Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My experiments with the camera!

This is what I see as I step out on my balcony.I have been observing the's dramatic how the scene changes every now and then!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bus Ride

Something told me that the bus had stopped. Maybe the absence of the constant groaning of the wheels on the bad road woke me up from my slumber. I sat up on the berth, perched high above the seats below (it was a sleeper bus). Drawing the curtains apart, I peered sleepily outside the window. It was a busy scene, but cosy in a certain way.

There was another bus, a car and a lorry parked on the road. Sleepy passengers got out of the bus to stretch. Women looked around, worried if they will find a public toilet on the dark road. No such luck. A walk towards a darker stretch of the road seemed a practical solution.

There was a makeshift hotel on the right. It was buzzing with activity. The man who stood in front of the hot stove was busy. He made neer dosas (rice crépes) on two griddles simultaneously with the knack of an expert. He quickly poured a ladleful of thin white batter on to the griddle and covered it with a lid. With another quick movement, he dished out the dosa from the other griddle and slid it into a hungry driver’s plate. The dosas were devoured as quickly as he made them. Sometimes his rhythmic activity was interrupted when he poured green coconut chutney when someone asked for it or when he collected the money and gave back some coins.

The driver of the car stood outside, a stocky man with tousled hair. He smoked a cigarette while he casually scanned the road. He was temporarily disturbed when a huge bus loomed in front of the car, as though not willing to stop. After a few shouts and exchange of words, he moved the car and the bus adjusted itself into a comfortable position.

A thin, young man held some woolen caps and tried to persuade people to buy them. ‘Toppi, toppi’ (cap, cap) he cried hoping someone would buy them on the chilly night.

There were some people in the other bus who also looked out of their window curiously while some slept peacefully.

The driver of our bus got in and slammed the door. A loud horn called the passengers back to their seats. People hurried back to the bus and it started to move slowly. I took one last look outside as the scene slowly moved out of my sight and I went back to sleep.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cute with jute!

I love fresh flowers at home, but did not want a formal glass vase for them. I wanted something else, something that did not look perfectly manufactured but endearingly handmade. An idea struck and I was happy with the result!

You need:
  • a used glass juice bottle
  • jute twine
  • craft glue
  • varnish
  1. Clean the bottle thoroughly with hot water and remove the paper sticker (if any)
  2. Starting at the bottom, apply a thick layer of craft/PVA glue to a small portion, going around the bottle.
  3. Work quickly before the glue dries and stick the jute twine around the bottle.
  4. Continue till you cover the entire bottle.
  5. Make sure that the bottle is completely covered with twine and that there are no gaps. So, wind the twine closely around the bottle.
  6. Finish with a layer of varnish.
You could embellish your vase with pebbles, but I liked it simple. And with a bunch of colourful flowers, doesn't it look adorable?

A shell in my bathroom!

I wanted to do something to add colour and character to my bathroom. I came up with this project. It's very simple to make, but adds a certain charm to my plain white tiled wall.

You need:

  • ready-to-use artist's canvas (I bought mine at a dollar store)

  • crayons in shades of blue and green (for the 'aqua' effect)

  • a sea shell (available at craft stores or dollar stores in a bag)

  • glass droplets/bubbles (also available at dollar stores)

  • strong glue
  1. With the crayons, colour the canvas in shades of green and blue, in several layers.

  2. When you're happy with the background, stick the shell firmly in the centre.

  3. Finish by gluing on the glass droplets as a border.

You can make several of these with a different shell in each and hang them on your bathroom wall.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Trapped in a cocoon...

Sitting on a bench at the train station, I watched people as I sipped bittersweet coffee. It was a nippy Monday morning. The start to another long week ahead. The thought made me uneasy. I tried hard to soothe my unsettling thoughts with hot gulps of coffee, but it somehow did not help. I had no plans, nothing important to tend to. I just sat and watched life go by, almost in a trancelike state. Just as I began to feel numb with boredom and despair, the guard blew the whistle and the shrill noise jolted me back to the dismal reality I was in. People got in and out of crowded trains, looking busy and focused. It was as if they all had something important to do. Even the old Chinese woman with a big shopping bag had a purpose. She was probably going to the market to buy fresh fish and noodles. I could go to the market too. There was so much I could do all day. But I felt like I was trapped in a cocoon, unable to find my way out. I felt suffocated inside and longed for a gasp of fresh, new air. But it was almost like someone was forcing me to stay inside the claustrophobic shell. How I longed to stretch my limbs and smell the crisp air outside. But I could not. Several times in a day I wondered why, but did not seem to find an answer. This morning, however, I had made some progress. I had stepped out of my apartment. And as I sat watching people around me, I saw a flicker of hope. The crisp morning air tingled my senses. I felt alive. I wanted to be a part of the busy world. My eyes hysterically searched for inspiration and my heart longed for contentment. Then I began to see things differently. An old man walked slowly toward the ticket counter. He probably was going to visit his grandson. He could spend all his day indoors and his old age gave him a good reason to, but he chose not to do that. The lady at the bakery looked happy as she spoke to people who bought rolls and bread and scones. She had something to do every day. So did the man who picked up trash and kept the platform clean and the woman who served coffee in a small café near the station. I felt better. I felt light in my heart and saw beyond my small world of daily boredom. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, something that was fulfilling. I told myself that I would no longer live a cramped life inside the little cocoon I had unknowingly built around myself. And as I crushed the coffee cup and threw it into the bin, I felt like I had got rid of the despair that had clung on to me for so long. I could feel the girl in me again. The girl who wanted to make the most of the wonderful life given to her!

7 Mar 08

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Flower Power! - Cards 'n' Bookmarks

Inspired by the colourful flowers I saw on Valentine's Day, I made these cards and bookmarks. They are so easy to make and look oh-so-pretty!

You need -
For the cards:
  1. corrugated card stock
  2. scraps of coloured card stock
  3. foam flowers
  4. glue

For the bookmarks:

  1. popsicle sticks (coloured)
  2. wooden flowers
  3. strong glue
  4. paint

Take one look at the pictures, I'm sure you'll figure out how simple they are to make :)

These make cute presents. Bunch them up in batches of five, tie a satin ribbon and your 'flower power' card set is ready! You can also make gift tags to match.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Always prepared to craft!

I have learnt, over the years, to keep a craft kitty handy. It's very simple and can be a savior when you need to put something together on short notice! All you need is a large box and you just start filling it with anything interesting. This list will help you get started -
  • glue stick/strong glue
  • scissors/patterned scissors
  • markers, paints, crayons, coloured pencils, etc
  • scraps of coloured, patterned paper - these could be store bought or just recycled
  • beads, baubles, sequins
  • lace, ribbon, trimmings, etc
  • paper punches in various designs
  • stickers
  • card stock
  • wool/raffia
  • assorted boxes, bottles, etc - anything recycled

The list is just need to have an eye for it! Go on, buy the big box and create your craft kit right away!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dots 'n' Spots Tray

I had bought a packet of apples and used the Styrofoam packaging to make this 'dots 'n' spots tray'. I use it to hold little knick-knacks.

You need -
  • Styrofoam tray (the ones you get with veggies or fruits)
  • paints & paintbrush
  • clear varnish
  1. Paint the tray with a thick coat of purple and allow it to dry.
  2. Next, paint big pink spots.
  3. Finish by highlighting with bright yellow dots and applying an even coat of clear varnish.

As simple as that! Of course you can try different colours and patterns. A word of caution though - styrofoam is quite fragile, so you need to be careful with it!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A rainy day, lots of craft supplies, a hot cup of coffee, and a burst of creativity - my idea of a perfect afternoon! I'll be back with more craft project ideas!

Here are a few more fun ways to re-use your greeting cards...

  1. If you have very special greeting cards and you want to keep them with the writing inside, you could get them laminated (keeping the card opened out). These can be used as table mats, however, take care not to put very hot things on them.
  2. You can make paper bags. These work very well for all those gifts that are hard to pack.
  3. Old greeting cards can also be used to make gift tags. Just cut them out into mini cards and attach them to your gifts.
  4. Another easy project is to make bookmarks from them. Make best use of the design/picture on the card. Stick the front and back together for more strength. Cut into a rectangle, punch the top of the bookmark and attach a bow/ribbon.
  5. This is an interesting one - make a mini booklet. Attach some pages to the card, you can either glue the pages or stitch them. This mini booklet can be used to hold photos or other memorabilia.
  6. Last, but not the least - cut out the pictures and words carefully and make a new greeting card! Alternatively, you can use the cutouts in your scrapbooking layouts as well!

I hope I've inspired you to give your old greeting cards a new lease of life! Have fun!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Make this cute box from an old greeting card

I always like to personalise my gifts. This handmade box is one of my favourites. It's perfect for cute 'n' tiny gifts like trinkets. Simply line the box with some coloured tissue, cotton or shredded paper and pop in your gift! Finish with a matching satin ribbon and a tag, if you wish, for a professional touch.

You need -

  • an old greeting card
  • a pair of scissors
  • glue
  • a ruler
  1. Start by cutting the greeting card into two - cut on the fold. These will make the lid and the base. (The front of the card, with the picture/design, will make the lid.)
  2. To make the lid - on the blank side of the lid piece, draw margins of 2cms on all four sides.
  3. On two opposite sides, cut along the line until the point where the margins intersect.
  4. Fold the card inwards along the margins.
  5. Fold the two cut-out tabs inward and glue them to make the sides of the box.
  6. Repeat on the other side.
  7. For the base, margins need to be 1.5cms (so that the lid can fit over it snugly). Repeat the rest of the instructions.
  8. Your box is now ready!

The shape of the box depends on the shape of the greeting card. As most greeting cards are rectangle, your box will also be rectangle. If you want a square box, cut your card into a square before you start. Also, the depth of the box will depend on the margins - the bigger the margins, the deeper the box. You can try different measurements and have fun with the results!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

There are so many fun ways to reuse all your old greeting cards - look for them and be ready! Will be with you soon with my ideas...