Monday, December 31

Last post for 2018

 This is a commission for a very precious baby. The last piece of work I've done in 2018.
2018 I can say had it's share of ups and downs, nothing alarming.Nothing we couldn't resolve or cope with.
Some fantastic commissions and teaching assignments which meant travelling to new places and meeting great people. We closed our bed and breakfast but that's given me more time and energy to pursue my creative pursuits.
This quote pretty much sums up the year for me
Life is amazing. And then it's awful.
And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That's just living heat-breaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.
- L R Knost
I'm sure 2019 will be an exciting year 'Your works are wonderful and I know that full well' Psalm 139.
Wishing all who stop here a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. I hope you discover for yourself that life is amazing. 

Saturday, December 15

Landscapes painted with mist


It's the monsoon season, the north east monsoon. 
I sit out on the deck with the dogs and the landscape keeps changing.
The mist paints a new picture for me to view every other moment.
I'm a sunshine person and I'm waiting for the clear blue skies and warm toasty days of winter to arrive but for the moment I am enchanted by the dynamic mist painted landscape.

I'm excited about a Patch Swap in February. If you are looking for a small project to start the new year with, this might be just the thing. Find out more at gatherwhatspills on Instagram. 

Friday, November 23

A Book exchange and Baby Blankets

Social media is my window to the world. I stay connected with friends and family.
It also got me involved in a book exchange and a knitting project to benefit babies in an orphanage. 
I sent a copy of Ruskin Bond's - A Book of Simple Living to a complete stranger. I have no idea what she likes to read but this is a book which you can pick up and open at any page and read. 
I received it from a friend and I think of it as one of my favourite books. 
The book exchange promises you 24 books but I haven't received a single one to date. Maybe I'll never get one because it's over two months. Who knows I might be surprised.   
The other project I made a contribution to is one that involves making 6, 6" x 6" knitted squares to be joined up and made into baby blankets for babies in an orphanage in Delhi.
The temperature in North India is dipping and I'm glad some babies will be snug and warm.
Tehmina is the lady behind this project and she is also knitting caps for street children. 
I spent a whole day figuring out the size of needles, number of stitches and rows required to make a 6 inch square. I started with stocking stitch but the squares tended to curl up. it was then that I discovered that there were some stitches like garter stitch and moss stitch which would make flat pieces of knitting without the edges curling up. It's the rib which keeps the knitting flat in a hand knitted sweater.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 14

Anyway - A Commission

 I was contacted in September by a lady via Etsy to embroider a poem - Anyway by Mother Teresa as a farewell gift for her boss. To a number of you this might not seem unusual but for me it was unexpected and unusual. Let me explain.
For one my Etsy shop has been closed for a long time, so the first message in our conversation of fifty messages to date I thought was some sort of publicity message from Etsy and I didn't read the mail for a couple of days. When I did decide to check the message I had to change my password because I had forgotten it, that's how long it's been :)
 Laura had  seen pictures of this poem I had embroidered for my sister about six years ago and wondered if I could embroider something similar. I was happy to oblige and for the next one month I spent creating Anyway.
 I am amazed at how the world wide web and the internet puts us in contact with people halfway round the globe and the world then becomes your marketplace.
It's also about doing your best and doing whatever it is with love and passion and somehow at the right time the stars will align and you will be given another amazing opportunity.
 It's been wonderful working on this commission. I was not aware of this poem by Mother Teresa and I've come to like it very much. I've embroidered the poem in blue on a white ground because the Little Sisters of the Poor wear white sarees with blue borders.
Waiting to hear about the recipient's reaction.
I'm going to restock my Etsy shop and wait and discover how the dots connect.

An update.

Dear Maya,I hope that you don't mind me writing to you directly, but I'm not a good blogger and I didn't want too much time to pass before I write you this thank you.  (If I had to figure out how to blog, this note might take ages to come!)
You must know Laura quite well by now.  She is the wonderful assistant to my husband and she came up with this remarkable idea of taking his favourite poem and having it made into a wall hanging masterpiece.  Your handiwork is so exquisite and the colours you selected, based on the colours of the Little Sisters of the Poor's habits, show how much you care about your work.  The story of how Laura and you got together in spite of your having been off Etsy for a while seem like it was meant to be.My husband was so moved when he received the gift and I was so moved at all the time and effort and skill that went into its creation. I enjoy embroidery and had done a fair bit of it myself in the past, but yours is on a whole different level.  We are looking forward to selecting just the right place in our home to show it at its best. 
As you said on your post, "It's also about doing your best and doing whatever it is with love and passion and somehow at the right time the stars will align and you will be given another amazing opportunity."  You obviously did your best with love and passion and Gary was VERY lucky that the stars aligned correctly and that HE was given the amazing opportunity to receive such a beautiful gift, one he will cherish forever.

Thank you, Maya.

Warm regards,

This additional comment in no way diminishes the value of the poem, or the beauty of your design to present it. However, another sweet twist is that the poem has been mistakenly attributed to Mother Teresa. See the back story using this link.
When I saw this comment, I was quite shocked. As a creative person when you have your work attributed to somebody else, it is heart breaking. After a point the myth becomes a legend and then there is no way you can changes things.
This is my way of letting people know that  Kent M. Keith is the author of The Paradoxical Commandments which he wrote as a 19 year old at Harvard.
Please use the link to know more.

Thank you Bernice for letting me know. 

Thursday, October 25

Teaching the History of Indian and Western Costume and Traditional Indian Textiles

  I spent about two weeks teaching a bunch of enthusiastic students the history of Indian and Western Fashion and Traditional Indian Textiles at the Kerala State Institute of Design, Kollam.
The weaving studio.
I couldn't decide which was my favourite - the owl or the chameleon
 The Foundation studies classroom which overlook the amphitheater. 
A wonderful campus with fantastic murals on the walls of the buildings.

 The Product design workshop. 

Monday, October 1

October's here

 I got up early last week, drew back the curtains in our bedroom and was greeted by this marvellous sight.
The magic of rain which was like a fine mist and early morning sunshine.
 At times I despair but a sight such as this rainbow gives me hope. I welcome all that October has to offer with open arms. At present it's rain, lots of it every night. A commission, which was quite unexpected and a teaching assignment.
Hope you have a great October. 

Friday, September 14

Getting started on the festive season

Every year I think I should start making Christmas ornaments in January but that's never happened. It's usually a mad scramble sometime in late October to get things started.
This year on the 1st of September I decided I would make an ornament a day.
It's the 14th today and I'm averaging an ornament in three days. Not too bad.   

Friday, August 31

In search of the Neelakurinji

It's twelve years since the Kurinji flowered last.
People have been venturing out to view hillsides a purple hue and I wanted to see this phenomena too.
So on Tuesday along with a school friend and hubby dearest, we set out to find the hillside bathed in Kurinji blooms.

The Strobilanthes kunthiana grows in rocky outcrops 
After much driving around and huffing and puffing up through a tea garden we finally found the Kurinji blooming high up on a hill in Kil Kotagiri.  
 The tea pluckers told us the blooms were in full bloom two weeks back and are now withering and drying up.
 It was a great day and worth the trek up the hill through the tea.We got to know later that there are bears in the area. Good we didn't encounter any.

Friday, June 1

Progress on 1 Year of Stitches 2018 at the end of May

 It has been a busy month with guests at our B n B but there have been periods of quiet when I could put up my legs and take out One Year of Stitches and add a couple of lines of embroidery.
Doing embroidery has been a contemplative affair. Contemplating the attitude of people because it's been a month of interactions with so many different types of people.
The learning for me has been to be more like those who are appreciative of people and the service they provide, sensitive to the environment and the judicious use of resources. There are those who have come into our lives, luckily for a very brief period to remind us that your attitude and demeanour determines the response you recieve from other people. There is no excuse for high handedness. There's no free lunch, you have to pay. Don't blame people, the place, the traffic or the weather for choices you have made. Finally happiness and the creation of great memories aren't packaged goods, it's a state of your mind.
I'm off to make caramel custard for dessert tonight.
Remembering a childhood friend who passed on last year on the 1st of June. Miss your zest for life and brilliant smile Monisha.

Monday, April 30

Purple Haze

By the end of March the mountain side is dotted with hazy purple. The Jacaranda begin to bloom.  
Captured with my cellphone. 
Jacaranda trees line the mountain road which leads down to the plains.  

 The Jacaranda trees are in bloom for about a month. Purple gives way to the yellow blooms of the Laburnum or Amaltas by mid April, right around the time it's Vishu which is on April 14th each year  and then the orange of the Flame of the Forest. It's a pleasure driving down the ghat roads.
What's blooming in your neck of the woods? 

Saturday, March 31

One Year of Stitches 2018 - At the end of March

 The One year of Stitches 2018 goes along with me in my bag when I travel. I worked on it when I was in Bhubaneshwar.
The kittens, Gin and Tonic, got their claws into the woven wheel which was meant to represent Tonic so it looks a bit ragged. I'm leaving it that way.
It's the end of March and as I type it's begun to rain and there's sunshine too. When there's sunshine and rain at the same time my mum will say 'it's the fox's wedding'.Sunshine and rain gave way to rain and hail. These must be the April showers which will bring May flowers. This year the fence should be up in the next two weeks and the bison will be kept out so we can hope the garden will be a riot of colours and blooms by the time it's May.
Happy Easter to all those celebrating. Hubby dearest and I observed Lent this year and we are going to have Easter dinner with friends and neighbours.

Tuesday, March 20

Bison Slumber Party

The Bison or Indian Gaur are frequent visitors to our property. They visit once every ten days.
Since the beginning of this year they've taken to spending the night on the lawn.    

This was the sight that greeted me this morning at 5.45 am. Five bison - a huge male, a calf, two juveniles and the mother of the calf. The calf was born on this lawn in late January.
They must find the lawn safe and secure.
The large male we have named Bhima. He's the one sitting down and stuck on one of his horns is a dried up tea bush if you please. A very curious sight.
Bhima sits unperturbed chewing the cud. Needless to say the lilies in the garden have been decimated. Bhima's weakness. 
At this time of year the Agapanthus lilies would have begun to bloom but what I'm left with are the bulbs with some short green stubs protruding from the bulbs.    

Bhima left with his tea bush crown.
I have a love hate relationship with the bison. Majestic creatures especially Bhima who is a fantstic specimen of an adult male bison with his black body rippling with muscles and distinctive white socks, one can't can't help but admire but I hate it that they come in and ruin my garden which I have been trying to develop for the past three years.
I hope the fence we're putting up will give the plants in my garden a chance to bloom and we'll still be able to see the bison when they graze on the opposite hill.
Welaro our home is truly a place where wild things wander.

Thursday, March 1

Speaking in Cursive

A little something I finished yesterday. Between seeking inspiration and speaking in cursive I've participated in a travel writing scholarship.
I see travel writing becoming my alternate career.
I'm off on a small trip, work and some time with the family.
I'm going to be on the lookout for things to write about which I come across during this week.
Will have to wait until Easter before I start speaking in cursive.
Have a great weekend. Everyone in India will be celebrating the Spring festival of Holi starting this evening.

Friday, February 16

One Year of Stitches 2018

I've decided to take up the One Year of Stitches 2018 challenge and combine it with Take a Stitch Tuesday. 
 I've begun with multiple rows of embroidery around the circle to create a border of sorts as well as to increase the size of the circle. Couldn't find a lid or anything else which is a 12" diameter circle.
I've decided to explore circles this year. So all the embroidery stitches or events I want to represent will have to take on a circular form. First to be represented are the kittens Gin and Tonic who we got in January. 
Gin is a white kitten with smudges of black and fawn on it's tail and ears. Tonic is a black and white  chap who reminds me of Socks. Gin and Tonic are brother and sister.
 Next to be embroidered is the Blue Moon, Blood Moon and Lunar eclipse which occurred on January 31st. What a spectacular sight. I used Blanket Stitch - Stitch #2 in TAST, to create the Blood Moon.
 Running stitch. My favourite stitch and Stitch #1 to explore in TAST this year.
 TAST Stitch # 7 - Feather Stitch. Another of my favourites.
Herringbone Stitch. TAST - Stitch #5

TAST - Stitch #6 is Chain Stitch. There's a circle of chain stitch around one of herringbone Stitch and TAST - Stitch #4 is Detached chain. I've embroidered a circle of Detached Chain stitches around the circle created with running stitch.
I'm pretty upto date with TAST.
Have a great weekend. I have to do some writing this weekend.