Monday, 19 December 2016

Things to Cherish and Value

I know I have been sounding rather upset and sad in my previous posts. But I know that you all understand and share the same feelings as I. However, after discussing the same with D several times over the last weekend, I had to go on and carry on to take of my little boy, because he is the one who needs our care and love right here right now, and thank god we are able to give these and more to him.
I kept myself busy last weekend completing the old projects and making new ones. Here is a glimpse of our New Year tree in all its spontaneity and  variety of ornaments and decor.
This little Gnome is sitting joyfully on the branches - a gift from my parents.

You must have seen these all over the internet. I fell in love with the idea of making my own gnome or a nisse. This was a half an hour project - made of a sock, felt and yarn. I want to make one for my parents as well.
I have at last finished this felt Russian doll (Matryoshka). She is not perfect but I am glad I attempted this  felt ornament.
It is time to display my latest cross stitch - a Santa carrying a little new year tree. Perhaps, I will leave it in this loop only, not framing this time. The cross stitch required a black outlining -  I don't have time to do this and, to tell the truth, I like it the way it is.

Stars, stars everywhere! By the way, I used little A's play dough cutters to make these cookies (after thorough washing of course) :)) since I am yet to buy steel cookie cutters. The recipe I used is this Shortbread Cookies with addition of some milk and ginger to the dough. They came out very tasty and crispy.

So that's all about how I am trying to get into a better mood. I wish that all of you dear friends had peaceful, joyful, cozy holidays and spent all the great moments with your loved ones. Cherish each and every such moment!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Things to Love

Hello my dear friends! I have read your blogs recently and found out that I am not alone in my tiredness and constant want to simply do nothing for a while. I don't really address it to being lazy, and not that there is any health issue as such (touch wood), but rather a mental exhaustion, probably it is the end of year which is usually more hectic. I officially declare that I need a break with change in my surroundings.
Getting in the mood for Christmas and New year in India is a little difficult due to the +25 outside, no snow, no major city decorations. The affect of all the sad recent news leaves me guilty of thinking about happy holidays and all when so many suffer and cannot even dream of sleeping in cozy beds...
However my holiday spirit prevails indoors, a quiet one. I have put up a tree together with little A last weekend, he enjoyed, oh so much, bringing me those little ornaments and is so excited about the lights! I am so glad that we were able to ignite that holiday cheer in him. His school also installed a tall Christmas tree in the lobby and decorated beautifully the premises.
My crochet mood in its turn has been rather high. I confessed to my D that I was bitten by a "crochet bug", he understood what I meant. Whenever I am crocheting in front of him, he then asks me : "Why do you make such a serious (= concentrated?) face ?" :P
The first thing to show is an up-cycled purse. Everything is hand stitched. The handle is crocheted with a t-shirt yarn.
It closes with a help of two buttons and loops made of crocheted cotton threads. (Thank you Preeti for the buttons!:))
I was in need of a new cap for little A he can wear daily on the way to school. My A looks adorable in it! I cannot find the pattern I used for this cap (not in my Pinterest), but it's a basic cap pattern, and semi-circles attached for bear ears effect :)
I have been keeping in my mind that I need to make another, a more beautiful and better fitting sweater for A. So I found this really simple and easy to make Toddler Striped Sweater. As usual it asked for yarn weight I don't have, so I started crocheting with two strands of sport weight yarn, hoping it would help but needed to buy two more colors. Last weekend me and D went to our (note, OUR) favourite yarn market, expecting to buy two skeins and go. When I saw the yarn stalls after a long time .. I got dizzy! The first thing my eyes fell on were various, multicolored skeins of a BULKY weight yarn!!! I have been searching such among Indian brands but never found in the Internet ...and here they are, waiting for me. LOL. D could not help but say ok, buy it if you need... Think if you really need it... I said I needed it very much and can now work so many projects!:)))
 Here is a sweater cum jacket in progress. I want to finish it as soon as possible so Little A has opportunity to wear it THIS winter (not the next one :~)). I plan to make it a little longer like a cardi. The yarn is acrylic, very soft and not prickly at all, works up very smoothly, no knots, and color is just great for this type of garment.
AND... I got this one , a sock weight yarn to try! It seems to be very good too. Overall I was really impressed by the range of yarn  Indian manufacturers offer now. There were many  other ones which I would like to try to work with, but maybe next time.
So that's all for now friends. Wishing you a happy week whenever you are! Happy coming up holidays!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Winter Mood

Hello my dears... The past week was rather tiring for me on the job side - more translation work started coming in which resulted in me being completely drained by the end of the day. As soon as I work half day from home, it might seem like an easy task, but it isn't. In fact, my day is endless. Some days I simply feel like curling up on a bed and doing nothing at all. It doesn't happen, almost never. My sleep timings also depend on little A's preference, however one good thing is that he finally started sleeping through the night. Before that I couldn't get a proper night's rest for more than 2 years :O Hence I am very happy for both of us.
Thank you everyone for your wishes for my mom's recovery. She is already at home and doing well, though would need to be more careful from now on and still requires to support her arm. Life seems to be getting on its' usual track.
That winter mood always visits me as Christmas and New year approach. It's time for cozy evenings and hot chai, for warm socks and crocheting. As our house gets colder, I feel the need to keep warm whenever and however possible.
Yesterday I had a crocheting "onset" and accomplished a sweater for little A. I still need to work on to weaving the ends and probably blocking it. The pattern is "from my head". The yarn I used is like 15 years old! I got it from home last year. First, I had doubts about the colour, but then, why boys should wear only all dark and blue and green?  I am planning on adding some applique to it.
Updated - sweater pictures! :) Its a little bulky and tacky, but Ok to wear at home. I have a pattern for another crochet sweater, so hopefully the second attempt will be better. My model though refused me taking his pictures in a new attire :)
 Recently I tried making something new - baked samosas. They are a totally healthy vegan version of a popular Indian snack. I am going to make more... when I feel like :P
Have a happy day my friends whenever you are! Blessed be!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

An Owl Pouch for Toffies

My son has a great attachment to his grandparents, which is so natural. While me and D are "bad bad always prohibiting everything and stopping him from doing anything he wants parents"! I believe though that grandparents contributed to my little A's  sweet tooth development. But if I think more, it couldn't have been any other way when his dad can never resist a bite of chocolate or some Indian sweets whenever offered (or not offered, and he grabs them himself :))
A's recent obsession - toffees of different kinds (in wraps). He might not eat them but will be carrying around the house everywhere, eventually losing them and asking me where have they all gone. What's more, yesterday he didn't want to fall asleep until I put two little toffees in his hand! Hence, to ensure he always has his favourites in one place and won't be dropping them here and there, I crocheted this super easy owl pouch, and EVEN inserted a lining made of an old T-shirt.
It seems to be very handy, and little A loves wearing bags too (often wears a similar cross shoulder pouch of mine which is too long for him). The days have become colder in Chandigarh, we wear sweaters and socks at home and sleep under thick quilts at night. This might have promoted my wish to crochet cozy little things. My A enjoys wrapping up himself in various blankets and not resisting to wear sweaters and socks anymore.
One more owl to our collection, this time, a useful one. I can improve the pattern and make it in bigger sizes with a zipper or any other type of lock. Attaching the lining was not that difficult and scary (lol) but rather interesting.
Here are our owl-y wishes of a warm and welcoming home for you to have and to live in! Blessed be!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Life's Challenges and Gifts

I am not in a position to critisize and judge, but you would agree that events which happen all around the world sooner or later echo in other parts. I am not feeling any change since the US election result came up, but I know that it would reflect in some of the areas of our lives at some point of time.
Indian government has also surprised us with a sudden scrapping of 500 and 1000 banknotes in order to extract black money from turnover. It created a real panic and hurdle among people as not everyone had proper information what it was all about and why. Right now things are better and getting calm and in order slowly.
Politics, economics and world problems aside we continue our lives because this is what we have to do for our families, we have to move on and continue dreaming, hoping and believing.
And honestly speaking, I don't care as of now about these big things, because our family has got a real challenge to deal with. On Tuesday I received a bad news from my dad that my mom broke her shoulder joint bone. She is going to be operated today, and the surgery is not the easy one. I cannot tell how much scared and worried for her I am because she is not young of course (not old either) and the fraction itself is dangerous but surgery I dread more actually... I pray she stands the operation well and gets fine very soon! She promised she would be fine my summer for sure. My little mom... I miss you so much, and I am sorry I can't be with you right now when you and dad need me so much... I rely on our good friends and family whoever are left in the city to take care of this situation. My papa is a great help to her these days! And I know he always tries to cheer her and me up. He made smile many times yesterday when I was talking to him on the phone.
November is my and my dad's birthday month, and our dates are just back to back. :) How cool is this? :) Next month, December, is also wonderful and magical, and I have started preparing some handmade New year decorations which I will showcase a little later.
Recently I have started following some of the wonderful upcycle ideas by Jill of Creating my Way to Success, and here is what I came up with: my first sock puppy. Hmm, looks slightly creepy but kind of naive too, maybe because of the colour. I have some more bright and cheerful socks to upcycle, so more sock animals to come.
In addition, I am in the process of making an up-cycled clothes purse/clutch/wallet. I absolutely had no plan of HOW to stitch this purse, how to cut pieces properly, so it is rather tacky and totally handmade looking. I am also not sure how to close it and what kind of handles to attach, but I am in love with the idea of re-purposing old clothes. I have also started making T-shirt yarn and probably will make a storage bag - they are really useful around the house.
 To sum up my today's blog post on a positive note, here is a little gift my D got from his colleagues from Russia yesterday. Can you say how happy I am? I have two Russian dolls now! One is a nesting doll with two more inside her, and this one contained a VERY Russian surprise - a small bottle of vodka :P
 So, cheers to life, to our families, to their and our health!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Diwali and Halloween Are Round the Corner

Happened that these two festivals coincide almost on the same dates. Diwali is on the 30th of October this year , and  Halloween, well, as usual is on the 31st of October :) I like this because this way we celebrate cultures' chord for real!
My A's school has been decorated with Halloween stuff to the brim! I suppose they get from abroad or something because you can't find such stuff in the usual markets here. I am sure kids enjoy the change in the school's furnishing every week.
Today is the Orange day in A's class but I couldn't find ANY orange clothes for him, so I simply made a Pumpkin ornament and a diya sticker from orange foam paper to take along. Then A and D are having 4 days off due to Diwali - lucky boys :)
Now, what I have been up to. Though I did very little on a crafty front I managed to finish A's cape, here is a look of work in progress. We purchased this one to one meter of shiny material for 60 Indian rupees, which is equal to 0.90 USD. The sewing and design are my own - it has a hood as well :)
Yesterday, after dropping to school a leave application because little A stayed home with cold, I couldn't not to take few snapshots of lobby decor... when I was stopped by a teacher who said I wasn't allowed to take photos... hehe.

Today is also  a special pre-Diwali day called Dhanteras. It is auspicious to buy any metal things today like jewellery or kitchen utensils and appliances. So if you ran out of spoons, go get them! :) A pooja (a form of a religious ritual) is held in my D's office today. Many offices do this in order to welcome Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity (Lakshmi).
We wore traditional Indian clothing today. Here is my Indian suit. I loved how the colors became vivid under the morning sunlight!
Rangoli (in the photo below) is also being made in all the schools, offices, homes. Here is Ganesh is in the middle, people pray to him on Diwali for prosperity, wealth and well-being. Rangoli designs are endless!

Another rangoli one from my office which reads Happy Diwali written in Devanagari, and also two diyas (little oil lanterns) and OM are a part of this composition.

 Our big Indo-Russian family wishes you all a Happy Diwali - Let the Light come into your home and in your hearts, and make your life happy and joyful! 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Festival Season is On

Following the last post about Dussehra here I am going to tell about another North Indian festival called Karva Chauth which took place on 19th of October - a day when wives fast for a well-being of their husbands. It is a tradition in many North Indian families, and we also follow it. Though this year I didn't keep fast, I followed all other rituals of this day, like applying mehendi (henna), dressing up in suit and wearing bangles, attending pooja in a temple, and at last breaking the fast when the moon rises. This time the moon kept us waiting till 10 pm until it finally became visible behind the houses...
Other than celebrations, we are in our usual mode - office, home, school. Last weekend was particularly enjoyable because in-laws were out of city and we had the house all to ourselves, forgive me announcing this happiness openly, but this is required at times. They also had some break from routine in Delhi, attending a marriage. We had  a lovely family time at home. I indulged in baking again - this time Apple Crust Pie with cinnamon - it was delicious! Easy-peasy to make too.

Little A has got his portion of delight on weekend by playing with colourful dough. I purchased a set of cutters along with four dough pieces.
Look how many shapes we made! He especially likes a star, a circle, a heart and a butterfly :) To my amusement the play dough is still popular with little A.
Today when I was dropping A to his school, his class teacher met us at the reception with a giant spider in her hands! Hehe, they are preparing for Halloween now. After I said "Bye, I love you, baby!" to my boy (while he was too interested in that handmade spider to even look back at, and was about leave the premises, I noticed these cute bats and spiders on the lobby's TV stand - aren't they fun? They made me smile!
 Have a happy day and enjoy time spent with your dear ones :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Indian Festival, Craft Activities and Baking

The festival season has started in North India, revolving around mythological stories about Ram and Sita. One of such holidays is called Dussehra which per Wiki is "Dasa-hara is a form of Dasanan ravan ("Ravana's defeat") and it took place yesterday (11th of October). I have been celebrating this festival since 2010. Nevertheless the most enjoyable  we had so far was this year's because our little A could already understand what was going on and liked the whole thing so much that he didn't want to leave the place. He had already had some knowledge about this festival as it was told to him at school, and brought home this demon Ravaan paper puppet:

The activities, held on this days, always include symbolical burning of the demons, Ravaan and his brothers.  The giant dolls are made much in advance but burned in a matter of minutes. I kind of feel sad every time I look at it.

Indeed, children bring so much joy, happiness and meaning to everything around them, perceiving each and every moment with excitement, curiosity and naivety. My little son was so stunned by the fireworks, repeating again and again that those were the STARS as the sparks were flying up in the sky... For some reason he also took a standing type of the firework for water and kept on shouting excitedly: "Mommy, look, vada, vada!" (voda means "water" in Russian). Till I explained it was kind of fire (ogon' in Russian), very hot. Then he started saying "Mommy, look, hot, hot" and showing with gestures and mimics as if touching something really hot. We had so much fun with A, noticing how young child's mind reacts to different new situations and discovers new subjects to think about.
I tried to contribute to A's entertainment as well when it was possible on weekend. He really likes all the crafty projects. Thus we did simple Diya coloring with some sequins decoration. A likes using cotton swabs and can you see this concentrated face?:)
 The next day I conducted a DIY stamps activity which didn't keep little A busy for long, but at least he tried something new.
Even I amused myself with some fast almost on-the-go project which I had on my mind for a very long time. I made a felt owl of course... Working with felt for the first time was a little tricky, and I should have used another stitch to sew two parts together. Well, I hope for better results in further projects.
Oh yeah, and I had done a little bit of baking last weekend. Tried awesome cinnamon rolls recipe -non-dairy, eggless though uses yeast. I used atta (a kind of wholemeal flour) instead of all purpose flour and omitted apples and raisins (as not everyone actually likes them in our family). As the dough takes time to be ready, I prepared it in the evening and used the next morning.
The best baking was a very dark chocolate cake! I thought I burned it actually when I came to check on the process, lol. The recipe has no eggs and milk as well. The pancakes were also dairy and egg-free. I am not a vegetarian (yet) but due to the fact that there are two vegetarians in our family I have to opt for special recipes for them, so all my baking is eggless now. But to tell the truth it doesn't change the degree of yumminess :)))
Enjoy your week! Be happy and healthy!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Indian Flowers to Cheer You Up

The summer here is slowly getting to its end. The day has become shorter, and by this I mean that it starts getting visually darker outside already at 6 pm. The nights have finally gained much awaited freshness, however, the afternoons are still hot and humid.
For various reasons I have been feeling sad and low in the past few days. It is not that I have any huge problems in life right now (touch wood) or my life is tough or whatever. Sad news of what is happening around the world, especially in Syria, made me reflect on what is really important in life and what is not, and every day I try to spend being grateful for a peaceful sky above, and the fact that my kid has a privilege of worry and fear free childhood days. Additionally, last week D said that he watched an awareness video about dangers of sepsis, especially in young children, and gave me a link to this blog A Mother Without  A Child and added: "Please, try not to cry". I cannot tell how sad the story of this young woman is. Her writing, the words she uses to describe the loss of her little son and how she is dealing with it (or trying to) couldn't have left my eyes dry.
Since the day I read these blog posts I had been thinking about it everyday, and reconsidered how I sometimes deal with my little A's tantrums and crankiness, and his refusals to listen  to my requests. I should be more patient and more understanding even when it is hard to be. I thought that as much as I love him I still sometimes underestimate how much he is dependent on us and how much we mean to him. Our routine can make us believe that the things are always the way they are and will always be, but it is not true. Everyday is unknown and unpredictable, so I would like simply to enjoy these moments with my family and give as much love as I possibly can...
It was a Green colour celebration at little A's class today, so I dressed him in a green shirt and neon green shoes. Unfortunately my boy was resisting to go to school when we approached it, started crying when he understood I had to go. Finally the teacher came to pick him from the reception and he went with her, still weeping, but in a better mood as she promised a toffee. I know he was fine afterwards, playing with other kids, engaged in activities and so on...However my hearts aches each time I have to leave him like this.
My own mood was lifted up by the abundance of various blooming trees when I reached office. Somehow I didn't notice this yesterday.

 I am not aware of how some of the flowers are called, so you could suggest :) Thank you, and I hope you are having happy and joyful days wherever you are.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!
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