Ethical Rice Sack Bag

I have had fun recently with a couple of very quirky basmati rice sacks I brought back from Kerala India in January this year.  I went from buying silk to sacks, two extremes from an extremely intriguing country.

The silk is still languishing in my stash, but I had to try my hand at the sacking, something different to create with and so tactile.  I didn’t realise how messy it was to cut and sew and I looked like a real wild woman when I had finished.

 

But I like the result.  The design with Ali Baba and his sacks of money in the centre made me smile, and the print is on both sides, too, which pleased me.  I am wondering whether to make a more structured bag with another sack, and reduce the size of the design by taking off the address at the bottom.  I shall have a ponder.  It really satisfied me that something can be re-used so successfully and so lengthen the life of such a utilitarian item.

The Faces of Kerala

I have just returned from another amazing visit to Kerala India, and thought to share with you some of the fascinating faces seen in the Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum Thevara, Ernakulam.  This museum has been created on three levels each depicting different architectural styles of Kerala,  Malabar, Cochin and Travancore.  The building and its artifacts have all been rescued and it has taken 25 years to complete the project, so very worth it. Here is just a very small taste of the artifacts with a link to the Museum site at the end.  Enjoy!

 

 

Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum

Holiday fun!

It’s kind of quiet from me at the moment, no stitching getting done or words posted on the Internet! My little world is all upside down, in fact we are enjoying the delights of Kerala, India again. Such a wondrous place, but just to show you I have not completely switched off, I spotted this very smiley chap busy running up a few garments. He was very happy to give me a lovely bright smile and it made my  day!  There are just a few things I have found to stash away, will show you later!

 

image.jpeg

KERALA Part 3

Journeying back down the lake you pass communities living as they have done for generations, and the glimpse into this alternative lifestyle confirms how lucky we are to be able to visit and experience, if only briefly,  such a diverse and at times confusing country.  Waiting for what seemed like an age for one of the many trains at the level crossing turned into  a social occasion.  There is always someone who did , or knew someone, who worked on the railways in some capacity.  It unites this huge country and operates in a seemingly parlous condition.

We were greeted like old friends at The Marari Beach, Alapuzha,  and shown our cabin a short walk from the shore of the Arabian Sea which was as warm as the swimming pool.  The hotel site is very green, both in colour and in the way it operates.  Surrounded by trees, every growing plant or tree seemed to be edible.  We were guided through a large coriander plantation, the growth so huge you could get lost.  The bird life was teeming and if you stood still and listened they fluttered down to forage.  We watched a rat snake slide across our path, one of seven venomous  types in India.

There is also a large farm  kitchen garden, where you can experience making, and tasting of course, authentic curry using the freshly picked herbs from the garden. Attached to the farm garden is the cow shed! Rare breed cattle are tethered around the site keeping the grass down and preserving the species. They are a very small breed and very pretty.

Grazing cattle

 

 

 

 

During our stay here we found time, after all the swimming walking and just plain lazing about, to take a trip back to Alleppey and visit a Jain Temple.

Alleppey Jain Temple

Alleppey Jain Temple

There are sadly only a few worshippers remaining but the sacred place was carefully tended by those few.  Our visit was really special as it was by invitation only and our visit meant a lot to the lady in attendance.  The building was beautifully ornate and was flanked by large stone elephants at either side.

Alleppey itself, must have at one time been  very grand and glamorous.  The canals are now getting overgrown, but we visited at the end of the season before the monsoons  began.  We were assured the canals would be cleared of weed by the start of next year. But ignoring this the town was a delight, lots happening and plenty to see and do.   Our visit there took us back to the water, it always does in Kerala.  We walked on the beach and wondered at the rusty old pier jutting out into the sea.  It looked rather at odds with camels and not donkeys on the sand.  A legacy of the British history in the country.

Camels on the sandEnd of the pier

 

 

I was again allowed some more fabric shopping time, which I made the most of.  But space being at a premium I am going to return with an empty case to fill. My sewing output will need to improve to make space in my stash too!

But shopping can always wait, the amazing experience of traveling to India and the joy at being there will make us return.  I realise we were very lucky to have stayed in such sumptuous surroundings but we shall return,  and soon.

DSC00378DSC00379

Kerala India Part 1

Houseboats at Alleppey s famous backwaters

Houseboats at Alleppey

We have returned from a visit to the Kerala district of India back in mid March absolutely overawed by the entire holiday.  It was our second visit to India after last years must do visit to the Golden Triangle of Agra Jaipur and Delhi. We had flown down for a change of scenery and a breather, to Kerala, and knew we had to return!  Such fascinating countryside, colourful villages and people, all so mindful of the present with such great acceptance.  It made me feel very humble.

We decided to begin our stay up in the mountains in Spice Village next to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.  There are still some wonderful wild tigers there, but we were not fortunate enough to see one of these beautiful beleagured  animals.  Instead we rode an elephant which was much safer although a bit uncomfortable for my husband sat behind me!

DSC00417

Sita posing for her Mahout

That evening we were treated to a unique dance and mime production Navarasa at the Kathakali Centre. The mime was almost totally concentrated in facial expression and the preparations for the show took much longer than the actual event. But wow!

DSC00395