Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

Make Your Own Rakhi – 2017

If you have been following the blog for some time you would probably know that every year darling daughter and I make hand made Rakhis. The festival of Raksha bandhan holds a special significance in our close knit family and making our own Rakhis makes it sweeter for us. Staying outside India this is one more way of keeping my kids closer to our culture and traditions. 

When VMJ was younger I would choose the kind of Rakhis we made and did majority of the work. Now that she’s a big girl of 5 she insists on choosing the design and shopping for supplies on her own. These days she is into reading and writing so alphabets were heavily on her mind while picking a rakhi pattern. She decided to make name bracelets for her brothers and picked up colorful letter beads from the craft store. Since heart is her favorite shape and she loves colors, she also picked up a box of colorful heart beads and string in bright colors. I would have preferred regular cord over the elastic one but the elastic one had more colors and glitter so was darling daughter’s obvious choice.


The rest was easy. We threaded beads in the string – full names for the younger brothers and only initials for grown up brothers, added heart beads on both ends.


VMJ’S eldest brother got married last winter so this year we were excited to make our first lumba rakhi for her new Bhabhi. In case you are not familiar – lumba is a special, more decorative rakhi for brother’s wife. Instead of the typical rakhi thread a lumba had a loop of string that is knotted around the bangle. For lumba we had bought special charms that dangle from the main loop. A smaller charm from the set was added to our rakhi to make it into a set for VMJ’s Bhaiya Bhabhi. This is how our rakhi and lumba set looks.

The best part about these rakhis was that darling daughter was able to make them on her own, I did help with tying the knots and making the lumba but that was it. 

I love how they have turned out, hope you like them as much as we do. 

Hurry now! Get your supplies and make some pretty ones for your Bhaiyas and Bhabhis.

Happy crafting!

– A

    Crafty baby, Disciplining your child, DIY, Parenting

    DIY Calming Bottle/Glitter Jar

    As darling daughter is getting older she’s growing more sensitive to the idea of time out. If I ask her to go in a corner she sulks and pouts and outrightly refuses to do that. But there are times when I do need her to calm down for both her and my sake. In order to make time out fun for her I considered making a calming bottle. Of course there was added advantage of doing a craft together which is darling daughter’s most favorite thing to do!

    Things we used :

    • Empty glass bottle (I used glass bottle that came with Starbucks frapuccino)
    • Glitter glue 
    • Extra glitter 
    • Confetti and assorted beads/tid bits
    • Hot glue gun (to seal the cap close)

    How we made it :

    • We squeezed out one part glitter glue in a bowl and added 2 parts hot water. 
    • Whisk it together until there are no glue lumps in the mixture. 
    • Pour it in the clean bottle and add confetti, beads and more glitter as per your liking. 
    • Let the mixture cool down. Once cooled, close the lid and seal it with hot glue gun. 

    Now give it a good shake and enjoy the glitter floating in the liquid. Your glitter jar is ready!


    Notes:

    • It would be advisable to use a plastic bottle when making it for young kids.
    • If the mixture is not completely cooled before you close the lid, the plastic bottle may shrivel and ruin your efforts when it does cool down. 
    • Adding too much glitter glue would make the mixture too thick and glitter won’t settle down.
    • Closing with hot glue gun is important so the child doesn’t spill the contents while playing. 
    • This glitter jar is not perfect because the glitter does take a little long to settle down. I’ll experiment with other mediums and keep sharing my experience. 

    Darling daughter enjoyed making the jar, she carefully chose stars and snowflakes from the confetti mix I got from Walmart. We used her favorite Frozen themed acolors and she was thrilled with the results. It’s another thing that we haven’t needed to give her a time out since we have made the calming bottle so I can’t really comment on its effectiveness… 😃

    Do try this fun and easy project with your little one and share your experience with us!

    Happy crafting!

    -A

    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    Celebrate Rakshabandhan 2016 with Handmade Rakhis

    It’s Rakhi time again. In our family Rakshabandhan is a big occasion, we tie rakhis to cousins and second cousins as well. This is the second time we are not able to celebrate this festival with family and the least I can do is help my daughter make rakhis for all her brothers so she is involved and stays in touch with the traditions.

    Every year I try to choose a design that is easy for her to make with minimal help from my side. These are the rakhis we have made in previous years. This year I chose rakhis made out of felt and stones. They look pretty and are fairly easy to make.


    Felt is an easy material to work with. It is readily available in a variety of bright colors. Is fairly inexpensive and easy to cut. The only challenge with felt is sticking it together. It doesn’t hold well with fevicol or other easy crafting glues but hot glue works like a charm on felt. In one of my trips to the craft store last year I had over-enthusiastically bought a hot glue gun*. Finally I was able to put it to good use while making these rakhis.

    What you need:

    • Felt sheets (Any 2 colors of your choice)
    • Decorative stones/buttons/glitter glue/pom-poms
    • Thin ribbon 
    • Hot glue gun

    The method is pretty simple.Cut circles from the felt sheets and stick them on each other. Top it with the decorative item of your choice. I have used stone but you can use anything you have available. Stick the ribbon at the back or in between the 2 rakhi layers. And Voila! Your lovely rakhis are ready.

    *Caution – Please be very careful while using hot glue gun if its your first time using it. DO NOT give it in the hands of young children and while using yourself, ask children to keep safe distance from the gun. Follow all instructions properly. Its safe to use but the glue and tip of the gun get extremely hot. Despite being careful I got a nasty burn which was very painful for a few days and I have the mark even after a whole month. 

    Now that your beautiful rakhi is ready, spare a minute to pack it equally well. Take a small rectangular card. I used the blank note cards from market (5″ x 3.5″), you can cut your own from card stock paper. Write your Rakhi message on the card and tie the rakhi on the side. Not only does it look way more presentable than putting rakhis in an envelope, it helps keeping them in good shape till they reach their destination.

    Hope you enjoy making these beauties as much as we did.

    Happy crafting!

    -A

     

     

    You might also want to read Rakhi & The Changing Paradigms.

    Crafty baby, DIY

    Father’s Day Craft

    Every year I think what can we do to celebrate Father’s Day. In the past years we have done a father-daughter picture enlarged and framed, senti father-child poem with hand print and a hand made card with hand print tulips. You can read more about how we made these here.

    Last year we made a house craft with birds to show Papa and his 2 munchkins.


    Last year was a big year for our family as we had our second child and had moved to US from India. During the move my husband had moved earlier, me and the kids had joined him about 10 weeks later. The baby didn’t care but VMJ took it hard and missed Daddy dearest too much. So on Father’s Day we made a craft to signify home is where Daddy is!

    I and VMJ chose a small wooden house from our local craft store and then VMJ picked 2 colors to paint the house with. We also bought 1 big Papa bird and 2 small baby birds. 


    Back home, we painted the house. VMJ did most of the paint job and I finished the edges. We then left it for a day to dry. Once dried completely we fixed the fake birds on the house. VMJ said since the baby is small and can’t move, he’ll stay in the house and since she is big she will be out with Papa. So, the bird on the roof with Papa bird is mademoiselle while the bird in the house is her baby brother. She wanted to do more to the house so we used alphabet stickers to write “Love You Papa” on one side of the house. 

    My husband  was traveling on Father’s Day weekend so we made a photo collage of his pics with both the kids and shared a soft copy on phone. The day he was to come back VMJ wanted to make another special craft for him, so we did a rainbow with fruit loops. It also helped me keep her busy as she waited for Papa’s flight to land. 


    Papa was so happy to see his gifts and took the house to work the next day to keep at his desk 🙂

    We are still thinking about what to do this year. Inspire us by sharing what you are doing this Father’s day!

    -A

    DIY, Festivals

    DIY Holi Colors 

    The colorful Indian festival of Holi is around the corner. It is the first time we are not in India on Holi and it almost slipped my mind until my friend Nukta sent me this picture!!

     

    Nukta is pro-natural and pro-DIY. She told me she’s making her own Gulal for Holi and that’s when all memories came flooding.

    I loved playing Holi as a child. We used to play with wet colors – the stronger the better, packet load of dry colors was bought and handfuls were emptied on the heads of unsuspecting people, water balloons were thrown and thick paste of water color was smeared on faces. Some even played with paint and grease. And when all inventory was over there was always water to throw. The whole fun was around making people as dirty as possible and with the color that wouldn’t go easily. After a whole morning of playing I remember spending couple of hours trying to wash it off using chick pea flour, yogurt or some other kind of natural cleanser, yet having pink or green patches on the face and hands which refused to go for days!!

    Times have changed now. People are more aware about the harsh chemicals that are added in the colors to make them strong. Most prefer to play only with dry gulal which is bought herbal and dye-free from special shops. Some have even started to play with flower petals and sandalwood paste. 

    If you want to play this beautiful festival with your family without exposing them to harmful chemicals you can also make your own natural color at home instead of buying the fancy over-priced stuff that may not be very natural after all. Nukta has been kind to share her recipe with us. Here it goes:

    Gulal 1

    Ingredients:

    • Corn starch
    • Liquid food color

     

    Method:

    Make a smooth thick paste of corn flour and water. Add few drops of food color , the quantity will depend on which shade of color you want. Mix it well, spread it on a tray for faster drying and leave for about 2 days. Once the cracks appear on the surface, put it in a zip lock bag and crush it to obtain a fine powder or pulse in a mixer grinder. The drying process can be sped up by preheating the oven, turning it off, and putting the tray in warm oven. Rose water or 1-2 drops of essential oil can be added to the corn flour paste for fragrance. 

       

     
    Gulal 2

    Ingredients:

    • Turmeric/Sandalwood powder
    • Talcum Powder/ corn starch

    Method:

    Mix turmeric/sandalwood powder with talcum powder/ corn starch. You can choose to add a bit of food color and dry if you prefer a deeper color. While using turmeric and corn starch you may add a couple of drops of essential oil or rose water for fragrance. Sandalwood and talcum powder will have fragrance of their own.

    Water Color:

    Water colors for Holi can be made by using easily available kitchen ingredients. For reddish pink color you can boil beetroot in water. Use turmeric for yellow color, saffron for orange color and red cabbage for purple color. You can mix corn starch in the colored water prepared as above for making gulal if you don’t want to use food colors, but these will not be very bright.

    Wish you all a very Happy and Colorful Holi!

    -A