30 Things to do in 2016- May & June update

The beginning of school year has been crazy. We are still getting used to longer days at school, packing 2 boxes, Weekly tests and lots of other novel stuff. It feels like my life is totally revolving around the kids and their schools and classes and I am running around in circles all day long, without being able to lift my head up and look at the big picture. And by the end of the day (or even during the day), I have no time or energy or enthusiasm to do just the things that perk me up like crafting or reading or simply enjoying a cup of Tea. Hmmm…

I keep telling myself, like everything else in life, nothing lasts forever; these crazy, busy, fleeting days will pass too. So “hang in there Manasa. You’re doing Great! Just Don’t drive yourself and everyone else up the wall, Please!” 

Hey, here are the things we still got accomplished, despite the craziness called LIFE-

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall

5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit. 

6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.

7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha – We baked a cake for Medha’s Birthday. To make the process easy, I bought a Cake mix from Pillsbury. I made costumes out of newspapers for the kids and we got baking! All 3 of us took turns mixing and folding the ingredients. The kids had fun decorating the cake with frosting and gems. And guess what, the cake tasted great too! 

Delicious Cake
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav- It wasn’t all handmade, to be frank. I didn’t cook all the food or make the return gifts myself, like I wanted to. I bought Poster colors, Paint Brushes, Coloring books and Stickers as party favors so the kids could “Make their own MAGIC”. But still, I enrolled Medha and Madhav in making the decorative banners and wraps for candies. And our friends all had a great time. It was one of the best parties we’ve ever thrown. 

12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool 
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha 

27. A plush doll with Medha

28. A garland with Medha- Medha, Madhav and I together made a few garlands as part of the decorations for the kids’ birthday party. I wanted to sew a fabric garland, but couldn’t. I will try to make one soon.

29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

So guys…. do the best you can with the time and resources you have. And please…. remember to have fun along the way!

Love,

Manasa.

 

Mandala – A Crochet Project

One of my recent Crochet projects is a  “Mandala”. I followed this pattern from a great blog called Red Agape.  This website has many patterns for Crocheting and a lot of other Diys too. Do check it out.

Final Mandala-001

I had never heard of the term “Mandala” in Crocheting before. I was too surprised to come across this Indian word when I was looking for something new to try. It was a breeze to crochet this pattern and now I’m hooked! I’ll be making many many more of these Mandalas, and using them in tablecloths,as coasters and giving some away as gifts too. 🙂

You can make it using a single colored yarn or you can mix and match different colors and textures to make the final piece even more interesting.

I used the same wool I’d used for making the valance. And I used my 3.5 mm Crochet needle.

Wool- Mandala

Here are the steps in pictures-

There’s a good pattern for a mandala on this website too. Do try it and let me know if you need any help.

Set of 3 Mandalas

Mandala Project

PS- I made this Crochet tablecloth for my sister-

Tablecloth for my sister

  PPS- And she totally loved it! 🙂

Here’s to more “Doing” and more “Giving”…

Cheers,

Madhurya.

30 Things to do in 2016- April update

Accomplished a lot of goals; had a nice, relaxing vacation and turned 30 on an upbeat note! What more can a gal ask for?! I thank each and every one of you!

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha What an amazing thing it is to be able to make your own dress! I sewed a couple of skirts for Medha. They aren’t perfect, with clean edges or proper fit, but they are almost perfect to me! Medha liked them too…. But the girlie girl that she is, she wanted more design in them! Her next ones surely will. I bought a lot of beautiful fabric from Dubai and can’t wait to use them! 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall I thought of making a wall hanging for our hall, but decided not to. Instead, I made a couple for my mom to decorate her new home. The kids helped me make them…


5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit 
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool I’ve asked so many times to be allowed to help the teachers at Madhav’s school, but I’ve not been given a chance yet. So I approached an NGO called the Reach Beyond and they let me help under-privileged kids with Reading and Math 2 or 3 times a week.
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully “With practice you’ve gotten better and better at wearing Saree, Mama”- my daughter has noticed my improvement too! 🙂
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha  I got a piece of wood, learnt to hammer nails into it from my dad, prepared a loom, tried to involve my daughter in the actual weaving, but by the end of a couple (maybe more) of hours, we had a pretty mat for my parents’ home phone, a sore back from all that sitting in one place and a Thank you speech by the daughter that went like this- “Weaving is a very difficult thing to do! Thank You!”

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27. A plush doll with Medha  One for the kids and one for my beautiful sister to remind her to “KEEP MAKING”, even though it may not turn not as well as planned.

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28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

Here’s to more DOING and less procrastinating!

Love,

Manasa.

 

Love,

Manasa.

30 Things to do in 2016- March update

We are busy around here, but this is GOOD busy! We’ve been doing a ton of projects, attending Birthday parties, preparing for school activities and slowly but consistently finishing tasks off our to-do lists. I felt much more productive in March than in the month before. I guess It’s because I didn’t force myself to do things I simply didn’t feel like doing, and started my day with journaling. Both these exercises (one mental and the other, physical) helped me deal with the craziness called Life this past month.

Here are the things I’ve accomplished till now-

1. Buy a sewing machine This one should have been the easiest, right? But it wasn’t. Buying a sewing machine is a big investment; Maybe not too big for some, but I wasn’t sure I would put it to good use. Now that I bought this, I’ve been using it regularly! Love my new machine! 
2. Learn basic stitchesIt’s so easy with the machine, even for a beginner like me. Just read the manual thoroughly. And practice, Every Single Day!
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall
5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit This one brought me such joy!
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert Had saved this one for the end, but HAD to dive into it. I was desperate for some Magic! And boy did I find it!
13. Read a kannada book – this one is taking me forever to finish!
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourseFinished this one and mailed Kam, its author, too, to let her know my thoughts. She’s awesome and the course is awesome. It did help me rekindle my lost “Spark”.
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse– working on this one now.
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog did you see the new “about us” on the sidebar?
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are) this one gave me such joy. I am who I am because of these people and a few others too. I can’t possibly write to each one of you, right? But hey, Thank you!
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park read about it here and here.
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)Yay! We did it!
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha
27. A plush doll with Medha
28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling – March was awesome for journaling! Hope April goes the same way!

Love,

Manasa.

Around here (03/16)

  • I can’t believe Medha is in First Grade already! It only feels like I got her enrolled into Nursery a few months ago! She’s super-excited about her new class, new subjects and new friends. I hope this love remains when she starts having weekly tests and school until 3 in the afternoon! Poor kiddo!
My Favorite Animal is Lion
My Favorite Animal is Lion
  • I used to be paranoid about keeping her White (!!!?!?) uniforms spotless and bright, but not anymore! Who cares if there are a few squiggly pencil marks or a dull splotch of ketchup on them?! Not me! Why drive myself even crazier than I already am?! It only matters to me that she is happy and safe… nothing else! Or so I tell myself…
  • It’s raining Birthday Parties here and we are having a grand time attending each one! It just melts my heart when the kids come and thank me for taking me to parties! I swear they do! Even the littlest one has just one thing to ask as soon as he gets up- “Where are we going today? Party?”
  • Madhav is enjoying playing memory games and preschooler games on my tab. This guy is so patient. He’ll keep working on something until he has it nailed down- like drawing circles to make tires of a car, sorting toys or socks and arranging them in proper places, etc..
  • I’m journaling everyday (I hope I’m not jinxing this by proclaiming it to the world!) the first thing in the morning, and I love how clean my mind feels and how empty (in a good way) my head feels after I’ve dumped all that sh*t on paper.
  • It’s so so hot here, it’s crazy! We’re trying to beat the heat by staying indoors as much as possible, drinking lots of Lemon and Mint juice, sitting under the fan and slathering sunscreen when heading out.
  • I’m getting better and better at wearing Sarees, even Medha has noticed my progress! The other day, after I wore one for a function (Why have functions when it is this hot?!) she tells me “You’re getting better at this mama. If you keep practicing more and more, you’ll get it!” Talk about bouncing my own lines back to me!
  • I bought a sewing machine. Yay! And I’m practising on it everyday. Learned how to thread the bobbin and the machine, read the whole manual, learning the basic stitches, stitched a small bag (that everybody made fun of, but which I’ll keep as a reminder of my beginnings at sewing) and just trying to do SOMETHING at the machine every single day.
  • Watched 3 movies- Loved one (Zootopia), In awe of another (The Revenant) and still figuring out what the heck the latest one was about (Batman Vs. Superman)
Movie time, Snack time!
Movie time, Snack time!
  • Tried my hand at Scratch Art. It was fun! Will be doing more whenever I find time-

Scratch Art
Scratch Art
  • Most of the time the kids fight like Tom and Jerry!
Sibling love
Sibling love

Such affectionate moments are few and far between…. And watching them makes me want to just hold them tight and smother’em with kisses!

  • There’s nothing like staying home, away from the harsh sun! So we aren’t traveling much. We went to Kothagudem on a Business trip and were too happy to be back home!
Badrachalam Temple vicinity
Badrachalam Temple vicinity
  •  Waiting for Madhurya to get back from a vacation and share her big news with you all… 🙂

I hope all is well with you guys…

Love,

Manasa.

Scrapbooking Project with Medha

Like many people, I too click a ton of pictures, and just save them on my laptop, leave them on my phone or camera. I don’t print them out and stick them into albums like my mama would. I felt I needed to do more of that. Since I’m not too fond of traditional photo albums, I decided to make my own. The kids just adore their cousin, Shristi. I wanted to make an album of her recent visit to India and the precious moments we spent with her and my brother- and sister-in-law.

It isn’t perfect, but I had fun while making it; Working on it kind of helped me when I was feeling anxious and stressed; Plus the kids love it, especially my littlest. So what more can I ask of a project.

Another goal accomplished!

image

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First, I cut a few cardstock papers in half, had the pictures printed,  stuck them on paper and cut out empty cereal boxes to make my book cover. A family friend suggested I could have them bound at the local printing store. I decided to go find out. Guess what,  It was way too cheap and efficient than slogging away doing all the bookbinding by myself! For a dollar, I had my stack of papers bound and that too in just a few minutes!

The only drawback to this method is that the binding comes only in white, apparently. I set to work painting it and drawing patterns on pages, to add some interest. Medha wanted to be involved, of course, and I let her doodle away. .

It could’ve been better, but I was eager to be done with it. “Done is better than good”– I kept telling myself, as I decorated the last few pages.

image

image

Is there anything I can do to make it pretty,  without breaking my purse or my back? Please share….

Love,
Manasa

30 Things to do in 2016- February update

February was crazy and not just because of Medha’s exams; I was feeling kinda crazy too. I lost my appetite, felt tired most of the time, lost interest in everything that normally excites me; In short, I wasn’t myself! And not being yourself is the worst thing you can be, I tell you. But I got through it, gradually, with help from family; And by giving  myself time and space to heal.

I found that for the duration of working on a hands-on project, like Scrapbooking, I felt sane, relaxed and, even, joyful. Giving my hands something to do and my mind something other than itself to focus on, is the best way to calm my anxieties and get me out of a funk, I realized.

I accomplished quite a few things, despite the dullness. Here’s an update of my “30 things to do in 2016”-

1. Buy a sewing machine
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall
5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit This one brought me such joy!
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert Had saved this one for the end, but HAD to dive into it. I was desperate for some Magic! And boy did I find it!
13. Read a kannada book – this one is taking me forever to finish!
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourseFinished this one and mailed Kam, its author, too, to let her know my thoughts. She’s awesome and the course is awesome. It did help me rekindle my lost “Spark”.
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse– working on this one now.
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog did you see the new “about us” on the sidebar?
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are) this one gave me such joy. I am who I am because of these people and a few others too. I can’t possibly write to each one of you, right? But hey, Thank you!
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park read about it here and here.
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90) – 3 more to go.
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha
27. A plush doll with Medha
28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling – Doing it On and Off. But I’ll still consider this Done, if I don’t give up on it completely.

More to go. Wish me luck!

Love,

Manasa.