Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Art School- A Sharply Dressed Penguin!

I cant believe that its already Saturday and its been a whole week since my last post!
How the week has flown by, I cant really imagine...
Just goes to show how busy I have been...and when you dont feel the pinch of the week flying by, and you have enjoyed every bit of the busy days- it means you are in a good place my friend!
And Mashallah, I feel blessed to be doing all the things that I enjoy so much with absolutely no pressure of the daily grind.
Agreed I am not making much money, yet....
The world doesnt know me as an awesome illustrator,yet....
I aspire to have an exhibition, someday....
I am still dreaming of my Graphic Novel that maybe when the kids are a little bigger...
But then leave all the maybes and the somedays... I do think I am in a happy and contented place...
and thats a good place to be in...
I have been painting like mad...(lotsa tutorials in the pipeline)
I have been crafting and doing DIY like crazy- (there is nothing like getting an empty house to do up!)
I have been exploring the countryside a bit- now that the weather is better!
and I have been really plotting and researching on how to get my Facebook page and my blog to really take off!! (gotta loooooong way to go...)
So.  Have not actually been sitting idle...
and here is my offering for your weekend:
A cute little, well dressed Penguin to Draw!


STEP 1:




STEP 2:



STEP 3:


STEP 4:



STEP 5:


STEP 6:


and then you color!!


I hope you enjoyed this lesson and I am also making a few step by step of the requests that I have got!
Ciao and have a great weekend!














Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday Art School...a day late!



Today's Saturday Art School lesson is of a duck:
The adorable drawing of a duck taking two little ducklings out in the water is quite easy if you follow all these steps properly.




STEP 1:



STEP 2:



STEP 3:



STEP 4:



STEP 5:



STEP 6:



And Voila... aren't the li'l darlings cute?
I hope you enjoyed this lesson of today and would use it on a card, or a school drawing or even just to practice and hone your art skills!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Food for d Soul... Spicy Crispy Fried Chicken!



Doesnt this look Yummy?
Now the story in our neck of woods is that where we live, we dont have a KFC, or a McDonalds or a Pizza Hut, or any of the junk food chains that my kids are so fond of...
who am I kidding?  I love junk food too- who doesnt?
and once in a while I convince myself that I have lost a few milligrams off my weight, so I can indulge...
So mamma dear has to improvise and make KFC style fried chicken at home!
and believe me it always comes out delicious!
this time I thought I'd share the recipe with you. (its a mish-mash of a lotta internet versions)
Now in the West- they marinate the chicken in buttermilk(chaj) for a few hours or overnight.
I use curd!
And my Chicken is a mix of Southern type of Fried Chicken to also being inspired by Paula Deen's version where she uses self raising flour-( I use a bit of baking powder) to adding crunchy cornflakes in the end
(we faujis get a lotta cornflakes in the monthly ration!)  :-D

So here it is:

Ingredients-

for the mariande:
I cup sour yoghurt(not fresh)
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste-(dont use less- coz u will be throwing away the marinade)
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (you dont use it in western cooking but I put it in most of my dishes)
1 tbsp chilli powder or paprika if you have
1 1/2 Kg Chicken cut in decent sized pieces (the pieces should not be too big coz then they might remain uncooked inside the coating)
Marinate the chicken in a ziplock pouch, so its sealed inside and leave in the fridge overnight.




Next morning or half an hour before cooking, in one bowl mix:
2 cups all purpose flour
some garlic powder-(if you dont have it-thats alright...I just like a bit more of the garlicky flavor)
1 tbsp white pepper powder
1 tsp baking powder
paprika powder or you can just give the ration (whole) chillies a whirl in the mixie
Put this entire concoction in a plastic bag.

Second bowl mix:
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese ( I used the fauji ration Amul Cheese- but if u can use any other flavorful spicy cheese like Pepper Jack)
a bit of salt and pepper
a dash of red chilly sauce- the color of the liquid should become nice n orange!

Third plate:
a plate full of crushed cornflakes... keep adding as they get finished.



Now just take the chicken pieces out of the fridge- let it come to room temperature.
Remove the pieces from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Then dip one or two chicken pieces into the bag of dry ingredients ( the flour concoction), shake the bag to coat the chicken pieces well. and lay them out on a wire rack.



While the chicken pieces are being coated, please have a frying pan with oil at the ready...
Once the flour adheres to the chicken, dip the piece in the bowl having the egg mixture, and then rolling it in the cornflakes.



Heat the oil well, and then lower the gas to medium heat and start putting the chicken pieces one by one into the hot oil.
Dont crowd the frying pan too much. 
Fry the chicken pieces 4-6 minutes on each side till nicely golden brown and the juices run clear.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot with tomato sauce, a fresh salad and creamed potatoes.
Pssst- you can even add a bit of chaat masala for more zing!




ENJOY!!




Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Thoughts!

We all have issues with our image... 
I am too fat!
I am too dark or too fair!
My hair is too curly!
My nose is not cute enough!


Beauty is how you feel inside... and it reflects in your eyes!
-Sophia Loren

So girl- YOU are what you make yourself- make the best of what you have and walk with an invisible crown on your head!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Wah Factor!

I had bought a cute little Retro Owl Bookend set from one of the Antique shops in Philadelphia...
They were cute n whimsy till they started to chip in various places.
I retouched them in a bid to cover up thier nicks and chips... but they started looking a bit too antique n shabby.
And then when I finally got a house and I started doing up my book shelves- I decided I didnt like them anymore!
But I didnt want to throw them away... after all I had got them with me all across the seven seas and owls are not really as popular here in India as in the U.S. and I knew I couldnt get another owl...
So I decided to paint it white!
Now I didnt have any white spray paint (I know, I know, I live in the back of beyond now!) so I resorted to the paint brush and acrylic paint...
n voila!





How cute is that??
and it goes so well with my porcelain little white things on my redone bookshelf! :-)






Oh and here is how my bookshelf took shape:




The Zebra print looked too busy and would have clashed with the bright books and the little curios...
as it is, the theme of that room is "Bluish"....  :-)
so went with the solid color at the back of the shelves and the pretty blue print at the side...
so here it is:





Pssst... before anyone notices+comments - the blue solid color has been replaced by the green paper in the last two shelves... (had run out of the blue paper before I realised n there was no way to get anymore)
so Moral of d Story- please make sure u have the adequate amount of paper before u start using the glue...  coz Fevicol ka jod hai  :-)


So howj-u like it?
does anyone have any decor items/rooms projects etc in their homes that they have redone or remodelled by themselves? And which you feel has gone from "blah to wah"?
If yes then feel free to post them to me at my email address: scorpio1576@gmail.com.
Who knows- mayb next Wednesday it might be your project that is featured on my Wednesday Wah Factor!  :-)





Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Treat- Healthy Whole Wheat Pancakes!

Since we moved back to India 6-7 months back, me n my kids have been living in guest rooms, out of suitcases and missing home cooked food like crazy!
but more than that, they were missing the pancakes and the waffles and the strawberries, blueberries and maple syrup... which was a staple weekend breakfast for us there...
So as soon as we got the house my boys started hankering after me to make pancakes.
Finally this weekend I relented and tried home made pancakes from scratch for the first time...
(back in the US I used to cheat-premade pancake mix was what I used and sometimes even frozen!)
But believe me this version is sooooo much healthier and extremely easy to make, esp for my kids who hate cottage cheese(paneer) in normal Indian dishes.




this recipe will make about 8-10 medium sized pancakes.
 Ingredients:
2 cups cottage cheese
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence.
2 tbsp sugar
cooking spray/ or butter on nonstick dosa tawa 

Directions:
1- Combine cottage cheese, eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla essence in a mixie/ blender and blend well.
2- In the meantime sieve together the whole wheat flour and baking powder.
3- In a large bowl combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
4- Heat a large non stick tawa/skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray or butter.
5- Pour about 1/3 cupfuls of the batter onto the skillet and cook until the bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula and cook until evenly browned on the other side.

Serve with thinly sliced bananas and strawberries, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with maple syrup.
I had no maple syrup but my kids love honey on pancakes(which is healthier) but missed the strawberries, and got only bananas...
You can also sprinkle nuts on top for a bit of crunch or even add chocochips in the batter for a different taste.
Twist the recipe anyway u want... you cant go wrong!

For more tried and tasted and slurped over recipes- please click here

Saturday, August 17, 2013

SATURDAY ART SCHOOL.... an Indian Camel!



Living in Rajasthan has made me have camels and more camels on my mind...
do you want to learn how to draw it?
 here is a step by step tutorial:
Step1: is just to draw an oval that takes care of the main part of the body of the camel with enough space left at the top n bottom for the rest of the drawing...

Step2: is when u make the small oval for the head and the little bigger oval for the jaw/mouth


Step3: join the two small ovals like shown and the make the neck- be sure to make the curve in the neck as shown!
Step4: Add the ears and the hump on the back!
Step5: Next come the two legs.... (this is half the leg-just till the knee)


Step6: Make the rest of the legs and the tail...

Step7: in this step please erase all the extra lines as shown in the image

Step8: Add the hair on top of the head and the hump...

Step9: Now is the time for the eyes and the mouth... please make as shown in the sketch.


Step10: Complete the eyes and erase al the extra lines from the face.


Step11: Add the nostrils and the teeth  :-)


And its ready!!
Maybe you can add a few sand dunes of the desert behind the camel and a coupla cactus??



Here's the color version... I played a bit with the textures and some more branches in photoshop.
Have fun coloring in pencil or even watercolor or poster colors... give a few textured looks with a dry brush...
Enjoy!!


For more Step-by-Step Tutorials please click here


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Fashion...its all in the eyes!!



"The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter....
often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye."
-Emily Bronte (Jane Eyre)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY INDIA!!



As our dear country celebrates its 67th Independence Day... 15th August 2013, we salute its brave soldiers and thank them from the bottom of our heart for enduring all kinds of hardships to keep us safe!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

ugh.... the packing n the unpacking!!




There was a time when I wasn't interested in marrying into the army… at all!!
Had absolutely no idea of what the army life was all about...
had a wonderful career as an animator, a fantastic set of friends and grooving social life, and I loved living in big cities…Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore or even Lucknow for that matter!
The malls,  the movies, the shopping, the nightlife was what drew me then…
and now on hindsight.... I also think- the stability and routine of civil life…
Because more than the idea of giving up my thriving career that I had worked so hard at achieving (if I married an army man), just the idea of uprooting myself every two years, many a times in just 3-6 months was horrifying to say the least!!!
I wanted to put down my roots- have a sweet little home, a steady job, have my kids go to just one school from KG to 12th- have a nice little routine in place…
So, in other words- a comfortable, boring, stagnant life (hahaha!! I know all my friends in the civil world are going to kill me for this)
but believe me "stagnant" is not a word that exists in the Army…
The Army doesnt believe in letting you collect so much water in one area to stagnate! :-)

Every posting is a new adventure! 
Every station a new place to explore, with its own unique USP, 
Every cantonment is filled with the possibilities of new friends…
But I didn't know it then, and of course didn't want it back then…
and then FATE intervened!
I fell in love…
(though believe me it was a completely arranged match with both of us nearly getting married to somebody else-but then thats a nice li'l story for another day)  :-)
and so there I was, in love and willing to give up and risk everything for just THAT particular man in uniform…
and now I think I was made for the Army life!
after a few initial hiccups of the new environment, the rigidity or you can say the customs and protocol of the organization (that need some getting used to) and my continuous foot in my mouth syndrome (I could never say the right thing-still cant!)… 
I took to this new life like a duck to water!
Oh it has its drawbacks, too many to list…
but the cons are equally balanced by the pros…
And though it sound a bit wierd, (dont u guys laugh) can you believe that with every new move, what is one of the things (other than the place n the weather) that excites me and gets me dreaming and building castles in the air?
Its what kind of a house will I be getting this time around?
will it have a balcony?
or will it have a teeny tiny garden or maybe a big enough lawn with the possibility of a vegetable garden?
or will I be able to have a nice porch where I can read a book on a swing, display my knick knacks and hanging pots…
how will I do up the kids room this time?
And though the cantonment houses are generally made in the same specifications, none of my numerous homes in the decade long marriage have ever looked the same!
there is always the challenge of displaying things differently, arrangement of furniture and curios, change of curtains, lamps etc that gives a feel of moving into a new house everytime!
And this time around was no different…
This house is smaller than what I expected, with a tinier garden that what a CO who is going to do a lot of entertaining requires, but never mind!!
It is the corner-most, independent house with a half grown garden that the monsoon rains are trying to make green and lush again...
But the best part is that it has a cubby hole of a study that I have bullied my husband into giving me to make my studio (overlooking the garden)     Oh Yeeeeaaaaahh!!
after all he just has to sign a few files every evening…
I have to draw, paint, do a bit of crafting, work on the computer…listen to music...
need my space!
after spending the last two years in NYC, working hard from the dining table, I am super excited on having my own little space!
and believe me I have opened all my paints, pastels, canvases and my collection of books and every little thing that could inspire me to get going!!
Had also collected a lot of inspirational ideas from the internet for doing up my study/studio… 
have a peek!








Arent they all just amazing studies/studios?? oh how I wish.....

Lets see what its going to end up looking like, once I am finished with it coz u cant do much with the ugly furniture that u are given with the house…
will keep u posted!  


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