Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Patricia's Tag.. and a domestic update

Couple of weeks back Patricia of ColoursDekor passed on a Tag, and "now ", I feel, would be the best time for me to take it up. I am not too good at writing ..let alone writing about myself. So this more me talking than writing :)

Before I get to the Tag, a Big Hi!! to everyone out there and a quick update on the Blue household. Lil Blu's school closed for summer vacation almost a month back. So the tornado is at home full-time and wreaking havoc around here. A good part of my days are spent shuttling between parks , play-dates, malls, the tub ( which he refers to as his personal swimming pool) and my car ( where he pretend-drives for hours on end) . Cooking, Cleaning, Home-projects and all other domestic activities have been put on a temporary hold..and all we do are sing ABC's, race Hotwheels, make freezer-pops and build fortresses out of sofa-cushions.

So now you know why I said NOW would be a good time to take up the Tag. I am badly in need of some grown-up time and some caffeine . And, here you go !

June 24, 5 pm
1. What is your current obsession ?
The organic milk chocolate bars from Equal-Exchange , they are out-of-this-world!
2.What is your weirdest obsession ?
Well, I have been told by many that I have a mild degree of OCD. I am constantly in the quest of Order. I am sure most of my friends would testify to it ..I have offered to several of them to re-organize their spaces ( that is, as soon as I am done with mine ) ;-)

3.What are you wearing today?
White shirt and denim.

4.What is for dinner?
Chicken Cutlets, Bread, Boiled corn and fruits for dessert.

5.What is the last thing you bought?
A white canister ( for coffee )

6.What are you listening to right now ?
CNN .. and Blu trying to spell out the headlines

7.What do you think about the person who tagged you?
Patricia-Very friendly , Spirited , Adventurous and Thoughtful. I would love to have her for a friend :)

8.If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be ?
India; Trivandrum to be specific

9.What are your must have pieces for summer ?
Linen pants, sun glasses and a good pair of sneakers

10.If you could go anywhere in the world for the next one hour where would you go ?
Hmmm , just an hour ??!! I would rather take a nap :)

11.Which language would you like to learn ?

12.What is your favourite quote?
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. -Helen Keller

13.Who do you want to meet right now ?
Joe, my husband. He left for work before I woke up in the morning.

14.Whats your favorite color ?
Don't you know already ?? It is Blue !

15.Whats your favorite piece of clothing in your closet ?
Denim by Gap

16.What is your dream job ?
A pastry chef ... you said dream-job right ??

17.What is your favorite magazine ?
None really !! I occasionally flip through Country Living, Real Simple and Better Homes and Gardens . But I dont subscribe any .

18.If you had a $100 now , what would you spend it on ?
A Vintage train-set for the boy.

19.What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
Anytime you try to be trendy forgetting to check if you actually look good in it .

20.Who are your style icons ?
Shabana Azmi, Michelle Obama

21.Describe your personal style ?
Depends, sometimes athletic, sometime relaxed .. ( it is not in my style to be dressy .. comfort rules !!)

22. What are you going to do after this ?
Take Blu out for a walk .

23.What are your favourite movies ? Beautiful Mind, Scent of a Woman,Pursuit of Happiness, Amistad, Bharatham( Malayalam), Mounaragam (Tamil) are some of them... and most of the Mohanlal movies in the 80's and early 90's .

24. What are your three cosmetic/ makeup/ perfume products you cant live without ?
Moisturizer , lip balm and deodorant.

25.What inspires you ?
Company of other inspired people , my friends and of course my two boys !

26.Give us 3 styling tips that always work for you ? In terms of home decor (1) Fresh flowers (2) No rules; anything long as YOU like what you see (3) If you "cant see the room"...Edit, Edit, Re-Edit !!

27.What do you do when you have "nothing to wear" , even when your closet is packed ?
I usually grab a T-shirt from Joe's side.. and on rare occasions , I have gone rightaway to shop for something new

28.Coffee or tea ?
Strictly Coffee :)

*The rules are: Respond and rework – answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, and add one more question of your own.

So ,That's me !!
I am taking a rain check on passing the tag.

Happy summer to you all

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Postage Stamp Basket : Quilting

In one of my previous posts I had mentioned how I started on a rather ambitious project right after a weekend class on Quilting. This is how it turned out.

A short recap.. In 2004 fall, I had taken this weekend class on Quilting to make a gift for a dear friend. In the class , the instructor taught us how to make a crib-size quilt , and the basic techniques of measuring , cutting the fabric, piecing (i.e. joining the bits of fabric together to make a fabric-"block") , quilting stitches ( i.e. stitches that hold together the 3 layers of a quilt- the top layer of fabric, the cotton batting in between, and the bottom layer of fabric), and finally binding ( i.e. finishing the edges after the layers are stitched together) .

I cant tell you how liberating an experience it was. I was always so envious of Joe, for being so passionate about the things he liked to do : cars, drawing, designing , reading and his list goes on ... and for me I could never figure out that "one thing" which would grip my heart 'n soul...but finally it looked like quilting was that evasive "answer" I was looking for!

At the time one of the fabric stores in our neighborhood was having a Christmas Sale and we decided to take a look. We got back home with pieces of at-least 25 different designs. The next thing that followed was a book called "Quilts! Quilts !! Quilts !!!"- by Diana McClun . For the next few days we made countless trips to the nearby craft-store for other supplies and gadgets and of course....for more fabric. The season also got me one of the best surprises ever, a sewing machine - a very thoughtful gift from my husband .

My inspiration was the Postage Stamp Basket quilt in Ms.McClun's book. The block- construction looked fairly simple and though the possible design layouts were endless , I decided to stick to the basic layout and color scheme from the book (though we had to change the scale).

Below: Joe made this image on MS Word , scaling it down to the size that we had wanted at the time. This was the starting point.

All those specks of color on the white background looked so cheerful and I was sure it would make the perfect accessory to brighten up any room, any day. The blocks were laid out in such a manner that 'same color patches' made a diagonal line, creating a lot of visual interest. It might sound like I was on an easy course , since I had decided to follow the layout and color instructions from the book, but getting the different patches of fabric to create that diagonal-line was tough. I had to get just the right shade of yellow or red, otherwise it would stick out and completely wreck the picture I had in mind.

By the first week of January 2005 I had started working on it , averaging an hour a day. I remember the instructor in my class saying that she preferred to do at-least some part of the process by hand (like the quilting stitches , or the binding ) rather than by machine .. that's what adds the personal touch. I particularly enjoyed the "stitching by hand" part and decided to use the sewing-machine only for piecing and to do the quilting and binding by hand.

It took me a long 6 months to get it to what you are seeing now, "almost finished" ( well, it is still not complete according to my original plan.. nevertheless by finished, I mean , usable and presentable) and it made the perfect gift for Joe on his birthday that year ! He was thrilled.

In case I have managed to pique your interest in quilts by now , here is some more information and specs on it. The finished quilt measures 82" X 96 " . There are 120 finished blocks on it and each block is finished with 8 pieces of fabric ( 2 squares, 3 big half-square triangles, 2 small half-square triangles and the handle applique ) . A finished block measures 6"X6". Here is a close-up of one of the blocks (below). You can also see the quilting stitches on the white background fabric.

Happy Quilts to you all !!
~ Aswathy