Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wall clock............My successful Plastic experiment...

Loved the outcome, its different, light in weight and chic....

So much plastic lying all around.  I was looking for more ways to innovate. I wanted to experiment with the Polystyrene (eg, yogurt container, Kids chocolate packaging) type of plastic in particular since it has a low heating point. So I collected all sorts of these plastic packing materials, cut them into small bits (if you have a shredding machine, it will be far easier)....Now the challenge is to heat it. You and me know that when plastic burns it leaves dangerous fumes. Hence I just wanted t heat it and not burn it to attain certain flexibility.

So I gathered several packaging materials, orange, blue, green, white, non opaque as you can see. Arranged them in a grouped pattern and packed it tightly in a round aluminum baking tray lined with a baking sheet. I left it on the terrace in the hot scorching sun for 5 hours (which helped the material drastically soften. With a magnifying glass (if u remember as kids we did this a lot in school) I concentrated the sun rays in certain areas which cased the material to nicely merge into each other as you can see. This activity already merged the particles into one sheet after which I simply painted, decorated and varnished it. I worked with a local watch shop to get the clock movement in place.

Unfortunately I didn't know this would turn out this good, it was just an experiment. So I dint click step by step photos. However for those of you interested I found a similar technique online .

However if you do not want to go to this trouble you could simply work with ready made reisin granule you get in online shops.

Warning: This process does leave harmful gas and has been performed in a well ventilated area using a respiratory mask.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wow...A hot air balloon

I wanted the kids to do something new. So the challenge was to use any household material to make something different and the change the look completely (that’s how I work in my recycled projects)..So no converting a container into another container, no painting CDs (unless they use it further as something else) and doing something they have never seen before (no copying). The best part about kids is they are honest and wont do a google search to get ideas….So I had a 4.5 year old and my 18 month old work on this (she tears, colors, sticks, does finger printing, learns, entertains and is a handy craft companion)…..They had exactly 45 minutes, which with kids usually extends as u have to persuade them to stop. They keep changing their mind, adding on and the final stage never seems to come.


They picked a lot of materials but some I had to take back as they aren’t meant to be recycled like the TV remote and my house keys (Though I wondered what they would do with it!)...Anyway, here are the materials they used….an old plastic shuttle cock, a broken plastic racquet, a burst cloth ball, pins, threads, paper and paint, scissors, some old broken bunny hooks, ribbons, glue.




I think this is brilliant……..A hot air balloon (they dint know that’s what its called, but they had seen it on TV)….I would never think of this. They also attached a string behind to hang it.





How you can do it:
Paint the shuttle cock as a basket (brown) and fill it with paper, thread, sponge or anything which is light in weight.

Put the 2 bunnies inside  (you could use any small plastic toys you may have). Now decorate the ‘basket’ with balloons, ribbons….To make the balloon they had 2 versions.

They made the head of the racquet as a base (which they also used to shape the balloon). They first made a paper balloon but realized it wasn’t sturdy enough hence they went back to their earlier plan of wrapping the cloth around it to which they could attach a pin and also hang it.

Paint some clouds and sun as decoration.. . 


How can you do it better:

(1)You could use a real gas/ helium balloon (the one that rises in the air) for fun and watch the basket which is extremely light in weight rise.

(2) If u like to see it as a parachute you could tie it to the shower cap and let it float down especially if you stay on higher floors and it’s a windy day!

If you make this, please share your artwork pictures in the below comment box, would love to know.

I have submitted this artwork for kids recycle challenge

Monday, June 16, 2014

Do it with the kids

As we grow up our minds our conditioned to think a certain way without realizing the restrictions they bring upon us. Try asking a 13 year old to describe a picture of a cat and ask a 3 year old to do the same. The 13 year will make u feel stupid for asking this in the first place but after insisting may sum it up saying “It has four legs, is sly, sleeps all the time and sneaks in to steal fish”…Whilst the 3 year old will give you a long passionate description. Will refer to the cat as her or him, it is not four legged but has two feet and two hands and will definitely comment on the tail. Will describe its various colors, eyes, whiskers, size, textures, habits etc….All this cause they are still in the process of discovering it. . . And that is what keeps them going. The day you stop discovering new things in your work, families, people around you, they get boring and you take them for granted…..Anyway, you deal with yourself some other time! ..But you should work with your kids to make their own life interesting, open their minds and keep the zing alive forever.


Its only after I had my own did Ii realize there is so much to learn from the kids. Its only after I started conducting workshops with them did I realize that they overflow with ideas and they know how to deal with them (most of us adults can’t, we need music, quick bites, a drink , a smoke or atleast company to get us going in that direction). In my creative workshops with grown- ups I teach them art and crafts, have a clear agenda to craft flowers or paint a landscape, while with kids I just enable them with art craft techniques and their minds conquer the rest. So I have decided to create a page on my blog to list things you can do with your kids. …..

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dream card

This card portrays a girl fantasizing her moments with her lover......

Here's a short poem I wrote while making the card

Flying Kisses,
Hits and misses.

The cupid strikes,
My heart abides.

The stars want to see
You dance with me,

.............I swirl , Your swirl , we swirl

When the Card (flap) is shut it appears as though she is in his arms....

But when you open it, you see she is only fantasizing....

And for those craft lovers, do not miss the silver bells, the paper folds on her skirt which swirls each time you open/shut the card,

blue and white ribbon folds and the other shiny embellishments to give a night dreamy effect

Floral touch, Wedding bells foil embossed with vintage scripts
I have entered this artwork in the following challenges


I have entered this challenge using the horizontal theme of Two layers, Ribbon and charm








Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5 min wall art

Quick butterflies made up of card board on the wall. The best part is that on a windy day these garden butterflies appear to flap their wings...

I have committed to make my garden wall a learning wall for all the kids who come by. The below vertical garden goes very well with these butterflies....See this link if you missed it earlier

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mini Garden .............with real plants

I love upcycled art, I love miniature craft and I love gardening….So what better than a full fledged living mini garden (18” X 11” inches)!


Here are the steps and you can do it too (Let me alert you , we are talking about living plants so u must take care of them). I water them , feed them and talk to them each time I step into my garden.


I got hold of a wooden electric box (you could do it in a plastic or clay tray which will last longer), cleaned it and sketched my garden landscape on paper. I wanted to include a water pond, relevant pond creatures, a bridge,  a park bench, a garden patio and a shade area.



Step 1:To start with I started designing the pond area. If you have the time and inclination you could actually contain water in it with floating or aqua mini plants ( However it gets quite tedious to clean it regularly (it catches water worms, mosquitoes breed) plus the  birdies use it as a water bath and damage the plants. So I broke(Yeah, broke! I dint get it cut coz I wanted some cracks to appear to create ripple effect in water) a glass to make  it fit the box as per my design. Once done, I painted the glass with water color paints with appropriate shading using blue, yellow and green. I layered the base of the box with foil. This was primarily made to serve two purposes (a) During the day the foil reflects light and give a beautiful clear water effect to the pond (b) the bright reflection of it keep the birds away from spoiling my plants.


Step 2: I wanted to build solid land around the glass which will hold the glass tight and serve as a base to my garden. No better medium than white Portland cement (I used JK White). To make the mortar of sand, cement and water I used a proportion of 2:1:1. In the box / tray I placed a plastic square box to block the space for my plants. I placed the glass as per my design and cemented around it. When the cement was slightly settled I placed small pebbles and shells around pond. On either sides of the pond I placed 2 sticks to mark holes for the bridge I was to add later. Remember cement takes about 2-5 hours to dry, but since I was planting in cement structures I need to cure the cement. That simply means spraying water over the cement patch after 24 hours and repeat again after another 10-12 hrs. This also serves to remove the excess lime in the cement which can harm the plant growth.  



Step 4: Make the bridge: You can gather twigs in your garden , or sticks or anything to give a wooden effect. Once you have measure thee length and the width of the bridge, cut the sticks accordingly and stick them on a thing piece of cloth. Once dry cut it along the stick (If your cloth is a strikingly different color you can paint it. I chose a difficult method to do mine. I actually tied up each stick to another to form a garland. This is much sturdy and also work well if your planning a hanging bridge, but the tying has to be done correctly such that is balance the sticks evenly across. Once your base is ready, place two thick wires across the pond to prepare a base to place the bridge. Stick your stick structure to the base wire or if you have stringed it together like I did. . simply tie it to the wire……



Step 6: Park bench…..This is the simplest step. Just get hold of ice cream sticks (that will be a good excuse for you to hog on some!) Stick three stick as the sitting area. I used Fevikvick . You could use an fast stick glue. Once dry, break one stick into two equal halves and stick it to the front forming the front two legs. Once dry, create the back legs by sticking 2 full sticks on either side. Lastly just place two long sticks to form the back rest. And voila!, you’re ready to sit on it.

Step 5: I wanted to build an archway garden tunnel (I enjoy walking in these in real gardens and they are rare).. . So once again use a wire to build two arches as per the design.

 I joined them with intermediate wire pieces as I planned to let creepers spiral on them. My creeper is still a baby and growing. However you can follow this link to see how it will turn out finally I assume.

Step 7: Garden Patio (as in the pic above): White was the color I was thinking of. In any piece of art you need to balance colors (as beautifully as nature does it) to be appealing to the eye. White was missing. . Although I used white cement, due to the sand it seemed beige. So I used plaster of paris. It is also very fast to use. I gather some big glass pieces to create a patio. You could use pebbles, flowers, stones, old jewelery or anything to create a design in the plaster of paris but u must be quick as it dries within 10 mins. I used 2: 1 proportion of plaster of paris to water ratio. If you want it to set quicker use hot water.. . If you don’t like white you could simply add a tube of poster colors in the water an get the color you want.


Step 8: Garden Shade.  I simply love the patterns and colors that throw up when sunlight passes through painted glass.

 I got hold of an old CD, removed the plastic coating on it , cleaned it till  it was completely transparent. If you don’t have patience with a CD you could use a plastic / glass lid which suits you.  I drew some random leaves on it and painted it with glass paints to give a translucent effect. Notice in the afternoons when the sun is overhead it throws a beautiful shade and is enhanced coz of the bright white plaster. You could ship this step altogether if you plan to place this mini garden indoors.


Step 8: Make garden miniatures: (my favourite)……………design small pots, small birds, frogs, mushroom, swans, ducks, butterflies, aligators, tortoise all that you can think of. Since my tray / box is small I only stuck to birds and frogs as I wanted to make a “human friendly” garden on the other side. Since, I would water the plants, I used polymer clay to make it water resistant. If you do not plan to keep real plants you could use cold porcelain to make these miniatures.  Here are my frogs, mushroom and birds.



My rooster n hens (I have planted a variety of moss here which will cover this soil and the cracks in some days). So it will appear as though the hens are feeding on them and the cracks will space out the moss well.


I made these pots to plant  succulents as they need less soil and less water.


For birds I just used my imagination and made a small pair of blue birds, stuck them on a small piece of show glass on a medicine bottle cap to appear as a bird bath. 


And you cant miss my oysters!



Step 9: Gather the plants. This is highly subjective. However first decide where you will place this garden. The amount of sunshine it will get. The number of time you will water and how well it holds water. For starters I recommend using succulents/ cacti as they care for them selves. However if you are like me, you may venture into other plants which will add a lot of fauna to the garden.


Step 10: Assembly. Now that you have all the parts of your garden together you just have to set it up. I suggest start with the plants. Sometimes you realize that plants take to certain directions and sides, this may make to rework your plan. After that I got my animal and pond in place. I stuck the frogs, oysters, bird bath etc with fevikvick. I haven’t stuck to mini pots as I keep them under my painted shade in the afternoon overhead sun as I use them to plant seedlings and then transplant it. This design has withstood the rains, storm and sun till date. It has nurtured the plants in it and has kept the pesky crows away (thanks to the reflection)…….

…………………………….Not to say the least, its placed in our balcony where we check it out over our morning tea, my kid has learnt all the pond creatures and the associated flora fauna thanks to this project….

Supplies I used (However in my description I have given supply alternatives)

A wooden tray
polymer clay (air drying)
potting mix soil
Plants (as described)
Sticks/ ice cream sticks,
Strong glue/ fevikwik
glass and glass paints
white cement
pebbles & shells
pearls & mirrors

PS: I realized in the hindsight that I hadn't clicked pictures while making it. Hence excuse me for that.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

2 minute Gluten free oats cookie chocolate (microwave)

As I see my kid munching on junk it troubles me that probably I’m not offering her sufficient alternatives. Wanted something low fat, more nutritious and of course tasty. Hence after much experimenting I have arrived at a perfect and easy recipe of oats , ragi ( finger millet) and raisins which is a hit among kids (and adults)…

Here is the list of ingredients:

  1. One cup Oatmeal (this is a great source of fibre among other benefits and will also give your cookie a nice munchy texture)
  2. Half a cup Ragi/ Nachni/ finger millet flour (you can add all purpose flour instead if you like but ragi is extremely rich in calcium)
  3. One egg (you can choose to skip this one, but I found the cookie to turn out less brittle with egg)
  4. One table spoon castor sugar (you can add more if you please)
  5. One and half table spoon unsalted butter  (you can add oil instead)
  6. Three table spoons cocoa powder.
  7. Pinch of baking powder.
  8. One tea spoon salt
  9. One cup milk


To these you can add any of these ingredients as per convenience and preference. (not more half a cup)

·         Sunflower seeds/ Pumpkin seeds/ crushed peanuts

·         Dates

·         Raisins(if u like you can soak these in rum for an hour before using it)

·         Assorted dry fruit pieces (make sure these are broken into smaller pieces (powdered if necessary)

·         Choco chips

·         Rice crispies (lesser than 1/4th cup)

·         Flax seeds (this will give you your dose of omega 3 nutrients too but add very few as it may add a very strong taste)



Beat the egg well , gently add flour, sugar, oats coco powder. Continue mixing till you find it difficult to stir anymore as it hardens. Now slowly add milk as you continue stirring the mixture. Now add rest of the ingredients till mixed well. The consistency is thicker than that of cake but thinner than bread dough. Line your baking tray/ microwave friendly vessel with butter/ oil and place the dough in it. Here you have to ensure that the dough sits flattened (hence it has to be flowy in consistency) , because if it’s too thick it will not bake well. Remember we are using less oil than normal!............just a 2 minute wait and your cookie is ready (depending on the power etc, you may have to cook it a little more…if you cook lesser it will be like hard cake which is better than it being burnt!)  Just poke it with a fork and check. Your fork should come out clean if cooked.

Once done, let it cool completely and you can pack it in a jar to carry some daily for the next week. I can’t really comment on how many days it lasts without refrigerating it as it has been polished off within 3-4 days in my house.