My sister spent Christmas in India visiting my parents and she sent me a huge box of goodies from the other side of the world. Purses, peacock feather fans, mahogany boxes, cinnamon wood picture frames, sea shells, silk shawls, statues of elephants, coins, bangles — some of the things even came wrapped in pages from the Bangalore newspaper. If only I could read Hindi.

The box still smelled faintly tropical, warm and spicy. I love textiles and was especially thrilled at the hand-embroidered silks she sent — this little elephant from Rajahmundry made me want to quote some Kipling, “O Best Beloved” — but when I pulled out this piece of hand-woven sari silk I was speechless.

Eight yards of the most deep and resonant red which also happens to be the accent color in my kitchen and living room. But with so much beautiful fabric I need ideas for using it to its best advantage.

I wish I could pull off wearing a sari but I’m afraid not only would I be cold I’d look ridiculous. Have you ever seen a viking in a sari? That would be me, though not quite as hairy I’m much too tall and pale to make a the outfit work but maybe as a skirt? A Dress? Pillows for the couch? A duvet? A tablecloth? Lamp shades? What I’d especially love is a way to use it above my new fireplace as an accent piece in the living room.

Help! I need your ideas!