Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Butterfly Sampler


Its Day-3. Here is one more butterfly.
It is Kundans again. This time I have used leaf like yellow Kundans for wings. But this time I wanted my butterfly to be in some action. Its bent. I should have added a flower there. But then I thought against it. I also did not want to add its legs.
I have not stitched them yet. I have glued using fabric glue. I will secure them with thread later on.
Here is a closer look.

How do you like it?  Let me know please.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Butterfly Sampler


My head is teaming with so many possibilities and ideas of what material to be used or what stitches to be explored and so on. I need to jot them down- but I am so lazy. This is only Day-2. Here is another butterfly. Again Acrylic kundans. Hope you like it.

I have used different shapes of Kundans. I have also used whipped stem stitch for its feelers.
I have used knot stitch for its eyes.

Hope you have liked this. More to come. Keep an eye on my blog.......

Monday, June 28, 2010

Butterfly Sampler

Day 1 a child I was fascinated by them. I am still fascinated. They are colourful and when ever I see one,  I feel so happy. They bring out the child in me. So I have been doodling a lot of butterflies. Sketching, painting...but did not save any. Suddenly the other day I felt why not do a sampler on Butterflies?  I just want to see how many varieties of media, or stitches or material I can use in creating them in different shapes, sizes colours......I am not sure how many I can create. So lets us see. Shall we?
Starting from today I will post one on each day (hopefully-I cannot promise) and see how many I can create. So here it is 
These are made of acrylic and available in many colours and also sizes.
Here is a closer look. We can just glue it or attach them through the two holes provided. I have stitched them. It was difficult to photograph them as they were reflecting light.

This was Day watch my blog for Day 2....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Monsoon in my Garden

The onset of rains has revived my garden. My plants are slowly recovering from the harsh summer heat. here are the signs.

This is the yellow Hibiscus. It flowers very rarely and the plant also does not grow fast like others of its family. After the first rains, it flowered. My joy knew no bounds. Just the other day I scolded her saying she is not flowering properly :).
 Here are the Cherry flowers. 
I have two Cherry plants both in pots. Hope they fruit this year. Last year too they flowered but no fruits. But these flowers look different from those I checked up on net. I hope they turn out to be cherries. Any way I am training them for BONSAI.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cane Products

Cane belongs to grass family like Bamboo. It is tall grass, perennial with woody but flexible stalks and grows in wet soils. The word Cane is supposed to have derived from Hebrew"qanah" meaning reed. 

Cane has been in use since ancient times. It is used for making furniture, walking sticks, boats, roofing and baskets.Cane is natural product, light weight, comfortable, aesthetic. It is strong yet easily bends. That is why cane furniture and baskets are so popular. 

I have come across some lovely trays and picnic baskets. But they were quite costly. I have bought some trays and some containers for flower arrangements from time to time. However in this post I am showing you a very unique container made of cane. I bought it just yesterday. This is so lovely, in the shape of a Swan. I could not resist it.
 This is how it looks.
See its beak and its tail.
See the weave.
There is a lid. See the space inside.
You can fasten the lid.
This is the base to give it balance.

I think this can be used to store small jewellery, cosmetics or as a bread basket or for any such thing. What do you say? Any ideas how this can be used?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Embroidered Sari from Bengal

I wanted to share with you this sari, which was bought for me by my friend. She is from a village in West Bengal. So when ever she visits her native place, she visits Kolkata (earlier known as Calcutta) where some of her relatives stay. She usually brings many saris, dress materials and accessories etc from there for all of us and I bought this from her.

I love cotton saris. This one is baby pink coloured  fine cotton sari embroidered with blue and green cotton threads. The fabric looks like organza. The threads are coarse and looks like dyed ones. All through Satin stitch has been used. You can see how beautifully the artisans from Bengal have embroidered the sari. Mind you, the embroidery is not perfectly done, yet it is beautiful.

 This the border of the sari. Simple vine with blue and green threads.
Another view of the border. The sari has borders both at the top (only the portion where it is visible) and at the bottom.
The small flowers  known as booties cover the entire sari.
This is the pallu heavily embroidered.
The vines have been embroidered accross the pallu.
A closer look.
In the corners of the pallu this design has been embroidered.

I love this sari because of its baby pink colour and good combination of the colours used.  It is simple yet attractive. But it is a bit difficult to maintain, because one has to starch it and then ironing requires more heat. This may result in fading of the colours with repeated washing and ironing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010



I have so much to catch up. week after week it is piling up.

Though I have completed some stitches, I need to photograph them and post them.....I am always the late Kate?

I also need to experiment with many stitches of TAST. I have become lazy now....I will do it some how...I need to ......

Indian Monsoons

Monsoon Time
It is Monsoon time here. At last ! we are having rains, when all of across the country had to face severe heat this time. The temperatures were more than the previous years. Of course this was mostly due to our careless attitude towards our environment-felling of trees, encroaching lands and illegal constructions and many more such things. Every one thinks what he has done is very little. But that very little adds up to a lot. People like us who follow the mandatory rules while constructing houses, maintaining greenery, and water soaking pits are rare as Dodos. 

I have a very small patch of land where me and my mom do our best to cram in as much vegetation as possible. We work hard, all our spare time, money and energy go into it. Oh! the fruits of labour are always sweet-when we sit back and enjoy the little visitors like the birds, insects, monkeys when they visit our garden. We feel so proud that at least we are able to provide them with little shelter and some food.
But boy! it is very difficult in summer months to maintain them with the problems we are facing due to paucity of water. We store the water used for washing clothes and filter it and use in our garden. The funny part is even when we want to spare some money and buy water it is difficult. So Money cannot buy everything. 

Any way our woes are gone now with the onset of rains.

If Indian Summers are Heat and dust, our Monsoons are humid, cool and down pours. If it rains heavily even for an hour, most of our roads and some of the residential areas are water logged. There are traffic jams and public transport is not so easily available. Our roads go from bad to worse and become very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous to travel. Now walking in the rain is fun. As a child I had many excuses to get wet in the rains. But walking on the roads and getting splashed by the mud is some other thing. LOL! Mothers have a tough time dealing with mud stains on childrens uniforms. In villages and towns one has no other go but to walk on the muddy roads and slippery slush. So choosing proper footwear and umbrellas or rain coats is necessary. 

But still Indian Monsoons are time to celebrate. India being a Country of Villages, our rural folk wait for it eagerly. Farmers till their lands, manure it and keep ready for the rains. Our cattle get green fodder only after proper rainfall. The Monsoon starts from June 1st and continue till September. The Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, the mighty Himalayas, the Western Ghats-all these help in bringing us the Monsoons. Around 80% of our rainfall is dependant on these Monsoons. Monsoons strike Andaman and Nicobar Islands first and then The State of Kerala. Kerala receives highest rainfall in South India. South Indian States also receive rains till December-January due to retreating monsoons.

Nearly 70% of our population being rural depend on agriculture and its subsidiary industries. Most of our rivers especially the ones in South India like The Godavari, Krishna Cauvery etc are all rain fed. North Indian rivers, like the Ganga, Yamuna etc originate from the Himalayas are snow fed during summer and rain fed during Monsoons. Our agriculture cultivating, rice, cotton, tobacco, oil seed, sugar cane and pulses etc are dependent on rains. 

Late on set of Monsoons, or untimely rains, or storms and typhoons do damage our agriculture to such an extent that our farmers are not sure till they can harvest and reap their crop. Many a time they lose it either at the time of harvesting or even after a harvest if the rains strike suddenly. So Monsoons can either make or mar our economy.
Crisp fried Vadiyaalu
Roasted or fried  Poppadoms 

What I love about the Monsoons and rains is that, it is cloudy sky, cool temperatures. We love to eat hot spicy Samosas, crisp vadiyaalu, Bajjis(vegetable fritters) and Pakodis (Onion Fritters) and other spicy food with hot tea or coffee. 

It also brings joy to my plants-more flowers and fruits. You know the green colour in the leaves after first few rains is something no amount of watering can achieve. It is the time we re pot, plant new ones and improve our garden. 
Hot N spicy Tea.-I don't much like the tea bag variety though. I love the usual Indian Chai brewed traditionally. How it is done I am going to do a post in mu other blog on Food.

The months of Ashadha, Sravana, Bhadrapada, bring us many festivals to celebrate. Which I will post as we celebrate. 

More to come on Monsoons....Keep a watch on my blog

This post to dedicated to Sigrid and family who like to learn more about India and Indian life style and have motivated me to write this post.... Thank you Sigrid.


Lotus Rangoli-3

Here is one more design on Lotus
This is how a single Lotus is drawn using 3,2,1 dots. You can use this single lotus where there is lack of space or time.
This is a very simple design. using the single Lotus motif. I am working on more designs. Will post soon.
Closer look.

I will post more designs shortly. Keep a watch on my blog......

Bangles-New additions to my Jewellery

These are some new additions to my Jewellery-Bangles. I love stone bangles because they don't loose their shine for a long time and they are never out of fashion. With matching stone ear rings and other accessories, they will look good with any dress or sari.
These are light blue stones. I have some saris and dresses in this colour.
These are multi coloured stones. these days Multi coloured stones are a rage and go well with any coloured dress. I have  some ear rings and necklaces to match these.
This one I loved the moment I saw it. I love earthy tones of browns and terracotta. Have a sari in dark brown colour. I am working on it. Will soon post. Any way this matches that.
A set of four bangles in multi coloured stones-can be combined with glass bangles to match the dress.
Now here are the bangles made with beads on metal. There some beautiful colours like white, green-Light and dark, Blue-light and dark, red, orange etc. I picked up few colours. They can be combined to match the colour of the dresses or saris.
Green and cream
Orange with cream.This will match this sari.
The cream coloured sari with orange border.
All the three colours together. These match Silk saris with rich Pallus. So I bought them.These can also be combines with glass bangles.

I have this habit of window shopping and when ever I come across something to match my requirement, I buy it. That way I have been building up my collections.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Lotus Rangoli-2

Here is one more Rangoli on Lotus
No of dots: 15 to 1 placed like this;

Will post some more shortly..Working on some unique ones and borders too. Keep a watch on my blog...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The arts and crafts of India are as varied as its culture, languages and regions. Here I bring you one of the metal crafts known as Meenakari.

Meenakari is the Indian art of decorating metal with enamel. It is delicate, intricate and quite colourful. It is a most difficult and intricate process of decorating the surfaces of the metals like gold, silver copper etc, by attaching, or fusing pieces made of coloured glass powders. Various mineral oxides are used for obtaining different colours. Various precious and semi precious stones are also powdered and used for colouring. Enamel can be transparent, opaque or translucent.

It is believed that this art form originated in Persia. The Mughal rulers of Persia, who invaded India, introduced this technique in India. The credit of introducing this art in Rajasthan goes to Raja Man Singh of Amber. He is stated to have brought skilled artisans from Lahore and established them in Jaipur. Since then Jaipur has become the main center for this type of work and today, the Meenakari work done by the artisans of Jaipur is known for its intricate designs, beauty and creativity. In India enameling of gold is done in Jaipur, Delhi and Banaras, silver enameling in Nathdwara, Bikaner and Udaipur and glass enameling in Pratapgharh.

Meenakari is done on various articles like jewelry-bangles, necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets, anklets, brooches, furniture like chairs, small cupboards, jewelry boxes, key chains, trays, dinner sets, photo frames and other items.

It is said that, before introduction of the claw settings for holding the gems and other stones, stones were set in ornaments using Kundan work-that is embedding stones in lac and covering with highly refined gold and gold foil. Meenakari was often used to cover the back side of such pieces. So both sides looked beautiful.

The base metals used for Meenakari work are gold, silver and copper. These days white metal is also used as it is cheaper and quite affordable. Gold is the most preferred one since any colour can be applied easily on it. But only few colours like blue yellow and green can be applied on silver.

The Process:

This art form requires high degrees of skill, creativity and lots of patience. The artists who do this work are known as “Meenakars”. The metal article or the ornamental piece to be enameled is fixed on a lac stick. The designs are drawn on it by the artisans known as “Chiteriaas”. Motifs may include, flowers, leaves, vines, birds, animals like elephants, fishes etc.

The engravers known as “Gharias” engrave the outlines of the design. This creates grooves or pits for holding the colours, in which enamel is applied. The depth of the grooves when filled with different colours, determines the play of light. This also enhances the beauty of the colours by the play of light and shade of the light rays touching the enamelled surface. Then it is thoroughly cleaned and enamel dust of required colour is applied, and fired at high temperatures. The heat of the furnace melts the colour which spreads evenly. Each colour is fixed in this manner till the entire article I filled with colours. The colour which is most heat resistant is filled first and so on as the piece is fired a number of times. White or pink colour  is supposed to be the most resistant and hence applied first and red the least so filled in first and last. The ornament is placed on mica plate to avoid direct contact with fire.

After cooling it, it is polished with "Sohan” or Corundum or agate and again fired. It is then treated with acid derived from tamarind or lemon. The entire piece can be covered in enamel or just in parts. Gems can also be set in the jewelry as required and the setter is known as Kundansaaz " or "Jadiya".

Some Types of Meenakari:
  • ·         Ek Rang khula Meena- Single transparent colour is used for covering the entire engraved area, exposing gold outlines.
  • ·         Panch Rangi Meena-Multi coloured enameling, where five colours white, light blue, dark blue, green and red are used.
There are so many other types. My knowledge is very limited.

Black, white, blue-dark and light, green-light dark, red and yellow are some of the most used colours. They can be transparent or opaque. 

Here are some pictures of the Meenakari

This is a Meenakari Bangle done on ordinary metal with white and black colours. 
These are the danglers in white and black done on silver. I bought them to match my bangles above. But I could not get on gold coloured material. I am searching for a matching neck piece or even pendent so I can create my own neck piece with beads.
This is a brooch-multi coloured peacock. with stones.
This is a tray, made of white metal which is now popular as it is cheap and looks like silver.
See the way the meenakari work has been done.
See the beautiful colours.
Blue, green, red and yellow
This is the work done on the handles of the tray.
On the edge of the tray in the picture below.
See the way the small design has been done in multicolours.
Yellow red and green-flower, leaves and the vine design.
Combination of blue, red and green.
See the intricate design with blue, red yellow and green.
This is the Pooja thali, used for offerings to God. See the peacock design.

There are many more articles which are created by the Meenakari artisans. These make good gift items suiting every pocket. So next time you want to gift someone you can try these trays, trinket boxes jewellery boxes, pooja thalis, pens or key chains, pencil holders etc. 

Hope you have liked this.