Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL July Update

Hello Friends,

It's that time of the month when we show what gifts we have been working on or/and what crafty gifts we have received. If you don't know what I'm talking about , check Jo's blog for more info. This is a easy SAL where you have choice to stitch any designer, color or pattern, just that it should be a gift for someone or gift from someone.

No false excuses for being late...I'm not busy or didn't forgot. I have been badly hit by crafting block and whatever I try I'm not able to stitch. It is always difficult for me to start stitching again after a vacation or a gap of 3-4 days. This time its worse, I tried stitching twice , added 5-6 stitches in two projects but couldn't continue. My projects keep staring at me as I sit on the couch. I am afraid that I may have lost the bug for good.

Anyways , luckily have two gifts to show, so I thought of posting instead of missing the check in.

My friend in Singapore send me this beautiful crocheted floor pouf . I love it and so happy that I have a small part of her in my house now.As you can see it has been claimed by Twitch :)


She also made this small canvas for me...how perfect is this?


Friends if you have any tips on how to get back motivation to stitch please share with me, just a reminder that mood lifters like stash shopping (due to bad postal system) and new starts are ruled out.

Thank you all for leaving lovely comments on my last post.I'm surprised to see how many of you enjoyed the foodie aspect of my life 

Hopefully I will have something to show in my next post.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Georgia(Sakartvelo) thru eyes of a Foodie


Dear Friends,

I’m back from my 12 day vacation in Georgia. We had good time in Georgia, it’s a beautiful country with lots to offer. This vacation was a bit different from the vacations we have taken in last 4 years, different in both good and bad way.  However, I would like to talk about the good things and use proper forums to review facilities and services which didn’t meet my expectations.

Some of you may know I started this blog to record memories of my travels but then life happened. With the onset of fancy travel blogs and accounts on Instagram in recent times, I was a bit intimated that no one will like my plain writing and simple mobile phone pictures. However, I have realised that one should do things which make one happy without thinking about the reaction of audience on social media. With that in mind, I’m going to talk to you about another hobby/passion of mine -Food.

I became interested in different types of Indian cuisine when I moved to Western part of India for my first job. My room mates hailed from different states and cooked food which I had never eaten before. The interest grew when I met my then future husband and I wanted to cook for him . Since then I have expanded my horizon and now I can cook recipes from following cuisines- Indian (which is collection of 50 different cuisines), Turkish, Italian, Mexican, Arabic and English.

During these years I have discovered that a hobby isn’t about doing only one thing, there is so much more you learn thru a hobby- about cultures, history . For example, thru my hobby of cross stitching, I have learnt about festivals and holidays in western world, learnt names of new flowers, fruits etc.  

During my travels , I have seen that food brings people together. I have seen people connecting and bonding over food. Each year when I plan to travel to a new destination, I study about the cuisine of the country. The focus is to eat local (vegetarian) food, understand what ingredients are used and why. We avoid eating Indian food or at fast food chains when travelling.

Through this post I will narrate my journey in Georgia thru food.

The first thing which shows in google search when you look up Georgian food is Khachapuri. It is a staple food of Georgians, available in homes, restaurants and road side stalls.
Khachapuri – to describe simply is stuffed bread. Wheat dough is rolled into rounds, stuffed and then baked in ovens. The stuffing varies from cheese, red beans, potatoes, spinach (tarragon actually) to red meat.  The most famous among tourist is Adjarian Khachapuri , which is like Turkish pide but with semi cooked eggs, cheese and salted butter. This Khachapuri hails from the coastal region of Georgia and the shape represent a boat. I liked it the most from the various Khachapuri I ate.

ACHARULI – AJARIAN KHACHAPURI

Picture from our dinner at Puri Guliani , Funicular, Tbilisi


Megruli Khachapuri
Picture from our lunch at Bermuxa, Zugdidi
Kinkali – it is Georgian dumpling stuffed with cheese , potatoes or meat. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to taste this as most of the places I asked for it had only non-vegetarian version.

Image from Internet
I always make a list of vegetarian food available in the new country I travel to. It is important to know the local name of the dishes when travelling to non- English speaking countries.
My travel guide in Georgia was surprised when I showed him the list of food I wanted to eat during our tour.

This time it was a bit of struggle to get vegetarian food when I said I didn’t want to eat Khachapuri anymore. If you ask for vegetarian food in Georgia, you are suggested to order Khachapuri , if you say no, most of the times they serve you potatoes , mushrooms or salad.

Georgia has a rich fertile soil and most of the things are grown naturally with no pesticides or fertilisers. So if you are like me, thinking I didn’t travel to 2000 miles to eat potatoes, think again. I ate stir fried potato chips almost once in a day during my trip but I must tell you the potatoes with just a pinch of salt were mind blowing. I stopped eating potatoes in 2017 due to health reasons but it was hard to resist the stir fried potato chips in Georgia.

Georgia has wide variety of mushrooms which they use a lot in cooking. The variety of dishes they make with mushrooms is very interesting.
Pan baked Mushroom with almost no spice.
Picture from our lunch at KP  Tavern, Tbilisi
Mchadi – This is traditional corn bread of Georgia. When I first ate it, I was surprised that it tasted so much like Makka ki roti –India flat bread made from Maize.

I ate variations of corn bread, each beating other in flavor. I even ate corn on the cob from a road side stall ..ha ha
Dobali
Picture from our dinner at Ethno Tsiskvili, Tbilisi
Mushroom Kuchmachi & Chvishtari(cheese corn bread)
Picture from our lunch at Cafe Ushguli Maspindzeli , Ushguli
A must visit home establishment where everything is made to order and you can actually  participate in cooking.
Lobiani served with Mchadi and pickled veggies
Picture from our lunch at KP  Tavern, Tbilisi
Lobiani- its name of food made from red/kidney beans. Most of the time it is served with Mchadi and pickled veggies. Do you know Lobia is Hindi name for black eyed peas?

Now coming to less popular vegetarian food…these were served when I dug deep and asked the chef what else they can serve except the above listed.

Badrijani Nigvzit - Georgian Eggplant Rolls with Walnut-Garlic Filling. Very interesting recipe, never imagined using nuts with eggplant.

Badrijani Nigvzit
Picture from our dinner at Kidobani, Tbilisi
Jonjoli is one of the Georgian appetisers. In particular, these are pickled sprouts from a bush that grows in the area. Jonjoli is consumed in various ways, sometimes it’s mixed with olive oil or with other pickled vegetables such as cucumber, pepper or tomatoes. The appetiser goes well with Lobio, Georgian bean soup as well as with boiled potatoes or simply with Georgian corn bread mchadi together with cheese.
Jonjoli
Picture from our dinner at Ethno Tsiskvili, Tbilisi

Green Salad- with its fresh veggies, the salad with cucumber, onion and tomatoes in Georgia are class apart. If you happen to be in Tbilisi, do try Green salad in Summer Menu of Barberstan. This restaurant is one of the highest rated in Georgia but apart from the salad , we were disappointed with the availability of veg food.
Most amazing Green salad at Barberstan
Vegetarian soup- I was lucky to stay in home stays during my trip and the owner made vegetarian soup for me. This soup is quite different from the traditional soups I’m used to eating. Traditional soups are made of boiled veggies or lentil which are pureed and then cooked with spices. Georgian veg soup was more like a stew- big chunks of veggies cooked in water with sauteed onions.

Tolma- Very similar to Turkish Dolma /stuffed vegetables. Mine was stuffed with cooked rice and served with sour cream.
Made to order Tolma at Ushba Guest house, Mestia
Nazuki is Georgian spicy sweet bread. This scrumptious treat is made in different parts of Georgia , but nazuki from Surmai , a small town in Shida Kartli Region, stands out with its exceptional taste. Every Georgian and tourist alike who passes beautiful Surmai road is unable to resist a good loaf of homemade sweet bread exhibited by the locals in front of their homes.
Image from Internet
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnut and chocolate and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage. This is the best souvenir you can get for your friends and family.
Image from Internet
I should mention that Georgian cuisine is known for its meat dishes as the meat used is natural and not factory produced. My husband who eats selective meats praised the roasted trout he ate by the river side in Pasanuri.

Georgian is famous for its cheese, wine and breads. Every house has a local winery and bread baking set up.

If you love cheese- there is so many varieties to taste- Sulguni and Imeruli being the most popular ones.

If you are not found of wine , try Chacha- which is home made vodka.

June is fruit harvest season in Georgian plains, we were in awe of the abundance of cherries, apples, pears, plums in the market. The otherwise plain food of Georgia is well complimented by fruit sauces/chutneys, jams and pickles served with it. 
Tkemali- Sour plum sauce
My post will be incomplete without the mention of bee keeping business in Georgia. We found thousands of bee houses adjacent to the roads we took to get to various regions of the country. It is major occupation of the country.
Bee houses in Svaneti region
I hope you haven’t dozed off until now … ha ha this has become a long post.

Georgian food relies on the natural flavor of ingredients and most of the times least of spices are used , quite opposite to spices heavy Indian food.

Many of the dishes I mentioned in my post are vegan or can be made vegan , so pls ask if you need more info about these or in general about Georgia.

I'm going to try making some of these in my Kitchen.

P.S.-The views expressed in this post are mine , I have added links to the restaurants and eateries I ate at.This post is not paid , I wanted to document good places to eat in Georgia .

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

IHSW June Check-in

Hello dear friends,

It's time to show what I stitched for International Hermit & Stitch weekend . If you don't know what  IHSW is, its a SAL which was started by Joysze at Random Ramblings .Here is how she describes it "International Hermit and Stitch Weekend takes place every 3rd full weekend of each month, from Friday till Sunday. In our very busy and hectic lives, IHSW is a chance for us to squirrel some time away for ourselves and "Hermit and Stitch." It is a time set aside to take care of us and our love for stitching."
Weekend in my part of the world is on Friday & Saturday, so I will be stitching from Thursday to Saturday and post on Sundays whenever I participate in IHSW.

We had a extra long weekend due to Eid holidays from Friday to Monday  . I was a true hermit this time , stepping out of the house only once in 4 days to visit family friends who live 500 m away from our house 😁.
If you think this would have given me a lot of stitching time , oh well this isn't the case. 
Thursday : I sat down on Thursday evening to finish  Eid gift  called "Eidee" to be given next day. After few hours I could clearly see that I wouldn't be able to finish it during the night. 
Friday: It is weekly cleaning day which meant very less stitching time in the day. I decided to visit our family members for Eid on Friday evening without the gift and told them I'm late and will finish it soon. Friday night I sat till midnight to finish the stitching . 
Saturday : Morning I FFOed it with help from Dana's tutorial .  The gift was delivered and appreciated by the recipient.The rest of the day was spent cooking for a pot luck dinner at my place. 
So what is this gift which took me so long... ha ha another small project  .
Dimensions kit : Flower Mason Jar



This is my first cross stitch finish in a hoop and I quite like the result.This Dimension kit was a recent gift from my penpal in USA . I really liked stitching it , the floss was nice and in excess of required quantity .  However, I made many mistakes while stitching it. I had to frog thrice and decided to continue with the two mistakes I made as I was short of time. I guess stitching when you are going thru emotional problems is not such a good idea.

Now about the pot luck dinner ..the dinner was a success , everyone liked the food and there were leftovers which were shared and eaten next day. We played UNO and Tambola with kids which was lot of fun.

You see my cat, Twitch is not used to having kids in the house and associated sounds . She was hiding under the bed the whole time while we had guests. After the guests left, we went to bed at midnight and Twitch came to our bed after a while. She was scared and disturbed and didn't wanted to sleep alone. We have trained her in a way that she never sleeps in our bed. But this time she didn't wanted to leave the bed and wanted to sleep with mommy. It took us two more hours to put her to sleep and sleep ourselves. 
Sunday was a hangover of sleep deprivation .. ha ha which meant no crafting. 
Yesterday we were busy packing for vacation , so I put 10 stitches in my WIP. πŸ˜„ 

Well I have no regrets of lesser stitching time as I enjoyed spending time for my other hobbies :cooking and travelling.

That my friends is an account of my long IHSW . I fly tomorrow for our vacation in Georgia. There will be no Smalls SAL post this month, I'm shoe horning the finish as my Small SALs entry too.

If you have any tips on how to calm down an elderly cat for a new cat momma, pls leave a comment.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL June Update

Hello Friends,

It's that time of the month when we show what gifts we have been working on or/and what crafty gifts we have received. If you don't know what I'm talking about , check Jo's blog for more info. This is a easy SAL where you have choice to stitch any designer, color or pattern, just that it should be a gift for someone or gift from someone.

I'm taking a break from finishing a gift to write this post. The gift was supposed to be given today but the amount of back stitching is just killing me . I visited the family today for whom I'm making the gift and told them their gift is late by one day πŸ˜©πŸ˜€

Let me show a gift finished last week back, my first no sew cube finish.

Blackwork Elephant
Anchor Design Studio

Image Courtesy:Rene Bester, taken during WWKIP day
This is a birthday present for a lady in my craft group who loves elephants. I would like to claim extra GG points for this finish- the fabric was a gift from husband; pattern was gift from Jo, the GG SAL hostess herself ; the metallic thread was a gift from Shami

I didn't have the called for threads in the pattern except one. I bought a lot of Anchor variegated threads from a shop in my hometown to support the shop which was clearly not in good financial condition. I tried to use the nearest matching threads in my stash with the ones in the pattern . I am very happy with how these piece turned out, I have used metallic floss first time and didn't play chicken with the french knots πŸ˜‰.

Jo, if you are reading this , may be you should start a point system for the GG SALπŸ˜€. It can take into account how a gift shown in the GG post uses gifts received.

When I started stitching the design, I thought of framing it. Failure to find a suitable frame , I turned to YouTube for no sew cube tutorial. I'm surprised how easy and quick this finishing method is . I will be surely making more cubes in future.

That's it for GG post. 

Last Saturday my craft group celebrated Fourth Edition of Kuwait WWKIP day. This time I took a back seat and requested other group members to organize the event. It was a fun event with lucky draws and door prizes. Everyone bought their projects to share and so much talent was on display.
Beautiful brooch like this was given to every attendee
If you wanna read more about it , click the link 

You can also visit my fellow Kuwaiti crafter Tammy's blog for more pictures :

Its a 4 day weekend here and I will try to put in stitches in my WIPs whenever I can amidst packing for vacation, hosting a dinner , shopping and sleeping .

Thursday, 31 May 2018

How did I do for "Stitch every 'Day' in 'May'"

Hello Friends,
May month has come to an end , I hope 'Maynia' in the cross stitch world has settled down. I have enjoyed looking at the various versions of Maynia . I hope you enjoyed whatever version you followed, after all its about enjoyment right?

My personal goal was to Stitch every 'Day' in 'May'. Many of you commented that stitching daily is a routine and you don't have to make it a goal. I on the other hand sometimes have to push myself hard to get my ass up from the couch and the TV and sit to stitch. I'm pretty happy with the what I achieved during the month, there were initial hiccups but things smoothed after a while.

Let me show you how I did statistically using a pie chart.

And here is the progress on my WIP.

Progress on 28th April 2018

Progress as of 31st May 2018

I made a new start for an upcoming birthday and managed to stitch this much.
New start on 27 May 2018

Can you guess what this is going to be?
I love the color of the variegated thread and blackwork is one of my favourites form of cross stitch/embroidery.

I wish to continue this streak next month but looks difficult as we are travelling to Georgia for vacation . Its hard to carry needles ,scissors , patterns and floss during travel. That's where knitting comes handy ..no scissors, patterns required. It easier to knit when the light is dim or when the road is bumpy.

Let me know in comments how did you do stitching wise this month.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Smalls SAL May Check-in

Hello Friends,

Its last friday of the month , time to show what smalls we stitched during the month. I'm participating first time in Smalls SAL this year hosted by Heather. I decided to join this SAL as I usually stitch birthday cards or exchange pieces throughout the year and this gives me an additional chance to blog.

I didn't stitch any new Smalls this month however I have smalls that were made in past and not shown here on the blog. These tiny gifts were given to my new friend who is an avid traveller . 

Luggage Tag
Stitched in 2016
A luggage tag made from my own imagination.I tried getting fancy pictures with props and maps πŸ˜€
Tea Toter
Knitted -Dec 2017
Pattern by Julie Tarsha
This tiny purse can be used to keep tea bags or a coin purse and takes an hour or so to make.

I kitted up a new small yesterday but couldn't start it because of severe headache . Will try and show it for next Smalls post.

That's it for today ,have a good weekend friends.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

IHSW May Check-in

Hello dear friends,

It's time to show what I stitched for International Hermit & Stitch weekend . If you don't know what  IHSW is, its a SAL which was started by Joysze at Random Ramblings .Here is how she describes it "International Hermit and Stitch Weekend takes place every 3rd full weekend of each month, from Friday till Sunday. In our very busy and hectic lives, IHSW is a chance for us to squirrel some time away for ourselves and "Hermit and Stitch." It is a time set aside to take care of us and our love for stitching."
Weekend in my part of the world is on Friday & Saturday, so I will be stitching from Thursday to Saturday and post on Sundays whenever I participate in IHSW.

Can you believe its third weekend of May already?This year is flying by so quickly, it needs to stop.
I had a very productive weekend. I stitched to my hearts desire and very happy with the progress I made .
Here is a before, after pic and picture of what the finished piece looks like.


Fabulous Florals 
Designed by : Claire Comerford
Pattern source : The World Of Cross Stitching Magazine, Issue 245

On Thursday I was chatting with a fellow cross stitcher and she asked what I was stitching these days . I replied to her "Flowers again" . I don't know why I have started to believe that there is no variety in my projects. I mostly stitch flowers and I think it is kind of boring. Well I have reasons why I stitch flowers which I have talked about before on my blog. I mainly stitch gifts and the recipients are not big fans of fantasy, Star wars, GOT and they don't have a clue what a sampler is ! So my safest bet is Flowers.
With these thoughts in mind, on Friday I was discussing with my husband can I start a new project which is not flowery ? He said, well you can but didn't you say in your last post that you want to  finish current WIP in a month? Reality check is what was needed 😏πŸ˜₯and I was back to stitching what you see above.
I know many of you have a eclectic taste and stitch wide variety of projects so I ask do you find it boring to see same themed projects in my posts. I wish there were more Indian themed designs other than the peacock, tiger and the elephants 😞.
Do you discuss cross stitch with your partners? What projects to start, how much money to spend on hobbies?

Let me know in comments, interested to read what you ladies think.

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL July Update

Hello Friends, It's that time of the month when we show what gifts we have been working on or/and what crafty gifts we have receive...