Crafty baby, Festivals

DIY Christmas Ornaments

It is that time of the year again – the time when you hit snooze button on your phone alarm every morning, when your tea is generously flavored with ginger, when the air is cold and crisp, when everyone looks forward to sunny afternoons after a hazy morning and one wonders how fast the last few months have flown by.

Onset of winter also brings Christmas cheer, especially if you are in the western world. Even if its not part of your culture Christmas is usually a favorite with kids – the idea of a chubby jolly fellow bringing them candy and gifts is exciting.

I bought a small Christmas tree on VMJ’s first Christmas to expose her to this festival. When she got older we started having Christmas party for her friends and made Christmas crafts. This is what we made last year:  Learn how to make it here

This year we are in the US and VMJ is having the time of her life with the plethora of holiday activities and  with the decorated trees and streets everythere. While thinking about Christmas gifts for her teacher it struck me that I should include a hand made card from Vaanya. The idea evolved into a hand made Christmas ornament when I realized that it will be something new and more fun.

Attempt 1:

We started off with making ornaments with white clay. It was easy but somehow didn’t appeal to me. Moreover curiosity got better of VMJ and she poked and played with the beads until they fell off. Idea rejected for now!!  

 Attempt 2:

Next attempt was with ice cream sticks. We painted them, glued them together and decorated them. It was fairly easy, quick and I liked that it involved a few different skills from start to finish. We loved the end result. This is how it looks: 

 

You will need:

For Christmas Tree ornaments:

  • Ice cream sticks
  • Green Acrylic Paint & brush (I didn’t have green so we mixed blue and yellow)
  • Fevicol/ All purpose glue
  • Decorative items – Pipe cleaners, glitter glue, small beads, stickers, ribbons… let your imagination take control

For Raindeer ornaments:

  • Ice cream sticks
  • Brown paint & brush
  • Googly eyes
  • Thin red ribbon

For Snowflake ornaments:

  • Ice cream sticks
  • Blue and white paint & brush
  • Decorative items – Glitter glue, sparkly stones
You will need a string or thin ribbon to attach a loop for hanging and you are done. Hang them on your tree, gift to teachers or send with the holiday card to family and friends – no matter what you do these are going to be a hit!
Hope you and your child enjoys making them as much we did!
Happy crafting!
-A
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Book Review, Mundane musings

The DisasterĀ in ‘Beautiful Disaster’

  

Picture Source

If you are wondering what the title of this post is all about then I guess you haven’t heard about the book Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, or read it. 

I was recommended this book by my neighbor and it sat on my Kindle for nearly 2 years until I decided to read it. The book captivated me right from the beginning. It starts off as a typical good girl meets the bad boy story until the plots gets just a little denser. The ‘bad boy’ Travis is more gentlemanly than the ‘good boy’ of the story, the restraint and passion he shows is beyond normal…. But then that’s the stuff intense love stories are made of. His love and devotion reminds me of Radhe and Sanjay Singhania of sada apna Bollywood. And thankfully that’s where the similarity ends.

In the earlier chapters I loved the playful chemistry between Travis and Pigeon (or Pidge as he lovingly calls Abby) and ache for them to fall in love. Their misunderstandings, emotional drama and longing for each other is almost palpable and engulfs your heart and soul. 

However the book unnecessarily gets complicated. Event after event is thrust upon the readers making Abby and Travis go back and forth in their relationship. It seems that Jamie didn’t want a straight forward book and added the twists and turns just to make it more intricate. But instead of giving depth the complexities are unable to hold the momentum and kill the beautiful place the earlier chapters have created.

Half way through the book I was sure that this book will stay with me for a long long time, that I would not be able to look at a Pigeon without thinking about Travis and his undying love for Abby. There were moments when I was so engrossed in the book that I forgot everything and everyone around me. But in the later half I got bored with the ping pong game of Abby breaking up and getting back together with Travis. The first couple of times were cute and realistic but after that Abby started to feel selfish and self obsessed and Travis gets too good to be true. But even with these shortcomings the book was beautiful…. Until the disaster happened!! 

The real disaster in Beautiful Disaster is not Travis or Abby or Abby’s past. The real disaster is the way it ends. The climax should have made me giddy but it made me feel so disappointed that I regretted reading the book through the end. Had Jamie managed to keep the enchanting bubble from bursting it would have been in the league of The Bridges of Madison County for me. But the end seems rushed, immature and completely devoid of the initial magic. I feel that he got Abby’s character into too much of an emotional mess, so much so that he needed to make her do something big and silly in order to make up for her being so uptight. What she does at the end may not be that big a deal but to me it seemed preposterous and very unlike Abby. It seemed forced, as if Jamie lost the patience of thinking  through or had a deadline to meet. 

All said and done it is a fantastic love story, don’t let my bitterness about the end stop you from picking it up. It still deserves to be read and remembered. 

Looking forward to reading Walking Disaster, the story through Travis’s point of view… Not ready to let go of him just yet šŸ˜‰

If you have read Beautiful Disaster I would love to read your comments on the book!

– A

PS. Ok, so I seem to have spoken too soon!! I read Beautiful Wedding and that gave me some answers of why Abby did what she did at the end of BD, and those seem pretty reasonable. It still couldn’t recreate the magic BD had woven but I was happy that the ending was not callous and stupid.
Oh! And I read Walking Disaster too, couldn’t finish because it seemed repetitive and since it’s from Travis’s point of view it lacks the enigmatic appeal which had made BD achingly beautiful. 

Mundane musings

Confessions of a Bibliomaniac

My romance with books dates back to my childhood. Growing up there were few things to keep me entertained. My father was strictly against cable TV, we lived in a nuclear family and there were few activities my elder brother and I enjoyed doing together. One of the few things that came to my rescue were my mother’s collection of Hindi literature, monthly magazines that my family subscribed to and an odd library book from school.  I devoured them all… Even old newspapers that made the covers of my mother’s books were not spared. I used to read while eating, while lying down in my bed before I slept, even on bus and train when we visited our relatives.

The love of reading continued to grow as I moved from Champak to Nancy Drew to Sophie Kinsella to EL James. I dabbled between various genres until I realized that I get too involved in a book, so much so that the characters and their journey in the book have a bearing on my moods. I am joyful and peppy when I’m reading Sophie Kinsella, I  was full of awe and wonder as I read Harry Potter and Unenchanted, and was totally love struck through Notebook and PS I Love You.

Every reader seeks something from a book and I seek positivity – be it in form of love, friendship, kindness or wonder. As long as there is light it works for me. My disposition changes with the way the book is progressing. Hassan’s words “For you, a thousand times over” haunted me for weeks if not months, Atlas Shrugged changed the way I thought and I cried for a long time (at 4 in the morning!) when Dumbledore was killed. I love when a book is able to move me so much, to bring out such strong emotions but honestly its exhausting to feel so overwhelmed very often. I want a book to be my happy place, where all tragedies make sense, where everyone finds love and friends, where all darkness turns to light. I want a book to be my refuge from the stress of daily life. I want a book that makes me smile not make my heart break into a million pieces.

Though I was always crazy for reading, this has magnified in the last few months. Managing my 2 munchkins and the housework without any help made reading next to impossible…. until I started reading a rather interesting novel through the in-flight entertainment service on our way back from a vacation. I couldn’t finish it during the flight and the book had me so captivated that I had to find it and finish it. I can’t explain the joy it gave me, it was as if I got a piece of my earlier life back. The life when I was just me – not a wife, not a mother. The feeling was so exhilarating that I wasn’t willing to give it up once the book ended. I downloaded reading apps on my phone and even though its not the healthiest way to read its the only way for me to keep a part of me alive. From that day onwards I find the term Bibliomaniac very fitting. I read as I brush my teeth, as I am waiting for tea to boil, as I lie in bed at night waiting for sleep to take over, even as I dry my hair post shampoo. I hardly ever get time to sit and read so I have no choice but to steal moments to be able to turn a couple more pages.

I am proud to say that reading has brought me to a very happy place. I may not read very deep or meaningful books but whatever I read makes me happy and a better person – and that’s enough for me.

Give yourself a gift today – a book, any book that you think you will enjoy reading; especially if you, like me, gave up or forgot reading because LIFE happened. Trust me that one book can flicker emotions that you didn’t even realize you missed, because when you read a good book magic happens!! 

  

Happy reading!

-A