Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tips For Monsoon Home Decor & Care

When nature starts unfolding its beauty know that the most beautiful time of the year- monsoon is here. The monsoon is short-lived in my part of the world so I leave no stone unturned to make the most of it. But like I said in my previous post that monsoon isn't only about all things pretty, it also brings with it something unpleasant. I talked about monsoon care for home exteriors in my previous post and today I'll talk about pre-monsoon care for home Interiors and some tips to style and decorate home interiors in monsoon. 

Home Interiors Care In Monsoon

Here's how I plan to protect my home against the damage caused by the monsoon. Interior of the home reflects the personality of its dwellers. So it is quite important to give attention to internal walls too. With time internal and external wall plaster starts to crack and debond. Timely attention should be given to prevent the ingress of water, peeling of paint and dampness on the internal walls. Seepage can spoil the look of home interiors entirely. I have a niche in my living room and its exterior wall is exposed to constant rains which led to the seepage in the wall. I repainted it several times to save it but to no avail. So here is a tip - do not paint mouldy surfaces as the paint will peel off. First clean and dry the surface then start painting.

Berger Paints silk glamour

No matter how costly your furniture and furnishing are, how beautifully you have arranged everything around your home, if internal walls are not in good condition and dampness, peeled paint and ugly spots of mould are visible then it definitely ruins the look of the home interiors. To get rid of seepage and dampness, I am going to get waterproofing of internal walls done. After that I plan to get the wall painting done. Specially formulated wall paints for interiors are what I am opting for. Silk Glamour tops the list because paint fumes are my biggest concern and I got to know that this product is free of harmful chemicals and is low in VOC (Volatile Organic Compound). 

Next issue is mould. Moisture level increases in the air during monsoon which leads to dampness and mould on the wall and ceiling. Here are some tips to keep the mould at bay. Fix all the plumbing and roof leaks. Keep all the materials dry. Moisture control is the key to keep mould from growing. Kitchen sink, bathroom floor and walls are the surfaces that remain wet most of the time so make sure to clean, disinfect and dry these surfaces regularly. Keeping windows open to permit air circulation is the best way to let dry the wet surfaces. Moving furniture little away from the wall for proper air circulation will help in controlling the dampness on the wall and it will limit the growth of mould. Moulds can easily grow and spread in the soil of house plants. Adding mold preventing solutions in soil is the solution to this problem.

Once these monsoon-related problems are tackled, it is easy to decorate and style our homes with accessories that are just perfect for monsoons like plants, blooms, aroma candles, quilts, colorful furnishing and spices. Here's how.
Monsoon is ideal weather to snuggle up with a hot cup of tea and a warm quilt that will be your best companion in this windy weather. I always place a quilt either on the back of my swing chair or on the sofa so that I can grab it easily whenever I want it. The shades of black and grey start to overpower during monsoon so to add some cheer I place fresh blooms in vivid colours. A bunch of flowers placed on a coffee table or single stem flowers in any corner make an elegant display and perk up any space instantly. Furnishings in bright hues also help in lifting the mood in grey weather.


When monsoon knocks the door nature replaces brown by green. Placing some plants indoors reminds that the season of new hopes is here. It certainly creates a soothing effect and boosts positive energy.
Though the smell of wet earth after rain is just perfect to rejuvenate our senses there is certainly something bad about this season too and that is musty, damp smell that comes with the monsoon. So here I have a tip to get rid of that unpleasant smell, make your own aroma candles. Aroma candles not only create a warm ambience but also fill your home with a pleasant aroma.

Monsoon Home Decor

One more way to make a home smell divine is to use spices. Spices can be used to decorate our homes too. A coffee table is a place where we can show our creativity and can easily bring about the change according to the season or according to the theme. Here is how spices can be displayed in a beautiful way on the coffee table of the living room. Few cinnamon sticks and a candle can do the magic, arranging the cinnamon sticks all around the candle and securing them with beaded or plain twine will create a whimsical arrangement. When the candle will be lit it will make your space smell divine. One more way to add spice to your decor is a whole array of spices in a bowl or tray with some tea lights on a coffee table. To add some height you can use glass jar instead of bowl and tray to display all the spices.

Monsoon Home Decor

Don't shy away from putting up some seashells and conch to bring in the monsoon vibes. Place some good books on the coffee table to read and you are ready to put your feet up, curl up on the couch and pretend you are on the hills or at the beach :)
Happy Decorating folks!!!

Also, I have the biggest news to share with you all so stay tuned to my YouTube Channel because that's where I'll be breaking the news.
Till then connect with me here:







Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Prepping My Outdoor Space Before Monsoon


We have experienced more than our fair share of summers and now are waiting desperately for the monsoon to arrive. With the onset of monsoon, there is so much to witness all around superabundant outdoors, petrichor, the soothing sound of flowing water and pleasant weather. 

Prep Outdoor Space For Monsoon
My Outdoor Space During Monsoon

Having said that, it's not only the good that is associated with the monsoon but it also brings with it something unpleasant too. Seepage, mould, dampness, peeling paint and cracks not only make space look ugly but also result in damage to the structure and for that, I have to prep up my outdoor space. Due to space constraint these days, we don't have the luxury to have a sprawling front or back yard instead all we have is a small outdoor space in the form of a balcony. In my view, an outdoor space if done properly can be an elegant extension of a living room. So I am not gonna like it if such an important part of my home is ruined by monsoon and my ignorance. So here's how I have planned to tackle this problem.

Peeling Paint On Wall
Peeling paint


 The first and foremost, freedom from ignorance is the key to keep your home free from damages. We often give more stress on aesthetics while doing up any space and not on the durability and quality of the materials that are being used. Walls, roofs and open to sky floors are the most affected areas during monsoon. Talking about the walls first. Paint is the quickest and cheapest way to change the appearance of any place especially when your budget is low. But exterior walls are forever exposed to changing weather and can lead to damage to the home's exterior and the interior as well. I had heard that the paint on external walls only makes it look aesthetically appealing but can not save it from the bad impact of rain and heat. But a little research online gave me a ray of hope and I found the long life paint for exterior home. This weathercoat long life paint protects the exterior walls from all the monsoon-related issues. So I am kind of sorted and thinking of getting the paint job done before the monsoon arrives. 




Here's a piece of advice from me as I have already faced this issue of water seepage and dampness in walls earlier too. You should plan the painting job well in advance by that I mean before the onset of the monsoon. Keep weather condition in mind. Dry and hot weather is the best time to get the painting job done as the paint adheres well when the weather is dry. Spend money wisely and always opt for good quality paint and painting tools, as this will decide how long the paint will last on house exteriors. Most of the time I paint the walls of my home all by myself and I know it is just too much hassle and moreover, I will be travelling in the first week of June, so I am tight on time and budget too. That's why I have opted for Berger's Express Painting Service. When I checked out their website for colours, oh boy!!! I was spoilt for the choice. I know that walls in bright colours help us to transform the space from dull and boring to bright and beautiful. Right paint colour can make space look bigger and brighter, it is also a powerful tool to set the mood and theme of any space. Bold colours deliver the most drama and are in vogue. I kept scrolling down their web page and was quite impressed with the range of paint colours they have. I decided to choose the colour that complements my house architectural design.

Next comes the floor. It is as important as the walls. It needs proper maintenance and care from time to time. Proper floor inspection should be done after every fixed period of time and especially before monsoon to see if there is any damage. If the floor doesn't have a proper slope to allow water to drain off the floor then there are chances of water clogging which in turn can be a reason for tile damage.  The solution to this problem is specially formulated tile grout which works as water resistant. 

Painting walls, door, windows and trims just don't work for me to change the look of my outdoor space I am planning to paint the outdoor furniture too. As the fresh coat of paint will give the furniture a new lease of life. Furniture in hues like teal, blue, red, lime green and bright red can add pizzazz to an otherwise dull and boring space. My outdoor space is open to sky so I have opted for the furniture that doesn't rot in extreme weather conditions; well you have lots of choices for outdoor furniture these days. If your outdoor space isn't in an open area then don't worry at all about the weather and you can furnish your outdoor space with your choice of furniture like wicker, rattan, and wrought iron or wooden. Folding furniture is a great spacing saving idea. 


Fresh Coat Of Paint On Furniture
Next, I plan to accessorise my outdoor space in a way that it's not a hassle to move things quickly when it starts to rain. I will be creating an enchanting setting by placing some eye-catching planters with pretty ornamental plants. Maybe I will paint the planters myself in some bright and cheerful colours that go perfectly well with the colour palette of my outdoor space. As my balcony is a small space going vertical will save me a lot of space. Wooden step ladder, hanging baskets or wall mounted plant holders are the ways to add green without taking much space. Maybe then I'll add a water body or an attractive sculpture to add wow factor. 


Outdoor Accessories
To create a focal point, I'll place attention-grabbing accent pieces like Moroccan lamp, sea shells, watering can serving as a vase, some waterproof tealights to create a pulled together cosy, warm monsoon look.
I'll complete the look by hanging some waterproof fairy lights. Nothing other than a soft warm glow of dim and twinkling lights can add a charm to any space. That's all I have on my "To Do list" to safeguard my outdoor space from the monsoon. Hope you too have found some tips and tricks.
Signing off now. See you all soon.
Happy Decorating!! 

Till then connect with me here:






Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sanjhi - The Art Of Paper Cutting

In today's post on our Indian Art form series, I'm gonna talk about the art of paper cutting or better known as Sanjhi. Like the name itself suggests Sanjhi or paper cutting art is an art of paper cutting. The paper is cut in a way that the paper holds together and yet it shows a beautiful intricate pattern on it. For the complete tutorial on Sanjhi, watch the video below.


Origin:
Sanjhi is practised in Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh in India. Though the paper cutting work is done all across the world, Sanjhi is little different. Sanjhi is said to have originated around 400-500 years ago in the 16th or 17th century. So like all the other Indian Artforms I have shared here previously, this art form is also very ancient. Some craftsmen believe that Sanjhi word is derived from Saanjh or Shaam which means dusk, the time of day when temple floors are decorated using these stencilled papers and on the other hand, some craftsmen believe that Sanjhi word is derived from saaj-sajja or sajavat which means decoration because these papers are used to decorate temple floors.

Paper Cutting Art
Image Source: The Hindu

Theme:
Since it is a traditional art form of Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the theme mainly depicts the life of Lord Krishna and his leelas. Temple floors and walls are decorated using these stencilled paper and rangoli (powdered colors). This art form is highly refined so it is mainly done by the Brahmin priests. Nowadays only a few families to be precise only 14 or 15 families are there in Mathura and Vrindavan who practice this art. If you are interested in seeing Sanjhi in temples then Radharaman temple in Vrindavan is the place where you can see this art. It is believed that Radhe (Radha) used to decorate her walls and floors using colored papers, foils, colored stones and flowers and leaves to woo Krishna and then all the other Gopis followed the suit. But during the Mughal period, the art form began to depict more scenes like Mughal architecture, floral and geometric patterns and various other scenes.

Paper Cutting Art


Style:
Like I said earlier, it is an art of paper cutting so only paper, specially designed scissors and sometimes blade is used to cut paper and then intricate mythological figures, floral and geometric patterns are cut into the paper. And here I would like to share an amazing fact that in its traditional form, craftsmen don't draw or trace the design on the paper they would just make the paper cutting directly on the paper and it is done precisely that you wouldn't be able to find any flaw.
Here I would like to mention two names who are still reviving this art form and keeping it alive. They are Mr Mohan Kumar Verma and Mr Ram Soni. They are fourth generation Sanjhi artists.

Process:
The process is simple. I have divided it into two steps
1. Draw/trace/print the design on paper and
2. Start cutting the design

Below are the supplies you'll need to make paper cutting artwork.
Supplies: 
1. Paper
For paper cutting art you will obviously need a paper. It can be a handmade paper,  good quality printing paper, watercolor paper or any paper from 90 gsm to 385 gsm. But remember the thinner the paper is, the easier it is to cut but that will increase the chances of making mistakes. The thicker the paper is, the harder it is to cut but then there will be fewer chances of tearing the paper accidentally. I'm using 120 gsm A4 size scrapbooking paper.

         

2. Cutting Mat
You will need self-healing cutting mat so that your work surface is protected. Otherwise, you'll end up making the surface of your desk full of scratches. I would suggest you get the bigger mat as having a bigger cutting mat gives you enough working space and allows you free hand movement while cutting the paper. The mat given below has grid and patterns marked on both sides. This is a must-have item for a crafter or for people who love DIYs.




3. Blade or Scalpel
You will need a scalpel for cutting paper. So make sure you have some spare blades too in case you need them during the process. Keep all the spare blades safe in a case to protect yourself from accidental blade cuts.



4. Pencil, ruler and eraser
You will need a pencil to draw a design on the paper and ruler to cut straight lines.

1. Draw/trace/print the design on paper
 Place the paper on the work surface and for design either you can draw your own design like I did. If drawing isn't your cup of tea then below is the template for you to copy. Just download and print it. There are several other websites from where you can download free paper cutting templates (Goole it). The printed side will be the wrong side so make sure you print the mirror image of the design. The design is cut on the printed side of the paper and once the other side will be the right side where no pencil marks or print will be visible. 
*Tip: Do not apply cream or moisturizer on your hands otherwise you'll end up staining your paper.

I drew the fish with Pichwai lotuses especially for you all so that it is easier for you to start the paper cutting art with this easy template. All you need to do here is just cut out all the black or shaded part of the design carefully. For the outline of the fish please draw one more outline as I forgot to click that picture and while cutting that outer outline leave some tabs too (Watch the video for clear instructions) Once you are confident enough to cut complex designs, you can start cutting the fish design with intricate patterns. All the instructions are given in my YouTube video above.

Paper Cutting Art
Design Created by Disha Mishra Dubey

2. Start cutting the design
Now place the paper on the cutting mat and hold the knife like a pen and try to keep even pressure. Enjoy the process and relax. Don't do it in a hurry. This process requires enormous concentration, patience and skills but it relieves your stress and you will love getting lost in it for hours. There's no set way to learn paper cutting art. Keep practising and you will learn it.

Paper Cutting Art
Sanjhi - The Art Of Paper Cutting

For cutting straight lines you can use a ruler but for curved designs it is better to move the paper around. While making cuts hold the paper with the other hand for better control. Cut the paper deeply enough that it goes through the paper but not too deep. Remove the pieces of paper as you cut them out.  You can use the blade's tip to lift the chip of paper and pull it with your fingers gently. If it doesn't come out easily then use the blade to cut the paper where it is stuck and then it will come out easily.

Paper Cutting Art
Sanjhi - The Art Of Paper Cutting

To cut complex and intricate patterns, cut as close as you can to either side of the pencil line. Do it slowly and enjoy every bit of the process.

Paper Cutting Art
Sanjhi - The Art Of Paper Cutting
No matter how pro the artist is the blade sometimes slips and can sever the element of the design. Don't panic. Use either sticky tape to fix the element or use a chip of paper to stick on the tear. Once the design is complete, reverse the paper to reveal the right side of the design. Now either you can get the design framed as is pressed between two glasses or you can stick the design on the contrasting paper to make it more interesting.
I have tried to place my paper cutting artwork on various colored papers and now I am totally confused about the right color background. Please help!!

Paper Cutting Art
(From top left to bottom right
Sapphire, Ochre, Maroon, Cyan, Brown, Black)

I hope you liked today's post In case you try to make this art then don't forget to share your creation with me on my Instagram or Facebook. I'll be coming up with more creative posts. Stay Tuned!! 
Till then connect with me here:





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:











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