Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 Crafty Achievements & 2016 goals

Hello Friends,

Welcome to the last post of the year. Blogging has been so much fun this year and I have met some wonderful friends thru this.

I started my blog in 2011 to record my experiences of travelling and then I went MIA.
2014 was the year I started writing about my cooking experiments .
I have been part of cross stitch groups on facebook since July 2014 and I also follow various cross stitch magazine pages there.
One day (end of Jan I think) while browsing thru one of these pages, I saw Jo's comment. She was complaining that how she hadn't received her prize from one of the competitions run by that magazine which she can include in her Gifted Gorgeousness SAL. The term "Gifted Gorgeousness " caught my attention and I searched for it on Google and found Jo's blog. Rest is history as they say...ha ha
I asked Jo if I can participate in the SAL, posted about my cross stitching on the blog, back dated the posts to show the work I did in 2014.

2015 has been year of so many firsts cross stitching wise :

1. Participated in a blog SAL
2. Made a cross stitch card
3. Made a cross stitch ornament
4. Participated in a cross stitch exchange
5. Made a cross stitch cushion including the sewing
6. Stitched a cover kit
7. Bought a cross stitch magazine
8. Stitched on linen
9. Stitched a 20+ color pattern
10. Used  DMC floss (I know your jaw will drop after reading this)

I managed to finish 15 projects this year, however I can't show the 15th as the receiver hasn't got it yet. All were/are gifts.
My favourite finishes of the year

Cards I made during the year
Smalls stitched for exchanges and gifts

Here is a pie chart showing my year round stitching ,quite better than 2014.

Here are my crafting goals for 2016

1. Try blackwork
2. Learn 2 new ways of finishing cross stitch
3. Stitch on evenweave fabric
4. Stitch a medium/big size kit
5. Use stash the maximum
6. Pick fabric painting again
7. Try embroidery other than cross stitching :)
8. Keep trying to crochet. I have now finished making a single crochet coaster :)
9. Learn quilling . This has been pending since 2010.

I will be participating in GG SAL 2016 and EMS Flower of the month SAL on facebook .

I have been blessed to receive so many beautiful handmade gifts/cross stitch supplies from my blogging/crafty friends from all over the world all thru the year. I would also like to thank you all for your comments and appreciation of my work.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL December update

Hello Friends,
Welcome to the year's last post for GG SAL hosted by Jo. I'm not sad when I say last as Jo is going to continue this next year.. isn't that wonderful.

I'm late this month for good reasons. I wanted to end the year with some substantial stitching.

One of my craft group friend mentioned that she is going to travel to the States on new year day and asked me if I wanted to get some stitchy stuff from there . For those of you who don't know , this is the way most of Asian cross stitchers buy stuff . We have kind friends who bring us stuff from USA/UK, which we buy online and get shipped at their addresses. Most of the stash I have acquired is this way because the post here in Kuwait is unreliable and the shipping costs are huge.Blessed to have such helping friends.

So, I decided to stitch a gift for my niece and my friend will post it from the States. I'm sure my cousin doesn't know that I craft and blog so its ok to show what I made for her baby girl.

I'm really happy how the finished piece turned out. At first , I was skeptical about the fabric choice , but I think its looks pretty. This is my first attempt at sewing a cushion with lots of help from DH. The pattern is from Cross Stitcher Mag, Issue 201 .Please see my finishes page for other details.

I also stitched small hanger ornaments in spare time in office for gifts.

I have developed a liking for small kits/cover kits as with these how to finish the stitching is never a worry .

Yesterday was our craft meetup and I tried my hands at crocheting again with help from my friends. I'm so proud to tell I got success in third attempt.

I'm going to practice the stitches I have learnt before I start making something.

I'm thinking of writing a post for my craft achievements for 2015 and qualitative goals for 2016. I know many of you will be joining SALs and monthly challenges, however I'm only joining GG SAL as of now so I think writing down goals would be a good idea.Would you be interested in reading about my goals?

Wishing all my friends a Merry Christmas. Hope you have a good time with family and friends during holiday season.

I'll be back on the last day of the year for my FOTM SAL update and may be a list of stitching goals.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

D is for Dosti

Hello TACers,

Welcome to the The Alphabet Club Detention club. Sorry I'm late but I'm sure you will excuse me for that. I have been acting lazy, its my favorite season Winter... I love being in blankets, sipping hot chocolate.

As I missed my last month entry, so will cover letters D and E in this post.

D is for Dost (Hindi word) meaning friend , Dosti meaning Friendship.  I may not have as many friends these days as I used to have when in was in college, I still cherish friends who have chosen to continue to be with me all these years.

D is for Dhayawaad( Hindi word) meaning thank you. I'm thankful to all my blogging friends for their continued support and love.

D is for Deepawali or Diwali meaning a festival of lights, my favorite Hindu festival. Skipping the religious reason behind it, I will like to talk about how it is celebrated.
The preparations starts with cleaning the house almost two weeks prior to the main day.
The festivities long for almost 5 days, with kids firing the crackers, adorning the house with lights, buying new clothes, jewelry, making sweets and prayers.
The part I love most about Diwali is putting up the lights...Diyas or earthen lamps are used to light up the whole house: walls, terrace, everything is covered with these flickering tiny lights. Candles and electric lights are also used these days.
Here are some pictures of our Diwali celebrations over the years
The floor and entrances are decorated with Rangolis. 

Hand Made Lantern or Kandil.

Set up for Pooja/Prayer

Pooja thali made by me

Shopping malls all decked for Diwali
D is for Dhow (Arabic داو dāw) is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. The older ones were made of wood and I have spotted a couple in Oman and Kuwait.
Here's a picture of cross stitch I completed last year which was a freebie from DMC Club. My first big project which brought me back to cross stitching.

I'm really struggling with Hindi/Punjabi words starting with E.
So I'm going to show you two cards I made, designed by one of my favourite designer Emma Congdon.  A birthday and an Easter Card.

 I would love to stitch some designs by Emily Peacock. Here is one i like:

Oh I think its been a long post...will see you soon for GG SAL.

Monday, 30 November 2015

FOTM SAL November Check in

Hello Friends,

Hope you all are doing good in your corner of the world and have started preparing for Christmas(if you celebrate it).

I continue to be uninspired to stitch and an attack by Sinusitis last week has left me feeling lost and home sick.

So many things have been occupying my thoughts and I haven't stitched much since my last update.

However, the good news is I'm giving stitching using a q snap a second try. I bought a q snap sometime in 2014 but didn't like using it with the sewing method.It has been lying in the drawers for a year along with guilt of wasting money on a tool I would never use.

Sometime back a friend posted a picture of a q snap she bought to inspire her to cross stitch again and I thought I should try it again. The fabric for this project is big enough and would be ideal for using a qsnap.

Here's is my progress as of 30th Nov 2015.

I think I'm developing a new hobby of clicking pictures of the sky as DH drives around.

Here are the two captures I love.

I'm also cherishing handmade beauties my craft group ladies gave me(which I forgot to show you) for World Yarn day and Halloween.

Aren't the palm trees made by Tammy and the Cath Kidston by Z coaster adorable?

My stitchy pie for the month of November.

See you soon in the last month of the year.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Big Happy Dance - Gifted Gorgeousness SAL November update

I have no zeal to blog these days though I have so much to tell you...

November has been a busy month with festivals, exploring around and my MIL visiting us here in Kuwait.

However I think I need to share with you the finish I'm so proud of... Fractal Bookmark FB-312 from Cross Stitch Collectibles. I loved stitching this piece so first full coverage project and my first time handling 20+ colors.I tried cross country stitching and parking method at times for this project and I think I'm ready for big projects now.
This will be a gift for a friend , I hope she likes it.

Start Date    11/27/2014
End Date     10/23/2015
Stitch count  70H*200W

I'm trying to focus on my only WIP(as declared in my last post), EMS flower piece, not that I have a target in mind to finish it. May be I will start a new project in new year. I think joining a few SALs would be a good idea to get some motivation and I'm hoping Jo continues GG SAL in 2016 or I would be lost.What SALs are you joining?

Don't have any more words...will see you next month for the final GG check in.

Happy Stitching

P.S. I will be kitting a small project today night to carry to office.Things have changed since I drafted this post at 9 am 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

FOTM SAL October Check in( The post where I declare I'm a one project

Hello Friends,
We have been experiencing unusual weather here in Kuwait with thunderstorms,lightning and rain.
Though part of north Kuwait have seen flash floods and water logging ,the part of country I live in hasn't experienced any such problems. I'm loving the cloud covered skies, wet roads and clean trees.

I have finished stitching my fractal bookmark which I will show in my next GG post. I decided to scrap the HAED I started on January 1st as I now longer feel motivated to stitch it, which makes the flower series my only WIP. I'm being a good girl and resisting a new start..let's see how long can i resist.

Here is my progress on the EMS flower series which I'm stitching on a single piece of 14 count aida.
I have finished the March flower,except the back stitching. Started the May flower with the frog visiting 5 times in the little stitching you see below...grrr.

With the weather being so nice ,we have been trying to explore Kuwait. Friday we drove to a public beach but it was dark by 5pm so we took a short walk along the beach and came back in half an hour..haha.
Yesterday we visited The Tareq Rajab Museum which is a privately owned museum with collections from the Arab world and Asia. It was an enriching experience with the artifacts displayed in a good lighting and information available in English and Arabic.

It's been long since I posted about my cooking adventures. I have been trying new recipes but I still need to work on my food photography skills. A picture of Mushroom and Spinach Frittata I made last Wednesday which the family just loved.

Wishing everyone a happy November.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL October Update

I always smile when people say where did this month go and here I am feeling the same. Looks like the last quarter of the year will be wrapped up soon.

Thank you all for your comments and advice on how to stitch on linen.

A pic of card and bookmark I gave to my boss as retirement gifts. These were well received and he was overwhelmed that I took time out to stitch for him.The bookmark is my first linen project.I can now relate to the praise I always heard about how the look of linen is better than aida or evenweave.

The card was a freebie kit with World of Cross Stitching mag, gifted to me by a friend. The bookmark is a Joan Elliott design from CrossStitcher mag issue 213, again a gift and the linen was a gift from Diya.

I have been working hard to finish my current WIP(will be a gift too) which I have not shown on this blog until now. I have really enjoyed stitching this one, however the confetti sometimes kills the mojo.

This is one of the freebie Fractal bookmarks which Cross Stitch Collectibles releases every month. Its 86% complete now and whatever gaps you see will be stitched mainly in black. I'm hoping once I finish the confetti, the filling will not take time.

Here are few progress pics.

Lets hope I can finish this by this month end.

Hop onto Jo's blog to see what gifts others stitchers have made.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

C is for Chai

Hello Hello,

Its detention day at The Alphabet Club and the letter for the month is C.

C is for Chai(चाय) - It may not be an exaggeration if I say Chai is national drink of India. Every guest is treated to a cup of chai  in Indian homes. Chai is Hindi word for tea and can be prepared black, with milk, without sugar, etc. This comes from the Persian چای chay, which originated from the Chinese word for tea chá.

Until a few years ago I thought tea or chai is native to India ...ha ha the bliss of ignorance. It is prepared in many ways across the country ,here is the recipe my mom follows:

Makes two cups of tea:

1. Boil 1.25 cups of water. Add 2 spoons of sugar . Once the sugar dissolves add 1 teaspoon of chai.

2. Once the chai leaves its essence(the color of water will change ), add 0.75 cup of milk.

3. Bring it to a boil . Sieve the chai and serve.

This is the normal milky sugary version of chai which you will find being served in tea stalls in India . Various ingredients like ginger, cardamom, tulsi are added to it while boiling to add to its taste. Masala chai is one of the popular versions .

C is for Chandrama(चन्द्रमा)- Hindi word for moon. Also called as chand (चांद)  in Hindi and Urdu.
Moon is considered as epitome of beauty hence its common to compare beauty of your female partner with the moon. Also its looked upon as  a sign of simplicity. Children all over India and even elders call it affectionately as "Chanda mama". Mama means the maternal uncle in both North Indian and South Indian languages.

C is for Chakda - This is curious vehicle used to carry passengers in North western state of India, Gujarat.

It is improvised from a Royal Enfield with diesel engine, some sort of shaft  drive and arrangement to seat people. Its decorated with colors and pictures and can be seen being used for carrying passengers in rural Gujarat.

Image source:Internet
C is Camper Van - This is a piece I stitched for DH on request. He selected the design and asked me to stitch for him. Look at the VW logo--My first attempt at back stitching. VW may sue me after looking at this Finished it using old magazine papers and it now hangs next to his desk.

Looking forward what others TACers are talking about.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

FOTM September Update and other ramblings

Hello Friends,
Another month has come to an end ,which makes me look back and realize how little I have achieved in terms of goals I made when I first posted for GG SAL. Three medium sized stitched gifts for my college buddies.. ha what was I thinking.
September by far has been one of the most productive stitchy month. I finished stitching January and February flowers ,they were missing two colors. Made some progress on the March flower...

I'm now targeting to finish my biggest piece ever and that has been the focus since 23rd.I hope I will be able to post a finish picture soon.

I won Rosey's blog giveaway in July and this is what I received ...You must be wondering what took it long to reach me ..well the same postal woes. I didn't wanted to lost my prize in post ,so I asked Rosey to post it to Tammy ,who was in USA then.

Gifts from Tammy

Thank you Rosey and Tammy !!

The best thing that happened with my rediscovery of love of cross stitch (which happened in June last year, see my post here) was introduction to so many cross stitch blogs and bloggers. I have learnt so much thru these blogs- various stitching techniques, fabrics, storage, shopping places ,giveaways and exchanges.
The cherry on the cake are the letters / postcards/greeting cards I receive from my stitchy friends . I had almost forgotten the happiness one gets when you open a letter and read somebody's handwriting if the person is talking to you in real.

As I am writing this post I ponder how the few letters, which my dad and mom wrote me when I was in college, are my life long treasures. My mother in law used to write us letters occasionally whenever she used to send us her home made spices and sweets .
My favourite activity of childhood was to write postcards to my grandmother. This is how a blank postcard issued by Indian postal offices looked like..I wonder is it still available.

Until I shifted to Kuwait , I wrote letters to my brothers for Raksha bandhan and they used to make fun of me.

I think art of letter writing is dying a slow death with the emergence of all this fast communication methods of phone and internet.
May be I am old school who enjoys the warmth of a hand written letter.

Do you like writing and receiving letters?

Here's my monthly stitch pie chart

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL September Update

Welcome to the blog of World's Slowest Stitcher..ya that's me...
Because I have only a small card and unfinished bookmark to show you this time.
Can you believe this tiny card took me 5 days to stitch?

This is free cover kit from World of Cross Stitching mag, gifted  to me by my friend G when I met her in London . I love how the finished piece looks like ,however I'm not happy with the chart . This design had at least 5-8 fractional stitches which weren't specified in the key.

Next is a bookmark I'm stitching on 28 ct linen gifted to me by Diya and the pattern is from Cross Stitcher mag ,which again is a gift from Mrs. G .This is my first time stitching on linen, in fact first time anything other than aida. I'm stitching it over 2 using 2 strands. I miscounted somewhere and the piece is now off by 1 square. Initially I felt my stitches weren't neat so I took advice from my fellow stitchers and they advised that I should use a hoop or frame to stitch on linen. Also they suggested that the sewing method shouldn't be used for stitching on linen and I should use the stab method. So I'm stitching this piece in a hoop, using stab method and sometimes using railroading to get neat stitches.

Both the card and bookmark will be a gift for my boss who is retiring next week and has chosen China as his retirement home.

It would be helpful if you my friends can advise on following:
1. Is it necessary to use hoop/qsnap/frame for stitching on linen?
2.If the answer to above is no, can we use sewing method on linen?
3.Do you use railroading to keep your stitches neat?

Sept. 12th was International Crochet day and Sadu house (a traditional art house in Kuwait, more about this in another post) opened its gates to public for this event. It was small fun event where I met my friends from ravelry group. I didn't click any pictures ,if you would like to see some, please visit Tammy's blog.

I tried my hands at rock doodling and this is how my first rock doodle looks like. I picked this rock at the beach side at Nigg,Scotland.

I think I didn't show you guys one of the office merchandise bag I painted to use as my craft bag .Just some free hand Warli painting...

Life has got busy all of a sudden..until 3 months back I complained about being bored in this country and now I have so many events to attend, people to meet, places to visit and I have started reading again..I'm about to finish my 3rd book in 15 days.
Well I like being busy ,exploring new places and meeting new people..may be that's the reason I get less time for stitching now.

Oh before I end this post , here are 2 pictures some of you Sampler lovers may like which I clicked at Skaill House, Orkney.

Click on the picture to get details

Saturday, 5 September 2015

B is for Bhārata

Its time for detention at THE ALPHABET CLUB hosted by Chiara .This month's alphabet is B.

Bhārata (भारत)- Sanskrit/ Hindi name of India. A land of over 1.2 billion people, seventh-largest country by area, largest democracy in the world.
Home to Indus Valley Civilization and place of origin of four religions-Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

A country where around 9 religions are practiced in full faith, 200+ languages and dialects are spoken, food changes as you cross state borders (29 states in India) .

Its where Mighty Himalayas stand tall in the north; fertile Deccan plateau in the centre  and 7,517 km of coastline flanked by the Indian ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.

The Land of Taj Mahal, Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Amer fort, Red fort, India Gate....

Its hard for me to write about my country in a single post so I will add some pictures from my personal collection of the rich natural and cultural diversity of country called India/Bhārata.

 Ajanta & Ellora  Caves- an epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture
Rajasthani folk dance

Thousands of migratory birds like flamingoes fly to sleepy village of Khijadia every year in the month of January
The elephant hill in Western Ghats
Baby Olive Ridley Turtles walking towards the sea just after egg hatching on the Western coast of India
The Taj Mahal
B- is for Birth Sampler I made for my Nephew. I guess I can use it for all the entries of  TAC, as it has all the alphabets of the English language. Not the best picture though.

I think I will skip the rest of tit bits starting with alphabet B ,which I initially planned to include in this post. Don't want to bore you guys...

Hopping off to blogs of other TACers for some interesting reads.

Smalls SAL September 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...