Sunday, December 27, 2015

Back to sewing!

My younger daughter is home for winter break, and expressed some eagerness to be part of my recent "sewing for myself" kick. And of course, me being the doting mom that I am, I was more than happy to oblige! Partly because it meant that I could go fabric shopping after a really long self-imposed hiatus of about 12-13 years not buying any brand new fabric!
So the S R Harris fabric outlet had opened in Burnsville, close to my house, and this meant that it was finally time to go check them out. I have to say that I was not disappointed. They have a great selection of knits, brocades, sweater fabric and lots of other goodies :) My daughter picked one of their City Prints knit fabric for this dress, and I dug through their remnant table and found some exquisite sequin fabrics to make more of the clutches that I seem to be currently creating!
I did not use a pattern for this dress, I just drafted it from one of her existing dresses, made a circle skirt bottom, gave it sleeves and pockets (which she is thrilled about!). I had purchased 2 yds of fabric for $12, and after making the dress, I still have enough to make a tunic for myself! I'm thinking an asymmetric hem or hankie hem one! Check back for that one soon :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Newest wristlet clutch!!

So YAY for another super short post! I am totally having fun sewing for myself! That hasn't happened in a long time! Perks of being an empty-nester now, I guess! Hey, I'll take it!
So exciting, I can actually go buy fabric again :) I have pinned so many dress/ top tutorials and can't wait to try them out. Of course, I'll remember to share with you wonderful folk of blogland!
Till that happens, here is my newest finish- a bow wristlet clutch made with taffeta fabric. I am being able to use my sequin appliques from India (justifying buying these by the pound during my trips there!!).
The tutorial for the clutch can be found here. Great tutorial!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Turtle crochet applique- FREE PATTERN!!

My daughter wanted to make the turtle blanket from here (you might have to scroll down quite a bit). Very cute- shows baby turtles making their way from the beach sand into the water. The blogger used a generic ripple blanket pattern for the base, and paid for the turtle pattern on Ravelry. Me being me (aka cheep cheep), I decided to try my hand at making a turtle myself. It turned out fairly OK, at which point, my daughter said she needed me to write down the instructions, so she could make the rest of the batch.
AND, this led to the evolution of a FREE pattern for you :)
Turtle crochet appliqué pattern
Sz 5 hook
Worsted weight yarn- 2 shades of green- need scraps
With darker green, ch2.
6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, join round with sl st.
Attach lighter green. 3 ch (works as 1st dc), 2 dc in same sc, 3 dc in each sc (18 dc), join with sl st to top of 3 ch.  Cut off light yarn.
With darker yarn, sc on top of 3 ch, *do spike st (pick up st from sc row), 2 sc in next dc, 1 sc in next dc* repeat 5 times. Sl st at end of row.
Making feet and head- 4 ch, sc in 2ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, sl st in base sc row (1 leg made). Sl st to next sc, 6 ch, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 3 more dc in eac ch to end, sl st to base sc row (head made), sl st to next sc, 4 ch, sc in 2ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, sl st in base sc row (2nd leg made). Tie off leaving a tail long enough for sewing your appliqué on.
Skip 6 sc from leg made on left side, attach dark yarn, 4 ch, sc in 2ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, sl st in base sc row (3rd leg made). Sl st to next sc, 2 ch, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to base row, sl st in next sc, 4 ch, sc in 2ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, sl st in base sc row (4th leg made).

My daughter tried it out once, so I'm hoping that you are able to follow and get the same results. But again, I am by no means a professional pattern writer, so this is my amateur attempt- Try it at your own risk :D
Do leave a comment if you are successful!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Another clutch.....and a cross-stitched pillow!

OK, it has been determined......I am capable of doing short blog posts. The deep, long, thoughtful ones will happen.....later. For now, a couple of completed projects- a clutch with a zipper (yay!), and a pillow cross-stitched and sewn by my older daughter.

The clutch pattern is from here. It was easy to follow, and turned out great. I plan to make another one.
My daughter's pillow turned out really nice too! She did the graph for the cross-stitch on her own, and I helped her sew the pillow.
That's it for now! I want to know what you, dear reader, have been crafting!! Leave me a comment :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Long time, no see?

So, I keep thinking about doing these long detailed blogposts, and that never happens! So here's a super quick one..... I decided that I needed more party/ evening/ clutch purses, because an empty nester, I actually have time to change my purse when I go out! So instead of acting like a reasonable person, using my latest Kohl's coupon to buy myself some $30 Juicy Couture clutch, I did what I do best...vowed to SEW myself some!!

After hours spent crazy-PINTERESTING, here is the first one...

So DO I GET TO GLOAT NOW? I love it! Made from left overs from my stash too. Just had to buy the extra firm stabilizer, which was like $3 at Jo-Ann's, and will probably give me three more purses. I followed this great tutorial!
The psychic called! She said she sees a ton more of these clutch purses in my future :D She sees a golden one, and then a brocade one made from a wedding saree!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New baby dress and an obsession with the Edge perfect blade!

Lots of crocheting, and also sewing going on around here! Here is a brand new pattern that I tested for Sheri from The Country Willow. I did mine in lime green colors, which I wasn't too sure about for a 1-yr old girl, but wanted to use up sequin fabric that I had at home. People actually liked my color combination a lot :) Yes, it is available for sale, right here on my Ebay store!
 Some fun Dakota County fair wins for me! Here's a glass painting mixed media with a relief pattern.
 .....and this one is "Fantasy birds", all hand embroidered in satin stitch!
This is one of my marble painting miniatures....won an award of excellence, no less :)
In other news, I have discovered the "Edge Perfect rotary cutter blade" by Olfa, and let me just tell you, my life HAS CHANGED!! It is awesome! If you do anything with crochet edges around it, you know you have to poke holes somehow into the fabric...I used to take a seam ripper and dig in the fabric....Now I just lay my cutting mat down and go over the fabric with my rotary cutter! It's that simple. I was skeptical at first..thinking it would make the holes to big, I wouldn't like the spacing etc, etc. But once I used it (a friend in my knitting group brought it in for me to test it out), I was officially converted!! So I found mine here on Amazon for $19.99, and just switched out the blade on my existing 45 mm Olfa cutter. So far, I have used it on fleece blankets and my crochet top towels, and it has been a dream! ...And no, currently I am not making any money by promoting this product :( I am just thrilled to share something that has made my crafting life easier!
Will share pics of my crochet edge stuff next time! Gotta go do housework now...yeah, I know....the bane for us crafters.
Till then, stay happy, healthy and busy! (hasth, swasth aur mast :) for those of you who know Hindi!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Busy, busy summer!!

Just a quick post for now, and then I do eventually plan to go back and resume my parenting/ education related tips. I have had a crazy busy summer, what with having a combined graduation party for my girls, my older daughter moving to San Jose to start her residency at Stanford, my parents coming over from India to attend my girls graduation, Alaska cruise etc etc....
All through this, I have still been crafting, and want to share some of my latest felt mats...posted on Etsy....
I have also been beading, but I am realizing that I tend to leave my beading projects unfinished. Ummmm...will need to find a way to rectify that!!
Well, I guess I can sneak in a quick parenting tip- following up on the "being a good role model"...    Another way I was a good role model is that I was always working really hard, and expecting the same from my kids. For about 7 years, I was teaching full time and also either working on my second Master’s degree and then my Doctorate degree. IN addition to this, I was always taking care of my household, attending to my girls education, AND pursuing my crafting endeavors as well. Did I forget to have fun?? No, I don’t think so….Achieving in itself is a lot of fun. We were social, got together with friends, went on trips, but my socializing was never Number#1 on my priority list. It struck me as odd that sometimes students would assume that my girls don't have a "social life" because they are hard working students.
That's it for now...will continue later!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Some more felt mats, and my first "tiger mom" tip!

So yes, I am still on my felt candle mat kick.....Have been cranking them out like crazy, just was not getting time to take pictures and to post :) Here is my latest lot......

The cupcake one is really fun, I added bugle beads as sprinkles. Not yet listed on my Ebay or my Etsy, but will be up there pretty soon.
 As I promised in my previous post that I will start writing, not just for the sake of offering some help/ insight for like-minded and concerned parents, but also just documenting for myself, some steps I took in raising my daughters. Following up on that is my first tip :  
1.      being a good role model- Heard often, but used......ummm, let's just say, not that often. There is a saying “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, and yes, it is very much true. Here are some steps. Today, I'm sharing the first one-  I took to stay a good role model-  I made conscious decisions to stay a teetotaler so that I could expect the same from my girls, with full conviction. I remember one of my students telling me during my first year of teaching, “there is no way your daughter will graduate high school in America without drinking”. As a “fobby” immigrant, I actually remember being seriously scared by that. Well, 12 years later, I am happy to report that it never turned out to be an issue. 
I hope to continue documenting a comprehensive list of actions/ tips here on my blog, so please check back or comment if you have a question. No meanness please. I was taught that it is better to stay quiet if you do not have any thing positive to contribute, so I'm hoping others will also respect that :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This and that.....

Yes, I have been creating a ton, but sorry, no pictures to share due to lots of other activities like helping my daughter clean up her apartment, get ready to move to Cali etc, etc. But I thought I could still take time out to share what I have been up to. ......So, tried out a TOTALLY new craft, kinda logical for me though. It was just a matter of time, I guess. My new love is beading. I had a coworker teach me bead looming, and have created 2 bracelets so far. Considering that I am totally a jewelry person, I think these are creations that I will enjoy making for myself, and actually wearing them too :) Will share pics when I can find more time.
So yeah, my older daughter will be starting her Neurology residency at Stanford University. Yes, she is now officially a Dr.! Amazing feat, considering she is only 22 years (almost 23). The younger one got admission to Caltech for Engineering, again one of the top institutes in the nation (and also like...the entire world!). As is wont to happen in Indian circles, a lot of people started asking us (my husband and I) about what we did for our girls, to make them such high achievers....On top of that, quite a few people have been telling me that I should write a book about how I helped them, share my parenting techniques....After a bit of pondering, I thought, if not a book, the least I could do is to jot down some things I did consciously while raising them, on this very blog....altruistic intentions back to society.....all that kind of good stuff. The one thing that pulls me back, is being misinterpreted, and maybe having to face some flak. So I think I will first work on my disclaimer statement....CAUTION: I am not a parenting expert. I am merely sharing some insight into what I did, and I think it worked for my family. Make what you will of it. In general, if you feel that you agree or feel that my ideas are beneficial, feel free to leave a comment to that effect, but if you take offense...please go back and read my disclaimer.
OK, now with that off my chest, I'm out of time for my blog post.....more on actual ideas next time :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's day limerick to brighten up your day....

Just a quick post today to share a limerick my younger one wrote for me on Mother's Day:
There once was a mummy named Mummy,
I thought she would just fill my tummy,
But as time went on,
She was more than a mom,
She kept me from being a dummy!

My older one wrote a haiku:
Mummy, your work here
 Is far from over, since we
 still have much to learn.

That about sums it up for me....yes, I guess, a mother's work is never done. I know I still learn so many life lessons from my mom, and I am 46 years of age! 
Hope you got to spend an awesome Mother's day with your mother figures :) 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Some finishes, and learning a new craft.....

This will hopefully be a completed bracelet soon. But the amount of strain it is putting on my eyes....., I feel that I am starting this hobby at a wrong age. I need younger eyes.

Among the finishes, here's one I have to share...It is the "Call the Midwife" blanket, inspired by a British TV show. It is listed here for a very reasonable price. I was also able to finish up a couple of felt candle mats, but still need to take pictures of them. Plus I started working on my Yoshi graph afghan, which looks like it will turn out to be huge....I'm trying to do about 4 rows every day, so with 160 rows on the graph, just getting through that will take me 40 DAYS!! Then add the border....What did I get myself into :)
Keep on crafting....

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tardis bag tag/ amigurumi/ key chain...

Just a quick post today to show my Tardis police box bag tag/ keychain! Made this as a gift for my daughter's friend, but couldn't stop at just one, so I made 2 more! The pattern is posted free here....I figured out that it better to first sew the windows on when your Tardis has not been stitched up into a box yet, and then do the final seam...You might want to try that, if you attempt this pattern. So much easier to do it this way...
I am still trudging my way through graph crochet, I'll keep you (yes you!!) posted...What are you working on this fine Monday night?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Almost barefoot sandal season :)

Lots of activity going on in girls planning their move to California, finishing their last college courses, my older one traveling to Vietnam etc, and also the end of the school year looming around the corner. However, I keep crocheting through it all :) since that is what helps me keep it together!! So here are some of my finished projects...
Pattern courtsey 365crochet !

These are fun and quick projects. I am on a roll, and will probably try out all the barefoot sandal patterns I can find trolling the interwebs :)
I had some more was a request from my younger one, a gift for her friend, a Tardis amigurumi..and this blanket. I found a picture diagram of this one online, but it was so blurry, it was impossible to follow, so I just winged it. Also modified the number of flowers attached...decided to do them only on one side.

Hope you are in good cheer, and using crafts to keep in good cheer :) If not, give something a shot. You may like it :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

More felt mats!....

So yeah, I'm still in my "felt mat production overdrive mode", and I have 2 more patterns to share today.

Totally enjoying making these...I will probably work my way up to some more complicated patterns eventually :)
My current and future projects? Working on a Tardis amigurumi to be given as a gift to my younger one's friend, and then have been commissioned by my girls to work on graph afghans (!!!!!) for them :D It all started with the pretty, colorful baby blanket that I was working on, and my younger one saying " I wish I was a little baby, so I could have a colorful blanket", and I said to her, well, you know, you could even have one now! Take one to college with with her being a Mario fan, I looked up some graph patterns for her, and then in order to be fair, decided to make a Hello Kitty one for my older one as well. But, even though I've been crocheting for 35 years (!!), I have never tried one of those girls have faith in me :) but I figured, I would try out a small graph pattern first. So big plans....wish me luck!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One more felt mat, and my first recipe.

My Easter candle mat sold within 2 days, so that was nice. It also means that I can go ahead and make more of that pattern. I also made a couple of these maple leaf ones, listed currently in my Ebay store....

I'm currently working on a heart/ Valentine themed one as well.....On another note, since my older daughter will be moving to California to start her residency, I'm trying to teach her some basic recipes to make on her own. I know, I know, it's finally sinking in......No Mommy to provide packed containers of food anymore :( So, in that quest, the first recipe we tried out are these
Vegan Yellow Mung Daal cheela with carrots and onion (also Gluten-free) Recipe
Cheela is basically a savory pancake....very healthy, you get your protein.
2 cups yellow washed skinless mung daal (buy at Indian store or Whole foods?)
1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour)- you can use whole wheat flour also but it will not be gluten-free anymore.
3 carrots, grated
1 onion, chopped finely
1 green chilli, chopped finely
salt and red chilli powder to taste
vegetable oil
1. Soak daal for a couple hours, and then grind to a paste with enough water in your mixer.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil.
3. The batter should be pourable consistency, but not watery or runny. Add more besan if this is the case.
4. Heat your electric griddle to the max (you can just make them in a flat pan instead). Add a couple drops of oil, drop a large tablespoon of batter and spread it out to make a thick pancake. You should be able to get 4-5 on your griddle. If they are too large, you will have trouble flipping them.
5. Sprinkle a few drops of oil to the top of the cheela, flip over, and cook till browned patches appear, pressing down with your spatula to make sure it cooks evenly.
6. Take them off, and enjoy with tomato chutney, chilli pickle, plain yogurt or even Sriracha sauce :)

This is my first recipe, so it would be heartening to hear a comment, if you do try it out :) Also, please keep in mind that I'm an amateur trying my hand at writing out a recipe, not a seasoned professional who has published several cookbooks, so the quantities are just eyeballed can use your own judgement with them.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Two more felt candle mats, and maybe 27 more coming??

Here are 2 more felt candle mats that I finished this week.

Both are loosely inspired by images I saw online, but I cut my own scallop shapes and everything else out. I am totally enjoying making all these felt mats, they are pretty quick to whip up. The planning and cutting seem to take more time than the actual stitching. These are both listed in my Ebay store at very reasonable prices :)
Working on a maple leaf one next....Plus I'm on Spring Break now, so more time for crafting :) even though, my plan right now is to devote a good amount of time to organizing my personal craft store/ stash, the size of which has grown to an unmanageable extent, I have to say....Oh well, as I like to say, hubby better be happy that I'm not an alcoholic/ shopaholic or gambler :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Yes, more felt candle mats....

So we had a great day yesterday, found out that the older one "matched" to Stanford for her Neurology Residency! Headed to warm Cali-FOR-NI-A :) Now, we wait to find out all the places the younger one gets into, and then help her finalize from those choices. Exciting times!
On the crafting front, I am now officially hooked onto wool felt "penny" rugs/ candle mats. I have a huge bag of felt to finish up (that's what I'm telling myself), and the more I create, the larger the number of ideas that spring in my head :) Isn't that funny? And, I'm one of those people who do not think of themselves as a designer at's my new Fall themed felt candle mat, inspired by some images I've seen on the internets, but then I always add my own touches to it.

My WIP's this week? Working on another felt mat, more in the traditional penny style this time, and crocheting a ton of team color hats to use up yarn from my stash! I've done Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks so far, doing a Dallas Cowboys one next.....will share next time :)
Till then, take care, enjoy the warmer weather if you were in cold climes like mine, and keep on crafting :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Name doily is done! ....and a Batman hat!

So I finished the name doily for my daughter, and matted it into an existing frame. The other name doily for my younger daughter is also done, but now I have to find just the perfect frame for it :)
Also made a Batman hat, the applique pattern is awesome! Super easy to follow....I just ended up sewing it a bit crooked :( Oh well, that's how you know it's handmade!
Things are definitely looking up weather-wise, and Spring break will be here soon :) More crocheting, I guess, and hopefully organizing my stash......
Keep on crafting, I would love to hear from you :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Felt candle mat, and a Lego blocks scarf!

It's finally warming up here in Minnesota :) It was such a crazy winter....I felt like it just couldn't make up it's mind. November was unusually cold, December and January were warm (Brown Christmas!) by Minnesota standards, and then February brought back sub-zero January-like, I'm thankful for the Sun coming out, and am not going to miss the March snow even one bit.
Here's what I've been crafting....I made this felt candle mat in preparation for a Community Education class I will be teaching over the summer. I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this quick project and have a large bag of felt that I now plan to put to good use! So be prepared to see more of my felt creations here in the future :)

Also finished up a couple of Lego block scarves:
The scarves will be listed in my Ebay store, and eventually I plan to have some felt creations listed up as well.
Till then, take care, and start using up some more of that yarn from that humungous stash :D