Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Negative space embroidery

Hi everyone,

How have you all been doing? It's spring here in Germany or at least that's what people say - but snow in spring???  aarghh!!!

I came across the term "negative spaces" quite a few times in the past few weeks.When asked about the happenings in her art class, the little lady told me that they are doing shading in negative spaces. At around the same time, over at Suztats I saw some wonderful watercolors with the same concept. And for the third time when I saw a picture shared in FB, that was it!! I decided to go negative :)

And thus the new project has started...  Here are some pics. The picture quality is poor due to the weather, sorry.

Since I've not embroidered letters as much as  I would like to, I started with searching for quotes and finally ended with "Hope". Don't ask me why.
My daughter asked the same question - why hope, amma ? Why not Luck,Love or Smile?.....sigh!!!! questions!!!
In negative space embroidery, the work is on the outside and the inner space remains blank.So to distinguish between the outside and the inside, I outlined the letters with a pale green in back stitch.
All my previous works have been mostly on cotton. Here I am using a piece of linen gifted by Meri. If you want to know more about Portuguese embroidery,check out her blog here. Working in linen is a beautiful experience. By the end of this project I may shift my loyalties from cotton to linen :)

I've slowly started embroidering on the outside and this is how it looks now.
Not much, I know..but I'll get there :) Since there's no drawn design, each element needs to be thought out. Had this been a heavy outline with a bright color, I think I would've been happy with just a few more bunch of flowers strategically placed. But since I am going negative, a lot more filling up is needed.
Well, let me add some more and we'll see how it looks.

 Love, luck and sunshine ,

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mom-daughter crochet project & some thoughts

Hi everyone,

Almost three months completed in Erlangen, yippeeee....
Though coming here had its positives ,it has also had its drawbacks.My daughter has no friends to play with and of course there's the language issue. She's hooked to her iPad for hours altogether which irritates me to no end. Just to wean her away from that device,I started crocheting a hat for her and asked her to help me.We studied the pattern together and she did her little share of single crochets and double crochets.

First when I completed it, it looked like a beanie. Princess was not happy with it,since she thinks beanie spoils her style .She said -"Mom, you yourself wear it". It was partly frogged and then attempted again. In the second attempt,it turned out to be oversized. Sigh...
Finally,after a bit of subtraction and division it ended up decent enough to wear.  Here's the completed hat.

She's happy. That's all that matters...

Meanwhile, Easter preparations are on full swing in my little town . I can see "bunte Eier" (colorful eggs) in all supermarkets. On Easter monday, our Deutsch friends have invited us for a brunch and then promised to take us around for a tour of the town to show us the decorations . I am looking forward to both since I've neither tasted European cuisine nor have been part of a European Easter.

When I walk around in the evenings through the silent streets of this town ,I sometimes catch a glimpse of women cooking in the kitchen or in some cases both the partners. I have often wondered what do they cook,what's their daily cuisine like? I do know that there's a lot of bread being eaten...and several varieties too. What do people do with all those "new to me" vegetables and leaves in the supermarket? All eaten raw as salads?  I am curious. Just like Indian cuisine is not just limited to Butter Chicken or Chicken tikka,German cuisine may not be just bread and sausage...

Fifteen years ago, when I entered the kitchen as a newly wed,every day was a learning experience. You could say - I burnt and I learnt .In those days, if help was needed in cooking a dish, a phone call to mother would suffice.

Fast forward to now, the situation is almost same - but the location has changed .( the age too... [smile] )
The super market here is a treasury of veggies - but many of them unfamiliar. The very first visit to the store yielded some onions,potatoes,beans ,carrots and tomatoes.The second visit saw some salad cucumber, bell peppers and broccoli added to the list. Nothing else was familiar. Boredom began to set in by the third long can one eat potato fry,potato boiled,potato masala or carrot & beans?? I called my home and bawled...there's nothing here to eat...

Where were the brinjals,lady's fingers,bitter-gourds ,cucumbers and bottle-gourds??? And where are the green CHILLIES??? A visit to the Indian store yielded the answer. You'll get some of the Indian veggies there but they are pricey.

The only solution.. adapt to the food habits of the land.So, the learning has started again.This time,its not mom who's helping me-it's Google. Google helps me find the difference between a red and white onion, it tells me what to do with pretty pink radishes,how to cook Brussels sprouts,parsnips and a lot more. But the curiosity remains.

Well, there's something new to learn everyday..

Happy Easter and happy Holi!!!!

Love,luck and sunshine,

Monday, January 11, 2016

Settling down and some embroidery discoveries at the new home


Wie geht es dir? ... see,I've already started learning German [big grin]

Thank you for all your good wishes for the new year and the new journey we've embarked upon.

It's been ten days here in Erlangen. We've taken on rent a fully furnished 3 room apartment - the rent is huge, but it saves us from other expenses for furniture and household equipments that we may otherwise incur. Our days are spent exploring the places near our home,the city center,some shopping for essentials and trying out some local delicacies. Rest of the time goes in trying to understand the equipments - the house is spacious,old, and hence the equipments are ancient.

The German instructions do not make things easy either.

The electric glass top stove took a few days to get used to - I am still burning food at times though. Back in India, the fire in the gas stove was something we could easily adjust - may be because it is something we've grown up with. And a messy stove was easy to clean..sigh!!!

The vaccum cleaner is almost as big as me. I'd prefer the simple Indian broom anytime :) The top loading washing machine remains a mystery - the instructions are in German and it is unlike anything I've seen .I googled quite a bit to get some idea but the mystery remains unsolved.The worst part - even Siemens website does not have information about this product from them.

Moving from living in one's own house to a rented house has its drawbacks - you're always conscious of the fact that none of this belongs to you and any damage to the objects will incur a cost . The kitchen remains my main tension point - the Indian style of cooking involves frying and so many masalas- I am afraid the pristine white cupboards will turn sticky coupled with yellow stains of turmeric ...aargh!!! I've to be very very careful.

Along with the above,the owner also provided us with plenty of linen for the mattresses and the tables.On our second day in the new home, I noticed a cushion lying in one corner of the living room -it was just a single piece.I picked it up,examined it and then informed my hubby - look at this, a hand embroidered cushion cover !!

Hubby asked - so?

No answer from my end...

The pattern is stitched with wool and the colors are dull. But it still is beautiful. I wonder why there's only one piece? Need to search the cupboards to see if there's a partner for this lonely soul.

Here's a closeup - satin ,stem,lattice work and couching stitches have been used.The couching has come off in the borders.I'll have to take up a restoration work.
In the deep recesses of the cupboard, I found another pretty piece too. But this looks to be machine embroidered.
Pretty isn't it? I am told that the house is quite old.So may be these are old too..

The front and the back of the embroidery. Looks like machine stitched to me.

I also found another table cloth. Not embroidered, but the print on it reminded me of Portuguese embroidery. Meri, are you there?

 Here's a close up..

I am yet to explore the yarn stores in the town. For that I need to first get acquainted with the streets and routes. It may take a few more days. Erlangen is a small city (town?) with plenty of old buildings.Each building appears to have a story of its own. There's a nice little library too and the public transport is excellent. 

Nice place,but the silence is unnerving. A hundred apartments around, but pin drop silence everywhere. No sound of children playing, dogs barking,street vendors, vehicles honking..cows,buffaloes, neighbors gossiping.. well,this is what we lived with in India :) 

And,oh yeah, the gentleman- Mr.Sun is a rare entity. Do we need to take Vitamin D supplements? 

Till next time,

From the region of Bavaria,

Love,luck and little bit sunshine,