Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Little Miss Pinky!

The lazy woman has got rather active hands which do not like to stay still even during her laziest lounging-in-the-sun sessions. She is also constantly on the lookout for interesting new projects. Knitting for fashionable little girls figures very high in her list of interesting projects. So, when she heard a very good news of the long awaited arrival of a baby girl in one of her husbands' senior colleague's home, she shed a few tears of joy right there in her bean bag and then it was all cheer and laughter at the prospect of yarn shopping for a new project in Coco-land.
All the internet was rinsed thoroughly for the cutest available pattern and I settled for this pair of booties. Then the hunt for a matching hat began and was met with success a short while later. A pattern for sweater was also searched for, but after a lot of search generated not much, I decided to make a simple front open sweater knitted from neck downwards, and make it a little wider at the base to make it look fashionable and not boxy. 
I am not happy with the yarn that we get in Indian markets, whether for babies or in general. I do not find the colors or the texture attractive but have to make do with whatever is available. I went to the market and with great difficulty and little inputs from Coco's dad (which rather confused me) chose baby pink and purple in Vardhman's Baby Soft. 
The booties were ready quickly and so was the hat. The sweater stayed rather neglected and was knitted in many installments as a result of lazy woman's busy social calendar in December. It was lying in my closet for at least two weeks under piles of sarees from the Putti Parade that I mentioned in the previous post. Finally, when I realized that winter will be over and the baby will grow big before the sweater is finished and delivered, I hurried up and finished making it and decorating it with little crocheted flowers, after a lot of brainwaves about buttons and ribbons and what-nots. 
After everything was ready, it was duly taken out to the lawn for a photo shoot and at least a hundred pictures were clicked before pack up. Meanwhile I stared at the lovely set and drooled at all the cuteness a lot. I promised myself to keep making such sweet little things every once in a while to keep in touch with my love for cute little things. With a lot of love and care, I packed the entire set in the same plastic clear jar in which the yarn came, and mailed it the next day.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Happiness Galore!

The last few months have been crazily busy. I reminded myself almost daily to come here and write something, post new pictures, dole out news, but as they say...lazy peeps are never short of excuses. So, here we are again, half past December, in my favorite season of the year, on my favorite place on earth, sunning my lazy self on my bean bag, my hands full with knitting and cups of tea keep coming to keep me in a pleasant mood. 

It has been so many days since I dropped the threads that I am very confused as to where should I begin, what should I tell you first about? The Good news or the better one? Or better still, the best one? Haha, lets begin from somewhere, in chronological order. First of all, the trio here in Coco land celebrated all their birthdays and anniversaries etc, and this blog also became three years old. 

As we happily celebrated three birthdays and an anniversary in the past few months, the thing I was most worried about was the imminent posting due this month. I was not worried about packing or logistics. I was only worried that I would miss  the pleasant winter sun and lovely days of lazing on the lawn. Someone up there heard my prayers and gave us a rare second chance, that is, an extension. Coco's dad cleared the big exam that he was studying for and that is the reason behind this extended stay in the pleasant lap of Himalayas. However, we are also happy that his torturous long hours of studying are now behind us. But the extent of my happiness at this extension can be understood by those few people who have spent some time with me in that divine sun.

Meanwhile, being an army wife, I was also engaged in various social events that occur seasonally. Crazy days of 'Putti Parade'* in sarees happened. Additionally, festivals, parties, arrival of guests, Coco's school, short days of winter and my laziness, everything happened at once. And I forgot to deliver a great piece of news. Bringing Up Coco's entry 'Glee, Thy Name Is Tea' won the second prize in Blogadda's 'Ready for rewards' activity.  A few thousands worth of e-gift vouchers and a lot of happiness. Online shopping is trending nowadays in Cocoville.

Wait, that's not all! I have one more exciting news to share. Yours truly is now on her way to becoming a published author with her short story getting published in the upcoming anthology 'Colors: Shades of Life'. You will definitely be kept posted on this. This one is dedicated to you. Yes, you, the reader, who come here, read my posts and support me immensely. Without your support, all my stories would have stayed within me. So, yes, this one is definitely your doing. And I cannot thank you enough for this. 

PS: I love hearing from you, be it personally or through social media. I would love it even more if you comment here on my blog. Your valuable words will stay with me forever that way. Staying occupied with Coco and too much lazing in the sun has affected my memory, and I do not always remember what you said.

*Putti Parade is a type of punishment given to cadets in which they have to wear all their uniforms one by one and parade in front of the punishing authority, within an impossibly short span. And trust me, I tried unsuccessfully to count the number of uniforms that these people have! 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Coco's One Liners

Papa: Who is this?
Coco: Galfend.

When Coco was born, I could not wait for him to grow up and start talking to me. Now that he is in that 'natkhat' phase, he keeps us well fed on a generous dose of his cute banter, often funny, sometimes hilarious, and his candid, spontaneous remarks often leave me in splits of laughter. Though, the fact that such conversation usually takes place when no one else is around to laugh with me takes a lot of fun out of it. Later, when I reproduce the incidents to his father, grandparents or his aunts and uncles, it is only half of the hilarity, coming from a grown up, who is herself laughing uncontrollably, the words barely making sense.  

Coco dressed as lord Hanuman during Dussehra celebrations at his school
My mother used the word 'bhakau' to scare me to sleep when I was small, though I hardly ever got scared. Coco's dad heard it from me and tried to use the same word for Coco. Now, Coco being my true son, never really got scared, and his dad had to bring in the next big scary thing 'mota bhakau' into picture, which was mildly effective. It was an intense sadistic pleasure to find a friend who used to say that we should not scare the child, coming to terms and using 'mota bhakau' to control Coco's naughtiness, though it barely helped. 

Now, last week Coco had cough and cold, and we went to see the doctor where he saw a little kid his age, and said, 'hello fend, how aa you?' The kid went on, not paying much attention and Coco spotted his mother following him, covered in a burka from head to toe. Coco's jaw fell as he watched her move, his head rotating in sync with her movement from left to right, and after observing her thoroughly, he concluded, 'Mommy, see, bhakau aunty!' I had no place to hide, and I laughed out loud in a room full of waiting patients.

(Spelling mistakes in Coco's lines are intentional. They are written as he speaks. His grammar is hilarious too!) 

Monday, 19 October 2015

In The Land Of Bond, Ruskin Bond!

Coco never ventures out without his fleet of little cars, and he never leaves a place without getting us to buy more cars. It was quite usual for us as we ended up buying this pack of six vehicles at the mall road, Mussoorie. Last weekend we visited the queen of hills and stayed overnight. In the evening, after we reached our place to stay, we refreshed and went ahead for a long and leisurely stroll on the mall, where the above mentioned shopping for cars took place.

 As far as I remember, I have always loved hills. They have their own smell, their own charm and they never fail to mesmerize me. It is quite another story with Coco and his dad who get motion sickness during curvy hilly drives. His dad though, remains fine when he is driving the vehicle, but the child in my arms constantly threatens to throw up, which is quite a spoiler for my love of hills. In any case, before we move out of this place which overlooks Mussoorie, I wanted to visit Mussoorie in a relaxed manner and not for only a few hours like we did earlier at many occasions. So we planned a weekend at Mussoorie which is a 30 km drive from our home and set sail. 

It was gaiety and gala as usual on mall road, and as we neared Cambridge book store at the far end, I suddenly remembered it was Saturday, the day of the week when Mussoorie's very own celebrated author Ruskin Bond comes and meets his fans. I felt a rushing sensation that I get when I am excited and proceeded to enter the bookstore. But my hopes died down as I glanced up and down the aisles of an empty bookstore, except for a single salesman and the owner on the counter. 
We stayed for some time, looking at books, not courageous enough to ask anyone, and as a few other people also arrived, we gradually came to know that Mr Bond comes between 3 pm to 5 30 pm or so. Oh, if only I had known! At 5, I was happily chatting away with a senior couple at our guest house over steaming cups of tea, overlooking a deep gorge. Anyways, the very courteous owner at the bookstore allowed me to click a few pictures of the store. I was also extremely happy to find that they keep scores of signed books by Mr Bond for sale. At least! 
So we bought a few story books for Coco, and one signed book of Ruskin Bond, and very grudgingly exited the store. The enthusiasm with which people were talking about Mr Bond, the excitement about his books and the fanfare were all testimonies to his great work. I was a little crestfallen at not being able to see him, even when I had the opportunity, and I wished him a long and happy life, out of sheer fan-love.
Aww, so much love! Later, I gazed at the signature for a  a few minutes, before falling asleep beneath a cozy comforter in the chilly Mussoorie night.

After the bookstore, our next stop was Kalsang, the favorite Thai-Chinese food joint of the foodie tourists, where we beat the chill in style, with spicy lip smacking food. After having our fill, we strolled on the mall road for a while where Coco caught the fancy of a group of bubbly and noisy young people, among many others, as it always happens wherever we go. So he had a long round of photo shoot with these boys and girls. Sensing the presence of too much energy to deal with, Coco's father left the pram and watched as we all clicked away.   
We returned to our nightly abode after an ice-cream (I know, in the chilly weather!) and a couple of strolls on the mall road. Though I was tired by now, and sleepy, I read quite a few pages from my newly acquired book and fell asleep dreaming of adorable hill ghosts, Bond style... 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Ambitious Rooster's Secret

This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton 56; the fifty-sixth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. 

Jumpy was an ambitious rooster who lived on a huge farm, with various other animals. Though he lived with them, he never considered them of any importance, since Jumpy was ambitious, you see.

The tall, handsome rooster with lovely multiple coloured feathers and a bright red comb took pride in his being ambitious and a cut above the rest. The cows fed on grass all day and were milked twice, the sheep were for wool, the chickens were for eggs and the pigs were for meat. But Jumpy had an important job to do, which was to wake everyone up, so that they could begin working. Thus, he was full of self importance and pride. His only friend on the farm was master's dog, because the dog had a high status, like him, or so he thought.

Now, we must also know why he was ambitious. While the cows grazed all day and the pigs rolled in mud, and everyone else just went about their day as they were meant to, Jumpy had some dreams. Everyday, he saw the sun coming up in the sky, the clouds travelling here and there, and birds flying, the eagles chasing pigeons and the flocks of migratory birds doing their seasonal movements. He imagined he could fly in the vast, open sky some day. Every time, he looked up and remembered his dream, he would be giddy with happiness and pride and go jumping all over the farm.

'If only they knew,' he thought secretly, 'that there is a life beyond this farm, and there is so much to do, but they do not know, and they cannot even think like me. they have no imagination and no ambition. Stupid animals!' 

Though Jumpy was snobbish and unfriendly to the other animals, the animals loved him. He was their rockstar. They were in awe of him, and they talked of him in hushed tones, praising his sophisticated mannerisms, his handsome physique and his charismatic personality. The cows wanted to cock-a-doodle-do like him, but only a 'moo' came out whenever they tried to imitate their worshipped hero. The sheep wanted to get rid of all the unsightly, dusty wool and to have lovely multi coloured slender feathers like him. All the hens wanted to be with him and sighed with desire upon seeing him. The pigs desired to have a bright red comb like Jumpy, and rolled in muddy swamps to hide their embarrassing looks. While Jumpy, basking in the glory of his own aura and mystery, knew very well that he was the handsomest creature on the farm, and walked tall with conceit, his chest puffed in self-admiration.

Once, thinking about his flying dream, Jumpy could not sleep all night and dozed off in the wee hours of the morning. As a result, he could not give his wake up call and the animals woke up late. To their dismay, they saw Jumpy sleeping. They huddled up, worried and sad. Everyone had their own theory for Jumpy's unusual behaviour.

'Probably he has bird flu,' said a worried pig. Pigs know a lot about flu, as we all understand.

'No, that could not be right. Jumpy is the healthiest rooster I have known.' The head-cow opined. She was just back from an animal-rights convention in the capital, which had effectively got beef banned all over the country. 'I think he is sad because no one fights for chickens' rights. It is still being served, and there is no likelihood that it is going to stop in near future.' 

'Oh, I know just what is wrong with him,' chipped in the black sheep, 'I think he is worried that the fasting season is getting to a close and his life  might be in danger. We all must talk to him and assure him.'

'Jumpy is not afraid of such things. Probably he needs a girlfriend, and he will be all right,' said one of the coquettish hens, fluttering her nictitating membrane.

'Woof, what are you all doing here, wasting time? Don't you have work to do?' The dog walked right in the middle of the group. 

'Mr. Dog, we were wondering, what is the secret ailment that is bothering Jumpy. The farm is so lifeless without his energetic cock-a-doodle-do, and his enthusiastic run all over the farm.' said the head-cow.

'Oh, it's no secret. He was up all night, chatting with me about his dreams. Do you know, he is such a revolutionary, he wants to fly, high up in the sky. Though he is a flightless bird, he is a bird nevertheless. You all are his neighbours and still have no idea about his life!' The dog growled. 'Now stop dallying and get to work everyone!'

Everyone nodded. They could not do a lot in any case. So they decided to leave Jumpy alone and went on doing what they did daily. 

A few guests arrived on the farm that day, and as we can easily guess, they had a sumptuous meal of farm fresh chicken curry and hot steamed rice. 

The next morning, as the animals woke up grudgingly, without the wake up call again, they saw  the dog burying something deep in the ground. They decided that they should ask him to talk to Jumpy and convince him to stop this lackadaisical attitude and resume work. They were missing Jumpy too much and were really worried. As they stood in a semi-circle near the dog, he gave them a smile.

'Hey folks, its great news. Jumpy's dream of flying came true. He has left the farm and has gone to fly with the other birds.' Said the dog, slyly, as he covered the last bone with dirt.

The animals, happy for their hero, went on doing what they usually did. Jumpy's secret had become Jumpy's legend on the farm now.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked">here
. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following">Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 04.

Friday, 2 October 2015

August Craftathon: Wrapping Up!

I still have stuff remaining from August that I intended to show here, and that could have taken another two or three posts, but as I realized it is already October, and I am kind of getting tired looking at the same old stuff again and again, I thought of making this as a final post, and posting all the remaining stuff here. Additionally, I want to write about other things also, and that would happen only after I wrap this up. Fancy making stuff in one month and spending the next two months talking about it!
The pic above has the inside of the card, it's envelope and the paper bag, which was described in the last post. The envelope for the card was fashioned out of a card sheet, using the simplest pattern from the internet, as shown below, and was decorated with a few quilled leaves and paper roses like the paper bag. 
The last thing that was reamaining to do was to make a folder to be placed for the chief guest at the ladies meet. Now this was something that I had not done last time (Read about the last time here ). I was given a ready folder to see and find what type of folder was expected. It was made using a simple office folder. I did the same and cut an office folder to size, covered it in handmade papers of my choice front and back and decorated it in my signature style, using hand cut paper flowers, even used the paper lace from last year's card in this one. 
After delivering everything on time, as I was catching my breath, I came to know that two more folders were required. With only a few hours in the main event, I was not left with much choice, and I reached the venue, carrying a bag full of my craft supplies. On the senior most lady's advice, I used the two hand drawn circular backgrounds (from this post) and scribbled some more on the empty spaces of the two sheets, while all the other ladies were decorating the place. Then these two doodled A4 sheets were hurriedly pasted on two plain office folders and voila! We had everything ready.  
 While the main circular sheet became a green grassy field with giant leafy plants in the centre, the doodle for special personalized invitation got a colony of pretty little houses on a elevated ground, with a red fence. I would personally love to live in a cottage on a hill, and I guess that reflected in this hurriedly drawn doodle, because tiny cozy huts and red fencing were all that I could think of on that chaotic day.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

How I Lost It!

There were times when I wondered how it feels to be fat! But since this post is about losing weight, I will not talk about that wonderful time. want to hear about the story where all this weight loss madness began for me. After the magical skinny days were over, my body showed its true colors or to be more precise its true curves.

My tendency to look round is God's gift. I have been trying to keep myself fit since long ago. But my laziness comes in between me and my fitness program. Once upon a time, i.e. long ago, when I started working for the first time, I thought that I should now get out of the student mode and look every inch the professional that I was now. So I kissed my laziness goodbye and devised a fitness plan. But lazy as I was, I did not want to venture out of my home. So I decided to skip rope at home in order to look fit and fine. An easy and sporty way, right? But alas, something somewhere went terribly wrong, probably with my shoes or my technique, and after two days of skipping, a little sharp pain erupted in my left knee. It kept growing and became so intense that I started limping quite noticeably. I was new in office and not many people knew me. When they began knowing me, I was limping more than Langda Tyagi of Omkara. So they came to know me as 'That poor girl' in HR with a limp. 'Tch, tch, she has a pretty face, but poor girl cannot walk.' That's what their pitying eyes told me. And kept telling me so for a good 15-20 days, by when, I was well known in the office, partially due to my seat right next to the main passage where it was clearly visible, and partly due to the limp factor. I had to take medicines and apply various ointments in order to get well, which was not soon. When I had fully recovered, and people who did not see me on a regular basis in the office met me again, they were surprised to no end. My limp going away was nothing short of magic to them, since they had never witnessed such a speedy recovery. However, within six months of staying there, I had lost a lot of weight, due to all the stress and bad food, and my old friends refused to identify me.

Now, after marriage and a kid, I have become much rounder, and heavier, with a stubborn and round belly which loves me so much, it does not leave me. Even then, I never attempt to go beyond my capabilities as I have learnt my lessons early in life. I follow a few basic rules though, that work for laziest of the people:
1. I try to eat regular, healthy food, nothing fried or fatty.
2. I try to keep up my routine of evening walk. It helps.
3. I have learnt to have a single lemon juice once a day, and many glasses of water during the entire day.

Apart from these few things, I never attempt to go for any crash diets or extreme measures. They might help but they cause other problems like headaches or acidity, which is unbearable for me. So, maintaining my current health takes priority over losing any weight. To each, her own!

Friday, 18 September 2015

August Craftathon III

paper bag, handmade paper flowers
After the invitation card fiasco described in the previous post, I was crestfallen, uninspired and cuddled up in my bed while Coco was in school, when the senior most lady of the battalion called to inform me that we would have to deliver the card personally, and therefore in style. It is not a great idea for three people to visit the chief guest and hand over a mere feeble card. So she was planning to buy a paper bag to keep the card in. I volunteered to make a paper bag, and immediately my mood lifted up. After all, all the handmade paper that I had bought in anticipation was finally going to get a chance at being used for the intended purpose. Plus, there was the opportunity of exercising my paper craft muscles in a guided way.
My next stop was internet, to find out how to fold a paper bag. It is wonderful, this internet thing. It really is interesting to observe how we have almost all the knowledge available to us, just in a few clicks. Anyways, I found a suitable pattern and made my bag. I am not sharing any links that I used because paper bag patterns are easily and freely available all over the crafting sites. And, I also forgot the link that I used :)
Then came the most interesting part of making cute paper flowers and leaves and decorating the bag. In order to enjoy this process, I completely disregarded the theme 'rain and smiles,' because that ugly smiling sun was a prime reason in ruining the whole idea of the card. (Read in previous post.) 
I used the same card sheet that I had used for the card, and made strips of pink colored sheet, which I used as ribbons to twist and make these cute roses. After trying various leaf varieties, I finalized decent looking quilled leaves. It reminded me of my lovely rosebushes, probably because of the same size and color of flowers and leaves.
I laid out all the flowers and leaves on one side of the finished paper bag and found a satisfactory layout. Then the layout was roughly outlined with fevicol and the flowers and leaves took their respective places on the rust background of the bag. It was a little difficult to make the stiff paper flowers stick to a soggy background, even more difficult due to their diamond like shape, and they kept rolling away. So I placed a heavy object on top and waited for a few hours.

It was comparatively a lot easier to paste the flat surfaced leaves and after finishing the floral arrangement, I punched holes on the two edges of the bag and inserted wide green satin ribbon handles. They looked okay because they matched with the leaves if nothing else. After finishing the bag, I really loved the look of the bag and proceeded to do my next favorite thing, i.e. click loads of pictures from every possible angle. 
Crafting this felt really good because it looked so pretty and neat at the end. It also kind of resolved my issues with the main invitation card. I think, it will be a great idea to prepare a few bags like this, maybe with less flowers, and using them to deliver gifts. In the army, it is customary to get invited to dinners etc. and we usually carry little gifts for the hosts. I think receiving a gift in this bag will make the host happier. I know, I would love to get a gift like this. Some of my friends ooh-ed and aah-ed and rolled their eyes in mock anger because they want these bags. Soon!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

August Craftathon II

So back in August, when it all began, the preparations for the month's ladies meet, which comes annually to our battalion, I grabbed the job of circular and card making, which was granted to me readily, looking at my past record, and no other contenders looking for this work. I went crazy thinking about all the different things that I could do with paper, sticking to the theme which was Rains and Smiles. I finalized on a pop up box card, and tried to make a rough sample of the card, which is photographed above.

Though this rough draft was way better than the skeletal draft that I had shown as an example for the last year's card (an explosion box card with quilling details), it was way too little charming to see, and as expected, it was not received with as much enthusiasm as its predecessor, and I was asked to make a simple card. Though I was not very happy with that idea, I gave it some thought and found lots of card designs on Pinterest themed on raindrops and rainbows. All I had to do was incorporate some smileys and voila!

Shopping from the craft store is a favorite part of crafting for me. I generally end up buying stuff which has no use whatsoever, like any crafter true to her craft. Basically I am a hoarder of craft supplies. This time too, I bought different color card sheets and handmade paper. The theme was such that it had great scope of using all the colors. So, I happily snipped a few colored strips for a rainbow which neither had seven colors, nor true rainbow colors. But hey, there is no right or wrong when it comes to art! (quoting Mickey Mouse) 

I chose a blue sheet for the main body of the card, because you see, rainbows appear in the azure sky :D. A few dots and dashes with poster color and the appearance of the rainbow stripes began to look closely associated with funny-kiddy smileys. 

After the rainbow-y strips of painted paper were fixed in their respective places, all I had to add was some clouds cut out of white chart paper and a yellow smiling sun. That's all, and the work was mostly done. Then I got the doodled circular and the invite from the previous post printed and pasted them inside the card. This entire process was not difficult or time consuming, it was not interesting either. Compared to the last year's beautiful quilled box card, this looked boring and my creative itch kept itching. Anyhow, I decided to share it on my blog.  

Next Post: August Craftathon continued, with better paper craft, promise!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

August Craftathon

It was again that time of the year for me, when I go working enthusiastically doing 'paperwork', i.e. an excuse to execute my artsy-craftsy fantasies in the real world. Remember this post from last August? While I found it hard to pull my attention away from my itchy fingers to update my blog amid all the work, I think it is high time now that I come here, before seasons change, which happens with me often; and before all the pictures that I took during these craft sessions get buried deep down in the crowd of other such data. This August was full of art and craft and void of blogging. But here and in a few upcoming posts, I am thinking of summing up what all I did. The above is a picture of a Ladies Meet circular background that I doodled on an A4 sheet with colored pens while on school run, remember this?

It was mostly done while I was waiting outside Coco's school in the car, when he was in the school for only an hour in the initial days. The completed background was then photographed, and the resulting image was then edited online to create the circular, which was written by yours truly, like a weather forecast, keeping in mind the theme for the meet, which was 'Rain and smiles.'

After the circular was done, some cards were required to be sent to senior ladies. The miniature copy of the colorful circular pasted to one side of the card rendered the plain white background of the other side looking too dull. Moreover, we needed to write the invitation on that side too. So to create a matching background for their personalized invitation, I set out doodling some more...
Although it was done hastily, and had more white space, it turned out looking pretty similar to the circular background. It lacked smileys, but it had a good amount of dark clouds and rain. 

And then, this sheet was again subjected to the same treatment of clicking-editing-printing, edited five or six times for different names, and the following was the overall look of the personal invitations. So, our ready made cards were having the custom size printouts of  these two images pasted on both the sides on the inside. 

Coming up posts: The card, envelope and paper bag for delivering this invitation.