Saturday, 26 October 2013

My Poinsettia scarf

The Poinsettia plant has been a long favourite.  Its fascinating how the lovely bright green leaf suddenly goes from an awkward orange to red just as the 'wintter' (in Mumbai) in December sets in - just in time for the 'traditional' festive season.  It is therefore, the plant that is gifted during the Christmas season.
Oddly the 'bright coloured red flowers' are not flowers at all - but leaves.  The flower itself, is a tiny nondescript one in the centre. 

I love the leaves of the plant as well.. they have such a lovely shape - and in our garden, hopefully over the next month, ours too will metamorphose into lovely red leaves.

I have just designed, tested and uploaded the first of my "Crochet inspired by Nature" series on Ravelry and you can see my creation at 

Thanks to my lovely testers Tina, Wendy and Rita for testing this scarf for me

Friday, 25 October 2013

Michelle, ma belle

Michelle was our second foster kitty.  She joined Seychelles (our first foster kitten) - a scrawny, scared little thing, just rescued from the big bad world of humans.. thrown straight into an 'enclosed hell' with this bigger cat (well, Seychelles was still a kitten, but I'm sure that Michelle thought she was a huge cat.. or worse!).
Seychelles had already had the run of the house (and us!) for the past three weeks and did not really like sharing us (or "her" home) with this new four-legged creature... and 'creature' truly describes what lil Michelle looked like initially - a long neck that supported a funnily oversized head, and a really skinny body with four legs that looked like they'd barely support her tininess!

Michelle loved Seychelles from the word "go" - but it took about three days for the reverse - and even then it was more 'tolerance' than 'love' for Seychelles.  She'd patiently 'allow' Michelle to play with her, and then turn away, sometimes giving poor Michelle a good smack just before she jumped off onto the bed!  Michelle would try to get to the bed - but it was initially too high.. so she'd try for a while, and then come off to whoever else was available for a cuddle.  Michelle was a lovely cuddler - and with the passing days, not only added some muscle but fur too.. and was a soft "cuddle-able" fur ball!

Michelle enjoying the Charity Granny Scarf (by Anastacia Zittel) that I was making! 

Within a week of Michelle coming home, Seychelles found a permanent adoptive home.  I am not sure who was sadder - us or Michelle, when we 'packed' Seychelles off.  I immediately told the NGO (from where we have fostered these animals) that we needed a 'Seychelles-replacement' - and into our home we welcomed little Spanky!

Now if we thought Michelle was small and scrawny when she came to us.. Spanky was.. well, smaller!
She had been rescued from the fish market with a high fever and  had probably been in a fight, as she'd been treated for a slightly torn ear - and we were given instructions on how to apply her ear medicines (external).  

In total contrast to the Seychelles-Michelle introduction, Spanky (who had slept quietly and almost unmoving through the 45 mins drive back home) was lovingly welcomed into our home by Michelle.  I think Spanky was a bit overwhelmed, but it was so lovely to see the (maternal?) instincts take over and see how lovingly Michelle "looked after" Spanky.  She'd mew and look out for Spanky the minute she awoke, would cuddle him when asleep and 'bathed' him (against great protest) several times a day!

For all animal (esp cat lovers) you'll know that this seemingly violent video is all love - but Spanky probably did not agree!  He was the one being 'cleaned' - and he wanted to play, not be mothered!

As fosters, we want the best for our little 'babies' and as we saw these two bond, we were sure we wanted these two to be sent to the same home.  This video received so much attention, and also got them their new home.  We heard (from their new parents) that for the first few days, they were 'so involved' with one another, that they barely acknowledged the humans!
Needless to add that Michelle and Spanky are very happy with and at their new home with a wonderful new family.

Like Seychelles, Michelle too was a patient and cooperative model for my crochet projects

Just look at those eyes - I could drown in them! and

Spanky was just too naughty to be 'tied down' for even a few minutes :-(

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Our first kitten

Now after our little Ms.Millie, we had learned about animals with Attitude - but nothing prepared us for our first little kitten - Ms Seychelles - just 4 months old, full of spunk, brain and a mind of Her own.

Her Majesty  lost in the folds n softness of  a scarf I'd just made! 

Seychelles came to us from another foster home,so she 'trained us' well.  She had been 'saved' from the streets and was barely six weeks.  

We have a small garden in our home,with a small rubber plant (well, that's what I'm told they call it, despite it being a good oh, 8' high!).. When we brought Seychelles home, we took her on a recce of our home.. and Madame jumped right out of my arms, and onto the tree.. Shruti panicked and tried to catch her.. I, (Ms. Know-It-All!) said that cats loved climbing trees and it was 'ok'.... 
Yes, for 'regular cats' I guess I'm right.. but not this Madam..
She probably did have fun  climbing the tree (instinct taking her higher and higher...) but this was probably her first tree climbing 'expedition' - and she reached quite high before she (we too) realised that she could (probably?) not come back down ! My words hopefully, paint the picture (as the camera wasn't handy - anyway we needed all hands for the rescue..) - she mewed , her big eyes scared , we (me included) finally panicked - Shruti tried to scamper up the tree, Madam S tried to come down, Shruti got 'stuck', I was shouting instructions (which are no help when you are stuck or panicking ..or both!) - Shruti tried to catch Mme. S, who scratched back .. we had a bit more (loud) instructions and shhhh-ings before kitten and daughter caught up with one another,both came back down off the tree, my poor Shruti scratched and worse for wear, Mme S who was 'carried' into the house, and then turned her head and walked away (like this was all our fault!)
Pretty interesting introduction to us and our home, won't you agree?

Like Ms. Millie (our foster puppy) before her, she took on the job of 'teaching us' how she wanted things to be done.  Two days down though, she "obliged" by allowing us (mostly me - I'm the 'cuddle demander') to pick her up, throw her nonchalantly over our shoulder and go about our life as we pleased.

Convinced that we had her 'properly house trained' (no such thing with kittens, we did learn!), we left the door open and unattended one day. Seychelles trotted straight out and started gambolling in the grass.. She was such a pretty sight - hiding from us and then suddenly leaping out .. such fun.  I thought that it was 'safe' leaving her there for a bit .. but ..oops.. she 'disappeared' ! PANIC!
We finally saw this little white n brown wisp of a kitten high up on the wall dividing our home from the next - and she was on the other side of the fencing ! We couldn't fathom how she GOT that side - leave alone try and cajole her back ! We finally got her to walk back to the (same old) rubber plant - assuming that she went over that way, she could come back the same way (ah, so much easier said than done). She reached the part of the plant that overhung between the two houses (being carefully watched by one of the people in the 2nd floor of that apartment block - no  help there!), tried to climb it - but it was one of the 'frailer' branches and did not really support her weight - so yet again Shruti climbed (a little faster and better, having had the 'practice' just a week before!), but we still returned with one very uppity kitten and scratched (this time thanks to the tree!) young lady!

The next three weeks went off really quietly (in comparison).  She was the purrfect pet - curl up at our feet (or my face), eat, sleep again.. purr..  and then those big beautiful eyes winking up at us at every chance she got.  
About a week before she left, she was introduced to our second kitten foster Michelle - oh,did Seychelles hate sharing.. she made poor Michelle's life hell - and poor baby Michelle was half her age and size.. and scared anyway, as she'd just been rescued from a pretty difficult life on the streets.. she must've wondered what 'enclosed hell' she'd come to!  Shruti and I had our hands full, umpiring the 'cat-fights' and 'keeping it safe'.
Thankfully, they did settle down over the next few days.  Seychelles willingly (??) modelled for many of my crochet projects and thanks to her, I received a lot of comments !

I think Michelle too was quite sad when we packed Seychelles away in her 'kitty carry case' and transported her off to her adoptive home.  I don't know who missed her most though - us or Michelle.. 
but I do know that Seychelles was bullied for her first few days at her new home - where the tuxedo cat was a wee bit older than her and had to 'teach Seychelles' how to live in his home.  
I hear that they had their few days to figure each other out and now are really good friends.  

Yet another 'good save' :-)

Little Ms. Millie

My first blog I dedicate to my darling daughter Shruti, who has been my best (worst??) critic, initiator, hard(est) task master and source of most encouragement.
I am a very talkative person, but I shockingly realised, I am quite private too. Odd combination, I know.

I am a stay-at-home mum, very happy with having raised a beautiful family - a son who has recently graduated as an Aerospace engineer, and my daughter who is pursuing Industrial (Product) design.

I qualified as a Dietitian (academically) and then re-qualified as an International Travel Agent, and worked both as a Research assistant (as a dietitian) and then after my re-qualification as  an international travel consultant. I then decided to take a break to have our children, and one thing led to another, and I did not go back to work professionally.

I, instead, chose to help out in the volunteering industry and have had very successful years of reading to (and writing examinations for) blind students.
Somewhere down the line, I also did a Teacher's training course in yoga and am a trained yoga teacher.
This helped me teach yoga to challenged children in some under-privileged schools.
This and teaching English (to under-privileged school students) and looking after my in-laws defined my life.

As a family, we love to travel, and have trekked a bit.. something we must take up again (note to self :-))

We are also a very (stray) animal loving family - and do our (really little) bit to help the world of (stray) animals in Mumbai.

My first few blogs will be all about our little foster animals - animals that we looked after for a short while before they were (fortunately for them) adopted into beautiful loving homes.

India has a stray animal problem that is being tackled by several animal NGO (Non Government Organisations) groups - but its still a growing problem.  Add to that the fact that there are more animals ''do-not-care'' folks than those that care, and we have an issue :-(

Our first (and only) pet was a stray - who adopted us.  Claw was a darling - and he taught us to appreciate the four-legged and life so much more.

Millie was our first foster.  All of just 3 and half months, she had "Attitude"!
She knew what she wanted (lots of food, lots of loving and no admonishment, thank you!) and knew how to get it too!
We were the 'in-betweeners' between her 'stray home' (on the streets) and her new adoptive home (a wonderful  young couple) - and had a tough time learning how to discipline her.
yes yes, she looks so angelically innocent, and everyone will wonder how anyone could complain about her.. looks are quite deceptive!She's happily curled in behind Shruti - both of them catching their 40 winks - Shruti between her work, and Millie between her bouts of mischief

But I must also add, that fed Ms. Millie would stretch out and snore :-)

We are SO happy that little Millie is now a fantastic bundle of joy in her new home :-)