Friday, April 29, 2011

At Last!

I am a very passionate gardener. Well what ever I take up, I do it passionately. Anyway, I have had many a success and also failures in my gardening ventures.No one can be totally successful.

Plants are like children and pets. They need so much care, looking after and love. Even after that they may not survive. I talk to them, coax them admonish plants can understand all this. I also sing to them mostly when ever I get a chance..that takes care of my daily riyaz(practise)...:)

Well one of my failures which consistently repeated itself was fruiting of Papaya. You know during the past so many years I have planted so many Papaya plants. I used to nourish them carefully but when they start to flower only then I would know that they were all male trees. They give out flowers at the end of long stalks and no fruit. I had to remove the plant. Well my family and friends used to make fun of me. There was no way of avoiding this as one cannot know it till it flowers.

This went on year after year......

But now Thank God the Jinx has been broken. My Papaya plant turned out well and this is my first fruit. 

So I am celebrating....:)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recycled Crafts

Bird Feed

Our grand mothers and mothers never threw out any thing unless it was totally useless. They first of all used less, then recycled and reused. Many a foll made fun of it or laughed branding them as misers. But my gran and my mom always followed the principles of waste not, Want not, a Penny saved is Penny earned ....They had huge families to look after with friends and relatives dropping in. The men were not bothered about the nitty-gritties of home management. It was the domain of the lady of the house. So how did they manage all those expenses yet ended up saving something for the rainy day? By spending only when required, recycling, reusing and helping others by giving away what they did not require. 

I admire the philosophy and follow it. These days it has become a fashion and also a need for such a policy.

I wanted to share with you some recycled crafts for long. But did not get time to do them. However since it is summer and kids are having holidays, this the best time to post them so that they can try it.

Here is a feeder with water for the birds. This is very simple and easy to make.

A plastic plate
Two containers
3 Twigs
Jute twine

I had some much used Melamine plates. I wanted to recycle them so used one in this project. The containers I used for the feed and water were a discarded melamine cup and a snack container-both of which I would have thrown other wise. Jute twine we have plenty at home for various purposes like typing up plants amongst other things. The twigs are from the curry leaf tree. Once in six months we need to trim it heavily to get fresh leaves. This time we saved some twigs. These twigs (small ones) are also used as tooth brushes and are good for teeth. You cane use any thing even bamboo.

Actually this project was started to pacify my niece who was bored and started crying. She could not go out and play because of the hot Sun. So she made this under my supervision.

Step 1
I have selected twigs and cut them to all to required size. 

Step 2
Tie the ends of the twigs placed in triangular shape, with the twine and secure it tightly with knots. 
Alternately you can make a square one

Step 3
Cut 6/9 strands of twine equal in length sufficient enough to hang it from the branch. Take two strands and make a twisted rope or take three strands and make a braid. Make 3 ropes for each side.

Step 4
Tie these ropes to each of the edges of the triangle we made of the twigs. Secure them properly. Now hold all the 3 ropes together at the top, adjust and tie them with tow or three knots.

Step 5
Select a shady place on one of the trees in your garden and hang it. Now place the plate. Adjust it so that it sits properly. Place the containers in it and add bird feed and water. Change the water daily once or twice as required. We can also add slices of fruits and vegetables to the plate.
My niece placed some stones in the plate to balance it and save it from winds as well as give it some natural look.

Just try it out and see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Reusable Rangoli-8

Here is one more design with kundans. As usual I have glued it to thick light blue coloured plastic sheet. 

These designs have been inspired by Nela Muggulu or the designs which we specifically draw during the Dhanurmaasam-that the month before our festival Sankranti. During this period, we pray to Sun God, Lord Vishnu and also it is like a thanks giving to Sun God and Dhanya Lakshmi (Goddess of Grains or agriculture) as farmers get their crop. That is why the Rangoli designs have the symbols of paddy ears, vegetables etc. Sankranti Rangolis I am dealing with in other posts.

The one below was done by my niece.

Hope you like them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba Passes away

It is with great sorrow and heavy heart that I share with you the most shocking news of the departure of Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba at 7.40 pm today to his heavenly abode. Read more here: 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday-Free Patterns

Here is one free pattern this week. A paisley border.

This is my creation. I like Paisley patterns very much. So most of the time my creations revolve around paisley. This would make a good border for saris, churidar or salwarws, scarves, odhnis, stoles etc. 

This can be used as vertical. horizontal or cross  or inclined rows also. More to come...Keep a watch.....

Kalamkari-The Art of Painting fabric with a Pen-5

Kalamkari Borders and Patches

Well Just the other day I made a brief visit to pick up some craft and fabric supplies. I found out that the Kalamkari, borders and patches are still in fashion. Wow! I still have some left over ones, which I wanted to attach to my saris.I think since they are still in fashion I can go ahead. Any way hand crafted items or hand looms are never out of fashion.

Here are some from my collections:

            Ambari Elephant

Ambari means carrying someone-usually a king. I have this border with me. I need to search my stash to see how much is left over.
I love these butterflies. A peculiar shade of green with yellow. 
I also have some of these elephants. I think these should go along with the butterflies above. I have some plain cotton saris on which I can appliqué these.

When ever I buy my craft and fabric supplies or I go with my friends, i end up buying some things if they catch my fancy. But I don't have have any particular sari or dress in mind for these. Later on I think of using them. Some times some pieces or extra ones are left over.

I need to sort out my stash. But I feel list less and don't feel like doing any thing at all for now.

Keep any eye on my blog...more to come...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kalamkari-The Art of Painting fabric with a Pen-4

Well, Kalamkari art is used on saris, dupattas, scarves, stoles. Both block printing variety and hand painted are used. Chudidar or Shalwar Kameez sets are also being sold. Ready made shirts for men are also available. Apart form these, bedlinen, hand kerchiefs, fabric lengths are also available. patches and borders are also available in various sizes and still are popular.

The fabric is used as cover for books, dairies, folders, bags, and many others. I will post my collection but before that, here is something unique. 

Jewellery made out of Kalmkari paper from Deepa Sekar. They are so pretty. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Freebies has offered many freebies on their site, like textures, backgrounds etc as EPS files, fonts, brushes and also some colourful illustrations for children among many others.

Please visit the site and browse through. I am not into these things so I don't know much.

Kalamkari-The Art of Painting fabric with a Pen-3

So far I have posted a brief sketch on Kalamkari, what it means, its origin and history and the process in brief. As they say a picture is worth thousand words and if it a video it is even more better. I am posting some videos here from YouTube.

The process of Kalamkari is very tedious time consuming and as I have posted earlier, it involves many stages. Just have a look here.

You can see how tedious and difficult this process is. In fact all hand looms involve a very careful and dedicated work. That is why I love and try my best to encourage them. The artisans work so hard and create master pieces, yet their lives are spent in misery, as they don't get paid enough.

Here Have a look at the design being constructed by a Master Craftsman. He is so skilled and deft. 

Here is a link to a brief info on the art

Hope you like them...Watch out for more

Monday, April 18, 2011


Hi all there. I am too tired today as I had to go out with my family to celebrate my niece's holidays. It is really hot now here. I have not yet fully recovered form my illness and feel too tired to do anything or even sit for long periods.

Any way I did browse for some time as I was too bored, sitting idle. There are some free down loads from Sharon Rowan at her blog She is offering free downloads of cards, book marks tags and many more. All are so beautiful. I love the fox book marks and her berries and branch cards amongst others.

Please visit her blog and see for yourself how creative she is and for her Free Downloads. Keep a watch on her blog for more in future.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Julie and Julia

Have you seen the film "Julie and Julia"?  Read on why I love it here:

A must watch film for cooking and bloging enthusiasts-beautifully made.


Lotus Rangoli-11-Laal Kamal and Neel Kamal-2

One more Rangoli on Lotus. This is very easy to draw and is suitable for any occasion like marriages or other ceremonies, Laksmi Pooja, Diwali or other festivals as Lotus is a devine flower.

For this Rangoli, place 15 dots- 5 rows, then leaving one dot on each side per row until you get 5 dots on all sides. Join as shown.

I have coloured them blue/purple and pink/red. Hope you like it..

Watch out for more....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Crochet Lace

Crochet is one art which I love but don't have much practise. I used to create at one time-though not much complicated designs. I preferred working with wool as it was less strenuous and easy to complete. But working with cotton yarn is not my forte. 

I have bought some yarn now with the intention of taking up it once again and mastering it at least to some extent.  I should show my stash-for a person who doesn't have time to pursue all these, I have so much enthusiasm :).

Just recovering from my illness and still not very strong but one thing that motivates me is shopping for craft supplies. Yesterday my sis wanted something and I pitched in with her to go shopping. Though I was not able to walk around much, I picked up some very beautiful things.

Anyway one of them was this lace. Though I can make my own I somehow can't resist buying. After all the ladies who create this come from very poor back grounds. With the advent of machine made laces hand made ones have been badly hit in India. So I just buy as much my budget allows.
                 Crochet Lace
I also bought a smaller one. But by the time I was choosing this I was so rest less and in pain that I ended up buying the same design. Well its OK- it would be matching ones.
Here is the smaller one.
                   Crochet Lace

My sis bought many laces and some zardosi work. I could not photograph them as she was in a hurry. Let me see I will try to post those too.

Friday-Free Patterns

Swan Motif 

Its Friday and time for a Free Pattern. It is a Swan or "Hamsa/Hansa" or "Raja Hamsa" the royal swan. Its gait is supposed to be beautiful and many a poet equates a beautiful damsel's gait with that of a Raja Hamsa. 

Hamsa or swan has inspired our textile designers. Last time it was from a block print. Now this is from a woven motif-woven with zari or gold thread as a border on one of my mom's saris. Here it is:

     Swan or Hamsa Motif

Now this a classic or traditional Indian motif handed down over generations as a sculpture on temples or woven on textiles or may be painted on paper or fabric. This motif can be used for block printing, painting or embroidery.

I hope you like this. I would love to have your comments, suggestions, preferences if any on these patterns please....Keep a watch there are some surprises to be shared with you all..

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Batik on Silk

I have had this silk sari for some time now. In fact it is quite old. It is one of my favourite. Me and my sis both bought the same sari-her's was baby pink. She wore it down with in two-three years. But mine is still there. In those days it was called paper silk. It is very simple and sober, so I selected it at that time. I wear it now and then but rarely.

Here it is:
The sari is covered with these motifs.
This is border at the bottom and a part of pallu.
This is how the pallu looks.

I feel I should embroider or do something to give it a revamped look. the silk is thick enough to hold it. Any suggestions of how I can improve it and change its look so that I can wear it like a new one?

If it is to be embroidery, which stitches/ Should I highlight the design or cover it off/ whether to use matching coloured thread or contrasting if so which colours? 

Or is it better to make it into a quilt?

So many thoughts are in my mind but I am not able to decide. Can some one help me please?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Indian Traditional Jewellery-4

Edu Varala Nagalu-IV

This is the last and concluding part of the posts relating to Edu Varala Nagalu. 

The story now I am going to narrate is known as "Tulabharam" or the weighing of some one in the weighing scales. It is a tradition or rather practise in India that when some one wants some thing good to happen or desire fulfilled, like getting a job, getting married or recover from illness, they go to temple and pray, promising God/Goddess that if what ever they are asking for happens then they will give something (money, grains, coconuts, jaggery or fruits) equivalent to their weight. So when their desire is fulfilled they go to temple and they are weighed in huge weighing scales against whatever they want to offer. This offering is then made to the God/Goddess.

I have seen children being weighed in the famous Guruvayur temple in Kerala. It is believed that by giving this offering to God, the children remain healthy and happy.

Now this type of offering was first made by Satyabhama, wife of Lord Krishna. As i have already told in my previous posts, Satyabhama was very haughty and egoistic, because of her, beauty, her royal lineage and riches she got from her father. She thought her love for Lord Krishna was pure and ultimate. She was jealous of all other wives, especially Rukmini-the first wife.  She wanted to have all the love of Lord for herself.

Rukmini was incarnation of Goddess  Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and wife of Lord Vishnu). When Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Krishna, she came to the earth as Rukmini. Rukmini was born as daughter of Bhishmaka-king of Vidharbha.  She was very sweet and gentle, very beautiful, obedient in short a true lady of royal lineage. She came to know of Krishna and fell in love with him. She worshipped him with all devotion and love. Her love was pure and Krishna knew her pure devotion.

Her parents came to know of this and agreed to her marriage with Krishna. But her elder brother Rukmi strongly opposed this marriage as he wanted her to marry her friend Shishupala, crown prince of Chedi for political gains. He made arrangements for this marriage.  Rukmini was frightened and sent a message to Krishna with a brahman. Shishupala arrived on the D-day.

On that day Krishna came, swept her off on his chariot- as she did not want any fight between her husband and her brothers and took her away. When he was accosted by   Rukmi and his friend, he defeated them and left them at the behest of Rukmini with out killing them. He married Rukmini and she became his chief queen and served him with even more devotion and love. Rukmini treated all the other wives as sisters. Lord Krishna loved her, appreciated her devotion towards him as well as her gentle behaviour.

Satyabhama was very jealous of Rukmini as every one were in praise of Rukmini. meanwhile once sage Narada visited her in Dwaraka and during the course of conversation mentions the Lord loves Rukmini more than any one else. This makes Satyabhama very furious and refutes the sage's claim. The sage challenges her to prove it by performing the Tulabharam" Vratham. Its a ritual where Satyabhama has to give away Lord Krishna as Dana (charity) to the sage and can get back Him by paying the sage wealth and riches equivalent to the weight of the Lord. 

She immediately agrees to perform the ritual. Narada cautions her that the Lord and other wives may not agree. But she is so egoistic that she claims that the Lord never crosses the line she draws. She arranges for performing the ritual. The Lord comes to know of it but keeps silent as He is waiting to teach her a lesson.

On D-day Satyabhama, gives away the Lord to the sage as per the ritual. To reclaim Him back, the Lord is made to sit on one side of the weighing scales. On the other side Satyabhama places all the gold and silver coins she has. The scale does not even budge an inch. She brings all her jewellery- Edu Varala Nagalu-diamonds, gold silver, precious gem stones. But the scale does not budge. She then gets all the gold, silver, brass vessels and artefacts of her palace. Nothing happens. Now she is at loss what to do as all the treasures she had were put on to the scales.

The sage taunts her that if she does not come out quickly with the required riches, he would take the Lord to be his slave and publicly auction him on the streets. Now this word spreads to the royal staff and family as well as the queens. All the other queens get very angry. Meanwhile the sage advices Satyabhama to ask for the help of other queens. She approaches other queens except for Rukmini. Even at this stage she thinks she is above Rukmini. The other queens bring all their riches and add to the scales. But it is not sufficient.

Now the sage takes away the Lord and openly auctions Him on the streets. The people of Dwarka are perplexed now. They criticise Satyabhama asking that who she is to donate Him off and when all the riches in the palace could not equal Him, how can their riches save Him. However the thought of loosing Him to some rich man from a far of place infuriates them as they cannot live with out their Lord whom they love so much. So they try to attack the sage. But the Lord pacifies them by saying it is a ritual and He is bound by it.

Meanwhile other queens urge Satyabhama to seek help of queen Rukmini as she is the only one who can save Him now.

Even though Satyabhama doesn't like it, she agrees as other wise the Lord may be auctioned off to some hwere else. So she approaches Rukmini and pleads her to save the Lord.

Rukmini being a gentle lady, agrees. She goes to the Tulasi (basil) plant in her yard, prays to her and plucks the crown(three leaves) off a twig. She then comes to the place where the Lord is being auctioned. She asks all the riches to be removed from the other scale. Then she prays to the Lord and says that if it is always believed that the Lord is bound by devotion and love of His devotees, He may accept her little token of Devotion-the basil leaves-which the Lord loves the most. 

By saying so she places the three leaves in the scale and amazingly the scales weigh more then the Lord. This way Satyabhama realises her foolishness, ego and apologises to Lord, Rukmini and all other queens. 

So God loves His devotees because of their devotion and belief in Him and not because of the rich offerings made to Him.

So that is how Satyabhama used her Edu Varala Nagalu and failed....

Just have a look at the video...

Courtesy YouTube

I am translating this for the benefit of my friends who cannot understand the language:

The Lord is shown serving the sage. Satyabhama and other queens, come to fetch Him and feel very sad at His plight. They plead with the sage to release the Lord. But the sage tells them to weigh the lord with riches and give him that riches if he has to return the Lord. 

The queens take them to the palace and weigh the Lord. First it is Satyabhama to put all her jewellery and riches. Then the other queens follow(except for Rukmini) but it is of no use. Lord's elder brother Balarama (one with the plough) comes to know of this and threatens the sage. But the queens pacify himsaying that satyabhama had performed the ritual and they are helpless.

Balarama orders all the riches from the royal coffers to be brought and put on to the scales. But it is of no use. Rukmini then comes to the place where all this is happening tells them all how futile their attempts are since the Lord who provides the entire universe with so many things cannot be weighed against such worldly riches. She then places the Tulasi leaves and frees the Lord. Sage Narada picks up the sacred Tulasi leaves saying they are more richer than the gold. He then advices everyone that Lord resides in those hearts who selflessly love Him and are His devotees, so one should become such a devotee.

This version is slightly different.

This concludes the topic on Edu Varala Nagalu. I have tried to be as brief as possible. Hope you liked this post..Please do leave your comments and suggestions...I hope Sujatha garu now knows the whole story....


Reusable Rangoli-7

This time I have used a thick plastic sheet of light blue colour which is used for spiral binding. My sis teaches, writes and publishes a lot of articles. She gets them spiral bounded. So I have some left over plastic sheets used as covers. 

These sheets are thick, available in many colours-both light and dark shades and are quite cheap. I used Kundans for this Rangoli.

I have created an Ashtadala Padma-eight petalled lotus which is drawn for pleasing Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) at least on Fridays. The flower in the center is 8 petalled. then I added other petals to make it more decorative. I have used Red and Green colours as they stand for prosperity, wealth, auspicious, health and happiness.

Here it is. 

I have stuck the kundans with glue. since the plastic sheet is thick it is easy to handle and can be placed where ever you like-prayer room, table tops etc. This would look good on  white coloured sheet but I don't have one. Hope you like it...

Keep watching my blog for more.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Sree Rama Navami Special

Here is the Rangoli I created for this special occasion. I am sorry I could not post this yesterday. I am not feeling well and in severe pain. Due to the influence of medicines I am taking, I am feeling very groggy. But at the same time when there is relief from pain after the drugs start working, I feel so restless. So in order to divert my mind, I am just doodling something or the other. That is why I could not post it yesterday

Well here are the Rangolis. I am posting only two now. You can see my hand was not steady. There are more but I need to pen them properly. Here have a look:

This is how you have to place the dots-11X11 square first and then 3 and 1.
This is how you should join the dots. Lord Rama was known for his archery. He was famous for "One word and one arrow". This means once He gave a word, He stood by it no matter what and always redeemed his promise. He was also known for his  archery. He needed only one arrow to kill demons and evil people. Such was his valour that demons and evil forces feared just by hearing his name. Even today it is believed that when one recites His name, evil forces or bad spirits don't come near. That is why I have chosen a bow and arrow. There is also OM the auspicious symbol. The flowers are my offering to the Lord.

Here I have shown just arrows. Like I said above, Rama Banam-Rama's arrows were very powerful in destroying the bad and evil forces. This is 7X7 block.

May Lord's blessings be with all of us.

Hope you liked it. Just keep a watch as I am going to post more special very rare and traditional designs.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday-Free Patterns


This time I want to introduce to you one of the most popular motif from India-Paisley....
Hand woven border on silk from Assam showing the Mango or Paisley design.

Paisley- tear drop shaped pattern- is of Indian origin. Some believe it to be of Persian origin. However the word "Paisley"  has been derived from a town Paisley of Scotland. This is called as Paisley Pickles by the American quilters and "Welsh Pears" by the Welsh and were used in their textiles as early as 1800s. French call this as Boteh and Plame.

Some feel that the tear drop shape can be traced back to ancient Babylon. It represented the growing shoot of  date palm which was considered as sacred and "Tree of Life" as it provided food, drink, fibres for clothing and for all other needs. Gradualy the growing shoot symbol began to be recognised as fertility symbol too.

Some believe that this shape is known as "Boteh" is the Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity and originated from a combination of stylized floral spray and cypress tree. This later on was adopted by the Azerbaijan too in their textiles and architecture too. 

The floral motif of Iran known as "Buta" originated in Safavid dynasty of Persia. This sounds like the "Boteh" and I think it originated from that word. Buta is a word still used in indian textiles for tear drop shaped pattern. This was popular textile pattern used during Qajar Dynasty too. Textiles of royalty as well as common man-garments, carpets, shawls, furnishings, quilts,  and jewellery sported this motif.

Some believe that paisley pine cone, or tear drop, was derived from the Indian boteh or buta (from the Persian word for flower). Buta even today refers to tear shaped motif. Buta in general means motif but when specifically used- tear shaped one.

The boteh first started as a simple and naturalistic plant rendering used in both textiles and art; it was an attempt by artists and weavers of the Mughal court to imitate European botanical studies typical of the 17th century. Stylistically, the evolution of the boteh owes much to traditional Persian floral design, as it was depicted in carpets, tiles, and miniatures. By the 1700s, the motif was embellished with additional flowers and tendrils. Gradually  all those merged into a  slender conical “tree” with  a bent tip. Finally the motif evolved into the elongated serpentine abstraction as we see it today.

This is still a very popular motif in Asian countries.

Indians used this symbol or pattern since ancient times. In Sanskrit this symbol is referred to as Mankolam-Its a tamil word meaning Man-Mango and Kolam-rangoli or design. Mankolam means the Mango design. In Telugu it is known as Mamidi Pindelu, in Urdu -Kairi and Punjabi-Ambi; all meaning unripe small mangoes. For us this symbol is auspicious associated with prosperity.
          Paisley in Batik
These patterns were widely used by the Kashmiris in their shawls either woven or embroidered. In other parts of India these were woven with gold or silver threads as motifs or borders on saris and other materials, jewellery etc.
   Paisley in Kashmiri embroidery
The East India Company during their rule in India popularised this pattern during 17th and 18th centuries as Kashmir shawls were exported to Europe. To meet the huge demand, the manufaturers in Marseilles began to print the motif. Holland followed the suit. During 19th century  the design from the Kashmir shawls were copied and adopted for the hand looms and jacquard looms by the manufacturers of Paisely-Scottish town. Later on these motifs were printed on cottons and woollen fabrics which became famous as the paisley patterns.

Even today this motif is popular in our South Indian textiles and jewellery. So here is my motif.....
            Paisley Pattern
This would  look great on saris, blouses, cushion covers etc . You can paint it or embroider it. Satin stitch, herringbone stitch, chain stitch with French knots may look good.
Hope you like it. Try it out and let me know.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Heliconia Flowers-2

Here are the picture of my Heliconia- the second stage where another bud or flower is opening up.
It takes a long time for the entire flower to show up. So one can enjoy the sight of the flower for many days unlike flowers which bloom and fade away in a day.