I am not a fashion blogger

The Swedish fast fashion giant H&M finally opened its doors to Chennai yesterday after a year and a half of having a presence in India, and a few months after it opened in Mumbai. If you’re from here, you’d that this is astonishingly quick. We’re still waiting for Forever21 to start shop, and for Zara to stop selling fur lined jackets during Chennai summers. I had no plans of going on opening day for the same reason I avoid zoos during school holidays, but after swiping through the barrage of posts on my instagram that morning, it became increasingly difficult to resist, and I caved in at around 4 pm. My sister, who has as many opinions as she has clothes, came with me.

Out, Damned Spot!

The store covers two floors, with one floor (ground) stocking women’s clothes and accessories, and the one on top for men’s and kids. We entered through the ground floor, and the first set of clothes we saw were from their Autumn Winter ’16 collection. Think sateen bomber jackets with patches on, short, sparkly lurex skirts and jumpsuits, sheer blouses and other clothes that are categorized under party/festive. I personally categorize them as ‘clothes I’m too old for’. My sister picked up a beautiful, slinky emerald dress from their conscious collection but closer inspection revealed a medium sized, murky stain. There was only one more piece in her size (small), and unfortunately, even that had a stain. My sister loved the dress so much that she tried scratching at the stain in the hope that it would go away, but it didn’t. Later, when we explained the situation at the billing counter, the sales assistant had a go at scratching it as well, and then put it away. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. In hindsight, we could’ve just asked for a discount.

Such Fashion Much Wow

What really surprised me about the H&M store was the crowd there.We knew we’d encounter groups of squealy girls (who were squealing about finding clothes in extra small sizes), but we had no idea that everyone there would be so…well dressed. Like I don’t think I’ve ever encountered so many well dressed people from Chennai per square foot until that day, and it didn’t help that my sister and I were in old kurtas and pants because well, it was H&M. Who dresses up for going to a shop that’s renowned for selling cheap, trendy clothing?

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Aren’t they the prettiest earrings?

Clothes in, Clothes out

Between my sister and myself, we got a dress, a pair of pants, three tops, and a pair of earrings, all from their conscious collection . It’s also worth noting that they have their conscious bins in the store. If you bring in a bag of old clothing (brand no bar), they will recycle it for you and give you a 15% discount on your bill. So if you’ve a lot of stuff that you want to get rid of, I’d recommend this approach! I’d also recommend you read about the dangers of the fast fashion industry, minimalism, and the growing tribe of women who are adopting the capsule wardrobe approach. I’m personally a huge fan of a particular sustainable shopping method called ‘steal from your sister’. It really works.

A Small Sizing Problem

The store stocks an impressive collection of basic dresses, tops and tees in their trademark you-can-see-my-bra-in-this-right jersey and nasty-but-will-last-a-long-time polyester blend materials, and clothes from their sporty/nautical LOGG brand. There was also a nice denim section, a compact plus-size section, and a lingerie department which we couldn’t see much of because the massive queue for the few trial rooms had invariably spilled over there. We did see some cute swimsuits, though. I hope they plan to restock them more often, and that it wasn’t an opening day thing where they never restock and the stray bottoms that don’t sell just wilt on the hangers for years to come. The store has a decent selection of work wear, active wear and maternity clothes as well, but it must be said that the smaller sizes are fewer in number (we feel you, squealy girls), although I’m not sure if it was because the morning crowds snapped them all up.

Now, do they have the full collection from their catalogue? No. If you look at the website, you’ll know that only 40% is in store. Like, their shoe selection was bleak – apart from a few basic pumps, the only other option was shearling booties, which make zero sense unless you’re a trendy sherpa taking a break in Chennai. Still, it’s not entirely hopeless, and knowing this city’s luck with fashion, that’s as good a start as any.

How To Start Your Bullet Journal – Today!

I’d posted a tiny video on my instagram today – it was of my bullet journal, and I had asked if anyone would be interested in knowing how to start a bullet journal in a quick and simple manner. I got so many yes-es! So without further ado, here’s a quick guide on how to get started with bullet journaling.

But first – What’s a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a system of logging tasks that was created by New York City designer Ryder Caroll. It’s pretty straightforward – you write down a title/topic, like the day’s to-do list or a say, a list of things to buy/do for a party you’re planning on top of the page, and list the associated tasks down using bullet marks and short sentences. Once you’ve completed a task, you cross out the bullet to indicate its completion. The official Bullet Journal website has a sort of key (dot for tasks, an ‘o’ for events, hyphens for notes, and so on), but I personally just follow the dot system, and cross the dot out when my task is done.

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How is this different from using any other planner?

It’s different because it’s entirely customizable. While I do follow certain methods that have been listed by Ryder Caroll (I use the monthly layout), I don’t use all of them. There’s no pressure to follow the rigid formats that planners have, so you write your tasks down exactly the way you want to write them, and in the order that you want to write them.

Okay, now what do I need to get started?

All you need is a notebook and a pen. Nothing fancy, any plain ruled or unruled notebook will do. I use a Moleskine but any notebook will do. It can be ruled, unruled, dotted, whatever you like. Here’s the most important rule about starting a bullet journal – IGNORE PINTEREST. You’ll see photos of beautifully handwritten, illustrated, coloured journals which will take a minimum of 3 years just to set up. All you really need are two layouts – a monthly (or weekly) layout, and a daily task list. I use a monthly task list and a daily task list. Here’s what I do – at the start of every month, I take a fresh double page, and make a little calendar on one side of the page. On the other side of the page, I list down tasks for that month.

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No, I’m not telling you where I work, or whose invoices I’m chasing.

Once this is done, I start my daily task list, which is basically the date on top and the list of tasks for the day written down. When I’m done with a task I either cross out the bullet mark, or put a tick next to it. If I can’t get something in my list done, it goes over to the task list for the next day, or whichever date I think it’ll work best. Sometimes, when I don’t see an end in sight, I list it in the monthly task list so that I don’t miss it.

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What a daily task list looks like.

You may have noticed that I’ve stayed away from the doodling & the colouring. I recommend you stay away from them too, at least until you’ve a solid routine in place. The idea is to have a notebook that will help you get stuff done quickly.

All of this sounds easy, but will I stick to it?

Isn’t that the hardest part! Bullet journals are a habit. Having said that, I promise it’s an easy one. Here are some ways you can stick to it –

  • Make sure your journal is a notebook that fits into your work bag. You’ll need to be carrying this everyday. Pretty notebooks are a bonus.
  • It is recommended that you write down the day’s task the night before, but who has the time for that? I do, however, take my journal out first thing when I reach work. I write down my tasks, and use that to plan my day. It only takes an extra five, ten minutes, but I get way more work done.
  • If the monthly spread looks complicated, ditch it. Start with just writing down the date, and the tasks for the day. Once you get comfortable with the idea, you can start on monthly and weekly layouts (as per your convenience)
  • Write down tasks in the order of unpleasantness. TRUST ME ON THIS.Get rid of the annoying stuff first and the rest of your day will be so much better.
  • Remember that it’s okay if you miss a day, or don’t fill up stuff for the weekends. That’s one of the great things about the bullet journal. There’s no empty space staring at you disapprovingly.
  • Don’t leave spaces between days. If you have only five tasks for a day and it covers half a page, leave a couple of lines and write down the next day’s date and tasks. Not wasting space makes your journal look good, and also encourages you to keep at it.

That’s it!

That’s pretty much it, actually. Given that November has only now begun, I do hope you try it for this month and see how it goes. Also, I did write about how to be productive in the October 2016 issue of Elle, so please do check that out as well. I’ve even listed some apps that help me focus and get more done during my day. I consider myself very, very lucky to be as busy as I am these days, and it’s thanks to these hacks that I’m able to get through!  I have a Pinterest board where I pin inspiration for bullet journals, so you can follow me there, too! Keep in mind that these are just ideas – if you have something that works for you, stick to that. Colouring is pretty, but productivity is better.

Good luck!

Origin One October 2016 Box – Review!

I caved into the Origin One October 2016 Stationery Subscription Box (The Diwali edition, it’s called?) sometime last month, and I have to say, I’m more than just pleased with it!

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Before I go into what’s in the box, a confession: I’m a huge stationery junkie -My desk is littered with pens in colours that I’ll never need, along with pencils, coloured pencils, spare pens lest the ones I have run out of ink, and refills for the spares. As if that’s not bad enough, I’ve piles and piles of beautiful, expensive notebooks that I’ve left unused because they’re too pretty to use, and more piles of regular notebooks that I purchase in lieu of using up my pretty ones. Basically, a good part of my paycheck evaporates every time I so much as think about paper goods.

Anyway, so I was stalking around instagram a few weeks ago when a very well placed advertisement for the Origin One store showed up on my feed. Naturally, I wasn’t going to ignore photos of gorgeous, well designed stationery, and a few clicks later, I found myself ordering their stationery ‘subscription’ box. The idea of a stationery subscription box was something I found exciting because if you’re anything like me, you don’t purchase stationery on a need basis (and probably have more paper related paraphernalia than you have storage space), which is why it’s nice to be surprised with a variety of different products.

 

I placed the order for the Big October 2016 box (which was Rs.2,000/-, they also have a small version for Rs. 1,000/-) on the 24th of September and it was home on the 29th (they start shipping on the 25th of the previous month, I’m told). It was packaged in this wonderfully old-style fashion, with a colourful watercolour wrapping paper that was held with string, a detail that I loved – it was like opening a present (that you gave yourself but whatever)!

Here’s a picture.

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11/10 for Packaging

 

The contents were just as impressive. More pictures!

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How cute, right? Also: HOW CRAZY GOOD ARE MY PHOTOSHOP SKYLLZ RIGHT NOW?!!

All the products are really well designed and functional, although the only product I actually ‘used’ was the little sweet that they’d sent. At least I hope it was a sweet (either that, or I had some really tasty glue). The checklist notepad is genius, the notebook is small, but I loved how the pages were designed (they’re dotted on one side and ruled on the other), the coasters – 4 in total – are sturdy despite being made of paper and I can’t wait to print photos for the frame. The envelopes and cards are also exceedingly pretty for gifting and stuff, but knowing me and my alpam tendencies, they’re going to stay unused in that package for a long time.

Speaking of alpam tendencies, I’ve also saved the watercolour paper and the strings lest an occasion comes tomorrow where I’ve to wrap a present (although the truth is that I’m so alpam that I’ll never use it and might end up keeping it until it becomes mouldy or something and I’m forced to throw it away).

Am I happy with this box? Absolutely. Would I order another box? Hm, I wouldn’t want a repeat of the stuff that I already got, so provided that doesn’t happen, most definitely! Given the variety of products that they have (they have planner stickers, even!) it shouldn’t happen, but if it does, then eh, I’ll stick with Hindustan Trading Centre, thanks.

Are you a stationery nut too? Where do you buy stuff? TELL ME EVERYTHING.

{Blah blah this wasn’t a paid review blah blah honest opinion blah blah gtg bank account crying bye}

How Pinteresting Really – DIY Edition

If you’re an avid Pinterest user, like I am, you’d know that that place is essentially, internet quicksand. If you aren’t a Pinterest user, I do recommend you get on the platform, because in my opinion it’s the best social network that’s out there, primarily because you get to be with a group of people but don’t have to talk to anyone. It’s genius. Anyway, I was snooping around the website yesterday when I realized that I had clocked roughly 6,200 pins on my profile – this may sound like a feat, but it really isn’t – if anything, it’s an indicator of the massive amount of productive hours I’ve wasted on that website. ANYWAY, so I checked through my boards to see what exactly I’ve been pinning all these years, and even after deducting the 1300 odd jokes and memes I’d posted on my boards, I still had 4900 bookmarks that were either full of wisdom on how to improve myself in a variety of avenues, or stuff I wanted – which brings me to this post.

I have been bookmarking internet wisdom for as long as I can remember but my following up skills after bookmarking have been non-existent – probably because when I actually want to try something it ends up being beyond the reach of my skill sets. HOWEVER, I thought I’d share 5 pins here from my Do-It-Yourself board (you know, stuff that you can buy for like Rs. 10/- but you’d rather spend Rs. 500/- on buying craft supplies to make them. Those) which I have tried, and they’ve worked for me so basically they’re idiot proof.

DIY Jewelry Organizer

Pinspiration:

jewelry

 

What I made:
IMG_8493

Notes: I’m always forgetting what necklaces I have and never really end up wearing anything when I go out, so the idea of having a display where I could see everything was something I immediately got on board with. Ideally I ought to have hunted down a vintage frame and then put hooks in it, but let’s get real no one has the time for that, so instead I used a cork board and push pins to create a hanging necklace display. Now I get to see what I have every morning and continue to not wear anything.

DIY Lip Scrub

Pinspiration:

lip scrub

 

What I made:
2 Tablespoons of Sugar with One Tablespoon Coconut Oil later…

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Notes: So when Lush (the UK bath and beauty brand) first opened in India, one of the first products I tried and loved was their Bubblegum Lip Scrub. It was about Rs. 550-600 then, and me being the selective alpam that I am, passed on buying it despite the fact that my lips get drier than the articles in the Chartered Accountant’s Journal. So I made this a few weeks ago, and I am happy to report that apart from the fact that making this is ridonculously easy, it tastes better than any store-bought lip scrub because it includes the taste of money saved (which you can waste on other things)

Bookshelf Arrangement

Pinspiration:

book shelf organization, how to organize book shelf, bookshelfie, book shelf inspiration

 

 

What I made:
book shelf organization, how to organize book shelf, bookshelfie, book shelf inspiration

Notes: I left the bulk of my bookshelf back home when I moved in with Suhrith, so organizing my bookshelves in my new place was a far easier task than it would have been with my original shelves back home (it is pointless to even try it there). Even then, I’d always found my bookshelf a little bleh, so I took the tip of adding ‘accents’ (stuff you wouldn’t normally put in a bookshelf) from Pinterest, and now look – so pretty! I’m also glad to report that I’ve maintained my bookshelf’s neatness by buying new books only in the Kindle.

Lit-up Bookshelf

Pinspiration

fairy lights

What I made:fairy lights shelf, fairy lights book shelf, room inspiration

Notes: SO, I bought two packs of these warm white LED fairy lights online one sleepless night on Amazon, and realized that I had to do something with them. I ended up spending another sleepless night on Pinterest trying to figure the ways to use them, and one of them was to tape it around my bookshelf, and then I used the second pack as night lights behind my curtains, also Pinterest inspired. Currently neither are in place, because a few months after, we got a puppy and she chewed up all the wires 🙁

Origami Decoration

Pinspiration:

origami pin

 

What I made:

origami corner

Notes: This  is probably my favourite Pinterest thing of the lot. Making the crane isn’t easy on first go,and there’s a chance you might tear up some paper out of frustration trying to figure out the petal fold (I did) but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Basically, I made cranes, and taped them to the bottom of my shelf with white thread. I’ve added three more cranes from the time I took this photo, and it really is the happiest corner in my study.

SO, 200 DIY pins later, I managed to like, do 5. Have you had any success with Pinterest things? Let me know if you’d like more me/idiot-proof pins and I’ll be sure to post them here!

All New & Shiny!

So I racked up one million hits on my blog a month ago, and decided that there was no better time to junk everything and start afresh, so here I am. I finally made the move from blogger and its older-than-my-grandma interface and tools and switched over to WordPress, which is kind of like driving a Ferrari after nine years of struggling with a Maruti 800 (without power steering).

All my posts are intact, comments and all, and I even managed to create a separate page for my TV column (which, as I’ve just realised, I’ve been writing for a year now!), so hopefully, the new space inspires some more pointless thoughts.

 

How To Book A Place On AirBnB

A few days ago, I’d read about a terrible experience that a dear old friend (and idol), Naren, had with AirBnB. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, AirBnB is an awesome service that lets you rent Apartments and Private Rooms (or if you don’t care much for privacy, shared rooms) in pretty much any city in the world that you want to holiday in.

I have used AirBnB twice so far – for my trips to Barcelona last year and Paris a few weeks ago, and I have to say, the experience is way superior to the one you would get in a hotel, it is a great deal more convenient than any other living arrangement and most importantly, it’s considerably cheaper than getting a hotel room of an equivalent standard. At the outset AirBnB sounds like awesome doughnut unicorn land, but the truth is that there is a great degree of uncertainty, not to mention the fact that you are at the mercy of your “host”. My experiences with Airbnb have been pleasant because I have massive trust issues. I follow a certain set of rules while booking anything on Airbnb, and these rules have worked quite well for me, so I’m sharing them here and I hope they work for you too. So without further ado, here’s how to book a place on airbnb –

Rule 1: Read the reviews!

I cannot stress on this enough, especially if it’s your first time booking a space on the website. Also keep in mind that a place with a four star rating after 200 reviews is a safer bet than a place with a 5 star rating and 2 reviews. I’m sure the 5 star rating place would be great, but for your first stay you want something tried and tested, with special emphasis on the tried. And tested. I read at least 25 reviews before I zero in on a place. Yes. I know.

Rule 2: Verify your account!

Now, the hosts aren’t the only ones who get reviewed, the users/guests do, too. So it’s only natural that well rated hosts are more likely to give their houses to well rated guests, which can be a problem when it’s your first time figuring out a place to stay on AirBnB. The idea is to be the least shady as possible so ensure that you verify your account with your phone number and email.

Rule 3: Research the area

Where is the apartment located, exactly? What kind of neighbourhood is it in? Is it accessible by Taxi? How close/far away is it from public transport? There are great apartments in shady areas and shady apartments in great areas, so don’t be swayed by the photos of the apartment alone, look up the area that your housing is located in.

Rule 4: Know the apartment and its rules

I almost booked a fifth floor apartment which was in a building without an elevator. Imagine lugging around your baggage for five floors! High rise apartments are cheaper sometimes, but make sure to check if there’s an elevator in the apartment. Alternatively, you can pack light (a skill I’ve never managed to learn because really there’s no such thing as too many pairs of blue jeans)

Rule 5: If it’s too good to be true…

…it probably is. Pass.

Rule 6: Be detailed and polite in your email to the host.

For most spaces, you’ll have to send a message to your host explaining the reason why you want to book their place. Suffice to say “Hai Plz give room” isn’t going to cut it. Introduce yourself, where you’re from, who you’re travelling with to their city, how many days you’re going to be there, and how great it would be if they’d let you have their place for your stay. You don’t need to write an essay, but providing necessary details about your trip (especially about the people you’re travelling with) will make you seem like a more reliable guest.

Rule 7: Other Reviewers

This isn’t an essential issue, but I am conscious about the experiences of people of colour (hello fellow brown people!) in the apartment. The world isn’t the most perfect place, and it is better for the sake of your vacation to be sure that your host is one who doesn’t discriminate.

Rule 8: Respect the property

Congratulations! You’ve got a room using AirBnB. To ensure that future bookings go even smoother, you need a good review, and in order for that to happen, you should respect the other person’s space. This means tidying up the bed, cleaning the kitchenette counter, taking the garbage out and generally not leaving it like your own room back home.
I love AirBnB and ever since I discovered the service last year, I’ve not even considered a hotel for travels. It’s affordable, it’s efficient and gives your holiday a kind of authenticity that staying in a hotel never will.
Have you tried AirBnB? What have your experiences been like so far?
{FYI, This is not a paid post. That I wish it was is a whole different matter altogether.}

Deviance – For Real!

So around November of 2008, I wrote a short story called “Deviance” about a Tamil dude who wanted to marry another man. The story was essentially the result of one of those “what were we even thinking?” conversations with another friend, (the erstwhile) IdlingInTopGear, except I actually wrote what we were thinking/talking into a story.

The story became popular in a very 2008 way – some people made into an e-mail forward with extra punctuation, some others posted it on their own blogs and so on; It also became a short film, starring very talented actors from the Chennai theatre circuit and was featured in an LGBT Film Festival in Chennai, too – it’s currently on a Youtube Channel for Indie short films called Bench Culture which is promoted by Karthik Subburaj, of Jigarthanda/Pizza fame . I’ve written a lot since then, but in all honesty, Deviance remains one of my biggest accomplishments in writing, not because of the popularity it achieved, but because a few people from the Tamil gay community reached out to me to tell me that they found it hilarious, and that for me was the greatest piece of validation.

Anyway, so 8 whole years later after I wrote Deviance, this news item comes up on my feed about an adorable gay couple who had a traditional, South Indian style wedding with pretty much everything that I’d imagined in the story!

Anyway, so I just thought I’d share it here because,
a) It’s too freaking cute
b) More people need to know about my Nostradamus-ness OKAY.

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The Fergie Review of Books

We got a dog about nine months ago, a labrador we have named Fergie. She, among other things, has a unique appetite for books. I say this because paper doesn’t evoke consistent reactions from her. Sometimes she ignores it, sometimes, she’ll jump on you, pushing her paws on your legs to grab whatever you’re reading with her mouth and rip it to shreds (Chennai Times has consistently been at the receiving end of this), and sometimes she’ll take your book and scurry to her favourite spot in the living room, the divan, and leisurely have a go at the pages. Her choices in book destruction have made me believe that she’s a dog with great literary taste. Here are some of her recommendations:
 
Stephen King: On Writing
Stephen King’s indispensable and part autobiographical guide on writing, and writing well is a book you must read if you are a writer, or at least want to be a writer. Did I pick this book up because I have a writer inside me, or did I pick it up because of a fellow dog on the cover? I guess you’ll never know.
Vinod Mehta: Editor Unplugged
The first book I got my mouth on is Vinod Mehta’s Editor Unplugged, which offers an informative and hilarious account of the life of one of India’s greatest editors. I got through this with such enthusiasm that the humans at home had to buy a second copy to find out what the fuss was about.
Kazuo Ishiguro: Remains of The Day
Before I got to this book, I honestly had no idea that I had a taste for Booker Winners. All you need to know about how much I enjoyed Remains Of The Day is to see the remains of this book. The person typing this can’t say anything about the book though, because she didn’t get to read it. I wonder why.
Annie Zaidi: Love Stories #1 to #14
I love cheese, I’ve recently started loving sweet potatoes, I love yoghurt, but you know what I’ve always loved? Love. That’s why I loved this book full of love stories that are varied, and heavy with emotion. I also love that Annie was nice enough to autograph this for me. Thanks Annie. Have to say, you’ve pretty excellent taste, too.
img_9648
{More Fergie Reviews as and when she destroys reads more books}

 

 

Five Podcasts I Love

So I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, to the point where I wrote about them for The Hindu THread. As an addendum, I just thought that I’d list down five podcasts I’ve been listening to recently, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

    
     

  • TED Radio Hour – The TED Radio hour ties together TED talks which have similar context and puts them together. I wasn’t very drawn to this podcast at first because it just felt too science-y (not a word but should be) for me, but now, I’m a total convert. The TED radio hour is super informative without being boring. Notable episode: The Unknown Brain 
   

  

  • Modern Love Podcast: The Modern Love Podcast, which is by The New York Times is essentially essays read out loud, either by the author themselves, or actors. The essays are usually a little old, in the sense that they’ve been published a few years before, but that’s actually to facilitate the “Where are they now?” section of the podcast which follows the reading. Some of the stories are really emotional, so if you’re very sensitive, or having imbalanced PMS hormones, prepare for tears. Notable episode: Maddy might just work after all, by Jennifer Finney Boylan
  
  • The Simblified Podcast: Probably the only desi podcast I listen to (although I really should listen to more), Simblified has super-bloggers Chuck Gopal & Narendra Shenoy break down complex concepts and relevant issues which we (ok, I) usually tend to skip in the papers. Lots of fun, incredibly relevant, and might even make you a better person. You’ve been warned. Notable episode: Of Stock Market & Lollipops
  
Would also greatly appreciate podcast recommendations, so fire away! 

Sew Cruel

I’ve been trying to teach myself how to sew for a few months now. This desire to operate a sewing machine didn’t stem from any designer aspirations as much as it did from the frustration of having busted seams on the sleeves of once favourite tops and altering tight/loose clothes into better fitting ones as opposed to giving them away to smaller/larger friends and relatives.

I can now hem neatly, and a lot of my older clothes are more wearable now thanks to my alterations. 
A week ago, I got started on my most ambitious project yet, to stitch a basic saree blouse. I’d taken the measurements from a blouse I had already owned and things were going swimmingly until I had to measure out the sleeves. I ironed my alavu blouse’s sleeve to get the perfect measurement and lo – the iron box had left a large gaping hole in the silk sleeve because I hadn’t the basic sense to reduce the temperature on the iron while switching fabrics from cotton to silk. 
It took my eyes a good two minutes to adjust to the horror which was this crooked hole marring my otherwise beautiful, floral printed silk blouse. I thought about crying, almost did and nearly gave my new hobby up altogether. Then, in what felt like a Tim Gunn inspired trance, I removed the sleeves completely, and carefully hemmed the edges, making the half sleeve blouse, a sleeveless one. The final, altered product looked as good as the original, if not better, and I don’t think any project that I had undertaken thus far in my life had given me the amount of satisfaction that this sleeve operation did. In my obvious excitement, I texted my sister photos of the blouse with the hole, and what it looked like when it was fixed. 
It feels brilliant to know how to sew, I told her. Isn’t it the most useful thing in the world? I can teach you, you know. Basic hems and stitches to fix holes and stuff in case something like this happens to you too.  
Oh that won’t be necessary, she told me silkily. I know how to use an iron.