Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cute November Calendar for your desktop!


November begins tomorrow and here is the promised desktop Calendar....
Have fun whichever part of the world you are in...
enjoying the Autumn colors or waiting with anticipation for winter to descend on us...
with garam chai and roasted peanuts!
or hot coffee and donuts!

p.s. please right click on the image to save, and then set it as yr desktop calendar!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Its Halloween time...."BOO!!"

Its Halloween time in the rest of the world...
We had lotsa fun in the last two years of celebrating the American Halloween (wrote about it- click here and here and if you want to know "what the *&#* is Halloween?"... click here)
and some free printables(invitations/gift-tags) for yr party- click here
Spooky parties and spooky eats and wonderfully creepy costumes... (of course, that have all been relegated to the back of the cupboard now, to use when the kids have a "fancy dress" competition in school)..
Oh well... life moves on....
So no more Halloween Hoopla for my kids but I thought as I have quite a few readers who are NOT based in India and so have Halloween theme parties....
I'd do a roundup of a some interesting Halloween eats for the kids' parties....
And so what if you dont have Halloween parties here in good ol' India- these fun time real eeeaasy snack ideas are good for any kids party...
The ones I could find a link of...there is a website linked to them..
some are just random interesting picks from the Internet!

So what about starting with a ghostly Halloween breakfast for yr kids?


And a nice healthy smoothie disguised with green food coloring and sprinkled with some crushed oreos and the face made on the disposable glass with a marker!  Simple!



For your party you can start with a small orange (mandarin) filled with red jello and the spooky pumpkin face cut out...
Stick it on a stirrer and add to your drink as a spooky garnish??



And mini Pizzas with mummy kind cheese layering with spooky eyes made of black olives!



Or how about chocolate cupcakes with ghostly whipped cream topping and a chocolate tree with sprinklers?  yummmm!!



Orrr.... chocolate cupcakes with this kind of skull toppping with cheese cream and melted chocolate??




and maybe some "Vampire Candy Apples??"  the recipe is here


Or how about some spider pops or like we call it here in India- "lollypops"??
how to make it? click here





Or how about these strawberries coated to look like monsters??




Or some Spooky Spider Oreos??



Or some witch's finger's cookies?? click here for the recipe.



These are all real simple recipes and ideas for which you dont need too many over the top ingredients.
Have fun and a Happy Halloween!!  :)



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Treat: Easy Pineapple Souffle


My desserts are always ( and I mean always, a flop show!!!)
If I am trying something new in the pudding scenario and esp. if there are guests coming, my dear planner of a husband makes sure that there is enough ice-cream and gulab jamuns to save the day...
Especially if its going to end in tears... my tears!!
So since coming back home to the regiment, I have decided to keep trying out the various puddings and exotic desserts that the Mess Cooks keep delighting us with...
of course, under thier able directions...
Aaaand... drum rolls please... 
I will be putting them all up, one by one, for you guys to try at home too!
I am sure many of you are accomplished cooks in your own rights... so this simple souffle recipe is for the newbies... who are afraid to try something new...
Believe me you cant go wrong with this!


PINEAPPLE SOUFFLE
(serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 tsp- Gelatin soaked in 3 tbsp water I zapped it in the microwave for 10 seconds and mixed it well.
(you can use a vegetarian version of the gelatin also)
200 gm Amul light cream
juice of 1 lemon
150 gm powdered sugar
1 tsp pineapple essence
1 pinch yellow color
3 egg whites
3 slices of tinned pineapple- chopped roughly
1 slice pineapple for garnishing.

Method:

1- Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form and put it in the fridge.


2- soak the Gelatin in water and zap it in the microwave. Stir to mix well. Set aside.



3- Beat the cream till fluffy and add the juice of lemon to double the size of the cream, keep beating...
Add the powdered sugar.




3-   Add pineapple essence and yellow color to the cream mixture.



4- Add the pineapple pieces.
5- Take the egg whites out of the fridge, add it to the cream mixture.
6- Add also the nicely stirred Gelatin to the mixture.
Stir the entire concoction by hand, to mix well, taking care not to beat too much (coz it will lose its fluffiness) and stir the mixture in one direction.



7- Pour it in individual bowls or the main serving bowl, cover with cling film and put in freezer.


8- Just 10 minutes before serving, take the souffle out of the freezer.
9- Garnish with pineapple slices and whipped cream (or like me, who had run out of pineapple and cream, use chocolate shavings or chocolate garnish designs- which btw you can make at home...lesson for next time)


or maybe add a wafer or two??


 
....and dig in!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Art School: how to draw a Rooster!

Time for some Saturday Art School fun!!



Today's lesson is a step by step guide to draw a rooster that you can make as part of your cards or just o teach your kids!
Have fun!




STEP 1:

make the head and the body in simple circles as shown!




STEP 2:
Add the neck feathers so that they overlap the body circle.




STEP 3:
Add the feathery body and tail like in the given drawing.



STEP 4:
Remove the extra lines from the earlier steps
Add the eyes and beak etc.
Add the legs.





STEP 5:
Make the wings like shown and a bit of grass...


Aaaaand color...



Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!!






Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday Thought!

Was busy making a few vector samples for a client when I realised that its Thursday!!
time for some "quote" - "unquote"
so I used the vector sample and added a saying and so today's Thought is:


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Wah factor!! Pot makeovers...

Now in the deserts...everything is arid and dry...
no color!
and with the hot winds blowing- most of my plants had all dried up and withered...
with the few rains and milder weather now that its nearly November, the plants are regaining thier strength, bit by bit...
But my pots were ugly and weather beaten...
Now I had gotten a few new terracotta pots but I didnt want to throw my old concrete pots away...
So a few coats of bright paints- some designs and some gold paint as well...
So now they are as good as new (if you ignore the chips here and there)  :)




Now this is what the earlier pots looked like....  :-/




And now after a fresh coat of bright paint:







 a little gold paint also adds oomph!

aaaand voila!!  :-)


Tuesday Technique: a random abstract painting with texture!

Continuing with my Tuesdays of Technique (of giving gyan or knowledge) about the few things I know, today's post is about oil painting...
Now this is for a lot of people I know, who want to paint, have the burning desire to dip thier brushes in the rich glossy tubes of paint and get started on a canvas of thier own...
but just dont know how to get started...
Or are too scared- what if I go wrong? how do I backtrack then?
what kind of painting should I start with...
should I copy or should I make my own masterpiece?
Now my suggestions is (for all the newbies out there)... its ok to copy, esp. for the first time!
As long as you are not selling it or claiming it to be your own, you can copy a great master's work or even some fantastic painting that you downloaded from the internet....
after all you can only learn from it and having a ready reference is a great way to do it!
Because making your own masterpiece with the blank canvas staring back at you can be extremely daunting...
and not everyone knows that oils can be extremely forgiving... you can make- erase, paint again- erase...
dont like how the painting has turned out... or bored with it?
paint over it...
but we can get to all of that by and by...
i'll tell you about a simple abstract first.


Now I wanted to make a heavily textured painting but I didnt want to use a lot of paint...
I didnt know what my subject was going to be or what the end result was going to look like...
I just had a lot of old oil paints that had been lying with me for around 3-4 years (yes thats how long its been- or mayb even longer, that I have done oils)
So anyways, this is how I started- with no plan in mind- just wanted to paint...
now thats not exactly how I would advice a newbie to work- you might want to have a reference starting point...

To get started:

Either get a readymade frame from the Art shop or like me- have it made by the local carpenter to the size that you want... but for that you need a roll of treated canvas (again bought from the Art shop)
I had a 5 metre roll of treated canvas lying around- but for the first timers its advisable to buy a ready made canvas.



The canvas roll has been stapled onto the frame.


This is the material that you need to add texture to the canvas...
Fevicol (or any white glue like Mod Podge) diluted in water, a 2 inch paintbrush, and lots of toilet roll or tissue.



here is what you do- hold the tissue onto the canvas...

add the diluted Glue straight onto the paper so it sticks to the canvas...


Keep adding more..make sure that they have wrinkles, and are bunched up in places..


This is how it looks while drying in the sun....


a close up!


The materials needed...

Turpentine oil, linseed oil, old ragged apron- oil paints, and brushes of assorted sizes...2,4.6,8. some 2" to 3" ones as well and a thin brush of 0 number.
Lots of kerosene oil to clean the brushes.
and lots and lots of rags...
maybe a palette knife to add texture or mayb use an old credit card like I did!

cover yr workspace with newspaper- coz believe me oils can get messy and remember to wear yr apron and some old clothes. (I tend to wipe my brushes on my old pajamas...yeah I know!!)


Add the basic colors with turpentine mixed with linseed.
Ok a tip:  initial drawings or laying of colors helps dry faster if mixed with just turpentine.
but linseed makes the colors dry slowly and adds a nice shine, so I use linseed or paint straight from the tube when I am laying paint on the canvas in the last layer...
And believe me u are going to work in layers...
Sometimes you wait for one layer to dry completely esp before adding details, while some you let dry for mayb a day so the colors kind of blend in, when you add the next layer.
dont worry you will get the rhythm...


a little more detailing....adding some whites and the red circular strokes...


Then later I added a kind of horizon to my glowing sun... :-)


Started adding some thicker colors with my card...



just go with the flow...make a few scratches on the wet paint too...


some more scratches on the wet and thick white color.


some more circular strokes with the card and darker colors


some more details with the white paint and the card...


and here is how it looks...

Ok another tip: when you are doing yr own thing (not copying) aaand you are doing a kind of an abstract...
you sometimes dont know when to stop- you can keep doing it... keep adding more elements, textures...
so you MUST keep stepping back a couple of steps at each stage and see when the painting has had enough...
and STOP!!



And then after stepping bk and STOPPING... i decided I wanted to add a few more swirls in white
and that too of the acylic paint that was waiting for me in the garage (left over from painting the door)
Added the swirls and some drops of think white acrylic paint...
and voila!!


So how did you like it?
inspired enough to start painting your own masterpiece soon?
why not tomorrow?
in case there are some queries, feel free to ask.
and for any confusion or any step that is not clear... I am here to help..
So what are you waiting for?  Get going!!
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