Sunday, October 23, 2011

Decorating with candles for Diwali

 Chalk rangoli on my front porch. I filled tall glasses with colored water and used them as candle holders.

 My boys' tic tac toe board used as a candle holder. The little animals that you see around the candles are pieces from their mancala game.

 My dining table all dolled up for the festive season... during the day.

at night! 

 My cute yarn wreath peeping in the background.

 Do you see my WS knock off hurricanes?

Marigolds+ roses+ floating candles = Festive!
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Bring on the Festivities V ~ Window Treatments

My dining room window looked something like this:

But not anymore... with the sheer panels from Ishta Home Furnishings and the red panels from Home Goods they are now

Ta daa....
(During the day)

(At night)

This is one of the many times I wish I were a better photographer. These pictures don't do justice to the sheer panels from Ishta Home Furnishings at all. The color is much more brighter and the embroidery has nice subtle shades of brown, cream and gold. 

I absolutely love my window treatment except the height at which my hubby installed the curtain rod! 

Don't you think the curtains are a tad bit higher? I would love them more if they would be hugging the floor. I told him, but he didn't listen and he still thinks they look good the way they are.
Hey I shouldn't be complaining. He was kind enough to install them for me the first thing on a weekday morning without me asking him to.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bring on the festivities IV

Once Navratri was over, I was thinking Diwali is far away.

Between Navratri and Diwali were too many fun things going on. Viren's cousin came over from the Bay area, fall was in the air so we had to do our round of fall pictures, and the most fun was my trip to Las Vegas with my bestest friend, Nimisha. We went there to celebrate our 35th birthdays and 25 years of being na!

my camera is acting up again... so not cool 

We had sooooo much fun is Vegas we chatted and chatted and chatted. We spent almost four hours in Bellagio chatting away to glory. There was a small couch on which we spread apart when there was no one else and chatted; and scooted (like my son says) real close to let older folks rest for a while and continued chatting. Gosh... girls have so much to talk... it was TALK and not GOSSIP at all. We don't do that kind of stuff.  Bad girls gossip. We are good girls! On the first evening, we watched Zumanity. It is a Cirque Du Soleil (CDS) show so obviously there were a lot acrobatic acts. I do not want to comment on the show. If you would like to know why.... check out the clippings on CDS' website and decide for yourself.

Well, after coming back from Vegas... it was time to get ready for Diwali. Moreover, I am hosting the Diwali party at my place this year so had to prepare for that also. A few things checked off my to do list:

Clean Silver {check}

Clean Copper {check}
I use Bar Keeper's Friend to clean my silver and copper artifacts. That thing is GOOD for the tarnish... but very bad for my hands. I gave up after cleaning the ones pictured above and below. Let's see if I would like to attempt some more tomorrow.

Wash Crystal Stemware for the party {check}

No party is complete without fresh flowers. Buy red roses {check}

To be continued......

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jalebi disaster

I have been on a mission to cook as many Indian sweets at home as possible. I had started way before Navratri so that I could be well versed with most of them, but wasn't that successful with a few. The most disastrous was Jalebi.

Instead of taking the shorter route and using the instant jalebi recipe, I went for the longer route thinking 'more work will give better result'.

O God! I soaked the batter and let it ferment for 12+ hours and what not. I was in fact very happy when I was pouring the batter in oil in a spiral form. It seemed pretty easy and I was good at it! Check out the huge Jalebi!

I was extremely happy thinking I have nailed down one more Indian sweet. Boy was I wrong or what... I fried them all and dipped them in the sugar syrup. That's when disaster struck! The Jalebis became very chewy and more of a pancake like instead of retaining its cripness.

I don't think I am ever going to try making Jalebis again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sunken Apple Muffins

Now that Navratri is over, my fruit basket is full of apples that we got as prasad (holy offering to God) from friends' places. So I decided to make Apple Muffins for a change. I have never made or even tasted Apple Muffins. I don't like apple pie so I am never motivated to try anything Apple. Moreover, I like to bake at home in order to avoid the extra 'goodies' (read: chemicals and preservatives) from store bought items. That way I know what we are eating is healthier and I don't have to worry about those nasty allergens.

I have a basic muffin recipe to which I thought of adding apples. It was purely an experiment.


1. All Purpose Flour: 1 1/4 cup
2. Baking powder: 2 tsp
3. Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
4. Salt: 1/8 tsp
5. Yogurt: 2 tbsp (well beaten)
6. Sugar: 1/2 cup
7. Cold milk: 1 cup
8. Vanilla extract: 11/2 tsp
9. Oil: 1/2 cup
10. Apples: 2


To prepare the apples:

1. Wash, core and slice the apples thinly. Do not peel the apples.

2. In a pan, add 1and 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar.

3. To this add 2 cinnamon sticks and the sliced apples. Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.

4. Drain the apples.

For the muffins:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Sift all the dry ingredients except sugar.

3. Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl. Add sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

4. Add the wet mix to the dry mix. Beat till well combined (1 min). Make sure there are no lumps.

5. Pour the batter in a muffin tray with liners up to 3/4 way.

Now comes the fun part. You know how I have been rolling here and here, I thought of doing that to the apples also.

Roll one slice of apple tightly. This forms the bud. Make sure the skin side is on the top. Keep adding more slices to form the rose. Now place the rose gently in the batter like this

6. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool down and enjoy!

The overall result was not what I had expected.

1. The flavors of the muffins and the apples did not gel together. They both tasted great individually but together it was a little too sweet.
2. I should have used apple sauce as an egg substitute in the muffins to have more apple flavor.
3. Some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in the muffin batter would have enhanced the flavors.
4. I should have poured less batter in the cups so that the roses would not sink so much.

My poor guinea pigs (read: hubby, kids and my friend, Anchal's family)!

Oh well, you never know till you try, right?

Linking to Beauty and Bedlam

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Waste out of best - best out of waste

Well, if you have been reading this blog for a month now, you probably know that I am a newbie crafter! I mean knowing how something is done and actually doing something are two different things.
I have had this vase for quite some time now. I liked the shape so I didn't want to throw it away. I used it as vase, as a change keeper, as an empty show piece and what not.

I think the time had arrived for me to give it a fresh new look. So, got to work with my dear old friend Ms. Red Sharpie. I freehanded some paisleys, leaves, flowers and vines. Now this vase still looked pretty boring so I thought of adding some color. Since I had already scribbled on the outside, it was too late to paint the background. So, my genius mind gave me an idea! I poured some (read: a lot) yellow color in the vase and let it rest in an inverted position so the excess paint could drip off.

 I was very excited and started thinking about all the bright shades of tangerine, turquoise and green that I could use to fill in the details.

All my excitement went down the drain when I realized after half an hour that Ms. Sharpie could not show off her quality to be a permanent marker. The design started rubbing off! So not good. Not only was Ms. Sharpie at fault... even the paint was. It was not drying and was just sliding off. Out of sheer frustration, I washed the vase with soap and water.... got rid of all the design and paint. There it was - a waste out of best moment!

Well, I did not give up. Like I said, I liked the vase so I was not going to throw it away.

Armed with some hot glue and jute, I decided to give it a fresh new look all over again. I hot glued one end of jute on the bottom of the vase and started winding around the vase. I also had a couple bottles of snapple on hand. So, I covered those with jute also while I was at it.

What do you think about my best out of waste?

The gaps on the bottle on the left is glue. Because of the curve, it was a little tricky to wrap the bottle without glue. I clicked this pic before the glue dried.

Linking to 

Bring on the festivities III ~ Ishta

My Sister -In - Law, Kajal, is the sweetest SIL ever! Ever since I told her about my plan to change the home decor, she has been actively participating in the process via phone because she resides in sunny CA where my heart resides. She just came up with a gazillion ideas and bombarded them at me! I could not keep up with her pace and had to slow down. She is extremely talented, creative and artistic!

Kajal runs her business at Ishta Home Furnishings. She has a huge selection of luxurious silk duvet covers, zari cushion covers, pure silk scarves that are almost weightless (I think they weigh 13 grams), stoles for the upcoming weather, elegant table runners and table mats that as my friend Anchal says, "Give your table a royal look" .... the list is endless!

You have to check it out to believe it! Her prices are very reasonable and the best part is she ships all over the US.

So what are you waiting for? Your traditional home for the festivals is just a click away.

Visit Ishta Home Furnishings and get the ball rolling!

My camera is acting up again so ignore the dates PLEASE!

Check out the bright, colorful, silk cushion covers that she sent for me ~ at night

During the day

The gold table runner on my coffee table is also a product from Ishta

My new train station clock. I had always wanted one, but never found the right size or right price. This one fit the bill so I grabbed it right away.

The nimbu mirchi in the back ground is a gift from my best friend, Nimisha's, Mom. 

Kajal also sent this beautiful mail holder which I hung on the mirror. I have changed the location now. 

The long, vertical ethnic piece that you see behind the TV is also from Ishta. The opposite wall is a bright red color so I like how it pulls the red on this wall also. 

I am getting the home ready for the festivals. I have a lot more goodies from Kajal that scream FESTIVITIES that I need to put to use before the festivals are here. Stay tuned..... more from Ishta next time!

Linking to 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

20 cent Wall Art

A couple of years ago I had bought this sign as a reminder to enjoy life and use my time wisely. To enjoy every moment and spend as much time as I can with my family. Just a reminder that the time I have been given will not come back again.... be it with my kids or hubby.

my camera switched to 2004 again! :(

I decided to change it so..... I got to work!

I purchased a scrap book paper from Michael's for $0.20, cut it to fit the board and modge podged it on the sign. 

yay my camera is back to 2011.

Then, I free handed the following on the sign:

'The Best Things in Life aren't things' with a sharpie. (I messed up on the apostrophe in spite of going over contractions with Ishaan recently.)

Here it is on my gallery wall