Tuesday, April 28

Project 21

Sometime during the 21 day lockdown that we went through here in India, there was a challenge posted by  Bombay Sapphire on Instagram. Stir Creativity. 
 The challenge required the use of 21 objects, 21 lines to create a drawing or painting, 21 cuts on a fabric to make a garment, or  a 21 words poem. Stir your creativity using 21 of anything.
I used 21 small brown paper envelopes and put into them prayers my mum had handwritten for me, recipes which I tried and had been shared during the lockdown, origami which I had done and other little things.   
25th March - prayer, 26th March - recipe for Lime pickle, 27th March - modules for an origami kusudama.
28th March -  shopping list, 29th March - my mother in law's recipe for Molaga Podi, 30th March - handwritten prayer.  
31st March - recipe for Pineapple Upside Down, 1st April - Origami hearts, 2nd April - handwritten prayer. 
3rd April - Recipe for sun dried tomato pickle, 4th April - modules for a pinwheel kusudama, 5th April - recipe for slider buns. Oops! forgot to stitch around the edges. 
6th April - sampler of Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch for week one of the community stitch challenge organised by TextileArtist.org and led by Sue Stone, 7th April - handwritten prayer, 8th April - a schoolmate's recipe for Krackjack biscuit pudding.
9th April - shopping list, 10th April - handwritten prayer, 11th April  recipe for green gram or pachai payaru payasam.
12th April - origami Easter chicks, 13th - my mum's recipe for pancakes, 14th - modules for an origami kusudama. Everything used for this challenge came from my stash.  

The little origami hearts were made for the Hearts for Hope. The challenge continues on instagram if you wish to join in and contribute an image of a heart you discover or create. it could be a heart shaped stone you find,  heart shaped cookies you bake or a heart tattoo someone you know has. You never know where you'll find a heart or like me create a heart using whatever you have on hand  - a length of wire perhaps?    Post your picture on Instagram and use the following hashtags #2020heartsofhope #mendingmayhem #isewlation   
This recipe is very special. I lost my mother in law to cancer on the 16th of April and this is one of two recipes I have from her. The other recipe is for dosa batter.Now each time I make either molaga podi or dosa batter I shall make it to honor her memory.Sorry about the spacing, can't seem to fix it. We continue to be in lockdown until May 3rd. The question now is whether it's going to be extended beyond that date or if there will be an easing of restrictions. 
 How are you coping with lockdowns and quarantines? I'm going to be participating in #MendMay, starts on the 1st of May. Check out @visiblemend on Instagram if you're interested. Until the next post
 stay home and stay safe.  

Monday, April 20

21 Day Lockdown in India - April 8th- April 14th

Third week of the lockdown.
The jacaranda trees are blooming and the hillsides appear spray painted with bursts of purple. I got to enjoy the sight each time we drove into town to buy groceries. Nature won't be stopped.

Ecclesiastes 3:1- 8 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  

Now in lockdown times is really the best time to recalibrate, make changes in our lifestyles, ponder and practise thrift, sustainability and empathy. Work with our hands, plant a garden, grow your own food.
Take time to notice the little things.  

Time to get back to nature and learn from nature. The days are warm and delicious, we had some rain which brought out the leeches. The one most affected is Ben the St. Bernard who leaves bloody paw prints on the floor. 
Lazy days.   
For Easter a neighbour brought us hot cross buns and I made these origami hen in a basket to give to neighbours.
The overgrown tea had to be cut with shears and thrown on the ground. The factories weren't accepting it. The bison got to enjoy the tender tea leaves.
Now in the mornings one hears the clack, clack, clack of the metal shears and tea pluckers work. 
 The local bakery started baking bread, hurrah! after almost two and a half weeks.
It was so good to eat chicken curry with bread.
Everybody seems to be baking bread during the lockdown. Here's an article in Conde Nast Traveller India, which talks about stressed out Indians who have taken to baking bread during the lockdown.  
There's a flurry of recipes being exchanged.
Here's the first recipe I got related to bread and baking.
Tehmina Yadav's recipe for Slider Buns
2 Tbsps. active dry yeast
1 cup + 2 Tbsps. warm water (110 - 115 degrees)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 and 1/2 cups all - purpose flour.

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
Add oil and sugar, let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 - 5 minutes.
Do not let rise.
Divide into 12 pieces, shape each into a ball.
Place 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Bake at 425 degrees for 8 - 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

For the moment I'm just collecting the recipes. Quite a few because # QuarantineCooking chain mails are now doing the rounds on Whatsapp. 
We whatsapp our list to the grocery store and we go and pick it up later. We even had a small pick up come to our gate with fruit and vegetables. Queues outside shops with circles or squares painted on the ground, three feet apart in which one must stand and wait ones turn. masks must be worn when one steps outside the house. 
Three weeks into the lockdown people are organising themselves  to gets essentials up to the mountains.The government has failed to ensure channels and systems are in place to facilitate movement of essential goods and services. Unprecedented situation but a neighbouring state is proactive, leveraging government machinery and the expertise of the citizens to manage the pandemic.
We will survive. We have survived other disasters.  

Friday, April 10

21 Day Lockdown in India - Week 2 - 1st April - 7th April

Sometime in March I learnt about #Mendmarch and decided to jump in. Did about three prompts but it was fun. I began work a t-shirt mending the holes with patches cut from old underwear. More holes to be mended on this t-shirt.  
@visiblemend is going to be hosting #MendMay on Instagram so maybe you'll think of joining in.
My own challenge of making a kusudama for everyday of the 21 day lockdown is coming along slowly. Some take more than a day to complete. Have been looking for simpler ones with twelve modules or so to make so I can complete one everyday.
This challenge will extend beyond the 21 day lockdown but I shall complete it and make mobiles with the finished kusudamas and give them to people as a belated Easter gift? once the lockdown is lifted.

We had our first April showers.
Netflix and Whatsapp calls with family have kept us going.

TextileArtist.org started a community Stitch Challenge two weeks back, and me being me couldn't resist getting involved. 
Week 1 was Sue Stone who asked participants to choose one stitch and explore the stitch in four,  3 inch squares. A sampling exercise to generate textures and patterns.  I chose Up and Down Buttonhole stitch. 
Week 2 the challenge was led by Cas Holmes to look for an object be it a letter, photograph, garment etc which holds memories and create a collage combining paper, fabric and stitch. I haven't started on this challenge but it's perfect for a project involving tea and my family which has been simmering for some years now but this is exactly what I needed.
There's a Facebook page where people are uploading pictures of their creations. 

Are you taking up the #100dayproject2020? I want to and it's already the 7th and I haven't decided what the subject for my 100 day practise is going to be.I seem to be catching up on so many different challenges, it's becoming a challenge in itself. Sigh! I hope to have decided and got started by the time the post for Week 3 is done.
Take care and stay safe.

Thursday, April 2

21 day lockdown in India. Week 1 - 25th March to 31st March

When 2020 began nobody thought we would be united by a virus which would stealthily take over and turn our lives upside down. India has gone into lockdown mode from the 25th of March to the 14th of April.
 Life for me hasn't changed dramatically because we live in a relatively isolated area.Social isolation was a way of life here in Lamb's Rock.We socialised by choice. We are lucky that we don't feel restricted and we won't suffer from cabin fever because we can step out into the garden, play with the pets and go for walks. Roads have been blocked and the forest and nature are reclaiming spaces which man had taken over steadily. This road would have seen a steady flow of cars and vans taking people to Lamb's Rock viewpoint from ten in the morning to four in the evening.Now it's peaceful all day long.
We have leopards in the area but they used to come out late in the evening once it was dark but since the lockdown they are venturing out when it's still light. We have to be extra careful about the dogs. 
The wild boar and bison are also roaming free. Our dogs go crazy barking a them. 
Less traffic, less people around which amounts to less noise pollution and so we hear so many bird calls right through the day and not just in the morning.
My garden is blooming. It is such a joy to observe buds appear and then over a period of a few days they bloom. It's a wild unplanned garden so the surprises are plenty.
I've decided to make a kusudama for everyday of the lockdown, following videos on Youtube.
Day1 - I made a 30 module Kusudama Dodecahedron.
Day 2 - A Kusudama cube with 8 modules
Day 3 - Little Turtle Kusudama
Day 4 - I was finishing up the little turtle.
Day 5 - Crystal Star kusudama by Denver Lawson and the tutorial by dutchpapergirl.
Day 6 - 12 module kusudama by ichiro999100. This one has triangular depressions.
Day 7 - 12 module Pinwheel Kusudama.I use the same module to make a pinwheel cube.
I'm using old Tupperware flyers for the paper. Part of trying to live a more sustainable life.  Recycling what I already have, mending and buying less. Buying only what is necessary.
Sharing these origami creations on a Facebook page set up by my fellow artists and designers called CoronArt. I also update my Instagram account @millionlittlestitches.
We went out to town to buy groceries on the 30th. mainly to buy meat for our dogs Ben and Blackie who have no understanding of a lockdown. A friend procured some meat for us,which was most fortunate. I hope in a week or ten days the butcher's shop will reopen.
The new accessory is the face mask. If people can't get a mask which incidentally is out of stock , a scarf or bandana covers the nose and mouth. 
The unfortunate side of the lockdown down is the plight of people producing perishable products like these beautiful Liliums. A hundred bunches of Liliums which couldn't make it to market were left with a friend to distribute.I was fortunate to get a bunch, their fragrance fills the house.
Needless to say the 21 day lockdown is going to be painful and hard for everybody and the pain will continue for a prolonged period long after the 21 day lockdown comes to an end.
How are you dealing with Covid 19?
Thanks to the internet I've been in two Zoom calls with family and friends. Zoom calls are all the rage at the moment. Have you had the opportunity to participate in a Zoom call?

It's time to introspect. How are we going to lead our lives once the pandemic is over? I think I need to grow more vegetables and fruit.
Be more thrifty and smart about how I use resources and try to lead a more sustainable life. A more mindful life.
Stay safe.