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5 ChildProofing Ideas For Your Home From Cubby Tales

Child Proofing Ideas for your home from Cubby Tales

This post is about childproofing ideas that I have implemented at Cubby Tales, a Daycare and Pre-school currently based in Bangalore. Cubby Tales was my first Daycare/Preschools project and most likely the only Daycare/Pre-school project, Coz thanks to the fool that I am, I fall in love with the project and people there and working for someone else feels like I am cheating. You can check them out on their website www.cubbytales.com (no prizes for spotting my picture there)

I visited a Daycare that had chart paper stuck on electrical outlets that were within a childs reach and I had nightmares for several days. Childproofing is a critical activity that needs to be carried out if you have a baby or a toddler. While ensuring that there are no sharp edges and pointed things within the reach of your kids, here are a few other things that you can do to ensure that your space is safe for your kid. You cannot eliminate accidents completely, but you can surely ensure that you minimize it.

  1. Plug all power outlets with the dummy plug. Whether or not at your child’s level, ensure all your electrical sockets are plugged in with a dummy plug. If you have to use it, you can remove the dummy plug and religiously install it back tightly after use. Its hard for an adult to pluck them out, so you can be sure your toddler wont be able to. These are available at any electrical stores and are very inexpensive. (It may be called different things in different places, so just take a screen shot of this image and show it to your local vendor)ChildProofing Ideas
  2. Install nets. Nets keep the birds out and the kids in. If have a dangerous stair case or balcony railing that you’re afraid your kid will climb on to secure them with bird net. Bird nets are typically used to keep pigeons away in balconies and can be very securely installed. They also made in custom sizes so need not worry if they are available in the size of your balcony.
  3. Fixed Barricades. Staircases are one of the most dangerous places for toddlers and securing them should be your top priority. Baby gates are now available in India and they are free from any carpentry or fixing work. All you need to do is tighten them against the wall and the staircase railing and you are done. If you are the DIY kind, make one of your own, but ensure that small fingers should not be trapped in the hinges.Cubby Tales Koramangala
  4. Free Standing barricade. Put a stand-alone barricade in front of a place that you don’t want your kid to access and let your kid know. Unless you have an extremely hyper kid who doesn’t listen to anything you say, this works. Once told kids generally don’t venture beyond the barricade. We do that a lot at Cubby Tales and we hardly have any instances of kids misbehaving. P.s. This is for normal spaces like kitchen or Puja room, if you think the space is dangerous, install fixed barricade and secure well.Cubby Tales Hebbal
  5. Soft pad a dangerous area. If you have a pillar in the middle of the room or a wall at the end of a long corridor inside the house that you kid bumps into while running, consider sort padding. Furniture foam is available in furnishing store and a high density 1 inch foam is good enough even your kid’s bangs in to it while running. You can apply the foam directly on the wall, if you want a polished look, cover it with bright fabric (or art leather if you want to wipe it with damp cloth)Childproofing ideas for your home

When we want our children to fall and learn to get up on their own childproofing your home ensures that its geared up to handle a little person . Also you can move about peace knowing that your child is safe left on its own.

P.s. Cubby Tales Koramangala is having a fun event for kids this week, so if you are around, go grab a seat.

Cubby Tales Koramangala

DIY Kalamkari Carpet Planter Basket

DIY Make your own Kalamkari basket out of an old dhurrie

We see gorgeous dhurrie planters in images of homes around the world but they are hard to come by here in India. This 10 minute DIY is simple to make, but has tons of style. If you dint have to measure and cut, it would be a 2 minute DIY and you will be surprised at how ridiculously easy it is to make.

DIY Kalamkari Dhurrie basket

Here is what you will need.

  1. A kalamkari carpet small or any stiff carpet(i used a 2ftx4ft, this size can make 3 baskets)
  2. Good pair of scissors. (Rotary cutter if you have)
  3. A marker or marking chalk.
  4. Hot glue gun (If you are making it with a kid, please supervise the use of hot glue gun)

Here is how I made it,

  1. I cut all the tassels from the end of the carpet.
  2. I marked 1 inch from the shorter end ( 2ft side) of the carpet width, and then divided the remaining 23 inches into 4 equal parts, that was 5.75 inches each. so 1″+5.75″+5.75″+5.75″+5.75″ = 24″ (2ft)
  3.  I marked lines of 4.75″ inches long from the edge of all 4 markings.
  4. The height of the basket should be approximately same as the flap 5.75″, I did 6 inches here, allowance to fold another 3 inches, so 4.75+6+3=13.75 (no need to be this accurate) , I marked 14 inches from the edge on both sides and cut them out. So 14×24 inches made one basket for me.
  5. I cut all the lines along the 5 inch line that I had marked.
  6. I stuck the 1 inch flap to the inside of the other end of the carpet with hot glue gun all the way. Now I had a cylinder with some cut flaps at the bottom.
  7. Just like you would fold the flaps of a carton box, I folded the opposite ends and hot glued it together.
  8. Turn it over and here is your base. Now fold the top part a few times like a rice sack and you are DONE.

Here is the link to the instagram video.

DIY Kalamkari Dhurrie Basket

 

I even made a slightly bigger one with a more stiff mat and I think it looks fabulous.

Make your own Kalamkari Basket

This picture should help you figure out the math for any size of dhurrie.

DIY kalamkari Dhurrie

Make sure the mat you are using is stiff enough to hold on its own. If you make it too tall, chances are it will sag down. Hot glue holds pretty good, we put a big pot in it and lifted it and it was intact. If you want to give it extra strength, you can nail some steel tacks from the bottom.

Now go and pull out all those dhurries that are in storage for some reason or other, and put them to good use.

Get The Home Festival Ready – part 1

Festival ready Home
This is a 4 parts article series that I wrote for an offline newsletter a few years ago. I chances upon a copy while I was de-cluttering. It was useful to may who received a copy of the newsletter, and I am sure it will be useful for some of you too. 
My best memories of childhood have come from the festival days. Flowers, decorating, loads of fun with friends and family, gifts, new clothes and good food. But as an adult, I would dread the festival season because of the preparation that goes into it, getting the home ready, managing the guests and the after party cleanup. Well, until I realized, if this is done one step at a time in an organized manner, no one can stop me from bringing the childhood fun back. So here is what I came up with to tackle this problem head on, and you can do these too.
 1. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter!!
Yes, before we start the beautification process, there is a little (sounds reassuring when I say little) prep work to be done. Get rid of everything that you dont need or have not used for more than a year. If you havnt missed it in a year, chances are you wont miss it if its gone. Donate old cloths and toyso has a very therapeutic effect, the less clutter you see around, the more calm you feel in your mind. This step can start today and start now.Get your home Festival ready
2. Make your plan.
This is an important step for both, if you are living in a rented apartment or in your own home. Sit down with your family and give it a thought. In case you are living in your own space, Have you been thinking of renovating the kitchen, bathroom or have been thinking of undertaking major renovation? What is your budget? How much time do you have? If you are looking to renovate the kitchen, then get your plan in action as any modular kitchen factory take minimum 4 weeks to deliver. So you can have a brand new kitchen for Diwali.  For renters, you cannot do much to the walls or the fixed furniture like kitchen and wardrobes, but you can definitely change the look by changing the layout of the furniture or adding new pieces of furniture. So think about it and get cracking on that action plan.
3. Arrive on a budget!
This could be slightly difficult considering the fact that there could be multiple things to do and you have no idea what your budget should be. Once you have your plan ready, it shouldn’t be very difficult to know what its going to cost. With almost everything being online, do some research and see what things cost. Once you know the approximate estimate, it’s easy to arrive on a budget that you are comfortable with spending. Tip: budget a 10% extra to provide cushioning in case you fall in love with something and you absolutely must have. Always stick to the budget( when you stick to the budget, you will be more confident an encouraged to get home related work done)
 Indian Festival decoration
4. Get rid of the bugs!
Do you have an AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) with a pest control company? If you dont, now is the time to get it, or get a round of professional pest control done. Festivals means lots of food, and lots of guests and you dont want to be embarrassed by a roach running around casually in front of your guest. Also, after a round of pest control, you will see dead bugs around the house for a couple of days. So doing this a few weeks before the festival time makes sense. And if done by professionals, you wont see a roach for more than a year.
With this we would have managed a big bulk of work, what do we do next? Stay tuned for Part 2.

Five things that caught my eye at Dastakar this year

Its the last 3 days of Dastakar in Bangalore, so if you havnt visited it yet do so this weekend. I missed Dastakar last year and the year before, but made sure I visit this year for sure. So this post is about what I am excited about at Dastakar and not what is new there. Just thought I would clarify that.

5. The Khurja pottery Plates
I think the the Khurja pottery artisans took the art to a whole new level with these new, super intricate paintings on the plates. It felt like you are in some kind of painted pottery heaven. I would droll over traditional Turkish pottery, but hey, here are our guys giving them tough competition. There was also some new designs on casseroles and other things but what killed it for me were the plates for sure.


I am already dreaming of a gallery wall with plates (Not in my place, no wall space left)

4. The cow head Planter
The earthen ware that you see as soon as you enter the exhibition is hard to miss. Spend some time there and you will see some gorgeous pieces that are screaming to go home with you.


This cowhead planter sure came home with me. I am thinking I could hang it on a white wall as it is(So earthy), paint it and hang it on a white wall ( lovely pop of color), or hang it on a colored wall and leave it natural, (Ooooo…) If you made a movie out of the pictures in my imagination, it would be so colorful 😀

3. The beaded bangles
Well, I know this is a decor blog and we talk decor here, but look at all those colors. How do you resist that??

2. The Thangka Paintings from Dharamshala
Oh I love Thangka! And I love the artists, and the place where they come from, and the philosophy that they teach and practice. This stall in one of my favorites. And the fact that each and every intricate painting is handmade, just makes it the most beautiful stall in the world. I already have a black and silver Thangka in my collection and it has a beautiful story behind it. Here at Dastakar, the range starts from 600 INR upto 30K. 

1. Driftwood sculptures


This was something that absolutely blew me away. Imagine walking by the river in the forest and finding driftwood that has been sculpted by nature. For years together, water and mud and rocks brushing through the wood to give you a masterpiece that you can marvel over. So mindblowing!! If you are at Dastakar, stop by this stall and have a little chat with the artist Suresh Pant who finds these pieces and makes them into mind boggling sculptures. You get a feel of the what nature could do if left undisturbed. You can buy your own starting 500INR upwards.

5 Places in Bangalore for Great Deals : Budget Decorating

5 Places in Bangalore for Great Deals

This post is about where you can shop if you are budget Decorating. Here are Five Places in Bangalore for Great deals. 

I believe no budget is too small for decorating. If you are willing to put in the time and know what kind of look you want to achieve, it can be created. So here are 5 places in Bangalore for great deals.

Bamboo Bazaar

Apart from selling bamboo and its products, Bamboo Bazaar is like a treasure hunt in real life. You can find different kinds of timber, old doors and windows, old furniture and artifacts. Be willing to make friends with dust, heat and long walks and you shall be suitably rewarded in due time. The thing about shopping on a budget is that you cannot give up after one failed attempt. Keep looking. Go back another day. If you are really lucky you will chance upon some good stuff. You may find an antique pair of chairs or a bed or an ornamental window.

The old furniture pieces come as is and will need restoration. If you are considering restoring them yourself, pick up pieces that are as per your level of skill. Sometimes all it needs is a good clean up and a lick of paint. Good tip: Know approximate retail prices and you can negotiate to buy your piece.

Old Windows at Bamboo Bazaar

Pottery Town

A small settlement of potters live here and make a variety of earthen ware. They have planters, pots, tandoors, diyas, cookware, serveware, masks, decorative pieces etc,. The prices are very reasonable and the people are quite friendly. Earthen pots look absolutely gorgeous when they are painted with regular wall emulsion. Planters from Pottery townSo take your time, look around and peep into every corner and see what you can find. I have painted a tandoor and turned it into a decorative pot on a terrace garden. I have bought terracotta plates from Pottery Town and my Rasam rice tastes divine in it.

Pottery Town

Central Street

The street adjacent to the Army Mess leading to the Shivajinagar bus stand is the Central Street. You will find a number of furniture vendors here. Again not being in a hurry is the key. You can get good sturdy metal dining chairs for as low as 800 bucks. If you are a crafty and DIY person, furnishing an apartment on a budget is going to be a piece of cake. You can get sturdy cheap furniture and do some painting, decoupage or small upgrades to make they look great. Good tip: Dont shop on an empty stomach and carry drinking water with you.

RamachandraPuram

This place is fabric lovers paradise. Export surplus and rejects are bought by vendors on this street and you will see fabric heaps in every shop in the stretch. You can find traditional to contemporary to very modern fabric designs here. If you like something, pick it immediately and dont pass it off for next time. Hundreds of people visit the markets everyday. There is a good chance that the fabric you liked will not remain until you visit next.

Ramchandrapuram

You can even find cushion covers, chair pads, table runners etc., that are sold in the western market under big brand names at ridiculously low prices. No Good tip: Inspect everything thoroughly before you buy.

Sunday Market

This is one of my favorites coz of the mystery surrounding it. You never know what you will find untill you get there. The Sunday market happens on Sundays, obviously, and starts from BVK iyengar road all the way to KR Market and the by-lanes in between. You can get anything here. From Vintage typewriters to maybe someones old pants. The possibilities are endless. Look at everything from an upcycle project point of view. I created this chandelier out of fan blades I found at the Sunday market.  The vintage typewriter, you wont believe I found at the Sunday Market.

Vintage typewriter from the sunday market bangalore

Read about my shopping haunts on LBB Bangalore.

#ISAVEDMYPHONE

#isavedmyphone

How many times have we thought of junking our phone coz it doesn’t take good pictures anymore?? If I took a rupee for every time someone agreed with me on this, I would be a millionaire in a day.

Scene 1: Bright sunny day, happy weather, you take your phone out and click a picture. The picture feels like its cloudy as hell!!

Scene 2: Beautiful warm evening light, shiny brass vignette on the coffee table, you decide to share it on your insta story and take a picture. Looks like a picture from a shady bar!

Being a visual person who loves capturing moments in a picture, I have been there too many times. It is not possible to carry the DSLR everywhere. A new phone took brilliant pictures. But as it got older, the pictures did not look all that great. With people going gaga about iphone photography and my middle class upbringing not letting me splurge on something that is not an absolute necessity, I had to figure something out.

Here is what I discovered,and you can do this exercise.

  1. Take a picture of something near you.
  2. Take a soft tissue or a piece of soft cotton cloth (DRY), and give the camera a good wipe. (the back camera of the phone)
  3. Take the same picture again.

One Silly trick to take better pictures on your phone #isavedmyphone

This above image was sent to me by dear friend Patricia of Colours Dekor.

#isavedmyphone#isavedmyphone

DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE??? Super silly right?? I wish I had discovered this sooner, I would have has so many good pictures now. Now I dont have to change my phone. Yayy!!

If you discovered it now, use the hash tag I saved my phone ( #isavedmyphone ) and post it on any of your social accounts (Instagram is my favorite) and lets see how many phones we can save.

Ps. All three images are taken from three different phones and no image editing has been done. 

 

Winner – AhamBhumika Giveaway

The Instagram contest for the AhamBhumika Giveaway was a lot of fun and learning. It was just a random idea to make people say hello in any language to make it real easy to enter the contest. Boy! what fun it turned out to be. Click on the image to see the insta contest.

AhamBhumika Instagram Contest

It was the husbands birthday yesterday, so he helped pick a winner the old school way, by a lucky draw. The video is posted on Instagram HERE.

The WINNER of the INSTA Contest is.. Jayanthi (@bjquark) Yayyy!!! Congratulations Jayanthi, send me your mailing address and this beautiful cover will be on its way.

A Big Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and made it such a fun experience.I have more giveaways lined up so stay tuned. The next one being this pair of graphic printed cushion covers. Its going to be super fun.

InstaGiveaway coming up soon

AhamBhumika

Handmade cushion cover from Aham Bhumika

This post is about my experience with the Non – Profit AhamBhumika that is based in Bhopal and a review of their products. 

I am not sure when exactly I was introduced to AhamBhumika, but I got reintroduced to the organization through instagram. AhamBhumika is a non profit based in Bhopal and works with women in two villages Borda & Mahabadia. Among their several projects, one livelihood project has trained more than 30 women in hand embroidery. They make cushion covers, table runners, tote bags, pouches etc. (For those who dont know, livelihood projects are set up to ensure people have some form of generating income to support their day to day living. In most cases, the project is the only way for them to generate income)

Home of an Indian Home Decor Blogger

I follow their feed and one day I saw an embroidered cushion cover that stole my heart and decided to write to them.

My Experience!

  • The experience of dealing with AhamBhumika has been nothing but an absolute pleasure.
  • My query was answered promptly and what was supposed to be a one cushion cover purchase became 4.
  • I asked for 2 designs that I absolutely loved and couldn’t make up my mind for the other 2. So I paid for 4 and asked the team at AhamBhumika to send me two of their choice in the same range.
  • I received 4 gorgeous cushion cover in 3 days from when I had placed the order.
  • Good quality fabric has been chosen for the embroidery, the finishing of the cushion cover is great and the best part, the embroidery is a piece of art.
  • The two covers that I asked them to choose, were again art in the form of embroidery. The best embroidery I have seen in my life. ( I have not featured them in this post as it will be an overdose of beauty)
  • What blew me away was that they even included a 5th cushion cover as a token of love for me from their team. And mind you, its one of their best designs. The fact that they did not compromise when sending the freebie speaks volumes about the team. I am floored!

Home of an Indian Home Decor Blogger

Why should you buy from AhamBhumika?

The first and the best reason to buy from AhamBhumika is that they make mind blowing handmade pieces at affordable prices. The fact that you are supporting a livelihood project in a village is a bonus.

Here is the instagram profile of AhamBhumika.

Life Lessons here?

When we sell things, everything has a price tag to it. But when we give something away for free, and we ensure it is one of the best we have, it becomes priceless. Agree with me??

I am giving away this beautiful art cushion cover by Aham Bhumika on my Instagram

I am sharing the love I received!

I know what I share only grows, so I have decided to giveaway this beautiful embroidered cover to one lucky winner. Hop over to my Instagram post and enter the giveaway. Find this image and follow the instructions given.

AhamBhumika Instagram Contest

 

My TOP 5 Favorite DIY’s

Leather frame mirrors on the black feature wall

Everyone has their own way of relaxing and unwinding and mine is to create something. My DIY time is the “me time” and if you see me irritated and wanting to bite your head off, its coz I haven’t created something for a long time. DIY is not always about saving money, there are times that DIY can cost more than what you can buy something off the shelf. But the satisfaction of having created something all by yourself is priceless.

While there are several DIY’s on this blog, here are 5 of my most favorite. (Click on each title to read more)

5. The Decoupaged Dining Table

DIY Decoupaged Table

The 70’s and 80’s Kids can relate to furniture that was solid wood frame and plywood tops with ugly brown laminate. I picked this table from an old couple and loved everything about it except the top. Here I have decoupaged layers of pages from an old dictionary to give it a makeover.

4. Pens and Paint bottle organizer.

PVC Pipe DIY

This was made for a dear friend Shruti, who is well known as Artsycraftsymom. Shruti is not only a friend, but all my pillar in strength when I need one. She is the family I chose for myself. I spent two full days with her to give her studio a much needed upgrade. She was one of the very first blogger I collaborated with, even before the idea of collaboration came.

3. The Kutch Mirror wall

kutch leather mirrors on a matt black wall

 

This was the feature wall in my Studio before I completely renovated. I picked the mirrors during a sale in Gurjari (the official handicraft store of Gujarat). I had been visualizing this wall for a very long time, before I decided to make it in my office. It was a show stopper, a conversation starter and a wow factor. It almost felt like being enveloped in a warm hug when you were in the space.

2. The wooden Bar cabinet

Painting Laminate furniture

This is another way of upgrading laminate furniture. I have used this in some many places that I can almost swear by it. The trick really is to ensure you clean the laminate with soap water, let it dry completely, do two coats of primer and leave at-least 12 hours gap between coats.

1. Fan blade pendant lights

The final look of the space

The reason why this is my favorite is coz it makes me happy every time I look at it. This is like a DIY’ers dream, like you pick up something from the junk market and turn it into something that you absolutely adore and is one hundred percent unique. I bought the table fan blades at the Bangalore sunday market, cleaned it up to reveal beautiful colors and got my electrician to hang them in my husbands office. It completes the look of that meeting room I think.

This post was a beautiful reminder of all the fun times I had during the making of these DIY. While I am in the process of documenting the other DIY’s I have done and all the ones that I plan to do, this was a fun refresher.

Active Life – Being Hacked – Bouncing Back

Decor Blogger India

I read somewhere that it is hard to balance more than two things at a time and even if you want, one of the things always takes a hit. Many people talk about Work-Life Balance, but I wish it was more simpler than that. In short, when life happens, everything that is not on your critical list takes a backseat. For me I am on several boats at the same time. I have a Family, Work, Friends, social life and a virtual life through this blog, all in the same order of priority.  Family, work and friends are my identity and I don’t see a life without them. If I was asked to sacrifice something out of the list, it would be my social life. But this virtual world has been very patient and waiting, people coming to the blog looking for new updates, finding none and still coming back another day. I was just not able to find the time to deal with it.  But that changed a few weeks ago.

Since I get emails asking why there are no new updates and my friends keeps pushing me saying I need to blog more and it’s the responsibility of a creative person to put out information for free, I decided to do something about it. What happened next, I wasn’t prepared for. When I tried logging into my website, all hell broke lose, I lost access and before I knew it my site was redirecting to some other affiliate sales website. My website was hacked!  It was immediately put on maintenance mode and the restoration of data and securing it took about a month. During the time the site was down, I felt like I had lost my identity. Like Murphy’s law, every other person I met wanted to look at my blog and I had nothing to show. Brands wanted to collaborate and I had nothing to show. I had so many ideas that I wanted to put out and I had only notepads and word documents and it was frustrating. I felt on the edge all the time, irritated, cheated and lost. It was crazy coz all of a sudden I dint know what was happening. That was when I realized that my blog matters to me as much as the rest of the things, it was a part of my work.
Well, the outcome of every adverse situation should be that you come out stronger, push harder and hold on tighter. So the latest update is that I have hired help to manage my work more efficiently. Listed out some exciting work that I want to share and made a plan to go forward. Hoping for the best.