Monthly Archives: May 2016

Aside

 

Be like the perfumed flower, that gives out its own perfume to 

                make other’s happy, but, takes nothing from anyone.’

Anonymous.

I LOVE flowers, and I must have them everywhere. In my garden, on fabric for dresses, cushions or bedspreads, gorgeous floral bunch at the table or prayer altar, flower garlands in my hair. Flowers also make the best birthday gifts for dear and near. The colour and fragrance of flowers is soothing, refreshing and mood uplifting. Nature speaks to us in the form of flowers – warm spring weather gives new life to closed winter buds, reminding us of passing of time and changes in life.

Each flower is unique in its colour, fragrance and shape. Are you so busy in life’s activities that you don’t stop a moment to smell the flower? Sadly… you missing out on the the essence of Creation!

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Past few weeks, at the onset of spring (it’s almost summer now!) I am learning to crochet small projects like flowers and butterflies.

YouTube and many crochet websites like http://www.ravelry.com and http://www.petalstopicots.com are helpful.

In tune with Nature

In tune with Nature

When time is limited time one needs to plan and organize small projects. Working on dainty doilies, flowers or caps, making squares proves easy. Repeating the same pattern means less thinking too. Stock up and rearranging can be done at a later date. Just keep at it.

Row of crochet flowers

Row of crochet flowers

Make use of your time, create a hobby and follow it with passion.Practice, practice! Why not bring a smile to someone’s face by gifting your crochet flowers?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

Crochet: Spring and Summer Flowers

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World Palate Recipes: Egg-xtra Special Mother’s Day Breakfast

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      Why not treat Mother an egg-xtra nutritious breakfast? Whether on Mother’s day or a Sunday, or on holiday when mother is visiting. I was treated to one such yummy breakfast, specially made with love and attention to details and brimming with nutrition.

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and should ideally be packed with goodness to survive and combat the day’s nutritional needs. So don’t skip this important meal, rather make your choices with awareness.

Eggs are easy to cook, versatile, and very nutritious, they make a healthy option (for those who eat them). Packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals, both egg white and the yellow yolk can be consumed, though the yolk has cholesterol. There are many varieties of eggs, the most popular one is the chicken egg, other gourmet eggs being that of quail, goose and duck.

            Top tip… A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.

A healthy breakfast plate

A healthy breakfast plate

Ingredients:

2 large or medium eggs

salt and pepper to taste

5 spoons of milk ( high fat tastes better!)

2 tbsp. water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil / other oil of choice

heavy bottom pan, egg whisk and bowl.

Garnish /Side

Half soft ripe avocado

5-6 sprigs of asparagus

herbs of choice

4-5 mushrooms

wheat crackers (optional)

Dollop of Hummus (optional)

Frozen Berries or summer fruit

1 cup low-fat yoghurt

Method:

In a bowl, crack the eggs ( leave out yolk if any cholesterol issues), discard the skin. Add few drops of water and milk, salt and pepper and whisk gently, taking care to incorporate air. Do not over whisk, or peak the egg whites stiff.

Heat up a heavy bottom pan or skillet. Add some olive oil or butter or other oil. Do not over heat pan. Gently add the egg mixture and keep stirring, folding in the eggs as they begin to cook. Reduce flame as desired. Keep folding in the mixture till nearly done, switch off flame. The heat in the pan will cook the eggs further, but keep them fluffy and soft. Toss gently on to prepared plate.

In another heated pan, add olive oil. Break and discard the hard bits of asparagus. They are NOT fun to chew upon while enjoying breakfast. Toss the asparagus into the heated pan, drizzle with more oil, add herbs, salt and pepper. Cook till just bit tender and chewy. Do not over cook. Set aside. Now sauté the sliced mushroom in a similar way.

Garnish the plate with slices of avocado, dollop of hummus ( or thick yoghurt), scrambled eggs and dress them up with cooked green asparagus shoots. Serve with toast or wheat crackers.

To a bowl of yoghurt, add some frozen berries or fresh-cut summer fruit. The colours will highlight the serving and bring extra smiles of contentment to Mother. ‘Ah…what a satisfying meal and start to the day’.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

  

                 

 

 

Guest Post: Extensive Kutchhi Embroidery in Ahmedabad’s Market

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My young niece recently visited Ahmedabad’s famous shopping street, the Law Gardens. Revati is a budding architect, prolific reader and a writer for the magazine Urban Vaastu. Not the archetype shopper and bargainer, she still brought back bags full of colourful Kutchhi embroidered clothes as well as stories.  Thanks Revati, for sharing your experience at the street market.

Street shopping in Ahmedabad. Courtesy : Internet

Street shopping in Ahmedabad. Courtesy : Internet

 

‘If you think money cannot buy happiness then you do not know where to shop!’ This is a patent phrase every shopaholic is well versed with and more so, believes whole heartedly in it. This happiness intensifies manifold when one buys a particular item at half the quoted price. Welcome to the art of street shopping where the primary requisite is a combination of the sheer skill of bargaining and mammoth patience.

The Law Garden area in the city of Ahmedabad, western India, is a street side shopping haven and a ‘must visit’ for enthusiastic tourists and locals alike. It is an evening market where the shop owners can be seen unpacking and arranging their clothes for display after the sun begins its sluggish journey towards the west. The melancholic sun forms an ideal backdrop for their long grueling evening ahead.

‘Low Garden’ as the area is famously known in the native Gujarathi language offers a variety of Kachchhi embroidery work. This traditional threadwork on fabric is done by the artisans of Kutch, a region in the state of Gujarat and is thus called Kachchhi work. Kutch, lies around 400 km away from the city of Ahmedabad. This beautiful work can be seen on a range of fabrics and an assortment of clothes like ghagras, jackets, blouses and accessories like clutches, slings and slippers to name a few. It also displays stunning ensembles of the popular ghagra choli or chaniya choli, which is a traditional flowing skirt and short blouse, very popularly worn, especially  during the Navratri season while playing garba. Garba is the traditional Gujarati dance.

Embroidered dress materials with mirror work. Courtesy: Internet

Embroidered dress materials with mirror work. Courtesy: Internet

Kutchhi work is usually done on cotton or silk fabric. The embroidery involves the use of silk or woollen thread in fine stitches to create elaborate patterns, and draws its inspiration from romantic, architectural and human motifs, as well as Persian and Mughal arts. The colors used are mainly green, indigo, deep red, black, yellow and ivory. The embroidery is also distinctive in its use of mirrors and beads, placed strategically in between patterns.

Kutchhi embroidery on bedspreads. Courtesy: Internet

Kutchhi embroidery on bedspreads

History traces the origin of this Kutch embroidery work to mochis, shoemakers who used to work on royal textiles and decorative objects. Over the years it has grown to become an artwork of international repute. Kutchhi embroidery has never lost its sheen and in fact the colorful craft has considerably gained popularity over the years. It has survived owing to the constant influx of new designs and innovations along with new merchandise such as waistcoats, purses, bags, sandals, skirts, scarves and belts. Home furnishings and fashionable attire to suit modern wear also incorporates this embroidery.

Let’s take a look at the street market scenario:

This rich artwork is displayed within tiny (mostly shabby) 8′ by 6′ shops in the Law Garden area. The owner sits on a raised platform which exhibits the entire spectrum of his products. The tarpaulin sheets act as dividers between the shops but one can seldom notice them peeping under the riot of coloured cloth pieces on display. Bewildered? The designs, patterns and colours are so varied and intricate! It becomes difficult to vividly remember the patterns you have purchased or viewed. The floral motifs combine beautifully with lines and geometric and nature inspired forms to create a design with bright hues. An important fact to be borne in mind is that these products at Law Garden are open to bargaining since it is machine work designs and not hand work. The traditional hand worked cloth is understandably expensive and demands a more respectable selling place than a roadside shop. Nonetheless, the machine work products are gorgeous for a person who craves for a piece of  Kutchhi ethnicity albeit, on a shoestring budget, in their wardrobe. That is me!

As I began my shopping escapades, I was awestruck with the beauty that man could create on a mere fabric. Each region has its own specialty and it is always undoubtedly worth possessing. I must have appeared an obvious novice to this region, armed with a cap and a water bottle to beat the heat. Finally, after a bit of window shopping, I mustered the courage to actually ask the shopkeeper to show me various clothes and quote the price.

This is where the most entertaining part of the evening began. He quoted a price almost 4 times the reasonable rate and since my face must have registered the shock he quickly added, ” You choose first. Then we will decide the price.” Bemused at his calm authoritative manner I was determined to beat him at his own game. After selecting a certain product we began haggling over the rate. I offered something way below his quoted price and pat came the reply, “Tell a price that even we can afford. This is not possible. Tell me your last price.” This went on for a few minutes after which I gave in and said I was willing to stretch by a hundred rupees. He began packing the dress and I heaved a sigh of relief. Alas, I had emerged victorious against a skilled player who never misses a day of practice. He handed it over and said, “Let’s agree at a price between mine and yours. Give me 400 rupees.” The smug triumphant look disappeared from my face and I succumbed to the fact that I had lost the battle.

However, I repeated the same procedure in all the shops and passed with flying colours a few times. The pleasure one gets after bargaining and finally purchasing a product at a pre-conceived price can seldom be understood by the brand conscious people. The time when you pretend to leave and the owner calls you back to re-negotiate the cost is one of the trickiest part of this charade. If you are not effective in acting your part you will not be called back and that dress or bag which you had set your heart upon cannot be yours! Or else you will have to swallow your pride and walk back to the place and buy it at whatever rate he asks for. However, in any case, this is an experience of its kind and rather entertaining. I must confess that I have never been a shopaholic in my life and detest bargaining and street shopping in the heat.

However, the market at Law Garden seemed to exude a charm that even a person like me could not resist. Thus, I can happily state that after a couple of hours, I had two bags full of clothes and accessories and a third full of MEMORIES.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer