Monday, December 30, 2013

Kraft Korner - Cash/Gift card envelopes

Hi All! Hope all of you would be enjoying the festive season and preparing to usher in the new year.. The peak muhurtham season just before and after this month of margazhi means a lot of weddings, house warming ceremonies and other occasions would be scheduled around this time.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kraft Korner - Return Gifts for Valaikaappu :)

Hi All! In case you were wondering if I have really gone into hibernation, here I am :-) I've just migrated to warmer climes (read parents' house :)) on maternity leave... Winding up work, preparing the house for my long absence, last minute check-ups and packing had taken a lot of time and energy but this entire phase is just so beautiful and I'm enjoying every moment of it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kraft Korner - A 'Flutter' card...

This time, I have tried making my own embellishments.. Yes, the butterflies that you see on the card :) They were stamped using foam stamp from Itsy Bitsy which I inked with green markers on a yellow punch paper and then fussy cut. Next, I used Faber Castell 3D outliners to do up the shiny wings. Here's a closer view:

The card itself has orange punch paper layered on to white card stock.  I had punched little butterflies out of the orange paper and stuck below them a strip of the same pattern paper (DCWV) that you see on the left side of the card. The vine and flowers are stamped and the heart trail doodle is hand-drawn. For the sentiment, I hand-cut a banner strip off a lovely golden coloured satin-finish paper from Itsy Bitsy and wrote out the sentiment using a black gel pen. I guess I should have tested it first because the ink ran through the fibre a little, making the letters fuzzy... It has given an interesting effect though. The heart spread (fluttered :)) a little too much for the shape to be made out clearly and so I used a maroon satin-finish paper to replace it with a hand-cut heart that I've stuck using double-sided adhesive foam tape to give it a raised effect. Did the same with the butterflies too...

How do you like the card? Can you suggest me which inks work best on satin-finish paper without bleeding?

I'm linking this to
1. Anything goes with Itsy Bitsy Challenge and
2. Lulupu Word Play Challenge
3. Challenges 4 Everybody

And do I need to tell for whom I made this card?  :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kraft Korner - Faux Jade Necklace

Hey all! Winter is around the corner.. days are bound to get a bit sluggish (yeah, I like to just keep hibernating inside my rajaai :)) So I want to make the best use of the few days left before the cold overtakes my energy!

 It has been a while since I made jewellery.. I have been wanting to try out wire-wrapping for quite some time now. I did try out a couple of wire-wrapped earrings but they were quickly made and swiftly gifted away to dear friends before I had the patience to click them for memory's sake...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kraft Korner - 50th Bday card for my M-i-L

Hi all! As you have guessed, my experiments into cardmaking are in full swing :) And this time, it is stamping!! I was just waiting for a perfect occasion to make use of all the information gleaned from Stamping videos on youtube and I did get a very special one... 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nellikkai Thokku - Gooseberry Preserve (Savory)

Prep time: 0 min                                Cooking time: 20 min                                  Makes: 1 small cup

Gooseberries (nellikkai/ amla) are rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. It is said that the fruit provides a host of health benefits including reduction of bad cholesterol, insulin production, anti-ageing, preventing constipation, etc. And from what I've heard, as a bonus, it makes your hair and skin glow :-)

As a child (why, even now), I loved the tingling sweet taste when one sipped water after chewing a bit of it... 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thokku Kattu or Kollu Paruppu Rasam

Prep time: 5 min                       Cooking time: 15 min                          Serves: 4

Kollu/ Kaanam in tamil is the pulse also known as hurali/uruli(in kannada), muthira (in malayalam), kulith (in marathi) and gahat or kulath (in hindi)... wait wait.. i am not so multilingual, this is from wikipedia, listed here so that you all can get associated with this wonderful lentil. It is rarely ever  found as a regular ingredient in North Indian kitchens and is only slightly more popular in the South. But this NO-OIL recipe is something which no paruppu/dal loving person should miss. It is very tasty, quite filling and what more, it is considered to be very very nutritious.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kraft Korner - Cracked Glass Art

Whoever said that breaking a glass was inauspicious probably had not heard of glass paints and the myriad ways to convert broken glass into beautiful objects of art. The first time I used glass paints was to help my sis when she wanted to do a wall hanging many years ago. I had helped only because she had asked me to and my part was restricted to tracing out a geometric pattern on paper and breaking the bubbles on the paint with a pin head. I was neither fascinated with the job nor with the paints or medium. But after being bitten by the craft bug and especially after seeing Suman's painted bottle, I was itching to try out some glass painting. But I could not lay hands on a piece of glass which I could use to test-run. Desperate with waiting for a test piece, I was even prepared to sacrificing the plainness of a couple of window panes for my trial runs :-)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kraft Korner - A tiny Thank U card

After being tempted by so many pretty cards made by some of my fellow blogger friends, I have dared to venture out into card making as well :) Before I get more adventurous with the multitude of techniques, textures and trinkets used to make cards, I decided to try out with a simple, tiny one first.

 I have just quilled a leaf, a few petals and a coil for the flower's centre. For the stem, I have just added a couple of swirls. After sticking these, I found that the placement was skewed and the right side of the card should have something more to balance. So, added the coordinating strips.

I have used this as a mini Thank U note to go along with a bunch of handmade jewellery for my doctor cousin whom we keep pestering for free advice whenever the occasion demands ;-)
So, how is it?

Monday, September 2, 2013


It's a week since my grandmother passed away... Though it was as peaceful and quiet as can be for her, it was quite sudden and unexpected for all of us. OK, we do know she was almost 85,  had a nagging chronic leg pain that has bothered her constantly these past few years and that a few unfortunate events in the family have been heavy on her heart (though her unflailing spirit never once let us feel so)...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mutton Kola Urundai

(South Indian- style Meatballs)

Prep time: 15 minutes               Cooking time: 10 minutes                   Serves : 2

south indian - style meatballs

With another transfer came another round of packing, unpacking and setting up a house in a new place. In the last five years, I have had to do this as many times and so, I'm becoming an expert in packing and also in settling down in any place within 2-3 days! Having to get a grasp of things in a new assignment, my hands are full on both the home and work fronts. And in the process, poor bloggie got neglected... But here I am, back with a yummy traditional South Indian dish with a new twist!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Kraft Kormer - My second paper lampshade

Remember the first lampshade I made out of handmade paper? Here's another one.. I thought of block-printing this initially but the texture of the paper was not suitable for uniform printing. So, I have just painted a border and added a few flowers made out of punched dots. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kraft Korner - Polymer Clay Jewellery Tutorial

Polymer clay is a (group of) modelling compounds based on PolyVinyl Chloride...Chemistry apart, the fun and understandable part of this material is it is easy to shape, retains the shape and colour after baking, the colours are easily 'mix'able i. e. they can be blended to form new colours just like you do with your paints... What more, it can be painted upon, engraved, embossed, clay-modelled, punched, moulded into just anything that your imagination makes it out to be! I was super-excited when I came across this material and have been playing around with it for a while now.. So, when Itsy Bitsy (craft supplies store) announced their SizzixTutorial Challenge this month, I thought what better than to add a Polymer Clay Jewellery Tutorial?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kraft Korner - Earrings for my cousins

Childhood holds special memories for each of us.. And I can say that a mix of the words- cousins, summer holidays and grandparents' home- would bring a rush of nostalgia to most of us. Ah, the simple games, the mingling with the village kids, farm-work gazing, bountiful supply of desi mangoes, playing on mounds of unhusked grain, the story sessions at the regular power-out hours, tender-coconut drinking competitions, buying a variety of 10-paise candies with money 'earned' from grandpa, trips to the local water spots, playing with the groundnut- shelling cranker on the terrace, hide and seek in the granary, hmmm... endless list.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

(Kovil) Puliyodharai - Tamarind Rice

Prep time: 20 min                  Cooking time: 20 min                                    Makes: 8-10 servings

tamarind rice

Puliyodarai / Puliyogare / Pulihora / Chitrannam / Puli saadham / Tamarind rice... Call it by whatever name you want. This spicy-tangy rice dish is something that every South Indian household swears by :) The long-shelf-life, ready-to-mix paste makes it ideal for packing for long travel, picnics, weekday lunchbox, hostel-life staples, bachelor cooking, etc. And like the many names it has, there are a multitude of variations too :) Every household in the South has its own version of making this lip-smacking dish. But the most popular version is the 'prasaadam' we get in our Perumal (Vishnu) temples.. I am a die-hard fan of this puliyodharai and was extremely delighted when I came to know that my mother-in-law had a key to its secret recipe :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Art Korner - Learning to draw 1

The first drawing assignment I had to do as homework that I can remember now was given by my Science teacher at third standard... To draw three different birds in their three different kinds of nests! Though I still remember and like the teacher very much, at this instant I cannot help thinking how tortuous this must have been to an eight-year old child who had neither good training nor the inclination towards drawing! Well, as in other homes, the dad took over to help the kid complete the homework :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Date Almond Milkshake

Prep time : 5 min               Cooking time: 0 min                        Serves : 2

Date almond milkshake

Here's one more chiller loaded with nutrients and goodness in the form of dates, almonds, apples, milk turned into a delectable drink.. And what more, it has a dash of chocolate for enticing kids too into taking the first sip, luring them into asking for more...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Foto Fridays - The Wait

duck waiting for food photography

Strawberry - Mint Lemonade

Prep time : 5 min                                 Cooking time: 0 min                        Serves : 2

strawberry mint lemonade

This summer has been very unpredictable with sudden dips in temperature on certain days. But other days are the usual, if not HOTTER days.. And what better to beat the heat with than a chilled glass of lemonade? And to add colour and zest to change the monotony, a handful of strawberries, a bit of ginger and a few mint leaves... Yummm. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ragi Keerai Adai

Finger Millet + greens savory pancakes

Prep time : 20 min              Cooking time: 7-8 min for each              Serves: 4

ragi keerai adai

  Most of Indian staple carb food is starch-loaded and rich in calories and little else. But not millets. Called coarse grains, they provide a host of other benefits apart from being a source of starch. To quote from various sources on the net,

1. The bran layers of millets are good sources of B-complex vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid)
2. They are rich in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosporus
2. They have a high fibre content
3. They are gluten-free
4. They are very versatile and can be made into a variety of indian foods like dosa, vermicelli, kanji, malt, ragi balls, roti, etc
5. Since they are quite filling, they help control intake and in turn, help in diet control. So it is recommended for diabetics as well.
6. They are quite cheap and abundantly available in India (which is the highest producer of millets in the world)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kraft Korner - Pristine Sparkle Earrings 3 - Foam Kundan Earrings

3. Foam - Kundan Earrings

Foam - kundan earrings

As the name suggests, this is a very simple yet elegant pair made out of foam dots and kundan stones and sealed.

Kraft Korner - Pristine Sparkle Earrings 2 - Quilled Earrings

2. Quilled Earrings

Quilled white-silver earrings

I learnt a few new quilling techniques recently and I thought I'd put them to good use and get practice as well. The top portion is a jhumka made using white 4mm strip, painted in pearl-metallic silver acrylic paint. The middle portion is again a white strip fashioned thus using an old comb, painted similarly. The lowermost portion is white beads, as u can see. The quilled portions have been coated with clear nail polish to give it sturdiness (believe me, the piece becomes very strong after coating.. try it) and to make it water-proof.For those who do not prefer long danglers (like me), i guess just the two quilled parts would make a fabulous piece too.. what say?

Kraft Korner - Pristine Sparkle Earrings 1 - Rice Paper Earrings

White is as complex as simple it seems to be... Both scientifically and artistically too :) It lends itself to any background,it is essential to impart light and effect in paintings, it provides contrast to an otherwise dull work and so on... But a work with only white?  Phew, it is quite challenging!

The challenge this month at Itsy Bitsy dared us to create something using only white(s)... Thankfully, silver can be used too, for bling. Here is the link/inspiration image to the challenge:

Beautiful though the image is, it made me (and i'm sure, other contestents too) rack my brains a bit to come up with something befiiting it.. I love challenges and this one was quite up to its name! I have tried to use different media since I wanted to experiment and learn as much as I could in the process.. And I can vouch that it was unalloyed fun the whole way through :) Well, here are my entries:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kraft Korner - Baby steps in Beaded Jewellery Making

It all started when we happened to visit the Strand Bookstore in New York... While V was busy browsing through the non-fiction, logic, math sections, I was drawn to the cooking and crafting sections as you might have guessed :) There were umpteen number of books that I wanted to take back but there's only so much that one can buy and carry! Three books were on my shortlist and one of them was Carol Grape's "Handmade Jewellery".

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

Prep time: 1 1/2 hr + Overnight (for leavening)           Baking time: 25-30min          Makes: 9 medium sized rolls

The first time that we tasted cinnamon rolls was in a mall's baked treats shop and what a find it turned out to be! V and I have got hooked on to this truly delightful treat. While I am still taking baby steps in baking, I do try out recipes like brownies, rolls, cakes and meat and other savory dishes too... So, I thought hands-on learning from making these slightly challenging recipes would do me best.

Foto Fridays - Shelter

Monday, May 6, 2013

Keerai Rasam + Poriyal

Soppu-Soppu Rasa / Soppin Rasa in Kannada

Prep time: 15 min                            Cooking time: 6-7 min                           Serves : 4

Greens are very versatile ingredients. You can fashion them into most South Indian staple dishes like sambar, masiyal, koottu, poriyal, etc. And they are also easy to incorporate into vadas and pakodas (fritters). Nowadays, greens soups, puris, variety rices have also become commonplace in most health-conscious households. Moreover, they cook very fast and are extremely handy in quick fix situations.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kraft Korner - Quilled Paper Jewellery - Towers of Hanoi

When I began reading and knowing about crafts, I found paper quilling to be very intriguing. How a simple strip of paper is entirely transformed to so many different shapes and patterns! My very mindset about paper started to change.. Though I kept browsing and reading more about quilling, it is only very recently that I mustered courage and got myself my first set of quilling strips and a simple slotted quilling tool. To start with, I just made a simple tight coil out of a sky blue strip and sealed the ends. When I wondered what I could do with it, my recently acquired another interest - jewellery making- inspired me to try out a pair of earrings. I made another blue coil, two pink ones and strung them into this:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Musk Melon Juice

Prep time: 5 min                   Cooking time: 0 min                Makes: 2 tall glasses

Come summer, all that the throat and stomach crave are juices, smoothies and other coolers. Food becomes just a mere necessity and the heat in the kitchen makes elaborate cooking even more difficult. But good thing is, there are plenty of green leafy vegetables and juicy fruits available in the market. So, instead of just the plain old lime juice (which is still a fav), I keep trying out newer and newer juices and milkshakes nowadays.

Until moving to North India, the only musk melon I knew was the one with sandal-colourish-flesh and brownish skin that we get in the South. At home, we just sliced it into cubes (after peeling and deseeding), sprinkle sugar on top, give it a quick mix and eat as such. It was plain heaven in summers.. yumm :-)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Four-ingredient Mutton Curry

Prep time:  5 min           Cooking time: 15 min                         Serves : 4

Making non-vegetarian dishes usually involves a lot of preparation  - peeling pearl onions and garlic, grinding fresh ginger garlic paste, chopping loads of onions and tomatoes, grinding masala paste, et al. All this labour mean non-vegetarian dishes being usually reserved for Sundays. So, when my mother-in-law told me about this simple mutton curry with very little prep and no ginger-garlic, I was surprised and even wary of trying it fearing that the taste might be traded off for all the effort saved. But when I did try, what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kraft Korner - Paper Lampshade

I was never the 'craft'y type in our house.. My mom used to do embroidery, toy making, crochet work, wire bags, baskets and vases, bead work etc. All this before marriage, she says. We still have her creations at home and I remember playing with the wire-crocheted dolls when I was small. But after marriage, me and a full time job on her hands, she slowly stopped making time for these trinkets.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cauliflower Oats Adai

(Cauliflower- Oats Savory Pancakes)

Prep time: 6 min approx             Cooking time: about 4 min for each adai          Makes :6 adais

This recipe was inspired by Sharmi’s Oats Recipes collection.. After seeing them (visit her collection here), I was tempted to try my own version of the oats adai a little while back.. It was peak cauliflower season in North India and so I thought, why not cauliflower in adai? And to keep it light (in fact, truth was I did not have the preparation time to soak the dals. Hence the excuse :) ) , I avoided the pulses too.. But the batter needs something to hold together, right?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Milagu Muttai Kuzhambu

(Egg with peppery gravy)

Prep time: 8 min          Cooking time: 5 min               Servings: 2

I wanted to begin the blog with this one since this is my first original recipe. I had travelled from my place of posting to my home for the weekend and reached just around dinner time. V was about to start from his office and I wanted to make a quick dinner for us before he reached home. I looked in the fridge and what was there.. Just a couple of eggs and 2-3 not-so-fresh onions. No veggies or tomato or coconut to even lend that usual gravy base in typical South Indian cooking.