2014: A Look Back

Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at…

_MG_6077Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2015 in style.  I was in bed, wearing a ratty bathrobe and sound asleep by midnight but we did enjoy a big family dinner where we all got dressed up and ate some fabulous food.  All in all, it was perfect.  I hadn’t planned on looking back at the year that was…but I thought that such a year required a bit of reflection and as I scrolled back through my posts, month by month, it occurred to me that 2014 was quite a year.  Settle in…this is a length one!

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Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.59.02 PMJanuary: We kicked off the year by spending a month in India and Bhutan.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime and remains my most cherished memory of the year.  When I returned home, I launched my first pop-up shop, which was super fun.  That led to selling my wares at Squam and another pop-up shop later in the year.  I’d love to do more of these in 2015!

_MG_7396February: We renovated our cold, dark attic and turned it into a light-filled studio where I spend my working hours writing, photographing, sewing and knitting.  This place is my sanctuary.

_MG_8010March: I finished my first real sweater, Antler, with short rows and shaping and all those knitterly things that I have come to know and love through the course of this year.  This sweater remains my greatest knitting achievement and my most worn handmade piece.

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_MG_9210April: We spent the most heavenly ten days in Dominican Republic with my parents and younger brother.  It was the perfect break from the freezing spring that we were experiencing back in Rhode Island.  Luckily, we made it home in time to catch the blossoms.  The weeks where our beautiful town is in bloom are always some of my favorite of the year.

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PROMO-IMAGE-PITCH-PERFECT-THE-ART-WIDE-700-WEBMay: I made my yearly pilgrimage to Brimfield Antique Show.  I think I bought $2 worth of quilt scraps, but my favorite part is taking pictures of all the interesting things you find at the show.  It is always sensory overload, but I can’t help being pulled back year after year.  I also kept busy teaching Pitch Perfect, which was such an amazing experience.  I will be teaching the course again this year, online through Squam.  I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon!

_MG_0210June: Ahhh, June.  The weather is finally warm, and I take my yearly getaway to Squam.  I always look forward to my time here, and every year I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this amazing community of makers.

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_MG_2646July: My most favorite month of the year!  Every year we spend the entire month in Northern Michigan with my family (I even wrote a guide to the area here).  It is a true old-fashioned summer; swimming in the lake, playing on the beach, visiting the dunes, riding bikes into town for ice cream, spending time in nature, watching my boys running wild and free with the kids along our dirt lane, learning to water ski, eating our weight in cherries….the stuff of life.  Northern Michigan, specifically our family cottage on Torch Lake, is my happy place.  And how lucky is Vik that he gets to celebrate his birthday “Up North?”  It is my most favorite place in the whole world and we are so darn lucky to spend our summers there.

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_MG_3163August: It is all about the garden in August.  All the good stuff is ready to harvest, including cherry tomatoes, my favorite.  You can feel summer beginning to wane in August, and that is always bittersweet, but August holds such beauty that it is worth staying in the moment.

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_MG_5473September: What a busy month, full of new experiences.  Vijay started school, which was very tough emotionally for both of us but has turned out to be the best thing we could have ever hoped for.  I started contributing to Gardenista, which has been such a privilege and has given me the chance to explore some amazing gardens and shops.  My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Vermont, our first time as a couple ever away from the kids for a night.  And I made a quick trip to Squam, arriving just in time for the fair and a day of relaxing.  Yes, we were on the move in September! I also made reading a priority again, and you all chimed in with amazing suggestions.  I’ve been making my way through the list and have yet to be disappointed.  Expect plenty more book reviews in 2015.

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_MG_7267October: As we settled into our new school routine, which consists of preschool on Tuesday and Thursday morning, we also celebrated Vijay’s fourth birthday with all of his sweet classmates, and the local fire station.  It was a PARTY!

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_MG_8634November: What a gorgeous fall we were blessed with in Rhode Island.  It was sunny and sparkling almost every day, and the leaves were absolutely riotous.  I paid a visit to Tower Hill Botanic Garden for Gardenista and had the most amazing time wondering around their fall gardens.  I also finished my favorite sewn wardrobe addition…this quilted vest from The Purl Bee.

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_MG_0093December: Here I thought December was such a slow and peaceful month, but we traveled to Chicago for Thanksgiving (returning the 1st of December), then I took off for Martha’s Vineyard to finish up a few book details, and after decking out our own small tree, we packed up and headed to Michigan for Christmas and the New Year.

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sewnAll in all, it was an amazing year.  In addition to all of our travels and all the excitement, it was the year that I felt my work life finally dropped into place.  I was hard at work on my second book, which is so near and dear to my heart, I contributed regularly to Edible Rhody and Gardenista, I taught Pitch Perfect, and launched a few pop-up shops.  2015 is going to be filled with even greater accomplishments…I can feel it and it makes me so very excited.  2014 was also the year of making…between sewing and knitting I pretty much have made a complete wardrobe, and with each piece I gain a better understanding of my fit and personal style.  Above are just a few of my favorite makes of 2014.

I try to keep this a place of positivity and beauty, so it is interesting to scroll through these posts and see so many of the harder emotional things missing.  But it is also a beautiful reminder of how much we have to be thankful for and how unbelievably blessed we are as a family.  If 2015 is half as gorgeous, we’re in for a great year!  And after that look back, I’m excited to move forward.

Thank you!

Thank you for all of your orders!  I love doing these little pop-up shops because they reconnect me with so many great people.  I recognize many of you from Squam, or as long-time blog readers, and I so appreciate you supporting my little enterprise!  If I was forced to pick a favorite item from the…

_MG_8816Thank you for all of your orders!  I love doing these little pop-up shops because they reconnect me with so many great people.  I recognize many of you from Squam, or as long-time blog readers, and I so appreciate you supporting my little enterprise!  If I was forced to pick a favorite item from the shop, it would have to be the tunic pictured above.  I have a short-sleeve version in a different fabric that I wear all summer long, and now, I’m wearing this one just about every other day this fall.  I just love how bright and pulled-together it looks when paired with jeans.  It sure beats sweatpants and a tee shirt, which is a look I’m trying really hard to save just for the gym these days!  Anyway…thank you again, and the shop will stay open for a while longer.  There are still plenty of goodies left.

Pop-Up Shop is OPEN!

Good morning, and happy Monday!  The shop is live, and I couldn’t be more excited.  My husband and I worked hard to source a bunch of amazing, one-of-a-kind products for you, and I hope that you love them as much as we do.  You’ll find everything from sari-wrapped notebooks (above) to kantha quilts (below).  I’m…

_MG_8082Good morning, and happy Monday!  The shop is live, and I couldn’t be more excited.  My husband and I worked hard to source a bunch of amazing, one-of-a-kind products for you, and I hope that you love them as much as we do.  You’ll find everything from sari-wrapped notebooks (above) to kantha quilts (below).  I’m also offering prints of my photographs from our trip to India.  Please note that there are two pages of products- once you scroll through the products on the first page, there are tiny page numbers below, and clicking on the 2 will take you to the other page of products.  Finally, if you have any questions at all, leave a comment here or shoot me an email at christine.chitnis@gmail.com.  Happy shopping!

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A Little Peek

SHOP UPDATE: OPENING MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10 at 9am EST I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes putting together my pop-up shop.  I feel so thrilled just sitting in my studio surrounded by all of these beautiful items, and I can’t wait to send them out into the world.  Above you can see the shop…

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SHOP UPDATE: OPENING MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10 at 9am EST

I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes putting together my pop-up shop.  I feel so thrilled just sitting in my studio surrounded by all of these beautiful items, and I can’t wait to send them out into the world.  Above you can see the shop taking shape, and below is a little peek at a few of the “stocking stuffer” offerings.  Oh my goodness, do I have some gorgeous notebooks, ribbons and pouches for you!  I have a very limited quantity of items, so if there is something that you have your eye on, jump on it!  In terms of explaining my shopping philosophy, allow me to repeat what I wrote in my previous shop announcement: If you are looking for cheap finds, you won’t see them here.  This is the thing about shopping in India- many visitors go for the cheapy stores.  Pillow cases for $5!!!  Amazing!!  But I can’t do that kind of shopping simply because I have to know that it was made/sourced fairly, the materials used are authentic, and that the artisans were fairly compensated.  I also want to find very unique, possibly one-of-a-kind goods.  I hope that shines through the shop.  And if you have any questions- shoot me an email, or leave it in the comments, otherwise, I’ll see you on Monday morning!

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India and a Pop-Up Shop

It has been a hectic year, 2014, with quite a few personal challenges and transitions.  For one thing, my husband has been traveling a lot for work and that means that I’ve been single parenting more often than I would like.  Recently, my husband was in India and I have to admit that I was…

_MG_6064It has been a hectic year, 2014, with quite a few personal challenges and transitions.  For one thing, my husband has been traveling a lot for work and that means that I’ve been single parenting more often than I would like.  Recently, my husband was in India and I have to admit that I was sick with envy.  How I miss the vibrancy and chaos, the architecture and colors, the spices and markets.  I spent time remembering our last trip and going back through my pictures, and it occurred to me that I only shared the smallest sliver of our trip with you.  Perhaps you’d like to see more?  I sent my husband with a shopping list and I’m thrilled to announce that I’m going to be launching another pop-up shop in a few weeks, early November, just in time for some holiday shopping.  There will be kantha quilts, hand-blocked notebooks, and beautiful hand-blocked cotton tunics, along with some other treasures.  I have trained that man well- and he brought back some beautiful items that I can’t wait to share!  I thought I would also offer prints- I know a few of you asked, and I never got around to it.  Please let me know which prints you’d like me to offer!  As a refresher: Delhi, Bhutan, Rajasthan (I know many of you loved those doors!), Travel Realities, and the first Pop-Up Shop.  Without further ado, a trip down memory lane, starting in Delhi, working our way through Bhutan and finishing with my favorite, Rajasthan.

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_MG_5195_2All of the above were from the beginning portion of our trip, when we were in Delhi, getting adjusted and finding our footing after a 14-hour flight and serious jet lag.

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_MG_5630Isn’t it interesting how Bhutan has such a different and distinct look, both the people, colors and architecture?  That is what amazes me about this part of the world- each region in Inda, and bordering country, has its own language, food, culture, and religion.  I feel as though you could study India and its neighboring countries for your entire life and still not grasp the full story.

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_MG_6544Rajasthan, shown above and below, is by far my most favorite region that I have visited in India (though there are so many regions I have yet to discover).  The vibrant colors of the woman’s saris against the faded desert landscape is the visual that I associate with the region.  That, and the wild colors of the homes and buildings, again standing in such contrast to the muted landscape.

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_MG_6460And finally, into the countryside of Rajasthan.  This was probably one of the most memorable days of the trip, as we were welcomed into the homes of these farmers, and offered lunch as we watched our kids play together.

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India Pop-Up Shop OPEN!

I promised to bring back some amazing goodies from India and I really hope I delivered on that promise.  I had such fun sourcing for my little shop– I searched through market stalls, scoured tiny alleyway shops, and scored big at the two most amazing stores ever, one in Jaipur, one in Udaipur.  Imagine an…

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.59.02 PMI promised to bring back some amazing goodies from India and I really hope I delivered on that promise.  I had such fun sourcing for my little shop– I searched through market stalls, scoured tiny alleyway shops, and scored big at the two most amazing stores ever, one in Jaipur, one in Udaipur.  Imagine an old haveli lovingly restored and stocked with a collection of vintage textiles amassed over the past 50 years from abandoned castles, crumbling palaces, and forgotten villages throughout all of India.  I walked in and nearly wept from all the beauty and handicraft on display.  I think it takes a seamstress/ crafter to appreciate it (I can’t say my husband understood my joy!)- each stitch lovingly threaded long ago, the extraordinary color combinations, the quality of the materials.  It was all too much for me!

2014-01-24_0006If you were looking for cheap finds, you won’t see them here.  This is the thing about shopping in India- many visitors go for the cheapy stores.  Pillow cases for $5!!!  Amazing!!  But I can’t do that kind of shopping simply because I have to know that it was made/sourced fairly, the materials used are authentic, and that the artisans were fairly compensated.  I also want to find very unique, possibly one-of-a-kind goods.  And I have a real thing for the vintage stuff (some may call it a weakness!).

_MG_7124_2At the cheaper stores you start seeing the same pillow cases and scarves over and over and over again.  It just gets to be a bit nauseating thinking about where/ how all that cheap, reproduction stuff is made.  So, I hope this explains my shopping philosophy.

_MG_7183Over the weekend I furiously photographed, measured and wrote copy for over 30 carefully selected items.  I tried to keep the photographs very simple so that you get a real view of the product- no fancy styling (not that I know how to do that!).  There is only one of each product (with the exception of the scarves– there are doubles of a few of the colors).  So if you see something you like- jump on it!

_MG_7098And if you have any questions- shoot me an email, or leave it in the comments.  This is my first time attempting a shop and I tried to be as thorough in each explanation as I could, but there is a possibility I left something out.

_MG_7179So jump on over for an eclectic selection of pom-pom scarves, kantha quilts, pillow cases, ceramic knobs, blocks and embroidered ribbon!  Happy shopping!  And for those of you who requested prints of some of my photographs- I’m working on it…but it might be a few months!

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India, a pop-up shop…and yes, we’re totally nuts

So, India with two little ones….for a month.  Are we completely nuts?  Perhaps, but we figure why not approach life with a sense of adventure (and a touch of crazy).  When my husband announced that he would need to travel to India for work during the early part of January, I asked him what he…

4228487720_57ef4093e0_oSo, India with two little ones….for a month.  Are we completely nuts?  Perhaps, but we figure why not approach life with a sense of adventure (and a touch of crazy).  When my husband announced that he would need to travel to India for work during the early part of January, I asked him what he thought about tacking on some time to travel as a family.  Despite our nervousness about traveling such a great distance with the boys, we managed to psyche each other up, and so….off we go for the next month.  We leave next week, but I can’t imagine I’ll have time to stop in, so the next post will be live from India (that is, if we survive the 14 hour plane ride).

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4247482119_23586c82fe_oWhen I traveled to India previously, I had several readers email me asking if I knew where they could get the various kantha quilts, block prints and ribbons that I brought back from India.  I haven’t seen these things for sale in the States, at least not authentic-looking goods.  So I thought I might bring back a few things and set up a little online shop, that is if anyone would be interested.  Let me know if this is something that would interest you, and what you would love to see…I’ll do my best to come back bearing gifts.  Below, a few examples of what I’ll most likely find (embroidered ribbon, hand-carved printing blocks, hand-stitched kantha quilts made from vintage saris).  I might offer a few prints if I manage to capture any worthy pictures, too!  Please take a moment to comment if you are interested…

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