Thursday, December 31

Wishing you Peace

        May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -  write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. - Neil Gaiman 

In addition I'd like to wish all of you peace, ( too much conflict and strife in the world) happiness, good health and loads of creativity in 2016, which is just around the corner. Goodnight and stay safe.
Until we meet again.

Monday, December 21

A tringular crochet shawl

I made this soft triangular shawl almost a decade back and it was very large for some reason. Having moved to cooler climes where a warm shawl wrapped around ones shoulders on chilly evenings is so comforting, I decided to resize the shawl. Luckily I still had the pattern book for the shawl.
So that's the resized crocheted shawl.
it has a wide fringe and a bobble edging.
Christmas is just a couple of days away. I hope you get to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
The Christmas tree was put up for the first time in our new home, hanging the ornaments on the tree is a time to relive moments when and where they were bought and to remember those who had given them. It's a special time dressing up the Christmas tree. Very nostalgic.

Monday, December 7

The end of the blue phase

I couldn't resist this one. I knew it would be perfect in blue so for the past three months I've been crossing stitches in order to create the nursery rhyme Hey diddle diddle.  
 I added some mustardy yellow as an accent. It was getting too blue. I intend to use some red in the framing so from being all blue it will be a primary colour scheme.  
I like the four different trees in each frame.
The blue phase has concluded for the time being. I feel a rust dyeing phase and a crochet phase coming on and I must get back to my TAST project of creating a journal of my experiences in homesteading using embroidery on paper.
The blue phase has started me off on a container of orts which I hope will grow into a sizeable quantity by the time it's spring and time for the birdies to build nests.
What phase are you exiting or beginning?  Have a good week.  

Friday, November 27

Changing seasons

It's been a month of relentless showers and being shrouded in mist.   
The monsoons have been torrential, El Nino has compounded matters leaving cities like Chennai flooded. We've been spared the destruction the rain has wrought in Chennai but we've not been left unscathed. Voltage fluctuations has taken a toll on my fridge and the motor to pump water went kaput due to high voltage. We had a night with no running water and had to haul a couple of buckets of water from the rain water harvesting drums to tide us over. The silver lining is the fact that the tea has got sufficient rain and we can expect a good crop in the months to come. 
We're learning to count our blessings - a roof over our heads, warm clothing and food on the table. We have renewed respect for nature and our environment. 
There's talk of more rain but I'm hoping the depression in the Bay of Bengal will dissipate and the gloomy days with frosty nights will give way to bright sunny days and frosty nights. There's only so much rain one can take. Time for change.
In the picture is what remains of a kusudama I had in our home in Bangalore and came to hang at the back door of our home in Coonoor. It's one of the first things I saw each morning while my cup of tea brewed and I stood at the door doing my breathing exercises. Time for change.
Hope the Thanksgiving holidays have been a time of joy with friends and family. Have a wonderful weekend everyone with changing seasons and change in the air.  
(Not sure why there's double spacing I don't think it's something I did - you can't control change!!)

Thursday, November 5

Unexpected visitor

 The retreating monsoon has been putting on a marvellous show with incessant rain, mist and brooding grey skies.
Everybody tries and stays indoors where it's warm and dry except for the bison who won't be deterred by a downpour to come prune the rose bushes and leave the little patch of lawn pock marked with hoof indentations.
So it was a real surprise to find this big beautiful yellow moth resting on the wet terracotta tiles of the verandah this afternoon.
A spot of sunshine amidst all the grey. The yellow was so intense and brilliant. It was large, probably as large as the palm of my hand.The patterning on its wings look like marbling. Most unusual.
I need someone to identify this unexpected visitor.
I thought all moths had a shabby chic thing about them but I've been proved wrong after Miss Sunshine appeared on our verandah.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 28

Stitches which heal.

The last few days has been traumatic. Our pet Blackie got badly gored by a bison early on Friday morning and had to be rushed to the Worldwide Veterinary Service Training Centre for attention.
Needless to say I was a blubbering mess trying to tell the vet what had happened.
Dr. Ashwin is such a champion. He worked a miracle and had Blackie on his feet in three days. Simply unbelievable that Blackie who was traumatised survived after being anesthetized for six hours.  
So I've been dealing with stitches of another sort this week. Stitches which heal.  This may be a gory picture to many who visit here but I'm grateful for the skill and devotion of Dr. Ashwin who has given Blackie a second chance.
There is some amazing work taking place at WVS ( World Veterinary Service) training centre in Aravankadu. If you are looking for an organisation to make a donation to I would urge you to make donations to WVS inorder to enable them to continue the fantastic work they are doing.

Wishing you a week of  miracles and awesomeness.

Thursday, October 15

The Dogs

This sampler has been keeping me busy.
When I came across this sampler on Pinterest I simply had to reproduce it and itgave me reason enough to indulge my blue and white obsession.
The sampler immortalises our pets Blackie and Brownie in cross stitch. They are firm friends and up to mischief all day long. Our flipflops left on the front verandah have been chewed and the straps have been ripped off. They are mutts or Indian dogs.
 Blackie chases away the monkeys and has begun barking a warning should strangers come to our property. Brownie has some Dachshund in him and won't grow too big but he's the cute one and Blackie the handsome one.
We have a third  - Bullet. He's a wee one yet but it won't be long before he joins Blackie and Brownie on their trips around the estate, barking at monkeys and waiting with soulful expressions on the deck for treats.
I've started on another blue and white sampler - it's the nursery rhyme Hey diddle, diddle...

Everyday has it's challenges but the past two weeks have been particularly trying with internet and electricity problems but the pruned tea bushes breaking into bud, the chickens settling into their new coop and Bullet having found a home with us have made it all easier to deal with.
How are all of you doing? Is Autumn making it's presence felt? We're thinking of lighting a fire sometime next week when friends come to stay and in India the festive season has begun. Happy Navaratri and Dusshera to all those celebrating. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 29

World Peace Day

World Peace Day was last Monday the 21st of September and I wanted to commemorate it in some way.
I'd been folding origami cranes for the Senbazuru project which I started in February and I was making good progress. 
So the plan was to have 500 origami cranes folded and strung into 20 streamers of cranes.
 So it was done and ready and I spent the afternoon of the 21st hanging the 20 steamers in the verandah of the guesthouse.
 500 cranes sway in the breeze wafting peace and happiness to all and for the well being of a loved one for whom I'm making the Senbazuru.

The next goal is to have the remaining 500 swaying in the breeze by the 18th of November.

How are you challening yourself? Any interesting challenges in blogland? Do let me know, I'd like to get involved in something fiber or paper related in 2016.

Monday, September 14

A Cross Stitch Alphabet Sampler

 I started this sampler when we moved to Coonoor in May and its finally done.
The pattern I painstakingly copied onto graph paper probably ten years back. I found it while packing my stash.
It was then that I decided it would have to be embroidered as a commemorative piece of the new environment we were going to be living in.
Will now have to wait for the next trip to Bangalore to get it framed.
Have a good week.

Sunday, September 6

TAST 2015 - Feather Stitch

A week without the internet, it's been quite difficult coming to terms with no contact with the outside world. Got started on projects which don't require the internet. 
No internet meant I could focus on trying to catch up with TAST. Here's what I did with Feather Stitch. The wild jungle like quality of feather stitch was what appealed to me.Perfect to stitch all over a bill from a small hotel which tries and gives it's a patrons a flavour of jungle living.  The reverse of the page with stitching in the picture above.   
 Still in catch up mode with TAST 2015.
A WIP has been given priority and I've set myself a deadline to complete the project by September 21st World Peace day. There's a need for peace and better understanding more than ever before.
Hope your weekend was restful.  

Friday, August 28

TAST 2015 - Fly Stitch

Fly stitch creates a mandala around a moth which I found on our verandah. The mandala and moth are on a page of my brown paper bag journal. 
After the rains many moths big and small can be seen on the verandah and the french doors. 

I have  a small selection of my hand embroidered scarves for sale on a fashion accessory portal Pookaari. They ship all across India and the USA. Multiple payment options and cash on delivery available only in India. With the festive season around the corner here in India, do pop over to Pookaari and check out the curated jewellery and accessories on offer.

Happy Onam to each one of you celebrating Onam today, may you have your fill of payasam and other Onam goodies. That mandala of fly stitch is something like the flower carpets which get made during Onam. Have a good weekend.

Friday, August 21

Folded Book Art - Hearts Galore

I spent sometime last week making my first folded book. A newbie but I'm hooked, my first attempt was in March this year when my mum, recovering from eye surgery and I had some fun folding pages of Reader's Digest into interesting sculptural forms.  
The pattern I followed is a free one found here.
I'd like to attempt a word next.
How has the week been for you? I've been getting an education in bee keeping!
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 12

TAST 2015 - Blanket Stitch

I've decided to participate in Take a Stitch Tuesday 2015 which Sharon is conducting and will run for 52 weeks - a new stitch to try and explore each week.
It was in 2008 that I first took up the challenge of TAST and the result was two fiber books which have been exhibited and become teaching aides and are very precious to me.  
Since the book form interests me immensely and I've moved to a new place to set up home I've decided to use TAST to explore the use of embroidery stitches on paper and make a journal of sorts.
The paper for the pages will be the brown paper bags and bills on which I intend to do the embroidery stitches.It will be a collage of sorts. Embroidery, writing, ephemera.

So without much ado here's Blanket Stitch done on a brown paper bag from New Indian Bakery.  

 The inside. A recipe and the bill from Dragon restaurant. Panikoorka is Indian Borage and I have a cutting which will be planted in my herb garden and in time Panikoorka pakoras will be made..
I have some catching up to do with TAST.

Monday, July 27

Making the Monsoon fiber book.

I'd promised to make a tutorial to explain how I went about making the Monsoon inspired fiber book.
As promised here it is after delays of not being able to transfer pictures from my camera etc.   
So I began by choosing a size for my pages. I chose 4 inches x 6inches for each page. I also chose the fabric for the pages some were silks others were dyed with rust and tea. 

 I cut fabric fusing into pieces measuring 8 inches x 12 inches and ironed them onto the back. Ironing fusing onto the back of the fabric one is going to do embroidery or applique on, stops the base fabric from puckering.Especially if you are embroidering text. 

Then I embellished the pages with embroidery and applique. There was fabric and paper which I appliqued onto some pages.  

Once the embroidery and applique was done I put the pages together, just to see I had the sequence right. 
Next each double spread was turned over and the excess fabric was folded over and tacked down.
 Next two double spreads were placed with backs together and the edges were stitched together with an overcast stitch. Once all four sides had been sewn up the tacking was removed.
  Then I put the pages together and since there are just three or four pages, I took some sturdy thread and stitched through the center of the pages to secure them and hold them together.
 So this is the little fiber book.
Somewhere along the way I felt a small shibori frill attached to the edge of the cover would complete the whole thing, and that's just what I did.
 The Monsoon fiber book.
I hope the method I used is sufficiently clear for you to try and make a little fiber book of your own. It isn't rocket science so I'm sure you'll improvise any steps you couldn't understand and create something quite special.
Do let me know I'd love to see what you create.

Wednesday, July 1


   The handiwork of a little spider. building a little cocoon for this handmade ceramic vase.
Our home is build with exposed brick and the brickwork has little niches just the right size to hold and display  ten small handmade vases collected years ago.
Each one of the vases are different in shape, pattern and glaze, unique and precious. Perhaps, understood by the little spider who decided to weave a protective web around them.

I'm going to be busy next week with family weaving happy memories. Have a good weekend making happy memories, a long one for those in the United States.

Friday, June 26

A Flower Strewn Path

 Yesterday afternoon was spent working with the masons creating a flower strewn path. It began with trying to create impressions with beautiful ferns.
When that didn't work we used found objects to create flowers.  
 The flower centres were made with bits of plastic pipe and an empty paint container, seen in the background.
A path strewn with sunflowers. I hope our guests enjoy walking down this path.

Wishing you a weekend which takes you down flower strewn pathways.

I have news about the Solace project here.

Thursday, June 18

Redwork Sampler

I'm taken with cross-stitch red work and I thought I'd share one I made and got framed.    
 The framed sampler adorns our new home. It's a wedding, alphabet and Quaker motifs all rolled into one sampler.
 Detail of some of the motifs in the sampler.
I'm sorry if the pictures are hazy and bit distorted because it's behind glass and I had to try and avoid reflections besides I had only the use of my cellphone camera. The cord to transfer photographs from my camera to my laptop seems to have developed a problem so I'm unable to share any of the pictures on my camera. What a bummer. I have all the pictures for a tutorial on how I made the Monsoon fiber book but it's going to have to wait. Oh well, it's not the end of the world.
Hope you're having a wonderful creative week.

Tuesday, June 2

Where the Wild Things are

At my new home in the hills I've been snapping pictures of the little wild things I discover most mornings on the french doors and on the verandah.   

From being an apartment dweller in a metropolis  for the past ten years, I'm enjoying discovering forms, patterns and textures from the natural world which present themselves. Unexpected surprises.

Saturday, May 30

The Key

Found poetry, an ongoing project.

 Here is the key,
forward thinking. Adopt and adapt it for your own means,
Prepare in advance, ready to go.
it will keep you at the forefront of an upcoming revolution.

If you missed the found poetry created prior to this piece here are the links.....
Dabbling in Distractions
It will make you happy
Spontaneous Combustion
Layers of Flavours

Hope your weekend is gorgeous. I start planning future projects.