Eggless cashew cookies !!

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These crispy melt in the mouth indian style butter and cashew cookies go perfect with a hot masala chai ( indian spicy milk tea). They are so quick and easy that you’ll want to whip up a batch right nowūüôā

They are also perfect as after school snack for kids or even to share with friends and family during festivals as they are eggless.

Prep time : 20 minutes                   Cook time : 22 -25 minutes                     Yields :24

Ingredients –¬†

All purpose flour(maida) – 1 cup

Powdered sugar/confectioners sugar – 1/2 cup

Roasted cashews -1/4 cup

Unsalted butter – 1 stick (4 oz) at room temperature

Salt -1/8 tsp

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Baking powder -1/4 tsp

Let’s see how to make:

Step 1: In a mixing bowl, add the butter that was left to soften. It has to be soft but not melting. Combine powdered sugar little at a time and keep mixing until it is light and creamy. To it add  cardamom powder and mix it well.

Step 2: Take separate bowl to sift all purpose flour(maida) with salt and baking powder. Combine the flour (little at a time) to the butter mixture until it comes together. Knead it well with hands to forms a soft dough.

Step 3: Coarsely grind the roasted cashews in a mortar & pestle and add it to the dough. Knead it until the nuts are mixed well with the dough.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 degrees C). Divide the dough into equal sized portions and roll them into a smooth ball with no cracks. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 22-25 minutes.

As each oven is different please keep a close eye after 18-20 minutes.

Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring on to a cooling rack.

And you have delicious cashew cookies ready to eatūüôā

Store in a air tight container and they stay fresh for 5-7 days.

Cheers!

Clay Urli pot for Diwali

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Diwali is incomplete without diyas,rangoli (traditional Indian chalk art), bright and  beautiful decorations, yummy food, family gatherings and fireworks. When I think of decorations – the first on the list is illuminating every corner of the home with diyas/candles and the second is urli pot filled with rose petals/fresh flowers and candlesūüôā

Living away from home, I miss having this decorative piece for Diwali and this year I decided to use a terra-cotta cactus/round dish as a substitute. It will not replace the traditional brass uril but for sure warm and welcoming.

Here is before and after pictureūüôā

This clay cactus dish is available @ home depot and has perfect depth and width to use it as urli pot. Since it is a garden pot it has drainage hole and all you have to do is to fill it with some waterproof silicone sealant/caulk.

Place the pot upside down and use some duck tape to close the hole.

Turn it right side up and squeeze out some Silicone sealant to fill the hole.

Use a toothpick to spread it making sure the hole is filled without any gaps/vaccum.

Instructions on the silicone caulk says 30 minutes to dry, since the hole is large and we squeezed quite some I would suggest to leave it to dry overnight.

Once dry you have the pot readyūüôā You can decorate the pot in multiple ways – go with a solid spray paint or give some details with acrylic paints and embellishments.

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Isn’t that perfect and beautiful for Diwali….

You could use it in multiple ways – indoor or outdoor, on floor or on a platter stand.  All you need is to fill some water and arrange fresh flowers. Don’t forget to use some floating candles for Diwaliūüôā

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And here is a picture from Diwali 2k16 with the urli pots filled with flowers and floating candles ūüėć


Happy decorating!!

Air-dry Clay Diyas

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It is¬†just¬†2 weeks for Diwali and you must have begun the preparations. Every year I add something new either¬†decorations or diyas¬†and¬†this year I¬†was thinking to use the existing ones¬†in new way but wasn’t convinced.

Well, Diwali is an important festival and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to experiment something unique and different¬†and if it is a hit to share it with you all.

We all love to have a new set¬†of¬†diyas every year and in my earlier posts I have shared couple of alternatives. However,¬†today I am going to share an easy way to make traditional looking clay diyas at home. It doesn’t involve a potter’s wheel or kiln.

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All you need is –

Air Dry clay ( I used Crayola from local craft store)

Rolling pin,  knife/butterknife and water

Glass bowl ( Dollar tree has these small glass bowls 4 for $1)

Step 1 : Start by dividing clay into equal sized balls ( depending on number of diyas you want to make). It helps in having equal size diyas.

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Step 2: Roll out clay on smooth surface to thickness of 1/4 inch.

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Step 3: Use the same bowl and lay it top side down on to clay. Cut around the edges with a knife. You may skip this step if you can roll a circle(like shown above).

Step 4: Place the glass bowl top side down and lift off the clay circle and place it on the bowl. Push the clay towards the bowl and on one edge pinch the clay like shown below.

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Step 5: If the edges¬†don’t look clean, use your finger and little water to smooth it out .

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Step 6: Let the clay dry overnight ( preferably 12-14 hours). Once dry pop out from the glass bowl.

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Step 7 : Use acrylic paints of your choice and the diyas are readyūüôā

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You can use either white clay and paint or terra-cotta clay for traditional look.

Cheers!

Easy baby blanket – 2 yards and 30 minutes

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I am still at beginner/intermediate level of sewing and a quick project like this can never be boring.  You look forward to finish it and get pretty excited with the results..;-)

I made several of them( to be precise 12 baby blankets) full size, carseat and stroller blankets for friends and thought why not I post a tutorial. This is a beginner sewing project and fun to make. I buy my fabric @ Joann (stock up during sale) and love the nursery prints/flannel/soft and comfy fabrics. You can buy online as well like Fabric.com

What you need is :

1 yard of printed fabric(front)

1 yard comfy fabric (back)

Matching thread and pins

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It is important to prewash the fabric and make sure they are wrinkle free before you start sewing. Also cut any stray ends off your fabric pieces so they are the same size when put together.

Lay the fabrics right sides facing together. Make sure everything is smooth and  flatten to avoid any lumps or folds.

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Pin around the sides leaving 8-10 inches opening so that you can turn the blanket right side out later.

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Start with a back stitch and sew using 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Before you turn right side out Рclip the corners and cut excess fabric to prevent bulk.

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Once you turn around, iron the edges until everything is flat.

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Sew  around the edges and you are done. The blanker is very soft and much thicker than the ones you find in stores.

I love ¬†the decorative stitches¬†on¬†Brother Computerized machine and every time there is a new stitch to match¬†the theme¬†on the fabric…;-)

Isn’t that easy and they make perfect baby shower, baby receiving or even birthday gifts. Just the ¬†size of the fabric you choose differs for each occasion and they can used in multiple waysūüôā

Here¬†is a collection of some handmade baby blanketsūüôāIMG_6703.JPGCheers!

Door/wall hangings with homemade clay…

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My favorite of all wall hangings is traditional Rajasthani ones. Specially, the string decorations are absolutely¬†beautiful¬†and comes in various designs and sizes. They add so much warmth, color and most important festive feelūüôā

Well, it is easy buy stuff from India, but I was itching for a project and¬†decided to “DIY” and here is the result – a cute and traditional flower string door/wall hangingūüôā

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Aren’t they cute and colorful. They are about 24 inches (2ft) in length and add color and style to any room.

Well, before initiating this project,  I was looking at clay options to make the flowers. The ideal pick was polymer clay as it is light and break resistant. This time I wanted to go for an inexpensive option.

After some search, I found this recipe to make clay at home. That was super exciting.  It is easy-to- make, easy- to-work, inexpensive and can be used in variety of projects.

Here are is a video tutorial from youtube.

I couldn’t wait to get started and bought glue from dollar tree and corn starch from local grocery store for less than $3.

Homemade clay is ready and the other supplies you need are –

wooden beads (hobby lobby)

Cookie or fondant cutter

decorative mirrors (hobby lobby)

Bells (optional)

Lace or string of your choice 

Super Glue 

Step 1 : Condition the clay and roll it out until it is 1/8th inch thick approx. Here i used a fondant cutter for flowers. Choose a cutter of your choice and make 10-12 flowers.

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Step 2 : Let the flowers dry overnight. Once dry they are very light, unbreakable and almost look like resin. Color the flowers with acrylic paint and glue a decorative mirror in the center.

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Step 3: Take a string or decorative lace and few wooden beads. I added random and used multi colored beads. Once you add couple of beads glue the painted flower like shown above.

Once you string beads and glue flowers add a decorative bell and you have beautiful string wall hanging decor ready to useūüôā

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Incense Holder – Upcycle Pistachio Shells

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Burning incense is very relaxing and my favorite are the “Padmini Dhoop sticks”.

Incense sticks are a part of the Indian heritage and are associated with spirituality. That’s the reason most of the Indian Hindu household has it burning in the prayer room.

All these days I have been burning them in the small metal eyelet that is designed to hold the stick on the Padmini dhoop sticks box.

But now I have this cutest custom incense stick holder¬†and it is the easiest and most practical thing to do out of wasteūüôā img_5834¬†Yep these are pistachio shells upcycled to make a pretty floral incense holder ¬†<3.

Lets see what you need –

Pista shells

Glue gun

Cardboard for base

Air dry clay 

Spray paint 

Step 1 : Take a sturdy cardboard as a base. Here i used the base of empty salt carton.

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Step 2: Start from the outer layer. Glue the shells upside down to the cardboard circle.

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Step 3: Glue the second layer. Use a dab of hot glue to the pista shell and stick it on to the cardboard like shown below.

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Step 4: Continue to glue towards the center.

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Step 5: Fill the center with a piece of air dry clay and create a hole with the incense stick.

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Step 6: Leave the clay to dry for couple of hours and use spray paint of your choice and you have the incense holder ready to useūüôā

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Pretty, Isn’t it !!

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These make cute home decor or Diwali gifts to friends and family.

Hope you save some shells next time and enjoy making this projectūüôā

Cheers!

Clay Mural Art on Cardboard

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I was introduced to clay mural art by Fevicryl Hobby Ideas (FHI) page from Facebook and since then I was looking for an opportunity to try my hands. There are many tutorials available on youtube on how to make beautiful piece of art using this technique.

After watching couple of videos I learnt that this can be done on almost any surface. Of course, in India it is easy to find the traditional MDF cutouts. Also, this tutorial on  Kalash clay mural art on cardboard helped me to take up a project for Sankranthi Bommala Koluvu 2016.

It is my first time so picked a kalash image from web as a reference.

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What you need is –

Print of an image on A4

Cardboard

Air dry clay (crayola)

Elmer’s¬†Glue

Acrylic paints

Decorative rhinestones and lace/bead ball chain

Step 1: Trace the image on to a cardboard and cut it along the outline .

Take some air dry clay and start filling the details . For 3D effect – the thickness of the clay shouldn’t be consistent. Also, use glue to make sure it bonds well to the cardboard.

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Step 2: Let it dry overnight. Paint the kalash base, leaves and coconut. Get creative and add decorative rhinestones/fancy beads. Regular glue works well to stick the rhinestones.

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Soda can tab can be used as a picture hanger. Use hot glue or super glue to add the pop to the cardboard like here.

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Isn’t that pretty? You can make almost anything¬†and this kalash wall art can be used in multiple ways for multiple occasions. I can’t wait to try more projects on mural art and share it with you allūüôā

Happy Monday!

Ganesh pooja 2016 !

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Yesterday we celebrated Ganesh¬†Chaturthi – one of the most important and biggest festivals celebrated in honour of Lord¬†Ganesha¬†(the God with the head of an elephant). I can’t wait to share some pictures.

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Hope you all had wonderful time too celebrating the first biggest festival after new year (as per Hindu Calendar). And the best part is, this time it is over the weekend.

Here are some close shots of post pooja. Ganesha filled with flowers, tulasi and Garikey ( Bermuda grass considered scared in India).

Ganesh chaturthi is the only time you can offer Tualsi leaves to Lord Ganesha.

And Garika ( grass with 3 blades) is always offered and it has highest ability to attract Ganesha’s energy.

img_5764This festival is incomplete for me without making my very own eco-friendly ganesha idol. It took 4 hours but totally worth itūüôā

I started with Ganesha tummy, then legs. For legs, created a wavy texture for dhoti and added anklets too. Then added a small  clay ball as head, molded elephant trunk.

Before you add ears, add jewelry(if any), 2 husks and hands. This year I made sure i leave little space between shoulders and ears. I did so – it is easy to add any tiny beads jewelry to the idol. At the end added ears and other details and final touches if required.

I let it dry for 24 hours and used acrylic paints to color the idol.

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Lastly, added some rhinestones for ganesha and mushikam (mouse) and here he is sitting on the lotus throne with a paper fan backdropūüôā

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Cheers!

Lotus throne tutorial

Paper Fan backdrop tutorial

Paper fan backdrop for Ganesha..

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Friends here is another super easy decoration project to Do-it-yourself for Ganesh pooja.

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Isn’t that easy? ¬†And also, the best time to involve your kids¬†in festival preparations.

All you need is –

Card stock¬†or Paper( I like the 12×12 ¬†scrapbook paper from HobbyLobby)

Hot glue gun

Scissors

Step 1 : Fold the  paper into 3 folds (length-wise) and cut it to 3 equals pieces.

Step 2: Next, you need to make folds. Take each piece and fold in accordion style or fan fold.

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Step 3: Once they are ready glue all the pieces together.

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Step 4: Glue the ends too and gently push outer edge of your fan downwards. You need to push it and hold it until you glue the center. Or you can also use a piece of paper to glue the center of the fan. Use any rhinestones/embellishments of your choice to add some bling.

Optional : Glue a soda can tab as to easily hang it on to the wall.

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And Tadahh…..you have it ready to useūüôā

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HAPPY GANESH POOJA!

Lotus throne for Ganesh Idol !

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It is always exciting to make handmade decorations to Lord Ganesha on his birthday (celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi) . Every year I make a handmade idol and perform rituals with devotion and love. However, this year I didn’t want to stop just with idol and came up with few DIY decoration ideas.

Today, I am going to share one such project that is inexpensive, easy and quick too. The best part about this project is it can be done with leftover clay after making Ganesha idol.

So, here it is – a lotus shaped Ganesha throne.

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The supplies you need are –

Glass bowl

Air dry clay

Cardboard piece

Acrylic colors

Empty salt carton

Fancy fabric, lace and other embellishments

Water to shape the petals

Step 1 : Use the cardboard piece to make petal stencil. Now the stencil is ready, roll out the clay until it is thin but not too thin becoz the petals might break after the clay dries.

Cut out few petals using plastic butter knife. The petals may not look neat, so use water to give it a finished look.  Place the glass bowl upside down and start laying the petals. Use water to seal and bond the  petals.

Step 2: As you are done with the first layer, follow the same step and place few more petals to form a second layer. Now, take a piece of clay and use it to create the base like shown below.

Let it air dry 24 hours and it easily pops out of the glass bowl. I decided to paint so used orange and gold acrylic paint.

Step 3: For the inside part of the throne I used a empty salt carton. Cut it to fit into the bowl like below. Glue a fancy fabric/paper or something that matches to your idol around the carton in accordion style.

I covered the base of the salt box with red glitter foam circle and added some rhinestone lace too.

And you have a beautiful lotus shaped throne ready to place the Ganesha idol.

Cheers!