Wednesday, April 22, 2009

loving the planet

Happy earth day!

Things we've done to live a bit more sustainable.

1. Most lights in our place are energy efficient.
2. Put a couple of bottles filled with water in the toilet tank so it uses less water with every flush.
3. No more paper towels, I've bought little square cloth towels for all my cleaning needs.
4. In the process of phasing out paper napkins for cloth ones.
5. We bought a Prius.
6. Recycle all our cardboard, plastic, paper, aluminum, cooking oil and glass.
7. All cleaning products are either method, seventh generation, or something that is toxic free, I am gonna start making them at home with some lemon, vinegar and baking soda.
8. High efficiency washer and dryer.
9. Use organic towels.
10. No bottled water.
11. Only buy fair trade and organic coffee.
12. Try to keep the temp at 68 in the winter and open windows and turn on the fan in the summer.
13. Always unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.
14. Bought a pair of cute crocs for the summer, they are recyclable!

All I can think of for now, gotta run to buy some seven generation laundry detergent that is on sale at Target.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kids with Cameras

One of the places I volunteer at is the Friends Association as a teachers assistant.
"FRIENDS Association for Children is a non-profit child and family agency that has served the Richmond, Virginia community since 1871.FRIENDS began as a post Civil-War orphanage in historic North Jackson Ward. Today, it operates three multi-service, state-of-the-art family centers in neighborhoods where the opportunity to succeed does not come easy. The mission of FRIENDS is to help children and families achieve their potential and become productive citizens."

I wanted to do a project with the kids and photography and it got approved yesterday and they are sending home the required paperwork to get it started!I am very excited! The idea was somewhat formulated by Kids with Cameras.

The project is going to be in 2 parts.

Part 1 is going to involve me taking photographs of all the kids that are there in the morning for day care. They range in age from 2-5. I want to do candid's of the kids in their environment, I am going to be shooting in color but hopefully Photoshop some of the images to black and white. I am hoping for good weather on the day I shoot so that I can get them playing outside as well.

Part 2 is working with the kids. There are four 5 years old's that are graduating and will be going to kinder garden next year so I am going to let each of them take home a digital camera and photograph whatever they want. I want to first meet with them, show them how to use the digital camera and maybe show images of how photography is art through your eyes, maybe they will see the world differently?

After Part 1 and 2 are done, I will sort through my images and the sit with the 5 years old's to sort through theirs and we'll pick the best images for display. I want to create a exhibition of my photos and the kids photos to be displayed in the Friends center. I think the kids will feel a sense of self worth, having their artwork displayed. If this project is successful this year then we might continue it every year with the graduating kids!

Monday, April 20, 2009

In memory of my Grandfather

September 1907-April 19 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

mom's cookin = Keera Koote

My mom's mostly talks to me in Tamil but once in a while she will drop some english in and the thing she has been saying while we cook is "this is my policy". She is getting majorly aggravated with my stopping her to take 1 picture or 2 or 3 or 10!

This recipe is for keera koote, you eat it with jasmine rice and a veggies.

Usually with tamilian cooking there are 3 sauces you eat with rice and veggies. The first sauce varies so it can be keera koote or more korambe (see previous blog) or other things that I will post. The second is always a type of rasam (tomato sauce) and the third is always yogurt. It's hard to explain you gotta just be invited to someones house to really understand it and the south Indian restaurants are not what we really eat at home!

Keera Koote (spinach sauce?)

1/4 cup - urad dhal
1/2 cup - moong dhal
1/4 tsp - whole black pepper
1 tbsp - coriander seeds
5 pieces - dry red chili peppers
1/2 box - frozen spinach box (10oz)
10 pieces - coconut
a pinch - turmeric powder
to taste - salt

1. Heat spinach to unfreeze, don't boil it (just enough so you can break it apart)
2. Wash moong dhal in a pot that you can put into a pressure cooker or that you can cook on the stove. Add the spinach to this along with 2 cups of water and a pinch of turmeric. If you are putting in a pressure cooker wait for the water to boil then put the pot in it and close, wait for 1 whistle and turn off. (you'll have to try it once and adjust to your cooker) If you don't have a pressure cooker then just put the pot on the stove and wait till the dhal is cooked.
3. Fry red chili, urad dhal and black pepper in oil. After the urad dhal has browned, turn off and add the coconut and toss for a bit. Take off stove and put in a bowl, add 1/2 cup water to it and set aside.
4. Put this mixture into the blender.
5. Add the coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 cup water.
6. Blend all this till the consistency is almost smooth but not all the way.
7. Take the dhal and spinach out of cooker and put on stove.
8. Add the blended mixture to this.
9. Mix and heat on low for 10-12 min, adjust salt as necessary.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A book for the mommy to be!

My high school friend A is pregnant and I wanted to make her something to store all her ultrasound photos so, I made this book. I love making books especially if they have a specific purpose, like this one.


1. Cut out 5.5x5.5 sheets of paper for pages (green) and pockets (white). I cut 12 pages (2 of which are for the front and back covers) and 10 pockets.

2. Fold the pockets in half and place on the bottom of the pages.

3. Stitch the pocket to the pages.

4. Design and make the cover.

5. You should have a cover, 10 pages and a back.

6. Make the holes for the binding. I followed this video.

7. Sew it together. I followed this video.

8. Fin-knee-toe, just need to mail to A to start adding the images to the book.

**a few quotes from a mom I chatted with today**

"no better way to grow up overnight than to see the plus sign on the pee stick"

"i mean its not ALL cuteness and giggles of course..there is a "dark side""

**thanks N

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

mom's cookin = Cabbage + Peas

Alright, so today we are just going to make a veggie for lunch since we have so much left over from yesterday so much so that I took some down to our neighbors on the first floor, M+A.
Mom got mad at me yesterday for not taking her to Target to get the swiffer duster refills that she needed for her house...she is so cute, a trip to target in any city makes her happy. She says it's better than just sitting at home, she can see what is on sale and get it if she needs it. I am going to take her today.

Here is the recipe-


1 head of Cabbage
1 = Green Chilli (med size, cut into small pieces - see picture)
2 = Dry Red Chili, broken in half - see picture (the type that is not spicy, just for smell)
**If you have the spicy red chili's then don't use the green chili, just use 2 of the spicy red chili's and break them in half**
(the Indian store was closed yesterday so we had to use the green chili's other wise we'd have used the red ones)
Preference = mustard seeds
Preference = Urad Dhal
Preference = Frozen Peas
A pinch = Asafoetida
Preference = Salt
Preference = Canola oil

1. Cut the Cabbage and wash
2. Wash the frozen peas in hot water and set aside
3. Heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds, urad dhal, asafoetida, green chili and red chili
4. Once you smell the ingredients and the urad dhal is bronze then add the cabbage
5. Mix all together and splash a good amount of water on it (my mom just takes water in her hands and puts it in there - 2 handfuls) then close
6. In 5 minutes, open and mix. Add water again - you need the water for it to cook in the steam once you cover it. Close it.
7. Do this process as needed to cook the cabbage.
8. Once it is half cooked, add the peas.
9. Mix and add salt, leave open to cook otherwise it will get soggy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

mom's cookin = Moor Korambe

My mom and dad are in town for the week and my goal for my mom is to teach me south Indian cooking, it is freaking hard unless you watch someone! And my mom's generation, they do not measure anything so I made her give me measurements while we made the food. My dad is just hanging out on the couch and the cutest thing is that my husbands name is Amrit and he keeps calling him amurth and we've been married for 7 months now!
Now for the recipe, this is for Moor Korambe (i can't explain what it is so just check out the ingredients and if it suits your taste try it out) The okra in this recipe can be switched our for white pumpkin, green squash or green pepper) This recipe will make for about 6-8 people.

1 TBSP = channa dhal
1/8 Cup = thur dhal
1-1/2 cup = home made yogurt
15 pieces = cut coconut (for size see picture)
6 pieces = med/small green chili (see picture for size)
1 TSP = cumin
1/4 TSP = turmeric powder
pinch = asafoetida
preference = cilantro
preference = curry leaves
preference = okra
preference = canola oil
salt = per steps below
water = per steps below

1. Soak Channa Dhal and Thur Dhal in warm water for 15-20 min & cut okra pieces (see picture for size)
2. Mix yogurt and 1 cup water, wisk together.
3. Put yogurt mixture into the pot that will hold your final dish, set aside.
4. Put coconut, green chili, cumin, soaked dhals (minus the water they were soaking in), 1/2 tsp salt and 1-1/4 cups water into blender and blend till all the ingredients are grinded well.
5. Take the blended mixture (add water in blender to get all of it out) and add to the yogurt mixture.
6. Add turmeric, asafoetida, 1 tsp slat, and clinatro to mixture.
7. Turn the stove to medium and boil the mixture.
8. While that is getting hot, in a seperate pan add canola oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry till curry leaves are a bit brown, then add this to the mixture. (be carefull the mustard seeds when hot will pop)
9. Using the same pan you just used for the curry leaves, add canola oil and the okra and fry till okra are a bit brown.
10. Smell the mixture to see if the turmeric smell is gone, when it is then it is done.
11. Add the okra to the mixture, taste for salt content and add as needed.

You eat this with white jasmine rice. A good veggie to go with it is okra. Directions are easy-

1. cut okra
2. add oil, mustard seeds, channa dhal and urad dhal to pan, fry for a bit till you can smell it
3. add turmeric powder and red chilli powder to pan
4. add okra (see picture for size) and fry
5. add salt

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Something to rest my head on

One of the classes I've taken with Jenny at Fleur Fabrics is on making pillows. The most challenging part was the zipper. How to pin it to the fabric before stitching it was initially an issue for me on the first pillow, so much so that I had to take it to her and have her show me how to pin it! The first pillow was plain blue organic cotton which is super hard to work with since it's stretchy. I wanted to stich a design of a tree on the front but the fabric was so strechy and kept getting stuck so I just did some simple lines. The second pillow was printed cotton and easier to work with but I had issues stiching the zipper in a straight line so it's all kinds of messy! I think I am happy with having a final product so I don't care much for the messed up details but I know I just need to gain some patience and do it properly!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tool Roll

I have the book Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter
and one of the projects in it is a tool roll. My husband's been wanting me to make it for a while now for him so I worked on it this morning. Firstly, the image that is given for this project in the book does NOT = the instructions so I had to do a bit of re-working to make it look like the image! I got all the fabrics from Jenny at Fleur Fabrics, she is awesome. I help her around the store as her assistant and she gives me free sewing lessons! She is probably why I am so into sewing right now. The denim was hard to iron, I had washed it so it would be easier to work with but the wrinkles killed me. It was fun to make, I'll think I'll make one for all my sewing tools!
I also have this book called Bend the rules sewing by Amy Karol and she's got a page that asks "what kind of crafter are you?" I've decided I am the speed demon = opposite of perfectionists. Go with the flow and don't get hung up on mistakes. Has fun looking at the pile of creations they have made.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Garlands in action

Here's the flower garlands I was working on attached to the car. I would have taken awesome pictures with S+S getting into the car after the doli but circumstances didn't allow so I only have the few picts I took after we put the flowers on the car. I didn't get the back in orginal condition which had 5 garlands hanging from bumper to almost the ground, but there is a pict post driving on the highway! Wedding was fabulous!

Motivating the youngsters

My husband's cousin's came to stay with us the past 3 days and here is a brief description of each of them-
[1] 18 year old gal, the only way to describe her taste in fashion is a colorful prostitute - though she highly disputes it, understands her place in life and is paving her future on her terms
[2] 17 year old gal, angry at life, hasn't found something she is passionate about due to the anger, is looking for direction and a light at the end of the tunnel
[3]12 year old guy, is really 40 but stuck in a youngster's body, peacekeeper, confident and above all wise beyond his years.
I tired to get each of them to dip their hands in some craft/design/art. Here is what they did.

[1] Stitched her very own tote bag!

[2] Made origami out of netfilx extra flaps. [website on blog list to the right]

[3]Took some photographs around the condo.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sewing Carnations

S+S are getting hitched this weekend and girl S asked me to make some flower garlands for boy S's car for the barat.
So here we go...

Step 1 = buy the carnations
Step 2 = just keep the buds
Step 3 = layout the carnations
Step 4 = stitch together 2' increments
Step 5= tie all 2' increments together

what's up with pint size you say?

I've always wanted a nickname...and to my sadness I never had one that I loved or that stuck beyond the initial phase of having a nickname.
Until one day, one of my good friends husband nicknamed me "spud" due to my love of that great veggie named the potato!
As much as I love that name, it didn't really work as normal nicknames one was calling me that....or if they were it was forced and an after thought. Even when my good friends husband would call me that, it just didn't feel right.

the nickname saga continues....

Then out of now where my husbands friend who is a giant [okay he is just really really tall] emails me regarding some match making I am doing with my free time and guess what he starts the email with? NOT "hey" or "hi" or "dear" or with my actual name but with "pint size"! Which immediately I feel head over heels in love with. Now granted, I've never heard it being said but I am perfectly okay with the written nickname! thanks giant.


So I moved to Richmond last August after just getting married and lucky me became a by product of the economic problems and ended up with no job.
I started volunteering and spending a lot more time on my crafty projects that were always done if and when I had the time.
After a brief stint at a local flower shop, I decided my time was more valuable doing my volunteer work than getting paid for something I really didn't have a passion for doing.
Now this pint size blog is my documentation of that free time.