Thursday, September 15, 2016

Welcoming Ganesha

Lord Ganesha is most sought after and worshiped deities in India. He is always been my favorite in real life as well as in my drawings. We celebrate this festival for the sake of celebrating, to keep our traditions alive. I am not doing a very good job of following it, but I want my children to be aware of it, just as I have beautiful memories of Chaturthi. My day never ends without praying the Lord. Of the very few festivals that we celebrate, we try to celebrate this in a traditional way, be it offering Ganesha's favorite sweets, Garike grass or singing Ganesh Bhajan/Shlokas. In the evening it's a visit to a temple, followed by visits to  houses where idols are kept. Most of our neighbors, friends keep Ganesha idols at home, it's also to judge whose idol is best.

In art world Ganesha is the most flexible subject. The elephant head makes him unique and instantly identify the subject. There are thousands of ways of drawing this God. I have tried to incorporate the spirit of the festival into the paper. These are my humble attempts and the originals are more beautiful. Hope Lord Ganesha blesses me to be do more, strive more and achieve what I want, more than anything else find the satisfaction in my work.

First one was done with acrylic colors, and later filling the background with black gel pen.


This Madhubani style Ganesha is found it in my Pinterest board. I experimented with outline this time. Usually I use black marker pens for the outlining, this time I used size 000 brush. I wasn't consistent with the thickness of lines and so you can see. I have used acrylic on handmade paper.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Vividh Bharathi : My all time companion

I am growing old listening to Radio more than watching T.V.  Television was a fad at the time in India while I was growing up and owning a T.V wasn't easy where as Radio reigned in most of the middle class families.
Radio always bring the nostalgic moments of my childhood. My love for radio started when I was in 1st grade, that time it was the only way to keep ourselves updated with current affairs other than newspapers and magazines. How I used to love listening to film songs on radio after lunch break in the afternoons. It was broken few years here and there due to job, studying but it's still one of my favorite activity. No, I don't spend time sitting in front of it but entertains me by playing in the background all the time. For me, be it Sakhi Saheli, Jayamala or Hit Superhit, if it's playing radio it has to be Vividh Bharthi channel.
Vividh Bharthi because it still plays decades old songs, less nonsense,less talking, literally no commercials. The programs are informative, entertaining and soothing to your mind.

Vividh Bharathi

Remember Jayamala program played for the soldiers on fronts?You get to listen tips, thoughts, recipes for many women on Sakhi Saheli programs in the afternoon along with melodious songs.
While Aaj ke Fankar is about any personalities from Indian Film Industry, Man Chahe Geet in the afternoons is for requesting songs. I am swept away when sometimes my favorite Kishore Da song is played and as a result I hum along.

Many time my kids felt overwhelmed when my requested song was played announcing my name. 😁 I know it's silly but they find it great.

Understanding my affinity for radio my husband bought a small portable/ plug gable radio for me from his visit abroad and it's become an enviable among my relatives. We do sometimes have heated argument when my husband changes the channel by rotating the delicate knob. I do remind him of my ownership.

So my readers, do you listen too to Vivid Bharathi like me? Or you find it out of date?

Friday, August 12, 2016

DIY : Paper rolled pens

The other day my gel pen got over while doodling something and I was in urgent need of the black gel pen.The nearest store fellow tried to sell me couple of new branded pens as he did not stock pen refills. I inquired in few other ordinary shops and to my surprise none of them had refills. When the cost of refill and the pen are almost the same, people would more likely to buy new pens rather than buying a refill. Ever thought what would happen to your old pen? You would either hoard it, throw it or if you are eco conscious and old fashioned like me, you would put a new refill. I have seen many people around me buying new pens on a whim. Finally I got my pen refill at a stationary shop.
I remembered seeing these paper pens in few craft stalls that I frequented in the past. I decided to make these pens at home, try and use it myself. These are cute and you don't have to feel guilty when the ink is over.

Paper pens
Things you need.
Pen refill, Paper. The thickness of the pen depends on the thickness of paper. If you are using newspaper strip, you need a long one as they are thin. I used the paper bag's paper which was slightly thick.
Glue, scissors, ruler, pencil/sketch pens.

Cut out a rectangular shaped paper whose height is that of the pen refill(width is approximately 30 cm).

Draw a slanting line from the top left corner, to the right side like shown below. This is for tapering of the pen, to get cone shaped tip for the pen. Cut the paper along the line.

Lay the pen on the left edge and firmly glue the refill onto the paper initially. This step is the only tricky step and if you do it correctly then your rolling would come out perfect.

Start rolling and apply glue at the end of the roll.

To make the cap, take a rectangular strip(height less than half length of the pen, width less than half of what you had taken for the pen).

The diameter of the cap is slightly more than the pen. Take the pen and start rolling the strip to the other end of the pen. Do not roll tightly and you should be able to remove the pen in the end.

Apply glue to one end of the rolled cap and press it hard to close it. Let it dry.

My pen was simple but you could finish it with a strip of nice gift wrapping paper to make it attractive.

Please note that this may not be appropriate for students who have heavy writing work but more suitable for casual use.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Travellogue : Trip to Nathula Pass

The trip to Sikkim is incomplete without visiting the Nathula Pass on the Indo- Tibetian border in East Sikkim. We visited in the first week of April 2015, the time where we get to enjoy snow and pleasant weather( so this post is there in my drafts folder for over an year, -:))
Nathula Pass is located about 14,000 ft above sea level and come rain, sun,snow or avalanche, its guarded by the brave soldiers of Indian Army.

Permission to visit Nathula Pass
The road to Nathula is only open during specific times of the year and you need special permission to visit this and Tsomgo lake(which on the Nathula-Gangtok road) from the Indian Army. The permissions are available in the Tourist Office in M.G. Marg, Gangtok and visiting time for Nathula are strictly  limited,you have to return to Gangtok before 3-30 PM the same day.
Our permits Nathula were organized by Sonam Delek, where we stayed during our trip and the charges were included in the fare. We were lucky to get this permission as the heavy downpour previous days had made the road less traversable. We were highly impressed by Sonam Delek to go that extra mile for not only arranging us the permission but also providing us an excellent taxi driver.
For the permission you need the passport size photo and Id proof. This was informed earlier to us so we had taken along with us while leaving for Gangtok. I don't remember the exact charge but it was around 5000 Indian Rupees for one vehicle.

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Since we got the permission late in the morning our journey to Nathula from Gangtok started a bit late and we were in a great hurry to return back too. On the way to Nathula, you will encounter beautiful, small waterfalls, do stop by while returning from Nathula Pass.
En route to Nathula is breathtaking and at the same time scary one. The time we went the roads were not in good shape. On one side it's misty deep valley and other side it's snow clad mountains with boulders and stones. Thanks to Indian Army for maintaining them all year around.

Changu Market
In case you are not prepared and do not have warm clothes for the shivering weather,  you can rent them at the small shops near Changu Lake(Tsomgo lake). There are many shops to rent jackets, snow boots, gloves. Take care to try it out thoroughly before renting. We were in a hurry and the jacket we got for my younger son didn't have buttons so he wasn't covered properly. That was a concern in the whole trip and he was freezing when he was outside the jeep. Besides renting the jacket and snow boots we purchased gloves for memory sake.

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Silk Route
While on the way to Nathula Pass you can see the Silk Route which really exists!!!. This is one such route which connects Tibet with India where trading of Tea, Chinese silk, Indian Jewelry are done. It was closed due to hostility between China and India, it was reopened after 44 years in 2006. While our visiting the trading hadn't started. We also passed through the Sherathang village which is inhibited by the army officers, security, customs officers and we were ecstatic to see State Bank of India branch serving the people at such heights.
Once we reach on the top, in Nathula, we have to park the vehicle outside in designated parking and walk onto the top where actual border is seen. It is tedious and you may fall sick due to lack of oxygen. The sun was shining and to see the border of India we didn't mind the height nor the discomfort. The Indian soldiers guarding here insists on not to click  any photos. Our tryst with Nathula was worth as we got to salute and shake warm hands of Indian soldiers and the Chinese on the other side of the fence. In the end it was so cold, we wanted to go to loo badly but off course there were none there. There is a small café 14K at those heights,frozen after few minutes in cold outside we thawed inside having memorable hot soup.

Descending from Nathula Pass, we visited the Tsogmo lake nestled among the snowy mountains . It was so spectacular sight and beautiful beyond words. The water in the lake is due to the melting of the snow in the surrounding mountains. Here you can take yak rides around the lake or simply click photos sitting on brightly adorned yaks. We did the latter one.

There are plenty of places where you can park the vehicle besides the road and play in the snow.After a while when chilly winds hit you, you respect the soldiers again for bearing such cold to guard the country. The cold outside was making my younger son fussy and we just walked few steps in the snow and returned back to the Jeep.
Sikkim, Nathula Pass

On the way back we stopped briefly at New Baba Mandir in the memory of the soldier Harbhajan Singh. There are many stories and legends about him protecting the Indian Army. You can click beautiful pictures of serene Himalayas here in the background.

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Sikkim, Nathula Pass

Every trip is incomplete without the souvenir. Do not forget to shop at the souvenir shop run by army near New Baba Mandir where I felt the prices were reasonable. It is bit crowded but definitely they will tend to your needs.

If you still have time you might give a visit the original Baba Mandir but we gave it a skip(The taxi driver mentioned about this but due to time limit we could not visit this place)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Styling your Coffee Table

If there is one thing I love to do most with my home then it is decorating my coffee table.
Coffee table is an focal point that is looked upon as soon as someone enters your living room.  There are n number of ways to experiment with it looks and here are few of my favorites approaches.

Creating a vignette
The main idea of creating vignette is to create a mood with the still life objects and color co-coordinating these objects. Its simple, take a large tray and arrange few things of your likes like Buddha, vase, sea shells, boxes, jewelry, green plant, planters, candles etc.,  in it. Coffee table and the vignettes tell you about your tastes, likes and gives the personal touch to the living room. I keep changing these vignettes, some times its all brass wares, vase with fresh flowers, idols or sometimes just some shells and flowers in the pickle jars. I personally like to go for the natural trays like bamboo, or the grass,rattan trays that we get in the craft and handicrafts exhibitions in India.

Source :Pinterest

Coffee table book
Coffee table is incomplete without the books and you should display books if you have a large table. Many large, heavy books are available exclusively to be displayed on the coffee table. This could show your interests in the books and become a conversational topic among your guests. I sometimes put magazines on the table.
Source :Pinterest

Table runner
Deck up your table with an elegant table runner that matches the overall décor of the room. Remember it should go well with your sofa upholstery and the color of your walls. There are so many options available both online as well as many home decor shops offline. Fun part is that you can keep changing them according to your vignette and have throws/cushions to match them. If you like to stitch and embroider, put up your hand embroidered, or an applique work on display.

Flower Vases/Small planters
Choose a flower vase depending on the size of the room and the table. Fresh flowers are always welcoming but in case you are short of time to buy fresh flowers, choose artificial ones with best imitation. A short or a flat flower vase if you are keeping with other things.If you have green thumb then choose some succulent in attractive planters.

Source :Pinterest

Here are two ways in which I have styled my coffee table.

My Coffee Table

Having said all the above things do not clutter your table. Keep it simple and well arranged.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Small tour of my garden

When it comes to garden I am very much greedy. I want to grow every possible plant in the small space that we have. But its difficult due to reasons like --
We visit our native with family at least thrice a year days ranging from four days to two weeks. In our absence taking care of plants is done by a helper for whom I am always grateful. When we return, we find some plants would have died unknowingly.

In spite of this I have kept few pots in the balcony and around the house, before going out of station, I have bring down all pots from balcony, pots kept indoors for watering in our absence.

My garden is looking neat now, the secret is that we laid new grass. It not only adds green color but gives a sense of completeness. I am not sure how long would this picture lasts as soon, we face the termite problem.

Thanks to the Facebook group 'Organic Terrace Gardening' I have decided to take gardening seriously. I have been procrastinating the vegetable gardening all this while because of
* Monkey,rat menace
* Requires daily care and maintenance, pest controlling.
But there are so many people around us who have made a point to grow their own veggies. If it's possible for them, it should be possible for me too, moreover I have more time now than earlier.

I have grown few veggies outside my home. I just started with fenugreek seeds it was going well. But yesterday morning when I see it is attacked by the rat.

The star of my garden is the White Butterfly Ginger Lily. You can smell it even from inside the house. I bought this tuber from my mothers place and always remind me of the rainy childhood days where  these flowers used to adorn our hair.

white butterfly ginger lily

The rain has made few new buds to come up in Red Ixora plant

Red Ixora

I love Milkweed plant, as the name suggests its mostly grows like a weed bearing most vibrant flowers. I often cut them and put it into small vases.

My Purple Heart plant is growing in hanging pot.

Purple Heart

There were/are lots of  Pomegranate flowers, small fruits but we didn't get any fruits to eat this year, everything went to the monkeys. 


Hope you have enjoyed my mini garden tour. Coming up next is the coffee table decor. Have a nice day folks!!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quick Coasters

I seem to be doing a lot of recycle related posts nowadays. I promise, this would be last for this month. You must have seen my garden some time back which was a total wreck due to renovation and painting of our home. The good news is that the me and my husband have managed to resurrect it back. Yes, the plants seem to be forgiving and they have decided to cheer back. I would be soon sharing my garden.

Coming to my post, this is about making coasters out of your old CD's. In the age of pen drives, mobiles the CD's are almost obsolete. My son's few text book publications have have attached CD's along with them. I didn't know what to with them other than throwing them once the year passed by. I had this fabric which I loved and bought it cheap to wrap the boxes. I utilized the left over cloth for the CD's. The project is very very easy and hardly takes time provided you know the basics of stitching.
Things you need.
CD's, Cloth, Glue, matching thread, needle, scissor, something to trace the CD

With the CD trace the outline of the CD. Leave 2 cm more.

Cut the fabric.

Apply glue on both sides of the CD and lay down the fabric on both the sides of the CD. Let it dry. Take care to remove any creases.

Using the matching thread, stitch the rim of the fabric, I chose the simple blanket stitch and dark blue color,three strands.
Trim any extra threads.
Do not worry if its not perfect and enjoy your tea/coffee!!!!

Linking this to Craft Schooling Sunday of 2nd July by CreativeJewishMom