow work, Kutch work, Kasuthi work, ribbon work, etc.   I was involved so passionately with embroidery, that my mind was racing against time to learn new stitches, create new patterns, try new methods of embroidery. I wished there were more hours in a day so that I could get more and more time to devote to this art. I just loved to play with colours, different techniques, use different types of cloth, etc.  People started noticing our work and appreciating it and some of them started requesting that we do some hand embroidery for them on saris, suits, etc.  Initially we did it for free, never thinking about money. Embroidery was just a passion shared between us three women, Mom, sis and me.  But soon more and more people appreciated our work, some  suggested, and some even insisted that we take monetary compensation for our work as it involves a lot of our time and effort.   Soon we were inundunted with orders for more saris, suits etc.  Check this orkut album for some of our works.  This continued for the last 7-8 years, when finally at the beginning of this year, I had to stop doing embroidery because of my weak shoulder.  That is when I took up the hook and  began crocheting, another creative art that I learnt in school.
I just love creating something with my own hands. I love it when I have a choice of colours to mix and match and something totally different is created. I love it when my hands are busy, because when my hands are busy, my mind remains active, my creativity remains active and I am free from all negative thoughts. I have loved each and every creation of mine because if I don't like what I do, I dismantle it, be it embroidery or crochet, and it sure does pay dividends, when people appreciate my work. Thanks everyone for appreciating my work and for motivating me to do better and better.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Last 24 hours!

The last 24 hours have been really really great. I completed a new bag. I made a few new friends. I got a lot of appreciation for my work and last but not the least, I made my first sale on Etsy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to all the people who liked and appreciated my work and motivated me to keep going on, especially Friend, who became my first customer on Etsy, and Suneera, who even posted my album on her FB profile to let more people know about my creativity. Thanks guys. The world sure could do with more people like you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now a pink one

This was the bag I was talking or rather blogging about yesterday. A candy floss pink fat bottom bag, again for a client. Since it was one solid colour, I added three flowers to give it a new dimension.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Another FBB

I am falling in love with these fat bottom bags! Even though the pattern remains same, the colours used give each bag a different appeal.

This bag is made for a client as per her specifications. Another bag is on the way, about to finish. Actually the body of the bag is ready, just have to stitch the handle. Will hopefully upload the picture of that bag by tomorrow.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Diwali and noise pollution

Diwali means different things to different people. For some, mostly kids, it means new clothes, sweetmeats, crackers etc. For others, it means a few days of holiday from work. For some others, it means lots of guests, meeting new people, catching up with relatives and friends etc. But for some others, it means creating havoc in other people's lives by bursting crackers all day and all night. Last night, even though it was relatively quiet all evening, just when we were about to retire to bed at around 10:30 PM, we suddenly heard crackers being burst in our compound. Since we reside on the first floor of our building, we are the worst affected by these crackers. When we looked down, we saw a bunch of guys, whom I have never seen before, bursting crackers in our compound. So I called out to them and told them not to burst crackers as it is past 10:30.  They happened to be friends and relatives of our second floor neighbour who then came out and  promised me not to burst loud crackers. Thankfully he kept his promise. I cannot understand what pleasure do people get from bursting such loud crackers that are well beyond the standards of noise polluting decibels. A couple of days back, when crackers were being burst outside, a showpiece from the glass mantel inside our house fell down. Luckily it survived the fall. But the earthen lamps that I lit have not been so lucky! Half of them have become victims to the noise pollution. Because of the strong vibrations of the ear-deafening crackers, these little lamps have fallen down from the parapet and broken to pieces. Why can't we have a peaceful Diwali? If at all one wants to burst crackers, burst the smaller ones and for a limited period of time, without disturbing other people. Because of all these crackers, during Diwali, I am forced to sit with ear plugs in my ears to block out the noise, and also close my windows to avoid breathing the polluted air.  It has been ages since I have burst any crackers and seriously, I don't feel I have missed anything at all, all these years. Let us work towards making our world a pollution free one.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Happy Diwali and 50th post

First of all, a very happy Diwali to you and your loved ones! May this Diwali shower light, happiness, and prosperity in all our lives. Today is Naraka Chaturdashi. This day celebrates Lord Krishna's victory over the demon, Narakasura.  Today, for us Konkanas, it is a day when the ladies and the children of the family have oil bath in the evening, after sunset. The ladies of the house perform pooja of the well, which is the water source, with flowers, aarti, and agarbathi (incense sticks). These days since it is hard to find wells, pooja is performed of the main water tap in the bathroom. Later, kids make noise by banging on steel plates with steel spoons. This is a tradition and it is believed that the noise keeps away bad spirits. Then small earthen lamps are lit and arranged near the doors, windows, and practically every corner of the house. After the pooja, ladies and children apply coconut oil over their bodies and have hot water bath. The traditional bathroom with the big pots of brass which are used to heat the water, acts as sauna. The steam inside the bathroom which is produced from the hot water and the wood used to heat the water, helps to detoxify the skin and makes it soft and radiant.  The coconut oil also makes the skin supple and leaves it soft and glowing. This is the only day of the year when women are allowed to have head baths in the evening, which is otherwise considered a bad omen.  I really miss the traditional bathroom and the geyser-heated water is no comparison to the hot water heated in the brass pots. After the hot bath, ladies and children dress in new clothes and then have a nice dinner with rice, fried fish and onion thambali.  This dinner is again a tradition which has been followed over the years. Primarily, fish such as King fish and  pompret are the main choices for this day. Men of the family have their hot baths the next morning.

Recipe for onion thambali:

Ingredients: Coconut grated 1 cup
                  Red chillies 2-3
                  Tamarind a small piece
                  Onion - 1 finely chopped
                  Green chillies 2-3 finely chopped
                  Salt to taste

Finely grind the coconut, red chillies and the tamarind with a little water. Add the chopped onions and green chillies and the salt. This makes a great combination with rice and fried fish. The consistency is gravy-like and this dish is not boiled.

This is my 50th post. In the last three months, blogging has become a very integral part of my life. Thanks to all my readers who have read my posts and encouraged me and motivated me. I hope to keep blogging and to hear your wonderful comments regarding my posts. Thanks one and all and once again, a very happy Diwali!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A new fat bottom bag

This is a new bag which I made over the last week.  This is called a fat bottom bag.  The colours are not shown clearly in this picture.  Please forgive me for the poor picture quality.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am an Etsian!

Yes!!  I am an Etsian!! Today I have joined Etsy, the online portal for handmade items.  Will furnish further details in a few days once I set my webpage well. But I need your wishes, please!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Go green update 2

The onion I planted has been springing up new greens every day. Yay!! It has been growing well and the growth has been quite fast too. In less than a week, it went from a newly planted bulb to springing up to almost 4 inches now.  The other tiny plants u see in the pot are from the tomato seeds. I had just dispersed some seeds in the same pot as I was not confident that these seeds will produce plants, but I have been proved wrong!! The tomato seeds were also planted on the same day as the onion.  When they grow a little bigger, I am planning to transfer them to a new pot.

On the crochet front, I have been getting quite a few orders and I am sure these orders will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks and more. A dear friend of mine, called me yesterday and suggested that I start a website for my creations and commercialize it a little more with some smart marketing. I am giving it a thought.   Hmmmmm!! Lets see what the future holds for me and my creations....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Go green update

The spinach cuttings that were planted last week failed to grow, with most of the cuttings having withered away. But the mint is growing nicely and will soon be mature enough to be used in my cooking. The surprise element is that about four days ago I had planted a small onion just to see if it would grow in my little pot.  Yesterday morning when I was watering the plants, the onion looked the same as it was when planted and I chided myself for being impatient about its growth.  In the evening, as I sat by my window with my crochet, I noticed a glint of green on top of the onion.  On looking closer, I noticed a small shoot peeking out and that made me so very happy!! Today, when I visited my plants in the morning, there was a nice visual treat for me.

Springing up!!

The onion had four small green shoots coming out of it!! It seems to be a sudden growth. I am soo excited!! The small shoots have given a spring in my steps. Yay!!
 Will keep you updated on the greens :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home-made flat noodles

A couple of days back, when I was watching the contestants of Masterchef Australia make pasta, I was wondering if I could make noodles at home. I decided to give it a try. I googled for the recipe but most of the recipes asked for eggs. I wanted to make an eggless variety. So after browsing a little, I decided to experiment and used the following recipe to make the noodles.

Ingredients: Semolina 1/4 cup
                  Maida 1tbsp
                  Whole wheat atta 3 tbsp

Cooked noodles

Mix all the above with a little water to make a dough. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes with a little oil to make a smooth and silky dough. Let it rest for 30 minutes or more. The dough should be stringy when pulled but should not stick to the surface of the bowl/rolling pin.  Then take a lemon-sized ball of the dough and roll out as thin as possible without adding any more flour. Meanwhile boil about three cups of  water.  Add 1 tsp of salt and a few drops of cooking oil. Now cut thin strips from the rolled out dough and put each strip one by one into the pot of boiling water. Cook on a medium flame for 5-6 minutes. These strips need lesser time to cook than store-bought noodles. Once cooked, drain the noodles and put in a bowl of cold water. When cooled, drain and set aside. Serve with stir-fried vegetables/seafood/chicken.

Noodles with topping of spicy corn and mushrooms

Thanks for the appreciation!

I am overwhelmed with the warm response I have received for my craft. Suddenly I am inundated with orders for bags. This was what I always dreamt of and I am happy that my creativity is being appreciated. Thanks one and all for all the encouragement and appreciation. Thanks to my dear husband and  family who have stood by me in all that I do. Thanks Mom n Sis for helping me sell my wares!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Respect, respect, respect!

In the past one week, I have come across many individuals (salesmen, executives etc) who take their customers for granted!! For example: a bank executive was supposed to come to our place to collect some necessary documents and for four days in a row, he kept promising to come only to back off at the last minute!! The first time he did that, I told myself that something urgent must have come up and so I gave him the benefit of doubt. But it kept happening again and again.  On last Sunday, in spite of informing us that he would visit our place between 9 and 10 in the morning, when he did not turn up until 10:30 a.m, I gave him a call only to be taken aback when he cheekily told me that he was just waking up!!!!! And he said that soo coolly that I was actually surprised at his laid back attitude.  He was happily lost in his dreamland, while we were left cooling our heels!  When I make an appointment to meet someone, be it for official work or for personal work, I make sure that I am on time.  If at all I am delayed, I at least make an effort to inform that person regarding the delay. But this attitude is missing these days. Nobody seems to be bothered about the other person. Each day, the world is progressing, becoming better in science and technology, but are we losing our values?? In our quest of becoming better in terms of wealth and status, are we forgetting to become better individuals?  When I as an individual, respect other people and their time, I expect the same from others. I refuse to be taken for granted. If you cannot keep your promise, do not make one. If you cannot reach on time for an appointment, do not fix one. Let us pledge today to make a little more effort towards being more respectful towards other people and value their time. If each one of us makes that one small change in our lives, I am sure, we will not only have a better place to live in, we will ourselves become better from within!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Go green!

One of my other interests in life is growing garden vegetables and herbs. Earlier I have successfully grown mint/pudina in a small pot by my window. Mint is easy to grow from cuttings. Just remove all leaves from a stalk and plant the thick stalks in a pot and water daily. Within a couple of days you will find small leaves sprouting from the stalks.

In less than 10 days later, leaves will be mature enough to be used in cooking.  Just use the fresh leaves, leaving the stalks in the pot. Fresh mint leaves have an altogether different taste and great flavour.  The pot on the left in the above picture has stalks of mint/pudina which were planted just three days back. I can already see some small leaves on the stalks. I have been growing pudina since the last two years now, and never once had to buy pudina from the market all this time. In fact at times, I have even trimmed the leaves and given them to friends and relatives as these leaves grow in abundance in no time at all.

The pot on the right has some cuttings from spinach/palak which I planted today. This is the first time I have attempted growing palak. I don't know if palak grows well from cuttings, but I would like to at least try. I have planted a few thick stalks from the palak I got yesterday from the local market. It is necessary to remove all leaves from the stalks before planting the cuttings, so that the plant can utilize all its energy in growing roots rather than sustaining the leaves.  Once roots are grown, then the plant becomes sturdy and strong enough to bear the weight of the freshly grown leaves!  So give it a try today and grow fresh herbs and vegetables in your own little backyard or windowsill like in the case of us, Mumbaikars!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pearl and gold evening clutch

This clutch was made to order for a client.  Her specifications for this clutch were that it should have lots of beads, some crochet and a flap. I hope I fulfilled her expectations. I used pearls and a golden thread to do the crochet. This is a clutch which will suit all occasions. I added the flower on the flap for an added effect.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just a beginner!!

I am just a beginner in the world of crochet!! Come to think of it, I am just a beginner in life!! Every day is new, every moment is fresh, every experience is unique! Like my hubby loves to say: Expect the unexpected!!! Life seems to spring up new surprises every day....likewise, the world of crochet is surprising me every day too!  The more I read about crochet, the more crochet projects I complete,  more do I realize that there is soooo much to learn still.  Initially I knew only the basic stitches of crochet; the chain stitch, the single crochet, the double crochet, the treble, slip stitch etc, and I thought I knew all there is to know about crochet. I was proud of myself for creating new patterns on my own, but when I saw other people's work, I realized that I am just a novice. Every time I see a new pattern, I wonder why did I not think about it myself!!!  Now that I have learnt and accepted that I am not using my creative cells to the fullest, I have decided to look out for more projects in crochet, try something new every time and in every project, and that is the only way to keep learning :)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Japanese Flower Purse - COMPLETED!!!

Finally, the Japanese flower purse is completed!! Even though not as pretty as the original, I am still so proud of it and proud of myself!! I pulled it off!!

Do let me know how you like this project. For more details on the bag, please visit

Japanese Flower Purse update-2

The bag rectangle is now ready. It is 21 x 27 inches, consists of 63 flowers and 48 interlocks.  It took me 5 days to complete the entire block!

Next the side with 9 flowers is stitched together with single crochet stitches to compress it into 5 inches. Multiple petals are joined together with single crochet stitches to form the mouth of the bag.

Flowers are bunched together to form the central edge

The central edging is done on both sides consisting of 9 flowers each. The bag is then folded so that both the edgings form the mouth of the bag. The remaining open edges of the bag are then stitched in the same manner to create a wider opening of the bag.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Japanese Flower Purse update

Finally all 63 flowers are ready and connected!!! Now its time to do the green connections between the flowers.

The entire piece is now 21 x 27 inches. I am soo glad that all the flowers are ready and well in place! Hoping to finish the connections in another couple of days.

Today has been a great day for Indian sports. First the medals haul in CWG and then the historic win in the Mohali test match between India and Australia. Congratulations to all the winners today and hope they keep up in the winning streak. Jai Hind!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

CWG Opening Ceremony

After weeks of collapsing bridges, shabby games village, blames games etc, the CWG opening ceremony last evening was a grand spectacular event. Enjoyed every bit of it, from Hariharan's Swagatam, little Keshav's tabla performance, Rehman's performance, the Indian Railways tribute to the common man, the fireworks, the performance of 1000s of school children and artists, the drummers from different parts of India, and the classical dancers, as well as the crowds jeering Mr. Kalmadi!!
Here's wishing the XIXth CWG the very best!!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Japanese Flower Purse

The new bag that I am making is made up of flowers which are connected to one another in rows of 9 x 7. That makes it 63 flowers!!!! My goal is to make three rows of 7 flowers each day. And yay!!! I did complete yesterday's quota of 21 flowers.

I am making use of wool for the entire bag. Each flower is made up of two colours; a base of a darker colour ( I used rust) and petals made of a lighter colour (I used cream).  From whatever I understood by looking at the pictures of the completed bag is that each flower base is made up on 16 double crochets (dc). First, I made a ring of 6 chains (ch), then 3 ch + 15 dc to form the base. Then with the lighter colour, I made the 16 petals. the petals are made of chains and only chains. I made each petal of 20 chains connecting them to the next stitch (st) with a slip stitch (sl).  Thus 16 petals are formed. The pattern is worked in such a way that each flower is connected to the next flower through the petals itself. They get connected as they are made, i.e. one does not make all the flowers individually and then connect them. Instead after the first flower is made, the second flower gets connected to the first as the petals are being made on the second one. The petal chains of the second flower are intertwined with the petals of the first flower, so that both flower get linked. Two flowers get connected through two petals each. So a flower gets connected to four flowers through eight petals. Each flower I made is about 3 inches in diameter. So the base of 7 x 9 flowers will be 21 x 37 inches!!

Friday, October 01, 2010

I am soo excited!!!!!!!!!

Last night just before going to bed, I chanced up on pictures of a nice bag  online and even though there were no written instructions on the pattern, the pictures were so clear that I decided to start making that bag immediately. I started one small flower for the bag and went to bed grudgingly because I could hardly keep my eyes open.

Whole night, I dreamed about this new bag and in my dreams, I was already carrying my completed bag!!! I was so excited that I woke up at 5:30 am today so that I could finish off all my other work and get going with the bag!! Wish me luck, guys so that I can finish this new bag ASAP!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Past week...

The past one week has been a good one for me.
Firstly, my shoulder is feeling a lot better, the pain is almost gone and I can once again travel by trains which I had started to avoid because of my bad shoulder.
Over the weekend, we visited many of our relatives and hogged on their love and the food (yummy yummy) they so lovingly offered us :)  It had been a long time since we had visited them and I was happy to be pampered.
I also discovered a quaint little shop in the bylanes of Malad, which had all the things I had been searching for; colourful wool, decorative handles etc.  Since then, I have been happily making bags, one after the one can expect more pictures of my creations coming up!!
Over the past week, I have received a lot of appreciation for my work and a couple of people even bought my stuff!! It really means a lot when people genuinely appreciate one's creativity. It keeps the creative flow going...

So hope the good tide continues!! cheers!

P.S: I would love to hear from you, my please feel free to leave any comments regarding my posts, what you like about them, what you don't like, what you would like to read about, how I could improve my blogs etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indian Rupee Symbol!

You all must be aware of the new symbol for Indian Rupee. Now we can all proudly use the new symbol on our computers without having to change our old keyboards. Go to this link and follow the instructions, and then show off the rupee symbol to the world with pride!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lucy's tote bag!

I got the pattern for this bag from Lucy's blog. Though nothing compared to Lucy's bag, I am happy with the way this bag has turned out to be. I also tried a new pattern for the handles instead of the handles Lucy used in her bag. On the whole, an easy pattern but needs a lot of yarn. But do give it a try!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Almond Oatmeal Cookies

I have always been interested in baking cakes and cookies but until yesterday, I had not been able to bake the perfect cookie. They were either left uncooked or else they would turn out too hard and tasteless.  Yesterday, I decided to try baking some cookies for a little girl and found this amazing almond oatmeal cookies recipe online. I tweaked the recipe a little but the end results were amazing!!!

Cooking oats - 1 and 1/4 cups
All purpose flour- 1/2 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup (adjust as per taste)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp ( I used a pinch of fresh vanilla from the vanilla seed)
Butter - 1/2 cup
Salt- 1tsp ( do not add salt if using salted butter)
Baking soda - 1 tsp

Grind the almonds coarsely. You can also use blanched almonds. But I used them as they were and they gave a nice crunchy taste to the cookies.

Mix together melted butter and sugar until smooth. To make it easier, I powdered the sugar before adding in to the butter. Then add the salt, vanilla extract, and the baking soda. Mix well and then add the flour.  Mix well and then add the oats. Mix all the ingredients well to form  a sticky lump. Wet your palms and take spoonful of the mixture and shape them into cookies. Place them on a greased cookie tray taking care to see that there is space between the cookies as the cookies will rise and become bigger when baked.  Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 18-20 minutes or until they turn slightly brown at the edges. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool as they tend to be slightly soft when warm. When cooled, they turn to be crisp but crumbly when bitten into. The above recipes makes about 30 cookies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another one....

Finally I finished this fat bottom bag!!! I had always wanted to make one of these since some time now....phew!!! The end result is good, but I want to make more of these in bigger, larger sizes, and more colours. I am now really hooked on to crochet. I want to try more and more patterns with different colours. Hoping to finish at least one new bag per week. 

Monday, September 06, 2010

Mirchi ka Salan

Both of us love spicy food.  Satya especially is very fond of stuffed vegetables like stuffed bhindi, stuffed mirchi etc. So I regularly buy Bhavnagri mirchi to make the stuffed mirchi for him. But this time I wanted to try the Mirchi ka Salan recipe with these Bhavnagri chillies.

Mirchi ka Salan

250 g Bhavnagri chillies ( you can also use capsicum or any variety of green chillies)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp kalonji ( I did not use this)
5-6 curry leaves
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp chilli powder
1tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander powder

Dry Masala:
1/2 cup peanuts
2 tsp white til.
2 tsp cumin seeds
Dry roast these three ingredients and powder them.

Wet masala:
1 onion
1 tomato
5-6 garlic cloves
1-inch piece of ginger
2 tbsp of freshly grated coconut
Grind all these together to a fine paste.

Heat oil in a kadai. Add the slit chillies and fry them until they become tender and lighter in colour.  Remove and keep aside.
In the same oil, add cumin seeds, mustard, fenugreek, kalonji, and curry leaves. When they splutter, add the wet masala. Fry for 2-3 minutes.  Keep stirring to avoid burning of the masala. Then add chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and the dry masala. Keep frying on a medium flame until the oil starts to separate. Then add 1 cup of water, salt, and the fried chillies. Mix well, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.  The gravy should not be watery. Serve hot with chapathis.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Cooking tip!

For many South Indian recipes, coconut needs to be dry roasted until brown before it is used for making the masala.  Dry roasting coconut takes a long time and one needs to be patient.

Now dry roast coconut  in a microwave in minutes!!
Spread the freshly grated coconut on a paper sheet/tissue and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Keep a watch and stir in between to keep it from getting burnt. Stand it for a couple of minutes and.... Voila!! Dry roasted coconut gets ready in a jiffy!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jaago Grahak Jaago!!

Have you ever felt dissatisfied with anything you have bought recently? Have you felt that the product did not live up to its promises? Have you felt that you have not got your money's worth?? Have you ever felt like complaining about your grievances, but not sure about how to go about it? Hope is here!! For any complaints or grievances you have as a consumer, or any questions or queries you have about your rights as a consumer, you can talk to the National Consumer Helpline at 1800-11-4000. This helpline will guide you regarding your rights as a consumer, whom to complain, how to go about the process of asking for a compensation etc.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My creations!

I keep doing stuff to keep myself, my mind, my thoughts, and my creativity busy. Earlier I did a lot of embroidery (I am just crazy about it) but eventually had to stop it because of my shoulder playing up. Now I have started making these small little bags with beadwork.

Beadwork bag with Malaysian beads
With Mexican beads

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rajasthan by road - day 10

Our last day in Rajasthan was spent relaxing in our hotel rooms at Hotel Ram Pratap Palace, Udaipur.  Overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, the hotel combines old world charm with modern day comforts.  The staff was very helpful and food was good.  It is indeed a money's worth to stay at this hotel, away from the noise of the old city. An oil massage at the hotel spa was indeed very rejuvenating and perfect end to a great holiday!!
Later we took an afternoon flight back home from the Dabok Airport or the Maharana Pratap Airport.

Rajasthan by road - day 9, Chittorgarh

On day #9, we visited Chittorgarh which is about 105 km from Udaipur.  Chittorgarh, the first capital of the Mewar Sisodia clan, is famous for the largest fort in India, the Chittorgarh Fort. The fort is surrounded by a circular wall and one has to pass through seven gates to enter the main fort area.  It is also famous for the beauty of Rani Padmini, the devotion of Meerabai and her love for Lord Krishna, and the valour of Maharana Pratap Singh.

Legend has it that Rani Padmini, queen of Chittor, was so beautiful that Ala-ud-din Khilji lusted for her. He wanted to have one glimpse of the beautiful queen, and so he sent a message to Rana Rawal Ratan Singh that he looked upon Rani Padmini as his "sister" and wanted to meet her.  Rani Padmini refused to come face-to-face with an outsider.  So it was arranged that Ala-ud-din Khilji would see her reflection in a mirror. The mirror was so strategically placed that Khilji could look at the reflection only with his back towards the princess.  Rani Padmini was seated on the steps of her Lake Palace and even if Khilji turned to look in the direction of the Rani, he could not see her as her place of seating was below his frame of view. Guards were positioned behind him with orders to chop off his head if he even chanced to glance in the direction of the Rani.

Ruins of  Rana Kumbha's palace
The mirror used to show Rani Padmini's reflection to Ala-ud-din Khilji

Rani Padmini's Lake Palace

Ala-ud-din Khilji was so enamoured by Rani Padmini's beauty that he decided to make her his own and attacked Chittor.  When after a long-drawn battle, Chittor was on the verge of facing defeat, Rani Padmini along with all the womenfolk of Chittor, lit a pyre and committed Johaur or the divine suicide.  They preferred Jauhar to being dishonoured at the hands of the army of Ala-ud-din Khilji.

Chittorgarh is also famous for Meerabai and her love for Lord Krishna. Married to Prince Bhoj Raj, the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chittor, Meerabai had eyes only for Lord Krishna and considered herself to be married only to the lord.  
Statue of Meerabai with Lord Krishna's idol
Meerabai's temple
Upon Bhoj Raj's death in a battle, Meerabai left the palace and started staying at a  temple, singing the praises of Lord Krishna.  Surviving various attempts of murder by her brother-in-law, Meerabai is said to have traveled all over North India, singing the praises of Lord Krishna.  She is said to have finally epitomized her love for Lord Krishna by entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in Dwarka in a singing ecstasy after which the doors of the sanctum are believed to have closed on their own.  When the doors were later opened, it is said that Meerabai's sari was seen enwrapped around the idol of Lord Krishna, denoting that she had entered the idol and culminated as one with the Lord.

Vijay Stambh or Tower of Victory
Vijay Stambh or the Tower of Victory was built by Maharana Kumba in 1440 AD to commemorate the victory of the kingdom over the intruder Mohammed Khilji.

In 1533, when Bahadur Shah attacked Bikramjeet of Chittor, Rani Karnavati, a Bundi Princess, committed Jauhar along with her female consorts. Her own infant son, Udai Singh, was smuggled out by Panna Dai who sacrificed the life of her own son to save the infant king.  When Akbar seized Chittor in the 16th century, he razed the fort to rubble.  Chittor was never inhabited again but it always asserted the heroic spirit of Rajput warriors. Udai Singh built his new capital in Udaipur.


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