How to Smartly Dress-up for Festive Season?

Pre-Diwali period is a busy time for us ladies. Everything from cleaning and decorating homes to shopping for all, there are plenty of errands to be run. In this busy schedule little time is left to plan about our dressing.

So, in the last minute jiffy, we either buy new ethnic clothes without paying enough thought, or end-up dressing something boring from our existing lot.

Then we see our friends’ photos on Facebook and then think, Oh no! even I had similar waistband, I could have blended it, it’s looking so good on her. So, instead of lamenting later why not take few small steps to avoid being in this situation. Or should I say, why not be at the other side of the fence, i.e. make your friends envious of you.

Now, only requirement is, we have to plan our dressing beforehand. Because with last minute dressing there are always a chance of messing up. So, work out your looks in advance because it doesn’t take much time to get everything together.

By applying few smart but simple tricks, we can get a stunning look by using our existing clothes and jewelry too. Yes, by following some tips, without doubt you can reduce stress on your festival budget and that too without compromising on your styling. Above all, this will bring smile on your hubby’s face 🙂

Talking about myself, I don’t buy new clothes and accessories for every occasion. My creative instincts always push me to design new looks with the things I own.

Me all dressed-up
Me all dressed-up

For example, I still have my college days’ dresses with me and I do wear them sometimes. Of course, it feels really great that I still manage to fit in them. Best part of keeping your older clothes is that they keep you motivated to be active and and be in shape.

Clothing

Long kurtis or ethnic jackets as top, and ghagras as bottom is a popular trend these days. So, what if I say pair your salwarkameez with ghagara, use duppata of any other dress to create a contrasting look. Now, don’t think too much, it will look good!

Kurti and Ethnic Jacket with Ghagra
Kurti and Ethnic Jacket with Ghagra

I don’t get blouses stitched for every saree I have. I rather have some heavy Sequence blouses in red, green, golden, beige and silver. Try contrasting blouse with saree to create different look – as shown in the below picture.

Contrasting Blouse with Saree
Contrasting Blouse with Saree

P.S. – Do try your blouse that you decide to wear, because heavy blouses are worn once in a while and may be tight or loose. Prior trial will save last minute hassles.

Jewelry

Can’t wait further to discuss about jewelry, it’s my favorite topic and I can talk endlessly on it – OK don’t worry I’ll try to keep this post short and will not bore you 🙂

I really love deciding the looks for my close friends and aunts for different occasions, and thankfully they do agree with my suggestions. My mom often takes my input regarding saree and jewelry combination that she plans for any event.

However, if by any chance I’m engrossed in some work and unable to help her at that moment, then do you know you what’s her reaction is? She says, “No problem! People will just say that daughter is jewelry designer, but her mom doesn’t know how to dress-up with jewelry. So, let it be.”

Really, mom’s can get dramatic at times. But, then it’s a common trait across mothers of all generation. They know how to deal with their children. Isn’t it! Even I – with only two years of motherhood experience – have learned quite a few tricks of the trade 🙂

OK, enough of digressing (or else I may not be able keep the promise of keeping this post short), I’ll come back to the topic. Once your dress is finalized, it’s time to pick the jewelry.

According to the work and detailing of your chosen dress, decide the color of jewelry. If the saree has silver work, go for diamond or white gold jewelry. If it has golden work then you can choose from yellow or antique-finish gold jewelry.

Head accessories are very much in vogue and you can easily use your pendants to dress-up your crown. I have shown two looks, one is with regular mangtikka and other one is pendant used as mangtikka.

Head Accessories Maangtikka and Pendant
Head Accessories – Maangtikka (left) and Pendant (Right)

Layering is very much in trend, be it in clothes or jewelry. Combine pendant sets and long neck-pieces to get an awesome royal look. However, just make sure you are blending same color-tone jewelry. Like, in this picture I have worn yellow antique-finish gold necklace and kundan jewelry. Don’t mix white, yellow and antique-yellow all in one look.

Layered Neck-pieces
Layered Neck-pieces

Hands are the most active body part, so get lot of attention. Therefore, use hath-phools to make onlookers’ stare a worthwhile.

Hathphool
Hath-phool

Just in case you don’t have hath-phools, go for lots of bangles to create stack-able bangle look. Big cocktail rings also add to drama, so let them in too.

Stackable Bangles
Stack-able Bangles

If you have been constantly working-out to get a slim waist this festive season, then flaunt it with a waistband or a kamarband. You can use long chain to make a kamarband, it looks equally good. Here, I have used a long pearl string as kamarband and a pearl key-chain to blend with it.

Pearl String as Kamarband
Pearl String as Kamarband

It was fun wearing all these jewelry pieces for this post.

jewelry-used

I really enjoyed, and even my daughter had a fun-time with her mummy giving different poses every now and then and getting clicked by her papa 🙂

Finally, the best part of whatever I have suggested above is, you don’t have to go shopping. You just need to scan your wardrobe, because we normally have so many stuffs that if put-on our thinking cap, we can make use of them splendidly. If you are further interested in reading about jewelry, then check my website on diamond jewelry.

By the way, don’t forget to share your tips if you also know a thing or two about using your existing things smartly – that will save on useless expenditure on fashion and styles. Let’s get our other Bhailis to try those too.

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My First Bottle Art – Ganapati Painting

Is this old bottle of any use? What can be done about these used containers? Don’t these questions creep in our mind when it’s time to dispose-off un-used bottles etc? However, even though we may not figure out the exact use that particular bottle, we still keep it for future use.

Now, let’s fast forward six months or one year down the line. While browsing through our scrap room, we again come across that unused junk and the same set of questions revisit our mind. And this time again our futuristic instincts just don’t let go that junk item from our life.

Simply speaking, it has become our habit to not throw away bottles and empty containers. We just keep cleaning and storing them, thinking they may be of some use in future.

However, the truth is we just store and forget about what’s in our bundle of scrap. It’s only during our mega house-cleaning and space improvement drive, we think that scrap is really a waste and cannot be the part of our beautiful home.

Just like an under-performing worker is fired by his boss, we throw that junk to where it belongs to – garbage. OK, now don’t get emotional! Unlike, that harsh boss, we ladies can always give new lease of life to some of our dear trash objects.

So, in this post I’ll tell you how I revamped a trash bottle and made it our living-room decorative. But, before moving ahead, I would like to share with you how I got this bottle.

Accidental Meeting

Couple of months back, I had been to dinner at a nearby restaurant with my hubby. Our sitting arrangement was such that (just by chance) I was facing the bar. So, while having the dinner, my eyes got stuck on a small, cute blue bottle.

I completely fell in love with its design. I wanted to ask the attendant if I could have that empty bottle, but my social-upbringing was stopping me to ask – after all how can a lady sitting with her husband in a restaurant inquire the waiter about liquor etc. Also, I was apprehensive of my husband’s reaction.

While these thoughts were playing in my mind, our dinner was over and it was time to delete the idea of painting that cute blue bottle. Also, by that time waiter had put that bottle in the trash bag kept behind the reception counter. But, my desire to paint that bottle somehow gave me courage to ask my hubby if I can have that bottle as I wanted to paint it.

And do you know, to my surprise my loving husband readily agreed to what I said and went straight to the manager and requested him to get that bottle. And thankfully, manager was gracious enough to oblige his request. As an artist, I was really happy to get a new canvas to paint on.

Original Bottle
Original Bottle

Trash to Beauty

That night, while going for sleep I had started imagining how I would paint this bottle. I was trying to figure out what could be the best theme. Just to tell you, I have been practicing this visualization technique since my early jewelry designing days. However, I will discuss more about it in another post, because my pretty blue bottle is the protagonist of this post, so I’ll keep the spotlight on it 🙂

So, thanks to that visual imagination, when I woke-up in morning, idea of Ganapati flashed to me. And coincidentally, Ganeshotsav was also around the corner. So, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to dedicate my first bottle art to Lord Ganesh and that too during Ganesh festival.

Therefore first and foremost, I rigorously cleaned the bottle with warm soap-water inside out. Then after drying, I applied light yellow color on an area where I wanted to paint Ganapati. Idea was to portray Ganapati in orange color with yellow background. Also, I didn’t want to completely hide the bottle’s bright blue color, so applied yellow color on a small part only.

Thought was to keep the front part as simple as possible in order to keep focus on Lord Ganesh. However, I wanted to add some detailed work as well, so decided to include detailed pattern work on the rear of bottle. But, while filling the bottle with pattern-work, I thought why not include a brown colored temple-like frame around Ganapati as well.

This would cater two purposes. Firstly, it would further highlight Ganapati and blend with the theme, and secondly it would seamlessly link the center yellow area and detailed pattern work. So, after few erasing, I re-started the work on backside to merge the patterning-work with temple border.

Patterning was really time-consuming and required lot of focus, because it was about matching each and every stroke with the earlier one. One mistake could completely distort the overall look. Now, Ganeshotsav was also knocking the door, so I was getting really desperate to finish this bottle in time.

OK, now do you know how much time it took me to complete just the backside along with temple border? It took around 4 weeks. Yes, you heard it right. To paint this small area it took me 1 month approximately.

Being mother of a small child, it sometimes become really hard to take out few moments for yourself to pursue your hobbies and interests. There use to be stretch of days, when I not even could get time to see this bottle which I was working on – leave aside working on it.

Finally, after the long wait (it was really long for me) the moment arrived – it was the time to paint Ganapati. However, by His grace I was able to paint Ganesh without slightest of rework. Whatever picture and color was in my mind, I was able to completely replicate it on the bottle.

Surprisingly, contrary to my earlier apprehension, depicting Lord Ganesh was the easiest part. May be it was Ganesh’s blessings that worked in my favor. By His grace, bottle was fully ready (along with varnishing) by the first day of GaneshotsavGanesh Chaturthi.

Final Bottle with Ganapati
Final Bottle with Ganapati

Whosoever saw this bottle, was full of praise and it was really heartening to hear those compliments. Their appreciation inspired me to such an extent that I decided to add bottles as well in the list of canvas on which I can express my thoughts. This blue bottle suddenly came out of blue in my life and gave a new turn to my creative journey.

Now, I always keep an eye on glass bottles – wherever available – which I think can be apt to paint my imagination on. Few days back, may husband jokingly said, “Since you have started painting bottles you seem to have learned quite a bit about liquor bottles”. He is teetotaler, so even he doesn’t know much about liquors etc 🙂

In the end – yes, you have finally reached the end of the post, and thanks for coming till here – I’ll suggest you as well to create beautiful decorative out of waste materials lying at your home and save on buying expensive showpieces from stores. These smart creations can add wonderful personal touch to your home and can become really cool conversation starters with friends.

Veggies Paneer for Kids

As a mother I know how difficult it is to make her child drink a glass of milk. I am sure you’ll not disagree if I say it’s no less than a battle in itself.

After weaning my daughter, all I wanted was that she at least had one small glass of milk to start with. But even this simple task became a headache for me. I tried all possible methods but all was in vain – she would just not drink milk.

Tried different flavors like – rose syrup, saffron, warm chocolate, Bournvita, but all was just a waste of time and effort. I was really on pins and needles.

So one fine day, on her regular vaccine-visit I asked her pediatrician for any solution. However, to my surprise, doctor opined that it’s normal for kids to dislike milk post weaning phase.

Her simple advice was to stop forcing my child to drink milk. Instead, her suggestion was to give her milk only when she demands. She will eventually start drinking once she grows up.

But having said that, she did mention to include other calcium-rich dairy products in her diet – like paneer (cottage cheese), curd etc.

This gave me an idea that instead of literally running behind her with the glass of milk, why not experiment different and importantly interesting (at least for her) recipes with calcium-rich dairy products.

So, in this post I will tell you about one of the many recipes I tried out (she really loved it) with homemade paneer. Best part is, it’s rich in protein and calcium, along with being very easy to make.

So, here we go…

Firstly, I’ll tell how to make paneer at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 glass of milk
  • 1 Lemon

Procedure:

  • Boil the glass of milk.
  • Add few drops of lemon juice in it and stir well. You can use vinegar or citric acid as well, however I prefer using natural ingredients as much as possible.
  • Once the milk curdles up, take it off the flame after few boils.
  • Let it cool and then strain the water.
Strained cottage cheese
Strained Paneer

Now, let’s move on to the main recipe. This particular preparation can be made in no time and makes good breakfast or evening snack option for kids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup paneer
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 capsicum
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil/butter/ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of black pepper (from my personal experience I can say that taste of black pepper is usually liked by kids, and in small amount it’s healthy too)
  • A pinch of oregano (optional)

Procedure:

  • Grate the veggies (you can add any other vegetables as well according to your child’s liking).
Grated Vegetables
Grated Vegetables
  • Heat the pan, add olive oil and grated veggies.

Grated vegetables in pan

  • Saute a little, add paneer, salt, black pepper, and oregano.

Paneer mixed with Vegetables

  • Mix well and take off the flame, and it’s done.
Veggies Paneer
Final Recipe – Veggies Paneer

It’s not just simple to make, it tastes good as well. It’s not only liked by my daughter but my husband has also become its fan. You can use this mix as sandwich-filling or to make an open-toast as well. There can be multiple combinations. You just need to wear your thinking cap.

What is Madhubani Painting?

Madhubani is an internationally acclaimed folk art from state of Bihar in India. It’s an art form that was traditionally passed on from one generation to another like family secrets. Its intricate beauty attracts art lovers towards it.

The minute detailing and thrill of filling bright colors in small spaces makes me paint something new in Madhubani. Just the other day I was painting Madhubani and one of my Bhaili (friend) dropped by.

She liked this style of painting and showed eagerness to know more about Madhubani painting and from where I have learned it.

My dear friend didn’t knew that my home town is Bhagalpur in Bihar and that meant seeing live Madhubani painting all around me from childhood. She got curious and wanted to know more about it. My friends herself draws beautiful mandalas. If you are interested in learning how to draw mandalas do read mandala drawing in six easy steps.

So, I thought why not share with you our conversation on Madhubani. This must help you getting basic idea about this form of art. Following are the excerpts of our conversation.

My friend: How this art got its name and its history?

Me: Madhubani is a district in North Bihar, and this art form is widely practiced in this region hence the name. It’s also believed that King Janak of Mithila commissioned artisans to paint on daughter Sita’s marriage with Ram. Mithila is birthplace of Sita, therefore this style is also called Mithila Paintings.

My friend: What are peculiar characteristics of Madhubani painting?

Me: Bold colors and larger than life abstract figures of deities form the central theme of Madhubani paintings. Normally Gods and Goddesses – like Ram and Sita, Krishna and Radha, Shiv and Parvati, Ganesh, Goddess Durga.

Faces of the figures have protruding eyes and pointed nose. Nature inspired motifs like lotus, sun and animal motifs like Peacock, fish, turtle and elephant are popular. Originally, it was done on walls with available natural colors. These days it’s done on hand-made sheets with water-based colors or on silk fabric with acrylic colors.

Have a look at couple of my Madhubani works on hand-made paper:

Radha-Krishna Madhubani Painting
Radha-Krishna
Radha-Krishna Madhubani Painting
Radha-Krishna

If you are fond of mono color paintings. Have a look at one of mine black and white madhubani painting.

My friend: Can I learn it?

Me: Yes one can learn it but since it’s an intricate art form and done free hand, concentration and patience is needed to practice it. I have shown steps for drawing this art form in easy Madhubani Painting for kids. If you have basic idea of Madhubani and want to create a Madhubani painting with more detailing, you can read my post about Madhubani painting in 6 easy steps.

My friend: That’s fascinating! Tell me more.

Me: On observation you will notice double lines all over, differentiating foreground from background and creating depth in design. Double line border is made to highlight the main painting, it can be geometrical design or flora or fauna inspired motifs. In absence of double line the painting can be called Madhubani inspired art not original Madhubani art.

My friend: What are different styles in Madhubani Painting?

Me: Different styles of Madhubani painting can be broadly categorized as Bharni, Kachni, Geru, Tantric, Gobar, and Godana.

My Friend: Great when can I learn from you?

Me: When I take next workshop on Madhubani. 🙂

Feel free to ask me any questions related to this popular art.

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