polka dot bag

This week for zakka along is a baby quilt based on Ayumi's paper-pieced 'book ' block.
I am loving the sweetest cutest quilts in the Flickr group but as I didn't have enough time to commit to a quilt, I decided to do a book bag.

Polka dot bag happened quite by accident. Recently we got a package full of goodies in mail from our friends, Maureen and Andres and they surprised me with this fabric overflowing with sparkles! I am smitten by the way this serious text, romantic flowers and chic vintage girls mingled together to create this print. I had no idea that this Ruby star sparkle collection by Melody miller existed. I am thankful to my friends for giving me a taste of this gem!

I didn't think I would be using this fabric so soon, but when I was looking around for a suitable fabric for the book cover, I couldn't get past these cutely dressed girls! Originally the book block is small but because of this large scale panel I wanted to use, I redrafted the pattern for this size. To accomodate a long pocket I had to make the bag a long one too!

Just to make this notebook pocket more fun, I added an extra page and the back cover showing on the top with rounded shapes instead of one straight page. Throughout the design process, I tried to repeat curves wherever I could for a soft look including the inside pocket.

On one side is an elastic pocket as big as the outside pocket but with more space for things as it almost ressembles a sack with the round shape.

On the other side are these two small pockets to put keys and other important things that we don't wish to lose or need ready access to.
While I was making this bag and after it is finished, I kept thinking of a friend who loves to knit and loves purple! I think she can use it as her knitting bag or as a library bag as it will fit even some of those over-sized library books :) I planned for the long elastic pocket inside hoping that it will be a nice spot to store knitting needles and other crafty supplies to take along on a trip. I hope she finds it convenient.

The dot fabric is Echino and inside lining is a linen mix from Jo-Ann's. It gave me a bit of heart ache as the color kept running when I was soaking it. I don't remember how many times I had to change the water in the bucket until eventually the water turned somewhat clear. Good thing I didn't wash it along with other laundry like I was planning to!
*Bag is 15 1/2" long x 14 1/2" at its widest point. And the outside pocket size is  11 1/2" x 7" wide.

Thank you for visiting! Have a beautiful day! ( ' v ' )


placemats and a yum yum apple

I find simplistic shapes, small sizes and unassuming character of Japanese pottery irresistible. I tried to translate their natural look and earthy tones into making these placemats for Zakka along.

I used Osnaburg fabric along with a linen kitchen fabric that I randomly picked up on Etsy sometime back.. it is such a sweet little print with tips on healthy cooking. Sadly, there is no name for this print on the selvage if I have to get it again. 

The patchwork diamonds are supposed to be on both sides of the placemat but I left them out on the opposite side to create a 'rice.bowl ' and a 'glass' pocket for a place to keep spoon and fork. I thought it would be nice if the bowl and glass matched, so I fussy cut the flower part for their front and added a white border for the rim.

I made these paper templates for the finished size for pockets and then traced them onto the fabric by adding seam allowances, one fabric for the outside and one for lining. After sewing the two pieces right sides together leaving a small gap to flip them inside out, I stitched them to the placemat in place.
On the back is this yarn dyed stripe fabric. I didn't put any batting inside but did a stitch in the ditch where I joined the patchwork panel to the plain fabric to keep the fabrics from shifting.

In the children section of 'Patchwork please' book there is a yummy apple bib. I turned it into a hot pad by lining it with Insul-Bright. I needle felted tiny blue seeds and a cute stem for this apple. The Clover felting tool that I have has multiple needles, so I poked unnecessary holes into the fabric around the seeds while felting them. Next time I have to remember to get one with a single needle. 

This binding with pink and red fruits is a Liberty fabric. It is one of my favorite prints from their collections both color wise and print wise. I bought a meter of pre-made bias tape just to have a sample of this print without having to splurge for actual fabric. I guess it was meant for this apple! On the back is the same stripe fabric that I used in the placemats.

I hope you are enjoying summer activities and trips to the beach! We haven't been outside that much. Just staying in the shade and taking it easy ( ' v ' )

Have a lovely rest of the week!


carrot coconut stir fry

With the coming of hot days my thoughts always linger around old holiday rituals of going to movies with a friend to escape the sullen heat and stalling under a road side tree for a drink of cool coconut water on our way back.. even if we sometimes get the packaged water here, it doesn't compare to the freshness of a sip from the newly plucked coconut. Every now and then I try to make up for it by cooking something with this sweet tasting fruit.

Around three years ago I shared a recipe combining string beans and coconut here. Since then I have been meaning to write about another variation with carrots. I am sorry about falling off the wagon when it comes to cooking posts : /

This recipe tastes good on its own as a salad or as a side dish with rice while feeling light in the tummy. I hope you will try it sometime :)

serves 4.

Carrots - 6 (peel and grate finely or chop into tiny pieces)
Coconut (finely grated) - ¼ cup (if fresh)/2tbsps (if using dry coconut)
Green chilies - 2
Oil - 1 tbsp or little more
Kari leaves - a sprig (also often referred as curry leaves)
Red chilies - 1
Bengal gram (Chana dal) - 1 tsp
Split black gram (Urad dal) - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt to taste
Garlic - 1 clove (optional)

seasoning and stir-fry

Take a wide skillet and set it on medium heat. Add oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add chana dal. When you notice that they are beginning to turn pink, add urad dal, red chilies. Wait a couple of seconds and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds are beginning to splutter, add Kari leaves. Hold a lid or spatter screen over the pan so that the seeds won’t splatter all over. Put in a crushed or finely chopped garlic clove and sauté it for a second.

Now add finely grated carrot, salt, turmeric and green chilies. Mix well and stir fry on medium heat.

Once the carrot softens and loses its crunch, add coconut and continue to sauté for few more minutes.
Turn it off early to have it as a light salad or you can let this cook until it is almost dry and all the moisture evaporates for a nutty texture but don't let the coconut turn brown.


- You can follow the same recipe for finely chopped or shredded cabbage or even mix cabbage and carrot together. I guess if you like coconut, it will be perfect with any vegetable.
- You can also add sprouts of any kind in the end to make it more hearty and healthy.

Have a great week! ( ' u ' )