Whenever I come back from a vacation, I try to treasure some of my favourite moments by making a sketch on a canvas. During our last vacation I had a wonderful time star-gazing with Akshara on an island somewhere in the Indian ocean.
This time it was a similar destination in the Bay of Bengal – The Andaman& Nicobar islands.
White sand..pristine beaches..Yellow sun..Blue sky, all reverberating the sound of the chirping birds, a sight to cherish & remember.This painting is a reflection of what I witnessed from the balcony of my room. It was a everyday morning routine for the birds to keep moving (as a group) from one tree to another. The usual one cup of tea took much longer just observing these birds I am sure the walls in my home would be happy as well to echo the serenity of this beautiful island.
Once the Navratri Golu was dismantled, i was left with lots of colourful bangles lying around from the Bangle Rangoli i had done. Rather than finding a way to pack and store the bangles safely, i thought of an idea of converting them into tea light candle holders. I had seen this somewhere online and had always wanted to give it a try. Its such a cool and simple project that involves stacking the bangles on top of each other and glueing them together, that even the kids can do it with great ease
With Diwali just around the corner, here are some more ideas to dress up a LED light string. These are more of “Best out of waste” projects.
Pretty flowers made out of egg cartons
Origami cubes made from colorful flyers & waste paper which deserve a much better place than a dustbin
I started this Madhubani artwork over a year back. Famous on mud walls, these paintings have attracted all kinds of surfaces including my canvas Over the past few days, i somehow pushed myself to complete it so that it is ready before the coming Navratri.
Madhubani paintings have a connection to Ramayana as it is believed that when Rama married Sita, King Janaka ordered few artists to make paintings of their wedding and this went on to establish a new style of painting. Slowly all Hindu deities started appearing on these paintings. Another interesting fact that I read about these paintings is that the artists from the Mithila region used to make these art forms of deities on the trees to prevent people from cutting them down. Maybe we can do the same on Pune streets and make a Swachh Pune.
I have tried to give a Madhubani touch to this Durga painting and believe that the bright colour dyes and the geometric patterns would evoke the festive mood.
The tartness of this fermented drink caused by the action of lactic acid bacteria and the health benefits due to the probiotic microbes in it make it a favourite for the summer season. Btw, this drink is known as buttermilk, in simpler terms! Effect of writing a post after reading too many “3-idiots” jokes
Since the “flavour” of the season seems to be “go green”, I decided to add a dash of green to the standard buttermilk. Blend together a handful of mint leaves, curry leaves, coriander leaves, pieces of raw mango, ginger, gooseberry along with some curd,salt and asafoetida. Strain the blended mixture by adding lot of water to get the thin desired consistency.
Sip away your drink and have a cool day !
Suzhi kolam is a traditional South Indian rangoli (using rice flour) wherein curved loops are drawn around dots. Supadi, in Marathi, is a sieve. I tried combining these two in this decorative piece to bring a village flavour in our urban home. There are lot of reasons (psychological, religious, scientific) for making kolams/rangolis at the house entrances, theories like the sight of them bringing positive energy, the kolams feeding small insects like the ant (as the kolams are made using rice flour ), welcoming gods/goddesses, they being a good exercise for women early in the morning… I do it for a very simple reason , to maintain our tradition
When I make these kolams, Akshara likes to try her hand too and hence I believe there is no reason for this tradition to fade away. An interesting fact about the suzhi kolam (aka sikkal kolam ) is that it’s complicated patterns help to improve the problem solving skills. So, it is believed that a woman doing a rangoli at dawn is all set to handle any type of task that comes her way during the day.
And if you are the jugaad kind, you can always ask your husband to stand beside you and fan the supadi!
Joy of giving week is an annual charity event celebrated in many companies across India. As part of the event, Rajaram’s workplace organises a “food fair” where employees/spouses put up food stalls and the revenue generated from the sales is given to charity.
Rather than making just any dish for the stall, I wanted to make something which was attractive to see and to taste but still conveyed a meaning. So, I chose to make a flower. Giving a flower to someone symbolises affection and the feeling of sharing. This is the essence behind “joy of giving” and I wanted the person handing out the “flower” and the person buying it to feel this.
Last year, I made a “honey bee”. That was much more time-consuming to make. This year, it was a bit simpler (or at least I thought so when I planned). The dough (made of biscuits,milk powder and milkmaid) would form the main part with different coloured chart papers forming the petals. I melted chocolate bars and dipped the flower in them forming the topping for the flower. The paper cuttings did take up a lot of time with me having to outsource part of the work to Rajaram. So, all the irregular shaped ones are made by him
The memory of Rakhshabandhan from my school days is that it used to be the only day when girls used to run after the boys to tie Rakhi Every year I step into a shop to buy a Rakhi for my brother. But this year I chose to make my own Rakhi. As expected, Akshara wanted to follow suit and make some Rakhis for her friends. So, we sat down together and started crafting the Rakhis based on some themes (chota bheem, lion, bird..). The raw materials that I used are very common things that one can find in any household. Just let your imagination flow freely to build these beautiful strings of love and affection.
A closeup of the Rakhi. The base is a circular piece of thermocol. On top of it are multiple layers of paper quills. The ‘pearls’ have been made with Sago (Sabudhana). Click for a better view.
This has been a long pending post and I felt that this is the right time to bring back some memories from Akshara’s earlier birthday parties. Making the arrangements for Akshara’s birthday party is one of the tasks that I enjoy doing every year. It does take a lot of time and effort from our side but the outcome makes all of that worthwhile. “Why not call a party planner?” may be the question that pops in your mind but believe me, the amount of satisfaction that you get in doing the things on your own and the kids liking them brings a lot of happiness.
Here, I have summed up some ideas that we had come up with over the years based on the party theme for that particular year. Hope you enjoy reading this lengthy post
5th Birthday Party (Theme: Princesses and Pirates)
Princess and Pirate, a beautiful and deadly combination by itself
—Pirate hats, swords and masks for the boys
The hats were made using black chart paper, feathers, glossy tapes.
The swords were rolled out of newspapers with a coating of silver paint which gave a real metal effect. Egg cartons used for the cross-guard.
—Princess crowns,magical wands for the girls
Pink handmade paper was used to make the crowns with satin ribbons and some embellishments.
The wand was a simple one made with a chopstick and a pink star.
—Princess and Pirate round badges were made to order after some customization with names of the kids.
—Pink(strawberry) and blue(citrus blue) drink for the kids.
—Princess theme cake, Disney princesses and the Pirate faces.
The Disney princesses were made using small cake moulds (for the gown part) and the figurines (from Disney magical moment doll set) inserted into them to get the real look. Of course some frosting and icing in the appropriate colour was done to give the final glow.
Pirate faces were made using the desired icing on banana muffins.
—A mini treasure hunt for the boys.
A map was crafted by pouring some tea extract and burning the edges to give a real old, torn look.
The treasure hunt took them to a nearby book shop and from there they had to go to a friend’s place to collect a small pouch of chocolate gold coins
—Return gifts for the Pirates.
Wheat flour storage bag converted into a pirate rucksack with lot of goodies like magnetic compass,book about pirates,kaleidoscope etc
—Return gifts for the Princesses.
Pink paper bags with items like princess key chains,photo frames,jewel sets etc
—Dairy milk chocolate bar with customized wrapper
4th Birthday Party (Theme:The Teddy)
This was the year when Akshara started choosing a theme for her birthday party. She had developed a craze for teddies and that is how we ended up having a teddy themed party. We had ordered a Hawaiian bear design for the cake.
—Fun food items.
Yummy Honey bees with the concept of “Winnie and honey”
The recipe was quite simple : mix some marie biscuit powder, milk powder and milkmaid to get the body and use slit almonds for the wings. Finally top it with some designs using Hersheys chocolate syrup.
Honey loop cones – ice cream cones filled with honey loops
We had planned for some assorted customized gifts like popsicle photo puzzles , photo puzzles piled in a jar, photo frames etc. Unfortunately I missed talking a pic of them.
3rd Birthday party (Theme: Nursery Rhymes)
Akshara used to like rhymes a lot and so I came up with the idea of having a party based on it.
—Humpty Dumpty cake..If you have a closer look at the cake you will notice that Humpty Dumpty (with a broken leg) already had fallen by the time we brought him home from the cake shop (Thanks to Rajaram for this!)
—Teddy bear biscuits...featuring the rhyme “Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn around”
We had ordered customized story books for the smaller kids. One of the character in the story would be Akshara and the rest of the characters would be her friends themselves.
For the older kids we had ordered customized school bag tags with their photos on it.
2nd Birthday Party (Theme:Farm animals)
Akshara used to be obsessed with animals and at that age of two she used to call out and make their sounds whenever she spotted them.So we decided to have a farm animals inspired theme party.
—Farm house with farm animals cake.
—Made to order farm animal cookies.
—Home made return gift bags.
It was fun making bags out of charts and satin ribbons and having Akshara’s hand stamped on them.The contents in the bag were quite assorted mostly some stuff we had bought from Malaysia & Indonesia (best places to buy fancy things)
Anyone who visits Thailand would have a chance to see the different Buddha statues – Golden Buddha, Emerald Buddha, Reclining Buddha & so on. One would also hear a lot about the Laughing Buddha. Here then is my version of the laughing Buddha, but in a subtler reincarnation as “The Smiling Buddha”.
Wondering why I coined the name so? The moment I completed this canvas, I saw that my painting didn’t have the neutral look which is the most common expression portrayed on a Buddha painting/idol. Mine had a subtle smile.
The whole concept of this canvas was to build a space filled with peace and calmness. But, the irony is that “Smiling Buddha” was the code name of the first nuclear test explosion conducted by India!