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Shapes, Shades and Shadows

Sunday, 26 October 2008

My first watercolour: Millie in the Green ChairA couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of being taught how to use watercolours by the artist, John Gustard. I've had many drawing lessons, used lots of crayons, pastels, pens and pencils but brushes and colour had passed me by. It's been over three years since I last picked up any art material and suddenly I felt this longing again to see the world. Watercolour is very different: for a start it's fluid with a life of its own. Magic happens, there's an accidental quality to it. And how to see to paint is not the same as how to see to draw. Drawing is about lines, spaces, dimensions, whereas watercolour is about shapes, shades and shadows.

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Of Fear and Evolution

Friday, 24 October 2008

sikhchic.comThe media is filled with talk of recession, depression and crisis, all in very emotional languageand emotive of panic, insecurity, instability, gloom and doom.  Crisis sorts out the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, and the warriors from the worriers.  Worry and you're sticking your head in the sand.

And most of all, it tests women to rise above their innate predisposition to worry, be emotionally unstable and insecure.  At this time, it is women who hold the trump card. If we don't gossip, stick to the facts, don't react, and manage our emotions and affairs with elegance and grace, we will make it through. This is the basis of my latest article for Sikhchic.com....

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Knitting Shows

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Melanie Bond's  Coronation inspired collectionI went to iKnit and the Knitting and Stitching Show here in London to be inspired, find new ideas and generally to enjoy outstanding creativity.  I loved finding some beautiful Japanese fabrics, delicious buttons and lots and lots of wool.  These shows are full of women, not the giggly schoolgirl kind, but those that our the backbone of our heritage as guardians of the creative arts. There is no limit to what you can create.

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Food for Goddesses

Friday, 12 September 2008

Chocolate Tamales, voluptuously tempting, and totally deliciousI travel to New Mexico twice a year for the Khalsa Council, of which I am a member, which meets about an hour from Santa Fe. It's a magical place, 180 degrees round the globe from Punjab.  There I first ate Tamales, surely something which has been around since the dawn of time.  Then when I came back we came across a variation which surely is also the most divine food ever.

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Feting the Spirit of England

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Teffont ShowOn a hot summer's day, the sort that we all long for summer to be a continuous succesion of but it rarely is (it's raining now here) Nick and I went off on his motorbike to join his family in a small village in Wiltshire which delights in the name of Teffont Evias. The best part of the day was our impromtu visit to its annual village fete, which embodies all that is good and noble in this green and pleasant land.

 

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The Tea Ceremony of Jazz

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

There's a saying that if you're ever asked to describe the Way of Tea then say it is the sound of windblown pines in a painting. It's a phrase that came to mind when I went to see Melody Gardot's gig here in London at the Bloomsbury Theatre, which I know well from my student days. I've met her before when she came earlier this year to my Kundalini Yoga class one night. Then none of us knew...

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Heaven in a Jam Jar

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Mango Jam is simply heaven on earthI'd never heard of Mango Jam, I've never eaten Mango Jam, and yet I longed to make Mango Jam. And what a jolly good decision it proved to be. The short-lived Alfonso season is over already for this summer, and we're now into the Pakistani ones, which are extremely good, if not quite in the stratospheric god-dwelling plane of their Indian Alfonso cousins. There was nothing for it except to work out how to get them into a jar so that this winter we can remember the delights of summer, and that of the Indian Sub-Continent....

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My puppy Millie has no problem getting to sleep and adores her very own pink bed In the days when I used to wear make-up I would regularly apply concealer to the bags under my eyes to hide the fact that I wasn't getting a good night's sleep. One day it dawned on me that that was ridiculous, and probably my lack of vitality was giving it away anyway. Surely sorting out the underlying cause would be better, healthier in the long run and I could stop wearing make-up to make-up. As Grannie kept reminding me "it's not called beauty sleep for nothing".

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Sleep Well, Work Well, Live Well

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Caroline Bodger, founder of White Cloud Trading, with one of their wool duvetsMy grandmother had very strong views about sleep. I forget how many times she used to say “it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing”. It was indeed remarkable that when I went to stay with her I did sleep much better than I did at home. Of course, I found it laborious making the bed with the crisp sheets and pure wool blankets, which had an uncanny knack of falling off in the night if I hadn’t made the bed properly that morning. But it was worth it. There. However, back home in London...

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When Less is More

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A canopy of white roses and jasmine form a canopy over our small garden which is filled with lots of mint.  The heady fragrance is intoxicatingThere's a wonderful story from the Way of Tea which directly challenged my approach to flower arranging, my appreciation of beauty and my attitude to simplicity. It goes like this. The Shogun heard through the grapevine that the front garden of Rikyu, the founder of the Way of Tea, was overflowing with Morning Glory flowers. Apparently it was a sight to behold. The Shogun thought that this was too good a sight to miss and therefore invited himself over for Tea early one morning to catch the flowers at their most beautiful and brilliant. Imagine his dismay when...

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The Experience of Marriage

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Our wedding cake was made from fresh raspberries and creamToday is our 20th wedding anniversary. During all those years since that day in Paris, when the Lady Mayoress with her Tricolor sash, amid the gilt pomp and huge vases of flowers, married Nick and me, we have been severely tested on our commitment to stand by each other, for each other "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health". We've turned our lives upside down leaving the security of careers behind us as we sallied forth into the unknown, ...

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Knives, Women and Respect

Thursday, 29 May 2008

sikhchic.comThere's a lot in the UK news now about knife crime. I have carried a knife since I was a very young girl. My grandfather gave me a penknife with which to sharpen my pencils, peel fruit and tighten screws which I kept all through my schooling in my pencil case, then in my pocket, until I started wearing a Kirpan, the Sikh knife.

A knife is also the symbol of a woman and her power to change situations. When a society is able to respect both a knife and a woman then, indeed, we will live in a community. This is the basis of my latest article for Sikhchic.com....

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Saffron Harvest in Kashmir, photographed by my husband, Nick FlemingSaffron's worth more than platinum by weight and yet its ethereal nature can carry you across continents simply by its exquisite uplifting taste and bewitching aroma. Last autumn my husband, Nick went to Kashmir to photograph the saffron harvest. His stories of how the soil suddenly blooms forth into a myriad of purple parcels, each containing those beguiling stems richly enchanted us all. He's recently returned from another month there again bringing us a small pot of dark red saffron stamens. These are the royalty of spices and it seemed most appropriate to make for lunch today the most majestic of deserts with it: Shrikand.

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Wild Garlic, Bluebells and Crochet

Tuesday, 06 May 2008

The joy of wild garlic, bluebells and crochet at Laughing HensAs we drove up the woodland lane that unmistakable fragrance of wild garlic filled the air, immediately taking me back to the halcyon days of my childhood in my grandparents' quintessentially English garden. Now, however, I was arriving for a crochet workshop at Laughing Hens, nesting deep in the timeless landscape of rural Kent. This, however, was no whimsical reminiscence of bygone days of permanent happiness, blue skies and Victoria sponge for tea. This was all for real. The excuse was a crochet workshop, but to describe our day thus is a massive over-simplification of heaven.

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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy stares adoringly at her husband as he addresses the English Houses of Parliment1. She is successful in her own right

2. She knows how to make a man feel as though he is the only man in the world

3. She knows how to...

 

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Spring Comfort

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Asparagus Risotto is just so yummy, especially the first of the seasonRisotto's one of those comforting savoury foods which bring floods of memories of my time in Italy where I would regularly be put to stir the risotto. It's a very responsible role because forget to stir it for a second and it will stick to the bottom of the pan.

 

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Millie's Biscuits

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Millie has excellent manners waiting quietly to be served... as long as it's biscuits and not dog foodInspired by the book Pupcakes Nick developed these biscuits which are an amalgamation of a couple of the book's recipes. Millie loves them, and rather regrets that I have the discipline to ration them. She gets one after we're completed "Pretty Millie" morning grooming, and one after her afternoon walk. She's quite insistent that she has them. I tried to photograph her eating a biscuit, but it was unsuccessful.

 

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Millie and Her Accessories

Monday, 07 April 2008

Millie running at Pink PiggyI never wanted a dog. I wanted an angel in my life. And then Millie came into our lives bringing us all so much love and joy. At first, I decided to be thoroughly strict and make do with old socks with knots in for her as toys. She was not overly impressed with this, partly I'm sure because like me she loves pink....

 

 

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Snow Blossom

Sunday, 06 April 2008

Have you noticed that since the Spring Equinox on 21st March that the light has changed? Even though the days are only lengthening minute by minute each day, there is somehow an uplifting vibrancy outside. On Tuesday Millie and I went for a long walk through the Ecological Park. It was all primroses, in that subtle baby-clothes yellow, nestling in the verdant freshness. In the orchard the pink buds of apple blossom ...

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Victory in Knitting

Sunday, 06 April 2008

Laughing Hens Finishing Techniques Workshop April 2008I love that rhythm and meditation with outcome of knitting. It is one of the ways that I unravel my day as my beautiful wooden needles unwind my tension and create from a strand of wool a piece of a garment. However, up to now, when I came to assemble the finished pieces into a cardigan often it had a homemade look rather than a beautiful handmade one. It was therefore with great relief that I went yesterday to one of Laughing Hens’ Knitting Workshops on Knitting Finishing Techniques.

 

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With love, blessings, gratitude,
Gracefully,
Guru Kaur x