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:





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