Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Peppa And Pitari

 

Although managing Pink Pitari takes most of my time, certain things are absolutely required to be done. One of them is taking Coco to little people's birthdays and other special occasions. He has learnt to bring gifts (which are already packed and he has no idea about what is in there) and other procedures typical of such events. He is most fond of the return gifts that he gets at the end of the party, so much so that he would like to end the party as soon as he reaches the venue.  

handmade

Choosing gifts for little people is a much more complicated task if someone wants to give it a thought. Well, there are not many options besides toys, and there are times when one tends to think beyond toys, especially when likes and taste of people at the receiving end are also well known. Things can also be planned well in advance for people who are enthusiastic about it so that they never let you forget such an important date. So when such a friend and a neighbor had her son's birthday coming up, I straightaway asked her if she would like to receive custom made lunch towels like these (Made for Coco when he first started going to playschool,) as a birthday gift for her little gentleman:

hand made

She replied with a chirpy yes and I set myself to work. I was planning to make a set of two linen napkins with the kid's name simply embroidered on them. But that would be simply copying, even if it is copying my own work. With every new project, I ought to bring in something new. I thought of adding his favorite cartoon character on the napkins then and asked her which character would it be. I was thinking about Doraemon or Chhota Bheem but was almost shocked to know that it was Peppa The Pig, shocked because I didn't know there was such a cartoon character. I came home and researched a little on the internet and indeedy! There is not only Peppa, there is a whole pig family which I didn't know about. I found the pattern and started making it. I was doubly shocked when Coco exclaimed, 'Mommy... it's Peppa!' Oh! So I am an oldie. Pigs are in! And all the smart little people know them.

hand embroidered

 I overcame my shock soon because the pig came up adorably. When I sent my friend a little snapshot of the pig, she declared, 'I will get it framed. No way am I going to give this lovely thing to a four-year old to wipe his greasy hands on.' Considering this, I decided to do more embroidery to make this napkin look like a picture. Since Peppa was already done, I had the surrounding areas left, but it required me to try a lot of permutations and combinations because the pig was only meant to be an embellishment originally and hence at an odd place for a frame.

handmade

 Some more research took place and I finalized the above design, decided the fonts and stitches and completed it as soon as I could. Though, my promise of a lunch towel was still not fulfilled and only a framable piece of cloth did not make sense as a birthday gift to me. So, I also embroidered another napkin with the kid's name in red cross stitch letters. Now I had a set of napkins, one for framing, one for actual use. 

custom made embroidery

 While I was working on these, Coco kept me entertained by asking all kinds of questions about them. 'Mumma, why are you making this? Who are you making it for? Is it for me? I like George pig more, so please make George pig for me!'

'Who is this George pig now?' I wondered and Coco promptly told me everything about them. I also saw a few episodes of 'Peppa Pig' series on TV and it helped me overcome my ignorance. Mighty big pigs, driving cars and learning ballet! 

handmade

To round everything up, I made Pink Pitari's signature pompom tie and neatly stacked the two napkins, tying them with it. Packed together with a chocolate box, these made a good gift, making both mommy and her little gentleman happy. That was what I was precisely aiming for. Mission accomplished!

handmade candle

By the way, these ties are exclusively made by me for Swati from 'BloomingBluess' who uses these in her rainbow candles. Go, visit her page now which is a collection of colourful handmade home decor items. Feed your eyes some more candy. It is good for them!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

I Like To Move It, Move It!


Hello from another corner of our incredible country!

Yes, we did it again.. I mean shifting to another station. Though, last time, we moved to a place that is famous for its scenic beauty and cool climate. This time, we are braving the scorching heat in a crowded city of North India. However, like all feisty army wives, I have made my peace with this place and already liking the fact that for the first time in so many years, I will be living in the heart of a bustling town, with markets and malls in close vicinity. You win some, you lose some.


In contemplative moments, I compare my life to a snail who carries her home on her back. The news that I just delivered in a sentence has a deep impact on all our lives. While Coco is enjoying an extended summer break, I have taken a break from my incessant crafting and Coco's father has his own gazillion things to chalk out. In the next few months, we will gradually settle in this new place, find a new school, meet new people and make new goals. But today, as I was going through my photo albums, I found images captured towards the end of our previous tenure and thought of sharing them here.


1. Missing the green views of tea gardens sprawled about us, covering the blue hills like plush quilts.



2. Remembering how the clouds tumbled down the adjoining hills to the lush green grass of the golf course, amid a pleasant drizzle.


3. Wish I could again have a window in my home that showed me the above view, of clouds surfing deep down the valley beneath the hill on which my home was, while I sipped my ultra delicious lemon-black pepper tea. Ahhh! Those were the days..


4. Also close to my heart are the many intermittent 3 day breaks during the year gone by when we explored South India. The picture above was taken at Dhanushkodi where Coco enjoyed playing in the sand and splashing in sea-water to his heart's content. Fun fact about this pic: He is standing at the land's end with his face towards Sri-Lanka. 
   

5. There is almost no chance that I can witness the sun setting beyond the hills of Ooty from my home again.


6. Holed up in a guest house during long summer days, while all my craft supplies are packed away in trunks along with the rest of my household things, all I dream of these days is how I will dance with joy when I will access them again. I can also be found watching entire seasons of  old comedy series (repeating for 10th time probably), sleeping for hours and lost in crafty dreams. 


7. A lot of those crafty daydreams include the plans of how I will make a neat and cozy space for my crafts in my new home. However these plans are highly dependent on what kind of house do we get and when. Above is a shot of the tiny corner where I sat and made some of my jewellery. Cute, isn't it?


8. One of the best things that we as a family experienced and loved here is the Nilgiri Mountain Railway aka the toy train that courses through the hills amid sprawling green tea gardens. The trips were planned to please Coco, though, it must be clear that we enjoyed it with equal joy, our hearts springing with each new wonderful view as we watched left and right.


9. While the entire tenure was about scenic beauty, picnics, outdoor barbecues and hikes, this particular bike ride-cum-hike to Pristine Valley near Ooty was a memorable one. It was fun, beautiful, adventurous, dangerous and tiresome, all at the same time, with Coco's father throwing his phone in the water for the umpteenth time, an incident that will be the told and retold for years henceforth, each time increasing in comical value.


10. Memories of blue hills can never be complete without missing each of my friends that I made here, and I made friends by dozens. A very small number considering the fact that the hills housed almost 400 of us. Here, some of them are seen pondering over deep questions that I threw at them. Don't go by this picture, each one of them is quite a fireball by herself. This morning of potluck breakfast and a mean game of Housie is etched in each of our memories. High five girls!


Obviously I am missing all this and much more, I am also looking forward to the days, months and years we are about to spend in this happening new place. A move is something that I am always okay with because this is one of the many things that I love about being an army wife. It keeps me engaged and interested, with ever changing scenes and scenarios. After all, change is the only constant in life, ain't it?!  

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Picking Up Threads



Hello wonderful people,
After months of absence, I am back to blogland. No matter what I do, it never leaves my mind and always pulls me back. Whether I am mommying, crafting or holidaying, I always click pictures suitable to go on here. 

So, when Coco and his best friend (Let's call him Guru) came back from fancy dress competition in school and presented themselves for a photoshoot, I clicked a few shots to show to you. In the above picture, Coco is dressed as a pineapple and Guru as a traffic signal, because they insisted on being dressed so. Coco and Guru spend a lot of time together at school and home, eating and playing together, sometimes falling asleep in each other's home. They even exchange clothes when certain needs arise. Hence, Coco and Guru are true 'Chuddy Buddies'.


Meanwhile, life in Nilgiris is running fast paced. Dozens of things to do divide my time into such small fragments that I sometimes feel the day should be 48 hours long. So I prioritise my tasks, mostly ignoring housework, taking up the most interesting things first. As it is housework seems to be never ending, one thing leading to another, never leaving you free to pursue your own interests. Sometimes, I literally have to look for little pockets of time to do what I love most, because if I do not do it, my day seems worthless. 
And by now, you must be very well aware that I love crafts. So, after dropping Coco to school, I come back home, put evergreen hits on TV, and sit in front of it with my breakfast and my craft supplies. Then it is only me and my songs and crafts, till it is almost 12 o'clock, when I get ready, prepare lunch and bring Coco from school. In these few hours of the morning, when usually no one disturbs me, I do most of my intense work. 

Though, on days when Coco is at home, the routine is almost the same, only difference being him asking questions at the rate of  a million questions per hour or asking to 'share' some of my stuff. So much for teaching him 'sharing is caring'!   

Between all the mad rush of days, we take out time to explore the lovely hills, tea estates and picnic spots in and around the town. Though I still miss my previous 'forest resort' home in Himalayan foothills, it is apt to say that I am happy here, happy to be close to hills, happy to have a pleasant weather when North is shivering under foggy blankets, happy to see clouds descending down to enter my windows and rushing out the next moment to uncover the bright green tea gardens.  

The knowledge that the tenure at this lovely place is ending, and soon we will leave the salubrious climes to settle in some dusty industrial town, is also a reason why my affection with Nilgiris is growing, making me want to stay longer and absorb the beautiful feeling of being in the Nilgiris as much as possible.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Snippets

Time is speeding these days in Cocoville. The lazy woman is literally juggling a multitude of activities and loving it all! Add the festive season to the scene and watch her going crazy multitasking. 
1. Celebrating the wintry festivals which arrive like a train, beginning way back at Dussehra and going on till Makar Sankranti in January. To us, festive season also means all our birthdays and anniversaries. Both Coco and 'Bringing Up Coco' became 4 year olds, one a naughty preschooler and the other a creative outlet, both of them bringing oodles of happiness to me.
2. Going dizzy receiving orders at 'Pink Pitari', making stuff and delivering them. It is hugely satisfying to watch my craft dream grow. 
3. Creating marvels like 'Chinese Chilli Idli', an absolute makeover of these desi delicacies into something unrecognizable. These turned out well.
4. Receiving such pictures from delighted customers and feeling great that my absolutely rustic work is actually finding place into people's nicely decorated living rooms.  

 5. Doing Zumba, getting fitter by the day and enjoying the company of amazing army wives full of energy, inspiration and good vibes. Seen above is my incredibly motivated and awesome Zumba instructor who by the way is also an army wife. 
6. Completing craft courses one after another and crafting to my heart's content. This place has a dedicated hobby centre and most of us are making the most of it. Last week it was candle making which I did with a close friend and we totally rocked at it. Before candles, it was decoupage and mural art is lined up to be the next. Not only did we make all the candles in the course package, we also shared a lot of new ideas from the internet and the very talented instructor herself learned a thing or two from our brainstorming! She is a local woman who does not have much access to the internet for ideas, learning new skills or selling her handmade stuff, but she still has a room full of amazing crafts, a lot of which has been picked from army wives like us during instructing them, I think. The above candle is one of almost a dozen candles and all those flowers are handmade with wax. Reminds me of my wild roses!

7. Learning to take good pictures with my new digital camera, highly inspired by the friend who did 'Pink Pitari's' first photo shoot. In the above picture, I have tried to go artsy by using one of my candles as a flower vase. I hope to learn soon!

8. Exploring an amazing craft outlet in the neighborhood and amazed to find great stuff and superb yarns in a place where it is difficult to find even the basic craft supplies. Bought a few supplies and made a wishlist of the gorgeous yarns that Pony craft store have at their factory outlet in the Nilgiris.

9. Visiting beautiful places and getting lost in the amazement. Visited a tea factory last month and saw the journey of teeny tiny tea leaves from gardens to tea cups. Truly mesmerizing...

10. Meeting talented army wives and getting surprised to find that there are many like me. This Diwali, I made these two handmade purchases, a paper lamp by an army wife who is also a Madhubani painter and sells her work through Facebook; and a tea-light holder candle, also by an army wife who shared my stall and goes by the name Candle CRAFT on Facebook. Not only this, my surroundings are buzzing with creative energy from other entrepreneurs like chocolatiers, bakers, painters... you name it, I have them here!

Monday, 31 October 2016

A 'Pitari' Full Of Happiness!

Hello wonderful people. After many weeks of busy crafting and quiet on the blog, I am finally back. And I have loads of news to deliver here. Let''s begin from the beginning..


Somewhere in the middle of August, I became fascinated with beads and my crafty mind could not rest after that. My sister brought me a little bagful of craft goodies from Bangalore and I found a few necessary supplies online. Even before the crafting for old age home ended (which is described in my last blog post), I had gathered quite a lot of jewelry making supplies and I was raring to have a go at them. I have never ever made jewelry except a pair of quilled earrings for a friend a couple of years ago. So, this kind of craft was new to me and hence full of exciting possibilities. 

The pair shown in above picture is my first pair, awkward but cute, and only I know how proud I felt after completing this. Back then, my bead supply was very limited and I could combine those wooden beads and metal spacers after a lot of thoughts, afterthoughts, hesitation and plain old frustration. My sister instantly reserved these for herself, if only out of kindness :)
After a few more near failed attempts at making good looking combinations with my limited beads, I ordered some more and after they arrived, I went into a reclusive living and except for basic household chores and pressing social needs, I spent all my waking hours and minutes to the fullest in making these bead earrings till my supplies exhausted. It was a sweet moment for me when one of my friends actually bought one of these pairs. Then went another pair and a couple more. I was delighted that people actually wanted to wear something I made.
Meanwhile, I heard about the upcoming Diwali mela and that anyone could put up a stall. Till now, I was making stuff with no specific use in mind. This information gave me a sense of direction and I immediately booked half a stall for exhibiting and selling my jewelry.


During this time my phone camera not working well was a major spoiler. I love taking pictures at different stages and later looking at them and sharing here. Using phone camera makes everything so quick and easy. When I thought of charging my long-out-of-use point-and-shoot camera, I found that Coco had poured a glass of water inside the drawer where its charger were kept :(
Anyway, I managed to dry up the camera charger and clicked a few pics to share on my Instagram. After this photoshoot, as I was again waiting for more beads and supplies to arrive, I could not keep my hands off of a gazillion packs of sweet colorful quilling strips which I had bought for no specific purpose.
I started making quilled earrings and became addicted to it. In about a week or so, I had made all sorts of jhumkis and danglers, all set to dazzle the show. By the due date, I had made one hundred and ten pairs of earrings, a showstopper necklace and a couple of handbag charms. My friends suggested me that I should make pom-pom jewelry because they are the most in thing nowadays. So I tried hard to find pom-poms in the local markets and ended up making my own pom-poms. 
I added pom-poms to my quilled jewelry and this was not only a novel idea, it also helped me create some of my most beautiful pieces out of ordinary quilled ones. Though, I was already challenged in photography section this time around and could not click pictures of my most beautiful pairs. Thankfully, a friend offered to do a photoshoot of my best pieces for promotion of the stall and the result was these stunning pictures which are the talk of the town nowadays here.

I have always loved crafting more than anything. During all those busy days, I realized that I could do it all the time and could not live without it. So it only made sense that I should sell my crafts so that I can continue making them. The stall seemed a great opportunity to launch a facebook page with a cool name for selling my crafts. After a lot of brainstorming with my sister and my friends, I finalized the name 'Pink Pitari' for my craft shop. I created a page and printed out little cards to be attached to the 'shagun potlis' in which my earrings were to be packaged. 

The night before the show, I was so excited, I could not sleep, though I had planned to sleep early. So I tiptoed to my craft table in the dead of the night and made a few more charms. The next day was and amazing day which went by as if clouds were floating around me. Ladies thronged my stall and at times I was overwhelmed with the crowd, totally lost at the great response that my quilled earrings were getting. The first piece that I sold was a handbag charm that I had made the night before. The quilled-pompom earrings were the first ones to vanish and all the festive peacock/flower earrings and chandbalis became extinct soon. They sold out so fast that I had practically nothing left in quilled ones post lunch.  
By closing time, I had covered all my costs, with only 5-6 pairs of quilled earrings and almost half of my beaded pairs unsold. I am nowadays getting many queries and orders too, through friends, neighbors and social media, because a lot of people actually missed the awesome designs that they saw in my promotional poster.
..and just like that begins my new venture, 'Pink Pitari'. Three cheers! 

I plan to start selling through my facebook page soon. Please do visit and let me know your valuable thoughts.