Saturday, March 15, 2014


Holi, the festival of colors, is just around the corner. It used to be(and still is) my favorite festival but since we left India, there were times we came to know about it only after it passed or we celebrated it by just a mere visit to the temple. But with kids, it's my worry, that being so far away from our country, it gets more difficult for them to learn and understand their culture. We now try to celebrate some of our festivals with  our friends and most importantly, with children's friends, as I think the easiest way to teach our children about our festivals is to involve the people they hang out with, as well in the celebration.

We made it a point to celebrate it last year, and for this year, we plan to do the same. I didn't get around to posting then, but here it is now. We set the park as a venue, and invited almost all our friends. Once the invitations were out,  it was time to get tons of gulaal (color powder). With many kids invited, and with all the news on the chemicals mixed in the holi colors, I decided to take up the task of making my own colors. It turned out to be a very simple and reasonably cheap project.

I ordered a big box of mixed Tempera non toxic paint powder(Colorations brand) from amazon. To prepare the color powder, I mixed paint powder in equal quantity of corn starch powder. I got this idea from Cute As a Fox blog. A food processor can be used for the mixing. I mixed one color using this. But for the rest, I opted to mix with hand.

For the kids to play with colors, I used the colorations bottles with 2 holes drilled on the top. I also laid disposable bowls filled with colors for adults.
There was lots of food, as some of our friends pitched in and brought Indian food. I forgot to take a picture of all the food. And ofcourse, there was Thandai(minus the bhaang/alcohol). What would a Holi be without thandai.

How could I not bake something for the kids.. I made these colorful sponge cupcakes. Ofcourse I iced these, but no picture of it. There were too many happy kids to take picture of, rather than the food.
 Happy Holi!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine Airplane Cards

Its that time of the year again : Valentine's Day. If you have children of school going age, it probably involves sending a valentine card for an entire class. So, like most of the years, this year too, we decided to make the cards at home. 

What kid is not fascinated with airplanes at some point in life. This Valentines,  my 4 year old and  I came up with the idea of Airplane Valentines cards for his class at school. 

It was perfect timing, as couple of weeks back, we had picked up a Paper Airplane book from library and practiced most of the airplanes in it.

My son chose a Raptor Airplane and we started the long process of making 25 of these planes. The thinner the paper, the better it is. Its difficult to get all the details and minute folds with a heavy cardstock.

There is not much space to write on the airplane, and really, its too much to ask a 4 year old to write 25 cards. So, my son wrote his name on a piece of paper, which I scanned and added rest of the message to it, and printed the whole thing. We added it to the airplane as a banner with a thread and a punched hole.

These cards went zooming to the class along with some Valentine's cookies.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY Halloween Planes(Dusty) Costume

My 5 year old is obsessed with Dusty Crop Duster, from the Planes movie. And that is what he wanted to be this Halloween. I tried my best to change his mind, gave him options of a pilot or something human like, and how it would be difficult to make a planes costume that really looks like one. But he said, 'Mom, you just need to make one out of cardboard and not fabric. It won't be that hard'. I still gave him few more days, showed him pictures of other simple costumes, but no, he would not budge. Well, if that's what he wants.. plus its his birthday month, so I gave in.

I really had to search hard on the internet to find if there was an existing tutorial, and I found this awesome one from Desertchicaramblings. It was quite simple to make. One trip to our basement and I found all that was needed. Thanks to my husband who never throws away any boxes(or anything).

I hope this costume lasts until Halloween. Its in heavy use these days, and its wings are taking a toll.

Its hard to take any pictures of a plane in action, but I tired.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Miss M’s Indian Birthday Party

I still get surprised when I see my baby girl running around. And I am left wondering on where the last year went by?  My heart feels heavy and happy at the same time when I see her grow up so fast. I was in denial that she was going to turn one in July, for so long, that I did not even start thinking about her birthday until June. This led to her dad getting worried if I was even planning on celebrating her 1st birthday at all.
So, I accepted the fact that I cannot stop her from reaching the first big milestone of 1, buckled up and started preparing for it. We had agreed on the Indian theme long time back. 
First were the Invites:

I wanted to use something other than the elephant, as that was all I could see on the ideas on Indian theme on internet. India is not just about Elephants. So, went with the peacock, and why not, after all it’s the National Bird of India. The background image is of Hindu shlokas in Sanskrit.

Even though there was nothing babyish about the card, I did want to add some touch which would give a birthday feel. So, added balloon liners to the envelope.
Table Layout

As the place that we had booked, gave us only an hour for decorations, I had to decide on something simple and big with more impact, instead on numerous small decorations. I got orange and pink paper lanterns, and some bulbs to go inside it. Never ended up using the bulbs, as it never got that dark(read no time). Also, we had time to put up only half of the lanterns I bought. My brother in law was at it the minute we entered, and he did his best to put up as many as possible.  
We decided to get the food catered from outside, but at some crazy moment, I made the decision to bake the cake, or shall I say cakes for the party. A week before the party, I thought I was baking and icing non stop. 8 cakes… no kidding. For those who do not believe me: 2 smash cakes, 2 cakes for party, 1 cake for cake pops, 1 for the actual birthday, and 1 for my darling sister(but we ended up saving it for the party).
Here is the chocolate cake for her actual birthday.
Smash Cake No 1
Smash Cake No 2: for the party
Going with the theme of the party, made pink and orange cake. Added some Henna style designs with golden icing. By the time I started to get my hand set on it, I ran out of golden icing.  Set the cake on my favourite wood rustic cake stand.
This Bundt cake is what I had baked for my sister’s birthday, which is one day after Miss M’s. But we thought we might not have enough for the party, and saved it. As it was bundt cake, there were not many options on decorating it. Iced it in cream cheese icing. Added a silk flower and a banner. Made this banner from beautiful printables from Kalyani Designs.
Red Velvet Cake Pops: I made these cake pops using the recipe here and decorated with Henna designs on it(alteast that’s what I tried).
For the cake pops stand, I bought wood slabs from Michaels, and drilled holes in it.
Marshmallows: Coated some marshmallows with orange and pink candy melts. No pictures of it though.
First Birthday Stats

For the background of the cake table, I clubbed together some of Maya’s pics over the last year, and printed in in polaroid. Actually these are not true polaroid. I had to use Picasa’s Collage feature to create a picture with white background of true digital size of  4 *5.3. Then placed the pic in the center of this collage. That was the only way I could make it work.
I used two frames that I found in the basement of our 100 year old house. Covered the picture it had with brown kraft wrapping paper, and hung the photographs on hemp strings. In between the 2 frames, added a birthday banner. I had also made pink fabric ruffled frills to go along with the banner, but it never made it, as we had limited time to put stuff on.
 Maya's felt birthday hat
For the table cloths, I used burlap with a wide width, with runners on it. Made runners from the crushed velvet fabric and block printed on it. More on the runners here.
I wanted to paint the mason jars in the colors of the party, but there was absolutely no time to do so. Instead I colored the water that went in the jars. I think it worked equally good. In addition to that, I decorated the jars with Swarovski in paisley designs.

 Block Print Goodie bags

 I bought ready made bags and block printed on it in golden, orange and pink.
Favors:  I bought these magnets from Chumbak with an Indian Hand. For kids, there were Ganesha and mouse charms along with some candy.

 For girls, there were bangles and bindis.

Moochi(Moustache counter). I cut these moustache out of felt, and glued a small portion of band aid at the back.
Food Labels

Indian Dinner
I loved making these food labels with some detail for each food item on it.

Sweet Boxes
Which Indian party would be complete without mouth watering Indian sweets. I packed some (laddoo and kaju rolls) in kraft boxes, and embellished these with hand crafted paper roses. Each guest left with one of this.
 Smash Cake Time

 Cake cutting
There was Pinata in the end, which kept kids busy, while we wrapped up the party.

Here's wishing my darling daughter a very Happy Birthday and a heartfelt thanks for filling our lives with laughter and love always.
Other Details 
Printable peacocks from Graphic Express
Silk Peony flower on bundt cake from simplyserra
Felt Birthday Hat from Mosey shop
Printables from Kalyani Designs
Kraft Boxes from The Package House

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rakhi Tutorial

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan, an Indian festival is just around the corner. This festival celebrates the strong bond between a brother and a sister, wherein the sister ties rakhi(thread) on her brothers' and cousins' wrist, and the brothers in return vow to protect and take care of their sisters lifelong. I am lucky to have all my brother and cousins to share this occasion with.  

This year, on my mother's encouragement, I decided to make my own Rakhis. Here in US there anyway is not much variety to choose from. This year, even Maya had to tie/send Rakhis to her brother and cousins. The rakhis offered here were too simple for kids. All the more reason to make own Rakhis.

While my Mom was visiting us few months ago, she bought embroidery/cross stitch thread(in 3 colors) for me for this purpose. So thoughtful of her.

For a 12 inch long Rakhi, I cut four 15 inch long thread of same color. Did the same with other 2 colors.

Tied all the 3 colors together to make a braid.

Made the braid, and knotted the other end, and cut the edges to even length. I know the threads pic above does not match with the braid below. Atleast I have a pic :)  

For my brother and cousins, I sent these simple braided threads. But for little ones, these are too plain. So, added the embellishment with some hot glue. I got some 3D stickers like Guitar and Panda. 

Finished by adding a small piece of felt on the back side with hot glue.

Also made some with Ganesha charms.

Happy Raksha Bandhan to my dearest brother and cousins. 

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