Every month I make plans to do a weekly update on my making and things I’m enjoying at the moment ,but then just let that thought slip through the cracks.
We are in level 2 of lockdown.Covid -19 situation has been so much better in NZ than in other parts of the world. I have so so many things to be grateful for , but in this time of uncertainty,I have been quite scatterbrained. While I keep reading and hearing about how we all navigate these surreal times in our own ways, I hate to admit that I have been struggling with anxiety as well.
I am trying , to be productive and positive. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. However , I ‘m not giving up and I try to focus on things that bring me joy.
I’m writing down everything, to keep track of my schedules, the things I do ,to keep track of things and slow down and enjoy.
Like I said before, I’m trying and giving myself grace to fall down and get back up again.
Signs of Spring are popping up everywhere in the form of daffodils, cherry blossoms and hyacinths, I just hope we will have gone back to level one normality by the time Spring and Summer rolls by.
Recently I bound off a few projects off my needles, Skyping Beanie , Rafa’s Hat and the Colour Affection Shawl.
Skyping Beanie :
Winter this year has been hard for specially Jacob,after staying away for three years in the middle east. He specially requested that I make him a hat to wear when he takes Amber for her walks and when he works out in the garden early in the morning or late in the evening.
It always is a pleasure to make things for my family because they love it . They have worn whatever I’ve made them proudly announcing to every one that asked that ‘Pearlin/mumma made it’ . Isn’t that enough to make a maker’s heart itch to cast on things all the time?
I could have finished it long back but as per usual, I didn’t have DPNs to finish the crown part. I had order some online, and by the time they arrived , I had lost track of what I was doing and made a few mistakes before I got back into rhythm with the project.
I used the Vanitas yarn I got in my goodie bag at Craft Camp Nz. It is super soft yarn made with baby alpaca and organic merino from Outlaw yarn again.
Project Details :
Pattern : Skpying Beanie by Halldora J
Yarn: Outlaw Vanitas in Nostalgia
Needles: 4mm Chiagoo Circulars and DPNS
Project Notes :
This was a really quick and wonderful pattern to knit.
While Jacob really loves his Skyping Beanie , and wears it often, he is someone who doesn’t like wearing too much colour. He requested another Skyping Beanie in some shade of grey or greyish blue or shades of black . When I saw Outlaw Bohemia Worsted in Ebony, I knew he would love it. I did plan to make a Skyping Beanie, with it but then I wanted to try a different pattern and decided on Rafa’s Hat by Joji Locatelli.
Project Details :
Pattern : Rafa’s Hat by Joji Locatelli
Yarn: Bohemia Worsted in Ebony
Needles: 3.75 mm Chiagoo Circulars, 3.5 mm Dpns
Project Notes :
This was a another lovely pattern
I did not have 3.75 mm DPNs for the crown decrease and so used the 3.5 mm DPNs I had on had , it did not make a big difference .
The yarn was a dream to work with . The result is another cozy , warm beanie for the winter cold.
I also finished the Colour Affection Shawl , I was working on. While it seemed like it took forever to finish, it worked up pretty quickly in the end. My co-worker Ethan has offered to block the Colour affection shawl for me and so its with him, until he can find time to block it and finish it completely.
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 did not know foggy winter mornings could be so beautiful! The entire landscape appears softened .Intriguing light behind the silhoutte of trees far away adding to the mystery. I had never seen that building before yet it adds charm to the panaroma. It seemed like a watercolour painted scenery to me.
I wonder if the Master Painter sits there tapping his brush on his chin musing what colours to paint that day . Each morning so grand yet so different than the day before .Never ever the same yet always a treat.
I feel completely blessed to be able to just stay in the coziness of my home and enjoy the view through my window .
I would go out more if I did not always end up with a headache and ear ache in spite of being wrapped under layers of Merino and Down on cold cold days. That’s why I prefer my little bubble, warm and cozy.camping on the couch, with my knitting and crochet, basking in the sunshine that makes its way to the couch through my large glass windows listening to podcasts or breakfast shows.
The shortest day of Winter just went past us . Now Spring must be just around the corner , no? School is out in two weeks and I can’t wait. Nothing beats lazy sleeping in days during Winter. I know the boys will drive me batty with loud music and non stop bickering during the day.Still knowing they are under the same roof as me, leaves me at peace.
A cowl scarf got done and dusted at the said camping .Inspired by the Kuwaiti head dress . Made of 100% NZ Organic Merino with 4.5 Addi hook,its very soft and warm.
It is going into a raffle package for a very worthy cause.
That and trying out a few middle eastern dishes have kept me distracted from getting overly cranky over J’s crazy work hours throwing off our routine and all. Oh and laughing over showing up a week earlier for Big B’s troublesome wisdom tooth extraction appointment.
Rasam is another one of those recipes that I make often during Winter. With the flu virus doing the rounds in our home, I make pepper rasam almost everyday! Served with piping hot rice, scrambled eggs and papadam, it is one of our favourite comfort food .
Sometimes I just like to drink it as it is so soothing to the throat.Trust me,it really is simple yet wonderful cure for cold and chest congestion.
Even though there are so many varieties of Rasam, I make milagu rasam or Pepper Rasam often because of how easy it is to make.
In traditional tamil feast, rasam was often served after Sambar a lentil based vegetable stew , to aid with digestion .My dad often said that to earn the title of a good cook , one had to first learn to make a good rasam. For according to him, getting the flavours right for this very simple dish was an art in itself.
Ingredients to serve 4
To grind Coarsely
1 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ghee/oil,
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
1 small tomato.
a gooseberry size of tamarind
Coriander Leaves a few sprigs (torn with hands not chopped)
Soak Tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for about five minutes and take out the pulp. Keep aside.
Take a cup of water in a bowl,Cut Tomato into four pieces , add salt, microwave on high for one minute. Mash the boiled tomato roughly and Keep aside
Mix the tamarind pulp water ,boiled mashed tomato water and the coarsely ground mixture. Add one more cup of water. Keep aside.
In a sauce pan heat oil/ghee, add mustard seeds, asafoetida ,dry chillies and curry leaves. Let it splatter, Now add the pepper water to it. Keep on the stove until just before it starts to boil.Do not allow to boil.
In the serving bowl, add the coriander leaves,salt to taste. Pour in the Pepper rasam over the coriander leaves and salt into the bowl.Serve hot with rice or drink as soup.
Turmeric in the Tamil language is called Manjal, which when directly translated means yellow. Obviously the name came from the colour of the spice. Not only was Turmeric or Manjal a commonly used ingredient in almost all our south Indian preparations , it is also often used as a home remedy.
When we were little and hurt ourselves when playing,and there was blood involved, the wounds were washed and dressed with a mix of crushed small shallots and turmeric.Women applied turmeric paste on their faces to protect the skin from acnes and other skin blemishes. The most common medicinal use however, is for common cold and cough.
Whenever we got the sniffles or scratchy throat, during the monsoon season in India, my mum always made manjal paal aka turmeric pepper milk for us to drink . Although I did not appreciate it much during childhood, I appreciate it a lot now as I find it very smoothing with its amazing healing properties for cold , sore throat and cough during Winter here.
Since Winter is the season where these ailments are largely rampant in most homes, I thought I will share this simple but very effective time tested Winter remedy with my readers here today.
Ingredients to serve 1
Milk : 1 cup
Turmeric :1/2 tsp
Black Pepper: 1/4 tsp
raw sugar/honey or palm jaggery to taste.
In a small saucepan, take milk.Heat on medium heat uncovered, until almost boiling.Add in turmeric and black pepper. Stir well.Reduce heat and and let it simmer for five minutes. When the spices have blended evenly with the milk , remove from flame.Add raw sugar/honey or palm jaggery to taste. Serve warm.
Turmeric milk also aids with getting a goodnight’s sleep at night.
I’ve been feeling under the weather lately . So I thought it would lift up my spirits to make note of the lovely little things in my life on this day. Things that may seem so insignificant to others but makes a whole world of difference to me.
It is no secret that I love Yarn. All my resolve to keep check on my budget, usually gets thrown out the window when I see new hand dyed yarn online.Specially after coming here to NZ, there are so many natural fibres that I’m spoilt for choice really!
Can we just take a moment and admire how gorgeous this yarn looks?And is oh so soft . Go read about this hand dyed yarn at Nunnaba Artisan Yarn
Ever since we moved into this home, we have been treated to some gorgeous sunrises .Somedays I miss it in the busyness of the early morning rush. Isn’t it amazing how regardless of who stops and stares, the sunrise continues to remain magnificent in its glory? On this particular day, the sky looked like it had been set fire on.
From friends and from nature.
The pillow like I said earlier is a handmade gift from a friend here.I’m a big fan of handmade creations .Not only does the handmade item carry the unique imprint of its creator .It also offers the privilege , to have a peek into the beauty of the creator’s heart, their dream,and creativity through the making and giving of the said gift. And that little piece of the giver remains with you to hold and cherish. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?!
Same goes with the bounties of nature. The Creator created all these amazing charming creations with such precision and attention to detail , just for us to find and admire. To be able to look around and take in the beauty that surrounds us is a wonderful gift I believe.
These pinecones ,are ones we gathered from our very first family camping trip in Kaiteriteri, near Nelson.
Both of these gifts make my heart swell with happiness for the very reason I mentioned.
So tell me what makes your heart swell with happiness?
June marks the start of Winter. As much I would like the sun to come out and shine gloriously every single day , let’s accept the fact that it’s going to get dull, dark and dreary.Sometimes a rainy freezing cold day makes it all the more dreadful. Yup Winter is definetly here and it’s not my favourite season .
I try my best to keep myself cheerful as the days gets darker and shorter .Its the lack of light that makes winter a sad season for me.
So here are a few things I do to cozy up my home in Winter . I share it here hoping it will help others too.
Bringing greenery inside.I have plants and terrariums in little corners around the house . Having plants around the house all year round is surely refreshing . However during Winter when the trees are bare and skeletal, seeing greenery around the house cheers up the heart.
Adding Colour around the house surely makes me smile.
Cooking something yummy. I try out budget friendly new recipes . Bake a cake and ice it , even it is only out of a box. Apart from just warming up the house, it also makes the house smell yummy while serving as a treat
Knit/ crochet something warm for yourself . I usually grab some deliciously soft yarn from my stash or treat myself to some scrumptious soft yarn if I feel the need and make something mindless and useful for me to use during winter. For me it’s yarn that floats my boat , for you it could be something else like painting, quilting , colouring in etc. Basically what I’m trying to say is do more of whatever makes your soul sing.
Keep calm and drink tea . If asked to choose between coffee and Tea , I would always choose Tea . More specifically Indian chai . I start my day with a well made cup of strong Indian Chai. As the light starts dwindling and the day seems depressing, I start craving for full bodied cup of ginger tea . The indulgence never fails to lift my spirits.
Other things I sometimes do is listen to music with peppy beats, burn light yummy smelling candles around the house along with some fairy lights .
Watching the roaring flames eagerly lap up the wood beneath… Family huddled together in one place, each doing their own thing , seamlessly getting in and out of conversations…. I would write an ode to the fire place if I were a poet. Clearly I’m not and so I just write….
Dear Fire place…I cannot thank you enough for making the family hang out together ,
warming up not just our cold face, hands and feet but the very cockles of my little heart and making our house a home!