Saturday, December 8, 2018

Kokedama: Japanese Art Of Growing Plants On A Moss Ball

Kokedama is a Japanese art of growing plant on a Moss ball. Word Kokedama translates like this
Koke: Moss Dama: Ball
It is also known as poor man's bonsai. 

Moss Ball
Kokedama in my balcony garden

Recently, I tried to make Kokedama for the first time and I loved the fact that it doesn't require any pot to grow the plants. Just make a ball of soil and moss and grow tiny plants on it. Kokedama can be hung or kept on a desk or floor indoors as well as outdoors. To watch the complete video on my YouTube channel, you can click here.
Things you'll need to make Kokedama:
  • Compost - 1 part
  • Coco Peat - 1 part
  • Garden Soil - 1/2 part
  • Tray/bowl to mix ingredients
  • Scissors
  • Gardening Gloves
  • Sphagnum Moss 
  • Ornamental Plants
  • Water
  • String/Twine/Yarn

                   


SUBSTITUTES-
Now there is no need to worry if you don't get all the supplies. Here are the substitutes:
Instead of compost + Cocopeat + Soil, you can take just Bonsai soil + Coco peat OR Garden Soil and mix sand in a small amount.
Instead of Sphagnum moss, you can use moss stick or coco coir or jute or anything that holds moisture for a long.

                    


PLANTS For KOKEDAMA:
Choose the plants that love moisture as Kokedama is a ball of moss that retains moisture. Basically, all the plants that grow on moss are perfect for Kokedama. Though you can experiment with all the plants. As long as you know the light and water requirement of the plants and hang them in a suitable place and water them accordingly, you can grow just about any plant on Kokedama. The best ones are Fern, Ivy, Lucky bamboo, Spider plant, Syngonium. Succulents hate moisture so avoid using them but if you are not watering Kokedama too often then you give it a try.


                     



1. Start by soaking the moss in water. Till it soaks, mix all the components together(compost + Cocopeat + Soil) thoroughly and then slowly add water until all the components adhere together. Now take some soil in hands and form a sphere. Squeeze out excess water and once the soil ball is ready, keep it aside.

Kokedama tutorial
Mix all the components together

Kokedama Tutorial
Make a ball of soil

2. Spread a plastic sheet on the work area and then take out wet moss from the water. Wring it to remove water and then spread the moss on the plastic sheet. Remember that green part of moss faces down as later it will appear on the outer side of the ball. I didn't get Sphagnum moss sheet so I used moss stick and took out all the moss that it had. Though the moss was all dried and the moss stick also had a lot of coco coir inside but it really doesn't matter as moss is used because it retains moisture and that's what exactly coco coir will do too.

3. Now take out the plant from the pot. Loosen the soil around the root. Make sure you are not damaging root ball or disturbing root system. Now crack open the soil ball into two halves like shown in the image below and then place the roots carefully in the centre. Now make the ball of soil again and if required you can add some more soil at this stage to make a perfect sphere.

Kokedama Tutorial
Kokedama Tutorial

4. Place this ball of soil on the moss that we prepared in the second step. Gently pick up the plastic sheet from all the sides and press firmly to wrap the moss around the soil ball. Make sure that moss adheres to the soil ball.

Kokedama Tutorial


5. Now take a twine or string and wrap it around the moss ball in a random fashion and secure the ends by tieing the knots. Now attach a string on the top of the moss ball and there you have it. Kokedama is ready to enhance the beauty of your garden.

How To Make Kokedama


To water Kokedama all you need to do is just use a sprayer and spray water until you see water dripping from the sphere. Or alternatively, you can place Kokedama in a bowl full of water for 2-3 mins and then take it out. Water Kokedama every alternate day or according to plant's need. If it is succulent then you can skip watering for 8-10 days.

          


Kokedama tutorial


So making Kokedama is not a big deal. It requires minimal skill and very few supplies. I hope you like the tutorial. Be little more creative and try to make it different shapes, sizes and colours.
Happy Gardening!!!
Stay tuned and till then connect with me here:





Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Home Tour: Vineetha Ramchandran

Starting the post with a famous quote by George A. Moore, "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns HOME to find it." How succinctly this quote captures the emotion of every home dweller. Home holds a special place in heart of its dwellers. 

Indian Home Tour

Today I have a guest on my blog all the way from Dubai, Vineetha Ramchandran born and brought up in Dubai is a true blue Indian. She is also a Buddha lover and loves to surround herself with loads of colors just like me and I am of opinion that "Law Of Attraction" worked and we got acquainted on Instagram and then she gave me a sneak peek inside her home which I couldn't resist sharing with you all. Recently she took the plunge and started sharing delightful images of her abode on Instagram @The Gramophone Diaries

Though this home tour was supposed to go live ages ago but creating content for my YouTube channel is taking a toll on my writing skills and despite sitting for hours I couldn't write. So I decided to revive my passion for writing once again and now I'll try to post at least 2-3 blogs every month.
Over to Vineetha now as she gives us a tour of her home revealing all the relevant facts.  


Indian Home Tour

"As you know, I live in Dubai and working in advertising for the past 10 yrs. I share my home with my wonderful husband. I was born and brought up here. Like most South Indian families, my parents also enrolled me in everything from classical dancing to music to drama to arts. I believe this education in Indian arts has really shaped my outlook towards decor elements and especially color. Probably also why I am so attracted to everything that is boldly Indian. Majority of the decor accents are from travels. There are some that are from Indian vintage stores from down south."

I love how Vineetha has embraced colors with open arms and mixed them masterfully without making the place look overwhelming. Cool blue happily mingles with warm orange and together they create positive vibes and cosy ambience. Accent pieces range from vintage to modern and traditional to contemporary. One such vintage piece placed on the rug can't go unnoticed.

Indian Home Decor

Further, Vineetha adds "I respect minimalism but it is definitely not my cup of tea (as you can probably tell :D). More is more and less is bore :D Hence everything at home is what I call collected clutter."

Indian Home Tour

"I am obsessed with colors. I have a thing for quirky and kitsch stuff and it runs across my house. I am not a huge fan of mass retail furniture homes and prefer to collect my accents when I travel. I believe every home needs to tell a story and mine is that of an eclectic enchanted abode."

I can't agree more with Vineetha. When it comes to decorating a home we should showcase our personalities.

Indian Home Tour


Vineetha enthusiastically says, "I am supremely fond of Buddhas. I have about 7 just in my living room". 
And why not, when your life is too busy and contributing to yang energy then it is important to bring peace as calm yin energy will balance the active yang energy. Buddha is synonymous with tranquillity and hence placing Buddha can create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Indian Home Tour

Vineetha has collected many vintage pieces. She says, "I love vintage looking frames". 


Indian Home Tour

"The gramophone is my prized possession. We bought it from a vintage and antique store in a small town in Kerala."


Indian Home Tour

"The frame in the hallway is something that I made with my spare coasters (again obsessed with coasters. I collect them wherever I go)."


Indian Home Tour

"The shower curtain in the bathroom is one my faves at home"


Home Tour

You can easily breathe new life in your space simply by placing beautiful cushions on the couch. Vineetha knows this trick well and says, "I really go and invest in my cushions. I check online, I look for unique pieces when I travel. Super like statement cushions or cushions with a story."

Indian Home Tour

Her love for colors and patterns is quite evident in her home. Here is an image of her bedroom that sums it up all. Colors that soothe senses and patterns that make me smile. 

Indian Home Tour

With this, we come to an end of this home tour. Thanks a bunch Vineetha for letting us all take a peek inside your gorgeous, vibrant and aesthetically pleasing home. Wish you love, luck & sunshine!!

That's all dear readers! I hope you enjoyed this post after such a long gap. 
This is Diwali week and I wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali!! Have a safe and memorable one :)

Stay tuned and till then connect with me here:











Monday, September 17, 2018

Indian Festive Decor Ideas

The festive season is upon us and this is very exuberant time of the year. 
Monsoon rain has eased in most places and there a nip in the air. There is an excitement and enthusiasm in the atmosphere which is quite infectious. On this cheerful festive occasion, I have some easy tips and ideas to decorate your home to set the mood for festivities. 

Indian Festive Home Decor
Image Credit: Shalu Prasad

Strings Of Marigold:
Nothing beats the beauty of real marigold but buying them in abundance during festivities can burn a hole in your pocket. So here is a way to make your own marigolds provided either you have some time on your hands or you have some helping hands. Here's a video on how to make your own marigold (Audio quality in the video is not very good but instructions are clear).




Now, what if you neither have enough time nor have any helping hand. Then the easiest way is to buy faux marigold strings that can be found in local markets and can be seen in abundance during the festivities. Though these are more expensive than real marigolds (4 feet long string can cost you anything between 70-90 bucks) but on the bright side, they are washable and reusable. So you can use them multiple times and can store them when they are not needed. I have seen some really good quality marigold strings online as well.

         


These marigold strings create the perfect backdrop for festive decor. You can see the festive cheer added by these marigold strings in below images.

Marigold Strings
Image Credit: Shalu Prasad

Mirror Hangings:
Apart from the liveliness added by flowers festivals are about adding lots of bling too. So let's create blingy hangings. You'll need thread, embroidery mirrors, marigolds and hot glue. Here's the process:



In case you have got no time to make these hangings on your own then below are the links for you.

          

DIY Tealight Holder:
Creating something by yourself brings unbeatable joy. The tealights in below image are made out of disposable cups. I already have a tutorial on this. Please click here for the complete tutorial.
Here is how these glistening tealight holders create a warm ambience.

DIY Tealight Holders

This stone studded tealight holders are a perfect addition to your festive decor.  

DIY Tealight Holders



          


Lotus Tealights:
One more tealight that is super easy to make and demands less time is this lotus tealight. You can make them multicoloured, double shaded or in a single shade. The supplies you will need are acrylic stones, a cardboard or CD, hot glue, beads and tealight.

           


Click here for the complete tutorial that I have already published.

DIY Lotus Tealights

See how magical and divine these lotus tealight holders look. I hope you liked the tips and ideas shared here and will be incorporating them in your this year's festive decor. I'll be coming up with more such festive decor ideas. So stay Tuned!!
Till then connect with me here:










Monday, July 2, 2018

Themed Bedsheets For Kids


For grown-ups, bedroom is a place where they relax, start and end their day so it should be very relaxing, calming, comfortable and functional. But for kids, it's a space where they spend a
lot of time playing, acting, imagining, creating and of course sleeping. A kids' bedroom is a place that
reflects their rainbow personalities. Every kid has a favourite cartoon character and taking the cue from it you can choose a theme for their room. Some kids like Disney characters or superheroes, for some minions are the cutest ones, and some kids are obsessed with Star Wars, as is mine. My son loves Star Wars for obvious reasons because there are laser guns, strange monsters, spaceships, action sequences, memorable characters, and a unique plot.

Spaces Bedsheets


Decorating rooms in a particular theme is always fun to do especially when the room belongs to kids.
But you don't have to burn a hole in your pocket. I would suggest investing in some of the key
elements like bed and bedding because the bed is the largest piece of furniture in the bedroom and
bedding that covers it entirely is also very important, and then everything else can be coordinated
easily. Also, bedding is a great way to accessorise any bedroom. Spaces by Welspun offers a range of
bed sheets, especially for kids based on different themes. So I picked the Star Wars themed bed
sheet to turn my son's lair into a galaxy far, far away.


Spaces Kids Bedding

Choosing right fabric for my son's bed sheet was the biggest focus as the fabric affects kids' good
night's sleep. And thankfully, the Kids Bedsheets by Spaces are of100% cotton make. Synthetic fibres
tend to trap heat and don't allow moisture (sweat) to wick away from our body. Whereas natural
fibres like cotton are light, breathe well, and allow air to circulate which in turn cools down the body
temperature. So cotton sheets are useful in both warm and cold weather, and it was the right
decision I made. The Star Wars bed sheet from Spaces is comfortable and light which is perfect for
kids.
Next, I was concerned about the colours and patterns. I didn't want a giant head of a monster in his
room. It's not my aesthetic but what about his liking. Is it possible to balance what my son wants and
what's my style? Of course, I let my son select whatever he desires from SPACES kids bedding
collection, and he chose this Black & White with a pop of red Star Wars bed sheet. A great sigh of relief for me as the bedsheet has a very balanced and subtle look.


SPACES Kids Bedding


The bed sheet is durable, and I'm sure it'll withstand all the countless runs through the washing machine. My son's room celebrates Star Wars through and through now. His room has a theme
without looking overdone, and the makeover is done within my budget. It is the perfect Star Wars
themed bed sheet I had envisioned for my sleeping Jedi. Are you still looking for theme based quality
bed sheets for your kids? Oh, come on look nowhere else, SPACES is the right place. Go and explore
it. Happy Decorating!

See y'all soon.
Till then connect with me here:



Friday, June 22, 2018

This Summer, I learnt How To Keep Indoors Cool

India is truly a diverse country not only in terms of culture, religion, language
and cuisine but also in terms of climatic conditions. While every season has its own beauty, character and charm, Indian summers can be overwhelming at times for obvious reasons. Though the summers are over in many cities in India some cities, on the other hand, are still experiencing sweltering days. In my part of the world, the weather is quite pleasant now but summers were definitely uncomfortable and here is what I learnt this summer.
We can protect ourselves from scorching heat by avoiding going out in the sun during the daytime but how to combat the heat that is trapped inside our homes. In this blog, I'll be sharing some tips to keep our homes cool in summers.

Keep Home Cool In Summers

First, let's understand how heat enters your home. There are three ways heat transfers into your home:
Convection: It is the flow of heat from a hot region to a cold region. In simple words, it means that heat rises. Hot air is lighter so it rises up, therefore, upper floors in a building are always hotter than the lower ones.
Conduction: It is the transfer of heat energy from the hot objects to the colder. If there is a greater temperature difference between two objects then heat always gets transferred to a cold object.
Radiation: It is energy that comes from a source and travels in the form of waves through space or a material medium. Roof and walls of our homes remain exposed to the sun throughout the day and absorb the solar radiation all the while. This results in the heat gain and increases the temperature inside our homes.

Now that we know how heat enters and gets trapped in our homes, it is easier for us to find out the ways to combat the heat. Below are some easy and smart tips to keep your house cool naturally.

1. Cross Ventilation:
Opening and closing the doors and windows at the right time when the air is pleasantly cool can replace the stagnant hot air with the cooler air. Keeping all the doors and windows at opposite ends open in the early mornings and at nights allows the fresh air to circulate throughout the home and helps in bringing down the temperature of your home. The key is to keep windows open when outside temperature is cooler than it is inside and keeping them closed when it's hotter outside. This way warm air trapped inside your home due to convection can be removed easily.

Keep Home Cool In Summers

2. Use Khus Curtains:
Another way to reduce the heat that builds up due to convection is to use khus khus curtains. It is an age-old method to keep the houses cool naturally. The dried roots of vetiver or khus weaved together with coir and straw make for a curtain with an organic look and pleasant earthy aroma. Khus khus blinds have to be kept wet to bring down the indoor temperature. Khus curtains not only add to the aesthetics of the house but also keep it light and airy.

3. Add Greens:
Another effective way to block the heat is to go green. Growing garden on the roof can help in reducing the temperature of the rooms below. Mud used for growing plants acts as an insulator by absorbing the heat, water and shades of the plants create a cooling effect around them. Placing the potted plants in balcony restricts the heat to enter the home. Bringing outdoors in not only helps in lowering the temperature but also cleanses the air inside the house.

Keep Indoor Cool

4. Declutter:
A room packed with furniture feels hot as bulky furniture placed closely to each other can create hot air pockets. De-clutter and move the furniture to create some free space so that fresh air from the windows can flow and circulate easily around the room. This way you can also minimize the effect of conduction

5. Use The Light & Right Fabric:
Dress up your home in a lightweight fabric like cotton and linen in soothing shades of blue, green and yellow. Avoid using dark and synthetic fabrics since dark colours absorb more heat whereas light coloured fabrics reflect the heat. Replace wool rugs with refreshing and lighter cotton rugs. Use lightweight curtains that breathe like cotton fabric and sheers that allow the light and wind to enter your home. Keep the curtains drawn during the daytime to protect the room from getting heated by direct sunlight.

Keep Indoors Cool In Summers

6. Minimize The Use Of Electronic & Electric Appliances:
We all know that electronic devices and electric appliances generate heat even when they are idle. Turn off all the appliances when not in use. Incandescent lights emit a lot of heat so it is better to use CFL or LED lights instead. Minimize the usage of all the electronic and electrical appliances so that heat generated by these machines doesn't trap inside the house.

7. Ban The Sun:
This is the smartest way to keep the indoors cool in summers. I have already discussed above that radiation doesn't need any medium to transfer the heat energy. Infrared radiation from the sun is responsible for warming the Earth's surface. Limiting the amount of solar radiation to enter our homes can help in keeping the indoors cool. Is there any way to do that. Yes, of course. The Sun Ban reflective glasses from Saint-Gobain are specially coated glasses that reflect the solar radiation like UV and IR rays while still allowing just the right amount of natural light into a home. The coating on Sun Ban glasses prevents doors and windows from absorbing the heat and helps in keeping the house cool which in turn, cuts the electricity bill. So the best part of these hard coated glasses is that they allow the sunlight enter your home but reflect the sun-heat back out. These glasses are aesthetically appealing and come in a range of colours that makes the house look contemporary and stylish. Based on the star ratings and thickness the Sun Ban glasses can be chosen for different areas and can be used in windows, staircase glazings, doors, facades and balconies.
Sun Ban solar control glasses offer several benefits like:

  • Protection from harmful UV rays
  • Privacy during the daytime
  • Ample natural light
  • Reduce the glare
  • Control the heat 
  • Energy efficiency 
  • Enhance the aesthetics 

After knowing so many benefits of the Sun Ban reflective glasses, I'm planning to replace the regular glasses of all the windows in my home. After all, it will result in a huge saving.

In a similar way, reflective tiles can be installed on the roof. These tiles reflect the radiation and lower the temperature of the rooms below. Another cheaper way to insulate the roof is to apply a layer of white lime wash on the terrace and balcony which acts as a reflective surface and prevents the slab from absorbing the heat. But remember this is not a permanent solution as this coat will wash away in monsoon and you will have to apply it again every summer.

That's all for today dear readers. I hope you find this blog informative and the tips and ideas I shared here help you in keeping your home cool every summer. See y'all soon.

Till then connect with me here:











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