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Exploring the world of Indian Home Decor

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#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.

5 ways to glam up a tiny bathroom

This post is about how we changed an ordinary boring tiny bathroom into a glamorous one. So if you are interested, read on. 

This was a typical office restroom that you get when you are a small business and rent out a small space in a premium locality commercial complex. Super tiny in size (Less than 25 square feet) boring tiles,  and no place for anything else other than a WC and a tiny corner sink. (At least we have our own and dont have to share a common rest room, Thank God!) It has a tiny window that lets the light in and provides ventilation (Thank God again).

During the process of rescuing this bathroom from boring, we discovered the 5 ways to glam up a tiny bathroom.

This is HOW!

1.Create a grand entry.  Just coz it leads to a bathroom, does not mean it needs to look drab. The entry to the (thinking) throne needs to be a grand one. The blue door gives you no clue about what is hidden behind. (Do ping me if you like the color and need the shade code)5 ways to glam up your bathroom

2. Ditch the light colors and go Bold. Contrary to popular belief that you should stick to lighter colors in small spaces, we decided to go bold everywhere. The walls above the tiles and the ceiling was painted in dark grey that almost looked like black. As usual, this made the biggest impact to the space.5 ways to glam up your bathroom

3. Switch the lighting to warm. Since this was in an office space and did not have a shower attached, I decided to do a pendant light, a traditional Andhra leather work shade with geometric lines. Changing the bulb to a warm led lends the glam feel.

4. Add an interesting mirror. Pretty self explanatory there. Since mirrors can be taken with you when you move, invest in a beautiful piece. 5 ways to glam up your bathroom

5. Introduce some Decor elements. I love decorative items in the loo. (Gives you something to stare at. Lol!) Maybe a plant, or decorative bottles, aroma diffuser or some sea shells in a glass bottle. Hanging a multilevel shelf provides room for storage of essentials and also some decorative elements too.

So these are our 5 ways to glam up a bathroom. Bathrooms are my favorite space to decorate coz there is no midway, you either break your bank or spend almost nothing decorating it.

 

 

A Dramatic Bathroom Renovation

This post is about a dramatic bathroom renovation that I did sometime last year. We managed to convert an ugly servant quarters bathroom into a luxury bathroom experience.
This was one of the most ugliest parts of the property. It was a part of the servant quarters, used by the security guards and the reason why you don’t see you before picture because extremely dirty smelly and unkempt. It had an Indian toilet in a corner and one step above the rest of the floor, a few taps here and there and an ugly rotting door. The tiles were i think assorted leftover from the tiles store, there was blue and orange and dirty yellow. None of them where in any reusable condition.

A dramatic Bathroom Makeover
Since this was going to be an office bathroom we could do away with the shower area. That made it easier to work with a small space. Now all of me that was a vanity and some TLC.

Here is what we did.

We permanently closed the door from outside and cutout a door from inside the room. (Functional change)DaVinci Bathroom Tiles

The first thing that we chose for the space was the tiles. We fell in love with the DaVinci limited edition tiles and I just knew I had to use them. Now working on a small budget I had to be very sure that I am not over shooting. The tiles were a bit of a splurge so the rest of the things had to be under budget. I planned the layout of the bathroom in a way that the vanity is exactly in front of the door. As soon as you walk in you see your face in the mirror and the WC is hidden on the left side.DaVinci Digital Printed Tile

The DaVinci Tiles had a single piece of Mona Lisa tile and I knew it had to make a big impact as soon as you get into the bathroom. I positioned Mona Lisa in such a way that as soon as you open the door you see your face in the mirror and then next to your face is Mona Lisa. The vanity is a simple plywood assembly and the counter-top sink, tap & hanging light fixure was reused from another place.

A dramatic bathroom renovation
A dramatic Bathroom Renovation

 

Instead of a towel rod, I added a small bamboo ladder. This was really an after thought, but I think it adds a rustic touch and yet retains the glamorous look. The cabinet hardware took the longest to find, Almost 6 months after the bathroom was ready, but it fits in perfectly.

P.s. If you want to place a bamboo ladder in the bathroom, dip the legs about 6 to 8 inches in oil enamel and let dry before you use.

 

My First Zero Waste Event

Zero waste Event

This post is about how I managed to achieve a zero waste event. As I see it, a zero waste event should not have anything going to the land fill, municipal dustbin or even end up in our cupboards as a dead investment. If you aspire to have a zero waste event, read on.  

We (husband and I) had our annual office puja on the first day of Navaratri. Since both of us are busy with our work all year round and don’t have any significant office events, we decided to have a slightly larger party and invite our family and friends.

We had about 50 people, including our staff, building support staff, friends and family.

Here is what I did.

1. I decided to do away with disposable plates , glasses and spoons. All that waste never gets recycled, even if someone claimed it does, there is no sure shot way of making sure it does.

2. Banana leaves for serving food was my first option. But, it needs to guests to sit down and I dont have that kinda space. Also, I don’t have a set up to compost that big pile. I would have to have the municipal guys pick it and it will end up in a landfill. Bad idea!!

3. So I decided to rent the dinner ware from a tent houses. We paid as little as 3 bucks as rent per plate and a tiny insignificant amount for spoons. They did not have glasses to rent out, and I had to make other arrangements.

4. At first I thought I will invest in a few dozens of glasses, but i wouldn’t be using them for the rest of the year. We are an office so everyone has a bottle for themselves, so we collected, cleaned and filled all bottles, rented a couple of jugs and took all the glasses that were at home. Surprisingly no one seemed to mind drinking from a bottle directly.

5. The caterer brought the food in a large size carriers. We arranged them like a buffet and served people exactly what they wanted and how much they wanted. No “Typical Indian” khathirdaari  (read force feeding).

6. One beautiful family member volunteered to distribute the leftover food to laborers at construction sites. She even rushed back home and brought all restaurant takeout boxes she found in sight. All the leftovers were taken care of, no wastage there.

7. We collected all the food waste from all plates into a bag. We washed all the plates in a bucket of soapy water and sent them back to the tent house.

8. We had about 1 to 1.5 kgs of wet waste from the leftovers in the plates which came back home with me and went into my compost bin.

Yooohoooo…. Zero Waste event it was!!!

Something that I am super proud of, and something that gave a huge boost of confidence.

 

Good Riddance 2016, Hello 2017

Decor Blogger India

2016 has been a terrible year for all I hear. For me it’s been a freakishly crazy topsy Turvy time. The year started on a stressful note, had me taking a break for a while, resolved to take it slow and even before I knew I was 200% busier than before. I pushed my limits, took a hit on my health, almost lost my mind and was contemplating selling everything I own and moving to the mountains. Even on the very last day of the year, when I was all set to put my feet up and relax, my house help dint show up, I had guests to entertain and I ended up doing all the cooking and dishes. Thats how bad 2016 was.

On the positive side, I met some interesting people, did some challenging work, had some meaningful collaboration, stood my ground, preserved my sanity, proved a lot of people wrong, held my family tighter and had some beautiful days that I wouldn’t trade for a fortune.

While the world is going crazy, I see that 2017 is going to be a promising year for me and my country. (I am hopelessly optimistic most of the time) there was no one word to define 2016, I don’t want to let 2017 decide what it’s going to be like. I want to have a word or a few words for the year. 

So, right at the beginning of the year, I am deciding how I want my year to be. My words for the year are going “CRUSADE. BE!“.

Crusade (Take part, push through, battle, struggle, drive), through everything, good, bad, difficult. Everything! Whatever life throws at it, I am going to accept it graciously and crusade through.

Why “BE”?. Sometimes when tricky situations turn up, you stop being yourself. You doubt your abilities, your intuition and sometimes even the choices that you made. So the “BE” is going to be a note to self, to be Myself.

So “CRUSADE. BE!”

Do you have a word or words for your year?? What are they? I am curios to know.

Festival Impressions & and a Blogging Block

Stone Urli with a musician Ganesh and some floating marigolds

When life is happening on a fast track, the online journal somehow takes a back seat. Its been dull here on my blog for a while now, thanks to the busy work schedule. While I am excited about my current projects offline, I always seem to miss the  good old days of blogging. Its like a void! Time after time, I have kept repeating here that I am going to blog more often from now on and failed at it every-time, so much so it feels like a bad joke now.

The truth is, there is so much going on in my head and I simply lack the motivation to sit down and write. There is some very exciting stuff that I am working on, some lovely people I meet and the new things I do and learn. All that would make wonderful useful content that you will love to read, but where is my focus and motivation?? As I am writing this post, I have got up and walked around for no good reason at-least five times!!!

If you can relate to what I am saying, please leave me a message or send me an email. If you have gotten out of a similar situation, I would want to know what you did. What can I do to get rid of this weird lethargy?? Do some yoga?? meditation?? Stand on my head for a new perspective? Drink some virgin due dropping from a fruit in the amazon jungles on a new moon day? What?? I need some solution PLEASE!!

Moving on, work has been busy with me setting some unrealistic targets and actually managing to achieve them! Due to which this years festivals have been a blah! (By the way, festivals are a big deal for me. so reason no 634 to be frustrated with self!) I can go on and on!

Anyway! Here are some snapshots of what I did manage to achieve during the Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali.

Ganesh Chaturthi

I displayed my Ganesh idol collection in every corner. Someday I need to keep them all together and take a count.

The Ganesh Collection

Some pictures from Diwali

Chair leg candle stands for brass diyas

The usual pillar lamp

The Diwali goodies

After all the festivals and decorating, I thing Ive got an over dose of brass. So I plan to put them all inside for a few months and do more rustic wood, cane and ceramics in my decor.

P.S. Will post pictures of new decor if I manage to get over this block.