Saturday, October 31, 2015

Our Samurai turns 66!! Happy Birthday Babba!

“Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Psalms 1:1-2

Dearest Babba, 

It's your "all sixes" (66th) Birthday and I choose to call you my Samurai because, you are a toughened fearless warrior that never gives up :) I know the past days have been rough on you but, your grit and determination to fight back swells my chest with pride and fills my heart with admiration and love. Meera and I look up to you Babba jaan because you are like no other! We both take that gift from you and try and live our lives with the same values. You've given us the stubbornness and resourcefulness to live life to the fullest. 

 We love you tons and wish you a great great Birthday day, like so many you've given us. It's wonderful to see you so happy and excited as we celebrate many many more fabulous years of you. Wishing you more strength and might.

We are constantly inspired by you! 

Love you! UUMMMAS!


PS Be good to your tummy till you can pop that bottle of champagne soon ;-) 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy 2 you Franny and Zooey!

Disclaimer : This post is written by an overly doting Aunt! Franny and Zooey are the most loving and gorgeous kids and grandkids in the entire Damji clan ;-) 

Franny and Zooey came into our lives on a nippy November night, all huddled up in a plastic basket and shivering with fear. Except for their Mum, none of us were particularly thrilled with the idea of having to take care of two babies day in and day out and be solely responsible for two living beings for a long time to come. The Sista had been urging us for years that she'd wanted pups home, but we just didn't think it was possible with a crazy work schedule and no house help. So when the Mister and I were out vacaying in the jungles down south, with no telephone connection, the Sista calls up a pal of ours and decides she's adopting Franny and Zooey at the earliest. The girl had made up her mind this time and Franny and Zooey had been returned by various people in a span of a week cause they couldn't handle them. Destiny had already cleared the way for Franny and Zooey to walk into our lives and fill it with love and joy! 

They came to us when they were just over a month. So tiny and scared. The Sista so naturally got into Mommy mode the time she held them in her hands and in a few days, the Mister and I were the most hands on Aunt and Uncle, scouting around town for pet shops to shower them with gifts. Yes we even learned to clean up their poop :) FnZ like we call them, instantly brought our most indulgent, affectionate, loving, gentle, nurturing and forgiving sides bursting out in abundance. 

A side of ours we'd never experienced before. Yes it was like being parents. The Sista was very efficient on her own and the Mister and I would chip in on weekends and when Meera was unwell. FnZ weren't difficult babies at all, they just ate tons of cerelac and pooped alot hahahaha Those times were exhausting. But, they were aware they had a very hardworking Mum and adjusted to her work schedule instantly. The chewing everything phase was particularly trying but, on the brighter side they helped us declutter the apartment and our lives incredibly well!! They streamlined the Sista's home, life and most importantly the work center of the home - the humble kitchen!! With pride I can say, they have grown up on homemade food cooked by a Mommy that only made eggs and chai when pushed. Such was their love and affection, that they had the neighbours on all floors to the security guards fussing over them. 

They have over the past two years soaked in all the Damji family values and turned out to be the most adorable and friendly kids a family could wish for! Our babies win the hearts of all in a second :) They fill each day with sunshine and extreme joy. The house became a home the moment these 8 paws stepped in. 

Their Second Birthday had to be a day filled with cake, treats, swimming, tons of running around and most importantly, their 25 friends from all across town. So we had a beach party for them and the rest of the kiddos on the Sunday that went by. Doggy parties take in alot of planning like any kiddie Birthday parties, right from the cake to snacks to return gifts. FnZ have the best pals with the cutest names and the most warm pet - parents. 

6 am Sunday morning we get to the beach and then trickle in their friends. Sophie and Bella (Sisters) come in early and then come Heidi, Ray, Bolt, Oskii, Bugz, Casper, Tasha, Figo, Peanut, Puppadam, Waffles, Poochu, Zella and Zorro.  We had some surprise guests too - Leo, Superman, Bruno and their local friends from around the beach. Chloe, Sasha, Disco, Ozzy and Simba couldn't make it to the party :( 

There was oatmeal and chicken cake, gluten free cookies and treats to take back home and cute name doodles on paper doilies (courtesy the sweet Umbrella Bar gurl) as return gifts. The kids ran around the beach, swam in the water, rolled in the sand, played fetch - fetch till the sun was too hot to bear. The pet - parents meanwhile oohed and aawed over their babies, munched on some gorgeous, melting in the mouth lemon tea cake baked by the Sista along with sandwiches and hot tea. The fun was over before we knew it, but the kids were exhausted and coated with sand and had to be taken home for a hot bath before they fell asleep. Perfect doggie day! They even came home with a bag full of such thoughtful Birthday gifts from everyone. 

Sooo much love was seen this Sunday with FnZ and the whole lot of their pals. We never quite fully understood love till we had these babies come home to live with us. They are our biggest miracles. I can hear them say I love you too each time without us even saying I love you to them! I pray they have a healthy and loooooong life and am so so thankful to God, he chose our home to send them to. Let's raise a virtual toast to that, shall we! Cheers! I hope you enjoi looking at the pictures so much that you run out and get some paws to live with you too :)) Have a great week and thank you for reading! 

Much Luvs,


PS. The names Franny and Zooey come from the Sista's favouritest writer Salinger's novel by the same name :) 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sebastian and a Shop Update:

Yum fabric arrived home last week from iTokri and they weren't going to be sitting in neat folds in my cupboard, they just had to be put to use right away :) I get asked to make wallets often so I sewed up the humble two pocket wallet. These wallets use such simple construction but show off the beautiful fabric..don't you think so? I've had one of these wallets for the past two years now and it's just the right size. I stuff my phone and keys too when I'm rushing out to the supermarket. I carry a few cards and bulge in some coins as well :) 

Hahahaha don't miss the thread bits stuck to the flap. I quite like to think that walking around with thread bits clinging to my clothes all the time, I quite make a style statement eh ;-)

This is the first sewing project I'm taking up since this month, so things aren't at a pace I'd like them to be. But I'm sticking to wallets and clutches this month. There's something really happy about sewing purses and wallets, I can't say why though. You can pick up these wallets here if you'd like to take one home. They are nice and sturdy with layers of interfacing and hence durable too. The snap buttons make them look like they've got a pair of droopy eyes hehehehe. I've played with different kinds of interfacing this time, so if you own one from the earlier batch, this one is much stiffer. 

Meanwhile, some happy friends have shifted in with us and make me smile each morning and sultry afternoon. Say hello to my newest pals - 

My artist pal asked me if I'd named them yet :) I don't usually but I might this time. Do you any of you? I've been meaning to bring home some succulents for a while now, cause they look pretty and need not be watered very frequently when you're away. These green babies haven't had the best times in our home over the past years, I clearly lack green fingers :( I've almost killed every plant I've owned in the past, without knowing why! The new house however seems to be a happy place for them to flourish, YAY!!  See my new Orla Kiely planter I picked up from a thrift market in Paris. The jar was missing a lid but hey who cares when it's an Orla eh :)) I'm in love with her signature leaf print. 
Oh! Hold on...I haven't told you about a surprise delivery the Mister got me sent the day before? I now have a new assistant that's crazy about sparkly, squeaky clean floors like me and is massively more equipped :)) We now have the Milagrow BlackCat2.0 aka Sebastian! He's quite something I tell you! You will never believe that this tiny fellow can scrub your floors and shine them with a touch of a button, till you actually see one in action. The coolest feature is that once it's timed, it automatically leaves it's charging station, goes about cleaning and comes back to the station on it's own. It's been two days now and I'll admit, I followed it all around the first day, couldn't quite get used to the boy moving around on its own, but yesterday Sebastian was totally on his own. He cleaned up the sewing room while I happily fixed lunch for meself. My Ma was quite amused with the idea - you now even have a robot to clean your floors!! HAHAHAHA I'm quite amazed myself actually. I'm a pain when it comes to cleaning the house and that is why I've always cleaned the house on my own, no maids for me. But, Sebastian won my heart instantly. We're lucky we don't have too much low furniture in the house, so this boy easily gets under most of the stuff and cleans up. If you have a sparsely decorated house with not much furniture, this boy is a blessing. It's on sale at Amazon if you'd like to get one. The Mister is such a darling! What a thoughtful present noh? He's been showered with alot of hugs and kisses in the past 24 hours ;-) 
Okaye back to sewing the next batch of wallets then..I'll see you guys soon. 



PS Incase you're curious where the name Sebastian popped out of well, it fell out of my childhood memories of a very handsome gorilla at the zoo in Nairobi we went to often. This guy made all the kids laugh and giggle with his antics. Sebastian died a couple of years ago, but he remains the sweetest memory of our trips to the zoo as kiddos :) 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine write up - The complete transcript

Look at me back shamelessly to replug my interview with the Better Homes and Gardens September issue :)) I just laid my hands on the magazine a few days ago and it looks so much lovelier in print. Deepika Nandal, the sweet writer who compiled the article out of the long answers I sent to her via email, did such a fabulous job. The write up is so concise and crisp, don't you think so?
I really however wanted to share with you the entire transcript of what I sent to her. While on the trip it struck me that completed 2 years in August :) Thank you all for so much of love and good wishes that came across after the article was out and ofcourse to all those many many people who buy my creations and value them so much! 

Here goes-- 

1.Tell me your age, your city and your educational background:
I’m 37 years old, live in Mumbai with a BSc. in Home Science (LAD College, Nagpur) and a Diploma in Special Education for Mentally Retarded children (Mumbai University)

2. What were you doing before this? Where exactly did you work as a professional? Did you always wanted to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve been a teacher in a special school, to a project co-ordinator in a disability rights advocacy group, to a co-ordinator of special schools before I began Haathmade By Runa. I had no plans of turning into a full time crafter, it was a happy accident much after I quit my full time profession. My sister would carry to work stuff I’d made for her and her friends would notice and ask me to sew similar ones for them. That’s how a Facebook page happened initially and around 2 years ago, a website. 

 3. How did sewing/stitching catch your attention? Any particular person/incident that inspired you? What attracted you towards textile art?
Sewing sort of runs in my veins and came very naturally to me. My mum has been stitching our clothes ever since we were kids. I even learnt a few years ago that my Grandfather sewed his own napkins and table cloths for his cafe in the early 50s and 60s. Of course my mum is my go to person when I’m stuck somewhere. Needle work was a part of our curriculum since class 3 and we made tons of cross stitched table cloths and embroidered duchess sets in school. My background in Home Science gave me a lot of technical know how on fabrics, textures etc. Practical sewing was fairly limited to project work that we’d complete during our summer holidays. Bolts of textile have always been around the house. My mum stitched the curtains to sofa covers to our bath robes all at home, so yes she’s the one sole person I owe my skill too. 

4. Who taught you the art of stitching? When did you buy your first sewing machine? What was your first ever sewing project? Any you tube videos/books/tutorials you referred to?
I’ve learnt all my sewing through hours of practice, frustrations, experimentations and sewing blunders I’ve made over years. I’d always used my mum’s sewing machine and got to own my very first one as recently as 2009. When I began sewing in college, there were only a few internet cafes around, so that was never an option. I learnt a lot of techniques from my Mum, who would patiently explain them to me over long distance phone calls. Now of course I have many crafter friends in the sewing community across the world, who post wonderful tutorials on their blogs and even write detailed pattern books which I pick up from their websites. My first sewing project was way way ambitious for my age, but it was indeed a success :) I made a smocked summer dress for my younger sister in class 8 in boarding school with help from our school master ji :) 

5. Which are the fabrics/materials that you use for your projects?
I enjoy working a lot with pure fabrics. Cottons, linens, silks and denims are my favourite. They hold shape very well, are durable and very easy to manoeuvre on the sewing table. I love bright colours and prints and am always on the look out for such fabrics. 

6. Can you explain the stitching process—from illustrations to stitching to packaging? Who clicks the product shots? Can you describe your work and designs that you use? On which platforms are your products available at? Who is your target audience?
I visualise patterns in my head all the time. I get up at 5.30 am every morning so excited about patterns I just dreamt of. I carry a notebook around and make crazy sketches and diagrams. These then get transferred to drafts on newspaper, then cut out on scrap fabrics and sewn to see what they look like before I actually decide to make them for my web store. I do use readymade patterns available online and even from my patten book collection, but not without putting my personal stamp on it. 
I use a lot of the samples my self to test how practical they are and how well they hold up. My sister too uses a lot of my stuff and gives me very generous feedback. I run quite a one woman company from my sewing table in my guest bedroom. I spend the entire week sewing, end of the week I snap my own pictures, upload them on my website (which my engineer husband made from scratch), receive orders online, use recycled packaging materials and post them off to my customers with a handwritten note. For now my handmade products are only available on my own webstore and I intend to keep it that way. I am a stickler for neatness and finishing so mass production is practically impossible. Sewing each piece personally gives me immense pleasure and joy and leaves no room for shoddiness. 
My target audience is definitely anyone who understands the thoughtfulness and hard work that goes into making each unique handmade product. 

7. Why do people these days love all things hand-stitched? Do you also impart classes/workshops? Which are the products that you hand-stitch and sell?

When we were young, sweaters were knitted at home by gandmothers, clothes were sewn by aunts and mums, giving and receiving handmade was so special. The younger lot today have never seen a sewing machine ever and would rather pick up a ready made bag/ clothes from a retail store in a mall for half the price. There are a very limited bunch of people who really do understand the value of a hand crafted item and are ready to pay a price for it. I recently had a customer tell me that she’s so happy to carry my bag around knowing how it was made and who made it :) Hand made stuff is unique and unlike what everyone else is carrying or using, those who understand this are my happy customers. I seldom repeat fabrics and make no more than two items that look exactly the same. 
Since I run my small crafting business all by myself at home, it leaves me no time to think of imparting classes or workshops or even putting up stalls at exhibitions. I however would love to try my hand at online tutorials someday. Like they say, never say never :)
I make tote bags, lunch bags, purses, wallets, coasters, tea cosies, gadget cases, camera straps, passport pouches, key chains, make-up rolls and jewellery rolls to name  a few. These are available on my web store - I’ve done a host of custom makes like quilts, nappy bags, baby dresses, baby booties and waist bags too. 

8. Something you thought you learnt earlier on? What are the challenges you have to tackle, presently?
I learnt very early on that neat finishing and quality plays a big role in my crafting world. I can never mass produce, get tailors, run a workshop and create a large business. I thrive on the passion and joy of making each product myself and never go out of my way for any of my stuff to look like its not hand sewn at home. I even hand stamped my own labels till a few months ago. 
My biggest challenge is struggling with only 24 hours in a day which I now every artist does. I have so many ideas and projects in the pipeline that its difficult to decide what to make first. Finding good quality fabric and prints is another challenge. I spend hours pondering on pricing my products because, material costs are tangible, but putting a price to hours of sewing gets immensely tough. Sometimes people write in to me saying my stuff is a little expensive.  

9. Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs who love to stitch things? Your future plans:
Anyone who loves to sew and wants to start selling should take that plunge for sure. No shortcuts work. You need to be adept at your skill, so take sewing, cutting classes. Spend hours practising and now the internet has a host of video tutorials to learn from. Never compromise on neatness or finish. Redo projects as long as they take. Keep at it never give up and surely honest feedback always helps.  

I take each day as it comes and long term planning doesn’t work for me. I’d love to start a nice design website that has sewing videos, tutorials and DIY projects on home decor. I love doing up spaces in the most un-conventional ways. Wish me luck people! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yooohoooo...I'm back...I'm back :))

Hello Lovelies!! It's so wonderful to be back home. That's how our Europe trip looked like :)) 17 days of strutting across these wonderful cities on trams, trains, buses and on foot. The Mister and I got in last week and we weren't expecting a terrible jet lag that had us down for a week :( Naah..not complaining, it was all worth it! We came back with aching bodies and swollen feet, but hordes of wonderful memories and sights imprinted on our minds forever. Amsterdam-Cologne-Bruges-Brussles-Paris and back, phew! If I had to change anything at all, it would definitely be the itinerary. No traveller and no Lonely Planet will honestly ever tell you how you to plan one, but now that I've made this one trip, I shall honestly tell you all the great learnings and travelling tips that I've learnt first hand. September is probably the best time to make trips across the world, but be sure to research well on the weather and temperatures. Unexpected rains and cold piercing winds ( Which no one ever tells you about) were quite a bummer, but like true Bombaywallas we made the most of what we could.  
I'm going to write posts this week city by city giving you a detailed account of how things went. I better start right away lest I forget all the tiny details :) Meanwhile why don't you drop in a line to tell me what I missed these past few weeks eh? I'm busy sorting out our treasures we brought back from the trip, which are about 6 - 8 GB of photographs and tons of picture postcards...hahahahaha I'm serious. I have the sewing table all dusted and the sewing machine all set, but should take me a while more before I get down to sewing full time. 
Hope you've all been well? Drop in a line or two incase you'd like to fill me in. I'll see you soon with my longish posts on the trip. Ciao!!


PS. Traveling the world is truly a bug and am happy to confess, it's bitten us quite bad...we've already begun planning our next trip to an island country in the Pacific Ocean. Hush...that's our secret for now okiee. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The hard earned vacay is finally about to begin :) The Mister and I hop on to a plane in a couple of hours from now. I've been sewing tons for the webstore to stock it up, but to my surprise, the goodies vanished faster than I thought...oh not complaining at all..I'm so thankful to you for giving my babies a well loved home. This trip is new to us in every way. We've dipped into our savings for the very first time to spend it on a trip to Europe, we've also booked ourselves into AirBnB apartments which is something we never thought we'd have a chance to do. Its a very chuffed and proud sort of moment for the both of us and I'd like to share that moment with y'all. I'm sure most of you've been off on travels like this alot, but you'd surely remember the first time with fondness noh? 
I'm not a very easy traveller you see, and you'll fall off your chairs if I'd told you I'm carrying my favourite green tea, masala chai and even my homemade garam masala, just incase we decide to eat daal - chawal (Lentils and rice) some day :) I fought with myself over keeping the travel iron, but I couldn't imagine not taking it and the Mister just put it in for fear of running to the laundromat or drycleaners to get my clothes wrinkle free hahahaha The things my sweet better half does I tell you. I'm pretty happy I'm all packed in medium sized suitcase :) 
So well I'm hoping to change this anxious me during this trip and learn to loosen up a bit. And ofcourse I shall play the tourist to the tee! Browse in and out of museums, cycle, walk around, stop at a cafe and look at people hahahaha that's a favourite by the way ;-) We've decided to take the trains through various cities rather than hop on and off planes...way too exhausting. Oh hold the trip route is Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Bruges and finally Paris. I don't think I mentioned that did I? So that's 5 cities and 4 countries in 15 days. We're not jumping all across, but doing just one small part at a time. We spend 6 days in Paris...isn't that wonderful? I can't get over it too...
I'm going crazy googling on craft and fabric stores across..know any, please drop in a line. I will have a wifi connection throughout and I hope I can write in some fresh posts each day to share the joy with you. 
Well I need to get all ready before the cab arrives to ferry us to the yeha..I'll take all your Bon Voyages happily with me and brace myself for our first of its kind trip :) Till we meet next...ciao for now! 

Much Luvs,


PS Just so you don't miss the note on the website, I won't be able to ship any new orders till Wednesday the 23rd, but you could always keep the orders coming in if you don't find the wait too long. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Two Brothers and Miss Umbrella Bar!

A few months ago the Mister casually mentions, there's a newly joined colleague at work that's married a young girl from the hills and they've just shifted to town...wait..hills? WOW!! And hold on, she's an artist...even WOWERRR!!! So without wasting any time, I send her a message on facebook and wallah..she agrees to come have a pizza - wine dinner the same night. In walks this tiny, petite, unassuming young girl, Sumedha, with a nose that's oh so distinct to the hill people, (Notice the shapely nose that Meera has :) ) We spoke of all things art, colour, fabric, food , canines, over wine and more wine. The foxed husbands only listened and looked in shock and drank more wine hahahaha We polished off three bottles that night! She is an architect by degree but an extremely gifted artist. 
See the ugly, glittery, gaudy, nursery butterflies in the background? Aaah..that's what the landlord decided to surprise us with after we got the entire apartment painted white..Aaaarghhhhh...Getting the entire wall painted all over again was the obvious but the most painstaking of all, I get brilliant artist from the hills to paint me art to hide make them bearable....yippeee!!! 

The ugly before...

Tadaaaa....Brothers came home two months ago and this space has never been the same ever since! 

By Night-

And by day - 

That's a snapshot of what the sitting room looks like now. (Pardon the grey light, t'was a very cloudy morning)

I still have a couple of more butterflies to deal with....Am getting there...meanwhile any ideas? send them in people :)
Okay so here's the story behind the Two Brothers - These watercolour paintings are a part of Sumedha's personal artworks that aren't up for sale ( Heehee...I get to keep exclusive ones! ). The following week after our first meeting at home, Sumedha and her sweet better-half invited us to dinner and I notice these two freshly wrapped artworks propped up against the wall, apart from the lovely other pieces around the house. I inquisitively ask to see them and Sumedha opens up the wrapping and out pop these adorable sad, but happy, cute but scary pair of eyes and instantly I jump saying...I want THESE!!! Sumedha, the kind, sweet soul she is agrees to part with these personal paintings of saying "just for you" Aaaawww....too sweet. The Two Brothers are her tribute to the celebrated French Artist Henri Matisse, who I've now begun to adore for his burst of colour and expression. What I hope you all get to see at her exhibitions are her collection of her sketch books she's filled over the years. Oh they have such wonderful personal stories and doodles. You could get lost in them for hours. 
My Our boys came home the following week, fresh from the framers and with an adorable note artist style.

We celebrated the homecoming of the boys with a nice home cooked meal and cup cakes. I love how these boys give me company the whole time. Watching over the home with their naughty intriguing eyes. They fit in so well into our home, don't you think so? I stare at these boys a lot all day, I'm sure they'll jump out and kiss me one of these days...or may be run home to Sumedha heehee
The pretty missy at The Umbrella Bar, Sumedha can be reached at on her facebook page. She even has a gorgeous blog. You can read all about her travels and work here. Her recent project is Thesnailmailletter project. Send her a letter, card or even a postcard with any story, poem or an incident to share and she will post you a reply with a hand drawn picture. Now isn't that utterly thoughtful. Hop over to one of her pages and show her some love will you, nice peoples :)) You could even buy some of her lovely art HERE. I've found a wonderful friend in Sumedha and she even carries my carry the world tote bag to work :))
Thank you so much for reading all about my first real art buy. I'm hoping to get back to my watercolour painting someday, for now back to sewing my lovelies. Ciao!

Much Love,


PS. The Euro trip plans are shaping out quite well. Less than a month before we take off and we're finally done with booking our stays with AirBnB. Its been quite a learning, will pop in later to share. For now all looks good :) 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shop update and more...

I'm back to restocking some of the sold out items on the website. I get lots of emails asking me when I'd have some more of these make-up rolls back on sale, so here I sewed up some last week. I hope you've noticed the new fabrics and buttons :) These rolls are just so handy to carry around while travelling. I've found them more convenient than stuffing them into huge zip pouches. I don't own too much make-up but these rolls carry all the essentials. I can wrap 6 brushes (I have no clue what they're all used for hahaha), 3 lipsticks, mascara, 3 kajal pencils, rouge, a box of compact powder and one cake of eye shadow. Makes life so easy noh?
I've missed telling you about the new labels I got made a couple of months ago. What say?

I spent months asking around, but no one saw any business opportunity in making a thousand labels for a small venture like mine. As always I turned to the internet and my fabulous googling skills lead me to easylablesonline. I was so sure this would lead me to some website somewhere across the world that doesn't ship to India. Okay wait this leads me to a label making website in our very own Nasik. Believe me I made no calls, 3 emails with a kind gentleman called Mr. Bhadalkar and I had my first ever professional labels delivered home in 3 days. 

I got to choose what I wanted from a catalogue that came in the post the next day and they turned out great and value for money. I paid 3500/- for a thousand labels and the catalogue. The last time I remember getting woven label tape before we went to boarding school :) Anyone remember those?

This is the hand stamped label I made for each project. It worked well, but the ink would wash away. 
A few custom pouches I worked on as gifts last week. 

These pouches make such wonderful gifts for anyone. They can be stuffed with almost anything and carried around. I love how these turned out. I've been hoarding the skyline fabric for a home DIY project for years now. I'm thinking of restocking these pouches next in the store. I better get on to the restocking part soon, there are at least a dozen new projects lying in my pattern book that need to be sewn fast. I'm forever running late on my project list :( 

Franny and Zooey paid us a short visit one afternoon with Mommy and we had quite a time in the park :) We had to keep them away from strangers talking on their cell phones. They barked their lungs out at anyone they saw holding up a phone to their kids I tell you!

Look what arrived in the mail this rainy afternoon...lots of brightness to make my day. 

Utility pouches would look great in these fabrics noh? Well running off to catch lunch which is left overs from my Khao Suey dinner last night :) See you guys soon with a feature I'm really excited about. Thank you all for the reading and I'm so glad my last post made you think of home too. 

Much Luv,


Thursday, July 2, 2015

That magical place called HOME!

Hey lovelies, yes am back to work after what seemed to be the most hurried and unplanned holiday to Bareilly. It turned out to be the most wonderful holiday in many many years. After the Sista's last minute work commitments turned our whole planned trip in July topsy turvy, there was no way we were going to wait till September for her next chunk of leave, so with the boss saying "Leave tomorrow" we quite literally packed a backpack full of clothes each and rushed out the door to catch the next available flight to Delhi and carry on by train to Bareilly. Oh! It costed us a fortune, but all we were focussed on was what my Mum said to us on the phone the day earlier, " beta September is too far away, why cannot you come now?" :))
After a rather adventurous and bumpy 12 hour journey, we reached home to this ---->

Freshly baked lemon cake with homemade samosas and unending cups of freshly brewed lopchu (courtesy my tea connoisseur aunt) ...aaah makes me drool all over again. The subsequent days were filled with more lemon cakes, awesomest corn coconut curry, baked tacos, homemade yummy dal, hot rotis flying off the stove, kebabs, baked veggies, mind blowing churros, stuffed green chilly pakodas, mango fajita topped with hoards of mangoes and litchis, melons and gallons of mango kulfi hahahaha don't be shocked, we actually ate so much more ;-) 
This is what some of it looked like, the rest of the times we were too busy stuffing our tummies and forgot to take pictures. Get ready to drool people ;-)

The rain gods were rather kind and did sort of play havoc one evening actually, with the neighbourhood getting flooded, but what arrived the next day in the veggie market were carts and carts of gorgeous mangoes :)) I almost cried at the thought of not getting to have my fill cause I was a few weeks early. I was hoping to carry some back home, but as usual I was just soo overweight on baggage :( 
The mornings were spent waking up to no traffic sounds and endless work lists, but to hot cups of chai, watching Ma doing the Surya Namaskar and long discussions on menu planning for the day. Afternoons were spent lazing around after elaborate lunches, dozing off with the kindle on my face hahaha and evenings were spent listening to my Granny's stories of when she was a child up in the hills of Almora. I did however venture out on a cycle rickshaw with Ma one scorching afternoon to get myself some fabric and notions. The fabric market this one time didn't seem too exciting but, I picked up some different textures this time. 

These woven fabrics are a first I saw this time around. They're nice upholstery weight cottons yet used for shirts in winters, so the shopkeeper said to me. I'm thinking they'd be great for bags and pouches.

The notion stores were overflowing with lace, pretty ribbon tapes and handmade buttons. Notice the mirror thingys? I picked them up for my bag charms. All this lovely colourful stuff will start making an appearance in the shop once I'm back to work in full vigour. This sunny afternoon ended at the local chaat wala, and we went nuts after all these years.

Oh how much we giggled on the roadside with my Mum watching in total dismay! Bareilly is a sleepy old town with nothing much to do around except go shopping and hog on the local street food. But it's home and it's the best place in the world cause it has family. Ten days seemed like a month when I got back, that's how relaxing and fun home was. I felt lost in my tiny kitchen the next morning, that's how much Ma spoilt me :)) And since we'll always be the hungry kids that Ma sent away to boarding school, there's no leaving home without our share of tuck! 

Wallah! That's half of what's left actually. We polished off the cake up in the air! The pickles were almost held up at the airline security with the girl at the check in counter telling us to get rid of them as per airline rules, but we weren't leaving them with anyone, they're as precious as gold to the Damji Clan. So we cooly (well not so cooly, we looked like guilty cats ) walked past security with 5 jars of pickles and tadaa...the guy at the scanner doesn't notice them..I danced my way to the counter and slowly picked them up and dashed to the seating lounge as fast as I could. Meera and I felt like we'd smuggled in contraband heeeheee

Meet the family :) The happiness was doubled cause Uncle and Aunt (Mama and Mami) were home too. I've lived with them in Nagpur for many years in school and college and they've been Mum and Dad to Meera and me when we first arrived in India from Nairobi as lost tiny kiddos. 
I'm back to sewing from tomorrow, itching to use up all the new fabric bundles. Ramzaan Mubarak to you all! Be kind to those on the fast, it's the toughest and most trying time. Thank you tons for reading...see you soon!

Much Luv,


P.S. am reading Scion of Ikshvaku and it's terribly engrossing! 


Friday, June 12, 2015

Closer look at the new tote bags and WIP:

Presenting the neatest and the most organised tote ever! The beauties are what I was looking forward to sharing with you in my last post. These can help you carry around just anything. What really excited me is the structure and size of the tote. Took me a week to get just the various interfacing combinations right and when I did, it didn't bunch up or break a machine needle, but it's surprisingly sturdy and does have a lot of layers to sew through. I can proudly proclaim no needles were broken this time :) Having experimented with different interfacings, it wasn't frustrating to sew though there are quite a few pieces to cut and various fabrics to coordinate. They take a while to finish since it's almost like making 5 bags and then putting them all together. The padding gives these bags a beautiful neat structure as well as strength. They are sturdy and not bulky at the same time. The straps won't tug at your shoulders from the weight and sit just at the right length.

The cute flap front pockets add so much fun to the bag, its almost as though they're smiling at you. Snaps keep them nice and tightly shut and can be used for small tiny things that usually end up at the base of big bags. Its just right to store your sunglasses or cell phone etc. 

The bigger outer zip pocket is great to store a wallet, iPads, kindles, tablets or eReaders of various sizes. The zip will keep them from falling out and the padded exterior will keep them from getting squashed and damaged. 

The lining is the most fun part of all. Patchworked and colourful adds tons of prettiness to the bag. A slip pocket for your tiny cosmetics, loose change etc. The rather spacious interior with a big 5 inch depth can fit in tons. I see this bag as a great weekend bag or a nappy bag for young moms who hate toting around the usual plastic bags. Its big enough to carry a medium sized laptop. My 13 inch Macbook Air fits in rather well with 1 inch room on the sides. I'm definitely making one of these when I go on a holiday next month. Its just the perfect size to carry around at airports plus the magnetic snap on the top keeps the bag closed. 

The additional key-holder is a great way to not waste time scrambling through the bag looking for your keys. Believe me, I've had to empty out my bag on the floor looking for my keys many a times hahahaha

This tote sure is a great way to showcase pretty fabrics. I've used dark denim bought from a local fabric store in Bareilly, printed upholstery weight fabrics from Freedomtree, printed corduroy and cotton prints for the lining. I've put these up in the store for sale. Yes they cost much more than the usual tote bags I make, but that's how much the fabric and detailing cost me. You could click here to buy them. 

The holiday plans are definitely taking shape. The Schengen visas arrived yesterday afternoon, that's in 3 days flat :) If you live in Bombay and are applying for a visa at the French Embassy, you need not take an appointment and stand in unending queues, just walk in after 8 am with your complete set of papers. The staff at the numerous counters are extremely patient and helpful. 

Meanwhile, this :) 

The weather was gorgeous early this morning.

WIP : 

I got a very sweet request from a lovely young girl asking me if I could make some reversible market bags for sale. So that's what I'm working on this week. They should be up in the shop soon. I'd forgotten this cute snail print fabric at the bottom of my cupboard, I was excited like a girl when it miraculously surfaced while on my sorting spree. Have a great weekend Y'all. I'm sure getting wet in the rain is on the list eh ;-)

Much Luvs,