While I don't accept a lot of commissions (thanks to a bad experience with an uncouth woman), I do get asked to make something or the other pretty often. If the project won't take too long and is interesting too, I usually agree. 

Recently, when I was out in South Mumbai with a couple of colleagues I was asked to make a cover for a Kindle, I agreed. The requester didn't want a fancy design, just something basic and utilitarian. Here is what was created. 

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One of my long-standing principles about decorations has been to do everything handmade. I like the effort and love that goes into creating the items.



One of the items that I created recently were Moravian Stars. 


These German-origin origami sculptures are popular during Christmas and require patience and precision to get them right. 


This link is my favourite for the instructions. It explains the steps simply and tells you the the right proportions.

Materials
1. 4 long strips of paper - choose the dimensions basis the guide
2. Scissors
3. Loads of patience to get it right the first time.
Time: 20-30 mins for first star. 10 mins thereafter.

Rohini's hack: Instead of cutting strips of paper, I use pre-cut quilling strips. They are available in a multitude of colours and sizes. Pick the right one basis the guide and you all set!
Check out my set of colourful stars.

I usually string them up and hang them on my Christmas tree or from the ceiling using thin fishing line. This gives an effect of them floating in the sky.

Try them out and let me know how you used them!


My love affair with the Lamington began at first bite. I was returning from an office trip and this was the only thing I could buy with the last of my foreign exchange.



Anyway, every bite of my little treasure was savoured until there was no more. The memory stayed on and I was interested in learning all about the yummy delight.

Here's a little about the humble little Lamington, courtesy Wikipedia:
A lamington is a dessert of Australian origin. It consists of squares of sponge cake coated first in a layer of traditionally chocolate sauce, then in desiccated coconut.

It is that simple, really.

However, I do not get access to a proper oven for baking and I was eager to try it out. That's when I decided to give the dessert a spin of my own. My inspiration- the Bounty Bar.

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
Sponge cake (regular or eggless, depending on the audience)
Cooking Chocolate
Desiccated coconut

Method
1. Cut the sponge cake into cubes. Freeze the cake pieces for a few minutes so that the cake does not crumb.
2. Melt the cooking chocolate either on a double boiler or in a microwave safe bowl by microwaving on high for 45 seconds.
3. Dip the cubes of cake in the melted chocolate,  ensuring the entire cube is covered.
4. Lay the chocolate covered pieces on butter paper and let it dry slightly.
5. Roll the pieces in desiccated coconut and let it set naturally for 30-40 minutes.
6. Serve!
This stays fresh for up to 3 days when kept in a cool area.

A photo posted by Rohini Joseph (@rohinijoseph) on


Here's a fun spin for the kids
Instead of using desiccated coconut, roll the pieces in sugar spinkles.
The crunchy texture will keep them coming back for more!

So that wraps up the post on Lamingtons. Do give a shout out in the comments letting me know how they turned out!

Till next time!
Copyright: The Anti-Social Butterfly
Nemo's Happy Pillow (right side up)
Clip from the Bond series
Did someone say evil?
A definite mood-lifter on those drab monsoon day is with a little day-dreaming. On those days, I think of myself as a super villain, with an evil kitten resting on my lap. 

I almost got to further that fantasy with 1 of my crochet projects - a cat pillow. It was actually made in 2012, but was only used in 2013 that too not by the intended recipient.


Don't I look pretty?
It all started with a CAL/KAL proposed by my Ravelry Group. One of the things that could be made were pillows. I didn't require any for my home, so was wondering what use to put it to, when suddenly I remembered Nemo, my cat! 
Still excited by the arrival of my kitten, I thought of making one for him. Cos, obviously every super-villain needs a pampered, evil kitty! :)

The pattern chosen was the Pinwheel Pillow by Morgan Forrester.


First 2 colours
It took me a little over a month to complete the project. It was created as a stash buster with a border of black between colours. The material used was good, old acrylic, and crocheted with a 5mm hook.

Since, it was meant for my naughty, naughty cat, the colours chosen were on the darker side. As usual, there was no fixed size for the pillow, with me crocheting till I thought I had reached the optimum width. It was initially supposed to have an opening on the side so that the cushion could be stuffed in. Since I couldn't figure out the way to do it, I decided to follow the pattern and create the cover as 1 piece with a cushion stuffed in from the middle. 

Copyright: The Anti-Social Butterfly
The completed pillow (side with the opening)
The project took longer to finish as I needed to make the round stuffing pillow too. The obstacle came up when after spending almost 2 days looking for just a filler cushion, I could not find one of any size. All the shops had ready-made pillows with a fixed covers. So, armed with my amateur sewing skills and my grandmom's cool  sewing machine, I made one with recycled cloth and fiberfill. It was amazing!

To make it just purrfect for Nemo, the cushion was generously doused with catnip. But, alas, even with all my efforts, Nemo did not take to it and the poor cushion just had his name but no love! 

Wait! There is a happy ending to this story. My new kitten (Pookie - more about her later) loves the cushion, and can usually be seen happily gnawing away at it on most days. 

Do share your similar experiences!



After I quit my job as a corporate drone in 2012, I started looking at options to keep me occupied as I served out my sentence. I had planned to devote a few months to full-time arts and crafts activities as I kept me and my evil kitty entertained. However, as most vacations go, I never really did get as much accomplished, instead using the time to just recuperate and spend as much time bugging my husband as possible.

The list of things to be done were endless and as a start I planned to finish some unfinished projects.

Here's what I finally got done with:

Not many of my friends know this, but I love jigsaw puzzles. I love how a seemingly jumbled series of bits and pieces can somehow come together to become a beautiful picture that has a story to tell.
Mind you, completing a jigsaw is no mean feat. Like every act of love, it requires, attention, concentration and loads of time. I learned this the hard way after it took me just over a year to complete my first puzzle.
Previously, I had played with puzzles as a child and then later on numerous Websites.
With the very first jigsaw puzzle picked up 6 years ago, I was hooked!
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Striped Koala anyone?
When I first started crocheting, I didn't do the regular small, easy projects. Instead, it was a headlong jump into amigurumis!

The amigurumi pattern was a Koala pattern that I happened to come across when I was first researching crochet and the things you could do with it. The pattern was featured on Woman's Day.  Something about that gorgeous grey, cuddly bear got me excited to start the project.

There were so many things that were wrong about my first project - bad yarn, tough hook for a beginner, rudimentary stitching skills and so much more. However, it got me 'hooked'!


Brown boy Koala hanging with his animal pals

I made 2 versions of the Koala. By looking at the pictures, you can definitely figure out which was which. (Hint: The misshapen one with a crochet ring was the first).

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My first attempt at the Koala Amigurumi
Here are my learnings from the experience
1. Amigurumis are fun! Find your perfect project on the web. I like searching on Ravelry.
2. Don't be afraid of using a thin hook. It helps you learn faster.
3. Gift the amigurumis. They are small and make such awesome gifts! Emboldened by my efforts I went on to make more of these and have received requests from friends for quite a lot more!

Below is my Ravelry listing for the project.

Koala by Tamie Oldridge

Crochet

Me, friends

2.5 inches

    Needle and yarn

    1.75 mm



    Brown
    Notes
    The one with a ring is the first amigurumi/crochet article I ever made.
    The second one was obviously better and easier.
    EDT: I was unhappy with the weird eyes, so i stuck on crazy eyes. I like it much better now. Reminds me of Professor Calculus from Tintin. Hence the name.

    August 21 2011
    September 1 2011