Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And baby makes it four

When my daughter was born, I thought I could not be more blessed than this. Until we had the new baby. As the family grew to four our joys and blessings grew manyfolds.

As I hold my newborn in my arms it feels far beyond being blessed. The baby is a perfect, absolute flawless creation! Its hard to imagine how something can be so beautiful and tender. I cannot be more thankful for anything than this. The feeling of being parents cannot be compared to any other. It has so many stages and levels of bonding that every aspect of life becomes meaningful.

With new baby in our lives, we are experiencing all the fun all over again. And thank our stars in all possible ways.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life as we know it...

Who would have thought the life has so many surprises especially when you are quite sure you have seen it all.

We just celebrated our little angel's birthday. There were many things that kept us occupied and finally when the last guest left and she hit the bed, we realized the day is finally over. The special day, we had been looking forward to for so long, is finally over. I laid next to her and looked at her innocent face and thought to myself. If blessing has a name, that is it. The joy a child gives to a parent cannot be defined in words. It can only be experienced. And then it struck to me. At many moments my own mother might have felt the same way. And her mother must have done so before that. This is a bond that connects us all and will continue to keep us the way we are.

My Angel

What an honor mother nature blesses us with. Once we become parents, the world not only turns upside down, it also become more beautiful and more rewarding in more than one way. That little bundle of joy transforms into a whole universe of inspiration. There are times, when things may seem to  go out of control, you feel completely out of place, and your to-do calendar is so off-the-mark its pointless to look at - but only a smile or a hug makes it all worthwhile. There is this little angel who trusts you unconditionally and you totally look forward to the day ahead.

I am sure we are not the only ones feeling this way. Previous generations and then the new ones would experience these emotions. This all has made me think about my mom a lot lately. She is one of those people who wouldn't let you guess how many qualities they have until you have really found your way into their heart. There is this connection that may weaken by distance or birth-order but still stays intact nonetheless.

She has had her life's first surgery this week. I wish I could be with her right now. Last I saw her was a couple of years ago and I was almost shocked to see how fast aging had taken a toll on her. Graying hair, loose skin and above all the surrendering attitude has changed her into a completely different person. It was as if I hardly knew her. Do we all have to change like this? Does life even give us a choice? Many debate it does but I think many are not so fortunate. They do not have much of an option but to agree with the decisions others are making for them. I am not sure what's her take on her life so far and I try not to judge her but sometimes I just want to know it.

As I type this I am feeling so much thankful for the emotional cushion that the family provides. It makes you stronger and more productive every moment of the day.And we live for that!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chenille Baby Girl Cardigan

I made this for my niece this Summer.

Chenille Sweater

Each part is made separately and then joined together. I have some more yarn left in chenille that would probably be used to make matching hat and booties.

Baby boy cardigan

Baby boy cardigan

This is a no-sew top-down cardigan for a baby boy due in winter. The yarn is a leftover from the Sky and Clouds sweater I made a few years ago for my husband.

I was super excited by the top-down method that I learnt very recently. The gauge was a little off so I unraveled it completely and redid it now. I shall have pictures of the newer and smaller version.

Complete Baby Set - Pictures

Baby Hat
Baby Booties
Baby Set

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peepli Live (& Swing Vote)

This is another movie about good direction, excellent casting and solid story telling. A satire set in Indian village makes you feel the world differently. Forces you to think about need and want. Want to watch it, sure, go ahead. If you don't understand Hindi, avoid it because most jokes are for Hindi speaking people only. When translated (or subtitled)they kind of lost the punch.

I also watched "Swing vote" and funny how similar two movies are! Some sequences are eerily identical.

Everybody is fine

Did I mention this before (in that case just ignore the rest of the sentence and read below)that I try not to read the synopsis of story of the movie before I watch it? Well, that's what I try to do. The reasons why I do that - one, it helps me enjoy it more thoroughly rather than coming to that turn where the rest is lying. Downside - sometimes I waste my time figuring out the point the director is making!

But I like to take that chance anyway. This week I saw "Everybody is fine". What can I say about this movie. You know, if a movie is about sad reality then there are two possibilities. Either it is good or bad. If bad, your time is wasted, but if it's done well it makes you feel connected to the story and hence more sad afterwards. So what's there to gain? Oh well, that's just me then.

This movie is beautiful. Makes you sad for obvious reasons. Parenting is never easy. There are things you wish you could change when there is no scope of change at all. Despite all good intentions, you have to lose control over the lives of your children, someday.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creative Blogger - Julie

I just learnt something super exciting that I would love to share. Converting a highneck to a cardi! Its awesome. Check for yourself.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pink & White Stripes Baby Cardigan


This cardigan is knit in one piece from the top down. The sleeves are knitted in the round using Magic Loop method. There is no sewing in the entire sweater.

Baby Sweater

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Last Class

I can't believe it's already over! The class that I began with so much anticipation, curiosity and confidence has finally come to an end. When you are having fun, time flies like a jet. No wonder, it seems it ended just too soon.

In this class, I was forced to apply my abilities and skills to a great extent. I wouldn't have known I could do until I did it. For instance, the first day of cast drawing. He put a cast on the stage and asked to draw. And I thought, 'Really? No warm up, no here is how you start - just draw?' turned out, that was the case. Draw what you see. If you don't see it, this is not the class for you! I knew I was scared for my mind told me 'There is no way that's happening. Why did I sign up for this class in the first place? Oh me and my inner artist!'

But an hour or so later I could see the likeness of cast appear on my very drawing pad. No way! I did this? I thought! So I do see it. It was until now nothing or nobody pushed me this hard to create. I have to give points to this class to bring that out of me. By the time I finished the drawing, my confidence knew no bounds. "I did it! I did it!" I later told my handsome(oh I have to tell this story) husband. He thought it was strange that I didn't know if I could do it! "Sure! You are so good!" "You have no idea what I found out about myself!" I told him. There were so many eureka moments after this and each one intrigued my curiosity for learning some more.

Final day concluded with critique of the final project. Went well. We got the final grade. I got A-. Expected for more but hey, you can't really have it all. More in the next post and I hope to post pics up very soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exam Week


This week is our final week for this class. I have to submit the final projects in the last class. I would have been quite excited about it but I haven't done enough to sit back and look forward to the presentation. Have many excuses to justify but what difference does it make when you are answerable to nobody but yourself. Well, grade matters too.

I promise to do something tonight so that I can sleep better :-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Resolutions and life

2009 was the year of resolutions. Despite my best intentions and efforts 9 remained an elusive number. But I still take pride in fulfilling that one resolution that was made on a whim. I knew I will break it in less than a month but to my own surprise, it made it to and beyond one whole year. It was about not buying any new clothes for next 12 months. It was hard at first but after the mark of a month was crossed the idea slowly started sinking in.

There were so many of it in the closet that I hardly wore or not wore enough. So whenever the need be, I would dig in it and to my wonder, discover some pieces that was fit for the occasion. This gave me hope, relief and satisfaction. Who would have thunk this! After I crossed the 2-month bar, rest was easy. Mix and match! It doesn't have to be brand new, we can always create new out of an old one, sure!

Around six months I shared it with others and the initial reaction was it was impossible! I agreed, I thought so too but it was happening and at this point I was almost sure I could do it. There were temptation and one proved near fatal. I still debate if this broke it or not. Case in point - city fair where local artists showcase their work for exhibition and sale. One such artist was a Mexico born seamstress who made one of a kind dresses. The gorgeous dresses were totally to die for. I inquired if she took orders that can be delivered later, which she didn't, nor was she coming back anytime soon. My resolution was hanging on a balance. What to do! Okay, so I guess I sort of cheated there. I asked my husband to buy it for me and I would wear it only after the said year is over. After deliberation, purchase was made. So that was the only blip! The rest of the time, I stayed true to my resolution and soon, the rest of the time passed without much trouble.

Once I reached the mark, I looked back and realized how much more I gained beyond just something denied to self. Besides saving money (you don't spend on clothes, you save on accessories and shoes too), I learnt self-control, the fun of not letting go, contributing towards environment and above all , forgiving myself (about the blip).

After safely crossing a year-mark (its 14 months of staying sober) couple of weeks ago, I went shopping for a new baby's clothes for gifting. As I entered the store, I couldn't help but notice new Spring collection vividly displayed. So what I can't would have been my earlier reaction but out of nowhere I reminded myself that now I can let myself buy for self. I found that feeling so very liberating. Oh that's right. But a year is a long time. My innerself whispered to me - sure I can but I didn't want to. Now that was new! I won't because I don't have to. I smiled at this new me. I made the purchase I had come in for and got out of the store. I feel like a winner. I will when I want and I won't when I don't.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Art Class 11 to 20

Class 11

For the 11th class we had a demo from the instructor. We had a model sit for almost 1:30 hours and he drew it using vine charcoal. It turned out to be a wonderful experience to watch a portrait coming to life from a real person in front of you. Mr Wu has speed and talent, the result was beautiful.

Class 12

I was the model for this class. I was drawn by everyone. I had to sit still for the 2:30 hours with 5-10 minutes break every half an hour. It was something you'd do atleast once to understand what meditation is all about. I would surely do it again if paid well. :-P

I fell ill couple of days after this class. So missed 13th and 14th. That was a major toll. I didn't only miss the class but also a good part of my enthusiasm. Okay, I would recover it soon but for the time being it dampened my spirits big time.

Class 15

Okay, this time my instructor fell sick. Class got canceled.

Class 16

Last session of portrait drawing practice and try quite hard for me to concentrate. Thats sucked. I had trouble sitting straight for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. I whine quietly and try to work. I thought I did not do so bad for the first time live model drawing. But I am sure I could do better. Oh well, I have excuse for not doing the best so I move on.

Class 17

We get a demo of pastel portrait drawing. Totally amazing results with those crayon-like sticks. What wonders the right tools can do in the right hands. Awesome. Even if you are not an artist, you should try to take an arts class, the experience will liberate you like nothing before.

Class 18

Our turn to try any medium of our choice. I stick to charcoal. We have a live model. She looks composed and oblivious to her surroundings. I was late for the class. I look for a better spot to sit and draw but all are taken. I chose to sit where I see her but not to the satisfaction. So I did a half-baked job that day. Moral of the story. Be prepared and prepared well.

Class 19

Homework was due and we had presentation.

Class 20

Another portrait practice session. I made sure to sit at the advantageous spot and take it slowly. I think I did one good job this time. Hello quality work, here I come! This one is somewhat presentable by my standards.

Upcoming class 21

The last(I think)portrait practice session. I hope to try pastel for this one. I am excited like a child.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where is the mojo?

The past few weeks had been rather rough on me especially on my artsy craftsy side. I just don't like being sick but that's what I got. Thank you food poisoning :-( All I had to do was to eat something that didn't sit well with my stomach. It made me so sick that I threw up everything I ate till then that day. Afterwards I could not eat or drink for 3 full days. Whenever I tried to eat or drink it came out of my system in seconds. By the end of the third day, I was admitted in the hospital for a couple of hours so that I could be given saline water to keep me hydrated. Once I was discharged, I could take one sip of water every five minutes. That seemed to work and after another couple of days I could finally eat some solids. I think, by then my body had been terribly bored with no-fun routine and decided to give me a break. :-)

There is always some good that comes out of situations like this. For example, this sick-period gave me ample time to think over things. And I did a great job in that department. Oh well, the super positive thinker's attitude! We cannot think any other way but this. Oh and about all that thinking I came across some very bright ideas that I have to share with the readers here. But in small installments. So, stay tuned.

For now, first things first. I have to finish 75 more sketches to finish my sketch-book. Yeah, that's right! I have done only 25 so far and it has to be before May 15. I know, I know. Outrageous, isn't it? But wait till you hear what else is left to do. 1 full master project that will make 50% of the final grade again before May 21. Plus three profile pictures to complete the final submission. Okay, now tell me am I entitled to be freaked out or what! (Deep breath, deep breath...)

Okay, after a 10 minutes break, a glass of cold water and three phone calls later I have decided to focus on the very first step that I have to take rather than getting overwhelmed by the whole scary big picture. Woah, that feels nice. Baby steps. One at a time. I think my mojo is back. I will post some pics soon to prove that. :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Art Class 8 Through 11


We learnt to draw drapery mostly. Its tedious, inanimate but necessary. So spent three class sessions on drapery. Then there is homework on this. I have yet to decide what to draw for the Monday's submission. Gotta work!

Only relief came in the 11th class when we began portraiture. It sounds very challenging but I am sure there will be great deal of satisfaction waiting at the end of it.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Art Class - Day 6 & 7


In this week we learnt to draw a female torso. It required correct measurements and the right proportion of each of the part in relation to one another.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bubblegum Sweater


I can't believe I finished this one! Thanks to the Ravolympics challenge, I finally had the inspiration to sew and get the pullover ready.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Art Class - Day 5


This was the only class of this week due to a holiday on Monday. We had critique of our first homework. It went well and we got a chance to appreciate the work of others and how varied the creative process could be. Next time, I will try to elaborate on the entire work in better step-by-step manner for our grades depend on it.

For the rest of the time we worked on the leftover cast work. It moved forward a few inches but I like the development.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Art Class - Day 3 & 4


This class was what I had been waiting for so long. Mr. Wu arranged some random items on the model stand and asked us to pick any three for our still-life. OK, that means, 1) Pick an angle that gives you the correct composition, that is two overlapping items at the right place, 2) Make sure the composition has interest, 3) Make a correct line drawing, and finally 4) Reflect smooth value changes. 'Oh, so just start?' I thought. Woah, that's awesome! I was sure I could handle that.

I got down to the line drawing and within first half and hour or so, I had had the correct composition ready. Then I added the values. Did I mention we had to use only vine charcoal? Well yes, just that. From this point on, all I had to do was to shade. Which I did, to a level of my satisfaction. I almost finished it before the class ended. I think I did a good job.

I took a critical look at this from a distance and I felt, there were a lot of darker shades that was not dark enough and could use some more work. The instructor agreed. So, that I leave for the next still-life. Great exposure, good practice, and a lot of learning. I loved it.

Day 4

We first had a demo on plastercast drawing. Once it was complete, then it was our turn to practice on a different cast. For the assigned time of an hour or so, I did my best and I think this calls for a picture which I hope to post soon. Mine turned out to be okay and with practice, I am sure there is a lot of scope of improvement.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Art Class - Day 2


The class has finally begun with real drawing practice. We discussed vantage point (VP), perspective, composition and relative values.

Vantage point is the way we look at things. We assume the horizon as the eye level. Anything above this level, such as clouds, appear receding if they go higher. Conversely, anything below eye-level would appear closer to the viewer as they go further down.

For 2-point perspective, things are seen from LV and RV together so that the content appear 3-dimensional, as in the real life. This is interesting. I love it. We got the first homework based on this. I hope to finish this homework with atleast 3 or 4 variations.

We had demonstration on 2PP - circles developing into ball, cubes and cylinders into bottles and so on.

Before the next demo we discussed the right elements for the correct composition including frame-viewer, number of items, and control on light. The instructor arranged a book, a bottle, and a cube on the model stand. Then he directed the light in such a away that the two overlapping objects are closer to the source. The demonstration was quick and very clear. Soon we had a beautiful still life on the demo-sketch.

The class dismissed with this. In the next class we will get our turn on still life and I hope to have some pics to post here.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Art Class - Day 1


The dream has finally come true! I always wanted to take formal lessons in drawing and learn where I can improve. So I did some research in my area to find a place that would offer some classes of interest. It's then I came across a wonderful artist, Jian Wu. His work is absolute classic. He teaches at the community college and also gives private lessons. His classes were mostly at the day-time and I cannot attend that due to familial obligations. So, I contacted his studio and requested for the schedule. He gladly accepted to provide but for some reason things didn't work out at that time from my side.

Then I contacted another good artist who said she would contact me but didn't due to some personal problems. Read left this country. I kept the search open but most artists were either teaching kids only or were beyond my budget. So this year, I applied in the local community college for an affordable evening session under a TBA instructor. I had to believe how lucky I was (thank you family!) when I found out that Prof Wu is teaching this class! I thrillingly waited for the start of the class. Slowly but finally the wait was over.

For the first day of my class I sharpened my pencils and rearranged the lately untouched sketch-pad. I went to the class on time and mused over the uniqueness of attending this class. For the first time I am taking any non-Science course. And that too, in a class-room setting. Did I mention, I was thrilled! I am already loving the idea of my yet to create art-work being critiqued in coming sessions.

I had to take my little honey-bunch with me due to some impromptu situation. 'Ok, we will see what happens' - I thought. Instructor okayed her presence as long as she stayed quiet. To my surprise she not only cooperated but in fact liked the class. She curiously watched ASL interpreter who were there to help the instructor. She closely observed their hand gestures and their animated delivery. It held her attention not for long but that seemed to motivate her for more surprises in a class in 'college'. It shortly came in the form of a slide show in near dark. Soon after I knew she was eager to leave as her whispering grew louder and more frequent with every passing minute. It's sort of coincidental that she often says that she would rather go to a college than a school. We never thought she would actually do that. The class ended soon after. Little earlier than the regular time. Next time on, it will be on for its entire duration.

Before we left, we were given supplies' list and the big-picture of the overall course-work. I have most of the stuff but I might need some more as we go forward. We are encouraged to draw everyday for the rest of our days if we really want to improve. Well, I want to, so I will. I hope.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Garter Stitch Jacket

Finally the sweater I had been meaning to put on my little pumpkin is finished with photoshoot and all.

Stormy Weather

How much impact weather can have on us is most realized when it rains over the days. You are forced to restrict yourself indoors and the activities are prohibited to a great extent to the inside of the four walls of the home.

As a child the rains are absolute bliss. What can beat a chance to play in the free fall of water! Water everywhere...above below, right left and everywhere in between. Getting wet, splashing it all around, jumping in and out of muddy water puddles, making paper-boats everything is nothing short of magic.

In youth, the rain and the romance go hand in hand. You would give anything for a cozy stroll in rain with the loved one right next to you. The next best thing is to be with that special person in the toasty covers and listen to those drops splitting into tiny droplets in a mushy songlike rhythm.

With time, things change. The very idea of rain makes us ensure we have ways to avoid it or atleast prepare us to face it without it letting it us touch anywhere. We try to get out of the house when rains stop. If we have to leave the cozy home for anything we get set with raincoats, umbrellas and whatnot. And if we don't see the Sun for a few days, the spirits start sinking, so much so, people get moody, sad, and downright depressed. What a three-sixty degree shift!

Then finally with the parenthood comes that protective feeling that would make us keep those little ones inside the safe and dry. They might catch cold - although we have been told over and over by the doctors that it's not the cold but the virus that causes cold but in the heart of our hearts we just know it that we have to keep them warm.

Now we go full circle from here. Haven't we become our own parents. They would yell at us when we returned home in muddy clothes & shoes and dripping wet and mom would remind us continuously how bad is it out there and they'd make us promise as they changed us that we would never go out like that ever again. And we would do so only to get just one more chance to do that all over again.

So much for the collective fall of the drops from sky, the magical thing called - rain!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby blankets

Made this baby blankets for NiN.

These were knitted in garter st using the standard 'CO 1 st and then incr on either side' method. Both acrylic yarns, machine washable and bright colored. I thought about the babies all along the knitting and prayed for the welfare of the little bundles. I am not sure if I ever felt so much connection during knitting as much as I did this time.

Pink Neckwarmer

Made for gifting.

Green Scarf

20 st in st. st. Knitted until ran out of yarn. Crocheted the ends.

Steam-ironed to kill the acrylic. Satisfactory output. Anyone has scarf requests, bring it on.

2 Pink Vests

If only I had better pictures to show off and waiting seems to be never ending. So I just put this entry up anyway. The actual vests are cute, functional, and pretty.

I haven't written a pattern, but that can be prepared on request.