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Pinkalicious

Thursday was a shopping marathon!!! Our first stop was Ridhi Sidhi Textiles in Jaipur, which was absolutely amazing. Yes, an unpreposessing exterior, but wow!  This is the main retail shop, where we all fell madly in love with the kantha quilts.  You can see them stored on the shelves, with the overflow spilling onto the floor..
I bought five of them for presents, including one made of silks. There were several more rooms, filled with pajama sets, shirts, clothes of all kinds, and more fabric.

Then we moved on to the warehouse, where one room was just piled with quilts, wall hangings, clothes and who knows what all. We pawed through the piles looking for gold and in some cases found some.  I came away with this old (how old?) quilted piece. 

A bit the worse for wear, and I don’t dare wash and block it, but I love these liberated stars.

In the main area were bolts and bolts and bolts of cloth. Wow! They use this electric cutter to slice through zillions of layers of fabric. (Sorry for the dizzying ending!)  Again, I bought some yardage, of course.

Then on to the final warehouse/shop/business, where we saw the men doing block printing and tried our hands at it, too.  Look at all those intricately carved blocks on the shelf behind him!

We also tried on lots of clothes (none of which worked for me but others struck gold), and bought more. Unbelievable! We ran out of time so we will return later to pay up.

After this, we were booked for tea at the Sujan Raj Mahal Palace, an 18th century building which has been converted into a boutique hotel for the rich. Tea was in a room known as ‘51 Shades of Pink’  and served by turbaned waiters. Lovely little cakes and sandwiches, and, of course, tea. 

We walked through an elegant Anglo-Indian drawing room on our way to tea.  Here are the current owners:

A vintage American car was parked under the canopy outside. Very fun.

All in all, a good day, and here’s the group picture outside Ridhi Sidhi to prove it!

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Dyeing and shopping

Today we traveled out of Jaipur to a dye shop to meet an award-winning master dyer and to dye some fabric ourselves. First they showed us beautiful examples of tie-dyed fabric with an explanation of how they do it, carefully rolling up the fabric and tying it tight.

The workspace was cluttered, but I’m sure they knew exactly where everything was.

The precision of their results is amazing.  Here’s the reveal of one of their scarves, and you can see how tightly it’s wrapped. 

Then it was our turn.  We climbed up steep marble stairs (no hand rail, of course!) to the rooftop where we spread out on blankets in the sunshine to fold, pleat and tie our dampened fabrics.  As you can see, you loop the fabric around your big toe, pull the fabric tight, and proceed to tie it.  There is a trick to tying tightly which I only sort of mastered, but they were there to help us. In fact, one of the men kindly took the fabric away from me and redid it correctly (that’s my useless toe in the corner of the shot.)

Here are the well-worn scissors we used to cut the string.

Then we went back downstairs to the dye pots for the first dip,

after which we air dried our pieces and then gave them a second dip.

Then the master showed us his antique textiles. Pink is a color only for royals, we learned. This gold embroidered piece was made by his mother, so probably about 100 years old.

The master showed us how to wrap a turban, and Sujata and Amy tried them on, to everyone’s delight.

Then it was time for the great reveal as we untied our knots and spread open the fabric. All were gorgeous!  Here are just a few:

We took the bus back to Jaipur for some shopping at the state-run handicrafts emporium. I picked up some lovely fabrics and sets of bangles for Cai and Sarah. After that, we walked along Mansagar Lake, a lovely body of water with the iconic Jal Mahal (water palace) at its center. The trees on the lake were busy with birds, I wish I knew which kinds.  We saw camelswaiting for tourists to ride them, also this painted elephant that Cathy paid a small fee to feed.  Back at the hotel, we picked up our tunics from the hotel shop, had drinks in the bar and then went on to dinner. Afterwards we were offered henna painting that was fun, and I love the outcome, even on my wrinkly hand. And so to bed for a good night’s sleep at last!

 

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August Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

July in Virginia is usually even hotter than August, but this year August might be winning.  A week of highs approaching and exceeding 100 degrees is giving way this week to high humidity and daily showers.  Better than drought, I guess?  Of course, the sunny garden is an absolute JUNGLE at this point, and it’s too wet to weed it.  Maybe next week.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa, a tall one that I should probably move.  It’s in the boxwood garden and doesn’t get quite enough sun, but isn’t it bold and lovely?

The less dramatic black-eyed Susan has decided to sow itself in the back, but here’s one small clump in the side garden by the raised bed.

An anonymous sunflower sowed in the big blue pot.  Again, not quite enough sun for the best show.

The silken flowers of the datura bloom early in the morning and fade like the twelve dancing princesses by mid-morning.

The native passionflower is a real problem.  It pops up everywhere and aggressively twines around everything it can find.  It even pops up in the lawn.  But then I see how the butterflies and bees love it, and I let it go wild.  I need to get a grip!

I imagine this bee got drunk on the nectar last night and is just beginning to wake up this morning.

I’ve moved the hummingbird feeder so that I can see it from the sewing room window.  The hummers love the feeder as well as the zinnias.  They  don’t  seem  to  mind  the  scruffiness  of  this  part  of  the  garden.

The Joe Pye weed is just coming into bloom, a bit shorter than usual since I gave it the Chelsea chop.  And the butterfly bush is still going strong.

This one is a bit of a mystery.  I think it’s Arisaema dracontium (Green dragon) that I got at the farmer’s market years ago.  I noticed the seedhead and then not long after these little seeds.   At first I thought they might be bugs!

The perennial pea from Mom is looking a bit worse for wear right now.

Looking forward to some better weather so that I can edit this wild landscape!

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July Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

Crape Myrtle, a bit less floriferous than last year, for some reason.

We are at the peak of hot, humid summertime in Virginia.  My rule is not to try to do any real gardening in July and August, but I do keep up with watering annuals when I can.  Otherwise, it’s HHH (hazy, hot and humid) and not fit out for man or beast.  Lots of purple in the garden, but other colors, too.

Echinacea purpurea, morning glories,  and  a few  Mexican  petunias, Ruellia simplex

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

butterfly bush  complete  with  butterfly

Mandevilla

achillea

zinnias  and   cosmos

dahlias

hostas

tiger lilies (Lilium ‘lancifolium’ or ‘African queen’)

Liatris (Gayfeather)

Verbena bonariensis

Mountain mint with just one of the hundreds of insects that buzz around it constantly

One lone poppy out of the seeds I planted too late this year.  Next February for sure! 

Fnally, the lovely Souvenir de Ste. Anne rose having a second flush

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Seeds and more

I have a box of seeds that has gotten out of control:  seeds from a few years ago, new seeds, empty seed packets in hopes that I will remember what I planted, etc.  A few days ago I took a fit and planted them all, mostly in the raised bed after harvesting the radishes.  I hope that some of them will come up, but I mostly wanted to give them a chance and then throw out the empty packets!

Lemon gem marigolds either brought back from Italy or from Seeds from Italy

Cosmos ‘Psyche White,’  ‘Gazebo Mix’ and ‘Sensation Mixed colors’

Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Purple’ and ‘Zinderella Red’ (these should clash ferociously)

Mexican Sunflower ‘Torch’ (Tithonia rotundifolia)

I still have some sunflowers and a Hyacinth Bean left over, plus some seeds for fall sowing and lots of vegetables.  Maybe I’ll just toss them all this fall.  Be brave!

Thanks to vendors for the images