First week and lots of cooking

Happy New Year…

I wanted to start this new year on a sweet note and what better and easier way to share sweetness is there than cooking some delicious chocolate chip cookies for my family on a pleasant winter evening (and sharing the picture of it on the blog)?

They look pretty cramped in that tray in the picture but they separated out quite easily, stayed chewy and tasted just right. That is a big win in my books.

I am not sure if it is the extended lockdown or cold weather outside but I am watching a lot of cooking shows lately, googling new recipes online and itching to get my fingers busy for dough kneading or nut chopping or pan buttering on most days of the week. As on tonight, as I am typing this blogpost, my dough is rising for Afghani naan for dinner tonight. I think I am getting more drawn to cooking than ever before.

I am currently watching top chef Canada and Final Table and have totally pared down my book reading goals for this year to a mere 12 books per year. For those who didn’t know or was not reading my blog for a long time, I was reading as of my life depended on it last year, completely utilizing the extra time we all had in 2020 by reading books from various genres and completed reading 100 books by the last week of December. Huh.

But this year, I want to try new things. I am trying to keep my mind peaceful, not feeling anxious about things that are beyond my control and taking pleasure in the little wins that we can gather around the home and in the work we do. I am trying to cheer myself and people around me up.

I am keeping my Christmas lights on and will do it for the whole of January to continue to cheer my neighborhood in this round of lockdown. I am trying new recipes and baking cookies. I am drinking hot chocolate at home and taking care of my skin. I am reading stories to my kid and sharing drink with my husband.

In times like these where we are not sure we are at the end of tunnel yet, I think an extra little string of lights, handful of cookies and lots of hugs to loved ones are the easiest cure that we can offer. All is good. And it will stay good. It can only get better from here. That is my hope for you, me and all of us.

How was your first week this year? Let me know in the comments below.

Closing the year

What an year this has been!

We all know what we are in the middle of. Lives have been turned topsy-turvy, plans derailed, families forced to stay away from each other and much much more which I am not in the mood to recount. Let bygones be bygones.

But, this is also the year that showed us that we all can adapt, pivot, learn quickly, accept challenges, make things work, figure out a new way of life and work and parenting, all at the same time. We did it!!

“You can’t go to the park to play with your friends but you can play with me. I have time. I am not going anywhere too” was the frequent conversation with my kid.

I have adapted and my family has too.

The good list continues. I have learned to stay alone and keep sane. I have learned to stay indoors (which is very big achievement for an outdoor person like me). I have set a very ambitious reading goal on Goodreads this year (100 books) and thanks to having so much time on hand, I have completed it too. My highest ever books read in one year. Yay…

I have gained lot of new followers on this blog in 2020 and I am very thankful to all of you for visiting this page and following my stories.

I have started taking online art classes for kids this year. It has been a very satisfying experience and I have witnessed so many happy smiles and I love my teacher posters from the kids who attended my classes. I am very thankful for the wonderful time I got to spend with those curious kids and getting to know their favorite characters, books and their thoughts on virtual school, travel, mermaids, unicorns, Disney princesses, Selena Gomez songs and many more. Bless them!!

I have also started 100 faces project. I took a pause at face 6, I know but I am planning to resume it very soon.

I am very excited about some new changes on cards in early January and I hope it all works out well in the long run. I will keep you posted.

Before I get too much focused on future, I want to stay present here today. As of now, I am taking some time to recount the year that went by, making list of the things I am thankful for, trying to find out what worked for me and what didn’t, what bought joy and what left a bitter aftertaste and trying to figure out what would be my priorities for 2021. This is my time of reflection and planning.

I also have to figure out the menu for the last dinner of 2020, and it might call for some grocery shopping as well. Thank god this year is over and I am staying positive and hopeful for the next one. See you later.

Happy new year!!

Cheers,

J

100 faces – face 6

Ah, the joy of creating art! The one you adore, love and not afraid of getting your hands dirty with.

The art that you create for yourself first.

Without fear, without expectations.

The art you create not because you have to or because somebody asked you to but just because you care to.

Because the beckoning is strong and the fear is falling flat on its face.

Because it is better out there, thought, felt, created than having it shoved and stored inside you.

Either you keep it to yourself or care to share.

But the one you can’t stop yourself from creating.

Here is mine and there is yours.

Face 6 for today, in watercolour.

100 faces – face 5

Does this look like a Monday face?

I don’t know much about weekday faces but ever since I have started noticing the features of the photographs I am trying to draw, I started paying close attention. To the angle of the face, the shape of the eyes, the thickness of the brows and twitches of the lips. I think faces say a lot. Are we open to listen to them? To be discussed.

Here it is. Face 5. With micron pen and water colors on a regular sketchbook paper. Adios (until next post)!

100 faces – face 4

Realized today morning that it is November already and also that I have to wake up an hour earlier for the school and office tomorrow. I did sleep an hour extra today making the best use of the Sunday.

Weather was dull grey got most of the day but my kid was the happiest soul by the end of the day as he experienced his first ever snowfall tonight. Pointing out at the window, jumping with joy, running to the balcony for a better look and stretching hands to catch a little in his little hands. It was cold. We came back inside. But, I just can’t keep him away from the window, watching the magic happening outside.

First times are special and memorable.

New beginnings are wonderful. New challenges are well, challenging but I feel I would rather take challenges, stumble, fail and learn than never taking trying anything new at all. Drawing a 100 faces and posting on the blog was one that I am doing now. I was afraid that I might bore people with my drawings, in post after post and the one after that. But, let us see.

I have been enjoying this challenge so far. And here I am. With face 4. Tried drawing a man after years.

100 faces – face 3

I have picked up this face for drawing in the spirit of Halloween. It was inspired by a photograph and the tones of it were shades of black and grey. I am not skilled with using pencil alone to get those shades. Trust me, a good artist can. But I am not.

So I picked up the tones of brown and pink and started shading the drawing with crayons, from my son’s art kit. He is cool with it. My sweet little pumpkin.

Anyway, back to my paper. I started with crayons, used pencils here and there, picked up even sketch pens and ended up giving few finishing touches with micron pens. Then, in the process, I realised that my kit is full of colors, textures and tones that I can play with. I am glad with how it turned out. My play with mixed media.

See you next time. Happy Halloween!

100 faces – face 2

Sometimes less is more. Well actually, most of the times, less is more.

After trying many facial expressions last night and getting most of them wrong or not quite right, I thought, may be I should start with simple expressions. May be poker face even. So I have picked a photo from internet of a girl in formal dress with red lipstick and not much enthusiasm or expression on the face. I thought, well, this is good, for starters like me. I am starter forever. Because I start fresh everyday. Haha. Aren’t we all?

Anyway, here it is. Face 2. May be it is not poker face after all. May be she is thinking. Thinking of what’s for dinner or why didn’t my parcel got delivered yet. Or thinking about what to draw next. Just like me. Wink.

See you tomorrow! Good night.