Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watermelon themed breakfast table

Weekends are meant for enjoying and relaxing. To make them even more interesting and extra special, I have come up with an idea to have a special themed (healthy)breakfast. Last three weekends I have managed to do so and am hoping to make it a tradition. 

So last weekend we had a watermelon themed breakfast. The summer sun is finally on its way out- and before it is still warm I thought of doing a watermelon themed 'party'. It was on my mind all the summer and it finally materialized. Watermelon is a perfect fruit to cool of on a hot summer day and it is good to cleanse the body as well. It is said to be a good for diet and to detox the body. With all these good things about it - I thought its perfect for a healthy breakfast:)

I started the preparation a few days before with my 2 year old. We made the banner and other party accessories. The watermelon bunting is very easy to make. All you need is colored paper,pen, glue, scissor and string. I cut the shapes from the colored paper and with my son glued it together. I drew the seeds with a pen. We glued the string at the back. 

We made 3 semi circle watermelon slices - big, medium, small- for Daddy, Mommy and baby toddler.. its hard to believe he is not a baby anymore. 
Sunny boy pretended to eat the slices with lots of oohs and aahs!!
The same way we made smaller triangles and circle shaped watermelon slices. I glued these to picks to make little flags.

I cut the watermelon half and scooped it all out. Luckily I had a bowl which fitted perfectly inside the watermelon. It was filled with watermelon juice. I decorated the border with melon scoops with toothpicks. The other food included watermelon on ice cream sticks, melon balls, Oatmeal with strawberry and melon pieces. I wish I had cupcakes as well.

 The breakfast turned into brunch- too much finish so much watermelon in one meal:)

Joining the party at BNOP, Artsy corner !

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Indian festivals and decorations

Its that time of the year when everyone starts preparing for a long line of festivals!!!

At my place last weekend we celebrated  Ganesh chaturthi- festival of Ganesha. 
Me and my son were busy making decorations for the festival a few days in advance. 
In our daily creative activities with my 2 year old we made garlands , buntings, painting of Ganesha and such which creates the atmosphere of excitement, anticipation and frolic!! My childhood memories of any festival are associated with these three factors. I want my son to have all these memories even though outside our house it does not feel like a festival like it feels in India!!

Here the weather is getting milder and flowers are spouting everywhere in the garden. In Indian decorations , flowers play an important role. Avaneesh and I plucked and gathered flowers from the plants. I made a garland of the flowers. 

You can see a glimpse of the paper marigold and mango leaf garland my son had made.( in the pic below) I will share the tutorial soon.

These are Modak- sweet dumplings I made. I make these with ricotta cheese. Stir sugar, saffron, cinnamon and some milk together with the cheese on heat till the mixture gets a thick consistency. It might take 25-30 minutes. Let it cool and then give it the modak shape. For offering to Ganesha they have to made either  11 or 21. 

Some roses in my Moroccan glasses - fit well in the Indian theme!!

I did this floral arrangement  for the occasion. I made in a copper vessel  to give it an Indian touch. 

Its hard to find flowers like marigold and others which are traditionally used in Indian festivals.So I think using Indian style vase/ vessel made of copper or silver 
can add that "Indian" touch !!

Downstairs I decorated the side table with my 2 year old 's Ganesha painting. Most friends tell me he is a gifted artist but I am still not convinced. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sun dried raisins DIY

Last year as summer project to beat the summer hear I made Gulkand .. Gulkhand is rose petal jam and you can find the recipe here! This year I thought of making raisins !!

It so happened that Avaneesh likes to eat raisins and one day he asked where does it come from? I said" It is dried grape which is made by drying it in the sun. Anyone make it . You only need really hot sunlight."  To which he replied then lets make it!! 
I thought what a  brilliant idea!! Lets try doing it.

Sun dried raisins are easy to make. All you need is grapes and a place where you get direct sunlight. Hot and dry weather is the best. You can leave it out day and night if the weather doesnot have any moisture in the morning. In that case bring it inside at night. 

Start by washing the grapes. Dry them on a tissue paper. Keep them in a sieve in a place where you can direct sunlight for most part of the day. 
Check the grapes everyday. Shake them a bit everyday to dry them evenly from all sides. Grapes first get darker and wrinkled. Over the days they became smaller and dried. After a week they are completely dried. The drying time also depends on how hot the weather is. 

They taste awesome and my sunny boy loves it!! 

Linking to Niftytrify sunday, Inspirational Monday, Motivate me Monday, Munching Monday, Sunday Showcase, Busy Monday, Mix it up, BNOP, Country Cottage, Artsy Corner!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Festive floral arrangements

I looking for some inspiration for a floral design I am working on. As usual I went to Pinterest and guess what I found some of my own floral arrangements pinned by others as floral arrangement ideas and inspiration!! So I thought I should share with you all some of the many festive flower decoration for festive occasion or a party!! I like these the best!!These  are the ones which I would like recreate !! 

This was done in the beginning of summer in Zurich. I used recycled mason jars in a row 

and tied to thick ribbon around all of them together. I got these from a 
Farmers Market on Tuesday and Friday at Bürkliplatz. There are many farmers markets around Zurich, Switzerland but this one was closest to my house and work. We could find fresh vegetables, cheese, fish and baked goods as well.

This one done in Singapore during Diwali. I was pregnant then and felt most creative ever. I carved a watermelon and put a candle in it. The Festive floral centerpiece had candles, diyas, flowers floating as well in a vase along with watermelon. Singapore has lovely flowers market on Upper Thompson Road. This flower market consists of many shops selling huge selection of cut flowers from all over the world. Plants and potted trees, vases and garden decoration accessories. 

This is how the watermelon looked at night. Earlier I had carved a watermelon in a peacock and ship. I have not carved a watermelon after this one .. Maybe time to do it again!!

This one I did in Singapore as well when I was carrying my sunny boy. I went to the flower market almost every weekend and bought so many flowers. There was a shop in the flower market in Singapore which exclusively sold foliage..beautiful,big ,small, wide, narrow leaves.. never seen and heard of such a shop ever... I loved going there to pick up leaves and to just look at extraordinary variety of leaves !! 

This one also while I was in Singapore. I did a course in floral arrangement while I was there. This one I had made in the class. When I was doing this course , our house had floral arrangement in almost all rooms:)

This was a festive Indian decoration done in Hong Kong. Hongkong has a large flower market- Mongkok Flower Market on the Kawloon island.  It has a long road with stalls and shops brimming with fresh cut flowers and exotic plants. The fragrance and color of the blooms was truly a treat to the senses. It was far away from my place- on another island - but I would drag my husband we would go there almost every next weekend!! 

 These are India themed floral decorations - festive flower arrangements done in a copper vessel and individual ones in clay diyas. These flowers look just like soft pompoms or cotton balls ..don't they:)

The above one is done this year in Dubai. Dubai being a desert does not have any flower market..Sigh:( It has one big garden shop which sells a variety of plants. In Dubai one can buy a limited variety of cut flowers at grocery shops at a reasonable price. 

I miss all the flower markets I have mentioned above especially on a festive occasion. 
I will share with you what come up with the lilies and gerberas I got just now!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thomas and friends crafts- Thomas with recycled box- DIY tutorial

My son Avanesh's ongoing phase is of Thomas and his friends like most 
of the 2 year olds. Hence we are doing lots of Thomas and friends related craft and art projects. I have shared one already you can see it here.This one is a part of the series.In our afternoon creative activity we made a model of Thomas using recycled  cardboard boxes and paper. 

This is how we made it. 
You will need empty boxes - one long and wide, one half its size and one very small 
Blue, black , red  card stock
Felt to make the funnel
Thomas's face 
pens, scissors ,glue

First we hunted  around the  house for  empty boxes which will fit perfectly. With the exact construction plan in my mind I arranged  the boxes accordingly to show how we are going to make it. I highly recommend talking to your child about how, why and what to do to construct something. This way the kids can develop curiosity, analysis and creativity.  I involve Avaneesh in everything- cooking, painting,  decor projects - everything creative.

I  cut the paper telling him to remember which part it belongs to. We got to work to glue everything together. Avaneesh helped me glue. We covered the blue paper to the big box. Then the small perfume box to bottom so that the wheels won't bend and it still looks/feels as if it is  running on wheels. 

After gluing the wheels it was hard to keep him away from the model. I  somehow managed to glue the funnel and face to the train. He made a siren from the old glue stick part. I drew the patterns of Thomas on the model train. Some cotton went in the funnel to 'create' smoke. 

Joining Calling all crafters, DIY ers ,Too cute, Crafty Mom share !!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gift wraps and packaging

Wrapping gifts is one of most happiest activity during festive holidays or birthdays. It gives me immense joy thinking how the person receiving will feel when he/ she opens it with anticipation. Like me I am sure many people love the feeling of opening the wrapping and packaging to peek/ know what's inside. The gift doesn't matter the feeling behind it matters. If the gift is hand wrapped with lot of consideration to design and decoration it makes the gift so special. I seldom of keep the gift wrapping- whether is the lovely wrapping paper, pretty box or the gift topper . I keep them nicely folded in a big paper bag where I collect all of them. Some I have for years. I have forgotten what gift was inside but I love to reminisce  the sentiment with which it was specially sought and gift wrapped ( keeping in mind what would like )

I am always on lookout for easy but stunning ideas for adding the extra zing to the gift wraps. I found these gorgeous flowers which can be made at home in few minutes. 

Lia Griffith has beautiful detailed tutorial about how to make flowers which you can use for gift wrapping or for making a wreath or any DIY project you can come up with. The tutorial for the beautiful long stemmed paper rose with metallic paper can be found here. 

Another stunner from the immensely talented lady. These flowers are made of tissue paper. Its hard to believe , isn't it? The simple pain tissue paper that we use and throw without bothering to look at it can become something so beautiful!! You can find the tutorial here !! 

The lovely Lia Griffith has tutorials for many more flowers and that's not all she has craft tutorials, creative inspirations and free printables for holidays, kids, parties , decor and weddings. You will find food recipes as well !!!

All the image are from Lia Griffith. Subject to copyright. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

India themed table decor for summer

It was India's independence day last Friday. So I thought we should celebrate. When one lives outside his own country it becomes all the more necessary to teach children about their homeland.  I did a tri-colored tablescape for breakfast. The color theme was - Saffron, white and green which are the colors of the flag along with  Ashoka Chakra in center.

 We collected the flowers from our walk. Luckily there were flowers in the park fallen from the trees that match the theme perfectly. I believe no tablescape is complete without flowers.Flowers are the cheapest, simplest and easiest way to freshen up any table decor. I floated them in a handmade Turkish bowl. 

I was looking for natural , healthier and lighter choices for the food. 
For saffron/orange I had the choice of oranges / mandarin or Cantaloupe. I choose Cantaloupe. I love to make scoops of it. 
For green, there is grapes or kiwi. I choose grapes. For white I thought of using either marshmallow or banana. I went for bananas- much healthier and natural I thought. 
For the Chakra I used lemon slices. 
I put the fruit on skewers and made fruit salad. 

For the juice I made orange juice, lemon juice and Kush sherbet.
 Khus sherbet is sugar syrup made by using extract of Khus or Vetiver Grass is a well known Ayurvedic cooler.

My 2 year old loves baking. A day before we had made cupcakes. We had made the flags the few days back. I showed him how the flag looks like and then gave him stripes of paper to glue in that sequence.He then glued them to dowels.  I drew the wheel in the center. The bunting of tri color we had made earlier. I cut the shapes and sunny boy glued it to the ribbon. Incorporating my little boy in decoration/craft projects makes it really fun.  

I did this before sunny boy got up. He was so surprised and happy to see the display. He enjoyed eating and playing with the flags. Seeing him so excited and happy made it all worth it.

Joining party at BNOP, Home Sweet Home, Home and Garden !!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wat Pho- Temple of the reclining buddha

We had been to Bangkok last year sometime when Avaneesh was 1 year old. Compared to now it was quite easy to go any place which is not kid friendly or has nothing to do with kids. Now we have to think and research if there is anything for kids before we go anywhere. Although I must admit he loves to see beautiful places and things. 

Coming back to the topic we went to the beautiful Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok. It features the largest single Buddha - the famous reclining Buddha - measuring more than 160 feet in length. 

The image of the reclining Buddha is made of stuccoed bricks and gilded with gold leaves. It is 46 meters long, 15 meters high at the head end and 3 meters at the feet end. The The 3 m high and 4.5 m long feet of Buddha's sole (in the last pic below) are inlaid with mother of pearl. They are crafted with 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha in Thai- Chinese art style.

The gorgeous wall mural is made with gold and ink in the Hall of the Reclining Buddha in the temple. The great wall mural is composed of a coordinated series of paintings illustrating the life stories.

       The intricate mural are some 200 year old and are made all through the top on a 100 feet tall wall. The doors and ceiling look stunning with beautiful patterns made in combination of either black & gold or red & gold.

Some features I attracted to and saw everywhere in the Wat Pho were beautiful metal bells, stone statues,Chinese guards, Foo dogs,  ballasts from ancient trading ships from China, Miniature gardens to name a few.

The roof and entrances are heavily decorated with carved images with multiple tiers.  Ornamented multiple tiers style of roof is reserved for roofs on temples, palaces and important public buildings. Two or three tiers are often used, but some royal temples have four.  Dynamic visual rhythms is created by layers of roof - smallest at top , larger in the middle and the largest at the bottom.

In the inner large ground of the temple were images of 1000 Buddha  from different temples which were ruined.We ventured in other parts of Vihara-  Chedis of four kings, Thai Massage school, Ordination Hall, Pang Nak Prok and some more.  

It was hot and humid on that day. We were exhausted by the end of visit. We had kept one day of our trip to the city to view only temples. There are around 400 Wats in Bangkok. We saw only a few. This was one of them. 
 Wat Pho was on our ' must visit' for long time. 

Joining Travel Tuesday!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thomas and friends paper craft

This is project one of the Thomas & friends DIY  craft/ games for & by kids. We had bought a Thomas and friends magazine from London. I haven't seen them here. 
So since 'Thomas mania' is ON in our house I thought of making a puzzle with the magazine cover. 

I cut a cardboard in the size of the magazine cover. Then I asked Avaneesh to spread glue on the back of the cover and on the cardboard.  I pressed them together. With a xacto knife I cut it in squares.

Avaneesh likes puzzles. So it is big hit with him since it has both Thomas & friends plus a puzzle. 

Paper puzzles are easy and cheap to make. All you need is picture/s of your child's favorite character , cardboard( I recycled one from some packaging),  glue and sharp scissor or xacto knife.
You can also use carton of child's favorite cereal/ food or photos to make a puzzle. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pencil sketch

When I saw a photo of this Rajasthani old man , there was something intriguing about him. His eyes, his wrinkles, his turban or his mustache.. Something which compelled to draw his sketch that very moment. I haven't sketch much recently so I just had to challenge myself to sketch him. I was surprised at the result- it felt like ' wow! I can still sketch well. I thought I had completely lost touch'. 

I am happy I challenged myself to do this. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tibetan treasure

Traveling to Tibet has been a long cherished dream for me. Mysterious land with abundant natural beauty, tradition and culture. I am fascinated by the local Tibetan lifestyle- their traditional clothing, wooden houses with beautiful intricate Buddhist carvings, hand painted furniture , unique clothing and costumes. 

Till the time I actually visit the place I am managing my urge to travel by collecting antics from Tibet. This is one of my beloved item from that region. I saw this neglected in a dusty dark corner hiding underneath a small carpet in an antics shop. I loved it instantly. I did a bit of check for authenticity and it was mine for only $20.

The shopkeeper didn't know much about it except that it is scripture storage box from Tibet. It was used a box for storage of the pages of a Tibetan Buddhist Sutra, or other complete text. Inside the box are beautiful Tibetan symbols- auspicious symbol of Lotus flower and tiger. The symbols are made in Buddhist line art.   

Some of these boxes are painted directly on the raw wood while few are covered with leather and some like the one I have is covered with cloth before being painted .Gesso was used to produce raised decorations. Brass corners and iron ring hinges on the sides and top were done as a decorative element. 

It sits happily on my old chess board as a centerpiece on the table. I create wooden vignettes since I have a toddler at home. Its quite practical as it wont break or hurt him if it is picked or fell down from his hands. 

Joining the party at BNOP, Inspire Me tues !!

Monday, August 11, 2014

laughter therapy - Illustration with watercolors and ink

I did this illustration of the smile or laughter technique since I see so many grumpy faces around:)

I have met/seen many moms who are so stressed out by their daily life or work. They frown and yell at their kids even toddlers. I know toddlers in their terrible two mode can be too much to handle for some. But then if children will not be naughty, throw things around, run around like whirlwind or typhoon who will. I get stressed too and when I do I just fake a smile not letting him know that I am stressed. I think a Mom should always be happy around her kids so that they would learn to be happy, jolly, less stressed. After all parents are their role models. 

We all fake smiles, don't we at work or while meeting some friend or stranger. So why not in this situation.. why burden their growing minds with stress. When you start smiling that itself starts easing the stress, making you feel better and better. This idea is also used in laughter clubs which were originated in Japan and later spread all around. I never laugh heartily alone( that's crazy) but a giggle or chuckle also helps..Just smile and just expand it till you relaxed. There are other benefits too!!

For more fun ideas to keep laughing read this wikihow articles: Laugh

So keep smiling and be happy!!

Joing party at PPT and IF!