Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Light Box

A month into blogging and I'm addicted. It's fun and a great learning experience. I've no natural talent for photography or writing, what the hell am I doing  here with a blog?

How I wish I could write beautifully, but that just seems like a very distant dream, I don't want to stress my little brain too much. I try to keep, the posts short but due to incessant chatter in my brain the post just keeps growing fat with words. It's photography that I decided to work on.

I have been most often asked, not to use the camera by my husband, brother and even a few friends. Seriously, I'm that bad, you can see that, don't you. A few pics might be just fine, but those are a few exceptions. The last post on Vegetable Fried Rice, I actually edited the pictures for the first time ever, so they might be, a bit better than the rest of the lot. That is because I've been reading up a bit.

One of the post's that I read, was about light box. I thought it would be great to have one, then I wouldn't have to bother too much about light, and cloudy days here, in Kerala. The project was on for the last week, but finished only today due to my laziness, a lot of reasons (I was supposed to buy the wires and CFL's as Ranjit can't drive for a while, due to a small accident). This was completely Ranjit's Project. He was actually excited to make this one as it required him to use his most prized possesions- Tools!

Two of the lamps were made using ply board, bulb holder and 18 Watts CFL. And you will need tools like the drilling machine, an electric wood saw, screws, nuts and bolts etc. Ranjit is a Tool man, he has a lot of stuff which I can't even name, But, being with him for just a year and a half,  I've learnt to use a few of them and I can fix a bunch of stuff on my own now. :)

Screwed up! ;)

 The first picture I took in the light box (unedited)

.Outdoors, on a sunny day (unedited)

The trouble with the sunlight is that I struggle with shadows. The camera I use is Canon SX120 IS. I've no clue what all it can do, I've just started reading the manual after one and half years of buying the camera.

You might want to read a bit before you start making your own light box. These are excellent tutorials, and some easy stuff about improving the quality of your pictures.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cucumber Carrot Raita

I always serve my vegetable fried rice with this raita. Its super simple and easy.


Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10minutes

  • 400gms thick set curd
  • Salt to taste
  • 1large Cucumber de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large Carrot shredded
  • Few sprigs of Coriander leaves for garnish.


    1. Add salt to the curd and mix using a wire whisk, just to get the curd soft and smooth.

    2. Add the shredded carrot and chopped cucumber. Mix well.

    3. Garnish with chopped coriender leaves.

     You can add onions and green chillies too if you like.


    Thursday, 22 September 2011

    DIY Bangle Box

    I googled for a Bangle box tutorial, hoping to find something I could link to my recycled bangle box. But couldn't really find anything quite similar to what I made. So here I am with a tutorial, if you want, you can make one for yourself. This also happens to be a recycle project for old boxes.

    Though the idea was mine. It's only coz of Ranjit that I could make it practical. The first time I started out, I had no clue what rod to use. I would have never thought about PVC pipes. We had a few of them lying around, it was Ranjit who suggested that I use it. He helped me make the first one. Today when I told him that I needed to make more of them and take a few pictures for my blog, he said he would help. It turned out that he did all the work, while I took all the pictures. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful husband.;)

    Bangle Box Tutorial

    Things I used:

    • Shoe box or a similar box
    • An old box or cardboard piece
    • Medium sized PVC pipe of the same length of the box
    • Hacksaw blade or a very sharp knife to cut the PVC pipe
    • Masking Tape
    • Scissors
    • Above all a loving n helpful husband like mine
    How I did it:

    1. Firstly, if you would like to make your box look good, go ahead and wrap the box in some nice paper and decorate it the way you want. You can also wrap up the PVC pipe if you wish. the first one I made I used old rough PVC pipes, so I just wraped them up with masking tape, so that its smooth for the bangles. The boxes I used are good enough, I didn't feel the need to wrap them.

    2. Now that the box is ready, lets get to work. Take the cardboard or the rough old box and cut two pieces out of it.Each piece should have the same width of the box and twice the height. 
    3. Fold each piece into half, length wise and try and fit it into the sides of the box. If it's not fitting right, you might want to chop off a little bit from one of  the sides and bottom.
    4. Now take two 1inch wide and the length same as the width of the above pieces.

    5. Now stick this in between the folded pieces with a masking tape like this.

    6. Now tape the bottom of the pieces, and cut two slots at the top center to fit in the PVC pipe. Tape the extra piece, we don't want to cut it coz it adds support to the pipe.

    7. Now simply place the two slotted cardboard pieces onto the sides of the box and fit in the pipe.

    8.  Now you can hang your collection of bangles to turn the shoe box into the bangle box.
    We made two, now all together I have three of them. And I know I'll need more! ;)

    PS: I've tried my best to write the procedure clearly, and I hope the pictures would prove helpful. Still if you are confused about anything feel free to ask. Otherwise it's a very simple and quick project.

    Wednesday, 21 September 2011

    DIY Pond

    The space between the circular sit out and the drawing room was turned to a fish pond by Ranjit. I really love the utilization of the space and its fun to just sit there and watch the fishes. After we returned from our trip to Mysore/ Bangalore, we found the whole pond infested with more than a thousand tadpoles, small slimy black rounds with a tiny tail. They’d been feeding on from the scales of the fishes. It was surprisingly sad to see Angel babies to die. Surprising because it is very hard for the Angels to breed, sad as it was a very wrong timing when we were away. We could barely rescues four or five of the babies.

    So we had to clean the whole pond inside out, and I got a chance to take pictures.

    First, layer the floor with stones and pebbles. This helps the dirt and fish poop to settle in between and looks natural.
    Arrange the tree trunks, pots and rocks (some of them on and around the tree trunks to hold them in place). Most of these things you’ll find in the back yard. The centerpiece was assembled clay pots that you find being sold on the roadside.

    This is important. Place a few pots upside down and leaving space underneath to let the fishes in, this serves as a good place for them to lay eggs.

    Finally place the plants, and start filling water and add the fishes. Add rock salt on a regular basis to keep the snails off the pond plants.

    Gold Fish and Angel reaching out for food

    Check out the ripples at the other end, that's coz we let the pipe drip a little water everyday for sometime, to keep the pond fresh.
    PS: The last pic might look a lot different from the actual plan coz it was taken yesterday for the blog, the others were taken a while back.

    Monday, 19 September 2011

    DIY Wine bottle label

    Homemade grape wine is a big hit amongst my family and friends. I had been planning to gift one bottle to a friend. Of course I have to make it look good, so here's what I did. And I just realised it is also recycling the wine bottle and the old visiting cards.

    Things I used: 

    • Empty Wine bottle and cork, washed and sterilized
    • White paper A4 size
    • Poster Colour- Chrome yellow and black
    • Paint brushes 
    • Glue
    • Old visiting cards
    • Small piece of ribbon.
    • A pair of scissors
    How I did it:

    1. Take the A4 size paper and cut it into half lengthwise. And Lightly brush it using the poster colour.
    2. Let it dry. Now use the black paint to draw something on it. I really didn't think too much and ended up with this.
    3. While you let this dry. Join two of the visiting cards using glue so you get both sides as unprinted. Now paint one side and if you like you can draw something on it or write. I drew exactly the same thing on it.
    wrap it around the bottle and stick it with glue.

     4. If you want you can round the edges of the card using scissors, and punch a hole at the top left. Use a thin ribbon to tie it to the neck of the bottle.

    5. Fill in the wine, just till the beginning of the neck. And its ready to be gifted.

    It just took me 30 minutes to finish this whole project. But if you have a lot of bottles to label then there are many print out verisons available on the internet.

    Saturday, 17 September 2011

    Bangle Box

    I love bangles. But I use them only occasionally. Over the years I've got a good collection of them. But I find it hard store them. I've always considered buy bangle storage boxes but never found something light and easy. Last new year, my sister in law got me a gift pack from body shop. The box was really a strong one, which I converted to a bangle box a while ago.

    It took me just half an hour to make the whole thing once I found the materials. I used PVC pipes covered with masking tape to hang the bangles and used some cardboard strips from shoe boxes to get the support for the pipes.I tried to find a tutorial on the Internet how to make one, to link to this post. Tough luck couldn't find one. Maybe when I make one more I'll take pictures of each step.

    PS: Tutorial for Bangle box updated.

    Friday, 16 September 2011

    Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage

    I was just checking my Facebook updates and found out that an ex- BFF (I know BF forever but just like Boyfriends and husbands, BFF’s too become ex) just got married. So I wished her luck and since she was online, we ended up chatting.  She said she got married in January and she is still not comfortable as it was an arranged marriage, she’d met the guy only twice before the wedding. I ended the conversation saying just go with the flow and it will work out.

    This conversation got me thinking again (most Indians go through this debate, in their minds) “Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage”. Not just in minds, most of us have participated in  a formal (college debates, interviews etc) or an informal (with friends and family) debate on this topic.  In my school days i.e. 90′s it was a shameful to have a love marriage. College days saw a drastic change; it was cool to have a love marriage.  Whenever the debate arises, the opinions are highly polarized and often subjective.

    Arranged Marriage

    Wise and concerned parents in order to meet the domestic obligation of a proper marriage, prepare themselves mentally and, more importantly, financially when their child reaches marriageable age. They search for a suitable partner keeping in mind the societal rules regarding cast, creed, natal chart, and financial and social status of the family.  In most cases everything is matched but the actual compatibility of the boy and girl, their expectations from each other as life partners are topics which barely surface the minds of most parents. That is where the arranged marriages tend to fail.

    It is like conducting an experiment with all the factors set right but forgetting to consider the compatibility of the two important chemicals.
    1. If they are compatible, they might withstand the changes in the external environment leading to a successful reaction with a end product as a Happy Arranged Marriage!
    2. If they are not at all compatible, it can result in an explosion leading to a Divorce.
    3. If they are not so compatible, and if the pressure from the families is too high, it helps avoid a big explosion but leads into a number of smaller explosions over the period of marriage. Compromised Marriage!
    The third case is most often seen around here in India, and the second case is seen to have gained much popularity over the last few years, especially in the big metropolitan cities and the first one being the rarest of all. I’m lucky to have known the rare species of the first group. This gives me the confidence to say that arranged marriages, are not all that bad.

    Love Marriage

    The beauty of love marriages is the freedom of selecting a life partner according to one’s desires and needs. The intimacy between lovers helps in understanding each other, which in turn, helps in choosing a life partner for a harmonious relationship. There is something very valuable knowing that you were picked solely on your personality and connection with the person you in turn love and that strong bond has merit and can with stand any trauma or drama. Love marriages make the couple more responsible, unlike in many arranged marriages where the major decisions are still being made by parents. Love Marriages are definitely more preferable. But not fool proof, they also have the above there categories of the reactions, with  a slightly different ratio of the three categories.


    Marriage, it’s just a relationship between two adults which has a stamp of approval from the society, and love is something which is gradually developed with interaction, understanding, complementing each other’s weaknesses, supplementing each other’s strengths and being a shield of support. Attraction or romance doesn’t die for decades if these factors are given their due in the relationship.
    Love towards a person is just one of the factors to marry the person. Love can propel the marriage for may be 5 or 10 years. After that there are more factors which come into play -security, comfort, support, understanding, humor, ability to resolve differences – from these factors, love automatically evolves which keeps the couple happy for the next half of the lifetime.
    It is not the kind of marriage, that decides it’s the success or failure, but the kind of commitment the two people have to make it work in spite of all odds!!!

    Tuesday, 13 September 2011

    Baby Gritghan

    I made this one for one of my very close friends son. He is just one and a half months old. I could just barely finish it on time. I made it slightly larger with a different edging than what was metioned in the pattern. I somehow managed to take picture in the car, just before we gave it. 

    The pattern is super easy and quick. I couldn't finish on time only because I didn't get much time to crochet. My friend called the other day saying that she has already started using it.

    Friday, 9 September 2011

    My first Musk Melon...

    Yay... Good news, I had a baby muskmelon growing and the plant justwilted away , I was hoping to harvest it after it grows bigger, but I was stupid to expect them to grow bigger, when grown in small pots.  To my surprise the muskmelon was perfectly ripe when I cut it open.

    It tasted awesome. Mehanat ka phal meetha hota hai. All the hard work was by Ranjit coz I just planted the seeds and left for Madurai, he took good care of them, and as he is barely eats any fruit, I got to enjoy the fruit of his hard work.  But I've already started growing more, and they've started flowering too.

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