This is a non-food post...in the past weeks and months, I have been fortunate enough to be given some beautiful hand-crafted gifts and I really wanted to show them off (and share with everyone how proud I am of the people that made them).
One of the biggest joys of food blogging are the fellow bloggers you meet and become friends with. One wonderful blogger was actually my "mentor" and the person who first encouraged me to start this blog. Cathy and I were lucky enough to meet in person last year, and we met again for a quick breakfast at the City Bakery (Union Square) last Monday. Meeting Cathy was great fun and we chatted away as usual while eating hot oatmeal (Cathy) and a pretzel croissant (me...could our breakfasts have been more healthier and unhealthier, respectively?), and Cathy then gave me this while I stared at her in shock:
Why was I shocked? Believe it or not, it is a beautiful, soft kitchen towel that Cathy has *woven herself*...yes, the whole fabric is hand-crafted from yarn. I was so moved to receive this labor of love! Read more about this towel's creation here and here. Incredible, isn't it? All I'm going to say is: this towel is not going to wiping down any counters in my kitchen...I will be treasuring it!
Another useful-for-the-kitchen gift: My parents' neighbour, a lovely older lady who is an expert knitter, made me this cute little strawberry pot-holder:
It has the cutest pattern and is thick and fluffy! A real sweet treat!
This is a set of personalized bath-and-hand towels, exquisitely embroidered by R, who apart from working as my mom's assistant, is also very talented with her hands and is always sewing away in her spare time.
The delicate floral design is perfect in every detail...I know I will feel special every time I use these towels.
My mom's sister P (a talented artist) first made this set of pillow-cases as a wedding gift for my mom, and now I am lucky enough that she me painted a set too: Playing cards are delicately hand-painted on fabric to make these pillow-cases: The King and Queen of Hearts, personalized with our initials. How cute are they? Here is the King of Hearts:
and the Queen of Hearts:
I keep looking at these...the details of the painting are just astonishing.
Finally, this is something that my mom bought for me from a market in Pune but it was hand-crafted by *someone*! My mom has a talented eye for seeking out really cute and whimsical stuff, like this knitted woolen Marathi thali!
It depicts a full traditional Marathi lunch, served on a banana leaf. From top, anticlock-wise (starting with the really little stuff), this is what I can guess (thanks, aunt Y for helping out with this)
2. Slice of lemon
3. Chutney (typically made with cilantro and coconut)
4. Koshimbir (tomato-cucumber salad)
5. Karanji (very cute and accurate rendition)...fried turnover filled with a sweet coconut-poppy filling
6. Jalebi (fried spiral-shaped sweet dipped in syrup)
7. Modak (steamed dumpling with a sweet filling)
8. Waran-Bhaat (rice with simple yellow dal...looks perfect)
9. Kesari Bhaat (sweet saffron-flavored rice...the light orange one)
10. Masale Bhaat (spicy vegetable pilaf)
11. Alu Bhaji (a dish of sauteed spicy colacassia/taro greens)
12. Batata Bhaji (a dish of seasoned boiled potatoes).
Looks delicious, right?
Hand-crafted gifts are so touching...a true gift of time and talent. I'm off to Seattle to attend a conference so I'll be back by the end of the month! So long!