Sunday, April 25


What image would you choose to symbolise bountiful? I found my image outside my window in Kerala. An absolutely amazing fruit laden, jack fruit tree. I've never seen anything like it.

If this isn't bountiful I don't know what is.
There's fruit resting on the ground!
Jack fruit can get really large, three times the size of what you see in this picture but on this particular tree I was told the larger fruit in the picture will be ready to cut off the tree in a couple of days.
When the stem of the jack fruit is cut it produces a milky sap.
Look at that texture.When is a jack fruit ready to be harvested? When a large proportion of the short spiky protrusions flatten out like in the upper portion of the image. It takes another week or so before its ready to be cut open.
A jack fruit came back with me to Bangalore and I spent two hours cutting and taking out the pods. Its sticky and messy business, cutting a jack fruit. One needs to put oil on the knife and on your hands, therefore there are no pictures of the inside of the jack fruit. Maybe next time. No pictures of the fruit either which occupied most of the lower shelf of my fridge and it was jack fruit for two weeks every night while we watched the IPL cricket matches. There were various recipes suggested by friends - payasam, puttu, pradaman but we love it fresh.
Now all that remains is a large bowl of the seeds. Do you have a recipe for jack fruit seeds that you can suggest? I'm keeping a few of the seeds to germinate into seedlings, a tree like this needs to be propagated and the goodness shared don't you think.

Tuesday, April 20


I thought I'd share pictures of my fifteen days in Kerala with you. It was hot but a lot got done, I got to buy more, traditional Malayali cookware. I should do a post on all my traditional Indian cookware and utensils. For fifteen days I was working with women to add new products to the existing range of products made of screwpine mat.
The Screwpine plant is of the Pandanus family. This is the female plant which produces softer and more supple fibre than the male plant and has been used traditionally to make mats for sleeping .
Braids of screwpine fibre being woven into the mat. Plain weave is the weave used. Two or even three women work side by side on a single mat.
Women weaving mats in the background and some stitching the products with screwpine fibre.
Traditionally sleeping mats were woven of natural coloured fibre by one group and two mats were stitched together by others. So today there are weavers and there are those who stitch and some who are skilled to do both.
We made large biscornus to be used as floor cushions.
The women use chemical dyes to dye the fibre and they have a great sense of colour and they use it so well to produce beautiful checked patterns.
I decided to use the fringe like edge of the mat which is usually discarded.
A visiting card case
Case for scissors
I introduced the basics of satin ribbon embroidery as a value addition technique.
Products are stitched with screwpine fibre, lined with fabric and thin cardboard is used sandwiched between the fabric and the screwpine mat to create different shapes and to give strength. The women were very keen on making these heart shaped boxes and called them love
petti or love box.

Tuesday, April 13


Chris has received the page I created for her in March, as part of the on going swap at The Story of the Traveling Pages so I can now post the page for all to see.
I decided to depict an aerial view of the coastline.
The blue sea and breakers come ashore to a beach of white sand criss crossed with footprints and then there is the tropical vegetation beyond the sand and the blue ovals are swimming pools.

The back of the page. For April there's a landscape to be created.
Its good to be back and catch up on all that's taking place in the blogsphere, come back in a day or two to read about my time in God's Own Country.