DIY, Festivals

DIY No- sew Halloween Costume – Owelette Cape

Halloween excitement is running high in our house since the beginning of October. With new decorations appearing on a daily basis in the neighborhood even Baby Boy is noticing and saying “Mumma, I want Holloween”.

The kids are crazy for PJ Masks show these days and want to dress up as Owelette and Cat boy this year. I have been buying costumes for them so far but this year I couldn’t find a decent Owelette costume anywhere and Cat boy costume is mainly a jumpsuit which would have been a disaster for newly potty trained baby boy. So I just decided to get them capes and masks with red/blue clothes underneath. 

2 days ago my husband’s cousin shared pictures of her children in Halloween costumes. Her daughter is almost the same age as mine and she was wearing a fancy Owelette cape. I immediately texted her asking where she got it from and she told me she made it herself! My Sil is super good with crafts and the fact that she managed to make the cape with 3 kids in the house makes her even more awesome. When I told her I want to make one too she gave me detailed directions and shared helpful tips. So this blog post is dedicated to her. I am only the messenger ūüôā

It looks elaborate but can be finished in less than 3 hours after you have arranged for the materials. I made it when my daughter was at school. She was thrilled to see her cape and couldn’t stop flaunting it! 

Things you will need:

  • 1/2 yard Red felt fabric (Available at all craft stores and even Walmart but Walmart may be out of stock and may not have magenta for the feathers)
  • 1/2 yard Magenta felt fabric
  • Red ribbon to make the tie
  • 2 hair ties or bangles for the arm bands
  • Red thread and needle
  • Fabric glue/ Hot glue gun
  • Measuring tape and pencil 

I wanted to use Flannel fabric but Felt gives the cape a little stiffness. Felt is also easier to work with and can be washed in delicate cycle with little detergent and cold water.

What you need to do:

  • Fold the red fabric in half so the wings are symmetrical when you cut them and the placement of Magenta feathers can be done symmetrically as well. 
  • Measure fingertip to fingertip length for your child and add a couple of inches to it for the wing span. I made 36 inches across and about 30 inches long for my 5.5 year old.
  • Refer to the picture below and roughly draw the cape outline with a pencil. For the measurements I used, each feather was about 7 inches at the widest spot. Draw a dip for the neck. Don’t cut anything yet. 
  • To make a more symmetrical wing pattern don’t cut the red base in the beginning. After you have drawn the outline on Red, fold the Magenta fabric once and draw petal like shapes for making feathers.
  • Draw the middle 3 feathers first and since the fabric is folded once, on cutting you’ll get 3 pairs of petals. Cut a thin uppermost feather and the middle bottom feather at the end. Fill the gaps by making smaller feathers.
  • Keep the pairs together and arrange them on the folded red wing, and when you are satisfied with the placement of Magenta feathers cut the red wing like this by keeping a margin of 0.5-1 cm. 
  • Now carefully spread open the red wing, try not to move the Magenta feathers. If you see carefully you’ll notice that I have kept the Magenta feathers in pairs on the red wing. This is so I don’t have to remember or number the pairs. 
  • Arrange the feathers on the full wing and stick them one by one. I used a hot glue gun because I’m obsessed with it ūüėÄ but you can use a fabric glue as well. In fact if your daughter is helping you with the costume forget hot glue completely. 
  • Once all feathers are fixed, you’ll need to sew the hair ties on both ends. I didn’t have red hair ties so I used the next best thing I could find – Bangles. You can use elastic too. 
  • Finish off the cape by sewing on the ribbon on the neck, leaving enough on both ends to tie in a knot. If you don’t want to sew you can use the magic hot glue gun to stick it on. 

The cape may pull at the neck if only supported by the ribbon. To avoid this I am planning on fixing it on the shoulders with safety pins. 

My friend Garima has made a similar cape for her daughter and she plans to fix it with hooks. For this you will need 2 small sewing hooks and sew it on the cape where it’s supposed  to touch the shoulders. After checking the placement on the child’s shirt you then need to sew the eyes on. That way the cape hangs on the shirt rather than on the neck and is safer.

    Crafty baby, DIY

    Melting Crayon Art – Phases of Life

    After our first attempt (see here) at the crayon melting art, darling daughter and I were pretty excited about trying our next melting crayon project. My Sil’s 25th anniversary was approaching and we wanted to make a keepsake for her special occasion. We decided to make a set of 3 paintings showing 3 stages of her and her husband’s life – as newly-weds, raising 2 kids and life as empty-nesters. 

    What we needed:

    • 3 Canvas (we used 11 inches x 14 inches)
    • 6 packs of Crayola crayons (24 pieces)
    • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
    • Hot air gun
    • Printouts of shadow figures

    What we did:

    • First of all we segregated the crayons from all 6 boxes into 4 piles – colors we needed for each of the 3 paintings and colors we didn’t need at all. We had selected greens and blues for painting 1, pinks and purples for painting 2 and yellows and oranges for painting 3. 
    • We decided the order for the colors to give uniformity to the painting, and glued the crayons to the top of the canvas in the chosen order using hot glue gun. This was slightly time consuming and required quite a few glue sticks.
    • After sticking the crayons on the canvas, we made a sort of canopy with a masking tape above the place we wanted to place the shadow figure. The masking tape acts as an umbrella and doesn’t let color drip down, leaving clean white space to highlight the shadow figure. 
    • We placed the canvas vertically on the floor and spread old newspapers under it to catch any stray color from getting on the floor. Using a hot air gun we blew air on the crayons. Within moments the crayons started melting and colors started dripping on the canvas. Blow air depending on how long you would like the drops. We moved the hot air gun from one side of the canvas to the other until we were satisfied with the painting, and then we let it cool. 
    • We repeated the same process for the other 2 paintings.
    • For shadow figures we looked on google images and took printout of the ones we liked. Then we cut the silhouette and stuck them on the canvas using glue. 

    This is the final result of our hand work:

    We were so in love with our paintings that we made 4 more, one each for darling daughter’s older cousins, one for her class teacher’s birthday gift and one for my best friend’s baby girl. 

    These make great gifts and are easy to make. Do try them with your child or by yourself. They are a fun craft project for all ages.


    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    DIY Diwali Toran

    Every year I make a Diwali Bandanvar or Toran. This time I have already made a wreath (see details here) and to compliment it I wanted to make something classy yet traditional, something not too flashy but yet rich looking.

    I have been making paper marigolds since last few days but hadn’t quite figured out where to use them until today morning. The paper marigolds are absolutely beautiful crafts and look almost like the real deal. Since finding marigolds in the US can be challenging I usually make these every year to use for Diwali decoration. Here I have only stuck 2 hemispherical flowers to make a flower ball and added petals for some green color. They look great and are easy to make.

    What you need:

    • Paper napkins in yellow and orange color (Available at Walmart in party section)
    • 1/2 inch wide ribbon in yellow or orange (I used the shimmery ones from Dollar store)
    • White Fabric petals (Available at Dollar Store)¬†
    • Acrylic green color for dyeing the petals
    • A strong glue/hot glue gun¬†
    • Stapler and pins

    What to do:

    • First of all you need to get your marigolds ready. They are easy but time consuming. To make a marigold take a paper napkin (with color on both sides) and fold it twice to get a small square. The napkins are already folded twice but you need to fold them 2 more times.¬†
    • Now secure the small square by putting 2 stapler pins in the centre making a + sign.
    • Cut the square from the sides into a circle, and make small cuts throughout the peripheri.¬†
    • Now pick up the top layer of paper and crinkle it in the centre. Do it for each layer until there are only 5-6 left. Follow the picture collage to give you a better idea. I usually leave the last few layers straight. It saves precious time and doesn’t compromise on the look of the flower.

    • Dye the white flower petals in green color. The fastest way of doing it is to add some color and water in a big bowl and dump the petals inside. The petals that you get at Dollar Store are of stiff synthetic material and don’t stick to each other or crumple. Mix the contents of the bowl so the color gets on all the petals. Then spread them out on a newspaper and let them air dry. They should start drying off in 5-10 minutes only.¬†
    • Take a marigold and put some glue at its back. Stick 3 green petals one by one, arranging them in a circle. Using more glue stick one end of the ribbon along with the petals and finish by sticking the back of another marigold of the same color to get a ball like the picture below.¬†
    • Repeat the above step and make these flower balls throughout the length of your toran maintaining a distance of about 12 inches between 2 balls.¬†
    • To highlight the ball that falls in the centre of the door, stick 2 marigolds flowers closely on both sides. You don’t need to use the flower balls for this.¬†
    • Fix the toran on your doorway using small nails and a strong double tape. I needed 3 nails – 1 on each side and one at the top center.¬†

    This is the final look:

    It does go well with the wreath, don’t you agree? We love it, hope you do too.¬†

    Happy Diwali 


    Crafty baby, DIY

    Melting Crayon Art on Canvas 

    Darling daughter loves doing arts and crafts so I’m always on the lookout for fun projects that we can do together. Few months ago I saw a picture of melting crayon art and it looked very interesting. I did some research and found its easy to do, doesn’t require a whole paraphernalia of supplies and is something that looks more prettier than the effort it takes to make them! 

    I couldn’t wait to try my hands at it and got an opportunity in August when we were visiting my husband’s uncle. He loves photography and many times is seen capturing beautiful memories with his camera. Darling Daughter adores her Grandfather. She wanted to make a card but then I thought why not a crayon art instead. So this is what we made for him –

    The idea is to create art to show how he captures all colors of the light spectrum into his camera. 

    If  you would like to make this, you’ll need:

    • A canvas (we used size 8 x 10 inches)
    • Good quality crayon colors (Crayola works best)*
    • A hot air gun/a hair dryer
    • A paper/cardboard cut out**
    • Black color to paint the camera cutout 
    • A steel fork to hold the crayon while melting 

    What to do:

    • Spread old newspaper on the floor under the canvas to protect it from any stray crayon drops, and lay the canvas horizontally on it.
    • Choose the placement for the camera and stick it temporarily using a masking tape so there is no sticky spot after peeling it off.
    • Consider the color placement for all 7 crayons so the spectrum comes in the center of the canvas.
    • While holding the crayon with a fork blow hot air from the camera to the other side so the color flies out of the camera. 
    • Use hot air to evenly spread the melted Crayon by moving the hot air gun/hair dryer over it from the camera to the outer side. You may want to lift the canvas a little from the camera side so the color flows to the other side, away from the camera.
    • Repeat the melting process for the rest 6 colors. 
    • Blow some air on the right end to merge the colors. If you want a thin layer of lighter hues then use small pieces of crayons and use more hot air  to spread it out. 
    • Once the colors have cooled down, take out the masking tape from the camera cutout and paint it black. I also added some silver glitter to give it a metallic look. After drying stick it on the canvas using a strong glue or a hot glue gun.
    • Enjoy your lovely painting. 


    • * I used some old broken crayons without considering the quality. The good ones melt evenly and give a good even spread. The cheap ones melt in a thick paste that doesn’t spread or merge well and gives a patchy look like you can see in green, blue and red areas of our art.
    • ** I used the cardboard cut out for the camera to give a 3-D effect. You can use a normal paper cutout as well.

    This is a very interesting project and I am sure you will have great fun doing it. I have made a whole bunch of these in different themes that I will be sharing in another blog post very soon.

    Happy crafting!


    Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

    DIY – Diwali Wreath Decoration

    Living in a foreign country comes with its own pros and cons. While I do enjoy the various perks , a part of me misses family and friends I left behind. Talking on phone or video calls is great but it doesn’t really cut it some times, especially during¬†the festive season when nostalgia hits hard.

    While I can not recreate my childhood memories for my kids, I do want them to know about our major festivals and traditions. Diwali is the biggest and most special festival for us so I have started a tradition of making our own decorations. This way I can engage the kids in a constructive activity, prepare for the festival and teach them about India¬†and our culture along the way. Darling daughter loves crafting and looks forward to Diwali all year. Now that she’s older (5.5 years) she and I scroll through Pinterest and pick what we want to make, then go shopping together and craft away!¬†

    In the past years we have made Kandil and Diwali Toran/Bandanvar. You can see detailed instructions on those here. We have also made beautiful paper marigolds here.

    This year I wanted to make something different. I noticed people decorating their houses with Fall wreaths and wanted to make one for Diwali. They look rich and elegant and can be as simple or as complex you want them to be. I gathered some supplies and this is what I came up with. 

    I have kept orange as the main color to celebrate fall and added traditional motif and decorations to give it an Indian look. This took me less than 30 minutes to finish.

    Things you will need:

    • 1 Styrofoam wreath (14 inches diameter)*
    • 1 roll of Orange Burlap ribbon (5.5 inches wide)*
    • Thin red ribbon (I used 1/4 inch wide)
    • Red fabric flowers and traditional decorations**
    • Big red stones/embellishments
    • Hot glue gun/transparent tape
    Processed with MOLDIV
    Processed with MOLDIV

    What to do:

    • Stick one end of the burlap ribbon to the wreath using hot glue gun/tape to hold it in place. Roll the ribbon tightly and cover the wreath. One roll of 15 ft was enough to cover a 14″ wreath. Secure the loose end of the ribbon discreetly using glue/tape.
    • Roll the thin red ribbon across the wreath, maintaining a gap of about 2 inches .¬†
    • Stick the decorations on the wreath in any pattern you like. If you are a beginner like me stick to symmetrical patterns.
    • At the end stick stones on both side of the fabric decorations.
    • Use a ribbon to hang the wreath on a the wall or door.¬†

    *  All decorations are easily available at Walmart or any craft store. There is a variety of wreaths and burlap available (different sizes and colors) so be mindful of the size you need before buying. and the color scheme you are going for.

    ** I used an elaborate Rakhi lumba as the traditional decoration. This may not be available at any American store. 

    Hope you love your finished wreath as much we do ours. 

    Wish you and your families a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali.


    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!


      • 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… ūüėÉ

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

      Happy crafting!


      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 РPlease 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!




      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 ūüôā

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


      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


      • Corn starch
      • Liquid food color



      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


      • Turmeric/Sandalwood powder
      • Talcum Powder/ corn starch


      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!