Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy holidays

Just popping in to wish you and your family the best this holiday season. I'm working on last minute presents,

Last minute christmas presents
Using scraps to make a few zippered pouches.

and hoping that the cake I'm making for Christmas this year turns out well; it's the first time I'm making it.

Christmas cake

More than pies and candy, cakes are popular with those that celebrate Christmas in India. The fruit-y bits (including petha, candied gourd/pumpkin) have been soaking in rum for the last 3 days. Should have been more like 30 days. Ah, well.

We are going to the cinema this evening and then to dinner, before which I must sew, sew, sew. So I'll sign off now. Stay warm, have fun and happy holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh, dear!

I didn't realise that we are exchanging gifts this Christmas till 6:45 a.m today. I knew that my mum was hosting the meal this year and that I had volunteered to cook the bulk of it, but Christmas presents hadn't entered my thinking. It's partly because even though we always celebrated Christmas growing up in India, we didn't always exchange gifts. And because no one said anything.

Oops. I suppose some last-minute gifts are in order. I'll have to buy some but I'll also be trolling the internet for some ideas (feel free to share any that you might have) in the next few hours, so I must be off. I'll leave you with some of my favourite photos from the last few weeks.

Kids getting ready for their first Communion at Church, Vasai.

All smiles
At a rural school for tribal children in northern Maharashtra. All smiles.

I spy
I spy.

Juna Bazar
Juna Bazar. A bi-weekly street market where you can find all manner of cool things.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

From our rasoi*

I've been busy in the kitchen these last few weeks but I haven't been good about documenting our eats, so here goes -

Poha (flattened rice) for breakfast; typical Maharashtrian fare. Tastes like lunch to the uninitiated!

Gorging on sitaphal (custard apple). Sweet, grainy, a little tedious to eat, but absolutely delicious. A new favourite for my husband.

Salad with basil pesto vinaigrette
Salad with basil pesto vinaigrette.

Curried pumpkin soup with crushed peanuts, masala (onions, green chillies, fresh cilantro) grilled cheese sandwich, salad with honey mustard vinaigrette.

Bhendi fry
Bhendi (okra) fry with freshly ground spices, garlic and onions.

Roasting spices
Roasting spices for the fish curry.

Fish curry and neer dosas
Fish curry and neer dosas for dinner.

* kitchen in Hindi.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Own two hands

A couple of inspiring things:

1. My husband is painting a mural on our bedroom wall. He has wanted to paint one for several years now but I guess the timing was never quite right. Several weeks ago, it started off looking like this -


Now it looks more like this -


I really love it. It's beautiful. It's a work in progress and he says he has several hours of painting ahead of him to complete it.

2. I recently discovered that my cousin likes to hand embroider. Here are some of the things she made -



Pretty, no? Maybe I'll ask her to teach me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Built by me

Built by me

I picked up this popular Built by Wendy (Simplicity 3964) pattern on my trip to the US couple of months ago. I used a light-weight cotton to make a wearable muslin. I wanted it to be long enough to wear with tights in India but I ran out of fabric for the sleeves. I don't care too much for the sleeves in the pattern anyway! I cut out the smallest size (size 4) but I should have made the armhole cuts a little deeper. I can't comfortably wear this top over a t-shirt on cooler days.

Built by me

The hardest part for me was sewing in the inset. I find it difficult to make gathers on this sewing machine. It's easy to change the stitch length but I can't adjust the tension, which makes it a little tricky to pull up the gathers without breaking the thread. So the gathers are not spread out evenly but I don't mind too much.

Built by me

The ties at the back are a fetching detail but you'll have to excuse the wrinkles - I had been wearing this top all day before the photographs. I used french seams and took in about an inch on either side to make it a little more form fitting. I'm very happy with how neat it is on the inside. All in all, it's a cute top with much potential. It's not quite cold enough here but it would make a great jumper in a heavier fabric.

Thanks to my husband for indulging me and taking the photographs!