Interior wall paints – types of wall paints

interior paint - types of wall paint

Painting your home interiors is quite an uphill task when it comes to selecting interior wall paints. Confused between emulsion paints, distemper and luster paints? When buying paint for your interior walls, check out the different types of wall paints besides estimating the average cost of a paint job. Asian Paints, Berger Paints, Kansai Nerolac and Dulux  offer a wide range of  interior wall paints in attractive colors.

interior wall paints - types


Interior Wall Paints – Types

Distemper paint

Distemper paints are water based paints, made up of chalk, lime, glue size vehicle and coloring agents. They may have natural or acrylic binders. Ideal for cost effective painting jobs that need to be finished fast enough. They give an elegant, matte finish to the walls. However, distemper paints come without the benefits of other expensive enamel and emulsion paints – Distempered walls cannot be washed or cleaned with water or liquid soap and cannot fight fungal growth.

Emulsion paint

Emulsion paints are water based paints. For Example, Asian Paints Royale. They impart a rich  matte look to the walls.  They are durable. Most of the stains on the wall can be wiped away with a mild liquid soap solution. Emulsion paints resist fungal growth and mildew.

Enamel  paint

These paints are solvent (usually oil or alkyd) based paints. Thinners are required to clean enamel paints whenever repainting is necessary. They dry very slowly and usually emit strong odors. Enamel paint is available in different finishes – eggshell, satin, semigloss and high gloss. Some enamels are also resistant to heat. They make the walls glossy and washable. Enamel paint is usually used in the kitchens, especially on counters and walls bordering the sink, and in bathrooms where humidity levels are high in addition to the constant washing / scrubbing.

Luster paint

Luster paints are solvent based paints. On drying,  a tough and durable wall coating is formed that is washable, easy to maintain and stain resistant, as it repels water. Luster paint gives off a beautiful soft pearl like sheen. Most expensive of all the above wall paints, luster paint is extremely long lasting.

Texture paint

These paints are used to impart beautiful patterns and special effects on interior walls, when used with texture tools meant for the purpose like rollers, brushes, spatulae or combs. Texture paint is used in combinations of two or three different paint colors. Ideal for highlighting a particular wall in every room.

For people who are allergic to paint odors and VOCs, go for an eco friendly interior paint with low VOC content. Nerolac ‘Eco Clean’, Berger’Breathe Easy’ and ‘Odour-less Premium all-in-1 interior paint’ from Nippon Paints are  eco friendly wall paints that have almost zero levels of VOCs.

Finally it is necessary to get an approximate estimate of the total paint cost plus labor charges. This is even more simple when you use online paint calculator tools provided by Asian Paints, Berger and Dulux.

Berger paints : Paint  Calculator

Asian paints : Paint  Calculator

Dulux : Paint  Calculator

Note: Other factors like natural and artificial light in your rooms and humidity levels must be considered before finalizing the type of wall paints for your interiors. Glossy wall paint in a room with lot of natural light, will reflect more light and will be hard on the eyes. Also, walls in rooms with less natural light must not go in for matte finish with dark shades, as more light will be absorbed and not reflected.


Photo Credits: Maggiejumps 




Organic pesticides – Homemade pesticides for small gardens

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Organic pesticides are the best alternatives to harmful chemical pesticides for small gardens. Gardening in urban spaces means either you have a rooftop garden, a simple balcony garden, planters in your window sill  or indoor plants.  These pesticides are very effective in removing a scourge of garden pests and insects.

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Check out these super inexpensive and natural organic pesticides to bust harmful pests and insects in your home garden and indoor plants.

DIY – Organic Pesticides

Garlic-Onion-Pepper spray

Finely chop 6 cloves of  garlic along with a small onion. Add a liter of warm water. Keep it aside for 3-4 hours. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix well, strain and use as an insect repellent spray. Make sure you do not add liquid detergent. It must be liquid soap – You can use any liquid hand wash for the task.This will last you for a week, if refrigerated. Garlic – Onion – Pepper organic pesticide spray is an excellent remedy for aphids, flea beetles, caterpillars and other sucking/chewing insects.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a very powerful organic pesticide and repellent. When used alone, it does ward off pests but the plants get all oily. So mix 8ml neem oil and 5 ml liquid soap with 1 liter of warm water. Shake the spray bottle well. Spray this all over the plants. Neem oil is an excellent remedy for getting rid of spider mites, mealy bugs and practically most of the plant pests.

Basil Tea

Boil 1 cup of fresh basil (Tulsi leaves) in half a  liter  of water. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to this mixture. Spray this on the plants. This acts as an excellent homemade pesticide  for aphids.

Epsom Salt

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in  1/2 a liter of water. Spray this on the plants. Epsom salt does not harm the plants. It contains magnesium which is nutritious for the plants. This is an organic pesticide that also acts as a nutrient for the soil.

Baking soda spray

Mix together 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon oil and 2 liters of warm water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the plants. Baking soda gets rid of fungal infections of plants. Baking soda spray must be used regularly till the fungal infection is gone completely. The mixture has to be made fresh for every use.

Eucalyptus Oil

Put a  few drops of Eucalyptus oil on the affected areas of plants. It drives insects and pests away immediately. Eucalyptus oil is great for flies, slugs and aphids.

Dried Chrysanthemum flowers

Chrysanthemum flowers(guldaudi or chandramallika in hindi) have a natural pest repellent called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum plays havoc with the nervous system of insects. Boil 50 grams of  dried  chrysanthemum flowers in half a liter of water. Cool, strain and use as a spray. This can be used for a week. This homemade pesticide spray kills mosquito larvae breeding in your home garden or in the water collectors placed under flower pots.

Organic pesticides are the best for home gardens and indoor plants, especially in urban areas. They can be easily made at home, give instant results and come sans the harmful effects of chemical pesticides.

Note: For making small amounts of organic pesticides at home, just halve the proportions mentioned above.


Activities for kids – physical activity and educational games

activities for kids

To find creative and fun activities for kids  is not an easy job especially when it  rains i-Pads, i-Pods and what nots. Kids are hooked onto online games, TV and mobile games. The point is how to make these naughty little chaps appreciate  the goodness of outdoor activities, educational games, cycling and reading books (of course not on a kindle!) among others.

activities for kids

Being a mom, I know how difficult it is to cash in on the 4-5 hours break kids get after they come back from school. We end up scheduling  snacks, home work and  play within this time frame, leaving kids exhausted. So here is my list of fun activities for kids which can be taken up one day at a time. This ensures overall child development and gives you some pure family fun.

Outdoor activities for kids

This is the best activity to get kids to love nature. Lack of space in urban areas need not be a hurdle to begin gardening at home. You can place flowering pots and planters in window sills, or in your balcony. Take old plastic sippers, transparent plastic containers, or a medium sized wooden box. Add potting mix and plant seeds or saplings. Teach them the importance of herbs and spices like growing ginger, turmeric, basil etc. Allow them to plant sprouts. Teach them to make self watering planters. You can come up with a colorful landscape with plants having different colored leaves. Use shells, pebbles or stones to give an attractive fencing to your kids miniature garden. Get a glimpse of several miniature gardens for kids here.

Physical activity – Field day games and fitness activities
Enroll your kids in professional training centers for skating, martial arts, swimming, football, cricket or badminton. These activities are conducted weekly. Some schools conduct these activities as part of their daily schedule. You can search your local yellow pages for these training centers. Enrolling your kid in any one of these will ensure overall development of your child. It also makes your kid confident, plan strategies well and able enough to combat stress in later life.

For Badminton and Cricket coaching in Navi Mumbai contact  NMSA – Vashi,  and DY Patil Sports Academy, Nerul. For basketball, swimming and football coaching contact Fr Agnel Sports Complex-Vashi. Swimming camps are also conducted at NMMG, Vashi.

Music & Dance
Learning music and dance has many benefits. It teaches children a thing or two about your tradition and culture. It improves motor skills and makes kids confident to perform before many people. Music and dance also inculcate discipline in kids, as it requires a lot of patience and training.

Indoor fun  for kids
Every day may not be great to pursue an outdoor activity, especially during monsoon. So let your kid take up DIY craft projects, pursue a hobby or become an entrepreneur.

Art, Crafts,Hobbies and educational games
Let kids create a bottle piggy bank to their pocket money. This will teach kids the value of money. Teach them to make a bubble blower, popup cards, bottle cap or button jewellery, leaf printing art etc. has a wide range of art & craft project for kids. Get kids to make their own board games with a new set of rules and funny looking dice. They can play educational games like word games, monopoly, General Knowledge games and the like. Encourage kids to be little entrepreneurs and earn some money. Help them to start their own Rent-a-Book  library  or organize a kids garage sale.

You heard right! Engage kids in baking cakes, breads and muffins. Let them beat the eggs and mix stuff. Make them create smiley faces for the icing using candies, chocolate chips or fruit jam. You will love the smile on their faces when they see that their freshly baked cakes and muffins  are ready to eat.

Activities for kids must be a proper mix of physical activity, educational games and family fun. These are sure to sky rocket your kids’ overall performance in academics as well as in sports.


Detox diet – An ayurvedic way to remove toxins

detox diet - ayurvedic

Daily exposure to chemicals, pollution, unhealthy food habits, metabolic waste,drug use, stress and a myriad of other problems leads to toxins in the body. More often than not, these toxins are responsible for sluggishness, skin problems, poor digestion, headaches, body aches and lack of concentration. It is a great idea to opt for an ayurvedic diet regime once in a while to bounce back into optimum health. This article focuses on a detox diet – the ayurvedic way.

What is detoxification?
It is a resting/recovering  phase, where your body is cleansed, nourished and rejuvenated. It stimulates the liver to function well, eliminates toxins from the body, boosting your immune system and protecting you from disease.  The best time to detox is between winter and spring. Follow a seven day detox diet plan to bring your body back on track.

Ayurvedic diet for detox

Following an ayurvedic diet is a safe way to detox your body, as it involves naturally grown herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. It  does not ask you to resort to extreme fasting measures. An ayurvedic diet requires a few simple changes in your daily food intake. Take a look at the list of recommended food and food that is to be avoided.

Recommended food for an ayurvedic detox diet

  • Vegetables: Have plenty of cooked leafy green veggies. Use spices to flavor your vegetables.
  • Prepare khichdi for lunch – a simple meal of rice and moong dal(split green gram) with a spoon of ghee,cumin,curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Ghee lubricates the digestive tract, eases constipation,  asafoetida stimulates digestive juices and moong provides nourishment in the form of  protein.
  • Fruits: Sweet, juicy fruits are excellent body cleansers. Have fruit for breakfast and to satisfy in-between hunger pangs.
  • Grains: Whole grains as Oats, quinoa, rice, barley, amaranth and rice are good. Include flat breads or rotis made of whole wheat flour in your diet. Fiber rich grains like Oats cleanse the digestive system and eliminate constipation. Use  ghee(clarified butter) while kneading the dough for rotis or flat bread.
  • Spices: Use ginger, coriander, cumin, fenugreek and fennel in whole or powdered form liberally while cooking vegetables, soups and dals. These spices assist in proper digestion and flush out the toxins from the body through liver, skin, urinary tract and colon.
  • Include vegetable or moong dal(split green gram) soup in your detox diet.

Foods to be avoided

  • Canned and frozen food, meat,refined sugar, fermented food, dry bread, food made out of refined flour(maida), cheese, yoghurt and food that contains yeast.
  • Avoid tea and coffee. Take lemon juice with honey instead.
  • Avoid pickles and foods containing vinegar.

Other tips

  • Begin your day with a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed juice of a lemon and some honey. This will clear your bowels and clean your digestive system.
  • Cook simple meals which are easier to digest.
  • Avoid heavy food like fried food and desserts.
  • People with poor digestion / constipation can include Triphala churna in their daily intake. It is an ayurvedic churna made of three fruits – bibhitaki, amalaki and haritaki). Triphala has anti oxidant and laxative properties .

Initially the body may show some caffeine withdrawal symptoms, if you suddenly stop the consumption of tea and coffee. But it is vital to finish the detox diet process once you have started it. Keep some fruit juice or lemonade handy. You can sip this whenever you feel the urge to have tea or coffee.

After  the seven day detox diet, you will feel fresh, rejuvenated and healthy.


Shades Beauty Salon – Arti Gupta

start a beauty salon - shades beauty salon, ghansoli

How to start a  beauty salon? Well, the answer is not so difficult once you read this inspiring story.

start a beauty salon - shades beauty salon, ghansoli

Meet Arti Gupta – a successful woman entrepreneur from Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. Entering the beauty and fashion business in a place like Navi Mumbai is no small task. To start a beauty salon, one requires experience, research and tons of patience to handle clients. And to top it, comes the added responsibility of handling a family and bringing up kids.

Several homemakers have a flair for elegant dressing, hair styling and being up to date when it comes to make up, cosmetics, skin care, hair styling and hair color ideas. So much so that they have a knack of transforming any plain Jane into Aishwarya Rai or Jacqueline Fernandes. Arti is an inspiration for all women who wish to float their own venture in the beauty business.

Arti Gupta is a small town girl from Nagpur, Maharashtra. She says, ” I always had an inborn talent for fashion and beauty. I was often impressed by my elder sister who is a practising naturopath. I would give beauty tips to friends and acquaintances.”

After formal schooling, she procured a government recognized diploma in beauty and styling from Rimjhim Training Institute, Nagpur. She started off as a beauty and skin care expert with her beauty salon in Nagpur. Then Mumbai came calling. She got an interview call from Hindustan Lever for a position at Lakme, Sanpada. Though her parents were apprehensive at first, they gave their consent for shifting to Mumbai. She underwent training at Lakme and went on to work with them for over 4 years.

While at Lakme, she got married and had a kid. She took a 10 months break after her baby was born, then resumed work at Lakme. She adds, ” Those were the most stressful days of my life. I used to feel guilty for having to leave my baby at the daycare. ” However, her husband has always been supportive of her aspirations and dreams. He helped her set up her own beauty salon.

All this came up after a great deal of market survey. Arti surveyed almost all the beauty salons in the entire Ghansoli, Koparkhaine area. She found that most of them were the typical ‘Beauty Parlours’ of an era gone by with poorly trained staff and very basic beauty equipment. Besides, she wanted her workplace to be near her home. Finally, she came up with Shades Beauty Salon at sector 6, Ghansoli which is at a stone’s throw from her residence. This lets her manage her home, kid and business efficiently.

Keeping in touch with technology and new products is another aspect of running a successful salon business, she says. She attends training sessions and seminars on hair styling, hair coloring, facials, skin care etc. conducted by top companies in the beauty industry.

Arti says that it is important to network with owners of other beauty salons. It helps in conducting background checks for  new employees. Networking also gives her valuable information on product reviews, new technology and training sessions conducted by companies.

Shades is well equipped with the latest apparatus and a range of popular beauty products. Her staff  is well trained and polite. Apart from all this, her patience with clients, a charming personality and quality of service have ensured a steady flow of loyal customers.

So if you are a homemaker and have what it takes to be a beauty expert, it is an excellent idea to  start a  beauty salon.

Visit Shades Beauty Salon, Siddhivinayak CHS, Sector – 6, Ghansoli. Landmark – end of the bridge starting from Mookambika temple.

Chinese chicken recipe with green chillies,soya sauce

chinese chicken

chinese chicken recipe with green chillies and soya sauce

 Chinese chicken recipe

A tasty side dish that doubles up as a starter or a quick snack for kids. Always keep a few boneless pieces of chicken aside whenever you prepare chicken curry. This Chinese chicken recipe is a quick fix one that makes you go slurrrrrp!

Here is how you make it

Boneless chicken – 1/4 kg
Corn flour – 3 tablespoons
Ginger – finely chopped – 2 teaspoons
Finely chopped garlic cloves – 2 teaspoons
Finely chopped green chillies – 1 tsp
Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Finely shredded cabbage – half a cabbage
Soya Sauce – 1 tsp
Oil for cooking – 4 tablespoons (I used sunflower oil)
Salt to taste

Method of preparation

Clean the pieces of chicken  with salt, turmeric, wash and keep aside. Prepare a paste of corn flour, a little quantity each of chopped green chillies and garlic, salt and ground black pepper and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. In the meanwhile, stir fry the shredded cabbage in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Keep this aside.

After 10 minutes, heat some oil in a non stick frying pan or a wok. Add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute till the flavors are released into the oil and a beautiful aroma of fried ginger emanates. Add the chicken pieces. Close the pan with a lid for 5 minutes. Then turn the pieces of chicken  over. Add soya sauce, turn the pieces again and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Keep the frying pan closed with a lid. Once the chicken starts cooking, it releases some water. But in this case, the corn flour may have already absorbed all the water at the time of marination.  Just to be sure that the chicken has a somewhat fried texture sans any gravy, after 20 minutes, remove the lid and cook the chicken  till there is no trace of any gravy.

Once it is done, transfer the fried Chinese chicken  – to a bowl. Garnish it with crunchy, stir fried cabbage.

Kids would love a quick snack of Chinese chicken to ward off hunger pangs.

CBSE vs ICSE – Education sytem in India

CBSC vs ICSE, education system in india

CBSE vs ICSE , which is better?

This is an oft-asked question. November – December is that time of the year when new admissions are registered and  forms handed out by schools to parents for admitting their wards to Kindergarten, pre-primary and primary levels.  Parents face a dilemma when it comes to choosing the proper school curriculum for their kids – CBSE, ICSE, IB, IGCSE or State Board syllabus. Selecting a particular school syllabus has an impact on academic future of your child. Also, you can check if admitting your ward to a school with a particular syllabus and then later changing the syllabus by admission to another school will have any problems. This article examines each of these school curricula in detail so that you can select what is right for your kid.

CBSE board

CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education. It is a board for both private and public schools under the Central  Government of India. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) decides the curriculum. CBSE conducts  two  board examinations i.e.  the All India Secondary School Examination – Class 10 and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination -Class 12. CBSE pattern is more oriented towards Maths and Science and prepares the students for several national level competitive exams like IIT, CAT, IIM etc. in the future. CBSE schools offer several extra curricular activities. There are many CBSE schools, all over India. Some schools like Ryan International allow internal transfer of students in case of relocation to another city.

The age criteria for children being admitted to pre-primary , primary and secondary sections varies with different CBSE schools. For instance, APEEJAY, Nerul has made the minimum age for admissions to nursery class , to be 3 years and 6 months as on June 1st(Source:Apeejay, Nerul). And at Sister Nivedita school, Hyderabad the minimum age criteria for nursery is 2 years and 3 months as on June 1st. (Source:

Hindi is taught from Jr.Kg as against ICSE schools where pupils are taught Hindi from Std.I onwards. Multiplication tables are taught from Std.I in CBSE schools, whereas in ICSE schools, multiplication tables are taught from Std.II onwards. Again, it varies with different schools.

CBSE syllabus is focused and not very vast. It has a single English paper, science paper, and social studies paper. A student following the ICSE syllabus on the other hand  has to appear for two papers in English, three papers (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) in science,  and two papers for the social sciences (History and Geography).

It is said that CBSE syllabus is slightly tough right from the beginning i.e. from pre-primary onwards. The students get automatically groomed to solve tough problems. In ICSE schools, however, the syllabus is very easy in the initial pre-primary and primary years. The syllabus gets tough all of a sudden from std. VI onwards.

ICSE board

ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. It is governed by the ICSE council established by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. Two examinations i.e. one for  Std. X called ICSE(Indian Certificate for Secondary Education) and for Std. XII called the Indian School Certificate (ISC), are conducted by the council.

ICSE syllabus is vast and in-depth as compared to CBSE syllabus. It focuses more on languages. Besides, technical subjects like Maths,though taught well, are less emphasized upon as against CBSE syllabus. However, ICSE is recognized by several foreign universities. For instance, a student aiming for higher studies in UK can directly skip bridge courses and A-level tests, if he has  cleared the ISCE exam.

Students have to be four years and above for admission to Jr Kg. In std X, the student must be 16 years of age at the time of appearing for the ICSE examination. But again, different schools have set different age criteria.

SSC Board

SSC stands for Secondary School Certificate. This is a public examination conducted by the State Boards of different states in India. Learning the local language of the state is compulsory. This syllabus is not ideal for kids whose parents relocate often, on account of transfers. The content is limited and comparatively easier to the syllabus offered by other boards.  Additional coaching is required when these students have to appear for competitive examinations. State board schools have a lower fee structure as compared to other boards. However, the quality of education differs from school to school. Many state board schools have set an unparalleled standard in the field of education, for example – Holy Cross Convent School, Kalyan and Father Agnels, Vashi. More emphasis is laid on sports and extra curricular activities.

 IB Board

IB programme stands for  International Baccalaureate programme. This was founded by the International Baccalaureate Organization, IBO – an NGO based in Switzerland. The syllabus is on par with international standards, resulting in a more application based practical and interactive teaching methodology. It focuses on all round development of the child. This curriculum is suited for those who keep relocating to different parts of the world. The syllabus offers a variety of subjects. There is no stress for the students. No examinations are conducted till standard X. Kids can get admission to any IB school across different countries.


IGCSE stands for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is a two year programme encompassing Std.IX and Std.X. Students from other boards can join the IGCSE programme in Std IX.IGCSE examination is conducted by Edexcel, UK and Cambridge International Examinations(CIE), UK. After passing IGCSE, a student is thoroughly prepared for any international pre-university programme,  Cambridge Pre-U, AS Level and A Level study, IB Diploma programme and other exams of similar nature. It is recognized by many institutions and employers across the globe. IGCSE guarantees an all round development of the child and offers a wide range of subjects to choose from. An application oriented teaching methodology is followed. IGCSE certificate is conferred for each subject paper a student attempts. Compulsory subjects include a First Language paper, Second Language paper, Maths and Science.  A student can opt for additional subjects like Creative Arts  and Social Sciences. Recently, many schools in India have started offering IGCSE curriculum.

Schools offering IB and IGCSE programmed are some of the most expensive schools around. The only problem with these  systems is when the child takes up further studies after Std.X, in India. Here, UG and PG programmes involve learning facts by rote. Of course there are projects and practicals, but the ability to memorize often rules the roost in Indian academics. Besides, not many teachers in India are trained for this kind of teaching methodology. Here students from CBSE boards have an added advantage since most of the entrance examinations conducted in India are based on CBSE syllabus. Also, IB and IGCSE schools are few and far between. In case of relocation to another city, the student may have a tough time getting admission to other boards.

All said and done, schools and boards do make a difference to a child’s future. But the rest depends on the student, his parents, surroundings and upbringing.  A person who is determined and intelligent can be educated in any situation, even under a street light.


Check out this link to find schools offering CBSE, ICSE, IB, IGCSE and SSC in India. This site offers a wonderful listing of schools filtered by the different boards of education.



Pop up cards for Diwali and Christmas

Pop up Diwali cards

Making pop up cards for Diwali and Christmas can be fun for kids. Just give them some basic art & craft materials, a few creative ideas and let them get going. Mail pop up cards for Diwali and homemade Christmas cards, made by your kids to near and dear ones. They will love it!

For making beautiful 3D pop up cards, You will need

pop up cards diwali Art & Craft materials

1. A4 size – Tinted paper / Hand made paper
2. Small squares of  colored paper / colored fabric
3. Glue
4. Scissors
5. Oil Pastels
6. Glitter pens (Silver)

Here is how you do it.

First, fold the tinted paper or hand made paper in half. Cut the folded paper in the form of a lantern for  Diwali  or a star for  Christmas.

pop up cards diwali pop up cards diwali

Next fold a square shaped colored paper in half. Paste and fold the edges as below. Cut long strips till the folded line. pop up cards diwali

Paste this colored and patterned strip of paper as shown below and close the Diwali card.

kandil pop up cards diwali

Now we will make paper flowers or fabric flowers that pop up when you open the greeting card. Take a square shaped colored paper or colored fabric. Look at the pictures below.

paper flowers pop up cards diwali

paper flowers pop up cards diwali               Repeat folding the two points of the paper triangle 3 times. Then fold each sides backward as if you are making an aeroplane(as seen in the last part above).

paper flowers pop up cards diwali

Make a circular flowery pattern for marigold flowers. Marigold is considered auspicious for all festive occasions in India.

marigold paper flowers pop up cards diwali

Open the flower. Cut a slit. Pull the slit a little over the other edge and paste to get a slightly cone shaped paper flower. Make 3-4 such paper flowers or fabric flowers in alternate colors. Paste one over the other at the center. You get a big flower as shown below.

paper flowers pop up cards diwali

Paste this big flower in the center of your pop up card. Paste the sides of the flower to the sides of the pop up card. Now close the card. Decorate it with oil pastels and other decorative materials.

paper flowers pop up cards diwali

Pop up diwali cards

And your pop up card for Diwali is ready.

Follow a similar procedure for the Christmas card. Fold an A-4 size tinted paper into half. Cut the folded paper in the shape of a star as shown below.


Pop up christmas cards

Give a pointed cut to the folded paper for star shaped paper flowers as shown below.

Pop up christmas cards

Decorate the card with holly leaves and all things Christmassy!

Pop up christmas cards And your pop up Christmas card is ready!

Teach kids to make many more pop up cards for other occasions like birthdays, anniversaries etc. on similar lines. Just remember the outline of the main card must be cut according to the theme. For Diwali, we gave the card the shape of a lantern and for Christmas, we made a star card.  Aren’t they lovely?




The 5 day tiffin challenge – Lunch box ideas and School lunches

Lunch box ideas | School lunches

Racking your brains for new lunch box ideas and recipes for kids school lunches? All you frustrated moms out there, who keep wondering on what to pack for kids lunch boxes, this article is exclusively for you! Come and take this 5 day tiffin challenge with me. I am a mom with just two hands(wish I had a dozen!) who keeps thinking how to make school lunches more yummy and at the same time healthy, for my 6yr old son.  Somehow he feels healthy food is not tasty! And this time I have decided to prove him wrong with these nutritious lunch box ideas and recipes for kids school lunches.

Note: Click on the images or on the links below them for the detailed recipes of the food featured here.


Well on the first day, I’m a bit nervous. But this is a “sure to be eaten stuff” kind of lunch box idea. So I begin the first day of my challenge with yummy veg cutlets. Made of bread, boiled potatoes and fresh vegetables, this is a great choice for quick fix school lunches, especially if you have left over vegetable side dishes from the day before. Just make sure you warm refrigerated left overs properly before using them for veg cutlets.

Veg cutlet recipe for kids Veg cutlets for kids


For day 2, I decided to stick to traditional Indian flat bread- Methi Paratha, made of Wheat flour, fenugreek leaves and spices. Methi Paratha with Boondi Raita is nutritious and filling for kids. Clean and chop the fenugreek leaves the day before and refrigerate. Methi i.e. fenugreek has many health benefits. You may substitute fenugreek leaves with spinach or coriander leaves.

Methi paratha for kids Methi paratha for kids


Day 3 of my tiffin challenge – I decide to stick to some tangy lemon rice for my kids school lunch . Lemon rice is a treat for your taste buds when teamed with a spicy side dish made of chick peas and some curd.

tangy south indian lemon rice recipe Lemon rice for kids

 DAY 4

Day 4 arrives. I have not given up as yet. This time it is going to be veg patties with Quaker Oats and  fresh vegetables for my kids school lunch, very nutritious. Oats is rich in fiber and relieves constipation. It is great for kids who hate having oats in any other form especially with sweetened milk.

Oats and vegetable patty recipe Veg patties for kids

 DAY 5

Keeping Day 5 simple, I decide to make some healthy Rava Upma made of wheat semolina. I put in carrots, cashews, green peas, some beans and pack some sliced bananas and sugar separately for my kid’s lunch box.

rawa upma with vegetables and cashews Rawa Upma – Semolina Upma for kids

The verdict
1. Veg cutlets – 5 stars
2. Methi Paratha with Boondi Raita – 5 stars
3. Lemon Rice – 3 stars – My kid ate the lemon rice all right, but did not touch the chick pea side dish. I guess it was too spicy for him.
4. Veg patties – 5 stars
5. Upma – 5 stars.  My son loved eating this with sliced bananas and sugar.

Lessons learned

Put yourself in your kids shoes to understand what they would like to have for school lunches. The side dishes and accompaniments matter. They may make your child eat the food or leave it untouched. Variety is the main spice of lunch box ideas for kids.

So are you ready to take the 5 day tiffin challenge?

You can read this helpful post on Handling picky eating habits in kids.

Kerala Home Design – Traditional touch to modern homes

door - traditional home-Kerala architecture

Kerala home design is well known for its unique wooden construction with intricately carved designs, gabled roofs and extended open verandahs. Southern India is famous for its traditional homes and temple architecture, especially Kerala. However, all wood constructions are now impractical as wood is very expensive. Lifestyle changes have further encouraged modern architects to intelligently synchronize traditional wooden architecture with the present day construction techniques. This unique blend of styles has metamorphosed into some stunningly beautiful homes in Kerala.

Kerala home design

A modern home incorporating old style Kerala architecture

Modern homes in Kerala are made from a mix of concrete, bricks and wood. The main building is made of concrete with some parts of the house showcasing intricate wooden designs and structures. These constructions have still not parted ways with the ancient principles of Vaastu.

Lawrence Baker, the late English architect was fascinated by Kerala architecture and settled down in Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala. These are his own words “The various styles of architecture are all the result of thousands of years of ordinary people trying to make buildings that keep out the rain, wind and sun by using locally available materials. So I see what principles have developed over centuries and then apply these principles to what I want to do for my client. Sometimes, the local architecture is so beautiful and so apt that I feel it would be foolish and an affront to try and design in any other way.” (Source:

Kerala Home Design – Traditional features


Every traditional home in Kerala had a small door called ‘Padippura’ with a tiled roof, forming part of the compound wall surrounding the house. In modern homes, ‘Padippura’ has given way to a wider gate system facilitating the entry of cars. However, some gates still have an arch or padippura like framework in wood, towering above the gates.

Poomukham, Chuttu Verandah and Charupady

poomukham-kerala home design Poomukham

Poomukham is the main entrance to the house, characterized by an open area with a sloping roof supported by pillars, leading into the house. Old style poomukhams were wooden pillars with carved designs. The same effect is achieved now using concrete pillars and POP designs.

Chuttu Verandah is an open verandah joining the poomukham on both sides, supported by pillars, thru which you can walk around the house. Many modern homes still feature an open verandah surrounding the house. The wooden pillars and wooden floors have given way to round, concrete pillars and modern flooring like marble, granite etc.

charupady - kerala home design


  charupady design - kerala home design

Charupaddy – carved design on wood

Charupady is a resting area, adjoining the poomukham and the chuttu verandah,  characterized by wooden seats with carved wooden back rests. This traditional feature is still preserved in modern homes. The seats are usually granite or marble with back rests made of carved wooden pieces.


Nadumuttam-Kerala home design

Nadumuttom – Photo credits: Unnikrishnan2011

Nadumuttom is a traditional open courtyard right in the middle of  a traditional home.  Being square shaped, this leads to the house interiors on all the four sides. This ‘open to the sky’ feature lets in ample amount of sunlight and fresh air into the house. These houses are called ‘Naalu kettu’ meaning a structure with four sided distribution. In modern Kerala homes, due to security reasons, this open courtyard is covered with a sloping roof higher than the roofs over the other parts of the house in such a way that proper ventilation is still achieved in spite of not being open to the sky. Pergola, Stained glass or safety grills may also be used for as roofing over the open courtyard. Wooden or concrete pillars made to look like wood, are used to border this courtyard.

Kerala Home Design – Wooden Staircase

wooden staircase design - kerala home design

Modern staircase with carved wooden railings and glass balusters.

 ‘All wood’ staircases have been replaced by marble, stone or granite stairs with wooden railings. Some stairs have veneer or  laminate coverings on a concrete base. The intricately carved teak wood railings and balusters of old style Kerala architecture have been retained in modern homes.

Carved Wooden Doors and windows

door - traditional home-Kerala architecture

traditional door kerala architecture south indian home

Main door - traditional home-Kerala architecture

Beautifully carved and polished teak or rosewood doors and windows are still a part of every Kerala home. Often, the designs have gold colored enameling, etching or beading work done. This is one feature that has not been done away with. The door handles and fixtures also have intricately carved designs in shades of gold.

In addition to the above, North east placed Pooja rooms with wooden paneling and mural paintings are still seen in modern houses of Kerala. The traditional pond or ‘Ambala Kulam’ is seen on large properties.

With a few design changes, features of traditional Kerala architecture can still be made a part of modern homes.

Clay modelling for kids – Sleeping Ganesha Idol

Ganesha idol - clay modelling for kids

This is a beautiful clay model of Ganesha, made by a std.II kid particpating in a clay modelling for kids competition, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. This idol is very easy to make. Moms can teach their kids to make a  Ganesha idol out of modelling clay.
Ganesha idol - clay modelling for kids Resting Ganesha- Ganpati Bappa Morya.

Clay modelling ideas for kids – Sleeping Ganesha

Here is what you need:

1. Modelling clay – any color – preferably brown
2. Decorative materials like pearls or small sequins
3. Ice cream sticks for the mat
4. Acrylic colors
5. 2 toothpicks

For the mat

Take a few ice cream sticks. Paste them together with glue in a criss-cross fashion or in a chequered pattern. Let it dry. Paint the mat using acrylic colors.

For the clay Ganesha idol

Make balls out of clay. A small sized one for Ganesha’s head, a medium sized one for the torso, two for the legs, four small balls for the hands and one for the trunk. Fix the head to the torso with the toothpick. Keep this aside.

Make cylindrical pieces of the clay balls meant for the legs. Make the left leg rest on the ice cream stick mat. Curve the right leg at the knee and make it touch the left leg at the foot. Attach the torso to the legs. Make sure the stomach has a paunch and the legs are quite fat.

Make a crown out of some clay. Attach the crown to the head. Make cylindrical  pieces of clay  for hands and a curved piece for Ganesha’s trunk. Attach these hands to the body. Fix  the trunk to the face. Use tiny pieces of modelling clay for the tusks, modak and a shankh(conch shell) to be placed in any two of the four hands. Note that sleeping Ganesha must rest on one hand as in the picture above.

Use a toothpick to carve three horizontal lines and a trishul on Ganesha’s forehead. Carve eyes and a few folds on the trunk. Paint these carved lines using dark colors.

Paint Ganesha’s dhoti with bright acrylic colors. Paint the folds in the dhoti with a darker color. For the jewellery, use tiny pearls or plain pulses like yellow tuar dal (split pigeon pea). Paint the crown in metallic gold or silver acrylic colors. I had metallic bronze color. On adding yellow, we got a neat golden yellow shade.

Allow your kids Ganesha idol to dry under the ceiling fan for a day or so.

Wishing you all a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi!


Start your own preschool- Ranjani Subramanian

Start your own preschool - Ranjani Subramanian

Every woman faces a dilemma in the middle of her career. Whether to take up a  new profession or just stay put. She may feel trapped in the wrong job or want some better prospects. She may be plain bored with the same old board meetings, deadlines or corporate responsibilities. Or the prospect of handling family, kids, social responsibilities along with a regular 9-5 job may be taking a heavy toll on her. Often, many women long for doing independent work or to start their own enterprise; something which gives them quality time to spend with family and kids, besides offering  immense satisfaction and happiness. It is very encouraging to note that many women are now taking the plunge,  changing their career path after  careful self assessment.

Check out this exclusive interview of Ranjani Subramanian who decided to follow her heart and make a career of what she loved doing the most – Teaching!

Start your own preschool - Ranjani Subramanian

Ranjani Subramanian is the founder and owner of Little Feet Kindergarten, Calicut – Visit the facebook page here – Little Feet Kindergarten. Enterprising and intelligent, she has put in a lot research, patience and hard work into this preschool. Little Feet Kindergarten was founded and launched in the year 2008, with an initial strength of 30 preschool children.  The strength has now gone up to a soaring 200 students.

Basically a TamBrahm(short for Tamil Brahmin), Ranjani Subramaniam was born in Mumbai and brought up in Bangalore. She graduated from Jyoti Nivas college, Bangalore with a degree in Science(B.Sc Electronics). Ranjani wanted to be a vet, but her grandmother disapproved the idea of her having to stay in a hostel for further studies. So B.Sc electronics was the choice! Then came marriage, and she found her soul mate in Mr. Subramaniam, a lawyer by profession. They settled in Bhopal and she began her duties as a homemaker. Soon she took up a law course to pass her time. Later when she had a daughter, Krutika, the owner of a playschool nearby approached her for being a teacher. Initially apprehensive for having to handle small kids, later on she felt at ease, with little Krutika tagging alongside.

Three years later, her career took a turn when her husband got a job transfer to Chennai.
There she started afresh, working as a law officer with Globe Detective Agency. Just four months into the job, she quit, as Krutika did not like being left in the care of a maid for long hours, back home. That is when Ranjani took up a Montessori teachers course in early childhood education, completed it and went back to her first love – teaching. She then joined a reputed school in Chennai.

But still, something was missing. Ranjani states that “The idea of my own preschool cropped up when I realized that I could not implement all that I wanted, as it had to be approved by the school management first. They were mainly interested in carrying on stereotype and not wanting to risk a deviation from the normal. Then as fate would have it, my father in law expired. We did not want to uproot my mother in law from Kerala, so both my husband and I resigned from our respective jobs and shifted to Kerala. He started his law practice and I was offered the position of head mistress in a local school. I worked there for 6 years and then finally started my own venture, my preschool – Little Feet Kindergarten.”

Her husband has been her strongest source of support. Her mother and daughter helped her with the initial search for kids toys, furniture, books etc.

Starting a new preschool of course involved immense hard work. Ranjani did a lot of research and visited schools in Bangalore, Coimbatore and Calicut to get a proper know – how on all the aspects that go into running a school successfully. She did what she wanted to – implementing her own school syllabus and curriculum, after careful planning and research.

She has written several preschool books for the children of playschool, nursery, Jr.Kg and Sr.Kg, published by Sura Books, Chennai.

She has not stopped at that. Ranjani completed her B.Ed three years back and has recently achieved a Masters degree in Psychology. She actively pursues her hobbies – reading, embroidery, music and gardening besides being a wonderful mom to her daughter Krutika and a great teacher to the little ones at Little Feet.

I would call Ranjani a bundle of  energy who always inspires others. Little Feet Kindergarten is a fun loving place for kids, combining play and study, with so many activities. Check out the snaps below.

Start your own preschool Little Champs at Little Feet Kindergarten

Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut School Day Celebrations

Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut - fancy dress Radha Krishna dance for the School Day celebrations

Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut - Onam Onam festivities with kids

Onam Feast - Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut Kids enjoying Onam Sadhya(feast)

school picnic - Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut School picnic

Ranjani Subramanian is a true role model for many women who want to start an enterprise of their own beginning with an inspiration, close to their heart.

Get to know career options for homemakers – Read Careers for Homemakers


Vases – collectibles & centerpieces for home decor

Japanese Vase - collectibles

Some History first!
You can trace the origin of vases back to several centuries B.C. Initially meant for holding cut flowers, they went on to be a part of  home decor in the homes of both, the affluent as well as the middle class. Vases have been used as collectibles and centerpieces in ancient China, India, Greece, Egypt, England and across many other cultures.  Artists have used vases  to depict various scenes from ancient mythology. In fact,  in ancient Greece, they were often decorated using the red and black figure technique, depicting Gods and mythological heroes. In ancient Egypt, they were made of clay – usually silt from the river Nile and were often symbolic, adorned with figures of animals, birds, Egyptians and sometimes with hieroglyphs inscribed on them. Ancient Indian vases were royally crafted from precious metals like Gold, Silver and embellished with precious stones. Intricately carved, these ones had designs of deer, horses, swans, beautiful women, Maharajahs and their courtesans, flowers, royal gardens etc.

Choose the right vase for the right place

porcelain vase-wrought iron stand

Make your living room corner lively with a simple porcelain vase arrangement on a designer stand made of wrought iron. Put in a few long stemmed fresh flowers or artificial ones, with colors complementing your wall and furnishings. If the vase is light colored, place it against a dark background and vice versa.

Types of Vases


cermaic vases Photo Credits: dinnerseries


Photo Credits: bulldogpottery

ceramic  vase Photo Credits: bulldogpottery

Stunning ceramic vases like the ones above are available in different shapes and colors. Pick one that best suits your wall or room decor.

Japanese Vase - collectibles

                    scandinavian wooden vase Photo CreditsPlanetutopia

If your home decor is mostly traditional and Asian, go for intricately carved traditional vases, like Japanese, Indian or Chinese – designer wooden vases, you also get Chinese ones with lacquer finish.

  metal vases   Photo CreditsFlyskyhome

metal vase  Photo Credits MattGibson

japanese vases,glass vases Photo Creditsgeishaboy500

glass vase Photo Creditsficusdesk

tree vase Photo Credits: Mararie

In modern living rooms, most often, a neutral color scheme is implemented with colors like off white, grey,beige etc. In such cases, use stylish glass and metal  vases with modern designs and abstract shapes, with colorful flowers or fillers like colorful beads, jelly balls (in case of glass vases) to stand out against the plain background.

DIY Vases

diy vases from old bottles Photo Creditstinytall

diy vases,milk bottle vase Photo Creditsjdickert

Check out the reused milk bottle vase above.

recycled vases,diy vases Photo Creditscuttlefish

This vase is made of a reused rum bottle.

multicolored diy vase Photo CreditsKoekiehaas

Check out a thrift store nearby for some pretty containers or antiquities that double up as flower vases,  to adorn your living room corner. Make good use of old wine bottles, glass pen stands, painted tin cans, paper mache containers, rum and milk bottles. Decorate them with 3d outliners, acrylic colors, colorful fabric etc. to make your very own DIY vases.

A vase is a must have accessory in every home. You can make the dullest of all interiors come alive with this simple accessory. Vases let you experiment with their contents – You can put in dry stems, colorful flowers, paper mache flowers, reeds, pebbles and what not. And most important – it does not burn a hole in your pocket.




Life and Death concept for kids

value of life,life and death

Happened to renovate my window garden, of late. I was hoping the monsoons will make it grow more vibrant and green. My 6 yr old son loves being my assistant in DIY gardening projects. He is the one who does puts the seeds and saplings in the planters and flower pots.

So we started off planting flowering plants, herbs and shrubs, in full swing – Curry leaves, ginger plant, turmeric root, Holy Basil (Krishna Tulsi). The plants grew fast – especially the curry leaf plant; it turned out to be tall and green. Just two days later we found four little worms chewing up all the healthy leaves. My immediate reaction was to try and brush them off. That is when my son tells me, “Mom just leave them alone. Poor things!” I tried to make him understand that they were pests unlike the butterfly larvae who would build cocoons and emerge as beautiful fluttering mascots of freedom. But then, I decided to let him learn his lesson on his own.

Soon they turned into big fat caterpillars, voraciously gorging up all healthy curry leaves.  One day, I could  see just one. Looked like the birds had made a feast of the other three caterpillars. There was just one green little fellow left on the plant. That is when I decided to take this picture. The very next day, this last one was nowhere to be seen, I guess it must’ve fallen prey to birds. My son was upset.

It is a bit difficult to explain to kids – The concept of life and death, why it all happens, the value of life, ethical principles of life, moral values – why we end up prioritizing certain living organisms over the others and so on..

I then told him this – Some situations are in our control – You chose to let the caterpillar live, prioritizing the caterpillar over the curry leaf plant. But some situations are beyond control. You were not present when the birds ate the caterpillars. So you could not  save it. The caterpillar could not take his treasure trove of green curry leaves along with him, forever.

There are extremely poor people in drought stricken and war torn countries, with no food to eat or clean water to drink. Sometimes, a mother there has to choose between her children; which one to feed and to let which one  die. I did not tell him this, though – It  sounded so gross. But I told him of unfortunate orphans who have to fend for themselves, just because their parents were no more. The idea was, to make my son realize these facts –

1. Life and Death are not choices we make. They are beyond our control. So we must not worry so much about either one of them.

2. Material possessions do not matter when we die and go to God uncle’s home in the skies. That is the way I explained death  – We all go to God uncle’s home in the beautiful blue skies when our time on earth is over.

3. He must thank  God for what he has, besides being a  compassionate human being who contributes to the welfare of the poor in cash, kind and otherwise, when he grows up.

This may sound too ‘Preachy’ and all, but these questions are asked by kids. We are often at a loss of words. I was. The caterpillar incident helped me to make my little one get a new perspective on facts of life and death. Of course, these led to a lot of counter questions. But that is left for each mom to handle on her own, as each child and each counter question is different.

A few core values and ethical principles must be inculcated in every human being especially children, I feel, quite strongly.

Gateway paper – Handmade Paper – TK papers

Where can we buy gateway paper, tinted paper, leatherette paper, TK sheets and tinted papers used by students of Art, Architecture and Interior Design in Mumbai at lesser prices than local stationary shops?

Gateway paper is used for tracing layouts, floor plans and basic construction drawings. It is also used for DIY projects like Lamps. Tinted paper and TK papers are often used by students of Interior Design for preparation of concept sheets, mood board and perspective drawings. Unlike TK papers and tinted papers, Gateway paper and handmade paper is often not available at local stationery shops in Navi Mumbai and Central Mumbai suburbs. Or else they are very expensive. To buy handmade paper and gateway paper or coloured gateway paper, some shops in Bandra offer reasonably low prices, you can even buy in bulk from here.

Virat Paper Bazaar
Shop No 2 Coin House,
Opp Janta Book Centre,
Station Rd,
Bandra West,
Mumbai , India

They deal in handmade paper, craft paper, leatherette paper ,blossomed paper, textured paper, gateway paper and many more kinds. You can even negotiate prices for bulk orders.

Students can buy paper in groups to reduce individual total cost.

Paper mache bowls-Best out of waste

paper mache-bowl-best out of waste ideas

This is a quick paper mache project for kids from best out of waste. We all have old newspapers to spare at home.  Using paper mache, you can make a wide range of crafts. A paper mache bowl for holding knickknacks is one of them. You can even use this bowl as a home fragrance accessory – Just put in some potpourri and you can place this paper mache bowl on your living room center table.

paper mache-bowl-best out of waste ideas

How to make a paper mache bowl

1. Old newspapers or waste paper (preferably thin)
2. Glue and water mix
3. Acrylic colors
4. 1 Balloon
5. Scotch tape and a plastic cup
6. Flat brush – size 15 or above

paper mache-bowl-best out of waste ideas

Inflate the balloon to a size you want your paper mache bowl to be. Fix the balloon to the plastic cup with scotch tape – The mouth of the balloon goes into the cup. Make a glue (Fevicol) and water mixture – 3 parts glue and 1 part water. Cut newspaper or waste paper to 1 inch by 2 inch strips.  Apply the glue water mixture to a paper strip and paste it evenly on the balloon, leaving no room for air bubbles. Continue doing this, till you get a layer of newspaper strips pasted on the inflated bottom of the balloon. Let this layer dry. Then repeat the procedure. Do this till you have 9 – 10 layers of paper strips firmly glued to the balloon.

Leave it to dry. Once this dries up completely, prick the balloon. Once the balloon pops, you have the neatest looking paper mache bowl you’ve ever seen!

Now you just have to trim a little bit off the edges and color it.

paper mache - bowl - best out of waste

Also, the paper mache bowl will not stand alone. It needs a base. Cut a round piece of cardboard from an old cardboard box. Cover it with strips of paper like you did with the balloon. Let it dry.

acrylic colors - fevicryl

Now comes the coloring part. Use acrylic colors for coloring the paper mache bowl instead of poster colors. Acrylic colors are  plastic like colors, are permanent and last long just like oil paint. I mixed red and violet to get  dark pink, purple and wine shades. My little one calls this paper mache bowl the strawberry cream milk shake bowl!

paper mache bowl - best out of waste ideas

paper mache-bowl-best out of waste ideas

Now color the round cardboard base with acrylic colors on both sides. When the base is dry, just paste it to the bottom of the paper mache bowl with glue-Fevicol. Highlight the bowl with golden or bronze acrylic paint  designs like spirals or motifs. Or better still, use sparkling 3D outliners to give an embossed effect. Let the paper mache bowl dry completely.

paper mache-bowl-best out of waste

Use your creative paper mache bowl to hold sketch pens, crayons and other art and craft material. You can use it to hold dry perfumed petals or potpourri on the center table or side table in your living room.

A very important thing is practicing patience with kids when they attempt to do this. My little boy was a bit slow and clumsy while coloring the paper mache bowl. So much so that, I was tempted to stop him and finish it all by myself. This is an attempt to let kids learn creativity. So let them do it all by themselves with only a little guidance and supervision from you.


DIY-Repurposed furniture-old tires and magazines

recycled tyre furniture - best out of waste

Looking for some cool wacky DIY furniture made of old tires, magazines and other recycled materials? Well, there are a lot of  repurposed furniture ideas for those on a small budget, that you can easily assemble at home, in a jiffy. Make a list of things lying around plus a list of things that you will need to fix these things together like Super glues, adhesives –  Fevi Bond or Fevi Quick or a glue gun, left over ropes etc. Then get going. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

DIY furniture ideas

diy furniture from recycled materials DIY Magazine living room chair set with center table

Magazines – We all have dozens of them lying around. Why not put them to good use – Make affordable, cheap chairs and center tables for your studio apartments or home offices or even PG accommodations.
For the chairs
– Collect a lot of magazines of approximately the same length.The number of pages can vary. Roll each magazine tightly and bind it using strong transparent adhesive tape. Arrange all the rolls vertically to form a seat. Bind it together tightly with rope.

Now for the back rest, cut waste PVC pipes. The length of these pipes must be measured from the base of the magazine seat till the desired height. Roll them in newspapers. Close the open ends with round cardboard pieces. Tie these PVC pipes together using rope. Next, bind the magazine seat with this PVC pipe backrest. And you have a strong chair made of recycled magazines and PVC pipes.

Place a few fluffy round seat cushions on the chair seats to make them comfortable.

The center table also has magazine rolls bound together with rope. You can get any old glass sheet cut from a local glass shop or by using a glass cutter yourself. Use heavy duty velcro straps for binding the glass sheet to the magazine base. Stick one side of of the velcro straps with super strong glue to the magazine base and one under the glass sheet. And then just press them together.


diy furniture - recycled tyres- best out of waste DIY seat made from recycled tube tyres

Now for DIY furniture from tube tires – we do not have tires at home. But just go over to the nearest car mechanic or dealers of tires or scrap dealers. They would not mind giving away a few tires for free or even for a small fee. Get three of these tube tires. Make sure they are in fairly good shape with proper air pressure. Get some old pieces of fabric. Cut 10cm wide long strips. Stitch these strips together to form a really long strip of fabric. Now wrap each tube tire with such long strips. This will form the first layer of fabric covering. For the next layer, you can buy some cheap, soft, colorful terry towel fabric. Cut long strips and stitch them as mentioned earlier. Then wrap these strips around the tires.

Place two tube tires one over the other. Bind them together with a small strip of terry towel, from the proposed back side of the seat. Fill in lots of old pieces of foam and fabric. Stuff in nice round seat cushions at the top.

Now for the backrest – Bind the remaining terry towel wrapped tube tire to the base using nylon rope, to form the back rest. Stuff in an over sized round cushion into the back rest, for added comfort.

This DIY furniture made of recycled tires need wall support. The magazine chairs are free standing, though. All in all, a neat idea for  repurposed furniture.

DIY Lamp – Make light fixtures from recyclable materials

recycled lighting

Simply put, ‘Recycled lighting’  is a term defining  light fixtures constructed from stuff lying around your house/basement that you are probably trying to get rid of, but don’t know how to. Now instead of trashing these things, why not just get the best out of recycled materials? Devise creative ideas to reuse a few items of trash lying around  to make stunning lamp shades and other light fixtures. Featured here are several DIY lamps and lampshades that are sure to accentuate your home interiors!

DIY lamp ideas

diy lighting - recycled lighting

Take this recycled lamp shade for instance. It has been artistically made out of  left over yarn wrapped around a metal wire framework to form a spherical shape. And to top it, cute little muffin wrappers have been pasted all over.  Then you put in a zero watt bulb or energy efficient light fixtures like CFL.

diy lighting - recycled lighting

This lovely free standing recycled lamp shade is made of  paper cups glued together. Make good use of left over paper cups from a birthday party or any occasion. You can even place this  upside down to look like a lit up dome.  Spice it up with a few tiny cuddly cushions or other accessories thrown in.

diy lighting - ceiling light

This affordable ceiling light is made of PVC pipe fittings and multicolored zero watt bulbs. All you need to do is cut the pipe fittings and attach them, adhering to a preconceived design. The number of branches in this ceiling light can be increased to form chandelier shades. Lovely ceiling lights for studio apartments, hostel rooms and PG accommodations.

diy lighting - recycled lighting

If you have an old wooden box or crate to spare, go for this neat looking fabric and yarn lamp shade. Remove a few planks of the crate or carve out holes in it. Use multicolored left over fabric, crepe paper or tissue paper to wrap around the wooden box. Add a layer of colored yarn and you have a fabulous looking floor lamp shade to show your friends and all.

diy lighting - accordion lanterns

This accordion lamp shade is made of  a recycled cardboard box  and gateway paper. Cut out a fold-able flap from an old cardboard box. You can even use mount board for this. Cover it with colored paper or decorative material. Cut a hole, small enough to hold a zero watt bulb. Make an accordion with gateway paper. Paste the accordion over the hole meant for the bulb. Turn the light on and voila – you have a nice innovative accordion lampshade . Make pyramids, cubes or any 3d shapes with gateway paper, for lamp shades. You can use these instead of the accordion.

diy lighting - recycled lighting

This one is the simplest  DIY lamp to make. Take an old transparent glass or transparent plastic jar. Make a few patterns with Fevicryl 3d outliners. Fill in these patterns with glass colors. Make a tiny hole at the bottom. Fix an LED light strip at the bottom and pass the connected electrical wire through the hole. Else just drop in some tiny string lights into it. Economical and beautiful, this lamp looks stunning and livens up any corner of your room.

These are affordable, nice and thrifty ways to make recycled DIY lamps, lamp shades and light fixtures. Anyone can make these at home. So get your creative juices flowing and make one this instant!

Note: All the lamps and lamp shades featured here were made by the students of  Interior  Design and Fashion Design  at INIFD, Vashi, as part of their annual exhibition – Saksham 2012.

Drawing competition ideas for kids

drawing contests

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Underwater scenery with oil pastels

Kids have a lot of potential when it comes to imagination, creativity and art. All we  need is to encourage them to explore new ideas and put their imagination in bright vivid colors on paper and other media. Drawing competitions for kids have themes and certain criteria which need to be adhered to. But that is all, the rest is up to the kids to unleash their beautiful imagination on paper.

Take a look at all the creative stuff we have here. This art work is done by the students of New Horizon Scholars school, Airoli, Navi Mumbai. The theme being nature, in accordance with  the Environment Week observed worldwide in the month of June, every year.

Drawing Competition Ideas For Kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

art for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids

Drawing competition ideas for kids
Use newspaper clippings, cut outs, 3d outliners, glitter, markers, water colors, poster colors, oil pastels, pencils, pens and good quality art material for drawing competitions. Avoid sketch pens, they tend to leave color blotches which are visible from the reverse side of the paper.

These pictures should get you going with all kinds of brilliant ideas for drawing contests at school and out.


Slogan On Environment

school competition - slogan writing - global warming

school competition - slogan writing - global warming Ishaan S, Grade II, New Horizon Scholars School.

To write a slogan on environment is no big deal. Slogan writing competitions are held at schools every year for kids of all grades. For older children, creative thinking and art work is not a big issue. But small kids in the primary and pre-primary classes need a lot of guidance and tips on writing slogans. So that is when moms come to the rescue. Just follow these simple tips on how to write a good slogan – for kids.

Slogan on Save Environment

1. Select a good topic: The topic must be a current event like Global Warming, Female foeticide in India, Anti-smoking campaigns, Go Green, Cleanliness Drives etc. Most often, the topic or the theme will be decided by the grade teacher or the school authorities. If not, you need to check out pressing issues or current events in newspapers, T.V. or on the internet.

2. Explain the theme to to kids: Kids must know what they are doing. Explain the concept to kids. Like I told my little one – The Sun heats the earth. Some heat is radiated back through the atmosphere, into space. But all the smoke, pollution and gases that are emitted  rise up and form a thick layer inside the Earth’s atmosphere. So most of the heat  gets trapped inside the atmosphere and is not radiated back into space. And the planet warms up causing global warming. Of course, you need to draw this or show them on the internet and make your kids understand in any manner that you consider appropriate. There is no point in making them write slogans if they do not understand the concept behind it.

3. Think of appropriate graphics and objects: Make a list of objects that relate to the theme. For instance, with global warming, you can relate – globe i.e. earth, trees, heat, burning waste, meltdown of Artic ice, ozone layer, sun etc. With each of these objects in mind, make random sketches of each depicting the situation. Finalize the most appropriate ones. In the above sketch, the earth looks like its a melting cone of ice cream.

3. Come up with appropriate catchy words: Words in a slogan must be catchy. They must not exceed 4 or 5 in number. The fewer the better. This is the most tricky part as a slogan must be an eye-opener to the depicted scenario. It must be attention grabbing and must also suggest a solution. Again, come up with single words that are also action oriented. For instance, Recycle – This is a single word that can also be used as  a sentence. It also gives a solution for putting an end to global warming.

For a slogan on save water

these are the lines I wrote for my little one –


This came complete with pictures surrounding the slogan, depicting various sources of water.

4. Color Scheme: Colors speak a thousand words when used effectively. For instance, slogans for the blind can use black and white, those related to Save Trees campaign can use different shades of green. In the above sketch, orange and red depict heat on account of global warming.

5. Cut and Paste
Cut and paste letters/alphabets from newspapers instead of writing them down. Be creative. Cut and paste pictures from magazines and newspapers as in a collage.

Above all, encourage your kid to put in suggestions. Don’t expect them to be perfectionists in one shot. A few crooked lines here and there and a few smudges of color up and down are absolutely fine. So get going!

Check out this article for more ideas on Slogan on Environment