Monthly Archives: December 2015

Year End and Festive Christmas Markets



Christmas tree decoration

As another year closes upon us soon, its time, once again, to thank my readers for taking interest in my blog. It makes my time and energy worthwhile.





Wishing you all a very  Healthy  and Joyful New Year 2016.

As the festivities add a cheerful and colourful end to the year, it reminds me of Christmas markets, especially traditional ones in Europe. Relaxing at home I’ve read up travel write ups, food and traditions around these markets. It all seems magical! Never been to one.

Early years the local community markets doubled up their stalls and products to meet the seasonal Christmas demand. Besides farm eggs, meat and fruits, wooden makeshift stalls sold craft items like wooden puppets, dolls and patchwork blankets. Markets were always a great meeting place, trading place.

Compare that to the modern markets set up in shopping malls all over the world. Tourists outnumber locals, unknown to each other, never a greeting. Plastic and animated toys, factory produced candies and breads, glitzy balloons, cheap confetti and baubles overflow on the shelves. All mundane, produced en masse. No personal touch.

Going back to the town markets all over Europe, imagine winter evenings made magical with tinkling lights, real  Christmas trees with pine cones, even fresh snow upon the sidewalks. And carol singers winding their way through cobbled streets entering the Piazza or market square. Stop there, halt the time!

German and Austrian markets maybe the earliest, sponsored by the rulers and rich nobles in 1800’s.  Demand for variety of handcrafted dolls with lace frocks, wooden trains and puppets, embroidered linen, crochet gifts, wooden cuckoo chime clocks, fragrant candles and soaps with earthy scents were popular. Winter was synonymous of pine cones dusted with gold or silver sparkle, Christmas wreaths made with pruned rosebuds, ivy twines, dry fig leaves. A way of recycling garden materials?

Cold weather and availability of ingredients summed up traditions around food. Chocolate, sugar, chestnuts and plentiful fruit after harvest. German beer, hot cider, apfelwein and malt drinks were popular. German sauerkraut/sausages, gingerbread treats, Santa theme chocolates and roasted almonds kept hunger and winter at bay.

Mesmerizing, a journey back into time?  Well, no wonder more than 3 million tourists and locals visit these ‘once in a year’ markets in Europe.

 Sit back and browse like me:

Or share your own Christmas market experiences, and thrill us.

                     Season’s Greetings 


                        Happy New Year  


All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) Please see copyright disclaimer           






Yes, another crochet project done! This time it’s a small New Year gift for my grandchildren (boy’s) in teal blue. Paired with soft cream using the basic treble stitch, it worked quick and dense.

‘When you give a gift made with love,

                             it turns into something priceless.’

Crochet scarf - border and tassels

Crochet scarf – border and tassels


Yarn:Teal blue (1 ball 200m) paired with camel brown and soft cream.

Brand : Nako Superlambs.

Needle size:  5 mm.

Scarf length: 52 inches and width: 8 1/2 inches.

Bundles of yarn await dextrous hands.

Bundles of yarn await dextrous hands.

Pattern: Chain 22 for the base. Row 1 and up, treble stitch for desired height. Chain 1 to turn at each end of row. For second colour, add 2 rows in brown (treble cluster + 1 treble). Add 1-2 rows of teal for contrast. Next work 2 rows in additional colour (treble cluster+ I treble) done here in soft cream. Continue treble stitch in teal blue, for desired length.

Central Part: For the part that will go around the neck, I wanted to add broader bands for more colour and experimenting. Broad bands in both colours are made with (3 rows of cluster stitch/ alternate with teal blue/3 rows of cluster in another colour).

Then, continue to add length to equal the other end, repeat small band pattern of cluster stitches. Finish off, once desired length reached. Tidy up loose ends.

Tassels: They add length, variety of colour and give a softer look. Here is your chance to get creative. Make tassels in solid one colour, mix and add or alternate solid colours ( teal- brown-cream). I’ve made tassels 7  inch long. Remember to cut double + little more length (=15 inches) as after tying, they will become only half the length.

Ta…da…the scarf is ready.

Winter is here, and so is grandmother’s (Nani’s gift)!

Boy's crochet scarf in Teal Blue

Boy’s crochet scarf in Teal Blue

Till then……I hope I’ve inspired you to reach out for some yarn.

How are you keeping those fingers busy this winter?


Crochet A Boy’s Scarf

Cloth Market, Jalgaon


Jalgaon – Banana City, Cloth City or Gold City? Believe it or not. There is a big market for each of these, in this quaintly rural western district of Maharashtra.

Navigating our way through the busy main street junction at Mahatma Gandhi road in Jalgaon, my sister and myself, finally stood opposite the  crowded gate of the district’s famous cloth market. The Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Cloth Market, steeped in history, but lacking lustre.

Jalgaon cloth market entrance

Jalgaon cloth market entrance

Hanging electric cables overhead, run down paint peeling off the entrance wall, haphazard parked auto rickshaws and cart peddlers created a jigsaw blocked entry. Garbage and plastic bottles near the main entrance were a definite eye sore. In contrast, green, yellow, red bright lights that lit adjacent cloth stores enriched the drab ambience and lifted our curiosity. ‘It cant be THAT bad…let’s have a peek ‘ we muttered as we jostled the crowds that evening.

A crowded narrow entrance, Phule market, Jalgaon

A crowded narrow entrance, Phule market, Jalgaon

Jalgaon district in north-west Maharashtra, India,  is more popularly known for its banana (Kela)crop. It is the largest producer and exporter in India. Banana plantations are grown in abundance with help of drip irrigation and tissue culture. THIS market does not sell bananas, but one can find carts and squatting vendors selling this ‘king’ fruit on every street, all through the year!

Banana fruit and seller

Banana fruit and seller

Jalgaon is also a leading cotton-producing district.The volcanic soil, dry weather and mild winters are perfect for this crop. Cotton bales are then sent off all around the country, especially to Surat and Ahmedabad for the garment making industry. Some shops stocked a good variety of  fluffy cotton, stacked up in jute and cloth sacks. Mattress and pillow making are big business right here in the market, shops selling the loose cotton fluffs no less than 10 kilo.

Turning our heads left and right, keenly looking at the variety of embroidered dresses, kurti and lehnga sets, mannequins posing in regal attire were cramming for space as we made our way into the narrow streets leading inwards. Bright bulbs hanging loosely above on long electric cables lighting up makeshift stalls stood like beacons in darkness. Other regular shops were bursting with a variety of clothing and accessories. The market is open all 7 days of the week. Festivals and public holidays are the most busy time. Not an inch to walk as mostly women and children come here to do fancy festive or bridal shopping. they even come from neighbouring states or cities like Indore, Bhopal, Nasik, Nanded, Bhusawal, Surat and even Mumbai.

This cloth market is famous and has competitive prices.

Next we saw rows of colourful shawls, stoles, caps and socks, reminding us of the mild winter weather that had just begun.

Fancy bags, faux leather belts and handbags, beaded slippers, shops catering to needle craft lace, saree borders, beads, needles, buttons, knitting yarn, ribbons and headbands, school uniforms – all under one roof here. Women…, women shoppers everywhere!

Mannequins dressed in Indian dress

Mannequins dressed in Indian dress

Do we need to really buy something ? Just a souvenir dress material at the least? Well why we women will say. Boldly, we emptied our pockets and bought few garments and dress materials, acknowledging the competitive pricing that made us feel satisfied.

It was time to head out of the surging crowds that seemed to increase as the night grew. Sighting a street cart selling the famous ‘banana crisps’ it was time to nibble and pacify the hungry stomach too.

Crisp, crunch, munch. Salty banana chips. A perfect end to the colourful  sights and sounds of a busy market.

Jalgaon – banana city and cotton city, yes we had a good insight of life here.

Banana crisps sold on street cart

Banana crisps sold on street cart

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) Please see copyright disclaimer