Saturday, 22 March 2014


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The crocuses have declared that Spring is here!

The hellebore did flower in the winter, but I wish it were a different color:

And I need to get my real camera out!

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Seed, Seed pods and Paint -- A simple Craft DIY

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On my recent trip to India I collected some seeds called manjaadi kaai. Here is a link to some info on it. Well, strictly speaking, I did not collect it, I just picked up my mother's collection. These little coral like seeds, drop to the ground as the seed pods mature. I was meaning to make some jewelry from it, initially, but then I decided that rather than store it away somewhere until I am ready to make something out of it, I would rather display it:

The flower like woody things sitting inside this glass jar are actually seed pods that my mother also collected for me. The tree sheds these massive seed pods during the rainy season. Now, no one is able to tell me the name of this tree from which such magnificent seed pods arise, so I will have to keep searching until I find it. These pods occur in a bunch, almost like a flower. Each pod is about 4 to 5 inches long and three inches wide.

Once I put it up in the vase, I realized that I wanted some more luster on the pods. Not exactly color it, but, you know, to just add a little punch.
So, I experimented with several things. Here is what it looked like with Martha Stewart's metallic paints. I believe the shade was called copper. It was a bit much for me.

Next, I tried some nail polish on it. Yes, I know! :)

I tried four colors on that pod. The silvery color is actually Martha Stewarts titanium.  I thought I might try the titanium thing on an entire pod and see how I liked it.

I kinda liked it, but still... just wasn't able to commit to it. I thought I might paint the rim of the pods this color.

So the search continued on.
I decided to try the patio paint I had bought for another project, where I made a planter from some patio blocks. I never did paint the planters, so I had lots on hand. This is how it looked.

Now, this I liked a lot. It looked just like nature intended, only dressed up a little to party!

Now that the outside of the pods were all painted, I thought, may be some color on the inside -- something to "pop" would look even nicer. So I tried another shade of nail polish. 

Meh... wasn't that exciting. So, I tried some red glitter glue. 

I kinda liked how it looked, but I thought too much of this may just be too overwhelming. Also, it might have a very Christmasy look and I was kind of going for an all year thing. 

So, in the end, this is where I am at. I still don't know if I want the silver on the rim and what I want to do with the interior. What do you think?

Does the inside look too bare? Should it be dressed up?

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Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Bakasuri (The demoness who eats a lot)

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Ever since I changed my way of eating to include a lot more veggies and protein in every meal, eating at restaurants has often led to much unintentional hilarity. Evidence: this lunch time conversation at the cash register of a university canteen in a vegetarian traveler's paradise (India, that is).

Me (to the bored cashier who is more mechanical than a robot):
One order phulka ...
Cashier (in an elevated voice): One order phulka, (his unseeing eyes looking up, more from practice than any need to really see the customer)
Me: Two orders channa masala,
Cashier: 2 order channa masala (his eyes come up for air again)
Me: One order ...
Cashier (looking up now and actually seeing): Parcel a? (want it to go?)
Me (shifting my weight, slightly uncomfortable at the implication): Illai inga saapda thaan. (Erm.. no just to eat here...)
Me: One order palak paneer, One ord...
Cashier (now in a louder voice than before and miming the action of carrying a tiffin carrier): Saappaadu konduvandirukkeengala? (Have you brought food with you?)
Me (stopping mid order wondering why anyone would buy food if they already have food: <blink>
Cashier (helpfully, because, obviously, I am from some other planet): Illai ellaam sides-a irukkae? (because it's all side dishes here).
Me (suppressing a sheepish grin): Ippdi thaan naanga saapduvome! (This is how we eat).
Long silence.
Me (disregarding the stunned pause and resolutely finishing my order): One order kadai vegetable.
Silence that I will not qualify with cliches like "that you could cut with a knife".
Me (looking up because my order was not parroted back at me): <blink>
Cashier (looking at the cashier-in-waiting standing next to him, his jaw still unhinged): <blink?>
Cashier-in-waiting (wide eyed, shrugging his shoulders, flaring his hands and trying not to burst out laughing): <blink!!>

I look expectantly at the two.  The two look expectantly at me. No one moves. Then, as if snapping out of a trance, the Cashier recovers.

Cashier: 230.

In my defense, this was for two people and I still only got 3 molecules of chickpeas, 5.6 molecules of veggies and an ocean of gravy!

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

A No-dig Garden

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Made this garden in just a few hours. I have been looking for things that are pretty to look at and that I can grow in the front yard where the deer and groundhogs and rabbits have free reign. I bought a few things that were considered deer resistant: yarrow and sages. They looked beautiful, until one day, I came back to see them chewed to a nub. Now I am not sure who ate them, but both GH and the deer were supposed to be uninterested in these. So finally it looked the only thing I can grow there are grasses. Thankfully, they seem to not touch them. So far.

So, here is my little island garden featuring Japanese bloodgrass that bought on ebay.

I laid out the 4 Japanese bloodgrass plants the way I wanted them and ended it with a fountain grass plant.

I laid out some cardboard packaging in the area as a base layer. I used old shipping boxes for this.

Then I threw in a lot of soil which I bought in bags. Although, if I were feeling up for more hard labor, I would have ordered some from a garden center and then shoveled them in place. Although in the end, I did not have enough soil and I decided to use the mulch I had had delivered a year ago and which had mostly become soil, with very fat and well fed looking earthworms growing in them.

Placed the plants where they needed to go.

And voila my garden was ready! Felt like an HGTV star!

And to see these Japanese bloodgrass in awesome sunlight! Aaah! Makes everything worthwhile:

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