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Playlist of the Week – Celebration Time

Friday, October 25th, 2019

It’s Diwali time, and that means family, friends, laughter, sweets, and of course, music and dancing! To get you in the mood, here are some songs to set the tone. So put on those dancing shoes and dance the blues away!

 

1. Celebration by Kool & The Gang

Because it should be impossible to think of the word ‘celebration’ and not start humming this track.

Celebration

 

2. Firework by Katy Perry

Why should you be buying fireworks when you can just be one?

Firework

 

3. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston

Hello! Did you already forget to put on those dancing shoes?

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

 

4. We Are Family by Sister Sledge

Because isn’t that what it’s all about? Bear hug everyone!

We Are Family

 

5. Happy by Pharrell

Clap along!

Happy

 

Now start dancing!

 

Happy Diwali!

DIY of the Week – Paint Your Own Diyas

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Diwali from all of us at NSPA!!

Image Source - Beauty Tips

Image Source – Beauty Tips

For this week’s DIY of the project, we’re going to be hand-painting our diyas to jazz and glam them up, right in time for tonight’s festivities. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

 

What you need:

Image Source - BaazKart

Image Source – BaazKart

1. Diyas (plain ones are fine, but get self design ones if you want to go the extra mile)

2. Paintbrushes (1 thick one for painting the base, 1 thin one for designing)

3. Paints (pearl color shades will really pop as they have a metallic shine to them)

4. Gem stickers (optional)

 

What to do:

Step 1

Once you’ve bought the diyas, put them in a clean bucket and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. This will help dislodge any dirt or loose clay, ensuring a smooth paint job.

Image Source - YouTube

Image Source – YouTube

 

Step 2

Lay them out over an old newspaper to dry. You’ll get quick results by putting them in direct sunlight, but if that’s not an option, put them under the fan at full speed. If you’re really short on time, you can always use a hairdryer.

 

Step 3

Pick a color for the base, and paint the entire bottom section of the diya, leaving it upside down to dry. Repeat for all diyas.

 

Step 4

Now paint the front portions of the diya. If there is no design, you can paint them in plain colors, with maybe a contrasting color for the rims, or even create your own designs, like in the picture below.

Image Source - YouTube

Image Source – YouTube

 

Step 5

This step is optional, but if you want to add some extra pizzazz to your diya, you can use colored gem stickers and stick them in a few spots coordinating with the design of the diya. This will give a bit of additional sparkle to your final design.

Image Source - Shop - Home Marrow

Image Source – Shop – Home Marrow

 

Happy Diwali everyone!!

DIY of the Week – Gift Bags

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

The ‘Holiday Season’ is here and upon us in all its glory. Yes, with Garba in full swing, and Ravan knocking at our doors (only to be vanquished, poor lad), it is officially the season of lights, sweets, and yes, of course, gifts. And with family members, and friends, and co-workers to hunt up little knick-knacks for, wouldn’t be nice if you could find a pretty, but cheap way to jazz up your delivery of said gift? Well, don’t worry, over the next few weeks, we’ll help you out with some cool gift wrapping and presenting ideas that will be straight from the heart.

This week, we’re looking to make these pretty and vibrant gift bags. And the best part? You can make these in various sizes and colors, and well in advance (you can even start now), and just stick in the gift once you buy it, instead of painstakingly wrapping each individual item last minute. So let’s begin!

 

Image Source - Gift Ideas

Image Source – Gift Ideas

 

What you need:

1. Wrapping paper (we suggest using actual the paper sheets, not only are they sturdier than the plastic wrap ones, they’re also more eco-friendly)

2. Scissors

3. Tape or glue

4. Hole puncher

5. Ribbon or Jute string

 

What to do:

Step 1

Lay the decided size of paper design side down. Now fold in one side towards the center, and the fold the other side with a little overlapping on the first fold. Tape to hold in place as in the photo.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 2

Now fold over the bottom section. This is the part we will convert into our bag’s base.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 3

Separating the edges of the folded over bottom edge from the center, fold in the sides as shown in the photo below.

Image Source - Pinterest

Image Source – Pinterest

 

Step 4

Now take the protruding sections one at a time, and fold the first down towards the center line, folding the other one up, slightly overlaying it to strengthen grip. Tape along the joint.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 5

Open out the bag, and now fold inwards lightly the side sections (you might have seen these folds in all paper bags). These will help your bag maintain shape.

Image Source - City Kitty

Image Source – City Kitty

 

Step 6

Take the hole puncher and punch two equidistant holes for your handles in each of the wider top sections of your bag. Cut two lengths of ribbon or string to make your handles. Knot the end of one ribbon or string, pull it outwards from one hole and back into the other of the same side, knotting from the inside. Repeat on the other side.

Image Source - The Penny Hoarder

Image Source – The Penny Hoarder

 

And there you go! Your handmade gift bag is all ready!

 

Pro Tip:

You can make super kitschy looking bags by being creative with your choice of paper. You can use handmade or textured paper, your very own handmade marbled paper (remember how we learned how to here), jazz up plain paper with paints, washi tape, or bows, and even use the comic section of newspapers (looks real good too). It’s all up to your imagination!

Image Source - yourstruly.com

Image Source – yourstruly.com

 

Happy gifting!

Pookalam: Designer Flower Carpets made by the Faithful

Friday, September 16th, 2016

No matter how old or young we are, festivals always evoke in us an excitement that’s hard to explain away. As kids, this excitement escaped through high energy races round the house and happy squeals of laughter, probably eager pleas to help out in the preparations, which were, more often than not, quashed as soon as they were made. As we grew older, although the desire to help out in the preparations was replaced by a powerful urge to escape even moderately strenuous activities, we still enjoyed soaking in the euphoria and excitement surrounding the festivities. But, we soon realize that it is these preparations that actually get us excited about the festival. Whether it’s dusting that old Christmas tree or cleaning out the lamps for the aarti or helping out with the sweetmeat making, it’s these tedious but absorbing activities that incite a festive spirit within us. One such activity, for all those who celebrate Onam is making the Pookalam.

For those who don’t know, the Pookalam is a cousin of the North Indian Rangoli, where the latter is created using coloured powders, for creating the former, flower petals are relied upon for composition, colour and texture. A great deal of skill is required to create a Pookalam, for each design must be symmetric and they must be filled evenly. One must have a keen sense of colour to create interesting colour combinations using different flower petals. Made only of flower petals, flowers and leaves, these expansive flower carpets take hours to make. The first design of the Pookalam is created on the first day of Onam – Atham. A small-sized design is chosen to begin with and then, on each passing day, the design is expanded on and finally, on the last day – Thiruvonam – a complex flower arrangement spanning 4 – 5 meters takes shape. In earlier times, the persons responsible for creating the Pookalam would go out into the fields to pluck flowers for their designs. Normally, the ten flowers native to Kerela (Dashapusham) were chosen for the activity.

Apart from beautifying the space surrounding the home, the Pookalam is created for another reason, and that is to welcome the beloved king Mahabali, who was banished from his kingdom by Lord Vishnu. However, pleased by his devotion, Vishnu permitted him to come visit his subjects once a year. The Pookalam is created to welcome and celebrate this visit. Haven’t seen a Pookalam before? Here are some beautiful creations to help you understand what one looks like better.

pookalam design 1

 

pookalam design 2

 

pookalam design 4

 

pookalam design 5

 

pookalam design 3

From Nature, Back to Nature: Ganpati Idols Making A Difference

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Ganesh Chaturthi is here and shortly, we’ll be queuing up outside the mandaps of famous Ganpati idols in the city. Apart from offering our prayers, we also love taking a good look at the idol and marveling at the handiwork of the sculptor and painter whose efforts help make the idol look lifelike. However, this year, along with visiting the famous ones, we urge you to take a look at these uniquely-made Ganpatis too. Not only are they as beautiful, they are also doing an important job of protecting the environment against pollution. All these idols are made of biodegradable materials and thus, do no harm to the environment when they are immersed in water bodies. Also, there are some pretty creative ideas behind their making and have hence, earned the right to be known about. Here we go trying to do our bit to spread the word, and hopefully, inspire you to explore these eco-friendly Ganpati options next year.

Holy Saplings!

Dattadri Kothur, the mastermind behind this idol, has come up with a way to not only side-step immersion, but also increase the planet’s tree count. His idols are made up of red soil, fertilizer and plant seeds. On the last day, the idol can be immersed in a pot filled with water. In a few days, one will see plants sprouting from the pot!

The logical indian

 

Image courtesy: The Logical Indian

Oh Fish!

When immersed, these gorgeous looking idols don’t hurt but help feed marine life. Made of clay, these idols are stuffed with fish food, like corn, spinach, wheat and vegetable powder. They are painted with organic materials like turmeric, chandan and gerua. The idols are made by a Mumbai-based NGO called Sprouts Environmental Trust.

the better india

 

Image courtesy: The Better India

Dung it!

Some might get a little queasy while holding these idols because they are made of dung. Yes, you heard right, cow dung it is. Two NGOs in Bengaluru, Go-Go Organisation and Uttishtha Bharat, are fashioning Ganpatis from cow dung. The dung is first dried for three days and is then mixed with cow urine and turmeric. These idols not only dissolve easily in water, they also act as manure for plants, thereby enriching the ecosystem.

In the Name of Chocolate!

To have this Ganpati through all 7 or 11 days, you’re going to need some serious will power. Every year, commercial designer turned baker Rintu Rathod creates chocolate Ganpatis that, when needed to be immersed, can be dipped into a tumbler of milk, thereby turning into a milkshake!

hungry forever

 

Image courtesy: Hungry Forever

For Coconut’s Sake!

Some resourceful women from Sabarkantha mix mud and coconut husks to make easy to dissolve Ganpati idols. First, mud is shaped into the figure of the idol and then, once dry, coconut husk is used to bind the figure.

So, which of these would you like to bring home next year?

 

The Naropa Festival 2016: Kumbh Mela Feels in Ladakh

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Given the past week’s events, we’re all desperate for something positive to happen in Kashmir. Something that will put a smile back on people’s faces and dispel the dark cloud of fear that has been looming over like a deathly Dementor. Well, it looks like the Buddhist saint-scholar Naropa, revered for his empathy and intelligence, will once again journey to this paradisiacal place to spread love and happiness in a time of turmoil. From July to August, the Hemis monastery in Ladakh will come alive with festivities to mark the 1000 year anniversary of Naropa’s visit to Ladakh. This month-long festival, called the Naropa festival, is being celebrated after 12 years and has hence, captured the interest of tourists around the world. Grand festivities have been organized for every day of the month, but, before we reveal what these are going to be, here’s a little more information about the Naropa festival.

The Naropa festival is celebrated to commemorate the life and teachings of Naropa, a revered Buddhist scholar credited with creating the Six Yogas, a fundamental pillar in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. His life was a shining example of perseverance, endurance and compassion and through his teachings he sought to spread peace and goodwill among mankind. The festival is slated to be held at the Hemis Monastery, which also happens to be the largest, most distinguished monastery in Ladakh. The monastery or Gompa is located in a picturesque valley 40 km away from Leh.

tour my india

 

Image courtesy: tour my India

Exciting events to look out for:

The unfurling of the ‘Thangka,’ which is a mammoth silk brocade embroidered with incidents from the life of the Buddhist master Padmasambhava. The brocade is considered to be the largest in Ladakh and stretches from the roof of the monastery to its floor.

The various traditional song and dance performances put up by lamas. Another great performance to look out for is the Tsam dance or the masked dance. (To know more about this traditional dance form, read our article: Tsam Dance – Exploring the Myths & Meanings behind the Masks)

A light show organized by French lighting experts. 3D video mapping will be used for projecting images of Ladakh’s culture and wildlife on the monastery walls.

One of the largest assemblies of Drupka masters. Take part in the prayer sessions organized by them.

Shop for souvenirs, handicrafts made by local artisans, paintings and an array of other items from stalls and community markets.

Display of the sacred Six Bone Ornaments of Naropa, laid out by the head of the Drupka Order, His Holiness Gyalwang Drupka.

Well, so if you’d like to experience all this first hand, do make a trip to the scenic Ladakh and be a part of this wonderful festival. For more details about this festival, visit their website: http://naropa2016.org/programe.php