Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Birthday BabbaJaan!

Dear Babba, 

Today is your 65th Birthday and I'd like the world to know how awesome you are! Ofcourse not to forget Roopa (Ma) for being able to handle so much awesomeness everyday ;-) From being the person I couldn't stand as a teenager and having roof breaking arguments and yelling bouts with, to becoming my drinking pal and partner in crime, we've come a loooong way noh? I am reminded of you everyday with every chore I take up and each task I complete. Your values of honesty and sincerity are the greatest gifts from you, besides your gorgeous eyes heeeheee. I've grown up seeing you pour your sweat, heart and soul into every screw you tightened. You've taken the road less travelled and you travel with style! Haaki Ya Mungu!!
We never get to be together for your Birthday Babba, but we'll all be together very soon. Raise that toast for yourself this evening because I'll be doing that too :))
Happy Birthday Babba! Thankyou for being YOU! I am sending you extra special wishes across miles.

UMMMMAAAAS and all my luv,


P.S. This is my favourite picture of you Babba :))

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diwali Weekend and The Kids Celebrated their First Birthday

Diwali was spent at the Sister's over the extended weekend. We stayed away from the crackers and instead had a great time chomping on homemade cookies (Meera is a pro when it comes to baking chocolate cookies), kachauris and guzzling Raw Pressery juices. This one time we all get into the traditional attire of the Sari and I was so thrilled with getting it wrapped in one go! That's an achievement you see! It was particularly thrilling to put on this gorgeous cotton handloom sari from Maharashtra Emporium, Nagpur and some of my jewellery from my wedding trousseau. 

The traditional Teep - the neck piece, is made from very dainty hand embossed floral panels joined together by rings and sewn by hand onto a thick piece of velvet. This is worn as a choker at the base of the neck. 

The bracelet - the Pahunchi is made of tiny patterned, hollow, oval shaped pieces handsewn on to velvet. This jewellery is typical of the Kumaoni bride and are great works of art. What makes these even more special for me is that they're all handmade. Am so grateful to my Mum for passing them on to me.

We made the traditional Seli too. The Seli is made from coloured dough. I don't know the significance of this, but we've seen my Mum make this every Diwali since we were kids in Nairobi. 
Our happiness didn't stop at Diwali, we had our kids - Franny and Zooey celebrate their 1st Birthday. These babies have filled our lives with so much joy and happiness over the last one year. 

We brought home these cutiepies when they were only 4 weeks old and now we want to run to Meera's every weekend to spend time with them. Franny was neutered two weeks ago and the poor gurl isn't allowed to jump around too much. So we had a quiet party for the kiddos on Sunday afternoon. They were thrilled with their Mama baking them a doggie cake and pampering them all day. They hated the Birthday caps though hhahahaa

These kids have sure given us all some really wonderful lessons on life. No other pets are quite like dogs. They love you selflessly to bits, run to you the moment they hear your footsteps in the car park, become your hottie - botties on cold winter nights, live each day only to please you, stay alert all night and are always always there for you, with no conditions attached! Its a blessing to have Franny and Zooey in our lives! Happy Birthday luvs!!
Hope you all had a great festive weekend! I'm glad to be back at the sewing table. Thank you all for reading so patiently :))


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tons of Diwali Wishes

Happy Happy Diwali lovely people! Time to make new beginnings. A new year and a new season. I'm sure like me, you've toiled the last week getting all the closets cleaned, linen washed, curtains washed and ironed, the refrigerator wiped, fans dusted, windows scrubbed and appliances serviced. Phew! It sure is tiring but most satisfying. The lights are up and now's the time to soak in some family time. 

I just had to share this lovely handmade jewellery I got myself for Diwali this year. These gorgeous babies are handcrafted by the lovely Puja Kamath from Lai. You can find her here. Go give her a shout from me and send her some love. 
The shop has some new bucket bags in stock. I really enjoyed picking out fabrics and sewing these. I'm going to have to halt shipping till the weekend and will ship out your goodies on Monday. I'm not taking a chance with them getting stuck in the post :)
I'm sending you the warmest wishes for Diwali and wishing you all great memories surrounded with your family, love and homemade food :)) 



PS: Please stay away from those horrid firecrackers, see ya!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Visit to the Bernina Creative Center

I accidentally came across a post by Bernina India on my Facebook timeline a couple of weeks ago and was planning a visit ever since. Its across town in Andheri West, which is the other side of town for me. But, who misses a chance to visit a new craft store eh! So last weekend, armed with my list of sewing accessories I've been meaning to buy, I reach this small store. Its housed in a commercial complex, so its hard to spot, but ask around and you'll get there.

The store isn't much of a craft supplies store as it is an agency for Bernina and Bernette sewing machines and accessories. They have a fairly large creative center where they conduct classes and workshops. I was hoping to meet the teacher, but she wasn't in that day. The entrance of the store is lined with a wall of quilting accessories like rotary cutters, blades, markers, pins, rulers, mats etc. They do have a wide range of Prym quilting accessories, Prym is the parent company to Drtiz, a name all us crafters are familiar with. Quilting supplies can be very expensive and are an indeed an investment. I needed to stock up on my rotary blades of various sizes and marking pens of which I found just what I was looking for. The blades costed me 400 rupees to 600 rupees a piece. That's pricey yes, considering, they rust in 6 months owing to the high moisture content in Bombay. There is a wide range of batting, interfacing and transfer papers available here but again the base price starts from 700 rupees a meter. That's really expensive since you can easily use a yard of batting or interfacing to make a medium sized bag. Over the years, I've learnt to use local materials and interfacing available in the local markets. A - they're easily available and B - very cost effective. People aren't open to spending a fortune on handmade products just yet. If you're a serious quilt maker, then investing in good batting is wise. I at the moment substitute batting with flannel that is easily available at any fabric store in the city. Flat quilting pins and markers are what I picked up too. I've had terrible experiences with markers available at Craftgully, Craftadda and Itsybitsy. I've had to redo projects that took hours just because the markers would leave huge blots on the fabric. They all say they're water soluble, but they are anything but that. I found an excellent mark and erase pen by Prym that costed me 320 rupees, but works wonderfully on fabric. Rulers and mats are available here too. 

Stay away from these fabric markers available locally!

I bought my Olfa and Omnigrid rulers and mats from Joann 6 years ago and they have lasted me well, so I didn't quite look carefully at that section. I recently picked up a large sized cutting mat from the online Pony craft store and I must say its behaving well :) 
The gentleman Mr. Gupta, the owner of the franchise, was very helpful and took pains to show me all the various kinds of Vliseline battings, stabilisers and Decovil interfacing available.It was nice to actually feel all these materials since the crafting community across the world uses these products all the time. I walked out with the cheapest of the line batting which costed me 700 rupees a meter. 

 Bernette - the economical range of sewing machines

Bernina Presser feet and machine accessories

The assortment of sewing machines both Bernina and Bernette are fascinating to look at and beautifully designed. They range from 80,000 rupees to 3 lakh rupees. These range from the mechanical to the digital range. I am too in love with my sweet Usha - Janome to think of a replacement. If you already have a Bernina, then this is the one stop shop for you. This store is definitely worth a visit if you love sewing and crafting. Expensive it is for sure, but looking around is free :)  Quilting in India can be a very expensive hobby since all the good quality accessories are imported from the UK and America. I was wise enough to buy my cutters online 6 years ago in one of the Black Friday sales and I did get quite a bargain, shipping included. Now I just order them from Amazon or Joanns and get them delivered to a local address, saves the shipping and friends and family strut it along for me when they're visiting Bombay. I was pleasantly surprised with how well informed the gentleman running the store was. The other craft store in town - The Hab has a bunch of sweet girls and staff, but they're clueless about most of the stuff available at the store. They haven't been able to refresh their stocks for 2 years now, so I was told by one of the girls working there, no wonder I'd find the same 5 things on the shelves every time I'd drop in. If you're in Andheri sometime go have a look at the store, you might be surprised, though remember to ask for a receipt for your purchase, I wasn't given one and realised when I opened the bag at home :) 

My loot that costed me 5000 Rupees

If you do make a visit here, write in to let me know how it went. If you're planning to attend their classes and workshops or have attended any, I'd love to know how it went. If you have any favourite online stores or craft stores you've been to, do share the love :) This post is purely based on my personal experience at the Bernina Creative Center Bombay and I have in no way been compensated monetarily or otherwise for my views of the store. Thankyou so much for reading.