Balcony Love: Hand Painted Planter

Auto Rickshaw paint

Balcony Love: Hand Painted Planter

 

Now that I’m on a break from paid work, I have some mornings when I need to get onto a project for the sake of staying sane. So, I’ve been trying to fix that cursed black thumb of mine…anything I tried to grow promptly died on me in the past. But I am so happy to see that some of my new green friends are positively thriving.

To break the jinx, I bought plants from my local nursery and had them potted by their gardener. A couple of palms, a fern, a native bush that has pretty peach blossoms and a lemon tree. As they began to thrive under the care of little K and me I began to dream of bigger things. I was bold enough to bring out two old tubs that had been purchased a couple of years ago with the intention of growing tomatoes.

I really wanted to add more colour to my balcony garden, so the pepper saplings (I grew them from seed. Hurrah!) were planted in a tub that I painted turquoise blue. I stencilled on a simple graphic of elephants and voila, I had a happy place to nurture my bright coloured peppers. (If and when they actually arrive, that is. Fingers crossed.)

The baby steps I took towards sprinkling some balcony love, have added a lot of happy mornings to our life. K and I spend time watering, pruning, weeding and learning about nature in the early morning sun. What a great activity for a toddler, which also gives him the daily dose of vitamin D.

So to add a touch of whimsy to our morning ritual, I decided to paint a plastic basket before I planted some basil in it.

Now, much to my dismay, my wee one is head over heels in love with vehicles of every kind. His love affair began with ‘bus’ and ‘auto’, and now has spun out of control. I’m dismayed because I didn’t want him to be such a boy. I do find some solace in the fact that he loves ‘cooking’ just as much. So to begin with, maybe I should try not to slot him.

I’ve been meaning to paint an auto rickshaw for a long, long time. With the renewed burst of optimism from nature, I thought I could do it this time. Or maybe it was just a case of too much sun, if you know what I mean. For over a week the poor basket had sat on my table painted a staid grey on white just crying out for some colour. And against my initial inhibitions against kitsch, I went for it.

I used acrylic colours for this planter since they hold up well to rain and sun. The simple joy those couple of hours brought me is something I will hold onto for a while. As K napped, I pencilled in the outline and went to work with the colours. It’s been a few years since I’ve held a brush, so I was thrilled with the final product.

 

Auto Rickshaw painting

Balcony Love: Hand Painted Planter

Hand Painted Planter with a polka dotted back

Hand Painted Planter with a polka dotted back

 

My special props assistant did a smashing job as I clicked these pictures. But by the end of his shift, he’d had enough and decided that the only way to stop his mad mum was to make away with the ‘ahtou’.

 

Props Assistant: Various Moods

Props Assistant: Various Moods

 

The results are here for you to see. What do you think?

DIY Handpainted planters1

The Makeover: a shabby plastic basket turns into a quirky, fun planter

 

 

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BOOK HUNT FIND: HOME BY STAFFORD CLIFF

Have you ambled into a book shop without any particular title in mind? Just given in to the bookworm instinct, prepared to pour over book covers and blurbs, to discover a gem quite by chance? That’s exactly what happened to me a few moons ago on a trip to a mall in Delhi. They (Landmark) were having some sort of a sale, and books were piled almost from the floor to the ceiling. What joy!

I pottered about and found this simply brilliant book – Home: 50 Taste-makers Describe What it is, Where it is, What it Means by Stafford Cliff. I loved the cover, the title and a quick flip through revealed that this was worth having on my bookshelf. However, it has never made it to the bookshelf since I brought it home. I love having it within easy reach just so I can flip through the pages, stare into beautifully captured homes, get lost in childhoods and the different interpretations of a home.

It’s one of those books, that teach us so much about personal style, photography and the meaning of spaces we create. A home is so much more than a place to park your stuff. As my world-view evolves, I see my need for a place to call home change.

There are so many things that endear this book to me. As the taste-makers talk about their homes or special places they reveal so much about who they are, how they think and sometimes, it completely changes the way you have perceived them earlier. That is an exciting promise, don’t you think?

Kenzo Takada’s home in Paris

The photography is a different trip altogether. Some pictures add visual elements to enhance a narrative while some spin a new tale all by themselves. Designing is always subjective, but the sheer personality it imbibes from owners or designers is enchanting. Just looking at the pictures gives you so many ideas to transform your home into a reflection of its occupants.

Beautiful kitchens, the bottom one is Donna Hay’s. So very her, isn’t it?

A busy living room wall, with great character

What I have learnt, from this book so far:

  1. Things that endure through the years, the many abodes and phases of your life are the ones that serve some purpose with an element of delight to the eye. So I’d suggest you don’t buy things unless you see yourself living with them for a long, long time
  2. On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to include a few things that aren’t functional, but have an emotional connection for you. So that recipe your grandma gave you, can be printed onto parchment paper and framed to inspire wholesome meals in your kitchen
  3. Experiment, blend, get inspired by the trends and the design rules of your era, but leave some room to add your personal touches. A bottle filled with sands from all the beaches you enjoy may not come for a heavy price tag, but is a delightful reminder of fun times
  4. Bring in the light, let it dance around. Most beautiful rooms become even better when you throw in a good mix of light, natural or arranged
  5. Find a place for things that you love doing, make time to personalise it. Enjoy the after-effects. Donna Hay’s kitchen, Paul Smith’s office, Kenzo Takda’s pool in his living room all inspire to carve out spaces where happiness is easy to find

I’d definitely recommend this fat little book of treasures, in case you like the stuff I’ve been raving about in this post.

If you have any thing to add to this list (whether inspired by this book or elsewhere), I’d love to hear about it. Share with us, your go-to inspirations for building a home that you love.

Little Rainbows in a Jar

Colours really make me happy, they put a smile on my face. Just glancing at this corner of my desk where I’ve stored some felt pompoms in an old jam jar, every once in a while makes me feel joyful. Colours have always had that effect on me. As you may have noticed, yellow is my favourite colour. It has the magical ability to uplift my spirits. Could be one of the reasons I love Goa so much. I have never seen such wonderfully yellow, mustardy, orchery houses anywhere else in India. And the police stations are painted a bright, inviting yellow, somehow making me fall for the Goa all over again. The beaches and sea food do a darn good job of enticing me there in the first place, but these special touches of yellow make a world of difference to me.

Hot pink and coral make me feel quite stylish, I really can’t explain why. Must be some odd wiring in my head. And then there are the divine whites, blues, greens and warm, fuzzy oranges. What’s really fun about shades is trying to mix and match to create interesting, surprising palettes that can help sprinkle some fairy dust on ordinary things to transform them into art. Am inspired by the myriad colours I see in nature – the ultimate master blender.

It’s pretty easy to be my friend, just buy me a box of colours – crayons, water, fabric, glitter. Anything, really.

You can imagine what happens to me in candy shops. What makes your world go round?
Have a lovely weekend.