Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Nice Things and the Not so Nice Ones

Ever thought of writing all your likes and dislikes??? I'm gonna do it now. Of course it would be a long list, so to keep things simple, here are some of the simple nice things and some of the not so nice things that are currently in my life.

The nice things:

I love, love, love skype. We get to chat with my parents and in laws so very often. Thanks to web chatting , we don't  as much miss our loved ones.

Ever since my last post, the number of visits have increased on my blog. Thanks to Lord Ganesh. It's all His  grace:)

Its so good that I have a washing machine and a dryer in my apartment, else we would have to carry all our soiled clothes elsewhere outside which would make my life hell!!

 My hubby has an amazing sense of humour. He always  tries to crack up a joke and he keeps me laughing all the time. I've never seen anyone being so witty!!! Thanks honey:)

My son Ankush has started to understand quite a few things I say now. In the sense He has started to recognise the names of the things around him. For Eg: If I ask him "where is the ball?", he starts to look earound. It just looks so cute:)

 Look at my son wearing his dad's sunglasses:))

Dishwasher in my apartment saves my life!! Really, I just hate washing dishes. Do we get these in India? Hope we get it soon in India coz it also uses water so efficiently.

Me and Hubby have mostly common likes and dislikes esp in food:) Its such a relief coz it makes things easier for us decide when we go out to buy anything!! We both love movies, sleeping, long drives, tea with parle-g, shopping, traveling, browsing:), watching videos in youtube, tiramisu, pani puri, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai , Madhuri Dixit, Italian Food, Our Lovely Ankush of course, making fun of each other, playing cards and the list goes on and on.

Love Baking.  This is a White Chocolate cake I baked for my friend's bday.

Not so Nice things:

Everytime I start my laptop, HP gives a message during startup telling me to replace the battery. Now common!!! It costs a hell. It would be better to replace the laptop itself.It's quite a new laptop:((

Why aren't we allowed to dry our clothes outside in the sunshine in USA?? Gosh!! and they say "Its always sunny in Florida", for... what....???  Here, its mostly compulsory in the apartments to use the dryer. So much waste of electricity. Love Love India.

My math has gone so so bad over the years. I can hardly do any mental calculations nowadays. Probably its bcoz I stay at home and dont really use my brain for such things!!! When hubby asks me anything about the cost of any item we bought earlier, or as to when we purchased a certain thing.....I Blink! I have to, have to, have to work on it. Think I gottu solve more and more of mathematical puzzles and stuff.

Ever since my son completed 3 months, Ive been loosing a ton of hair. Ive been having bad hair days ever since:(

Ankush hates sitting on the car seat. We cannot plan on traveling much:(

I hate using Plastic bags. Look at the amount Ive collected in past 3 months.

The cashiers here use plastics so generously. They hardly put 3 items in each bag every time we go grocery shopping!! So much harm for the environment. Hence we recently brought a reusable bag. We try to use it whenever as much as possible. By the way, I don't really know why I've been collecting all the plastics. Thinking of some idea how to use it purposefully.

These were some of the things . Didn't want to bore you people. But Ive just written it the way things are. Simple as that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

DIY Ganesha Idol and Vinayaka Chaturthi Celebrations

Yesterday was Vinayaka Chaturthi . Hope you all enjoyed the festival. Well I enjoyed mine. This is the first time we ever celebrated this festival in the USA. This being Ankushs first Ganesha Chaturthi , I made sure that we start to celebrate it in our own little way with how much ever possible. The first thing that comes to the mind when having to celebrate this festival is to get a Ganesha idol. Thanks for not finding one around where we live in US and thanks to me being a "Go Green" girl, I was all set to make my very own eco-friendly Ganesha Idol. Quickly searched to see if I could find some Idol making online and found this video. The material I used to make this is nothing but the coloured clay(for instance , Playdoh) available in the market. Im really not sure if its clay but it feels something like clay. But I didnt use playdoh, I used a different brand. But I recommend anyone attempting to do this to stick to playdoh if you are in US.

Here's the set I bought. I had a total of 6 colors.  Please cut your fingernails before attempting this, coz it leaves a lot of nail marks if you don't do so. You will also need ear buds , paper towel/soft cloth to wipe your hands in between switching colors and   markers/sketchpen.

Since I wanted to represented my Ganesha as an eco friendly one, I decided to use light green for the body. Make a large ball like this. This represents the body.

Next comes the legs. Take a choice of your colour and make 2 cylindrical, preferably narrower on one end and wider on the opposite.

Now place the broader ends on 2 opposite sides of the body and press lightly behind like your merging the green and the violet clay. see that it is fixed firmly. Next using your thumb and index finger lightly press on the narrower side of the violet piece to represent the feet of Ganesha.

Henceforth the pictures aren't in detail. This is coz I did this in the middle of the night and I started to loose my patience to take many pictures. But the video link I posted in the beginning says it all.  
Once the legs are placed, next go for the arms. Take 2 cylindrical pieces, much shorter than the ones we used for the legs. Just press on the top to the body and let the other end rest on the leg. Lightly press along the length of the arm to the body so that it attaches well. Next use different colors to make the neck chain and the orange part in this pic(This part of the idol represents the sacred thread worn by many hindus).
Next comes the very important part, The head. I would say that this is just a matter of patience and dedication to get this shape. An easier approach
to get this shape is to make a trapezoid first. Then work on the broader end by lightly pressing it to flatten it a bit. Then work on the narrower end to thin it down and shape it like a trunk. Work on the whole piece and finally you will get this shape.

Before attaching the head portion to the body , take a small piece of clay, about the size of your smallest toe:) Put it in the place where you would keep the head and press it lightly and now attach the head. The small piece of clay acts as a support to the head and it also gives the required height and the angle for the head. Gosh! Hope you've understood.    
In this pic, I have also done the palms. Take a pea sized piece of clay, make it into a nearly egg shape and just press it between your thumb and index finger to get the shape of a palm, place them as shown in this picture. One palm should look like it is blessing us and the other one to hold the modak.
Next comes the ears.Take a small amount of clay, work on it to get an egg shape, flatten it to look like an oval disc, then lightly try to curve on the lengthier side inwards to get the ear shape. I'm sure its really easy.Now attach it to both ends of the head by slightly overlapping the clay from the head and the ears from the back side.

Take a ear bud and lightly press on the head in the place where you intend to keep the tusks. This will create a small indent to hold the tusks. make 2 conical shaped tusks and just lightly press inside.

Next comes the crown. This design is left to an individual choice. I made a conical shape and with the help of the narrower end of spoon, I carved out a little to get this design.

To complete the Idol, use red clay to keep the Tilaka as shown. Again using ear bud I slightly pressed on the head in place of the eyes. Using a black marker/sketchpen, I drew the eyes. Please use a very thin tip marker. I used a broader tip marker and it started to spread out. I had to then fix it. Keep this in mind. You can use ear bud to smoothen the texture of the idol by simply lightly rubbing over it.You can make your own decorations now. You can use beads, zardosis etc to decorate it. I just wanted to keep it all plain clay.
This is how I made our Ganesha Idol!

Now for the Gowri Idol. I did not find any tutorial for this. But I saw this picture in the net and used this as a reference to make the Gowri idol.
Just Look at my sweethearts in the background;)))) Ummmaaaaa..Love them:)

This is how we celebrated the festival. This is a pic taken after the pooja. OH! I had my mom recite the mantras and guide me through the pooja procedure online through skype:)

I made the flowers in this picture using the left over clay.

Oh and how can the food be missed:) The menu includes idli, coconut chutney, chickpea sundal, Lemon rice, rasam, vegetable kootu, pumpkin bajji, kadubu, carrot kosambri, white rice of course. We invited our friends over for the celebrations. Heres a very cute pic of my son Ankush playing with his cutest friend Oishi:)) Oishi is one and half yrs old and she keeps calling Ankush as "bhaiiiiii" in her own sweet way:) How cute is that!!!!

Wow, we had an awesome day yesterday:)) Hope you enjoyed yours. Oh ,yesterday was a special day coz it also happens to be Eid. How more special can a day be when all friends get together and celebrate!!!!