July 15, 2014

Recuperation

 Knee surgery is painful. No two ways about it. Am so thankful for the abundant blessings that take such good care of me, that I don't even feel like an invalid. And thank God for wi-fi ��

July 2, 2014

Pretty pink party dress for a special someone



via Jaya's Place http://ift.tt/1rgxqcL

Made the big bow dress as a prize for my 100th 'like' on my fb page. Took a long time in the brain, but once the materials were assembled, it went together quite quickly. I used the cottagemama party dress pattern (again) and added the bows on request.

The mom sent me this pic to show it fits well :D
Doesnt she looks gorgeous?

My machine fell apart ( really! There were pieces falling off!) and I borrowed my lovely neighbour's machine to finish this before I left on vacation. And made this pretty skirt as thanks.

June 24, 2014

felt keychains made on collaboration with JSP CRAFT LAND

I made the black n red hearts. Printed the tags off the internet. Do you think they fit the theme? Those gorgeous painted rose bushes were the handiwork of the amazing Jan of JSP craft land. Look through her page, her ribbon work is soo beautiful. 


via Jaya's Place http://ift.tt/TqVrQ6

June 22, 2014

why do i sew when i have zero time?

because i am mad, completely bonkers.
because i am an escapist, trying to find oblivion in tiny machine-made stitches.
because my girls need more clothes.
 because i wont be sewing for the next month.
 because my stash of fabric sends me into a guilt trip every time i see it.
 because i dont have time enough to do what i want to do.
 because i have ideas in my head that just wont let me sleep unless i make them a reality.
 because i cannot buy anymore fabric before i use up at least half of what i already have.

because i cannot say no when someone compliments my work.
 because i like sewing more than cooking.
 because i am quite proud of how much i learned in those years where i "did nothing".
because i have confidence that i can do it better than someone else.
because i have champagne style on a beer budget.
because i WANT to do it.

just because.

and so, i made two matching skirts for the older girls.
 

June 6, 2014

A treasure box

The little one  decorated a shoebox for 'best out of waste' competition. She added many princesses and glitter and glue.
After all the decoration and submitting for her competition, the box came back, to be used as a jewellery box. 
And then, inside, guess what  she keeps in it as treasure? 

Restores my faith in childhood. 

May 19, 2014

The flu and some thoughts

Flu. Sounds so inane. Everyone gets it, right?

What happens if kids of school going age catch it? Oh noo not another post about sick kids. .. But no. It is exactly that. My kids are sick, and spectacularly. The first one had the cough for about a week before we even noticed. Took her to the doc, got the required meds, and went ahead with the hectic lifestyle as usual. It did not help that the cetaaq practice was underway, at least two different locations in the evening every day.  Nobody in the house knew what day of the week it was.  Homework went largely undone, the mount wash-more was growing to volcano proportions,  kids grew more sleep deprived every day... And this was the week I made the parrot costume and the elsa dress. ( im calling it the Most hectic week of my life)
And then it ended on Friday with the EF sargotsavam and competitions. Did not end for me - the sick one collapsed with vomiting at the competition venue and went on to a wheezing attack. (Thankfully, it was after her event, but I was caught without an inhaler. ) Scooping her up into the car, I located the nearest hospital on my gps: umm ghuvalina health center. Flew there,they gave her emergency treatment. And transferred her ( by ambulance) to the paediatric emergency center in al sadd. That, i guess, was the first ambulance ride of my life. I am So thankful to God that it was for such a mild reason. They  told me that there is a children's emergency center in old airport. ( that is where I Should have taken her, or I should have called 999 for an ambulance, had I been thinking straight, because ambulance response time is very good in Doha. )

Anyway, long story short, she was diagnosed with very bad chest infection and wheezing, given meds. Okay, the mad rush is over. Rest, relax, recuperate. Oh exams this week! Okay rest, study, recuperate. 

Wait one week. Try to remember to serve meds at the right times. Pay attention to what she eats, instead of just putting it on the table. Okay, time to slowly relax.  No wait! Time for the little one to catch it. Vomiting, wheezing, the works. Nursemaid duties phase2.   Catch up on the laundry. 

Um, the compound decides to fumigate the houses this week. (Eye roll) Rewash all the linen. Pile them on the guest bed for folding.  The third one decides it is a good place to rest before starting her course of the throwing up. (Throwing up my hands. This cannot be done alone. Lord, help!)  

And that is where I am, this week. With a sick child at home alone while we parents are at work. Send me good vibes, people!

Adding a pic that makes me smile: Amy after a battle of wits :)

May 18, 2014

What is so special about queen elsa?


What is special is that she is the first Disney character that I analysed from the fashion POV. what is special is that this is the first time I was interested enough in a costume to try and reproduce it. 

She introduced me to the realm of cosplay. An alternate universe where people dress up as fantasy characters, as a hobby. Where each fold of her computer- generated costume is painstakingly reproduced down to the last snowflake on her cape, by actual human people who wantt o look exactly like that image. 

Elsa is special  in that her dress becomes an inspiration to every little girl who sees it. I mean, a long, slinky dress and a longer, sparkly cape? What is not to love?

And so, when a query came that someone wanted an elsa dress for her daughter, I jumped at the chance. Even though it was the busiest week of my life.  I found time to make a comprehensive pinterest board, there came a mad whirl of tulle and glitter and aqua satin. right alongside the parrot costume, the elsa costume grew and spread its wings. 

Working with a constant haze of fabric in my head,  sparkly tulle and organza and satin, not to mention fabric paints and silver glitter and white spray paint and hard netting ,  snowflake stencils that i could find nowhere in Doha, and an amazing costume pattern via the fabulous Aly and Mel of Inspiration Station, and the dress took shape in no time.  Can you see the sparkle in the netting, the shine in the satin and glitter of fabric paint?



I went to deliver the dress, and alas! the zip opening is too small! (heh. note to self: that is what you get for trying to cut corners to save time. and thank God that I insisted on a dress fitting! I shudder to think what would happen if they found the problem on the day of the party!) and after the required tiny readjustment, (thank God again that i had not cut off the rest of the zip before finishing!)  The dress fit beautifully. Am I glad or what :D

Here is a pic the mom sent me, of the little one wearing it for her party,  The trailing cape made the dress look so dreamy!



edited to add: Mccall now has a pattern for the elsa and anna costumes. see here: http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m7000-products-48617.php?page_id=915

May 13, 2014

Sewing a parrot costume


There have been many days when I would have run in the other direction if someone asked me to make a costume. Especially something as work- intensive as a bird costume. But then, this came up when I was so distracted by the other stuff piling up, that I could not even remember to say no. And after two days of rumination, and a lot of pinteresting, I was slightly amenable to the idea. Then Vivek drew me a  croquis and the deal was sealed.
Parrot costume DIY
I jumped off work one day, mixing work  and hobby and visited souk waqif. I knew that there was no way I'd get parking in the souq, that being a crowded weekday evening, and bought satin from the first shop I saw. The kindly old gentleman sent me to the next shop:: " you'll get it cheaper over there!" ( there are perks of having a little one tagging along to charm the shopkeepers :) Got a whole lotta satin in primary colors. Lugged it home, had no place to put it down.. My craft area is a disorganised mess after the QatART market.  So set the pack on top of the shelf  and closed the door.  Forget it for a week.

  And hey! People are asking if it is ready. Umm no.  "When will it be ready? We need it by Tuesday for a dress rehearsal! "  ( when is Tuesday? Today? Tomorrow?)  push them off the top of the shelf, pull up the sewing machine from under a pile of UFOs, plunk it on the dining table. (hey, that's the only clean table in the house!) and start cutting. make a pattern for the wings: have the victim lie flat on a sheet of newspaper, draw on  the paper  to get a general idea of how big you want it :: easy peasy! then draw zigzag edges to give it a feather look. Trace the paper onto the blue, to make the biggest wings. cut another smaller one out of light blue, and progressively smaller ones from green and red.  Decide that we need to see it from both sides: so need two of each color. consider that i have no intention of finishing the edges,  "research" on the net  and decide upon flame sealing. Find some iron-on interfacing to have the wings keep their shape. find it distorts the satin when ironing.  make it work with a low heat setting .
parrot wings pattern making parrot costume outer wings how to heat seal satin
the dress is  so simple! just use the popover sundress pattern.  and add some extra panels over the front. and make a hi-low hem so there is a tail in the back. and add some parrot red in the tail too. oopsie. the satin is nowhere near enough. and i need more netting.. or tulle.

But no. I cannot work in a mess. spend the next day organising the craft area, down to the last errant bobby pin. wow! what a beautiful room! uh oh, now i'm a day late on the dress...and no time to go to the souk again.  Ask around for a fabric shop at the 'other' end of town..  find one, far beyond my expectations::  todays fashion in muaither.  Buy in bulk, astonishing my companion.  (thanks a ton, you know who you are!)


amy parrot costume
come back, pull an all nighter. sew all the wing  layers together. Instead of the Aline dress  in my head, the fully lined party dress somehow assembled itself on the table.  walla habibi, what can a conduit do? the dress practically made itself.. (or rather, i was so zoned out that i dont remember :P)

then, a small bolero. for holding the full sleeves. stitch it to the wings. minor design flaws, but altogether, not bad for a macaw.. to quote someone who says this a lot, "its handmade! it is supposed to look different!!"

so, what do you think ?

April 12, 2014

Arunachalam Muruganantham


sharing a post that blew my mind.. something that i did not believe existed. is my country so regressive that women have to find sawdust during her periods? 



"After spending years developing a simple machine to make inexpensive sanitary pads, Arunachalam Muruganantham has become the unlikely leader of a menstrual health revolution in rural India. Over sixteen years, Muruganantham's machine has spread to 1,300 villages in 23 states and since most of his clients are NGOs and women's self-help groups who produce and sell the pads directly in a "by the women, for the women, and to the women" model, the average machine also provides employment for ten women.

Muruganantham's interest in menstrual health began in 1998 when, as a young, newly married man, he saw his wife, Shanthi, hiding the rags she used as menstrual cloths. Like most men in his village, he had no idea about the reality of menstruation and was horrified that cloths that “I would not even use... to clean my scooter” were his wife’s solution to menstrual sanitation. When he asked why she didn’t buy sanitary pads, she told him that the expense would prevent her from buying staples like milk for the family.

Muruganantham, who left school at age 14 to start working, decided to try making his own sanitary pads for less but the testing of his first prototype ran into a snag almost immediately: Muruganantham had no idea that periods were monthly. “I can't wait a month for each feedback, it'll take two decades!” he said, and sought volunteers among the women in his community. He discovered that less than 10% of the women in his area used sanitary pads, instead using rags, sawdust, leaves, or ash. Even if they did use cloths, they were too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, meaning that they never got disinfected -- contributing to the approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India that are caused by poor menstrual hygiene.

Finding volunteers was nearly impossible: women were embarrassed, or afraid of myths about sanitary pads that say that women who use them will go blind or never marry. Muruganantham came up with an ingenious solution: “I became the man who wore a sanitary pad,” he says. He made an artificial uterus, filled it with goat’s blood, and wore it throughout the day. But his determination had severe consequences: his village concluded he was a pervert with a sexual disease, his mother left his household in shame and his wife left him. As he remarks in the documentary "Menstrual Man" about his experience, "So you see God's sense of humour. I'd started the research for my wife and after 18 months she left me!"

After years of research, Muruganantham perfected his machine and now works with NGOs and women’s self-help groups to distribute it. Women can use it to make sanitary napkins for themselves, but he encourages them to make pads to sell as well to provide employment for women in poor communities. And, since 23% of girls drop out of school once they start menstruating, he also works with schools, teaching girls to make their own pads: “Why wait till they are women? Why not empower girls?”

As communities accepted his machine, opinions of his “crazy” behavior changed. Five and a half years after she left, Shanthi contacted him, and they are now living together again. She says it was hard living with the ostracization that came from his project, but now, she helps spread the word about sanitary napkins to other women. “Initially I used to be very shy when talking to people about it, but after all this time, people have started to open up. Now they come and talk to me, they ask questions and they also get sanitary napkins to try them.”

In 2009, Muruganantham was honored with a national Innovation Award in 2009 by then President of India, Pratibha Patil, beating out nearly 1,000 other entries. Now, he's looking at expanding to other countries and believes that 106 countries could benefit from his invention.

Muruganantham is proud to have made such a difference: “from childhood I know no human being died because of poverty -- everything happens because of ignorance... I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness.” His proudest moment? A year after he installed one of the machines in a village so poor that, for generations, no one had earned enough for their children to attend school. Then he received a call from one of the women selling sanitary pads who told him that, thanks to the income, her daughter was now able to go to school.

To read more about Muruganantham's story, the BBC featured a recent profile on him at http://bbc.in/1i8tebG or watch his TED talk at http://bit.ly/1n594l6. You can also view his company's website at http://newinventions.in/

To learn more about the 2013 documentary Menstrual Man about Muruganantham, visit http://www.menstrualman.com/

For resources to help girls prepare for and understand their periods - including several first period kits - visit our post on: “That Time of the Month: Teaching Your Mighty Girl about Her Menstrual Cycle” at www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=3281

To help your tween understand the changes she's experiencing both physically and emotionally during puberty, check out the books recommended in our post on “Talking with Tweens and Teens About Their Bodies” at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=2229

And, if you're looking for ways to encourage your children to become the next engineering and technology innovators, visit A Mighty Girl's STEM toy section at http://www.amightygirl.com/toys/toys-games/science-math
"

March 21, 2014

Another dress I made


The prettiest little frock for the little one.. Just in time as the bicycle got repaired, the weather turned nice, and the vacations started.  (Actually, I made it for the nerd. She outgrew it last summer. The fabric quality is great, because the dress still looks new after one year of continuous use and winter storage. )

March 5, 2014

a weekend well spent

Last weekend was one of the very few in which i actually went out of the house, into society.  Usually, weekends these days are spent in a mad whirlwind of church and family and "relaxing" and cleaning and cooking. it has been a long while since i saw any of my friends..  i may or may not talk to them on the phone, but actually seeing them face to face has been relegated to those far-apart birthday dinners (now that the kids are grown up, no one does big parties anymore).  after a long winter, (yeah, long for doha) I'm ready to get out in the sun.

 This week, the sun was shining. the kids have been begging me to take them to a mall (any mall) because its been a long time since they saw the inside of one.. all purchases are handles by the 'rents in non-kid time. (P.S.  I have HAD it with shopping with kids.. now that they are old enough to babysit themselves, i'm going alone. what a liberating feeling! ) ..but not so for the kids. they've been living in the constant drudge of school/afterschool classes/TV/homework/sleep.  with a rare dose of cousins, that too have been very rare since papa is on the final hair-pulling leg of his grad studies and amma's working full hours.

so thursday afternoon, we went to villaggio. walked till my knee ached. saw everything there was to see. scored some bargains from pumpkin patch. got some knicknacks from carrefour.  had a KFC dinner. small  things to do, but it was  fun with the kids. saw the artwork at the back of  Hyatt plaza.. so cute! and pretty awesome that they thought to do that, to their facade from aspire park.

friday was a blur, with cricket and church and choir.

 saturday morning, i decided that my eldest needs more clothes.. she's fast outgrowing her current stock. So I tackled my first princess seam. it was a very good thing that i tried on a sample cotton first before i cut into silk.. i made almost all mistakes possible. Even made princess seams on the front AND back. (eyeroll) and finally after all adjustments, made the garment 2" shorter than the estimate. good thing that was a sample, but it was pretty cloth.   It was one of  my fave pics of last season, so i could not throw out the rest of the fabric.. I make her a kurta top with it, because she needs some. (and because there wasn't enough fabric left to make one for me ;).


In the evening,  i went to the MIA park bazaar. (go on, click through to get a feel of the place :) )  I joined Qatart, and i knew i would find them there. the MIA park bazaar is a good place to be, but you wont get any parking space. That is one day of the month when the officials turn you out at  the gate, because their parking spaces are full, yet people come pouring in.

 It was my first time there, the shopping kiosks had a lot of fun stuff, and  a lot of local artists had displayed their work on tables and in tents, I had a good time browsing through this modern version of a souk.  there were games and entertainment for the visitors, and the park seemed very lively with the wide range of nationalities and their kids happily frolicking about.  the whole bazaar has an upbeat feel to it, not normally felt when browsing through a mall.  maybe the end of winter and the green lawns and blue seas had something to do with it, and maybe the company and the brisk wind did, too..  altogether, this was a fantastic weekend!

January 2, 2014

how to start -and finish- a dress in two hours.

step one. find some last minute event that requires a color coded costume.
step two. scour the stores in the locality, and find that the color is so last year (or so fashion forward)  that none of them have any clothes in that shade.
step 3. raid the local fabric shop, try to guesstimate the color and amount of fabric.definitely buy more than you think you will need.  dont forget to buy the zipper, lining, tulle , thread and elastic.
step 4. measure your model.  start work on the dress. draw a few inspiration pics.  ask for opinions. draw elaborate designs on paper.  lose the paper. make a skirt. find out it is too short by two inches.. head desk.. thank your lucky stars that you bought more fabric.

step 5. leave the dressmaking  in a corner to tend to more important events,  like finishing a report for work,  cooking a few feasts, attending a few  notable events.

step 6. add in a curveball event or two, that take you away from home for more than 24 hours at a time.

step7. look at the calendar. look at the time!!
clear the dining table. roll out the bolt. find your lost sewing supplies.

step 8. mark, and cut out the bodice pieces.

step 9. add extras to the front bodice. don't measure. just eyeball it. almost double.. works.


step 10.  sew sides together. use the cottagemama method to sew bodice to lining.

step 11. use a string to cut out a half circle skirt. make sure you catch a fold so you have one open selvage side. use the skirt piece to trace a (shorter) lining piece. stitch tulle to the lining. hem both the skirt and the lining. attach both skirts at the waistline.

step 12. sew the skirt to the bodice. the skirt selvage edge  hits at center back. add a few gathers or something to make sure the skirt fits the bodice.

step 13.  attach zipper. easiest way is the sew mama sew way.

step 14. finish the inside of the dress. running stitch is the  fastest way to handsew  lining to a dress.

step 15. ummm .. the fashionista thinks the dress is too loose. never fear, add a sash!! use safety pins on the inside as  last minute belt anchors.
 
ta da! you're done!
now add a flower you found in your stash.. look ma, it matches!!
 a few hair clips you had lying around.
cover up all the mistakes with a winter cardigan, and we're in business!!


December 14, 2013

a pencil case with free Tutorial link

http://www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com/2012/01/how-to-make-pencil-case.html
Making a pencil case is pretty easy.. all it needs is a zipper and a piece of fabric. Making a pencil case for my eldest takes some thought: it has to be roomy enough,  it has to be sturdy, it has to be washable for all the ink spills and pencil shavings.

 Usually, i just get her something from Al rawnaq -- it is the be-all and end-all of cheap office supplies in Qatar. This time, i had NO time to take that trip to the other end of the town.  and of course, i have a shelf full of fabric.. so i decided to make one.

 I used this excellent tutorial at the spoonful of sugar (click on the picture to go there)


I changed the dimensions to accommodate her boatload of supplies that she insists to carry to school every day. All her color pencils, pens, white ink, sketch pens, hi-liters, pencils, sharpener,eraser, and random whatnots. (Why do kids need so much stuff anyway? at her age, two pens and a scale were all that was in my box.. and an instrument box was a burden!)

 I'm pretty pleased with the pouch.. now i have two little voices following me wherever i go.. insisting i make them one too :D

December 10, 2013

sew mama sew giveaway! CLOSED

It's not fair for me to go around entering without offering something in return! That's just plain rude. So, I decided to quickly pull something together for you! 

this fabric is a quilting cotton, that i used to make this pretty hand smocked sundress..  one lucky winner will get ONE YARD of this cute fabric. 

one answer will get you in the giveaway.  no following, no sharing. easy! so, where do you live?

(dear noreply bloggers, please  include your email address so that i can contact you if you win!)

i ship internationally, so comments from all parts of the world are welcome! i will use random.org to choose a lucky winner.
  and dont forget to see all the other sweet giveaways happening at the sew mama sew blog!

 edited to add.. the giveaway is now closed and the winner is #3 taniab. email me your postal address!

December 7, 2013

working on another cheetah dress

.. that turned into a skirt, because the bodice did not fit well and i had barely enough extra to make a waistband.She loves it , though it may take a while for her to grow into it :)



November 29, 2013

honeycomb smocking sundress


have you ever tried smocking? my sister does, and she's pretty good at it, but i am a little intimidated. so this was a little "beginner" smocking test.
 The dress turned out beautifully, and as i used it, i found that the smocking got stretched and stayed that way: lesson: always use lining/facing  for your smocked stuff.

 I used this excellent tutorial: http://katafalk.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/honeycomb-smocking-tutorial/  It uses the oldschool method of marking dots on the fabric.. it was a very simple process, only took me a few hours to do six rows of hand stitching  to make the dress.



thebusybuglife smocked dress







while browsing, I found this darling dress made with the same technique at  busybugs. is'nt it adorable?i would like to make one like that. anyone have a little girl of 3 years who would wear a smocked dress?

November 23, 2013

a cheetah print dress

A cheetah dress, because (i have no idea why) she insisted on buying this fabric as soon as she saw it in the shop. (and she loves the softness of  butter chiffon ).

 can you see where the dress sags a bit in the side?  that is what happens if you don't hang a circle skirt  to settle.the fabric on the bias will relax in use, so we have to let it "hang" for at least 24 hours and redraw the hemline to achieve a proper circle hemline. This useful pic shows exactly what to do:

I finished the hem with black bias tape. Far easier than folding and sewing the circle edge.  what do you think?

November 5, 2013

pictures

because of a glitch in google+, i unknowingly deleted my web album that stored all my blog pictures.  please suffer in silence while i reupload each picture at glacial speed.

October 18, 2013

vacation 2013 -grandparents

those days passed in a blur of happiness, contentment and travel.
some glimpses:


June 16, 2013

slice of sunshine dress

this yellow seersucker cotton bit has been in my stash since 2004... that's almost ten years old.
In a mad wish to use up the old loved fabrics before they start falling apart, i made a simple dress. with a touch of rickrack to add whimsy. and a yoyo flower. and maybe something more, before i am quite done with it.
This is the first time I have made pockets for a dress. I had to re-position one, but i will consider that a learning experience. I used the semi circles, that were cut out from the neck, to make the pockets. Do you think i should add elastic to the top of the pockets to prevent them gaping open?




a little yoyo flower, from the last bit of the fabric .

i am experimenting with my camera a lot, i have not achieved  that optimum level of the brightness .. so if this is too bright, forgive me :D

pretty dress in nicey jane

Do you remember that day not far ago when i received a huge envelope of fabric from Monica? 
I decided to cut into the next set.. and made this dress. Yes, another twirly dress for amy. The design is almost completely a knockoff of a dress i saw and saved long ago.. sad that it was the years before i found pinterest and have no idea where i saved it from.



I'm very proud of the fact that I used up every last inch of that adorably pretty floral. Sorry for such low quality pictures, my minicam is not what it used to be, especially since amy started hijacking it.

Thank you, Monica!

(edited to add: found the old inspiration, at KinderKouture. click through to see gorgeous photos of the dress she made.  )

May 1, 2013

kids and memories

have been net surfing a a lot. found this comment:*(that i definitely agree with)

"Ever noticed how the word Make-up screams that what you have is not enough? That you need something more to Make-up for what you do not have. Do not use it as far as possible. It is just a lot of chemicals that you can easily do without. Save it for special occasions if you will? And wait till you are old enough to use it? As for me, I have liked my lipsticks and in recent past nail polish. But, I have never felt the need to have those on every time I step out and find myself being more comfortable in my skin as is. I don't expect you to get there young, but least you know you can try!"

and found that this was penned as part of a letter to her kids by mamma-mia

and today i am wondering, what mesage will i give my kids? do they even realize the messages i am trying to give them, by example? or do they only see the mom who pushes them out of bed at an ungodly hour and huffs and puffs and pushes them out the door and into a bus-waiting-because -they-got-ready-just-in-time?

should i be writing letters to my kids to clarify my manifesto?
maybe i should.



April 25, 2013

KCSW day 3 _ peasant top tutorial links

76/365 by Jaya Q
76/365, a photo by Jaya Q on Flickr.
a simple set, for playwear.

peasant blouse and half circle skirt . the fabric, i had chosen on my last trip to india.. makes me happy just looking at it.

want to make your own peasant dress?
click on the pictures to take you to the tutorials

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