Crafting Goodness

In the 19 month sojourn from the blog i spent some quality time with both the people i love as well as some of my “loves’”. My love affair with knitting began some 15 years ago. I was in university in Canada and while helping a cousin spring clean i chanced upon some knitting needles she had and was going to toss away. Thank you Sarbjit! She gave me the needles when i mentioned i might like to learn to knit and its been love ever since.

The early days were not so easy. I was picking up my knitting skills from a book and often my tension was not uniform and my stitches sloppy. Not to mention trying to figure how to execute the stitches from the diagrams in the book. Gradually i got better at it and now its as natural to me as breathing. I tend to stay away from garments as they are quite unpractical for our weather and i find it very hard to follow a pattern without making some modifications of my own – which don’t always work out for the best!

Ergo no surprise that when i found out i was expecting my first bundle of joy i had an intense desire to make him something. I pictured endless scenarios where my child would look at me forlornly and say “mummy you didnt make me anything!” and that was enough to spur me to decide on the project i wanted and start it early enough to ensure it finished before he arrived (please see previous posts on many missed deadlines!!).

I present to you … the “Baby tree of life throw”. I modified it to have more panels than the one in the pattern as i was using a much finer yarn in light of our equatorial climes. I also made some matching booties to go with the throw.

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The booties, a first time experiment, knit up much easier than i expected and that too from a pattern book that was about 50 yrs old! My grandma-in-law was also an avid knitter in her heyday and graciously gave me her patterns once she realised my love for yarn.

Once bubba came around the time to knit was much less and holding two needles quite impractical so i decided it was time to learn how to crochet. I had learnt how to do the most base foundation stitch from my grandma but never progressed much beyond that. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube i found some videos that helped me learn enough of the basic stitches to embark on making these bottle covers. These covers have come in really handy for keeping the contents warm and also making the bottles look nice for heading out.

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As with any craft the first few more adventurous crochet projects (a bag and some other abandoned ventures) didn’t quite make the cut due to a lack of proficiency. However crochet has been easier to pick up thanks to my years of knitting. Gauge, tension and how to hold the yarn were things i was already familiar with. The downside to learning anything from the internet is that you don’t find anything you aren’t looking for and even when you do go looking for some specific information on an obscure topic like a particular crochet stitch you cant find the information you need. I still don’t know how to read crochet patterns beyond the most basic and the sum total of my expertise are granny squares which i will be showing you later.

Around the time bubba was about 6 months old we were ready to take him on foreign exploits so i began thinking of a nice jacket/cardigan he could use on the planes. I was quite fascinated by pea coats and thought to make him one..modified of course. I found the pattern for this on Ravelry and made a few adjustments to make it quite what i had envisioned. The model wasn’t quite cooperative hence the lack of flattering pictures.

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Unfortunately he’s already outgrown this jacket and i’m going to have to whip him up a new one before we hit the tarmac again. Now on to granny squares. My office was having a creative project exercise for everyone and we all had to make, take, create something. I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to test out those crochet skills and i started on a granny square throw. I used colours i thought were boy-ish and also baby mess proof as this would be a good throw to have in the car for bubba.

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Last but not least bubba also outgrew his baby blanket and i’ve decided to make this an heirloom piece for him and have it grow as he grows. He’s growing at a much faster rate than the blanket though so i need to put in some serious knitting time to get it to his size. The yellow band marks his first year … a bit like the rings in the tree bark!

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When the itch strikes..i have to create something. Next up will be another jacket for bubba, a present for a little girl in Canada who i’ve yet to meet and some funky decorative pillow covers. Stay tuned folks.

Chubby mummies unite!

I have been thin…like gorgeous body thin during my early twenties. Most people who see my pictures at that time are all like “Wow! you looked so good!” and neglect to voice out “what happened?!” though you can clearly see it in their faces. In my mid-twenties the weight crept up due to a sedentary lifestyle – going from the crazy uni schedule we all have to long hours sitting at a desk – and an acceptance of myself at whatever size i was. I didn’t diet and choose fun exercise classes like belly-dancing and kick-boxing to keep myself fit. I was not thin but i had lovely curves and no lack of attention.

These days i can still pass as being pregnant. The weight i thought i would have lost effortlessly once i had my baby stayed and has even gone up some. Being someone who’s not bought into societal norms and media hype over having the “right” body it still doesn’t affect me. What does bother me though is the almost overwhelming pressure people in our daily lives and media put on a woman to bounce back to shape right after childbirth.

The most easily referenced case of this is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, former Miss World-Bollywood actress-one of the most beautiful women in the world. She had her baby some 7 months back and has received immense criticism from the media for not getting back into shape. Her appearances at Cannes and other events in India were almost always accompanied with “fat” in the headlines they made. Comparisons were made with other celebrity mums who bounced back to their pre-pregnancy selves within 6 months or less and poor Aishwarya was found lacking by a jury of media and sadly even some fans. I’m not an Aishwarya fan – let me be clear about that – but i am a mommy and a proud card carrying member of the “chubby mummies” club. During an interview at Cannes Aishwarya addressed her weight gain and simply told the world “This happens and it has happened to me”.

This…the post-pregnancy weight gain…does most certainly happen. Blogs, forums, papers, and endless discussions can be found addressing this topic but none of us realises it until it happens to us. Media does not highlight celebrity mums who stay heavy and its not exactly a top Google search topic unless you happen to be in the same boat. So why does this happen…

  • Hormones that go crazy and stay crazy for some time after pregnancy and childbirth. Problems with metabolism and thyroid-related issues are quite common in post-partum women.
  • Confinement practices that have high calorie diets as a traditional practice with little or no exercise allowed
  • Every body is different. Just as some have to work harder to stay thin pre-pregnancy so does the same apply post baby. Some women can walk with their babies, breastfeed and take care of their homes and whittle down to their old selves. Others do the same and still carry the weight.
  • Babies are tiring. Taking care of your baby all day and night leaves little energy for exercise. You can get someone else to take care of your child while you make the time to exercise but the maternal instinct to be around your baby and just enjoy them can be hard to overcome.

Now that my son is a year old and he’s gaining independence i can begin to loosen my anal grip on needing to watch every minute of his day and think about some adult activities on my own. My goal is to lose the additional 6kgs i still carry from my pre-pregnancy days and get fit doing fun things so that i can run around with my little energizer-bunny son but that’s my decision. A personal one reached based on my own goals and priorities. To the rest of the chubby mummies i say embrace your roundness…that makes us all the more comfy and huggable for our babies and to the world that looks at us and secretly thinks..oh god how can she still look like that..i say it happens and it has happened to me and i am ok with it.

Leaving you with some chubby mummy humour..

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The idiosyncratic prodigal returns!

Its been some 19mths since i last blogged. Definitely the longest radio silence observed over here at ‘preet-o’. Momentous life changes and upheavals later i’m back to broadcast my life albeit a little differently than before.

I’m still crafting, still quirky and will update you guys with the antics that fill my world…although now the source of all these antics is my one-year old son, Giann!

FLASHBACK!

Ok so when i last left you guys i had been quite sporadic about my blogging anyways…thanks to the hectic run-up to my wedding in August 2010. I had a pretty traditional big punjabi wedding which lasts over a minimum of 4 days and its resultant dramas. As i’m a tad bit narcissistic here goes my fave pics from the wedding :)

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Just after my wedding was my birthday…and August truly does remain a bonanza month for me…a sigh of relief and wouldn’t you know it….we were soon expecting our bundle of joy. I admit to being very overwhelmed in those days.

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Transitioning from a fiercely independent – I live my life my own way woman to a wife did come with some growing pains, more so the fact that i moved from the comfort and “i’ve known you forever” ease of living in my parents home to that of another family and that too a joint one (re: multiple generations under one roof). Credit goes to my husband for being as easy to live with as any one human being can be and smoothing the transition.

When we learnt of baby we were quite naturally happy but also a little shell-shocked as we were just getting into the husband-wife groove before we had to prepare to be parents. In hindsight i think that helped more than hurt us as it gave us a family first focus which we may or may not have developed later on our own had we whiled away our time doing our own thing on our own separate agendas.

Being pregnant is also unlike anything anyone can explain to you. I was super nauseous the first 5 months and the timings of my upchucks were well-known in the office. Think along the lines of wake up – throw up – get to office – throw up – think about lunch – throw up – after lunch – throw up ….. i think you get the drift.

During the pregnancy it seemed like time was at a standstill and i was pregnant for eons but before you know it my perfectly imperfect little man arrived on 9th June 2011 with a bang. Introducing the love of my life…Giann.

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This past year with him has been the most amazing, tiring, and trying yet fulfilling time i have spent. Describing it is akin to counting the drops of water that make up the ocean. Parenting is an experience that can only be lived to be understood!

I trust my radio silence can be explained in the whirlwind of events i’ve detailed. Stay tuned though folks…we’ll be back with parenting trials and tribulations, crafting in my many forms and just the life of todays not-quite indian mother and wife!

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My Family at Giann’s first birthday celebrations at a Sikh temple.

Cards 26.10.10

It seems i’ve taken a break from my other crafts and well i have. Knitting takes too long and i just haven’t been able to work up enthusiasm to do anything with my nails or henna. I do have something on my knitting needles that needs to be finished up for its intended recipient who’s already arrived (somehow i can’t seem to get the baby gifts ready before the baby actually arrives!)

Anyways…here’s a custom order i’ve shipped off. A birthday card ordered by a wife for her elephant obsessed husband!

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I’m not happy with the lettering i did for this card but i didnt have time to colour in 2 elephants hence i had to ship it off as is. Fortunately though they are perfectly happy with it as is. Phew!

The next 2 are personal….here’s a card i did for my baby sister for her birthday that just passed.

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My sisters a bit of a retro soul so i’m immensely happy with the top portion of the card. I did get carried away with my new embossing tools and i think i could have done better with the bottom section. The envelopes came out just nice though.

Here’s a card for my in-laws on their anniversary.

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This was from one of the pictures of them at our wedding reception. I printed out 2 copies of the picture and cut their silhoutte out and raised it with foam tape. I love this card and have nothing i would change on it…well except for the colour of the tag!

Anniversary Card

My grandparents-in-law have been married for 60+ years and their anniversary is just around the corner on October 10th. My husband contributed the present and the card making fell to me (obviously).

As coincidence would have it my favourite card maker, Kristina Werner, did an anniversary card for her Finally Friday videos which i really liked. Here’s her card:

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I really liked the idea of the stamped man & woman and i liked the patterned paper in the background too so i decided to use this card as my inspiration. Here’s my take on it:

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I first tried to replicate the stamped man & woman but do it “Indian” which didn’t look very good. My drawing skills just aren’t that up to scratch! So i settled on 2 faces. I then compiled 4 patterned papers but didn’t sort out my measurements before i cut and well…lets just say that we’ll save that background idea for another card.

Since the card was Indian themed i finished off with some simple henna designs on the background circle and along the borders. Can anyone suggest a good photo-taking option for cards? I always seem to have either too much light or too little which prevents the details of the card coming through the way they should.

I have another anniversary card but i cant show that yet as it hasn’t made its way to its intended recipients. We’ll save that for another post ;)

Enjoy the weekend…

Diwali Cards

The Festical of light is just weeks away and i’ve started work on cards to commemorate the occassion. This is a sampling of the ones i’ve finished and i’ve got a few more waiting to be finished.

Anyone interested in getting a hold of these cards for themselves can check out my Facebook page “Ethnic Tradeswoman” and message me for more details. Readers of this blog get a special offer of 4 cards for the promotional price if you message me with “Preet-O coupon”.

Here’s the first sampling…more to come in the next few days!

Rangoli Series

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Peacock Series

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