Thursday, March 31, 2016

How to draw a 3/4th Profile Face

I finally have my own Youtube Channel, with my first video up and loaded.
Now with a technically challenged person like me, Though Google Uncle does his bit with all the videos on "how to", it was still an uphill task on making a screen-grab video as well as having to edit and add the audio etc.
Took me two whole days to get this baby on track, but yaaayyy!!
Got my first video out there for all of you to see and learn from.
Though the quality is nowhere near whats available on the internet, its still a first step.
And I will improve with every new video, inshallah!
So here it is- for you to enjoy and comment... :)

I hope you all like it.
Incase of any tips and suggestions- please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
In case you or your kid is interested in more tutorials- do click (here) for a lot of tutorial pages on how to make a hellokitty to a dinky car or a Rhino to a chota bheem.... its all there!!
There is also Ariel the little Mermaid and Chutki too....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Watercolors: Saree love!

I have been neglecting my #100 Saree Pact... been really lagging behind, with soooo much to do, and sooooo many styles of illustrations and art to emulate and work upon...
sarees illustrations seem to have taken a back seat.
But I tried this colorful watercolors with a couple of my portraits, and I wanted to do a fashion illustration with it...
so here is the result..
continuing with  my #100 saree pact.

here is the close-up of a pretty saree with a floral border and pallu.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday Treat: Whole Grain Banana Pancakes

My kids love pancakes and just because of this I try and devise various ways in which to hide healthy things in thier yummy pancakes, so that at the end of the day they are happy and so am I!
My earlier pancake recipe that I had added on the blog (here) was again whole wheat but with paneer or cottage cheese....
This time the hidden ingredients are the instant oats, whole wheat and banana.
Plus the added benefits of walnuts and honey(which I use in place of Maple syrup) and fresh fruits like banana or strawberry... and the breakfast health quotient goes up a few notches!!
The kids devoured it, licking thier fingers and asking for more.
And I was one happy mama!

Whole Grain (Oats and Wheat), Banana Pancake
(Makes 6-8 pancakes)
1 cup wheat flour
3/4 cup oats (the instant cook variety) give it a whizz in the grinder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
(sieve the above ingredients twice so that its mixed through)
1 very ripe banana- mashed with a fork
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk (2-3 more tablespoons in case its too thick)
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp refined oil
butter/oil for cooking
chopped walnuts for garnishing
3 sliced bananas to garnish if you like
1 cup honey to drizzle on top once cooked.

1- Sift the dry ingredients a couple of times so that the baking powder+soda+salt gets mixed well, then add the ground oats to it. Keep aside.
2- Take a mixing bowl- and beat together the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, milk and oil with an electric beater.
3- Add the mashed banana to it and mix it in with a rubber spatula/spoon.
4- Now add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixing bowl, not stirring too much.
Just enough to combine well..... Let it rest for 5 minutes, otherwise it will be too dry.
5- Lightly oil a skillet or a flat Dosa pan and heat it.
6- Bring the flame to medium heat and pour a big spoonful of the mixture onto the pan, so as to form a small 6 inch round.
Dont spread with the spoon-just tilt the pan so it spreads and is not too thick or it will undercook.
7- Once bubbles start appearing on the surface of the pancake, and the edges are dry, flip it over to cook on the other side.
Remember they should be golden brown and cooked through.
Serve garnished with sliced bananas and walnuts with a generous drizzle of honey.
Please feel free to use the original Maple syrup on pancakes if you like, though my kids love the taste of honey!
If some pancakes are left- freeze them to re-use the next morning.

TIP: you can also add a pinch of Cinnamon and or Nutmeg if you like- it really enhances the flavor!

Friday, March 11, 2016

March Desktop Calendar: Floral Rhapsody in oils

Its March and its officially been spring-time in India since late February!!
There are flowers and flowers everywhere!!
Its a riot  of colors anywhere you look, esp in the cantonement areas and its a treat to go for walks and peep into well manicured and well tended lush gardens around me.
So, as the trend goes for March, here is my ode to spring... but this time in oils.
I am trying out a new style to painting flowers... thick loaded paintbrushes with vibrant strokes... Inspired by a Dutch artist whose flowers paintings I am in love with...
These tiny square paintings are something that I might use in my powder-room, they are feminine, delicate and just right!
The pictures that I am attaching... one is complete while the other one is half done...
and there are two more to go…
plus I am thinking of making a HUGE one for the guest room… 
I think it might look good!

I hope you enjoy putting this one up on your Desktop.

And here is this month's vibrant calendar...
just right click+save+set as desktop picture.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday Wah! DIY mosaic pots.

I had some old cement pots lying with me when we first shifted to Rajasthan two years back, and I had given them a revamp with a fresh coat of bright paint and some gold color and had also blogged about the whole procedure (here)
But after facing the harsh sunlight relentlessly for two years, the paint chipped and the pots started looking rather shabby.
Time for another revamp I thought....
and why not something different this time?
I had always been curious about mosaic and was really keen to try it out.
So I got in touch with one of my old college friend, who is an accomplished mosaic artist and took her advice as to what glue to use and to get a bare idea of the procedure involved.
And boy was I was raring to go!
I looked around for an old hardware+tile shop and got some old, chipped but colorful tiles at throwaway prices, as a start.
Now mosaic as an art is very painstaking and there are proper tools for it, to cut the tiles in the shape that you want.
But as I didnt have any tools at all, just a trusty old hammer - this is a list of the things that I got started with:
1- An old pot or any other surface that you want to do mosaic on.
2- Old colorful tiles from any hardware, sanitary store
3- A hammer to break the tiles into small manageable pieces.
4- Epoxy glue like shown below- with a little disposable plate that you can mix the two tubes of glue in, and a stick to mix it with.

5- White cement or grout to fill in the gaps in the tiles, and a medium sized bowl to mix the cement in with some water... another stick to stir it with.
6- A pair of disposable gloves that you should use when filling in the cement in the gaps (I didn't and my hands were tattered by the end of it!)

So now that we've got all the stuff ready, lets get started.
Here I have taken a small dilapidated flowering pot to cover with a beautiful mosaic design of red flowers, green leaves and a white background.

In this design I have broken a red tile, a light green tile, a dark green tile, a black tile and a white tile into small manageable pieces... and kept them all in separate packets or groups so its easier to fish out the right size.
Workng with mosaic is like working with a jigsaw puzzle...
You can have a random design in your head and just go along pasting the tile as you feel like (like me) or maybe you draw a design on the pot or the surface you want to cover and start pasting the colors as per the design.

Here I have started adding a few white tiles as I finish one side.

One side of the pot is complete, so I am ready to move onto the other side of the pot
Now one thing while sticking tile on a curved surface like a pot, is that the tiles keep slipping down.
So how I have worked is, I lay the pot on the side so the surface is kind of flat, and work my way on the design from the bottom to the top.
This way the bottom tiles dry, and when u move up, the tiles don't slip down.

One side is complete and I move onto laying the red and the green tiles on the other side.

While one pot is drying, I simultaneously work on another pot of the same shape. (so that they could be a pair)
But on this I am making an orange sun with yellow rays and a blue sky background...
pretty simple design with not much complications.
Its always better to keep it simple... at least at first.

Here the sun design is complete.

Now that the tiles have all been pasted and dried.... we move onto the filling the gaps with grout or the white cement in my case.
Please don't go by the picture- I implore you to wear gloves, you'll thank me for it.

The white cement has all been pushed inside the gaps of the tiles... and its time now to sponge it all off.
Wipe clean all the white cement caking the tiles with a damp sponge- so that the tiles start sparkling.

And your masterpiece is complete!!

And here it is in all its glory!
The red flowers and bright and sunny design.... all displayed with a lot of pride, and the enjoyment of the oohs and the aahs!

Now that the easy pots are done and over with... Next on my list is a round patio table with a pretty sunflower mosaic design. Cant wait to get started.
Will be posting pictures soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday Treat: Vegetable Lauki Kabab

Now this is one of the best ways to make your children eat the healthy lauki or bottle gourd!
My kids hate it- in any form... whether its lauki halwa or lauki dal or plain old lauki sabzi...
But Lauki Kabab is something they just cant get enough of!
you know why? Because my hard core non-veg lovers can't make out the difference between the original mince meat shami kabab and the lauki kabab.
yaaay for me I say!
And I haven't let the cat out of the bag.
They are fooled and I am one happy mom!

So a simple recipe of delicious Lauki Shami Kabab for you.

Chana Dal-1 cup (soaked for minimum 3 hours)
Lauki (bottle gaurd) peeled and cubed- 3 cups
1/2 medium onion chopped
garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
1 tbsp oil

Ingr. for adding later:
coriander leaves (chopped) 2 tbsp
mint leaves (chopped) 1 tbsp
2 green chilli- (finely chopped) 
1 medium onion finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
oil for Shallow frying the kababs.

1- Drain the soaked chana dal.
2- Heat 1 tbsp oil, and add the half onion- saute till soft.
3- Add the ginger garlic paste and cook a little.
4- Add the lauki peices, chana dal and garam masala and then pressure cook for two whistles.
5- Open the pressure cooker and if there its watery- then roast some more till the lauki+chana mixture is dry and mashed well. 
6- Take it out of the pressure cooker and mix in the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, onion, chilli powder, salt, and lemon juice.
7- Now make small kababs or patties of the mixture and shallow fry with a little oil in a flat pan.
8- Serve hot, garnished with onion rings and a tangy coriander lemon chutney.

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