Tuesday, 30 August 2011

New Year Cake-2011

New Year Cake!

I’ve baked in the old round electric oven, in an OTG, a solar cooker, in the recent past in microwaves and this new year cake on the LPG gas stove by steaming. Its been a year since I got married, and all my attempts to impress my hubby with my baking skills had failed. After numerous ( seriously I’ve lost count) failed attempts, trying to get it right, I finally found out that the convection option in the microwave doesn’t work. So Ranjit suggested to wait till we get a new oven.

I just couldn’t get myself to wait, so I tried steam. Well, mum says I got lucky, I should have just used pressure cooker without water and the weight. I was baking to give it as a new year gift ( I did get a backup plum cake ), to our domestic help- Suja Chechi. She is indispensable, always there to help, never complains and never ever gossips- isn’t that awesome. So to show my gratitude I baked her a cake, which turned out to be the best looking cake I’ve ever made.

Yeah.. I’ve never really worked on the frosting and decoration so much before. You see, this time I had to prove to Ranjit that I can really bake and present it well too. The recipe for the frosting turned out to be awesome, with a little variation in the amount of butter-200gms instead of 455gms. The chocolate rose , I made was not edible as I didn’t have molding chocolate, and this was a failed attempt of making molding chocolate with drinking chocolate and flour-didn’t taste good at all and the size is too big for the cake. I just put it on the cake, it was the first decoration I ever made, no way i was going to throw it away. The cake recipe is of my own, which I don’t have proper measurements. So just follow any basic chocolate cake recipe and you are good to go.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Queen Ann’s Lace Belt

I decided to make a belt extending the fan bookmark pattern. But the bookmark was too broad to go through the loops on my jeans for a belt. So I needed modify it, and luckily I chanced upon the Queen Ann’s Lace pattern which apparently is quite widely known.So I made the lace got a buckle from an old belt and crocheted it together. I’m happy with it, but there is room for improvement, maybe a different buckle even something crocheted.

This belt is 70motifs, which is approx 110cm (43inches) long.
This pattern has been used with bulkier yarn to make a beautiful scarf.

Queen Ann's Lace Belt

Fan Bookmark

I found this pattern on ravelry. I’ve made a bunch of them and luckily got a few pictures before I gave the last ones away. It is addictive and I’m looking forward to make many more. This is my kick start to thread crochet(which I thought was a tough one).

Martha Cowl Scarf & Urban Jungle Hat

This cowl is my first project with wool, which is wearable. I’m glad I picked this for starting crocheting as it gave me confidence to make more things. I’ve made two of these- one for my sister and the other for sis in law (Sil). Couldn’t take the pic of the one I made my sis as I had just finished it on my train journey home for Onam, and was just too excited to give it to her, maybe next time I meet her I’ll get the pic. The other one I got my Sil to model for it (its hot n humid here but still she bared with me till I got a few shots). Well she liked the cowl and didn’t want the hat so i’ll get to use this when I go to hill stations!

Urban Jungle Hat
I got the patterns from ravelry- Urban Jungle Hat . Martha Cowl scraf pattern has been removed from the site. If you want the pattern just let me know and I can email the pdf to you.

Dates Palm

My husband, R just out of curiosity had sown some date seeds in a pot, long after he had forgotten about them, they sprouted. I decided to grow a few of them as Bonsai's. It is growing very slow. I hardly notice much difference in their height. Since we have quiet a few of them at hand, Date Palm Bonsai is worth a shot. The only Palm Bonsai I've ever seen was in Mysore Bonsai garden.

e picture above is motivation enough to keep working on the one below...

For the most part, a bonsai palm tree is easy to grow, whether from a starter or from seeds. Generally, this plant requires moderate lighting, cooler temperatures, and gentle care. They seldom have problems with insects, use standard houseplant soil, and when watered and fertilized correctly, will live for years, a great bonsai to pass down within the family. 

I got this information from the Internet which is all the more motivating!

Saturday, 27 August 2011


After loosing all my bonsai's to chemical fertilizers, I waited till I was sure I'm gonna be home for a while. Gardening and travelling are hard to juggle, especially if you travel like us, we start off with a weeks plan and end up travelling for over a month. This time we got lucky as it rained throughout and almost all plants survived. And looking at the overgrown plants I wished if I had planted a few plants for my Bonsai. After losing a few plants,I was over cautious.

Finally, last week I started with more Bonsai experiments. I've taken pictures, well they look not so beautiful now, but I'm sure they will start looking presentable in six months from now.
Bougainvillea-1 August,2011
This was the main plant I found growing near a pond, and I uprooted it and potted it a while back. Since it had been growing on the ground for, I don't really know, but I'm guessing an year, its trunk is thicker than the rest. and the leaves it has now are fresh new leaves which grew in just a weeks time. Amazing, Isn't it?

Bougainvillea-2 August, 2011
Bougainvillea-3 August, 2011
The above two were branches which grew roots, when I potted them 2months back. Since they too have roots they also started getting new leaves.

This time no chemical fertilizers. just pure organic fresh and stinking cow-dung!

Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore

I read about this Ashram in Mysore, Avadhoota Datta Peetham with an exquisite bonsai garden during blog trotting. And was lucky enough that I got a chance to visit few months back. It was an amazing experience. we were there just 15mins before closing time in the afternoon so we had to hurry up. But we took maximum possible pictures so that we can check them out at our convenience. If you are a bonsai enthusiast, this is definitely a place you will enjoy.

Ficus Benjamina

In January I found this interesting Ficus Benjamina tree in my yard. It took tremendous amount of work to dig this out of the ground. But, I must say every bit of the effort was worth it. And it has survived the attack of the chemical fertilizer.
Ficus Benjamina Jan 2011
It has a intricate root system which attracted me to grow it as a bonsai. If you keep an open eye for bonsai around you, plants or even a good branch of a tree. Unlike, starting from a seed and waiting for years before you can even start working on the plant, it is motivating to start with such finds as you can see the result quickly and mould the plant as u like once it starts growing roots.
These pictures were taken in January,2011 and now after six months it has come a long way. I really have no clue how old this is but I guess at least 3-4years.
Ficus Benjamina August 2011
Interestingly, I saw an artificial Bonsai adorning my friends living room which looked quiet similar to this one.

That is the beginning of my bonsai experiments!!!

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