Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Eat, Pray, Love

In a country where food is synonymous with love and prayer with politics it’s very easy for us to lose perspective. In a world where love is synonymous with finding our better halves, here’s my two bit on the art of eating, praying and loving.

EAT
More often than not, we get so caught up with eating healthy, following a strict diet regime and counting calories that we become oblivious to the joy of savoring every bite and using all our senses to relish the act of consuming food. At other times we let ourselves go, binge, overeat and then beat ourselves up with guilt. While relishing every bite of what we eat, not only feeds our body but also our soul, over eating and binging on unhealthy food all the time is a form of temporary gratification and the most insidious substitute for one or the other form of emotional, physical or spiritual void that we are trying to fill.


 The sight of beautifully plated food nourishes my soul and sometimes staring at food porn cheers me up. Cooking, eating and feeding friends and family, to me are as soul stirring, stress busting and gratifying as painting and creating art.


  So, as we gear up for yet another festival season my wish for myself and everyone around me, including all you fabulous readers is to imbibe and practice the art of mindful eating. What is mindful eating?



Mindful eating has its roots in ancient yoga philosophy that preaches eating as a form of meditation. It teaches you to tame the hunger in your mind and be present in the moment. To think about what you are eating, chew every morsel slowly, taste and relish it with every bite, swallow the food and know that the food is going to do you good. It helps you recognize the difference between when you are really hungry and when you are just giving in to your cravings.  This is the essence of mindful eating.



 PRAY

Although I am an agnostic, I do believe in the power of prayer. Paradoxical you say? Well, maybe so but read on and I might convince you otherwise. I believe prayer is very similar to meditation and I use them interchangeably all the time. Any form of prayer requires us to focus, follow a routine and perform a repetitive gesture. Much like meditation, don’t you think?


I believe that prayer is personal and unique to each individual; while for some chanting a mantra maybe a form of prayer, for others practicing an art, exercising or traveling might be synonymous with worship and veneration. Whatever our mode of prayer, at the core of it there must be discipline, dedication as well as the courage to dream and endure.


 Yes, endure, as in have the patience and willpower to bear as well as persist and keep moving forward. So, as the festive season descends upon us my wish for each one of you is to find your very own personal brand of prayer. One that is devoid of religious and social prejudices and obligations.


 LOVE

This elusive thing called love may not be as elusive as we think. When I looked carefully I found it everywhere and sometimes in the most unlikely places. The biggest reservoir of love, I discovered, was within me. When I found self love, I learned to recognize love. 


So this festive season, look into the mirror and fall head over heels in love with the only person who has any control over your life. Might be difficult at first but then who said love was easy. How hard can it be to love someone you have known all your life, the one who knows your deepest darkest fears and yet has your back?


More often than not we indulge in self deprecating behavior because we do not want to seem immodest. While I am in no way advocating being an ‘I’ specialist (in other words pompous and boastful) we need to give ourselves credit when it’s due. And while you are at it don’t forget to spread the love. Yes, It’s a two way street. The more you give, the more you get and the more love you receive, the more you love yourself.


 On that note I’ll bid adieu for now and will be back with some gorgeous finds and creative peeps I have come across recently. May the force be with you ;)

Food porn from here and here
Raja Ravi Varma's Lithographs from here
Heart Photograpy here

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

One for the Angels & Monsters

I had planned an entirely different post for today but one thing led to another and I came across a couple of nurseries and childrens' rooms that I absolutely couldn't walk out of, without sharing them with you first. So I wandered about some more, stepped into some more homes and picked out a few dreamy spaces meant for the little people who most of us tend to forget when we get caught up in making our decorating dreams come true. So this one's for the little angels and monsters who live with you. 



 These are a few points you should keep in mind while doing up your child's space. 

 -Invest in a wallpaper/mural that you think your child will not outgrow for at least 5 years.


-When buying furniture for your child's room make sure to buy designs that can accommodate his/her constantly changing needs.

-Curtains, linen, cushion covers and rugs require very low investment, so buy them in keeping with the theme your child fancies at the moment. 


-Make sure the color palette of the room is one you or your child will not outgrow for a few years.

-As you have 
probably realized by now, there is no such thing as too much storage space in a kids' room. Extra storage is always welcome, to accommodate the constantly evolving needs of a growing child. 


-When investing in furniture and other decor accessories try to invest in pieces that have utilitarian value as opposed to those that are purely decorative in nature.

-Restrict the use of decorative elements to picture frames and wall art that require low investment, do not eat into your space and can be easily altered, modified or replaced as the child grows older.


-If you have a boy and a girl sharing a room, make sure your decor is gender neutral. 


 This list is in  no way exhaustive but I hope these guidelines help you get started on your little ones room. I will keep adding to the list from time to time, so stay tuned for more such decorating tips to guide you on your decorating journey. In the meantime, if you have a decorating dilemma that you are not able to wrap your mind around, please feel free to write in to me at theyellowbeetle6@gmail.com.


Monday, 31 August 2015

LUST LIST: Yumiko Higuchi

Did you detest your SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work) classes when you were in school? Did you ever embroider cushion covers, make pen stands with ice cream sticks or wall hangings with plastic wire? Or did you beg, bribe and butter up your mum, older cousins and aunts to finish the work for you on the pretext that these classes did not really add any value and in no way contributed towards your larger goal of becoming an engineer or doctor? Well, I know a few people who did. :) As for me, I was one of the few who diligently learnt how to embroider, stitch, crochet, knit and make the zillion other artsy crafty things that were taught in these classes. Uncool you say?! Well, you might think otherwise once you finish reading this post ;)





For the past year or so I have been nursing the urge to start embroidering again. Of the million and one DIY projects that I try my hand at, the art of embroidery is one that has not taken precedence yet only because of the patience, meticulous care and time required for the same. But when I came across Japanese embroidery artist Yumiko Higuchi’s work, I was totally smitten by her intricately embroidered creations. And now I can’t wait to rediscover the art of embroidery and relive the joy of painstakingly creating a piece of art with a multitude of colorful threads and fabric.






Yumiko has worked as an embroidery artist since 2008 and also makes bags, purses and other accessories, using the fabric she embroiders. Her website has detailed photo instructions that serve as a pattern guide and you will find clear guides on how to make coin purses, pouches, bows, headband, decorations and collars. Yumiko’s breathtaking designs, crafted with precision and a drool-worthy colour sensibility, will leave you lusting for more. I will now let the pictures speak for themselves and leave you to ogle at these beautiful creations. You can buy Yumiko’s embroidery pattern books on Etsy. 



 


Friday, 28 August 2015

Via Kerala

Minarets and spires, cottages and caves, monkeys and rakshasas, losing the way while finding yourself, discovering Kerala, truly GOD'S own country.

This was my first impression of Kerala on my very first visit, a few years ago. The trip, although a very short one, most of which was spent on the road (we lost our way more than once and had a tough time finding the way back to our resort),  left me yearning to experience more of the cuisine, culture and coastal charm of Kerala. I have visited Wayanad several times since then but always for short weekend getaways. There is so much of this state that I haven’t yet seen but hope to explore  to my heart’s content, some day.





Kerala, as most of you probably already know has the highest literacy rate, highest life expectancy and highest sex ratio in the country. But did you know that it also has the lowest positive population growth rate in India? Most of Kerala follows a matrillineal system of inheritance called Marumakkathayam. In the Marumakkathayam system, descent and succession to the property is traced through females. The mother forms the stock of descent and kinship and the rights to property is traced through female members of the family. However, what is most evident about this progressive state is the manner in which the Hindu, Muslim and Christian population harmoniously coexist. 


So, what better day than today to showcase a brand that aims to capture the true essence of the Malayalee culture. One that is steeped in karimeen, coconut oil and communism. 


Viakerala is symbolic of contemporary Malayalam visual culture. Their products range from local awareness, Malayalam letter form design application and various other quirky interpretations of traditional Kerala motifs. All this translates into various contemporary products for everyday life such as handcrafted bags, toys, stationary items etc



Viakerala was started as a collaborative forum in 2010, led by a small group of designers in Cochin. It is a collection of the work of artists, illustrators and graphic designers and has now evolved into a platform for the modern Malayalee and also anybody interested in Kerala, Malayalam and local culture.

You can buy Viakerala products here.

Happy Onam! Onashamsakal!


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Blue blooded

No matter how hard I try I can never have enough of the color blue and the indigo family. I know a lot of people who almost always wear blue clothes or accessories and are partial to this colour while doing up their personal space. I think it would be safe to assume that there are many of you out there who share my affinity to this colour that dominates the sky as well as the earth. Blue is the color of the sky and the sea, hence often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith and truth.


If you feel blue, you are feeling sad or unwell, a colour mainly associated with depression or unhappiness. The use of blue to mean “sad” dates back to the late 1300s. There are many theories regarding the origin of this phrase. One of them being its connection to rain or storms. In Greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying) and a storm when he was angry. 


The phrase "feeling blue" is also linked to a custom among many old, sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port. However, in modern times, colour therapy suggests a more positive imagery for the color.


If your décor is coastal or beach inspired, Blue would be the obvious colour of choice. However, you might want to use this color despite not being too crazy about coastal décor. If you don’t already have enough reasons to OD on Blue, here are a few more reasons to incorporate this regal colour into your décor. 


· From the perspective of color psychology, blue is reliable and responsible. This color exhibits an inner security and confidence.


· You can rely on it to take control and do the right. It has a need for order and direction in its life, including its living and work spaces.


· This is a color that seeks peace and tranquility above everything else, promoting both physical and mental relaxation. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It reduces stress, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order.


· The color blue enhances self-expression and our ability to communicate.


· Blue's wisdom comes from its higher level of intelligence and a spiritual perspective.


· Blue is nostalgic. It is a color that lives in the past, relating everything in the present and the future to experiences in the past. A person who loves blue is bound to be sentimental and love things from the past.


If blue is your favorite color, most of these qualities will reflect in your personality and using this colour in your space will enhance the qualities and benefits that blue represents. But how much blue is too much blue? This is a predicament I struggle with very often. Have I gone OTT with this colour? Do I limit the use of blue to only a few accents? Do I add another colour to the mix to tone it down? Do I 'hear' you nodding in agreement? Been there right? 

My advice to you would be to listen to your heart, follow your instincts and do what pleases your eye. At the end of the day, there are no rules to be followed when doing up your personal space. No rights and wrongs. No such thing as too much or too less. After all what you love is a reflection of who you are and there should be no limitations to how you choose to express yourself. Isn't that what self-expression is all about? And that's what this month is all about-freedom. If you are truly ‘blue blooded’ and have an eye for beautiful things you can't  possibly go wrong. 

If you like this post you might also like thisthis and this.