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a trip

A little less than two weeks ago we got back from a trip to Jodhpur, the famed “blue city” of Rajasthan. By we, I mean my sister Shalu, her old and my relatively new friend Ekta, N and me. It was a lovely trip, the kind of which I dream about and would like to have more of. We did all the touristy things like visiting the famous Mehrangarh fort and going for a camel ride, but also some not very touristy stuff such as taking a tour of the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park. And, of course we ate the most delicious kachoris and jalebees, of which I wouldn’t mind a few as I write this post! All this in only three days, but somehow it felt much longer. In a good kind of a way. If I were to think of the “best part” of something as N and I often discuss, my best part of the trip would be the park and the jalebees, and the beautiful hotel that Ekta chose.

Here are a few photos from our travels, the memories of which will stay with me for many years.[Warning: this one is a picture heavy post, but I do hope you get to the bottom of it :-)]

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Asmita/xx

 

 

Considering the going-ons of the past few weeks, these last few days have been positively quiet. For me it has meant coming to terms with Trump, figuring out ways to live with seriously bad air quality after days of panic, and now dealing with our latest drama of demonetisation. Things look unsettled, but I think this is about as settled as they will be for a while. For some reason this morning as I was bemoaning the fact of Trump (yet again), I suddenly thought to myself – would I rather be in 1916 instead of 2016, and my answer is a clear no. Because that means being in the middle of one war, then yet another one and by the time I want to live which is the early 1970s I would be dead anyway. So, I guess this becomes a roundabout way of saying -I think I need to settle down into into things as they are at this moment.

Here is some things that brought us cheer during last week.   dsc_0200

dsc_0110dsc_0132dsc_0206dsc_0198This last thing, a mobile of starts and moon something N made in her pottery class. Passing by it when going from one room to another is making me quite happy.

During the past crazy few weeks I also made something. Or rather, I finished a project – yet another one that has been sitting unfinished in my list of to-do pile for long.dsc_0142It’s a  bag is for me to carry my yoga mat to my newly joined yoga class. As it turns out however, the class provides these really lovely straw mats. And they are so much nicer than the generic rubber ones like what I have, that I am inclined to leave my mat and the bag at home. But still I like the bag.dsc_0154It has a cute little pocket and a strap to carry it across my back. Carrying it makes me feel almost sporty!

I am not sure why this one took so long really because the construction of this couldn’t be any easier.  The fabric is canvas weight, and the pattern on it bring peacocks to my mind for some reason. If I remember correctly, it was purchased at Ikea in New York many moons ago. The pattern, if you can even call it that, comes from this book, one of the first sewing books that I ever purchased and still my favourite. As the title says it is really “simple sewing” and just the kind that can make you forget current worries and let all noises recede in the background, even if temporarily.

 

 

pretty pleased

A few months ago, I embarked on bag making. The said pattern was purchased, paper tracings were made, cut, and even the fabric choosing happened, all at relatively good speed. And then, as with many other things right now the project sat in a pile in my cupboard waiting its turn to get set sewn up and see some fresh air.

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dsc_0159I am happy to say that I finished making this just a few weeks ago, and since then it has hardly left my side.Yes, I love this bag that much!

The pattern for this handy little tote comes from Noodlehead. Anyone, I think, who has tried making stuff from her patterns will agree that she completely de-mystifies bag making for novices, and even makes one enjoy the whole process. I am pretty positive that without Anna I couldn’t have pulled off a recessed zipper.dsc_0179 All I can say, is that I am feeling quite proud of this. Perhaps it has something to do with being able to insert a zipper without any help from the seam ripper.dsc_0138The main fabric is a canvas weight print by Lotta Jansdotter. At first it seemed heavier than what the pattern was asking for and I contemplated on skipping the interfacing that Anna recommends. In the end I decided to not go with my instinct. I have enough bag failures to my credit, and I didn’t feel like taking a chance on this one. It turned out to be a good decision. The bag turned out sturdy but has enough slouchiness to it as well.dsc_0177For the rest of the fabric, I dug into my deep pile of scraps.

So, as I think is clear, I couldn’t be happier with the bag. The inside has a small convenient pocket, but of course my favourite part is the zipper because it makes it safe to carry my wallet inside even on the metro. It’s perfect for me, and I might need to make another one…maybe in a few years…after I have finished my several other unfinished projects!dsc_0109

Asmita/xo

three

Of late I have found myself making versions of the same pattern not twice but thrice in one go. I am not saying it doesn’t get a bit tedious, but N is currently in the state where when she likes one thing (in this case what I have made for her once), she wants another one exactly-the-same. In part, I suspect it is because she sees things in shops where the same design comes repeated in different sizes and same size in large quantities, so perhaps I should take this as a compliment. And, sure making the same thing over and over again is a huge time saver, for all the obvious reasons.

Thankfully I usually don’t have so much of one fabric to make two let alone three of exactly-the-same. So I have made a deal that she will get the same pattern but in three different fabrics. If one has a favourite top and a good fit, it’s not a bad deal actually -certainly one that I would be happy with!

So, without further talk, here’s the first version:

dsc_0143dsc_0046dsc_0031The fabric is a lovely voile, that I bought a few years ago in Bangalore (on Commercial street) and this is the original top that N fell in love it. I made it in size 6 with 1″ added to the bottom length and 1″ to the sleeves. However when a request for the second one came I thought she could do with a longer version. dsc_0201So I added another inch at the bottom but kept the sleeves the same length as above. I had only about 1/2 metre of the beautiful Nani-iro double gauze, so I added a contrast pink bodice (in mangalgiri cotton). My favourite part is the fabric buttons, but sadly N is not particularly impressed.dsc_0193

dsc_0212In fact as it turned out, she is not pleased with this one at all, despite my thinking that she would fall for the double gauze and my lovely buttons. Sadly, no….!

So, then came the third one in which she chose the fabric.dsc_0142This is another lovely double gauze that I had been saving for long. It’s from Echino by the designer Etsuko Furuya and is softer than Nani-iro. Plus she loves the lions.

I did a couple of things differently for this version. For one, I added slits on the sides and did a bartacking stitch right on the top both for decorative purposes and durability. Then I added tabs on the sleeves so that she could fold up her sleeves like this.dsc_0161

dsc_0138The yellow fabric which is as gorgeous and soft as the blue double gauze is locally purchased from here. (For those of you who might be in Delhi it is worthwhile checking out what else the Sunbird studio has-Karin Koch, the owner, has some of the most beautifully tailored clothes for children and adults.)dsc_0163Needless to say this is N’s favourite with the pink flowery one coming a close second. She adores the tabs on the sleeves, and of course the lions. The second one, despite some initial interest, is, at the moment, barely getting worn. But, I think she will come around to it once it gets cold. dsc_0153Oh, and before I go, a word on the pattern which I have failed to mention until now. It’s the after school shirt from Oliver+S. With much excitement about Liesl’s new book, and I can’t wait to get to it too, I am happy to be trying out an older Oliver+S pattern. As with her other patterns, there is almost a guarantee that it will teach me something new and I enjoyed the making every bit of it.

As I already mentioned I made it in size 6 with some length adjustments. The fit is roomy and relaxed, more so than I felt of some of her other shirts, and perfect for N to wear to school. As the pattern states there are buttons on both the front and back yokes. For versions 2 and 3, however I have closed off the back buttonholes. N’s head is pretty small and I figured that she didn’t need to unbutton both front and back to get it over here head.

And, that’s about it from here. Before I go here’s one last picture, my favourite one, of N and M.dsc_0158

Dasara holidays are coming up so I hope you are doing something fun!

Asmita/xx

dsc_0113I got a lovely fabric gift earlier in the month and thought I’d share it with you all. The yellow one is Liberty, and has been picked out by N as a favourite, and  I think I am going after the blue. They all come from London where Mr. M had to travel for work. He was good enough to go here and here (of course with directions kindly sent by me) and get back these goodies. I am wondering what to make with them….dsc_0188On the sewing front I finally made the bag that had been on my list for a while. N started dance classes in July and needed something to carry her stuff. Of course she has other bags but she wanted something in the “backpack” variety. This free pattern comes from the trusty Purl Soho. It is really simple to make so I didn’t really take a look at the instructions, but from my past experiences I am sure they are thorough. They have three sizes (I made the child version) and despite some earlier doubts, it’s the perfect size for her.

The fabric is remainders from an earlier sewing project. She chose it because she now likes grey.Well, who knew?! I have no idea what the line is called. I had it saved it for long enough and am glad I made something that would get a lot of use. I used a different fabric for lining inside, but sadly no pictures.

So that’s about it. I am sewing other things in a meandering kind of a way, but mostly I have been spending large amounts of time pottering around the house, thinking that I need to cleanup some spaces small and large while desperately waiting for the weather to change. dsc_0600dsc_0091But, before I go, here is something hilarious that my sister sent me yesterday. If you haven’t seen it before, and I hadn’t, it’s worth a read. Enjoy!

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Asmita/xx

 

 

 

 

 

birthday #2

Hello again!dsc_1186As promised, I am back with a post about birthday #2 which also happened in July, this one in Delhi. It was a much smaller affair than #1, although N did initially try and get me to invite her friends as well. We decided against it, and she did eventually come around to understanding that this was baby M’s birthday celebration which meant inviting people-adults and kids that he knows well. That included our neighbour’s daughters who are N’s friends and who M is immensely fond of, and their mother who is our friend too and who shares her birthday with M. We ended up with a really small guest list, actually, mostly the same people who had made it to his first birthday party last year!

N helped me make a banner that I had been long dreaming of.dsc_1218This was super simple. First, I sewed up two fabric triangles together wrong sides together. Then, N did her thing with the pinking shears and I basted the letters cut out of felt with some glue first and then added a machine stitch on the top. I hope it holds up for a few birthdays at least.

Then came the dress. dsc_1228

dsc_0167The shirt pattern is from the Lullaby Layette by Oliver+S. I love this pattern, and having used it several times before I wanted to give it one last shot in the 18-24m size. To be frank I contemplated briefly if it was a tad too girly, but eventually that didn’t deter me from making it. He’s two, and girly or not, I think he looks so adorable in it. Besides, it such a fabulous pattern and the print is so cute . I find children specific prints in good quality hard to come by in India; this fabric was gifted to me by my sister-in-law and I must ask her where she got this. The fabric is voile hence perfect for summer; I had only 0.75 metres and the shirt fitted perfect in the little bit of fabric.

I also made a pair of pants from some mangalgiri cotton to go with it, again from the same pattern I mention above. N wanted to add a helicopter, because he is kind of obsessed with them and so she drew one and I embroidered it at the bottom edge. (I am sorry to not have better photos here of the pant–he does like to roll on the ground a fair bit and I failed entirely in getting him to stand for a photo shoot, let alone wear the shirt and pant together.)

But I do hope you get the idea. It a seriously comfortable pair of pants and shirt/top, and with Liesl’s fantastic instructions it comes together very quickly-even the placket. I will be sad when he outgrows this size.dsc_0123dsc_0121Here are a few more photos of baby M in action (in case you haven’t had enough🙂dsc_0175

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dsc_0177And, all in all it was another fun party. I didn’t get a picture of the yummy chocolate cake we had. But it was worth making despite the fact that it was hot humid day.dsc_1250And despite some difficult times last year, looking at him now feels like time has flown. With always a ready smile on his face he has become a chatterbox that I never expected him to be! is

Asmita/xx

 

 

birthday #1

After my last posting in early August, I don’t know the rest of my month went. I mean to post these pictures earlier, but as it turns out it’s already the middle of September and and I am still carrying some last bits of news left over from July. Mainly that we celebrated two birthdays and two little ones turned 8 and 2.

So, here goes…

dsc_0172N turned 8 at the beginning of July and celebrated her birthday during our last week in Pune. Her request for this year was a party at my sister’s dog hostel. (Yes! She runs what I think of as a really cool pet hotel on the outskirts of Pune.). N loves dogs, my sister and she really bond over this, and when N requested her birthday party to happen there we all agreed, since she rarely gets to have her birthday party with extended family anymore.

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The other request was a frock from “something blue” which I was happy to make.

dsc_0144The pattern comes from this Japanese book. Ages ago, when N turned three I had used the same pattern and I remember N wearing that dress for the longest time. She is currently into the colour blue and wanted something really simple, and so I thought I’d try making a larger version of the same.

The fabric is ikat and has the loveliest of drapes. I bought it in Pune last year at Banjaras. The pattern calls for a collar and ideally I would have liked the dress to have it, but I realised at the last minute that I had cut the wrong size. It was the day before her birthday, I wanted to make sure that it gets done and so on a spur of the moment I decided to skip the collar. Well, so I finished it on the night before, snaps and all (which as it turns out is her favourite part), and she was delighted to find out that it was indeed ready by her birthday. (Clearly I don’t have a very good record on that front.)

dsc_0027Only problem—it is huge on her. In fact, I think I can almost put her baby brother along with her inside it🙂 I made it in 120cms. What I needed to do, knowing that the sizes run rather large in this book was to make it in a size 100 with only the length increased. Oh well. She likes it well enough, despite appearing rather grumpy in a few of the photos.

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dsc_0146 I am already thinking another one, perhaps a different blue, but this time with a collar and definitely two sizes smaller.

dsc_0168So this is birthday #1. The party was fun! I wish I had more photos of it, but I guess that is what happens when everyone is having a good time and no one is really taking pictures. Even though she is already two months into being 8, I can hardly believe that she is actually 8—somehow she does seem so much older (especially when compared to her baby brother) and still such a baby at the same time.

Tomorrow I will post about birthday #2, so if you are visiting I hope you will come back soon.

Asmita/xo

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