Monday, June 10, 2013

I Heart Warli Art!

Happiness has a new address is what my sister in law, Kajal said when we closed the deal on our brand new Home. She was so right!

It will be almost three months since we moved into our new home. With the weather getting better, I am now in the mood to decorate the home. I have always loved Warli art and Kutchi Lipan Kaam. I always wanted to incorporate them in my home decor but for some reason never did! Not any more.... the first project I tackled in my home is Warli art on my dining room wall. I had a basic idea of how to draw the shapes and just went to town after that!

We started with a our blank canvas... a huge builder grade butter yellow wall......boring!

The biggest challenge was finding the right orange color. I wanted the color to be similar to Geru.... the reddish orange color on which Warli art is done in India. Luckily Home Depot has samples which don't cost a fortune. For my size of the rectangle, two bottles of the samples were more than sufficient. It saved us from having to store half a quart of unfinished orange paint in the garage. I chose Glidden- Cinnamon Stick duo which is the paint and primer mixed in one. It is such a huge convenience to skip the primer step.

We just eye balled the rectangle and taped it using painter's blue tape. I did not want it to be too perfect.
 After a couple coats, my bright orange rectangle was ready to embrace Warli! Excuse the mess please! :)

I lightly drew the figures with chalk and then painted over it. The chalk lines were just for reference because again there was no perfection intended.

I couldn't wait to start painting... with full excitement, I began my mission armed with Martha Stewart brushes and white acrylic paint. The excitement died down instantly because the acrylic paint was not giving me good coverage. I was disappointed.... I searched high and low for the correct paint type. I asked around, sent emails, but didn't receive the answer I was looking for. Finally, I decided to use the same Glidden Duo in Swan White since it had the primer mixed in, I thought it should cover the orange better. It sure did and also went on very smoothly on the wall. I did have to do two coats on certain parts though which was not a big deal.

Finally with a loud drum roll.... I present to you my lovely Warli Art!

Soaking in the evening Sun... showing off its true colors!

Here's a final close up view... I know I know I need a better camera and I need to upload better pictures...... 

The Tarpa dance piece was what I was most nervous about, but once I started chalking there was no looking back.

I LOVE IT! I don't know how long will it stay before I get bored of it.... but until then I will enjoy it!

I missed you!

O my lovely blog... i missed you so much! It is more than a year since i posted anything on here. I was EXTREMELY busy, but who isn't? I became so engrossed in the daily grind that i forgot to enjoy the little pleasures of life like my blog....little things that bring joy.. like a comment on my blog post from a stranger whom i have never met or seen.... but that comment meant so much to me! I visited my blog everyday and sadly left as i did not have the time to post anything.

So what really kept me busy?

Well, i started working full time which was a huge leap for me as i have always worked part time. My last post was in May of 2012 because that's when i started working full time. I just finished  a year! Wow... kudos Hetal, you did it!

Along with that, I started studying for the CPA exam! The new job and the CPA review course were just three days apart. Boy.... what a crazy few months those were! I had definitely taken a bigger bite than I could chew...hence, I haven't taken any parts of the CPA exam yet. Studying for the CPA exam with  a full time job, the most supportive and co-operative hubby and the most adorable and understanding kids was more than I wanted to handle .... not that it is not doable, but I chose not to for the time being.
My family needs me more than my career!

I don't regret it one single bit because when the time is right.... things will happen effortlessly!

Moving on...what else kept me busy? We decided to buy a home! It was the longest six months we have ever lived because the home we liked was being built. Was it smooth sailing with the builder? HECK NO!!! We had our share of builder dramas and fights and exchanging nasty emails and phone conversations... but it all worked out in the end. They delivered the home as promised and we moved in in March of 2013!
What an amazing feeling it was....stepping into a brand new construction. Everything smelled so new. I did not burn candles for some time because I did not want the new construction smell to fade away..... like a new car smell you know which personally I am not fond of.   The next few weeks were again hectic because we were living out of boxes. Gradually, we started settling in unpacked boxes, ordered furniture and started making this house our HOME! The home where memories will be created!

While all this was happening, my work place added the annual audit to the mix. .. those were some long busy weeks! Phew.... I am so glad its behind me for now but it is not long before it will creep in.

But for now I am back..... not with a bang but with a gentle tap..... hopefully I will be around more!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Barbie Doll Cake

Aditi, my friend, Priyanka's little Princess was celebrating her 6th birthday. She requested a Barbie Doll Cake. I had to fulfill that request because it is every little girl's dream to have a Barbie cake once.
I had so much fun baking and making this cake, but it required soooooo much work! I was exhausted by the time I finished this cake.
I started out with two 8" chocolate cakes and I baked one dome shaped cake in a pyrex bowl. I realized that Ms. Barbie was way taller than the three cakes stacked up. So, I had to bake one more cake. I stacked three 8" cakes and topped them with the dome cake. Cut a hole in the center aligning all the cakes and frosted them with Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting. I then piped tiny rosettes on all over the dress. Ms. Barbie was wrapped in saran wrap and slid down the hole.
She turned extremely gorgeous and elegant! She surely had a lot of heads turning.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Matki Cake

My friend, Sunita, is an enthusiastic baker with an amazing sense of humor. Her daughter, Snehal loves Lord Krishna. For her eighth birthday, Snehal or Chikki as she is fondly called asked for a Krishna Cake!

Sunita, like me, does not like to use fondant or any other unhealthy ingredients in the cake. So, though she received a lot of suggestions from friends to use fondant, edible paper, symbolic things, etc. she tossed all of them. Fondant because it is healthy and it tastes bad, edible paper because then again we would cut the Lord's image and eat it. Moreover, she was going to bake the cake with eggs so she did not want the Lord to rest on it. Personally, even I am against photo image cakes because it would be really disturbing to cut my child's image and eat it. I wouldn't mind a sports team or toy logo or a princess picture... but never something that I love and value!

Well, coming back to the cake. Sunita did not want to make a cake of symbolic things like a peacock feather or flute because it requires lot of precision and perfection. She did not want to bake
"something" that looks like a peacock feather or flute.
She wracked her mind for a few days when suddenly she had her aha moment! She decided to bake a Matki Cake which is definitely symbolic and as far as the shape was taken care of the rest would be manageable.

She baked two 8" cakes for the body of the matki, one cake in her pyrex bowl for  the lower dome and a small cake for the top of the matki.
She assembled the cake with the whipped cream frosting sandwiched between the layers. The cake was frosted with whipped cream frosting also. She beat some frosting slightly more to give it the home made butter look that Lord Krishna loves and topped the cake with that.

Sunita's hubby found an image of Krishna on line which he laminated and glued on a skewer. The skewer was inserted in the cake which made it look the cutest cake in the world - Lord Krishna offering home made makkhan from the pot! Using this technique,  though Lord Krishna's image was used, it was neither touching the cake nor was it cut. The problem was solved!

It was a very sweet result of Sunita's hard work and effort that only a Mom can put in for a child.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monster Truck Cake

My nephew, Punit, turns three today. I still remember the day he was born. I naturally felt him to be an extension of myself. Everyone was overjoyed and excited. My Dad even got a little teary eyed.

This year for his birthday, I decided to do something more than what we do every year. I baked a cake for him and because he loves cars and trucks I decided to make him a Monster Truck Cake. I tried to create a the scene using what I has at home. I wanted to see the joy on Punit's face so I FaceTimed with my brother. Punit's eyes lit up on seeing the cake. I think this was the best use of technology. He blew from India and Ishaan blew the candle here. He thought he actually blew the candle. We sang the birthday song for him and he sang along with us. He even opened his mouth to eat the cake. It was all so cute. Like Shiv says, 'With FaceTime we are together, but not together.'

Getting back to the cake...I first started with two 8" eggless Chocolate cakes. Sandwiched chocolate ganache, whipped cream and strawberries (my family loves this combo) between the two cakes and frosted the whole sandwich with chocolate ganache. I then piped some grass and borders with green and yellow frosting.

The next day I ran graham crackers in a food processor and spread the crumbs on the top to create the arena.

I gave my boys' monster trucks and cars a good wash. I used graham crackers to form the ramp and path on which the cars sat so though the cars were washed, they were not touching the cake.

The cake came out very cute! Punit was extremely overjoyed on seeing the cake.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Farm Cake

Remember the Puppy Cake I baked for my friend's daughter, Gauri? That was a surprise for her on her actual birthday. Her party was today at Monkey Joe's. Now because Gauri loves animals, I baked her a Farm Cake.

I baked two 8" eggless chocolate cakes. I spread some chocolate ganache, whipped cream and sliced strawberries on the first layer. Placed the second layer on top and covered the whole cake with chocolate ganache.

I let the flavors marry overnight. The next day I colored some buttercream frosting with green color and frosted the top of the cake using grass tip to cover the top with grass.

I then piped tiny yellow flowers on the grass.

I piped the fence around the cake with whipped cream.

Placed the animals on the top.

I printed out a barn image on regular paper and glued it on construction paper. I attached a toothpick on the picture with some tape and wrote the message on the picture.

Everyone at the party loved the cake. It was extremely moist and delicious!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Puppy Cake

Today is my friend, Anchal's daughter's birthday. The little Princess, Gauri, turns six today. Though I use the term Princess over here she is so not into Princesses and Fairies. She is TOTALLY into animals....Animals of all shapes, sizes, habitats. Her favorite of all is Puppy. I see her melt every time she pets a stranger's dog at the park.

I have known Gauri since she was 18 months new. She has grown sweeter every year. I have seen her blossom into this cute little girl who loves to have meaningful conversations with me. Her little eyes light up when she tells me a story from the park or something simple like her little brother wants to come over to my house to play.

Gauri loves to play with my boys! She has fun playing rough. She loves the outdoors and I often hear her giggling playing tag or skating with my boys.

For her birthday, she specifically wanted an animal cake. I gave her all sorts of choices with Princesses and Fairies, but she was clear. In her sweet little voice she said, "Aunty, I like princesses, but I love animals. Can I have an animal cake?"

There I was trying to bake a cute animal cake without the use of fondant or gum paste. I know she has a soft corner for puppies. So ... a Puppy Cake it was for Miss Gauri Mishra!

Gauri.. this one is for you! On your Sixth birthday we pray to God that He showers all his loveliest blessings on you! May you succeed in all the fields of life and make your Parents proud.

For the Puppy Cake you will need:
1. Two 8" cakes
2. Frosting of your choice. I used Chocolate butter cream with cream cheese frosting
3. M n M's for the eyes and mouth
4. Twizzlers for the collar and tongue.

 I started with two 8" eggless chocolate cakes.

Take the first cake and cut it in half like so

Using some frosting, glue the pieces together to form a semi circle.

Now take the second cake and cut it in half. Cut one half into quarters.

Align the curves of the quarters with the semi circle formed with the first cake. Glue them to the semi circle with some frosting. These become the hind legs of the puppy.

Carve a semi circle from the other half. I used a small bowl as a guide. (Please ignore the blurry picture.)

Cut the remaining rainbow into four equal parts. These become the snout, tail and ears of the puppy and the semi circle becomes the face.
Attach the pieces with some frosting

There... Gauri's little friend is beginning to take shape. I could see the puppy, but my boys thought it was an elephant cake first.
I tried to pipe some fur using the grass tip. It looked really cute and I was on a roll when suddenly I realized that the puppy started shedding its fur on the sides. I was disappointed. Why does this happen to me always? Also, the buttercream frosting was melting because of my body heat so that made matters worse.
I finally decided to slather the frosting on the puppy and give it some spikes.

I used brown m n m's for the eyes and mouth and twizzler for the collar and tongue.

Overall, the cake turned out very cute! Gauri and all her friends loved it!

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