Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Mid-week mood #5: Pack of Two

In our quest for the perfect cushion cover to go with the freshly painted blue wall or a quirky decor accessory to add a little zing to a newly styled vignette, my sister and I have unearthed many treasures. You will catch glimpses of her in many of my posts and in everything else that I do. The fact is, she is partly responsible for this blog. While I am the writer, a lot of my ideas and leads for my research come from her.

So starting this week, we will be bringing you mood boards created by our little pack of two. We hope that our contrasting yet complimentary design sensibilities and decor philosophies will add value to your mid-week moods....... Wait! There's more! We will also tell you where to source these products or similar products from so you can recreate these moods in your home. 

So without further ado, the very first mid-week mood conceptualized by S&S. Watch us weave our own brand of magic……
 Mood A

Mood B
                1 India Circus                                   5 Home Elements
                2 Mm Rm foundation                               6 Fab furnish
                3                                         7 Fab furnish
                4 The Purple Turtles                             8 India Circus

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Thunder and Lightening

While i was still in college, a friend asked me how would I know if I've met "the one". I thought about it for a a minute and replied - I will hear thunder and lightening. It was a phrase from a soppy romantic novel I was reading  at the time. Ever since then, it became a phrase I associated with falling truly,deeply, madly in love. The kind of love that makes your heart skip a beat, sweeps you off your feet and carries you to a magical land full of infinite possibilities. The kind of love that makes you want to run in the opposite direction but turns your feet to stone and then takes you on a roller coaster ride and churns your gut into mush. The kind  that defies logic, sanity and reality. Yes, the very kind that shakes you to the core and leaves you speechless and spellbound! Thunder and lightening for me was synonymous with fear, apprehension, excitement, love and lust all rolled into one.

Today, more than two decades later, thunder and lightening has taken on a whole new meaning for me. So, while I listen to the thunderstorm raging outside my house (Yes we have finally been blessed with the first of the monsoon showers!), I am lusting after these beautifully styled spaces that evoke similar feelings.  Do take a look at these storm-worthy spaces and let me know if you hear thunder and lightening.

Although I don't associate thunder and lightening with relationships of the romantic kind anymore, I still do believe in romance, thunder and lightening of a different kind. I now use the phrase to describe the way I feel when I come across beautiful things that make my heart skip a beat, when I meet people who blow my mind away with their creativity and imagination and when an idea strikes me like lightening and compels me to get my tush off the couch and see it through, my eureka moments. When my love for beautiful things and places urges me to open up to all life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance. A love like such, makes me smile at no one in particular when I am sitting in a cafe by myself, walking down the street or gazing out of my car window and that's when I hear it-the thunder and lightening.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Beach Happy!

          I think most people fall into one of two categories-beach people or mountain people. I once read somewhere that people who prefer holidaying or living in the mountains tend to be introverts while extroverts prefer the beach. I am still ambivalent about which category I fall into-extrovert or introvert. The jury is still out on that. However  I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that I am a beach person. This probably has something to do with the fact that I spent most of my early childhood years in a remote village in Rajasthan, India. Yes village! Not a town, not a city but a little village called Jasai in the Thar desert. We were surrounded by sand dunes and everywhere we looked there was dry, arid land. As a result I would  look forward to our annual trip to Bombay, in anticipation of catching a glimpse of the ocean. My desert weary eyes would instantly light up at the sight of the sea and the myriad possibilities it seemed to hold. Growing up I imagined that as an adult I would end up living in a coastal town/city.

Life had other plans for me and I ended up in Bangalore, once a pensioner’s paradise exemplified by cold winters and pleasantly warm summers. However, global climate change and urbanization is slowly transforming this garden city into yet another concrete jungle with extreme and unpredictable weather conditions. It’s no wonder that this summer, more than ever, I have been fantasizing about beach vacations and yearning for the sights and sounds of the ocean.  However, its going to be a while before I can take time off for a beach vacation, instead I am doing the next best thing - digging up pictures of beach houses and staring at them long and hard, in the hope that they will somehow appear out of thin air. (Yes the scorching heat is driving me insane!)  Alternatively, you could ignore my heat-crazed ramblings, feast your eyes on these drool-worthy beach homes and incorporate a few coastal elements into your decor. (Pssttt……and do let me know if you manage to conjure them up!;))

 For most people beach vacations are synonymous with wild drink-till-you-drop parties and cannot fathom one without a large group of friends. As for me I prefer doing beach vacations with small groups and am not averse to going solo either. (Yes I have been on beach vacations all by my self)  What’s so special about coastal destinations that makes you want to keep going back for more? For me it’s the vast expanse of water merging with the horizon, the smell of the sea, the wet sand sinking under my feet and the sound of waves crashing against rocks. But most importantly the sleepy, laid back vibe of a coastal town that feeds the quiet introspective mood that I thrive on, when I am on a beach by myself. What do you like about the ocean and beach vacations? Do you prefer beach holidays with large groups of people or would you rather go solo? Do write in and share your beach happy stories!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Artist's Corner: Shilpa Srinivasan

Research shows that children who grow up in non-restrictive, non-evaluative and less controlling environments tend to be more creative than others and parents who support children’s autonomy and freedom tend to foster creativity. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that children who show creative potential normally grow up in stress free households characterized by a lot of warmth and the freedom to express themselves .
      This is exactly the kind of household Shilpa Srinivasan seems to have grown up in. Born to a management consultant from IIT and a speech therapist who prepared her own therapy material, Shilpa was never forced to pursue engineering or medicine unlike others from her generation. In fact she had to coax her parents to let her study Science while they encouraged her to pursue her creative interests.


Shilpa says she has a lifetime's experience of illustrating, starting with the walls of her parents home at age 5. Having honed her skills in illustration in fashion school, and various creative ventures later she unexpectedly stumbled on creating art for commission after the arrival of her little one. You will find her work on her FB page-Haiku in hue. Here's what Shilpa has to say about her work:

"Watercolour is a really simple medium, but it is unforgiving. There are no ways to recover from errors and it needs absolute focus. When I paint it’s an absolute opposite frame of mind to my baseline self of a multi-tasking mom. The subjects I most love to paint are Moms and small children as I began painting again while I lived in Brooklyn finding inspiration in the lively community of amazing moms and toddlers."

"It struck me one day that there are exactly 2 pictures, highly cherished nevertheless, of me under the age of 1 while there are close to 4000 of my daughter and a similar number is probably true of any child whose parents possess a smart-phone. It’s hard to cherish a single photo when you have as many. When I paint a watercolour of a moment in time, it takes so many hours to do so. There is a timeless tactile quality to it that offers an irreplaceable authenticity .It is an interpretation of a fleeting moment that’s worthy of a picture frame and a space on the wall, precisely for the huge deliberate effort that goes to expressing a moment of joy and intimacy. I feel immense gratitude for being able to do this."

 Shilpa, I am sure there are numerous people out there who are immensely grateful for the many talents that you possess! I strongly believe that for most creative people, one creative outlet is not good enough and they need to express themselves in a variety of ways. This ravenous compulsion to create, more often than not, urges an artist to seek a secondary creative outlet. This could be in artistic or non-artistic ways like writing, music, cooking or even gardening.  This is true for Shilpa as well. She has worked for a non profit Asian American Story telling company, used to design a line of handcrafted fabric jewelry called Spicy bijoux and writes poetry. That explains the 'Haiku' in the 'Hue'!         

Shilpa loves being outdoors, taking long walks and going on offbeat adventures in New York City. She also loves being around children and says she was the go-to baby sitter for many years before her own daughter came along. Shilpa’s love for nature and children is reflected in her work. Recently, she came across a picture of a little girl in Humans of New York and was so inspired by her and her imagination that she decided to illustrate the girl and her imaginary world. This little girl's heart warming story of a country called Manizao, between India and China, has been beautifully captured by Shilpa.

Presently, Shilpa is working on a children's book titled Nelly Elly - a picture e-book for toddlers in the age group of 0- 3 yrs which she is writing as well as illustrating. She agreed to let you take a sneak peak at it....

From the little girl who used the walls of her parent’s home as her canvas to illustrating another equally imaginative little girl and her stories, Shilpa Srinivasan has come a long way. I cant wait to see what this multi-faceted designer, poet, storyteller and artist has in store for us next. While I was chatting with Shilpa she let on what's next on her agenda but I am going to keep that to myself for now. Suffice it to say that Shilpa Srinivasan and her 'Haiku in Hue' are going places and you will  just have to wait and watch this space to know where she is headed.

Shilpa's FB page-

You will find her poetry at

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Mid-week mood #4: When I am feeling blue.....

A blue mid-week mood never fails to chase away my blues........


 What so special about this mood? What isnt?
-My biggest weakness-colored glass bottles, the artwork from Etsy and the absolutely gorgeous to-die-for duvets

-Hydrangeas, my favorite flowers paired with some more blue bottles, the rustic blue door with metal In-lay work and the drool-worthy measuring cups have collectively managed to chase away my mid-week blues.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Traffic stoppers of Dharavi

Those of us who belong to the supposedly privileged and educated class are often oblivious to the trials and tribulations of people who are less fortunate than us. However there are certain circumstances, events, opportunities and in this case a certain kind of love(Sneha) that comes along and gives us a chance to rectify this. That’s exactly what happened to me when I came across this picture of Nirmala Panjabi in 'The Better India'. My love for beautiful things compelled me to stop and take notice of the woman behind this gorgeous sari who otherwise might have never crossed my radar.

Meet Nirmala Panjabi, 40, who is wearing this vibrant pure silk green sari with a patchwork ‘that boldly declares- ‘Don’t touch me!’. Nirmala made this Sari herself and then modeled it for a special photo shoot. There are many others like Nirmala who with the help of experts and designers have created beautiful pieces of art like sculptures, installations and pictures among other things.

The organization that is facilitating this is a mumbai based NGO -SNEHA
"Dharavi Biennale by SNEHA(Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action) is a three year art + health + recycling festival with a series of several standalone workshops (which they call Art Boxes). It is the sequel to Dekha Undekha. The overarching theme is recycling: artworks use recycled materials and address the health effects of recycled behaviour. It gives emerging local artists the opportunity to consolidate their conceptual, practical and leadership skills, bring in new participants, engage more deeply with health issues, and emphasize sustainability. At the end of two years, these activities converge into an exhibition."

 The largest slum area in Asia -Dharavi in Mumbai is a melting pot of cultures . The Dharavi Biennale is aimed at the people living in these slums. It is a collaboration between artists and activists to increase awareness about public health and also develop relevant artworks. Most of the women here are emotionally, physically and verbally abused. SNEHA conducts a series of workshops with these women to teach them new skills and plan activities that give them the courage and opportunity to talk about their problems, thus empowering them to fight injustice and violence.

Read more about Sneha and Dharavi Biennale here and here.
In my experience art has the power to heal ones soul and the process of creating beautiful things forces one to think positively. Art forces us to stop and take notice of the small joys in life and be grateful for all the beautiful things that were created for men and women to enjoy. My overwhelming urge, this little bug in me that motivates me to create and explore, has proven to be my greatest ally and never fails to give me a shot of enthusiasm in times of emotional crisis. At times painting with water colors has even cured me of my migraines.

So this is how love (SNEHA) and my love for art and design made it possible for me to take a peek into the world of the spirited and talented people of Dharavi. The more I read about the Dharavi Biennale and the people of Dharavi, the more I found myself drawn to them and their stories.Their stories resonate with my own sentiments with regard to issues of verbal, physical and emotional abuse and I realize I am no different from them.

Realizing that a woman living in the largest slum area in Asia might actually have the same problems and passions as I do, left me inspired and humbled at the same time. These kind of inclusive events and activities with people from the other end of the spectrum may turn out to be mutually beneficial and aid in our personal growth.This initiative by SNEHA is questioning the status quo and  gearing up to bring about a paradigm shift in our social structure.  This confluence of art, music, theatre, public health awareness programs and recycling workshops may very well turn out to be the stepping stone for the creation of a universal religion-the religion of love(SNEHA).
Reference &Images

Mid-week mood #3: India inspired

Hope this India inspired mood gives you some fresh ideas and a new color palette to work with. Enjoy!

Images: here & here

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Mid-week mood #2: A marriage of opposites

What happens when the macho ruggedness of black and brown meets the romance of  pale yellow, mint green and salmon pink? The marriage between these unlikely hues spawns the most beautiful midweek mood.

Whats not to love here? The distressed wood, the most beautiful vintage cutlery, plumped up pillows, the lovely design on the platter and the rustic vignette on the ever-so-pretty yellow cabinet - A love story with the happiest ending!

Images 12, 3 4