Monday, 31 December 2012

mundane monday - # 11

a collection of some of my personal favourites from the past year - a little rewind mode to bring the curtains down on 2012...

From mundane monday

Monday, 24 December 2012

mundane monday - # 10

this is going to be another 'almost wordless' post, since i'm running short of time with a long to-do list on hand, and the rest of the week to be spent in travel, starting tomorrow.

merry christmas to all those who will be celebrating, and happy holidays to everyone !

hope all of you enjoy the last week of the year, see you soon !

From mundane monday

Monday, 17 December 2012

mundane monday - # 9

hi ! and hope you've had a good start to the week ...

there are days when i plan an idea in my mind ahead of time and put a lot of effort to have a 'set-up' for the subject i shoot (though the final outcome may not look so)... and then there are days like today, when i just see something across the room and immediately know what i want, and how i want it to turn out.

i guess i'm incurably romantic. that accounts for the fact that i see two zippers on a suitcase worthy of attention. and more importantly, i find the idea of two zippers fitting perfectly into each other, and becoming one, an expression of harmony, of unison.

just think. either one of them existing without the other would pretty much defeat the purpose of their very existence, without the means of locking and securing the suitcase. being just one without the other would simply make their function incomplete.

now, if that isnt romantic, what is ? :)

From mundane monday

is it just me, or do you ever get the most unlikely thoughts about the most unlikely things ?!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

channapatna/chennapatna toys - ethnic wooden toys from india.

if you are one of the (3 or 4) regular readers of this blog, you probably realised i didnt post this week's mundane monday picture.

i had been travelling over the weekend and monday, and didnt quite have the time to squeeze in a post or prepare it in advance.

i was on a frenzied visit to Bangalore, and the agenda of the trip was such that i was on the road for most part of sunday and monday.

by dinner time on sunday evening we were in the vicinity of one of the many malls in bangalore, and decided to just hop into the food court to grab some dinner. tucked away in a corner of the mall were a few stalls that were selling ethnic indian artifacts and crafts. one of these had a bright display of channapatna toys that enticed me to stop in my tracks before dinner.

Channapatna is a small town about 60 kms from the south indian town of bangalore and is home to a wooden toy & doll making industry. the wooden toys are brightly coloured with natural vegetable dyes and their glossy finish is a treat for the eyes. there were tops, rattles, trains and lots of other toys, as well as stuff like beautiful wooden bangles...

i just picked up a couple of pieces quickly... sometime in the future hopefully i should make a trip to channapatna to see them at their source !

here are some pictures for you to enjoy the cheerful burst of colour ...

channapatna toys, tops, wooden toys
  brightly coloured spinning tops - ( and you still think beyblades are cool ? :) )

chennapatna, channapatna, wooden toys, ethnic toys,dolls     

rows of baskets filled with toys... 

channapatna dolls, eco friendly toys, wooden toys, ethnic art
angry elephant - or is he more of a surprised elephant ?!

chennapatna channapatna toys, indian crafts, ethnic wooden dolls
for those of you who thought he had just looks - thats the cutest pencil sharpener i've seen in a long time !

and a train of not-so-happy looking people - maybe they tried booking tickets in the irctc site !

Monday, 3 December 2012

mundane monday - # 8

today's pic is from the archives, taken a few months ago...

its nothing great, but kind of sums up my feelings and what i'm going through now - lonely in a crowd...

since i'm feeling a bit low and drained of energy, this week's post is being almost 'wordless' :)

have a good week y'all, and thanks for peeping in ! take care !

From mundane monday

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Calvin, corporate ducks, and the story of our lives...

i saw this cartoon strip in the news paper a few days back. of course one cannot but love each and every strip of calvin and hobbes, but this one especially struck a chord with me. it felt like an allegory of life itself. (or maybe i am overly philosophical and all, trying to read too much between the lines when there are no lines at all - whatever !)

often in life, we are surrounded by people who want us to draw ducks, want us to believe drawing ducks will ensure us everything, from a comfy life on earth to a velvety cushion seat in heaven.
and these 'well-wishers', with all their good intentions, believe that they are making your life easy by placing all the dots - "all i'm asking you is to just connect them and enjoy a duck happily for the rest of your life ".

sometimes you just want to yell at the top of your lungs that you dont want a duck. however precious, rare and golden egg-laying it might be.

sometimes you just want the choice of a blank sheet to draw whatever you choose. even if it turns out to be a meaningless doodle. its all right. i can live with it. its the pushiness to force me into drawing ducks that i resent.

because you dont want a life that is a perfect duck from the dots of someone else's idea. you just want a  scrawl or scribble that you came up with yourself and that works for you. however imperfect it may be.

if you too feel the same way about life, my friends, the only consolation i can offer you is that there are more of us sailing on the same messy boat.
dont worry about it too much for now, lets just hope that some day we summon the courage to say out loud like calvin, "i'll connect the dots in my own way".

Sunday, 25 November 2012

mundane monday - # 7

hope you had a nice weekend (and those in the US, a nice long weekend !)... thanks for visiting every week, and if you are new to the blog, do take time to stay and take a look around here :)

today's picture is something so common in every indian household that it isnt even given a second thought. a gas burner. you dont realise how accustomed you are to it, until you move out of india and groan at the prospect of rental apartments with an electric range :)

the irony in india is that though it is considered a basic necessity, you might end up crazy running from pillar to post, if you are setting up house and trying to get a new gas connection.

coming to the picture, there is a certain coolness about a blue flame from a gas burner. have you ever looked at it when your kitchen was otherwise dark ? there is something beautiful about the symmetry in blue, the flame from each perfectly aligned hole merging into one ...

From mundane monday

(btw, the shape of the burners in india are different from those in gas ranges in the US and elsewhere... so the shape of the flame would look different too.... )

Monday, 19 November 2012

mundane monday - # 6

it always feels nice to reminded about things that were once so much a part of your life, but are almost forgotten now, isn't it ?

am sure today's pic will give such a feeling and bring forth memories of our younger days - at least for those of us who can't claim to be so much in our 'youth' anymore :)

cassette tape, audio tape, TDK, maxell, philips tape
From mundane monday

cassette tapes (or audio cassettes ) were the most popular format for recorded music in the 80s and 90s, till they were replaced by CDs and later by MP3s ...

TDK was easily the most popular and sought after brand of audio tapes. TDK is a japanese company, and apparently stands for Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo. (if you have a lot of free time during the day, maybe you could try practicing the pronunciation.) TDK tapes were held in high esteem, and it was very common for relatives and friends who lived abroad in the 80s to bring blank TDK tapes to those back in india. 

the tapes were commonly of either 60min or 90min duration, with the recording split into two sides of equal duration. during playback, once the recording on one side finished, the tape had to be reversed and inserted again to hear the recording on the other side :) later, more advanced cassette players also came with auto reverse options.

despite their many limitations and the frustration they caused users, they ruled the roost for a long time before being edged out by compact discs.... 

other popular cassette tape/audio tape brands included maxell and philips...

i guess audio tapes will soon become collector's items and increase in value... (if they aren't already !)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Happy Diwali...

Diwali wishes to all those who are celebrating... hope you have a great time having fun and feasting on the goodies !

diwali is the biggest indian festival and is celebrated all over the country. it has today become the biggest shopping season, and with every brand and every store competing for their share of the pie, it seems like its getting more chaotic than colourful, with each passing day. or maybe that's just me.

anyway, the vintage buff in me spotted this old diwali related ad sometime back. Radha Silks, or RASI, is a popular place to shop for sarees in chennai, especially for those in the mylapore area. this is an ad by them in october 1957, announcing that the store has been air-conditioned and calls for customers to do their diwali shopping in air-conditioned comfort ! that was 55 years ago. 

the ad is from an old issue of the popular tamil magazine 'ananda vikatan'. both RASI and vikatan are still popular today. 

radha silks mylapore, rasi silks mylapore, chennai, diwali, old indian ad

Sunday, 11 November 2012

mundane monday - # 5

india is a tropical country and mosquitoes are a big part of  life here. and so are the various anti-mosquito tools to tackle them. other countries maybe content with developing technology for, say, telecommunications or space research - but in india, significant developments are constantly made in the field of mosquito repellant technology. one of the earliest non-electric, non-chemical options was to sleep under a mosquito net. yep, each person slept inside a net that hung over and covered their beds, like a big white canopy. since then battling the mosquito menace has taken every form imaginable, from creams for direct application on skin, mosquito repellant household sprays, chemical coils(that are burnt like incense), to mats & liquid vaporisers which are electrically warmed to release the repellant chemicals.
if you are the kind who gets satisfaction from giving instant capital punishment to the mozzies, you could even use an electric 'mosquito bat', like my friend here :)

while all the above are 'localised' solutions, the one thing that will give a 'whole house' protection is the mosquito screen, which is fixed on the windows (and usually comes with velcro so that it can be removed if needed).

so yeah, after all this beating about the bush, i just intend to say that today's picture is of one such mosquito screen :) a part of the screen, to be precise.

From mundane monday

this is a very close up macro shot - keep in mind that every square in the net/screen is smaller than the average mosquito, to keep them out !

doesnt it look nice when zoomed in, like lattice work on a fence or window ?

edits to the original pic : a little cropping, slight adjustments to brightness and shadows, and finally 'cinemascope' effect in picasa - it makes the photo look kind of wide-screen like, and adds a black strip above and below. i dont normally like the letterbox (the black strips), but in this particular pic, it does look nice.

have a nice week, and keep visiting ! and for those who will be celebrating, wish you a very happy diwali - hope you enjoy all the food, fun and festivities !

Sunday, 4 November 2012

mundane monday - # 4

how did the last week treat you ? i had a week that left me kind of emotionally and physically drained, with travel and relocation. i ended up sleeping off a good part of the week and fighting off a 13.5 hr jet-lag .

but let's cut to the chase. this week's picture is a soap. yup, a round bar of soap from some hotel visit long ago (las vegas, i think). if i have barely used bars of soap in hotels, i generally bring them back with me since i'd hate to see them tossed in the trash. (and the small tubes of lotion are so handy when you are travelling.)

apart from the waste factor, this particular soap also looked and smelt good, so i had carried it and eventually forgot about it too, till recently. when i stumbled upon it in the middle of a cleaning spree, i thought it'd make a good prop for the monday pics...

the soap is from a brand called 'gilchrist & soames' (who supply to many big hotels). it is a very soft pistachio green colour and it looked good against a white background in natural light.

i was playing around with the edits and i tried the 'holga' effect in picasa - i thought it looked very different and 'artsy'. but i do like softness of the original colour version too, and cant really decide which one looks nicer. so including both versions in the post this week. (only the b&w links to the picasa album.)

this is the site of gilchrist&soames soaps...

i wanted to find out more about this holga effect, so on googling found that the holga camera is a film camera from the 80's which produces effects of vignetting and blurring of photographs... more about the holga in the wiki here.

have a nice week ahead, and thanks for stopping by !

From mundane monday

soap, gilchrist&soames london, uk, hotel soap

Monday, 29 October 2012

mundane monday - # 3

anyone who knows me well knows that i have a big crush on ikea :)

so its only natural that my 'props' from ikea should figure in the mundane mondays sooner or later... this week it is the set of 'kalas' kids bowls. though these plastic bowls are meant for kids, they add such a cheerful burst of colour that you can be excused for having them even if you dont have kids around :)

i knew the kalas bowls would make a good subject and it had been on my mind for a long time now, and finally got down to it this week. i just placed them on my window sill just as the light was fading towards the end of the day. i have got surprisingly good results many times from such end-of-the-day light, more than the bright sunshine in the afternoons. i placed a translucent white sheet behind the bowls which diffused the light as well as hid the insect screen in the window. the results were so nice that it needed no retouching, it just looked beautiful as such.

the light coming through the bowls gives them a nice pearly glow and the white background just makes the colours pop all the more, doesnt it ?

From mundane monday

Thursday, 25 October 2012

fall flavours - chai spice shortbread cookies...


days getting shorter..

leaves turning...

temperatures dipping...

soft autumn rains falling...

its such a beautiful time of the year... i think autumn brings out a yearning in everyone for earthy tones and warm spices...

i tried making some chai-spice shortbread and its just a medley of flavours in your mouth... 

chai spice cookies, tea masala biscuits

i love shortbread since its a very basic and versatile canvas to start with and you can make easy modifications to suit your taste. you can see the chocolate dipped shortbreads i make earlier, here.

this time i took the shortbread dough (1 cup all-purpose flour/maida, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar) and added a couple of spoons of chai-spice or tea-masala that i always have in my spice rack, along with a spoon of vanilla extract and some powdered cardamom... (about 2 spoons of tea masala to a cup of all purpose flour should be fine, but you could reduce it if you want it milder) tea masala will be readily available anywhere indian spices are sold, but if you cant find it, try making your own chai-spice blend by taking some cinnamon, nutmeg,dry ginger,cardamom pods,cloves, a few black peppercorns and powdering them in a blender or spice grinder...

make small balls from the dough and place them on baking sheet. to get the small squares like above, take a fork and press on the dough ball, horizontally once and vertically once. or just make any shapes you want. give each one a small prick with a fork, and chill them in the fridge for at least half an hour so that they retain their shape while baking.

bake at 180C/350F for 15-20 mins till the bottoms and edges start to brown. remove from oven and allow to cool before eating, or taking pretty pictures :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

mundane monday - #2

a big hi and a thanks for stopping by ! hope you had a good weekend and a nice start to the week...

i'm posting the second of the mundane monday series today, and if you just stepped in here, you can read a little intro about it in last week's post...

this week's pic is one of my fridge magnets - i bought it on my first visit to san francisco, in 2008. SFO is such a beautiful city, and it was love at first sight for me. trust me, its one of those cities which immediately makes you want to find a place and move there right away :)

about the magnet - its a replica of san francisco's iconic trams or cable cars, as those who've visited there would no doubt know.
SFO's cable car (or street car or tram) was first established in 1873. today it is the only moving national monument in the world, and is a very popular tourist attraction. it will find a place in any movie or tv show set in san fran.

sometimes its surprising how something is so close by at hand and yet you overlook the obvious. this magnet has been on my fridge for 4 years now, and god knows how many times a day i open my fridge. only when i took this photo from up close, i realised i hadn't paid attention to the 'meet me at the st.francis' sign on it. i felt it must be having some significance, and immediately googled it up. i found this piece of info which said that it is a reference to the historic St.Francis hotel opened in 1904, which became the hub of the city's elite.

read more about SFO's cable cars here and here.

editing made to the photo : usual adjustments for brightness,contrast and saturation, and the 'warmify' effect in picasa.

have a nice week, and keep visiting !

From mundane monday

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

starting a new weekly series - 'mundane monday'

some months ago i started a weekly routine of taking a photo every monday. not that i dont take pics on other days, but to give myself a specific task, i decided on a 'mundane monday' theme. i decided that these would be photos to capture the everyday things that i see around me, around the house. no nature photos, no  outdoor locations. it is just an exercise that serves as a reminder of the fact that even the most mundane objects look beautiful when viewed from a different perspective.

and today, i realise i have reached 25 weeks of photos. there are some weeks left out in between when i have been travelling or sick, but there are 25 photos as of today, and i hope i shall be able to continue it for a long time to come. there have been weeks where i would have no clue of what i was going to photograph, till the evening, but somehow something would present itself before me and inspiration would spring from nowhere.

so far i have posted these pics on picasa web albums, but starting today i've decided that i will also post it on the blog here, with a link to the picasa web album.

today's picture is that of my measuring cups. i have used the 'focal b&w' option in picasa so that only the markings appear in colour, on the white cups.

see my previous photos of mundane mondays so far, on my picasa album here

#mundanemonday, measuring cup, photography

p.s : i realised i posted this on photo finish just as the clock struck 12, so it ended up becoming tuesday :)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

finding the perfect handbag....

... is like finding the perfect man. not easy. why, you ask ?


this is why -

  • its going to stay with you for a long time, be of considerable importance in your life, and go with you to most places you go.
  • there is no standard, one-size-fits-all solution. 
  • you need a lot of patience and invest a lot of time before settling on one.
  • your choice is a reflection on your taste.
  • has to be functional and do its job well, yet look good enough to flaunt around in public.
  • must be strong enough to handle pressure and abuse well.
  • must have easy access when you need your money quickly.
  • must be easy to maintain.
  • must hold your secrets well.
  • should be flexible enough to adapt, because your needs and preferences will change with time.
  • the right one should make other girls envious, but it shouldn't be easy for them to find a similar one :)

handbag, purse, handbag is like man,

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

how much social media is too much social media ?

" Man is a social animal ", Aristotle is supposed to have said. if he said that on seeing the men of ancient athens, i wonder what he would have said now, when mankind has become more social than ever.

the entire world today has an obsessive compulsive need to be social, and that, at the speed of light (or at the speed of our various Gs or LTEs, to be precise...) -  which is why, we end up seeing news like this ,where restaurants end up offering carrots to their customers. 

in today's world of social networking powered by smart devices, a simple activity like going out to dinner with friends is not so simple anymore. read on, and am sure you'll agree how much it has changed.

Dining out, Before Social Media & Smart phones :
  1. call friends and fix up a date and time.
  2. decide on a place based on past experience or suggestions from others.
  3. go,have dinner, and have a good time talking and chatting with each other.
  4. come back home and sleep.
thats all there was to do. pretty much.

Dining out, After Social Media & Smart phones :
  1. call, mail or text friends to fix up a date and time to meet. update google calendar.
  2. google for places to eat, read reviews on yelp, look for coupons from deal sites and finalise a place.
  3. a couple of hours before the dinner, tweet that you are so excited and cannot wait to have dinner with your friends.
  4. on reaching the restaurant, check-in on the location at facebook.
  5. also check-in on foursquare.
  6. order food.
  7. 15-20 mins after ordering, tweet how long its been since you placed the order and you are still waiting for it.
  8. once the food arrives, take pictures of it and post it to your instagram feed.
  9. take unflattering pictures of your friends when they are eating or drinking, post them to facebook, and tag them without fail.
  10. someone gets a doubt about how many calories their main course has, so you try and find an app that lists the calories of popular restaurant menu items.
  11. a sizeable portion of your dinner conversation involves smart phones,tablets and their operating systems.
  12. when the bill arrives and you have to work out the tip, use the calculator on your phone to calculate 15% of 150. (no, its not 15.)
  13. come back home and post a review of the restaurant on yelp.
  14. rate the calorie finder app which you used during the meal.
  15. ask an intelligent question in quora, like "do restaurants follow best practices to ensure the consistency of the nutritional value across every meal ?"  (remember, its quora. you have to sound intelligent.)
  16. set the alarm on your phone and go to bed after a highly satisfying and socially productive day.
p.s : you could also do a whole other bunch of stuff like blogging about it, posting your food pictures to flickr or picasa or G+, pinning your favourite food or restaurants to pinterest, and so on. how much social is too much social, is entirely upto each one to decide ! and btw, in the middle of doing all this, i hope people remember to eat their food too !

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wiki Loves Monuments 2012


if you love any, or all of the above, then this news should be music to your ears !

Wikipedia has announced the "Wiki Loves Monuments" contest, for September 2012. The aim is to create a repository of images (that are free to access, share and use) of monuments from around the world.

Anyone can login to wiki and post images of the monuments listed from the participating countries throughout september 2012. the images can be those taken anytime, but have to be uploaded to wiki in september. photos should be the own work of the uploader, un-watermarked, and should be released under a creative commons license.

there are country level prizes, and nominations from each country will be eligible to compete for the international contest. the contest of course has various prizes at the national and international levels, but personally, i think the bigger incentive is to showcase a part of your heritage and make it freely available for all the world to see.

the list of monuments in the US is based on the national register of historic places.

the list of monuments in India is based on the list by the Archaeological Survey of India.

for the full list of participating countries, see here , or in the sidebar here  .

so, get clicking before the month runs out !

wiki loves monuments 2012 heritage photo contest history culture

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Happy Independence Day

Indian independence day, august 15th, freedom, 1947

Independence Day wishes to all...
May our country, our world, be a better place to live in....

Thursday, 9 August 2012

my favourite fall colour ? - moving blues !

just a few more weeks, and summer would be drawing to a close...
fall (autumn) is no doubt my favourite among seasons, but it has also become my most dreaded one. reason being that every fall in the last half a dozen years, i have ended up moving somewhere or the other.

moving 123, moving 1-2-3, moving day, shifting, house,home, moving

when i saw this book in a store a few days back, i thought to myself that i should be either buying the book or writing one myself :)
in the past six years, i have only moved,
  • intra - apartment
  • intra city
  • inter city & intra state
  • inter state
  • inter country
  • inter continent 
and if that is not enough, i have,
  • moved with furniture
  • moved without furniture
  • had things sent by the movers truck
  • had things sent by parcel service
  • flown with practically all my belongings stuffed into suitcases
  • stored my stuff in commercial storage
  • stored my stuff at friends/relatives houses
and in none of the above cases, i've had more than a couple of weeks notice, as far as i can remember !
i guess that somewhat excuses my over-confident thought that i might be qualified to write a book on moving :)

well, as another fall is fast approaching, i have every reason to believe that another move might be looming over the horizon for me. other people decorate their houses for halloween or make lists for thanksgiving shopping, but i end up sitting in the middle of packing tape and bubble wrap, or frantically cleaning down every conceivable nook and cranny of the house. hmmm.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

when the dog bites,when the bee stings...

whenever you are feeling sad... you simply remember your favourite things, and then you dont feel so bad... right ?

often, such favourite things are not things. they are sights,smells,sounds and other sensory experiences which leave a deep impact on you.

sometime back when i was melting butter to make ghee, i just had this strong impulse to take a picture. (dont ask me why, i just have these sudden spurts of craziness. ) its one of those things which transport me back home instantly. the aroma of melting butter turning into ghee filling the house just kindles happy thoughts and pleasant memories...

melting butter, making ghee

and so did this glass of rosemilk - when i found it on the menu of an indian restaurant some weeks back, it reminded me so much of my childhood summers that i simply had to jump and order it !

rosemilk, rose milk, summer drinks

somehow these things just bring up so many fond memories of home... kitchen windows with the bright morning sun streaming through... the aroma of curry leaves crackling in hot oil... squirrels and crows landing on the window sill because they know they'll find food put out for them ... the branches of neem and mango trees at the back of your house swaying in the breeze... the sounds of vegetable vendors down the street....

yes... these are a few of my favourite things... what are yours ?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

shutterfly photo book...

i'm so excited right now, as i'm expecting my new photo book from shutterfly in a few days ! i've ordered prints and stuff earlier, but this is the first time i ordered a photo book for myself, so am pretty curious to see if it turns out like i expected :)  i chose some of my favourite pictures from my collection over the past few years, and spent quite a good number of hours deciding the layouts, background designs etc... (especially since this was my first one - if i do it again i think i'll do it much faster, & better...)
the best part was that this was a special offer and i ended up paying just the shipping. yup, just the shipping !
so, here's a peek of how my photobook will look... i will try to share more pics of the actual one, once i get it.

you can also see the 'vintage' style mug that i had made for myself last year, here  :)

Create a gorgeous, high quality wedding photo album at

Saturday, 16 June 2012

diy bookmarks from upcycled/reused credit cards and shirt tags

its kind of my unwritten mantra in life - recycling is good, reusing is better.
you could be someone like me who meticulously sorts through everything to ensure that nothing that is recyclable escapes its way to the trash. yet, there are some of those sneaky pieces of plastic that leave you feeling stumped. 
old credit cards,debit cards, store loyalty/rewards cards, library cards - i have accumulated a good number of these which have become unusable/expired over time, and i wanted to come up with a way to reuse them. you could also be having old giftcards, travel cards like NewYork city Metro cards or London Oyster cards, hotel keycards etc - if you dont want to simply send them to the landfill, here's a way to reuse or upcycle the unused cards.

reuse recycle upcycle credit cards diy bookmarks
this is the before :)
i decided to make book marks out of them . i chose an old credit card and an old library card. i also have some good thick tags that came attached with shirts, trousers, dresses etc. though these arent plastic, they are thick cardboard-ey stuff, and i thought it'd be a shame to waste them.
it is no big deal to give a makeover to these  - all it takes is a little bit of imagination and a little patience, and you could come up with so many ways to reuse your old credit card .

i chose a few quotes that i liked and printed them on coloured cardstock. i also like the 'keep calm' signs, so i printed them out for the other side.
i just created a table in the word processing document , typed out the quotes and printed them. you can select 'insert table' from the 'table' menu. another idea would be to use the mailing labels option - from the 'tools' menu, choose 'labels'.  you could use the labels option if you have a lot to print out, and will use a whole sheet, but if you are going to do just one or two, simply use the table option. that way, you can use the rest of the sheet to print out something else beneath. (yes, i take the word frugal to whole new levels :) )

once you are done printing, cut out the quotes. i used mod podge to stick the quotes on the credit cards. i then used con-tact paper to cover the edges. for the shirt tag, since it wasnt plastic, i just used glue instead of mod podge, and used some gift wrap for the edges. finally puched a whole in the cards and tied a thin ribbon. thats it, all done !

now, some notes for my friends who live outside the US :

  • cardstock is just thicker paper, which you could use for postcards, greetingcards, invites, etc. if you dont have it on hand, just use plain printer paper and get creative on the border decorations, embellishments, etc !
  • mod podge is a brand of decoupage glue, hugely popular in the US, but am not sure of its availability in other countries. i've used it here because it effortlessly sticks paper on plastic. if you dont have it, another alternative could be to tape down your print-out in the centre and then glue the border wrapping paper over it. paper-on-paper should be easy with any normal glue. (or if you have the patience, google for diy modpodge options to make your own.)
  • con-tact paper is a brand of adhesive backed shelf liners in the US. i use it since i find it easily in the nearby dollar store - you could simply glue giftwrap, or any coloured or patterened paper you want. or even fabric scraps. 
here are the pics - (click on them for a larger view)

reused creditcards reuse credit cards upcyle old creditcards
the 'after' pic !

diy bookmarks diy luggage tags reuse creditcards recycle creditcards
and this is the other side

diy gift tags diy luggage tags from old creditcards

and here are two of them a little bit up close - 

reuse credit cards to make bookmarks gift tags luggage tags

reuse recycle upcycle creditcards recycled reused upcycled credit cards re

the font i have used for the quotes is 'jane austen', and a 'keep calm' font for the other side - both of which are available for free downloads online. (press shift 6 to get the crown in the keep calm font :) )

you can see i've made two with 'read on' signs and one with a 'travel on' - i thought these would also make a great luggage tag, the next time you are travelling :) it would either be a nice touch to your carry on, or make it easier to spot your check-in luggage when it comes down the carousel !
you could also make cute tags for your kids' school bags, lunch bags etc, with their favourite characters, stickers and so on... 
these would also make great gift tags with a personal touch ! (help your kids make them and write their message on the back with a marker - just in time for father's day !)

i'm sure you can come up with a bajillion ideas to reuse that old card or shirt/dress tag, just get your creative juices flowing :) 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

a little story about a little girl...

once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a little girl...  ok, ok.. i admit that was a bit too much... well, it was actually sometime in the late 80's, and the land was india...

there lived a little girl though, whom this story happens to be all about... like most other little girls, she grew up on a diet of fairy tales and fantasy...

one day she had gone over to the neighbour's house to play, and her playmate's little brother was busy with a colouring book. the story reaches a crucial point now, when the boy, deciding he needed assistance, asked our little girl what colour he should use for a suitcase in one of the colouring book pages.

maybe the girl gave it some thought, maybe she didnt. (it was a long time ago, remember ? the itty bitty details are forgotten.) what matters, is that she told him, "blue" . yes, blue, for a suitcase. it doesnt seem like such an outrageous idea now, but it was the 80s and it was india. suitcases came in black, brown, or maybe, grey. off-beat colours werent so common. (especially among the middle class indian traveller whose primary reason for travel was still pilgrimage !)

when the parents of the boy looked at the colouring book sometime later, they thought the idea of a bright blue suitcase implausible. maybe even impossible.  whatever it was, they lost no time in teasing and making fun of the little girl and her idea. despite the girl insisting that it wasnt such a bad idea, and maybe she had even seen them somewhere. anyway, the family for whatever reason found it to be amusing, and got a real kick out of making fun of the poor girl and her idea.

fast forward more than two decades later. much water had flown under the bridge. luggage came not just in blue or green, but pink and purple. with polka dots and animal prints and houndstooth. with cartoon characters. practically any colour you wanted. the little girl (who was not so little now) crossed the seas and spent hours sitting around and people-watching in airports in different countries, different continents. and boy, did she see a sea of luggage in every colour imaginable... and her thoughts often went back to that incident, and that family, which for some reason lingered on in her memory despite the years.

moral of the story : never make fun of a child's creativity.
never ridicule a child's idea, just because it seems funny to you. you never know.
dont belittle a child just because you have lost touch with the child in you.
and most importantly, if you cant say something nice, say nothing. zip.

update : when i wrote this post a year ago, the pics i had posted above was from a sale flyer dropped in our mailbox. (which i photo'ed, cropped and posted) 
yesterday i had accompanied friends who were luggage shopping, and i couldnt help smiling to myself when i saw suitcases in the brightest possible colours - so took some pics so that i could add them here. (pics are mobile-camera quality though, and i'm no good at taking pics with a mobile.)


luggage, bright colours

bright color luggage

strolley, luggage, suitcase, bright color

Thursday, 3 May 2012

may day reflections...

this post comes a couple of days late, but then its never too late to reflect on certain things, isn't it...

may 1st is celebrated as May-day - worker's day or labourer's day, in many countries around the world (except, as one would expect, in the US - which has its own labor day in the end of summer)... and it is a public holiday in india.

being a public holiday, the vernacular indian channels had lined up an array of 'special' programs... the trailer of one of those programs showed celebrities talking about the first salaries they had received in life... and that got me thinking of my own...

the first 'official' payment i got wasnt exactly a salary, but a stipend for the training i had to do for my course. that was 11 years ago. and an insignificant sum of Rs450 a month. (thats about $10, and it seems so weird now that such a sum was a month's payment - whatever be the service !)

thinking back now, its amazing how having money of one's own could give a feeling of confidence and happiness, regardless of how small the amount was.

i guess i was quite frugal, even back then. besides petrol for my beloved scooty and the occasional cost of books and the frequent cost of exam fees, the money was spent on little else. i am happy and thankful that my friends too are the simple and no-frills kind (birds of a feather ?) - for having a good time those days, we didn't need overpriced drinks from fancy malls, or frequent movies in expensive multiplexes... in fact i would have barely seen one or two movies a year those days... those were days when i had no computer, no branded clothes, and no mobile phone (my first mobile phone came some years later, in 2005 - after i earned my first real salary )... and yet felt a lot of freedom and happiness...

well thats the story of the paltry 450.. and how it went a long way in life... a little flashback from not so long ago, yet what seems like long ago... hmmmm...

since the post is in the spirit of May-day , i've attached the above image, which is the Triumph of Labour statue at the marina beach, chennai. it was sculpted by Debi prasad roy chowdry, who was the principal of the college of fine arts in chennai.
 (image source- wikipedia  )

Thursday, 19 April 2012

floor lamp makeover

i've never thought of myself as someone who is very crafty -(being good at crafts, i mean - not the other,sly,cunning kind of crafty - which also, btw, i am no good at whatsoever)  so this was a little project for which i felt like giving myself a pat on the back ...

to cut a long story short, i had this lamp which was a hand-me-down... while it was a perfectly good lamp function-wise, i thought it looked just a little, umm, 'blah'... and decided to give it a facelift... 

i had been wanting a damask patterned stencil for quite some time now, and got one for abt 5$ (and the package included another pattern too)... so some coats of acrylic paint, stencil, and some tlc - the lamp had its makeover.

for the base of the lamp i used a metallic copper colour, and a coat of plain brown in between two coats of the former, so that it wouldnt be too shiny... and stenciled the shade with the brown paint... 

the final result isnt all that perfect, if you see it up close - yet it is a vast improvement over its earlier version, and for now i'm happy with that... 

this is the before and after picture :

and this is the lampshade up close, when the lamp is on :

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

d-i-y chrome themes !

i'm a big fan of words like 'personalise' , 'customise' etc. more so if it doesnt cost you a cent :)  if i can take something and give a tweak here and twist there, it makes me really happy. and so, when google came up with this option of customising your own chrome theme, i was knee deep into it immediately :) just one more reason for me to love google and its products !

here are the themes that i've been coming up with so far :

Toms River

Not Your Type

Teal Damask

Cherry Blossoms


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

you know how they say happiness comes in small packages - i belong to that school of thought. most of the time, its the smallest of things which make me instantly cheer up and feel happy.

this was one of those instances. i was out to pick up some medication in the street corner drugstore, when i found this charming little flower pot on sale for $1.50 . i have a big soft corner in my heart for any pottery in blue, and the price tag no doubt added to my delight. it was a precious little thing, about 4 in. in diameter at the top, and i knew it was just calling out my name the moment i saw it :)

i picked it up, and found some flowers in the bushes around my home on the way back. it looks so perfect, and gives me that little pop of joy every time i see it on the table.

yes, my happiness comes from the simplest things. i guess i could never say that enough.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Chronolgy of Jane Austen's life and works

i had taken out one of jane austen's books from the library, and found this chronology of jane austen in the first few pages... in addition to her life and works, this lists out significant events in english literature and world history at the same time...

i took pictures of the pages, and they havent turned out all that well, but still i hope good enough to read for anyone who might be interested in jane austen and her contemporaries, in this age of harry potter and twilight  !

(click on the pics to enlarge)

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