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hand made

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I know, I know…You are thinking…another top? What’s with that?

Well, hear me out, as  the story of this one is pretty exciting.

A few weeks ago, I think I mentioned that we were going on a trip. Our destination was Jaipur, and while the weekend was a rainy one with hardly much chance to explore we did visit the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. It’s a fantastic little place which documents the textile hand printing tradition in the area using predominantly hand carved blocks. And the best part of the visit was that N got to print her own fabric….

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Presenting to you, a little shirt I made with fabric entirely hand printed by Ms. N.

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Given my last experience and because this fabric was entirely hers I wanted to make sure we choose a pattern that she liked. The fabric was just enough to make a top and she chose the 2+2 blouse pattern by Oliver+S. I have made this top twice before and love both the skirt and top. Luckily this time around, she didn’t want the gathers on the front, nor the ties, and so with this excellent tutorial by Cindy I could do away with both and in its place have a facing.

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N wasn’t too keen on back buttons either, but I wasn’t sure if the forward slit would be large enough to fit through her head (it does), so I decided to keep the back as it is in the original pattern. I have had these buttons forever, and I thing they compliment the pink of the facing quite nicely.

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I am happy that I can put this one down as a hundred percent success! For once everything came together well, and N was delighted to be able to wear it to her school picnic yesterday.

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March turns out to be not an easy month for one reason or the other, but I am coming around to think that this may have something to do with the fact that it is my birthday month.

You see, it starts out full of resolutions (the list is long and detailed) but then a week later, I am too exhausted keeping up with this new me. This year, the list came down from ten to two pretty quickly, so I am almost back to being the old-me but not quite.

Of what I did keep, one was to bake a birthday cake!

I bake often, usually uncomplicated stuff. This time I wanted to try something special (put it down to a birthday resolution of course!) and so here we have…

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a carrot cake (simple) with cream cheese frosting (for the first time). N decorated it with silver sprinkles, adding just a touch of festive, and we had it last night and some more today. The recipe comes from here which is one of my all time favourite food blogs, and in my experience you can follow her recipes blindfoldedly. The cake and frosting are predictably yummy, but this time around the a-ha moment came while making the cream cheese. To my delight the thing turned out to be incredibly yummy. If you are in a pinch, or like me find cream cheese to be prohibitively expensive where you live, try it. It’s not the ‘real’ thing (what is real anyway??) but good enough for me and my cake.

Anyhow, so, now with cake out of the way, I want to talk about sewing for a bit.

My last success with pintucks made me want to make a few more, and so N got another top.

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Sadly, the results this time leave something to be desired. Mostly my overconfidence with the pintucks got in the way, combined with the fact that I was making something from a fabric that I was not feeling particularly excited about.

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Plus, for whatever reason it makes her look like she is slouching.

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I am now trying to figure out how else I might have done it, because I followed exactly the instructions that came from this pattern book, and I would swear by it. I love this book so! Is it just the uneven gathering of elastic at the back? And what’s with the uneven front and back? I checked my measurements again–they were fine, and so I am still wondering.

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What I don’t like much, the child is loving, and despite the intermittently rainy and somewhat chilly weather that we have had in during last week she has worn it more than a few times. In fact in the photos above, you can see even threads hanging from the hem that she refused to let me cut. :-)

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The other top I made I like, but the reaction has been far from ‘loving.’ I knew my fabric choice wouldn’t produce an ecstatic response but I had hoped the little frill at the end of sleeve would. And the fact that I lined the frill at the end with a bit of pink.

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Well, no such luck.

N is a kind of child who will never refuse anything I make absolutely (okay, maybe except this and this over which I had slaved). She is more of the ‘let me gradually divert my mother’s attention so that she forgets what she was suggesting in the first place.’ So this little top is definitely heading in that category. And there goes my nani iro which I love.

As a saving grace, she does like the pattern. It comes from the same book as the one above, and with excellent pictures was not difficult to make. I love the style, and post detailed consultations might attempt another one in the near future.

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It is good to know one’s mind I suppose, and I should be listening more to what she wants to wear anyway!

Asmita/

P.S. On a (food) related note, I realised right now as I am writing that the cake I really wanted to make was not the one pictured above (!) but this!! Same blog, different recipe with an addition of apple cider (I substituted with one stewed apple). Check it out if you have carrot cravings.

P.P.S. And on an unrelated note. This made me feel like I was flying.

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When I participated in SVE last year, I had so much fun that I decided then and there that should these two super talented women Sanae and Ute do it again this year there was no way I would want to miss it.

Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened. Well, almost. In that whole feeling-overhwelmed situation I found myself to be in, I was late to the party, and by the time I wrote to Sanae and Ute, everyone had been already assigned. But then I got lucky–there was another latecomer like me, and Dolores and I participated in the not-so-secret SVE.

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I couldn’t be more glad that I got a chance to do it! Look at the goodies.

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There is the most lovely case to keep all my sewing supplies when I am travelling (and we are travelling very soon, so I am excited to be able to carry this), and the beautifully made Merchant & Mills needles. Then there is a sweet little key chain (with a sleeping baby :-) and…

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…the lovely book she produces herself with fun patterns, things for kids to do and lots more…. If you haven’t already, it’s time to visit her blog (and her shop) which you should check out.

And not only did I get presents, but Dolores was very sweet to send stuff for N and M too…a baby book for things to sew from for M (I really can’t make excuses anymore…) and a lovely little clip for Ms. N

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It’s origami, it’s pink, it’s a butterfly. I think Dolores knew exactly what would make us happy :-), and it is so gorgeously made.

And last but not the least is another beautiful butterfly made from special Austrian fabric, and some iron-on patches that I can’t wait to use on knits.

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Thank you Dolores for such lovely thoughtful gifts and the letter that accompanied them. I am so charmed by it, and they will be cherished.

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So, did you participate in SVE, dear friends? If you didn’t I hope you do next year, because if I am not wrong this is now an annual thing. And Sanae and Ute, by way of SVE, have got something really special going on. All these gifts criss-crossing the world through postal networks- it reminds me a little bit of women’s international networks in late 18th and early 19th century.

I’ll show you soon what I sent to Dolores, but that’s all for me from today. I hope you get a chance to visit her blog, and also check out the flickr pool for the many gorgeous gifts that made a part of this memorable exchange.

xo/asmita

end of winter

At the start of winter I made a few long sleeved things for N that were put to good use through our relatively short Delhi winter. Now as the daytime temperatures are climbing and I am getting ready to put them away, I thought it would be good time to show them to you.

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This little top I made back in December is from lovely cotton fabric that I got in Pune. The pattern comes from here and while I am never much looking forward to tracing Japanese patterns and adding seam allowances later, I am, as was also in this case, very happy with the end result. So despite the enormous time it took to getting to the actual sewing, I love everything about it–the pintucks on the yoke, the sleeves and the general fit.

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The only change I made was was to add  slits on the side because I think it looks better that way…

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Once the cutting was done, it came together quite easily despite the pin tucks. Lots of great option with pretty good pictures to help one along the way.

The pink was not my first choice, but N is getting back into pink again. and that could not be ignored when I gave her fabric choices. And as I have seen her repeatedly wear it over the winter months, I have really come to love this little thing including its colour. I am hoping she can use it for a few more weeks until long sleeves and a stand collar become unbearable.

Around the same time as this I also made a raglan tee. (And as the following photos will tell you…these were taken right after the haircut, while the ones above were clicked very recently. Someone here needs a haircut very soon again :-)

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This is in size 5 (with longer length, as usual) from one of my all time favourite Oliver+S. I love making t-shirts, and despite the fact that more work went into the pink blouse,working with knits always feel like a major accomplishment. N loves anything in knit fabrics ( I think we all do!) and I wish I made more of these on a regular basis.

But the truth is that I am always a bit terrified too. For one, different knits react differently to the whole sewing process…(yes, I know that that is the way it should be, but I am always being too lazy and in too much of a hurry to figure out the differences between various types.) So with this one I messed up the hem. Oh and the pocket is absolutely terrible. Unpicking the stretch stitch seams were a pain, and so the t-shirt ended up being just the right length which means it may be too short for the next cool season.

The fabric here is all re-cycled, but I have some lovely new knits that I am not feeling all that confident to cut into. blue tee 2

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Still, I am glad that the t-shirt too has gotten plenty of wear. I know I shouldn’t complain….still, don’t you feel a bit sad when something that you loved gets relegated to the storage, probably never to be worn again?

It’s a bit like feeling sad to see them grow up so quickly.

What are you sewing these days? I am looking forward to some summer sewing, though not to the summer itself. What about you?

Asmita/xo

not same

Soon after I came to know that we were going to have a baby, I was delighted to find that Oliver+S was releasing lullaby layette pattern. This meant that I could begin making clothes for the new tiny baby with a pattern from my all time favourite pattern company. Of course, I couldn’t wait!

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Well…it’s taken me a full six months to make my first little shirt-pant set, but now that I have made it I couldn’t be happier! With such fantastic instructions, you aren’t really surprised, right?

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So, remember I said I have more of this fabric to show you in my last post? Well, the valentine’s day heart that went to this baby’s big sister was only a tiny part of the fabric that went into the making of baby M’s pants. N had insisted on a surprise gift that she could share with her brother, and aking a heart necklace for him seemed rather pointless–it would either find a way into his mouth, or dangerously around his neck, so I settled for making one pant and one heart out of it.

This is quilting weight fabric that I have held on to for six years (!!) and I think that’s waay to long. I am glad that finally it has been put to a good use. The 1/2 yard was not enough to make the pants so the waistband and single pocket come from M’s (senior) old shirt.

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In fact the pocket comes from the original pocket, and there was only one on the original shirt. Result: one original pocket became one baby pocket. The top also comes from the same re-cycled shirt and I had just enough to make the long sleeved version.

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As you can see we have quite a new outfit here. (Of course, the minute after I had put it on him, there was a biggish spot of drool right there). But he is a baby, and a cute one at that :-) so we shall let that one pass!

So now on to the details about the pattern. Since M is about to turn 7m old, I made a size 6-12m which is very roomy and easy to put on. In absence of snaps (which I don’t know where to find in Delhi, so if anyone does please let me know…) I used two buttons. In a hurry to get done with the shirt I did a pretty terrible job with the buttonholes. As you may notice I have avoided taking any photos of it :-)

Pants: large enough to fit a cloth diaper on the bums, and long enough to last six months I think. The pocket(s) make it extra cute.

Shirt: I *love* the placket, and the little pleat it creates. I know baby shirts don’t have to be elegant, but somehow this placket and the little back pleat makes the shirt just that.

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I am so very happy to have finally come around to making this little dress for the dear boy, and already a bit sorry that I missed making it in the 3-6m stage.

Which actually gets me to this thing that I have been mulling over for a while. The thing is that, I think when we had baby no. 2, somehow I was under the impression that it was going to be easy, and things would be just like they had been with N. Anyone could have told me that that is impossible. They are after all two different babies!

Sure, some things have been easy. For one I (and M, the father) are not washing every single toy that he drops on the floor. Often it just gets a quick wipe and is handed back right to him. Neither is every single whimper responded to. So, I am sure you get the general idea–yes, we, well really I am (since senior M is always this way) way more relaxed.

The thing though is that until very very recently I did not really think that M and N are all that different. Not carbon copies really, but well you know, kind of the same. And it would surprise me every time baby M did something very different than what N did as a baby.  And that is where this overhwleming feeling of drowning came in. M is a super energetic, loud, taking-time-with-falling-into-a-sleep schedule kind of a child. To be honest, a bit high maintainance. N was quiet, social, energetic, but not-all-over-the place kind of a baby. I am sure as they grow older things will change and more differences (and even similarities) will emerge. So I guess really the lesson for me at this point has been to not compare but give more space for difference. And as I come to appreciate this not-sameness, certainly at the very least notice it, I find that I can enjoy it more and feel less overwhelmed.

I know this might sound perfectly normal to people out there, but it has taken me a while to realise this. And its something that I need to keep in mind in a conscious kind of way most of the time. I am glad that I got back to being able to start writing–thank you very much for all the encouraging and sweet comments–and thereby sewing. Because the sewing helps me notice these differences even in myself, and in a good way. Six years ago, I could not sew a piece of clothing, now I can! That is something to appreciate, as a start.

So, this has been a longish post and I must stop and get back to life around here. But thank you for visiting and reading!

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xo/Asmita

gifts

Happy day-after-valentine’s day!

I hope you had a good yesterday and of course today. I made a quick little gift for N the night before.

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The inspiration for it came from purl bee which is always excellent for quick and gratifying ideas. I won’t say much about the fabric now (because it’s a little piece of what I am working with right now), but N had asked for something in red and something heart shaped so she got what she wanted. And it was super super quick to make.

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This blurry photo is unfortunately the only one I have but she is pretty pleased with it.

Then also we sent off some stuff she made and I sent off my package a few days before that.

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Sadly none of these have reached their destinations yet, it seems. So for now I will remain quiet about it!

All in all it was quite a valentines day celebration for someone (i.e. me!) who is not much into festivities.

Oh,and I almost forgot…on a totally unrelated note:

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I cracked the method to make homemade butter! Over the years I have tried this many times, and finally on Friday thanks to some patient instructions of a good friend and pictorial aids from here, I got my first blob/handful (?) of butter. The taste is divine and N had three straight spoonfuls of it. I admit that I had a few undisclosed number of tastings too :-) And while I can always buy butter from the shop, this opens up more possibilites….

xo/a

Because I have all but disappeared from blog land, it is bit awkward to come back and suddenly pick up where I left off. Kind of like a good friend that you have been wanting to write to but somehow just not being able to.

Of course, all the usual reasons exist (baby, child, housework: overwhelmed….) but this time a few more added themselves to these few. Most importantly we moved houses again and more weeks that I would like to count have gone in the packing then the unpacking. Now we are all thoroughly sick of this activity.

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This thing that  N made back in December actually is a good reminder of this time. She is totally over making these paper flowers, and when I told her that I was thinking of posting this on my blog she told me that she made much better things now, suggesting that this little light holder is ancient. Meaning last year.

So welcome 2015, it’s been a month since the new year has arrived!

Amidst the moving I finished a few left over projects, of which one was a very large long pending quilt.

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Phew!

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It has been adorning N’s bed for the last whole month, and both she and I are delighted with it. DSC_0010DSC_0006

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It’s my largest project to date, and I am glad of how all those little pieces found their place and came together eventually. The squares and the whole thing measures roughly 90″X60″. The back ended up being a bit frustrating requiring more pieces and cutting than what I had anticipated, but it has some of N’s favourite prints and more scraps so it makes me quite happy.

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One of the nice things about this new house that it gets a lot more light than the old one, so I am looking forward to photographing more in her room (and thereby show you more of our lovely new house :-).

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Besides the quilt there are few things here and there finished and not yet photographed, so I hope to show them soon. Sadly in this boy sewing has totally been ignored. In fact I am yet to make anything yet for baby M, but things are already on the cutting table for him. So amends will be made. In the meantime here is a photo of mister cutie.

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I promise promise promise promise to be back soon!

xo/asmita

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