It has been a long dream of mine to make a throw blanket. If you go through my past blog post, you can see how many I have started. The reason there is no finished blanket on here is because I never got around to finishing them.
Honestly, when I started this Chunky blanket, given my previous history of making blankets, I wasn’t sure if I would finish it. The Outlaw Chunky Queen Bee yarn , and the easy and fun Chunky Blanket Pattern , made this blanket dream of mine come true. To my own surprise , it turned out to be a quick knit.
With the little leftover yarn, I decided to make tassels because I just wanted to use them up and also add a fun element to it. I was tossing between pompoms and tassels but then I decided to go with tassels. I am happy with how it turned out.
Project Details :
Pattern : Chunky Cable Blanket
Yarn : Queen Bee Yarn in Smudge, Yara, Titania and Zelda ( 9 skeins in total)
Prawns are a family favourite .Ever since we discovered, frozen deveined prawns in our local supermarket, I always try to have some in my freezer so that I can make this recipe quickly. This recipe is so simple and and so easy to make , goes really with curd rice, sambar rice or with rasam and rice that I make it when I am lost for ideas to make for dinner.
250 gms Shelled and deveined Prawns
1 cup chopped Red Onion ,( I like to use shallots or pearl onions)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder ( I use medium spicy)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
a handful of chopped coriander leaves
2 sprigs curry leaves if available
a little less than 1/4 cup water
2 tbsps sesame oil
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a skillet.
Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves if available. Let them splutter.
Add the chopped onions. Let them become nearly caramelised.
Add ginger garlic paste, sauté till the raw smell goes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, sauté until mushy.
Add in all the powders, sauté until the raw smell goes and oil separates
Pour in the water, let it cook for a minute
Add the prawns, let the masala coat over them and the prawns turn a little pink.
Cover and let it cook for a few minutes.
Cook until the prawn are well cooked but not over cooked
Then open the cover , increase the temperature on the stove, ( or flame to medium high) let the water evaporate a little and the masala becomes semi thick.
Garnish with coriander leaves .Serve.
Cook Book Scribbles
Keep track of how much water you add by adding a little at a time as the prawns release some water too when covered.
I also used dried curry leaves because I did not have fresh ones at hand.
I hope you all are back to work after enjoying lovely Christmas and New Year holidays.
I have been long gone from the blog ,but I have been busy posting on other social media, which is You Tube and Instagram in bits and pieces. If you would like , you can catch up on my 12 days of Vlogmas on my You Tube channel Planetpearl.
The year 2019 seemed to whiz past , mostly because it was a year of huge personal growth for me.
I started working at Outlaw Yarn HQ . People who know me really well, know its a dream come true for me.
Once I read about a research that found ,that people who worked in Flower shops were one of the happiest . I can understand that , because how is it possible not to smile when you are surrounded by flowers, right?
As a fiber craft enthusiast, I feel the same way working in a yarn store( or Wool Shop as some people like to call it here ). It is hard not be happy surrounded by all the colourful yarn and meeting some really cool people , seeing the amazing projects they make. Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying it immensely.
It also opened up the opportunity for me to meet Steven Be . THE Steven Be . Which was one the year’s highlights for me.
He helped me cast on my Pearl Sweater. Which I thought was so cool. Really who would have thought I would meet him right ? And that he would be so down to earth and humble ,to patiently take the time to teach an absolutely beginner sweater knitter , how to do a cast on, explain the garment structure and make sure I got it right. Surely if that is not being generous with one’s time, I do not know what is !
Ever since I met him, I have been fan girling gushing talking about what a wonderful person he is to know! So much inspiration, wealth of knowledge , so positive and funny.
One of the things I checked off my Bucket list in 2019, was attending Christchurch Woolfeast as a stall Vendor ,selling my Hold and Cherish project bags . Two of my close friends and my son gave me so much support and made it a wonderful success.
Another wonderful experience was flying over to Wellington to attend Craft Camp. It was such a well organised camp which helped me meet some amazingly talented women.
I learnt to dye yarn along with Steve, my younger son, which was a great exposure to art of yarn dyeing for both of us.
I also tried weaving which I really loved too.
I’m really proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and I’m really pleased with how the year 2019 went for me craft wise.
For the year 2020…
Regardless of how my personal life is going, I always get excited about a New Year. It’s always a time to reflect on the past lessons and look forward with hope, to another year of inspiration and learning .
The plans for this year include ,moving towards a more intentional ,slow living and uncluttered lifestyle.
I have already cleared out my closet of clothes that I do not wear, to be donated to Salvation Army. Which does make me feel better about putting my thoughts into action.
I also hope I will be able to keep up with my blog more regularly, sharing more of my creating journey ,towards a joyful life.
With that said,Thank you so much for being part of my creative journey , for your encouragement and support by way of likes and comments. Appreciate you all so much.
With the pitter patter of raindrops on the roof, the hum of the lawn mowers around the block, competing with the black bird’s songs , cherry blossoms and daffodils, tulips blooming every where , its very Springy in this part of world.
It was a very busy end of month , with family visiting, We did go out to see the Cherry blossoms in Hagley Park.My attempt to take every one for a picnic at the Botanical garden failed miserably. In spite of living here in Christchurch for five years now , I still can’t get my directions right!
I did manage to salvage the situation a little bit ,by finding a little bench near the duck pond . My little nephew all of five, full of wonder , was very excited to chase the sea gulls and watch the duck swim by. Still, the cold southerlies forced us out of our spot quickly enough.
We also went to the centre of city and took a tram ride . It was a really lovely trip, I sat with my little nephew who was full of questions about everything he saw. Nothing really missed his eye which was a pleasure for me as it took me back to the time, when my boys were that little and asked questions all the time. I really enjoyed seeing the world from their perspective
Making wise, I have been making a lot but not really completing anything! I have frogged as much as I have knitted. Mostly because of not having a proper plan and not being able to focus on one project for long.
I was half way into making this asymmetrical shawl
Then I had the chance of attending Steven Be classes and decided to use the Mohair novelty yarn I purchased from him.
This class was a wonderful opportunity to meet Steven Be and learn so much from him about making and about life. Not only was he a fantastic teacher but also such a wonderful person to know.
I have been making the same pattern in an Indie dyed Yarn as well, I thought I was well into finishing, when I ran out of yarn. I got another skein to add up but now have decided to frog it and alternate skeins. I may also add a strand of sparkly mohair I got from Steven Be to this project as well.
This sock has been in the making for a long time, but I have slowly reached the heel now.
In other news, both my nephews took a fancy to these bunny hold and cherish bags . Even though it surprised me a lot, it was the ultimate seal of approval for me . Especially because my younger nephew is very clear and out spoken of his opinions and thoughts which I adore.
I was very happy to let them have one of each. I would have let them have as many as they wanted, had not my brother their dad ,instructed them strictly , they could each have one and no more.
I’m in awe of how we are nearly at the end of the year.
Keeping fingers crossed that the coming month will be a month of finished objects
here’s to another month of happy happenings and making.
The idea to start the Chat over Chai series, has been on my mind for a while now. In spite of sharing a lot on the blog, I felt a certain disconnect, so I’m going to try a bit of blogging like old times.
This is basically simply a catch up series ; to connect a little bit more, by offering a sneak peak into things happening in my life , to chat about things I’m really enjoying ; on the crafty side , slow living , cooking , current favourites – different things , I can share to make note of, look back on , enjoy and be inspired to grow and thrive.
You might want to grab a cup of chai (tea or coffee – whatever you prefer) for this one
This year, Autumn and Winter went by really fast and we are into Spring which is really like being in a whole new world.
It’s just so lovely seeing the world come alive with birds chirping , flowers blooming , there seems to be an aura of gaiety in the air.
While I have struggled a lot with the colder months, I have learnt that slowing down and doing a few extra things, that I normally never did otherwise during these months, helped me a lot to keep up my good spirits.
How did my version of Slowing down look like?
This was pretty much my every day routine during the cold months. I’m sharing it on my blog hoping that it will help someone feeling down as the temperatures, daylight and sunshine go down
Making my cup of tea, taking time to sit down and enjoy drinking it , feeling the warmth of my tea , warm up my body
Look out my door , make note of the sunlight flooding the mountains with its golden glow or the clouds completely cover up the mountains
Send Steve off to school,
Snuggle with my baby Amber, listening to my favourite gospel music, reading the Bible and praying
Taking time to shower and get dressed in presentable clothes in the morning with care, put on my favourite perfume,
Go for a walk once in a while with Amber
Do a bit of skin care once a week
Gratitude Journal every week
Use Bargain box for dinner ( this way, I did not have to do much meal planning but still had the recipes and the ingredients ,had a chance to try something new and different.
In the evenings, I often lighted up some lovely scented candles, put on some dreamy jazz music , kept the heat pump on and cooked dinner.
I added fairy lights where every I could, added cushions and throws to create cozy and warm around me.
Once a week I went out for brunch with my friends, or invited them over to just chat over home made ginger chai, it felt good to have those little moments of just sharing and enjoying the friendships
I joined a low impact exercise class which helped immensely as well.
Some days when I just did not feel up to it, I just let go, ordered food from Uber Eats and spent time with my kids watching re runs of Castle lounging on the sofa.
Weekends were a little bit different. We slept in , cooked some delicious meals to last at least a couple of days so that when I felt uninspired to cook, there was something to heat up and eat ready at hand.
I’m sharing these here in the hope that it will help someone who needs it. However these are not set in stone things to do, do what soothes your soul the most .
How do you cope with the Colder Months?
If you also do some of these things please share them with me.
Or if you have some other things that helped you cope through the colder months, please share them as well.
I’ve always enjoyed learning to make new things and the two seasons have been really good on that front.
First thing that I wanted to learn to make this year was to learn to make socks. I did not get a good result when I attempted to teach myself. When a class was announced at a local yarn store, I did not think twice before signing up. The yarn and the needles were part of the class.
Good thing I did because, not only did I learn to make the socks, i really enjoyed it as well as one colour transitioned to another .Whats so exciting is that they fit my foot perfectly!.Im still learning to do the Kitchener stitch perfectly though.
A local yarn store advertised for sample knitters and I applied and got to make a sample blanket.The yarn and pattern were given to me by the yarn store plus paid to make the blanket.
Honestly it was so fun to work on once I got hang of all the repeats right. The yarn was really lovely to work with as well.
What I really liked about this blanket was that the edging on the blanket was also a chevron.
By the time I finished this blanket, this yarn store decided to move to a near by town . So I took a bus to go there to return the blanket which turned out to be another adventure!
I also made a pony tail headband to wear when walking Amber . The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the colourway Lotus. Its really cozy and warm to wear.
I also tried my hand at candle pouring. Which was really fun too.Ive been using these candles I made constantly
I also took a Botanical Skin care Workshop with Tuwahiwi Botanicals , which was a wonderful workshop and I learnt a lot of face oils .
This work shop took me straight back to the days when my mom and I used to make all sorts of natural skincare powders.
My dad would tirelessly went to the local native medicine shop to get all the things from our long list of ingredients. Some of the ingredients we often collected from the plants growing wildly near our home.Beautiful carefree days to reminiscence and cherish the love that went into my upbringing.
Looking back at all these things it feels like a very productive season.
Its been a while since I wrote on my blog. My last post was in March 2019! I did not mean to be away for so long. But I have been busy doing things and not so regular in updating the blog
It was the school holidays. I happened to stumble on a book called How to Hygge by Signe Johansen in the library online and promptly downloaded my first ever e -book loan from the library.
I have read a couple books on the Danish concept of Hygge but nothing spoke to me the way this book did . So I decided to put some of the things into practice .It really helped, I must admit.
I added cushions and a faux fur throw to cozy up our couch ,
Used dried lavender from our lavender plant for our kitchen counter
dried hydrangeas from our garden in the hall
greenery from pothos plants that I have been propagating, pine cones that I found in our walk in the Christchurch Botanic Garden
some fairy lights and some candles I made at a Workshop
Beginning of Autumn, we spent a day walking around the Christchurch Botanical gardens. Every season there is something to enjoy at the gardens, but my favourite times to visit there are Autumn and Spring.
The colours are just spectacular during this time. I’m sharing some of my favourite pictures my son shot.
Walking around the Rose garden ,the roses and the scent of roses pervading all over the garden was glorious.
We spent a good amount of time watching the ducks chase each other on the water
While the geese glided around seemingly oblivious to the commotion happening around
This swan was so graceful in the water
Creating a cozy space, having greenery inside the home, taking note of the things in nature really helped me, to focus on the beauty of simple things and take pleasure in them.
Also, during this time, a friend and I together , started a knit / craft and chat that like to call the Knit2together group in my home . This turned out to be a simple yet cozy way to connect with the ladies in my church doing something we all loved.
Practising gratitude, enjoying the seasons , connecting with nature and other people made Autumn a very lovely season for me.
Being intentional this way also helped me to forget dreading the approach of Winter .(which I would always do and work myself into a knot)
Potato fry is a very simple dish that my children absolutely adore. So much so, that for the almost one year that we stayed in India, they took it for lunch with curd rice. Almost every single day!! Yes, almost every single day! May sound a little weird but that’s how much they loved it and still do.
I have a video tutorial to go with this recipe . You can check it out here.
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds/Black Gram
2 cloves Garlic (crushed)
A pinch Asafoetida
1 large Red Onion Chopped
4 medium Potatoes Chopped ( Soak chopped pieces in water)
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Sambar Powder
Salt to taste
Take a pressure pan or a thick bottomed pan.Add 2tbsps of oil, add mustard seeds and asafoetida.Add Chopped onions, sautés till pink. Drain water and add the chopped potato pieces.Wait for a minute. Add turmeric powder, Sambar powder, and sauté till the potato pieces are well cooked. Sprinkle a little water if necessary. When the potato pieces are dry and look fried, remove from stove.
Serve with curd rice , sambar rice or rice and rasam, or lemon rice
Rotorua came on as a place of interest to visit ,when my brother asked about the place. We had visited Rotorua around 2013, and had a chance to visit the Geysers and the Maori Cultural centre, but we couldn’t remember much of the place. So we decided to take a quick weekend trip to Rotorua to have a relaxed trip and visit places things we did not see before.
It turned out to be a nice weekend away to enjoy some relaxed time with family and experience Rotorua , like a local.( well, almost like one)
As soon as we landed in Rotorua, we hired a rental car so that we could go everywhere easily together as a family. It also is a preferred mode of transport as J enjoys the flexibility and ease of driving his own vehicle.
We had booked a one bedroom unit at a motel called Rotovegas ; which actually consisted of a nice family room, kitchenette with all the utensils and gadgets ( we did not use them) toilet, bathroom, and two bedrooms in the upper level. And the best of all , our own heated Spa tub in an enclosed area. Their service ,rooms , the spa pool and the general swimming pool I must say were all good . We had a lovely stay here.
On the day we landed, with all the excitement of travel, we skipped lunch and decided to have an early dinner. Staying in Christchurch and not having many places to go for a South Indian vegetarian Dinner, we literally jumped with joy when we saw this restaurant called Steam
The dosa , sambar and chutney was as close to the authentic dosa sambar and it made me very happy.
The next morning , we got up early and bright , went to have breakfast .As we found a parking around Hinemoa street, we decided to park the car and take a walk around and we came upon this cute French Cafe called Le Cafe De Paris
Being a francophile, I dragged everyone in with me for breakfast.The ambiance was old world simple and cozy which I loved, the food was yummy and the service so good.The only thing I did not like at this place was the smoke filling up in the room , as the crepes were being cooked. We all enjoyed the crepes though.
After a scrumptious breakfast, first on the itinerary, we had the Redwood Treewalk . When we planned this walk, we had no idea what to expect but were totally blown away by the beauty of the magnificent redwood trees. The stroll on the 20 feet high wooden suspension bridge was an exhilarating
as well as informative experience with boards placed in strategic places.
Then we went to Rotovegas where the boys went on luge rides. We had our lunch and snacks here before heading to our last stop for the day.
Our next and final stop for the day was the 3D Art Gallery.We walked around leisurely, taking pictures , pretend playing and laughing around , it was not crowded at all . All of us enjoyed the gallery as it was so much fun!
The boys were too tired for the day to go out for dinner with us so they requested that we get them McDonalds . Which we did , as it was not very far away from our motel.Later J and I went back to Steam restaurant ordered the same dosa sambar , went for a walk in the empty streets and wound down for the day.
Our flight the next morning was late in the afternoon so we went out with a boys for a leisurely walk around the city centre admiring the street art and getting a feel of the place.
We then had breakfast at a cafe called Capers Epicurean where the food was good but I felt it was not the place to go if one was in a rush .It was quite busy when we went and took a while for us to find seats and settle down before we could order.
With this trip we found out that taking short trips away from home and just enjoying a change of scene was immensely refreshing. We felt that doing a few things together with out rushing around made us appreciate the time we spent sight seeing around Rotorua and each other’s company better than the busier travel schedules we have had before.
We had left Amber with a dog sitter, by the end of day two , we were all missing her like crazy. So we were are all so ready to come back home.
How We got there :
By Flight : Air New Zealand direct from Christchurch to Rotorua.