Aug 07

DIY Rakhi for the brother

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.

Make your own Rakhi

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.

Paper Quilling Rakhis

written by Vidhya

Jul 18

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.

pirate_costume

princess_crown_wand

Princess and Pirate round badges were made to order after some customization with names of the kids.

princess_pirate_round_badges

Pink(strawberry) and blue(citrus blue) drink for the kids.

blue_pink_drink

Sweet wands.

sweet_wands

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.

princess_theme_cake

belle_princess_cake

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 :-)

treasure_hunt_map

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

pirate_return_gift

princess_return_gift

Dairy milk chocolate bar with customized wrapper

customised_chocolate_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.

Hawaiian_bear_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.

edible_honey_bees

Honey loop cones – ice cream cones filled with honey loops

Honey_loop_cones

Teddy pancakes

Teddy_pancakes

Return gifts
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!)

Humpty_Dumpty_cake

Teddy bear biscuits...featuring the rhyme “Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn around”

teddy_biscuits

Return Gifts.
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.

IMG_20140718_140114265

IMG_20140718_140218487

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.

farm_animal_theme_cake

Made to order farm animal cookies.

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)

return_gift_bags

return_gift_bag_personalisation

written by Vidhya

Apr 21

smiling_buddha

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!

written by Vidhya

Apr 09

paper_coasters

Every time I see the old newspapers lying in the storeroom they remind me patiently “free us from this place”. I have been behind Rajaram for months to get this cleaned up but I guess the time has not come yet. So, just for a change I chose few privileged newspapers, moved them to our coffee table after transforming them into beautiful coasters. I am not sure if the newspapers were happy after being soaked in so much glue and colours but they definitely brightened up my coffee table :-)

written by Vidhya

Mar 26

abstract_art

Abstract paintings are those that directly represent our thoughts and have no reference to copy from. For a change, I have tried to replicate one of the abstract paintings that I saw on the internet and have given my own color and meaning to the picture.
Whenever Rajaram and I have seen abstract paintings with geometrical patterns, we have always wondered as to what was so great about them .But then, after getting to work on this abstract painting, I realised that the greatness is in the thought of the painter and not in the design. The owner alone has the privilege of knowing the true value of it. The next time you bump into some abstract painting, take a min to draw your own conclusion on the image. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an abstract picture is worth a thousand interpretations :-)
Wondering why the leaves in the picture are blue as opposed to being green or in some fall color? Well, that’s why it’s an abstract ;-)

written by Vidhya

Mar 23

krishna glass painting

This is officially my first glass painting as the previous one was just a trial on a jam bottle .The chosen theme again is the divine Krishna. Whenever I think of painting something new the only one that appears in my mind is “Krishna” maybe because I can choose to play with all the primary and secondary colors. Not all Gods give you the liberty to paint them so colorfully without their originality being lost :-)

Well, glass painting was not so easy as I thought. I haven’t learnt any of these painting techniques and just get to learn them on a trial and error basis. Here are some tips to get started

- On a piece of white paper (equal to the size of your glass) draw/make print of the painting U would like to do. This will act as a template
- Place the print below the glass and tape them together so that it doesn’t move.
- With the help of a glass liner make an outline of the entire image.
- Once the outline is done let the image dry for 2-3 hrs. Note: Do not be in a hurry to fill colors without the liner being dry.
- Fill in colours and try to avoid air bubbles.
- Allow the picture to dry for 24 hrs.
- Frame it!

There are different framing techniques for a glass painting. Some of them advise to keep a sheet of crumbled aluminium foil at the back so that the painting gets a shine. But then I didn’t want that shine for my picture and so resorted to a double glass framing with a white sheet background.. This also gave me the benefit of keeping my painting dust free.

written by Vidhya

Mar 14

wood_waste_work

A simple one hour twist and curl best-out-of-waste project! There was some wood work going on in our house and our carpenter was kind enough to litter the house with wood waste. Rather than just throw them away, I decided to use their natural curves in an artwork. The hair in the pic is done with just these golden wood shavings :-)

A closer look ….
wood_waste_work2

written by Vidhya

Mar 11

Warli Art from Maharashtra
Warli painting is a tribal art-form from Maharashtra. The paintings usually depict scenes from daily life. The important aspect of these paintings is that the themes are never mythological and the figures are devoid of colours.
I had not tried my hand at warli-style painting until now. To start with, I thought of making something very simple like the warli procession. You might see a bit of color in this design as I like to add color to anything & everything in life. In this artwork, I have tried to make both ends meet – the East & the West. The frame that has been used for the painting is a typical north east handicraft , a coaster by itself. Usually, I do not miss any of the handicraft exhibitions that come up in the city and I make it a point to buy simple, yet nice and not so expensive stuff for my collection. This coaster was bought in one such expo and now I have totally changed its purpose, to hold my painting. I am sure that the coaster would be very delighted to hold some cool painting rather than a cup of hot tea :-)

written by Vidhya

Mar 04

jute bag painting

Jute bags are in fashion nowadays as they are eco-friendly, reusable, durable and of course elegant too. I have been sporting some for few years now. Recently, I had bought plain jute bags with the idea that I would make some nice embroidery designs on them but ended up painting my daughter’s and niece’s name. I am pretty sure that Akshara and Laya would grow up and love shopping the way I do and these bags will come in very handy then :-)

jute bag painting

Just like Newton’s third law “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, Akshara has to come up with something similar to whatever craft I do. Before I start with my work I need to equip her with all the raw materials, else my projects would seldom survive. I post some of her work on my blog and some I don’t, for obvious reasons. Here is what she had painted on a canvas bag. Its a little incomplete owing to her level of patience :-)

jute bag painting

written by Vidhya

Mar 01

pasta_flower

The onset of Spring just makes it perfect to indulge in flower art. If you ask Akshara as to what her favourite food is,her spontaneous reaction would be, Pasta! If the same pasta with some added colours were to be used in a craft activity ,that’s enough to keep her smiling the whole day :-) I wanted to exhaust some old stock of pasta and food colours. This activity provided the right opportunity. Just started off with the idea of some flowers and leaves and Akshara did a good job of sticking them together.

To add on to the fun, we also made some colorful pasta necklaces that Akshara and I could flaunt ;-)

pasta_necklace

pasta_necklace

written by Vidhya