Friday, 28 September 2012

The Small Joys of Stationery Shopping

   Yuppiee, I am doing my 10th post in September, which is not common as I usually come up with only 8-9 posts a month. Today I wanted to tell about my small joys I get here in India. This week I discovered few stationery shops near my office in sector 17. It means that now I don't have to go especially to any other sector for purchase of crafty supplies and can buy them in my lunch time or after office hours :) These stationery shops are mainly "built in" the book stores. First time I went there with my nice colleague and friend J, she is also a foreigner married to an Indian. I bought these nice wrap paper sheet, my friend approved the choice. I really enjoy their designs!
  Today I went shopping again and picked up 8 colorful craft tapes and three pens and paid 70 rupees for all. I mean to say that the stationery in India is very cheap and this is my joy too :) I was longing also to buy "craft scissors" as I call them. How happy I was when found a set of four such scissors with zigzag, cloud, wave and mountain shaped razors. However I didn't want to buy so many of them straight away and continued searching for a single item. I ended up buying these awesome colorful zigzag scissors from another shop. Oh well, there is loads of stuff left over there still, so will plan another "trip" sometime later ;) 
***Have a joyful weekend ahead!***

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Autumn Crochet Ideas

    Though days  are still quite sunny in India and it is +30 in the day time, I can feel that the Autumn is coming here too: the days have become shorter, the evenings are cooler, some trees have got yellow leaves... I am definitely inspired by the Indian autumn and have so many ideas (just need to implement them) on the crafty front. This year I want to celebrate Halloween too, and thinking what I can create for our room decoration. I haven't started yet any crochet project however my husband's cousin is going to have a baby soon, so I am planning to gift a nice cozy crochet baby blanket for the upcoming winter. My D agreed that this would be a good present. Now the deal is to do yarn shopping this weekend.
    Another project I'd like to try is this nice Mandalay tunic designed by Diane Moyer. Colors are very autumn and the pattern seems to be easy to follow. You just need to crochet two scarf-like halves and stitch them together in front and at the back. 
    My week's achievement would be this simple six petal crochet flower pattern. I liked how the flower worked for decoration of granny squares. I have some doubts regarding it, so please suggest if I made some mistakes in the drawing or instructions. I will improve it :) 
Otherwise the pattern is simple indeed. This is the corner of a doily with six petal flower decoration and with leaves:
***Have inspirational Autumn!***

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Granny Square Variation and Stencil Tulips

    Is this always like this that whoever starts crocheting granny squares, can't stop? I don't know, but I definitely want to make more and more of them! This week I came up with this fashionable fuchsia and black doily :)) Oh well, not fashionable, I just wanted to try some new colors and I like how they look together in a finished doily. I must have given the doily a slightly oriental look when combined with a belly dance coin kirchief, a hand made Rajasthan elephant and a "made in Turkey" candle holder. I was not happy however with how the colors came in the pictures, it was much paler, so I had to adjust color settings afterwards to make it bright. Have no I idea still what I am going to do with the doily, most probably will gift it or decorate something in the house.
    No, no, I didn't forget about my "planned" crafts :) I tried stencil art few days back. The result was, as expected, not at all perfect. I used acrylic and tempera paints, which leaked behind the stencil and made the tulip shapeless. Good thing that I didn't try it on some visible surface. That one was the back side of my cupboard door. I think with some more tries I will be able to do simple stencil drawings well.

***Have a bright weekend!***

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cards from Deer Little Fawn :)

   This is a post about how happy and surprised I was when I finally received these lovely beautiful cards as a giveaway gift from my fellow blogger Beth.  :) She does wonderful drawings and sketches, with floral, animal motifs, which you can check out on her blog Deer Little Fawn and the site Forest Lodge Illustration. So I have been liking the drawings since I joined the blog, and no wonder I was really happy to have them with me now...Why was I surprised then? Because the cards reached me just in one week time, from UK to India, in spite of anything, magically! Thank you a lot, Beth! I also just adore cats, so I was very glad to have that cute cat among the cards :) And of  course all those beautiful flowers.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Cooking The Crescents

  I don't share much of recipes in my blog, but this time I would like to do it, because besides being the first  proper Russian dish I tried to make in India, it is also the first time I made it myself (as I used to make it always with my Mom before). The dish is called Vareniks (Vareniki) and it consists of two parts: dough and stuffing. Vareniks are to be made in a crescent shape, what I like a lot :)  If you ever try to make them, let me know the result, please :) I am sure you would love it!

Indian wheat flour is called maida
Dough ingredients:
1 kg of wheat flour (Indian maida)
1 tsp salt
1, 5 glass of water (glass = 250 ml)

Dough preparation: put dough into a large bowl, add salt and pour water. Start mixing dough and water together, knead dough until it becomes viscous and you can make a ball out of it. Keep in the fridge for at least 20 minutes in the same bowl. 

                                                                          Stuffing ingredients:                                                        8 middle sized potatoes
3 middle sized onions
salt to your taste
spices and herbs to your taste
 Stuffing preparation:
 Boil jacket potatoes. Let them cool and peel of the skin. Put them in the bowl and mash well. Cut onion into small squares. Pour cooking oil on a pan, let it to heat up a bit and then put onion on it and fry until onion  becomes a little golden, add a pinch of salt, parsley,oregano and red pepper, mix. Add onion mixture to mashed potato. Mix the stuffing well.

Shaping up Vareniki.
  This is going to be a little challenging part of cooking, but good shape of the dish comes with experience.

Take your dough from the fridge, cut a piece of it and roll in a "sausage". Cut the "dough sausage" into equal pieces. Now you have to roll each piece into small circles.
 Where is your stuffing? Take one dough circle and put a small amount of stuffing on it with the fork (or spoon if you wish). Now... start closing the circle from left to the right, make sure the edges stuck to each other. So you will have to have a crescent shaped varenik in the end.
  Find a tray or a wide dish, sprinkle it with flour and lay out the "crescents" onto it one by one.Do the same till your stuffing finishes.
 Boil water in a stewpot and put 10 vareniks into it, boil them until they start floating on the surface, boil for more 5 min and take out, put into a bowl, add a piece of butter so they won't stick. Serve hot. You can eat vareniks with any sauce, but they will taste better with sour cream :) Yumm.
   To have a complete Russian style meal, prepare a Summer salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, pinch of salt and herbs and a tsp of olive oil. Mix well.

***Have a nice day and enjoy your meals!***

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Beadwork - old hobby

   The last working day for me, then one day off and then work again :( I feel that I spend way too much time in the office doing work I don't really like. But I definitely enjoy some other things: being with my husband first, sharing with him my news, talking to him, showing him my craft projects and feeling happy when he likes them. My D now has an opportunity to get to know my old, abandoned hobby - the beadwork. 
   I purchased few packets of beads last year on Diwali day but never used. A girl from the office I work in saw old bead bracelets on my wrist two days ago and said she would like to have such too. I promised that I would make one for her. This is how the bead work hobby got its boost. The bracelet in the pictures below, consisting of blue and pink beads, was made for the girl. These beads however were taken from my stash in Kazakhstan, when I went there this Summer. The glass beads don't lose their color and sparkle even over the years. Well, I am glad I have a table mat now to use it as the background for photo sessions :)

   Inspired by the previous work, I made one more bracelet for myself  yesterday late evening. I love those silver beads, they shine like real metal. Now my D knows that soon I will have to buy more of supplies for my resumed hobby.
***Have a sparkly weekend!***

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Granny Doily featured on CraftGossip

  Blogging has made me more adventurous and decisive. A little bit more than one week back I submitted a tiny form on the site called CraftGossip. The site features crafty ideas, tutorials from around the world from different bloggers and designers. I decided to try it out and sent the idea of my granny square doily with red flower decoration. Was I happy to receive a positive response from the crochet editor of the site JD Wolfe that my project would be featured on the 12th of September! 
  I made the doily while being at my parents' dacha last month.  The doily stayed with parents, but who knew its adventure would continue! If you are interested you can go and check how it looks like following the link Granny Doily. The editor wrote a nice brief article about it. Well, it is not that grand project I think and the deal is not in being popular by showing  it to everyone. The joy comes more from participation and I hope that someone would find this idea of home decor useful. I was advised by my fellow blogger Bonitabonbons to make a whole granny square blanket out of such doilies ;) Let's see. I am ready for new projects!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Decorating tables - granny square doily and an oval mat

    September is not a productive month for me in sense of blogging. It is more productive on the crafty side. Last Saturday I went to our 42 market stationery shop to purchase some crafty things like acrylic paints, paper cutter, craft paper, pencils... It looked like no one else  was buying all that stuff from there for long time, because the acrylic paints were manufactured in 2011 and the sheet of craft paper was looking a little old... but I liked the things I bought anyway. I couldn't wait to use at least some of them. I did a painting in the evening of the same day and was doing it like a mad! My husband must have been worried indeed :) Kidding. Besides the painting I finally accomplished two of the crochet projects: a long-time-ago-started table mat and another granny square doily. 
     Here is my granny square doily. The yarn is some old Indian thread, I am not sure whether it's acrylic or mixed. So you can say I re-purposed this yarn and made a new crochet decor piece from it:). Principe of making was the same as for my first granny square doily. The granny square pattern has a unique quality - it can be of any wished size and it is so easy to make.Yup, the granny square is twisted again.

    I truly like the granny square stitches - all double crochet (treble crochet). The chess like arrangement of the stitches makes the whole piece look so snug ( that's why it is called "granny", isn't it?).

   I played with the doily choosing some interesting variants of its folding and usage. I think that this could become a pretty baby blanket or a nice pillow cover. Keeping it in mind ;)

      I am not very used to make crochet tutorials, I have only two so far, but I am thinking to make one more on how to make a simple crochet flower like the one in the picture below. 

  Ta-dah! Or did it take too long since the last post about my table mat? Whatever, the crochet table mat is ready to be used for placing a cup of coffee on it in the morning (for example):)

  Please, refer to the oval motif pattern below. However, I'd like to make few notes: the pattern is going on good until the 5th row as in the picture, then you have to adjust it counting the number of increased stitches from all four sides. It's the toughest in this pattern. I think I kind of changed the pattern and made it more square rather than oval.

  Overall  I am very content about my craftiness these days and I have some MORE crochet projects in my mind.
 ***Have a crafty week and take care!***

Friday, 7 September 2012

Choosing a craft - sewing, stencil, knitting

   Crafts...hand made... - I have been planning to do more of all this stuff and just have to begin. Begin...but what? Internet is full of diverse crafty ideas. I have also discovered great sites for crafting people like Craftgossip. I really don't know when all of them have time to do all those beautiful things! Recently I happened upon beautiful hand made works of the lady from Cards, Crafts, Kids projects blog and who is a practising surgeon at the same time! She makes lovely paper cut projects: cards, boxes, decor pieces and so on. 
  Another blogger and a DIY sewer from Creating my way to Success has incredible sewing tutorials for a beginner as well as advance level sewers. I have noted few of them for myself.
  My dilemma as of now is what craft to start learning. I want to get to know other crafty worlds like sewing, stencil, and knitting. Any craft needs special supplies, so first I have to check out what to buy  or what is already in the storage. The site Simply Modern Mom  advises these to begin sewing: 

bobbins (with the threads for a sewing machine)
measuring tape
pins and pin cushion
safety pins
seam ripper
sewing machine needles
sewing machine (obviously!)

sewing needles                       

                                                     Also I think I will need marking tools like pencil, chalk, and obviously I will need fabrics or any material I am going to work with. Besides there are many such tools like see-through ruler and some other. I will also need space for all those tools to be arranged. Well, somehow sewing seems a little more supplies consuming than crocheting for example.
a stencil rose
  What about stencil? Stencil art was discovered by me today itself. I was using stencil before for some school projects of course, however never tried to think of it as an art. This hobby can become a great source of ideas, because you can use stencil for decoration of your house, for making pictures, for designing furniture etc. Stencil is also easy to start. All you need is a thin plastic sheet, paper cutter, marker, a stencil pattern you are going to trace and some paints. Today I am going to try it out. Patterns are ready to be printed out and plastic sheet will be found somewhere at home. 

 Knitting..hmmm.. not so much new to me, but I would like to go on upper level now as my knowledge so far is just how to make basic stitches. Knitting is just same as crochet - a great way to make beautiful things for yourself and close ones, also supplies are easily available and minimum tools are required.
  These days I don't take pictures at all, may be got bored of it or just want to change the format of my blog for a while. That's why mostly I share my inner world here, what I am up to now and what I think of it. Nevertheless I am going to post some pictures of my new crochet project soon.

***Have a nice day!***

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Four Russian fairy tales

...Busy these days after I arrived back to India, that even taking pictures for any blog post is not in my routine. But blogging is in! Today I am in a fantasy mood again, searching for some magical, inspiring pictures and I want to share the Russian fairy tales which were (and are) my favourite.
  The fairy tale in Russian is called skazka (ska'ska) what means something what is told. Fairy tale is one of the folklore genres and has its roots deep in the history of a nation. I used to adore all the fairy tale books my parents bought for me. Browsing through their pages, viewing colourful images of the creatures and heroes was the best time pass for me. The stories themselves fascinate with the world of magic where a prince still searches for his princess. So here are the picks from the fairy tale world of my childhood.
1" Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf" ( Иван-царевич и Серый волк) fairy tale is full of the thrilling moments, like the one in which Ivan is killed by his brothers and the Gray Wolf reincarnate (!) him..and the bright moments like the marriage of Ivan and Elena the Beautiful in the end. Well, not that typical princess story and the wolf is pictured more like a werewolf... isn't it some ancient version of Twilight saga Eclipse? :)
The Gray Wolf is carrying Ivan Tsarevich and Elena the Beautiful
 2. "Vasilisa the Beautiful" is a fairy tale about a girl Vasilisa who is sent by her stepmother to fetch the light for a candle from Baba Yaga. I guess this has to be considered as the beginning of my love for horror novels :) Looking at the picture below can give you goose bumps: Vasilisa carrying a skull with the light through its eye holes. However a really scary detail throughout the story was a small doll left to Vasilisa by her late mother. The doll could speak, eat and do house work! In research works you would find that the doll was made to replace a mother and help Vasilisa in the difficulties (as a inheritance of pagan tradition) but how would I know so deep meaning behind it? It was simply creepy for me.
Vasilisa, Ivan Bilibin's painting
3. "Go I know not Wither, fetch I know not What" fairy tale which was a bit complicated for me when I was small. It has a long story line, with rather many characters. The main hero Hunter has to perform one of the king's tasks called "go where I know not whither, fetch I know not what". He does it with the help of his wife and later his wife's mother, who all are of course...witches! (Leaving this topic to another blog Witchcraft and more). This fairy tale seemed the most unusual to me, it really has not so common plot or better involves different motives of other fairy tales.
The Hunter's wife suggests him what to do in his tasks
4. "The Frog Princess" fairy tale has always had good illustrations where the princess dances or makes a carpet for a king by the mean of magic. This fairy tale is one of the most famous and has a plot known to European folklore as well. A prince has to marry a frog as so was decided according to the ritual: a young man sends an arrow to any of the sides and where the arrow falls there his bride is. Isn't it weird? So that's why this story occurs in which the prince has to live with a frog wife he knows nothing about. The mystery of the frog princess reveals  when she turns to a beautiful girl for one of the occasions, but the prince burns the frog skin in anger by virtue of which attracts loads of troubles. Everyone is happy in the end but the way to happiness is a thorn one.
the Frog Princess dances at pir, by Vasnetsov
  Perhaps I would recollect few more fairy tales which somehow played a role in the world of my imagination. But let's keep only four of them listed on the page. If you want to read some of the fairy tales, you can follow the link of Gutenberg project, Russian fairy tales or site Old Russia. There is also loads of information in Wiki, as usual :)

   P.S. In Russia and other post Soviet countries the 1st of September is called the Day of Knowledge, when all the schools, colleges and universities start their study year. So congrats to all teachers and students!

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