Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Lemonade Award

I have been nominated for the Lemonade award by Susan, whose blog is Hot Rocks . If you want to see truly unique jewellery named after songs, just go over to her blog and feast your eyes...!!!

Thanks Susan, that you deemed me fit for this honour. I accept it gratefully.... though I haven't been doing a lot of blogging, I am on the verge of completing a few projects and hopefully, will have some interesting posts soon enough...

To bring things upto speed, I have been educating myself on crochet work ... all the lovely winterwear I saw around me had me itching to try out atleast a cap... it is a bit late for this winter .. but I can't wait for the next winter to learn... !!!

I will be posting pictures of my first effort as soon as I am done...

Now this about this award......

 1. Put the logo on your blog.

 2. Nominate 10 blogs which show great attitude or gratitude!!!

 3. Be sure to link your nominees with your post.

 4. Let them know they received the award by leaving a comment on their blog.

 5. Share the love and link this post to the person that gave you the award. 

And in my turn, I nominate ............

For all the other lovely bloggers out there.... I was asked to nominate 10 and so I did..but there are so many more who deserve it... I just love the abundance of talent I see everyday.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Time WARP!!!

As I write this , it is twenty minutes after noon (12.20) on 27th Tuesday. But on my blog, it is still 26th!!!

It is the same with Entrecard too.. I get confused when I see 0 drops today showing when, just 10 minutes back I would have dropped near 50 odd cards...

I have set the time zones as they should be in both Blogger and Entrecrd.. still this is how things re..Is it just me? or does someone else have this problem? 

Spreading the word -A Joint Anniversary Giveaway Contest!!

Since I got unusually lucky and won a prize, I decided to try my luck again... and this awesome Joint Anniversary Giveaway contest could be a good place...this is hosted at Mira's blog called RANDOM THOUGHTS. Links are given below..

So these are the details...

$25 - c/o Random Thoughts
Customized Blog Layout (blogger platform) c/o My Web-Blog Designs
1 Swarovsky Bracelet c/o Yen's Handmades [Click here to see the ITEM]
$20 + 2000 EC credits c/o Windmill on the Hill
$10 + 500 EC credits c/o My Life's Journey to Success
$10 + 500 EC credits c/o Things I Did Not Know Before
$10 + 500 EC credits c/o Unique Ideas For Your Beach Weddings
2000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Night Clicks
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o NetFreeSource
3000 - EC credits c/o Random Thoughts
1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Dashing Beauty
1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Tales of a Pinay Single Mommy
1 Photo Pop Art Make-over c/o Sweety Tots

$20 - c/o Mira's Web Journal
2500 - EC credits c/o Mira's Web Journal
2000 - EC credits c/o A Moment to Exhale
20GB Web Hosting c/o + 500EC credits
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o My Countryhome
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Live Love Pink
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Samantha's Own
1 month 125x125 ad space c/o 1716 South
1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Garage Sale
1 Photo Pop Art Make-over c/o Sweety Tots

$15 - c/o A Moment to Exhale
3000 - EC credits c/o Big Boys Have Toys Too
2000 - EC credits c/o A Taste of Both Worlds
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Kharlota dot Com
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o A Girl for All Status
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o A Fil-Am Journey
1 year text link ad c/o
1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Symphony of Love
1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Sweepstakes Girl
1 Photo Pop Art Make-over c/o Sweet...Pretty...Naughty

$10 - c/o My Barefoot Journey
2000 - EC credits c/o Mommy's Little Corner
2000 - EC credits c/o My Online Paradise
2000 - EC credits c/o Kinda Life of Mine
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Just About Anything
1 month text link ad Thomas Travel Tales
1 month text link ad Great Finds and Deals

2000 - EC credits c/o Wife of a Warrior
3000 - EC credits c/o Life's Sweets and Spices
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Simply Irresistible
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o My Sweet Haven
1 month text link ad Work At Home Jobs
1 month text link ad Erlinda‘s Wandering Thoughts
6th PRIZE 
2000 - EC credit c/o The Solitairy Love
1500 - EC credit c/o My Barefoot Journey
1000 - EC credits c/o My Kitchen Table
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Kalidadis
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Cooking is Fun
1 month text link ad
1 month text link ad Healthy Living and Lifestyle

1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Simplement Belles
1000 - EC credits + 1 month 125x125 ad space c/o Moi et mon univers!
1000 - EC credit c/o Scrappy Mommy
1000 - EC credits c/o Dashing Smiles
1000 - EC credits c/o Everything Plus the Kitchen Sink
1000 - EC credits c/o One at a Time
1 month text link ad Thomas Web Links
1 month text link ad Bohol Paradise

1000 EC + 1 month 125x125 ad space from My Daily Sunset
1000 - EC credits c/o My Kitchen
1000 - EC credits c/o My Life and Family Journey
1000 - EC credits c/o My Whole New World
1000 - EC credits c/o Definitely Maybe
500 - EC credits c/o I Thought So
1 month text link ad Batuananons
1000 EC + 1 month 125x125 ad space from Lovely Pink
1000 - EC credits c/o Small Side Bits
1000 - EC credits c/o In His Steps
1000 - EC credits c/o Moments of My Life
1000 - EC credits c/o My Crossroads
1 month text link ad Filipino Online Community

10th PRIZE
1000 EC + 1 month 125x125 ad space from Hobby and Such by Carlota
1000 - EC credits c/o My Life's Adventure
1000 - EC credits c/o Wonderful Things In Life
1000 - EC credits c/o The Joy of Life Forever
500 - EC credits c/o Life's Journey
1 month text link ad from Nita's Random Thoughts

11th PRIZE
1000 - EC credits c/o Medan Daily
1000 - EC credits c/o Wiehanne Lounge
1000 - EC credits c/o Simply WP
1000 - EC credits c/o Everything Under the Sun
1 month text link ad from Nita's Corner
12th PRIZE
1500 - EC credits c/o A Moment to Exhale
1000 - EC credits c/o My Barefoot Journey
1000 - EC credits c/o EastCoastLife

1. Blog about this contest and link back to Random Thoughts(Required). It is REQUIRED to include the prizes and sponsors' links in your post for your entry to be valid. Go to her site to see other ways to win.

1. Winners will be selected randomly using If you want all your entries to be counted, please leave separate comment for each (REQUIRED).
2. Contest will run from January 25 to February 10, 2009.
3. Contest will end on February 10th at 11:59pm EST.
4. Winners will be announced on February 13th, the anniversary date.
5. Winners has 48 hours to contact MIRA at mira[underscore]burns[at]yahoo[dot]com with subject ANNIVERSARY GIVE-AWAY WINNER, otherwise another winner will be selected.
6. This contest is open to all bloggers with PayPal account and Entrecard account.
7. All SPONSORS are also welcome to join!


So whoever wishes to win some awesome things, do the needful.. .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tagged !!! - twice !

Both Cen's Loft  and Lenox knits  have tagged me.. and it is the same tag... the rules are stated above.. please click on the picture so that you can have a good look at the rules.........

It did not surprise me that June (Cen's Loft) had difficulty saying No, I could see she is a generous soul by the superb freebies she constantly provides in her blog..!!

But Lenox (I still do not know her name) surprised me when she had declared that she has been knitting for just five years..!! wow... her knitting is simply stunning...

Now... 7 random things about me.......

1. The first thing any person who has known me even for a few days, will tell is that I am crazy          about books.. in school, I was know as 'the bookworm'..that state of affairs haven't changes            much..
2. Love art, craft, knitting, poetry,.......there are so many ways of creating beauty and I would           love to learn it all.......
3. I am very loyal to my friends and family .

4. I am a huge fan of the  CSI (Crime Scene Investigations) series.
5. Cooking is another thing I like doing. Love different cuisines and I experiment a lot.
6. I am the first-born, but I never act the big sister with my brother and little sister,or any of my       younger cousins... doesn't  work with them ....!!!
7. I am scared of dogs.. even if it a teeny tiny dog, I freeze..while my daughter simply loves                them..and she is all of two years old..!! I am making sure that I don't pass on my fear to her!!

Now to pass on the tag to seven people......

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A couple of old sketches...

I was just digging up a book on crochet that I had bought a few years back, when I chanced upon this book with a few of my old pencil sketches.. 

These two pictures were drawn 10 years back, in February 99, to be exact. 
The first is of 'Unni Krishna'...

Second one is a sketch I did from the photo of a warrior, in an old edition of National Geographic..

Have a few more of these lying around.. also discovered a couple of incomplete fabric paintings.. One was done atleast 6 years back!!!

I may complete them before posting..or not!! 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jaipur - my last post!!

I wonder if all of my friends who visit my blog are fed up of my Jaipur posts by now!!! Anyway, this is going to be the last post of the series. In this, I present two more special palaces that are very unique in their own way...and we could only get the long view since it was closed to the public.

The Jal Mahal (Water palace) is located right in the middle of a very deep lake and the view is incredible. We are not allowed inside and this was the best view..but still, it is an impressive sight.
That building has been standing for more than 300 years, and used to be the summer palace of the Royal family. The pillars of the palace are built such that the water does not destroy the foundation.. in fact the water passes through the pillars. It serves to make the palace cooler and also protect it from immense water-pressure

Also, just the balcony portion is visible. The living quarters are submerged and have the umpteen number of chambers needed for the large Royal family and their servants.. It is said that there are windows underneath so that there is no sense of being under-water..and all the chambers are still water-proof...Also, the rooms are well-ventilated from above!!!Imagine the talent of builders and artisans !!!

Above is the picture of Hawa Mahal. It means 'air palace. The large number of windows are where the ladies in the palaces sat while any royal procession or special events took place down in the streets. The windows are well-curtained so no one can see in, but all the ladies could have a good view of the streets without crowding together at one window.These windows do make the place very airy, and if you notice, the open windows show the open skies beyond, as though the front is just a cut-out, and there are no walls behind.. but you can also see a man sticking his head out from a lower window..How is that???

This palace is built on the main 'pink' streets . All the buildings are the same coral-pink colour of the palace ..that's why Jaipur is called the Pink city.. it was so crowded with vehicles and people, that it was difficult to get a decent shot. 

We had a great time, but I recommend that you avoid the peak seasons while visiting Jaipur...the rush is unbelievable...

So this is it..a summation of our three-day trip to Jaipur!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A special day today!!!

Wow.... a first!!!

I won a $20.00 paypal certificate from The Muse... it was her 100th post and I just answered some questions.. I have not taken part in more than a couple of giveaways since I don't believe that I am lucky enough to win anything...

This was Muse asking the questions..and so I was inclined to answer...and I actually won !!!

And to top things, today is my father's birthday...I hope he had a great day ..

We did think that he would be hearing a special birthday song from my daughter since she had been practising it yesterday... but she was feeling a bit shy while I was wishing dad today morning, so he did not get to hear it...

As any two-year old, she is fond of the attention one gets on a Birthday. So, she insists on singing Happy birthday to Ithu (her version of her nickname)...and that's what she was planning to sing to my dad.. 

So today has been a special day for me.. Thanks Muse.. and..

Happy Birthday Achacha....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jaipur - Amber fort

The Amber fort at the summit...

The long roads to the fort

A record holder among cannons...

The inside of the fort...

A peep into Rajput past. The Queen and her ladies-in-waiting in their dining hall...

The men folk have a separate dining hall.. a corridor separates both dining halls.

The visitor's hall

Amber fort is one of three forts in Jaipur. Remnants of past glory and a testament to the amazing people, who could dream up and bring to fruition,the existence of such monuments. The fort is built at the summit of high hills in the desert.

There were no roads, no conveniences,no modern building methods..all the supplies must have reached the top on the backs of camels and elephants.... yet after 300 years, the fort still stands.

There was a painting of a Maharaj there that was quiet unique. No matter where you stood in the room, the man's eyes ans shoes seemed to point in that direction..that was quiet eery!! Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures there...

A lot of history, so much in evidence in each article exhibited there, and so much more lost as time passed...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Noblesse Oblige award -

This is
the second award that Kat has passed my way today. People who have been following my blog would already know I love her blog... I am thrilled to bits..!!!

This is an award that comes with a set of rules...whew.. so here they are...

This award is presented to bloggers who display consistency in any one or a combination of these conditions:
1. The Blogger manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervades amongst different cultures and beliefs.
2. The Blog contents inspire; it strives to encourage and offers solutions.
3. There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture and Sciences, and Beliefs.
4. The Blog is refreshing and creative.
5. The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking.

The Blogger who receives this Award will need to perform the following steps:
1. Create a Post with a mention and link to the person who presented the Noblesse Oblige Award.
2. The Award Conditions must be displayed at the Post.
3. Write a short article about what the Blog has thus far achieved- preferably citing one or more older post to support.
4. The Blogger must present the Noblesse Oblige Award in concurrence with the Award Conditions.
5. The Blogger must display the Award at any location at the Blog.

I love cooking and art and crafts, and my blog is about all these things.. also, while exploring the various lovely places in India, I try to post about these so as to let my fellow bloggers know about our part of the world, the beautiful monuments and the things that inspire me and touch my soul. 
Examples are posts like 
 there are more of them, but these are the most recent ones. 
And now, to nominate a few fellow bloggers for this is the difficult part...
not to find deserving bloggers, but to stop at a few... 

An Award...for all those who comment on my blog

Gosh.. I have received two more awards from Kat ....She is amazingly talented and makes a variety of candles and other craft .. the best part is , that her writing is very down-to-earth and interesting.

 It is a great honour to receive these awards from people I have not met and probably never will. Through our blogs, we have been able to share friendships that are forged through mutual respect and admiration for our abilities . 
 Thanks Kat, you have made my day too, by passing on this award...

And I have decided that this award is to be passed on to whoever comments on my blog the next two days... after all,  these comments make do my day... !!!

An award -

I have received an award from Crafting at the creek . I am honoured indeed that she deemed my blog fit enough to pass on this award, and I display it with pride. Thank you....

Here’s the story behind this award:
The authors say that blogs who receive this award are exceedingly charming. This blog invests in the PROXIMITY in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that even more friendships are propagated.

*(note to authors, original text shortened and edited for clarity)

There are so many friends that I could pass this on to, but to keep it short and sweet....

Joanna who has a blog called Applique Today,
Patty - at Attic Clutter

Thank you for making your blogs so interesting... and for visiting mine. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jaipur - Bhavani temple

 This is yet another example of exquisite craftsmanship that is prevailant in Jaipur.  A temple of Goddess Bhavani along with a Sikh god, Shri Jhulelal. 

The temple itself is a very small building, with lawns on either sides of it and a very elaborate clock -tower on one side. 

Inside, there are many window, the main deities placed on a raised platform in the middle of the room. The back wall is a huge fresco of 'palazhi madhanam' or churning of the milk ocean, from Hindu mythology.

The surrounding walls have recesses with many deities. All these statues are made of marble, and each deity is made from a single piece!!! That includes the ornaments, the dresses , extra hands and the various weapons in these hands.. not even a small bit is joined extra...

And the best of these was the whole family of Lord Shiva, Paravthy, Subrahmania and Ganesha seated together. The whole set of four figures are carved on a single piece of marble... How is that ????????

There was a lot of sunlight streaming in, and the statues are behind glass. So the pictures are not very clear...but it was an amazing sight indeed...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My first foray into marketing art - ARTFIRE

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

I have given away a lot of my art work either as cards,gifts, simply to create space for something else or because someone really loved my work and wanted it... but this is the first time I have decided to put a price to my work.

To say that I have the jitters, is an understatement.. what if no one liked it? what if the price is too high or low? what do I know about shipping? I know the shipping amount etc I put in Artfire is dumb..but I thought in case someone likes my work and gets in touch, then I would find out the actual price. But right now, without a buyer, and the whole wide world in front with potential buyers (I am being very optimistic), how can I fix a country or a certain shipping price????. Also, there are no people from India, in Artfire that I could find...

So what do I do??

Anyway, I just signed up for free and decided that I will take a month before deciding whether to sign up for life..

I saw that Nicole at Beadwright was raving about Artfire..and hence I decided to try it out ..

Oh .. I named my online 'shop' SWAPAS which means 'artistic'.. the actual spelling given was 'Svapas' but I substituted a 'w' for 'v'. It resembles my name..artistic license of course!

Wish me luck friends...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fenugreek leaves and dal (lentils) curry

I love the taste of fenugreek leaves..also known as uluva cheera, methi leaves etc.. The bunch i got was very tender and fresh, so after rinsing them well. I just chopped up the leaves, stems and all.

Assemble the rest of the ingredients

Thur dal - yellow split lentils 1 cup( washed)
Onion - 1 medium (sliced lenghtwise)
Green chillies - 2 (slit lengthwise)
Tomato - 1 (sliced)
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch

Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Once the steam escapes, open and add enough salt.

Temper with ...
Jeera - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2 

Squirt the juice of one lemon for added zest.. 

You may also try adding one potato cut into very small cubes before pressure cooking. This makes for a thicker gravy and good with rotis.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jaipur - Chowki dhani

This is an amazing world in the outskirts of Jaipur. Chowki Dhani literally means 'small village'. It is entertainment on a very earthy, simple level. A slightly more colourful version of simple village life that u get to see all at once place. 

The village comes alive at 6.00 pm. We went on the day of Christmas, so the entry fee was a bit higher than normal. It includes a very elaborate vegetarian lunch and guarantees a grand time...

Th queue was so long, we wondered if we would get inside in time to enjoy everything... they closed down at
But in no time at all, we were inside. there are amazingly decorated walls with lamps, look-out stations and very ornate doors...

Inside are buffet stations where you get piping hot food in unlimited quantities, and long rows of tables and chairs... after the food, we are free to roam about anywhere we desire ..

To begin with, there are camel rides, elephant rides, bullock cart rides, horse-drawn carriages ..etc..

Then there are giant wheels, swings and some other items that are seen at village fairs.. in the middle there is a platform, and if you climb it, it is easy to get vertigo and a superb view of the whole place.

There are a lot of huts, inside which are people who entertain in various ways.. like reading your palm, cooking special food, playing an instrument etc.. all throughout, there are also stalls where there are colourfully dresses dancers, jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers, drummers,puppeteers...(my daughter had a great time watching the puppets).. 

People are taught the dance steps and encouraged to dance along for a very nominal fee. There is also a massage station where a tune is played and all the masseurs will massage their in tandem... that looked a bit painful, but the people seemed to be enjoying it..

And of course, there were more snack n drink stalls as well as the unavoidable souvenir stands...

It was a feast for the senses wherever we turned...and we came back ..content....:)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jaipur - Blue pottery

My first post on the first day of the New Year....

I thought that it should be about this superb work of art - blue pottery... It is a speciality of Jaipur. 

I was told that the origins of blue pottery could be traces to Persia and Turkey, but now it is considered a speciality of Jaipur, courtesy of it's ruler Sawai Ram Singh II, who sponsored some of the artisans of blue pottery about 150 years back!!!

And they and their descendants have been practising this beautiful work of art ever since....

I had been dying to see this work ever since I found about it during a browsing session... and while we were on a guided tour, I saw the emporium ... we went back there at the first opportunity ...

The display was breath-taking...Tiles, pots, vases, wall pegs, cups, saucers, plates, elephants, mirror frames, picture frames, bracelets, necklaces, many beautiful things made with this brilliant craft....  I could have spent a few hours, weeks, months... just gazing at those displays... but I showed admirable restraint and just took some pictures..

I also bought a necklace made of some lovely blue-pottery beads...

As I was paying for my purchase, the man behind the counter, whom I later recognised (from the flyers)as the artist of  blue pottery, handed me a souvenir (a marble piece with a silver Ganesha on it and some beads ) and told me that he recognised an artist and this would help me achieve success... 

Needless to say, that made my day... and that one visit was the highlight of the trip for me... though the sightseeing was nothing less than spectacular...