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F.R.E.E.D.O.M

F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

A 7 letter word, we toss around almost every day.

As we board the plane for our vacation we post on Facebook, “FREEDOM for a week! No dishes, no cooking no chores!

Last day of school. Kids tweet “FREEDOM from school. Hello Summer Vacation

Moms night out! FREEDOM from kids” – We share when we enjoy a nice meal withour girl friends.

After a few tearful months, empty nesters plan to travel the world now that they finally have “FREEDOM” from their kids.

When the boss is away, the employees enjoy a long lunch and think “This is what FREEDOM feels like, when there is no one watching us“.

Yes, we talk about FREEDOM a LOT. But only a handful of us really appreciate the REAL meaning. Yes, I’ve read my history books and memorized the facts and figures and watched the movies but I certainly do NOT know what it feels like to be NOT FREE. Growing up in India my grandmother used to tell me stories of the time when they would huddle in their homes in the early evening with all the lights off. What it meant to not be able to voice your opinion on anything.

I shudder to think who I would be if I had not been born in a FREE Country and to live in one.

Today I enjoy freedom of speech (the biggest freedom of all), Freedom of religion, freedom to WORK! And last but not the least, sleep in peace knowing that I live in a FREE country. A country so great that I fail to find words to describe it. A country where I discovered and re-invented myself. Where I found friends for life and mentors who will always guide me. A country I call HOME.

My friends, I may talk about freedom loosely every day, but I know that FREEDOM is a privilege which is denied to many. And today, on July 4th, 2014, As I take family portraits and bake a Red-White and Blue dessert, I salute all the brave men and women who have made it possible for people like me who enjoy the FREEDOM all day every day.

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My Dad

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My Dad didn’t read me princess stories. He didn’t ooh and aah over my every word and accomplishment. Despite being an award winning photographer he didn’t take 1,001 pictures of his first and only daughter. He was never present at any of my school events or even award ceremonies. We didn’t go on many vacations either. He never took me shopping! Or even a movie. I don’t remember if he ever took me to school either. Heck… he wasn’t even in the hospital when my mom gave birth to me, or so I’ve been told :)

He was never around… At least not in the traditional way. I remember those nights when my brother and I would sit up waiting for him to come to us and perhaps read or even talk. He would come… but he would be too exhausted to keep his eyes open and my brother and I would take guesses on how long it would take him to doze off. It sort of has become a family joke now :)

My Brother and I (1981)

Us again… 33 years later!

While other dads were taking their daughters to plays and movies, my dad was on his scooter driving more than 100 miles in the sweltering heat to his factory… working.

Other dads would spend a nice Sunday afternoon with their children in the playground or take them for a picnic. Papa would not be there, because a phone call the previous night at 3:00 AM changed his Sunday. The furnace broke down and he needs to take the engineer to the factory to fix it, otherwise the production would get delayed.

Mumbai, 1987. One of the few vacations we took.

Mumbai, 1987. One of the few vacations we took.

Why can’t Papa ever be home?” I would ask Ma. “Why doesn’t he take us on vacations?” Mom would make excuses for him. Or try to distract us with her yummy cooking. I didn’t understand then why sometimes her eyes would get moist. She missed him too of course.  But never said anything.

1973 – Mom and Dad on their honeymoon!

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1998, My Parents' 25th wedding anniversary. We celebrated at home.

1998, My Parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. We celebrated at home.

 

Yes, My Father is a businessman. To most people having a business directly equates to having boat loads of money and a comfy life. Far from it! Because you see… having a business means you have to work for everything. You need to start from the bottom, even scrub toilets if need be. It means you are responsible for providing for not only your own family but the family of those who are employed by you. So we didn’t take many vacations. Because Dad had to be at his factory. In the 24 years I lived with him, I think I remember that he only took time off when he was sick. And sometimes even then he would not.

No he didn’t make a bed of roses for me. But he did teach me how to smile and survive when it gets rough.

For my 12th birthday, he gave me a gift of 100 Rupees in an envelope which had the picture of Rose on it. Dad wrote “I smile among the thorns. Can YOU?

2005 "Smile among the Thorns"

2005 “Smile among the Thorns”

He taught me how to drive a car! But how many Dads teach their daughters how to change a flat or check the oil? Mine DID!  As he was teaching me he realized that I was afraid of driving with trucks. So that’s where he taught me! “Anyone can drive fast. Show me how you can drive slow in 1st gear”  He would say. When he visits me in August in the States, I’ll return the favor by teaching HIM how to drive my car :)

He taught me how to appreciate and learn from our experiences. When we did go out, he made me write an essay about the place we visited! Now I blog about my travels..

2010. Dad and I took a road trip to Jaipur, India. The only way to spend time with him, was to get him in a car!

2010. Dad and I took a road trip to Jaipur, India. The only way to spend time with him, was to get him in a car!

Dad and I don’t agree on a lot of things. I always reasoned with him… He would say “I don’t have it in me to reason with my parents.” For him, his parents are everything. Guess what? I have a payback child, whose favorite question is “Why do I have to do this?” And “Because I said so” isn’t cutting it anymore :)

Vermont, 2004. Dad and Mom visited me in the States.

Vermont, 2004. Dad and Mom visited me in the States.

We did go on walks every once in a while, and I would say “Papa, you need to change with the times. Things are different now“. To which he would say “Dear, the world can change, but there are some things which will always remain right and others which will always be wrong.” And then he would go on to elaborate… He is a very principled man and I love that about him. And yet, he always wants to learn. He was the first in our family to embrace technology. He never bought me a dress but he did buy me  a computer so I could learn! I wrote my first computer program to help him track his inventory. I hope you’re not still using it Dad! The other day he told me “Whatsapp is great! Now I take photos of the samples in the factory and send it to my vendors“. Its never too late to learn he always says.

But the best advice he ever gave me was on the eve of my wedding. “Dear Deepu” he said. “Remember beta, respect is not something you demand. It is something which needs to be earned. And the ONLY way to do that is to GIVE respect. You are not just marrying a man. You are getting another family, and you have to embrace them as your own and love and cherish them for the rest of your life.”  I hope I’ve made you proud Papa!

March 1999 with Papa on my wedding day.

March 1999 with Papa on my wedding day.

I don’t like to talk about this but when I was 23, despite everyone else’s advice, he took a bold step and got me out of a terrible engagement which would have crushed me and my spirit completely. He faced the world for me and helped me bounce back. He. Saved. Me.

Today I am married to the most wonderful man who is my best friend.

Gagan, my husband, my soulmate and my Best Friend.

Gagan, my husband, my soulmate and my Best Friend.

I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that there are times when I wish I had more memories of “normal girl” childhood but then again, my dad is not just a normal guy. He is an extraordinary man who wants his children to be the same. Would I trade my childhood for anyone else? Never in a Million Years!

My Dad didn’t raise me to be a Princess. He raised me to be a Real Woman, who can face the world with a smile on her face. Someone who knows how to pick herself up and dust herself off. And for that Papa, I LOVE YOU. And I wouldn’t change a thing about you,  not now, not ever. You’re one in a million!

In 2009, Papa became a Dada (Grandpa) when my nephew was born. He taught me to laugh like you don’t have a care in the world.

 

2011 he became a Nana when Dia was born.

2011 he became a Nana when Dia was born.

With both Grandkids. He was present for both their births!

With both Grandkids. He was present for both their births!

And today, when I see you with Dia and Aditya, I feel blessed that you are not only my Dad but also their GRAND DAD, touching their lives just like you continue to touch mine. Love you Pops!

 

 

 

 

In Just One Day…

Sometimes….
In the midst of a chilly spring,
despite the weatherman’s best predictions…

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If you’re willing,
and you have faith,
and good company,

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There comes a DAY, so PERFECT, a TOWN so picturesque

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Where everything is magical.
Where you make friends on a busy street.

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Find treasures where you least expect

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Shop for trinkets with a good friend

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Even the Pizza is out of this world!

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And that perfect scoop of ice-cream

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You even learn a new sport

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Enjoy a warm embrace

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You even find time to reflect

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And then, a winding road leads you to a perfect beach where the breeze is so good…

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And the sun warms your soul and puts a smile on your face.

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You feel you’ve lived a lifetime in
JUST… ONE… DAY….

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5.25.2014 was one SUCH Day.

Years from now when I look at these photos and read this, it will remind me of this special day I spent in the magical town of Newburyport!

 

 

Me Made May Week #1 and #2

I realize this is the most narcissistic post (can you stand to look at so many photos… ARGH I can’t.) I’ve ever written, but it needs to be documented so here I am, doing it.

So Me – Made – May, is about wearing something handmade every day and and loving it. It is really not an effort for me because most of the clothes I wear are me-made anyway but I’ve taken it upon myself to not repeat an outfit. So I am digging out things I have not worn in a while and its kinda cool. We’re half way there and its starting to bother me a little bit because I am wanting to wear some of my favorite RTW pieces but I am going to stick it out :) Here’s what I wore last couple weeks.

 

Day #1

I was on my way to the airport (what a nightmare of a flight!) for PR Weekend. Wore RTW pants and Jacket with Oversized Olivia T-Shirt. Perfect travel outfit.

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Day #2

At the PR Weekend, so of course that means more than one outfit.  Color blocked Faux Leather Skirt (review here) and Pinterest Inspired Dress (review here)

 

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All about PatternReview. The dress, the event.. everything! In the Morning for shopping day I wore Summer Street Dress bodice with a circle skirt attached (no review yet) and in the evening for cocktails I wore The Winter Street Dress.

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Day #4

Back home on the plane from Austin. I didn’t get to take a photo (too tired) but I wore Plantain top with RTW pants.

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Day #5

Missed taking a photo again! So cold back here in MA! Perfect for my Drape Drape Top.

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Day #6

I dug out the first Summer Street Dress. I didn’t wear it all winter because I don’t have tights which work with this. But yay for warm weather. Loved it. I really should wear this more often.

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BTW I got tired to ask Gagan to take photos so I installed this fantastic app called TimerCam on my phone and it works like a charm!

Day #7

Still so cold here but at-least I can go without wearing tights now. This is a self drafted half circle skirt from a gorgeous blue ponte knit. Love it! RTW tank and cardigan (Loft).

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Day #8

This is hands down the most worn garment in my wardrobe. Its the same Summer Street Dress pattern ( I can’t help it, it fits me so well) in ITY knit. Reviewed here. The yellow/green cardigan looks a little too bright in the photo but in real life it goes well with this dress.

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Day #9

I totally don’t remember what I wore this day, but I do know it was me-made.

 

Day #10

Saturday. Usually I don’t care about clothes on the weekend, just pull out whatever but this Saturday I made an effort. I love this outfit. I wear this a lot actually. Maxi skirt and Tonic T-shirt (note to self, make more!)

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Day #11

Mother’s Day. What a glorious day we had. In honor of Mother’s Day, I dressed myself and Dia in matching dress. Some may call it creepy, but I call it cute. I dont know if I have the courage to go out in matching outfit though. But here we go. Winter Street Dress for me and Anywhere Dress for Dia.

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Day #12

Monday Blahs….  Forgot to take a photo, but this is the outfit. (Ugh.. I hate my hair, and what’s up with headless photo?).

New Look Top and Burda Skirt.

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Day #13

Ok I feel like myself again. I usually don’t wear white tops, but I love my lace plantain. RTW Pants.

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Tired of looking at me yet? I am! One last photo and I’ll let you go.

 

Day #14

I dug this one out. I love this top. Only took me a year to knit this. Its a freaking t-shirt! I can sew one up in 45 minutes but I still love it. Later that day, I found this in hot laundry pile. Now I either need to shed a few lbs or wear a super tight split neck tee. Don’t wanna talk about it… too depressed. Skirt is Boot skirt I made ages ago, but still love it. Why haven’t I made this again? I have no idea.

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See you next week when I do another round up and we’ll see if I stuck it out or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me May May ’14 – Taking the Pledge

May is beginning to be my one of my favorite months of the year. Too many reasons…

1. PR Weekend (http://www.patternreviewweekend.com)

2. Its finally spring here in New England

3. My Best Friend’s Birthday

and this year I am super excited about Me Made May! I’ve seen the excitement over the years in the blogosphere and this year I am taking the pledge!

 

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I, Deepika (www.deepikablogs.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear one handmade item (sewn/knitted/jewelry/painted) each day for the duration of May 2014

A heart circle skirt for a cutie

No, this is not for my cutie, and Yes, this is my second post in a week on my blog which has been feeling a little neglected lately. Nothing like  party planning to bring you out of your blogging rut right? Anyway, since I am sewing a lot for kids and it is after all Kids Clothes Week, I decided why the heck not!

This cute valentine’s day inspired skirt is for a 4 month old cutie pie. My friend’s daughter… She is precious I tell you and primary colors look good on her. Actually any color looks good on her. And since I am  a polka dot fan and I had this fabric in my stash, I decided to make a quick circle skirt for her.

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I used the free pattern Dana provides here.

I’ve made this skirt half a dozen times before but never for such a small girl. She is only 4 months old! I can’t wait to see this on her. The whole sewing took me one evening and it was so enjoyable. Valentine’s day is coming up so I decided to add a little something special for the baby. I know I know, I must be going soft in my old age. I never used to believe in any valentine’s C.R.A.P. (yes we’re so used to spelling bad words now, half the time its not even worth saying them anymore). Having a 3 year old in the house is cramping my style!

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I’ve never done applique before but I had felt lying around from making a head bands for Dia, so I figured why not. And I think it turned out so darn cute. I sprayed the heart with temporary adhesive to stick it to the skirt and then carefully and slowly sewed it on. Since felt doesn’t fray, a simple straight stitch was all that it needed. I have no idea how craft felt does in the washing machine, but its very easy to just rip out the heart if it doesn’t work out. I just had to do it.

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It just love the black polka dot and red combo. I was lucky enough to find this red elastic at Joann’s the other day. Also added a label in the back, just like Dana does. It also tells the front apart from the back. As if the red heart wasn’t a dead giveaway.

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I am meeting the cutie’s mom  for tea this Sunday, I am so excited to give this to her. I know she will love it. I just hope it fits the baby girl. I bought a red onesie and made a matching felt headband too. I think the baby is ready to celebrate her first Valentine’s day. Don’t you?

Dia’s Lego Birthday Party

You guys, it feels like yesterday when I was gushing over becoming a mom and its as if I blinked and she turned 3!

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With 3 younger brothers growing up, I’ve planned my share of birthday parties but January in New England… Brrrr…  The party has to be indoors. We decided to host it in our basement. First things first, I had to come up with a theme. Not only are themes fun, it makes planning easier.  There is something you should know about me. I am a Pinterest junkie. And here’s another thing…. I love making and creating all sorts of things. Not just sewing. Since Dia is really into legos and they appeal to both boys and girls I decided to throw a lego party.  Upon research on Pinterest, I found tons of ideas. A month before the party, I started collecting them on my “secret” board on Pinterest and started making notes on what will and will not work. I only had limited time given that I work full time and take care of a 3 year old when I come back. But then again, she is my daughter, she loves to create too! So Mother and Daughter team got to work…

In this day and age when children have pretty much everything, how do you teach your children the value of money and things? You teach them to MAKE ‘em. I want her to learn to enjoy the process of making and not just the end result. And she loved every minute of it. She was involved in every stage of this party. It was kind of cool actually. We started prepping for the party 2 weeks before the party so it gave us plenty of time. I’ll add the resources at the end of this post, so read on.diaage3

Party Favors

We made lego men chocolates in white and milk chocolates. Dia watched as I melted the chocolate and poured it carefully in the molds. This was super easy but each round only made 8 little men so we did a lot of rounds! I think we made about 60 lego men. I wanted to use them as cupcake toppers also. I bought the molds here.

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We made lego crayons too. This was a little more involved. We soaked the crayons, took the paper off, broke them into small pieces (Dia helped with that) and placed them into the molds. Then we baked them in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes or so. A quick rest in the refrigerator and they were perfect!

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collage_crayonsI didn’t take photos but I made barrettes for girls. I bought “Bricks and more” Legos from Amazon.com and used some of the pieces for decorations (to follow) and used the square legos for the barrettes, Super simple, just hot glued them on carefully. Speaking of bricks, how cute are these! I got the ideas of these boxes from deliacreates.com Actually a lot of the ideas for this party came from her blog. Thanks Delia! These did take a while to make but that’s what evenings were for. So fun. For boys, I ended up buying minifigures. I couldn’t figure out what to make,, so I gave in..

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Decorations

I bought this banner PDF from Etsy, printed it and hot glued it to baker’s twine.  Gagan wrote DIA on lego plate. Cute right!

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I set the table the night before the party. Juice boxes were wrapped in lego printables and I added lego men stickers on the plates. Dia filled a couple mason jars with legos and we used them as balloon weights.

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Lego (actually mega blox) utensil holder. This one was a favorite with adults :)

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We even had lego soap. Hey, the kids need to wash their hands and what’s more fun then lego soap. The moms got a kick out of it too. And of course, Miss Dia helped with this too. She filled the soap dispenser with legos.

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I didn’t do paper invites but I did make thank you cards. I simply took a photo of a girl Lego on top of a base plate. Added a speech bubble in Photoshop  and got them printed at Costco as a 4X6 photo. Wrote the note on the back of the photo. Cute ha! Not my idea again. Delia rocks!

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Food

I kept it very kid friendly, I made mac n cheese in muffin cups for kid sized portions. I used the fun wheel shaped pasta and the kids loved it. We also had a few snacks like veggie straws, hummus, chips, cheese and fruit skewers (another favorite). Gagan made the skewers. They were a huge hit. Put anything on a stick and they’ll eat. We also ordered pizza and asked them to slice two of the pies into 16 slices instead of 8. Adults had coffee, pizza and salad.

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We also made graham cracker legos.  I put frosting on the crackers and Dia decorated them with M&Ms. She made all of these!

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And then there were the cupcakes! I made 48 chocolate cupcakes using my go-to recipe from cooks illustrated. Yup, I don’t think I will be eating cupcakes for a long time. But the kids ate them and we had like 4 left over! I tried to color the buttercream frosting red and blue but it was pink and sky blue. Does anyone know how to get deep red color from food coloring?

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Don’t they all look cute?

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Games

It was hard to come up with games which would appeal to 3 year olds so I created “stations”. We had a lego building station. I put dia’s foam mats down and put some of our legos and other games so children could play on the floor.

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I also put a small coloring station where I put a big box of crayons and lego coloring pages. That table got a lot of attention!

IMG_8258Pin the head on the lego man. I thought of this last minute and once again, Pinterest to rescue. I found a template here. I already had the cardstock from the boxes, all I needed was foam core and we were ready!

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Finally on the day of the party, my friend got the kids to play musical chairs. It was hilarious. They obviously did not follow any rules and kept running around the chairs. Hey, at least it got them moving. And it brought back some fun childhood memories.

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THE DRESS!

And last but not the least, I made Dia’s dress. As I always do on her birthday. I wanted to tie in the lego theme and red looks good on her. I bought these handmade buttons on etsy. The seller was so sweet. When I told her it was for my daughter’s birthday dress, she rushed them to me.  I will totally buy from her again. Since I wanted the buttons to be the focus, I selected a solid fabric and added a ruffle to showcase the ruffles. I’ve written a full review on PatternReview.

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buttonsI also made a felt flower headband and added a tiny white lego piece, just because!!! Yup I’m crazy that way.

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My favorite moment from the party? When she was blowing out the candle and everybody was singing happy birthday to you, Dia was smiling from ear to ear. Totally loved the attention. Another one.. when I was frosting the cupcakes that morning, she came to me, kissed me on my cheek and said “I love you Mama”. AWWWW I love you too Munchkin. Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Now that the party is over, I am a little sad… Valentines anyone???

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Our Bermuda Vacation

We love to travel. Always have. We find places which are off the beaten path. Love to sample local foods. We even attempt speaking foreign languages but most of all we love to  meet people on our vacations.  Most of our vacations are about exploring and adventure. ( I really should write about the time in Chile  when we got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere… TWICE! )

Post baby, our vacations are a little bit different. Don’t get me wrong, we still explore and do some adventures (we hiked the Torres Del Paine , Chile with a 11 month old on our backs)  but we’ve also learned to relax a bit.

Why haven’t I blogged about our Chile and Paris trip (last 2 years)? Maybe it’s time or maybe I’ve become lazy. I am going with the former :)

Anyway, this year we decided to go someplace close (Bermuda is only a 2 hour flight from Boston!). We spent 4 days there and came back totally relaxed. I’ll let the pictures do the talking… (Okay Okay I admit I am lazy!) Check it out will you?

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aboutme

A new pattern company – ooh la la!

Just before we were about to leave for Martha’s Vineyard, I received a package containing two new patterns which I’d been lusting after for a long time!

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And pretty they sure are! I ordered the Belladone Dress because I love the back cut out and streamlined skirt of the dress and the Blouse Datura. I can see myself using up a lot of the cottons I have left over from making things for Dia. I didn’t blog about it but last year we went to Paris and what can I say. I am in LOVE! I love all things french now :)  Ok back to Deer & Doe.

So last night  I traced off Datura and I even have the perfect fabric for it. I got this hand block printed fabric (all vegetable dyes!  ) from India years ago. It’s the softest cotton ever. I have used a similar fabric in this top and I wear it all.the.time.

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But, I needed a contrast fabric so I decided to check out my local fabric store – Quilter’s Way, right here in my town and right next door to a knitting store and a kitchen store. See where I am going with this… Yup, I came back home with a lot more stuff than I needed :)

I picked up these two basic cottons. Actually the maroon is quite cool with a slight tone on tone print.  Donna, at the store was super helpful and I was able to find just the right fabrics.

Check it out. I am making the peter pan collar version. Black or Brown? Not sure…

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Most of my fabric still comes from online stores but I sure am grateful for Quilter’s Way.  The quilting manufacturers have actually started making really nice apparel quality fabrics and the prints are breathtaking. I’ve been using quite a few for Dia and starting to use for my clothing as well. Here are some photos I took there. I’ll write a full review on PatternReview soon too. Aren’t you dying for those polka dots? I AM!

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Oh and Martha’s Vineyard, it was a blast. A perfect day! And this is one of the reasons I will never move  :)

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29 inches…

When Dia was born, one of the first things I bought for her was this green Janome Mini Sewing Machine. I know I know… I am usually not an impulsive buyer but if you hear me out, it makes sense.

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If you know me at all, you know how much sewing means to me.  And one of the things I wanted as a new mom was to expose Dia to it.  I decided early on to educate her about all things in our home. And to involve her in our everyday activities. When I am in the kitchen cooking, she is there with me so its only natural that when I am sewing, she should be there too. Now, I know what you’re thinking … “The Pins!” Yes, with the pins, the scissors, the rotary blades, the whole thing.

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When she was an infant, I would bring her tummy time mat into my studio and she would peacefully sleep while I sewed.

As she grew, she started enjoying spending time with me in my studio. When she was able to sit up, I created this sewing basket for her with odds and ends from my sewing room. In an ideal world, she would be sitting in one corner just playing with it. But as soon as she was able to move around, my drawers which were once organized? Not so much anymore. But the important thing is, that she kept herself occupied while I sewed.

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Instead of putting everything away, which wouldn’t be practical for me, I decided to introduce her to all of these things. I showed her how scissors work and that they are sharp and not for little ones. I taught her how to pick up the pins from their heads.  I am of course always in the room with her but the important thing is that I do let her explore.

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One of the things she enjoys playing with is empty bobbins! She places them on top of each other and says “Look Mummy, I made a tower”.

And now my two year old is conversing like a sewing buddy! Here’s what happened the other day. I was talking to my brother on the phone. Dia wallks in with a measuring tape and starts measuring me. After a few seconds, looking very serious she says “29 inches”. I almost fell off the chair!

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One day, I was busy tracing out a pattern on my table, Dia made herself comfortable on my sewing chair, and said “Mummy I need fabric.” When I asked “Why?” She said “Because I am sewing”.

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At her day care, she likes to wrap scarves around other children and tell them that she made it for them.

When I sew, she hands me the pins and then puts them back on the magnetic pincushion.

Because I make a lot of clothes for her and take her photos for reviews,  she thinks every time she gets dressed, we should take a photo of her. Have I created a DIVA????

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I am writing this so I’ll remember how early she started sewing even if she didn’t churn out clothes every day :)  For us, it is about the journey rather than the end result.  I feel that by making her a part of my life, she already has a head-start on all things sewing. Heck, I didn’t even know what basting was when I started sewing. Dia, knows her sewing jargon, so when it is time for her to actually sew on her Janome, she’ll be fearless and winding bobbins like a pro :)

How old was your child when they entered your sewing studio?

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