Category Archives: DIY

Is it a saree? Is it a jewelry set? Nope, it’s a cake!

12512451_10153901677161763_1170285241375712135_nRecently, various groups on social media in Maharashtra, especially Pune, were abuzz with photos of a folded magenta Paithani silk saree, with Kolhapuri jewellery kept on top of it. At first glance, you may not find anything unusual about it. A closer look will reveal that it is actually a cake!

A quick check on Facebook told me that the creator is well within reach! Tanvi Palshikar, a home baker based Kothrud, is the creator of this intricate cake, that is being widely circulated on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. Palshikar revealed that she had made this cake for one of her trusted clients Ketki Kulkarni Puranik, who wanted a customised cake for her mother-in-law’s birthday.

“A couple of days earlier, we had discussed about her mother-in-law’s fondness for Paithani sarees and we decided to make this cake. She shared some photographs of the saree and some jewelry she likes to wear on it,” said 27-year-old Palshikar, whose home baking venture Cakilicious turned three this month.

12745995_10153901677216763_7129048600936232312_nThis unique 1.75 kg cake shows a saree neatly folded, with a pallu of golden zari with colourful peacock motifs on the folds. On top of it, a pearl-studded Kolhapuri choker necklace set with a Maharashtrian nose pin (nath) is kept — and it’s all edible and handmade!

“It’s a vanilla chocolate chip cake and it was eggless. It took me three hours to bake it and 8 hours to decorate. This type of decoration is called ‘Sugar Craft’. The saree pallu or padar as we call in Marathi, is all hand painted with edible golden paint,” Palshikar said. She has not even used any molds for it.

Palshikar is an interior designer by profession but took to baking after she got married. I can tell from personal experience that it takes a couple of weeks in the kitchen for you to realise the immense potential that awaits many in this business — baking and cooking. I have myself made things I had earlier thought were impossible. So I can totally relate with what Tanvi must have gone through at that time.

With the support of her husband Onil and other family members, she started her own venture. Isn’t that cool… when the family supports you, nothing is impossible.

IMG_5563 (1)She gets 50 customised cake orders in a month, where her endeavour each time is to ‘Bake your imagination’.  She admitted that she did not expect it to go viral on Facebook, and is ‘amazed and flattered’.

“I had no idea this was happening until I checked my phone two days ago and saw the photo. I have no words to express my happiness! It feels great,” she said.

10922515_10153298602636763_4466188045723052874_nI know where my next cake is coming from! You can hunt for Tanvi’s (that’s her in the pic) Cakilicious on the Facebook as she has a dedicated page. The photo gallery will give you a peek into the kind of cakes she has made in the past.

The above story first appeared in Sakal Times newspaper in Pune. 

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Yay! I made my own Akash Kandil

PicMonkey Collage I have fond memories of my mother slogging for a month to make an Akash Kandil as a part of Diwali decorations. I am talking about the time when there was no Google, and my mummy certainly didn’t know what the abbreviation ‘DIY’ meant (partly cos everyone did everything themselves back then).

wpid-img_20141211_005620.jpg Akash Kandil (sky lamp) is usually a paper (or gelatine plastic) lamp which has room for a bulb inside it and looks absolutely beautiful at night. During Diwali, the entire streets are lit up with led series and oil lamps. Each house usually puts up its own Akash Kandil and it is not hard to miss the underlying competition among neighbours to get the best one.

So this year was my first Diwali with my husband in our own house (well, a government quarter, but nevertheless our own). We were determined to make this the best Diwali ever and incorporate things that we remembered doing as kids during the festivals. And so our hunt for the perfect Akash Kandil began, but unfortunately, nothing caught my fancy.

Just one day before we absolutely HAD TO put it up, I decided to make one myself. I sat down, Googled a bit about how to work my way through it, and slaved all night (yes I was up till 4 am) to finish it.

wpid-img_20141211_005213.jpgI feel particularly proud because of three things:

1. I am not a crafty person, so I was pretty amazed at my own zeal.

2. I got the Akash Kandil to look exactly the way I wanted it to, maybe better. It was a toned down version of what my mom had made.

3. IT WAS ECO-FRIENDLY in every possible way. I just got some recycled coloured paper, some coloured polybags (which has a fabric-like texture) and hard paper of shopping bags to make this baby!

It looked very colourful during the day and it totally rocked at night too! You can go through the pics and see how incredibly easy it is. I have decided that I am going to make one each year. What do you think we did with it after Diwali got over? The paper was used to kindle a bonfire during one of our dinner parties in the garden!

wpid-img_20141211_005143.jpg

DIY Making a Rangoli

DIY Making a Rangoli

I know this is coming a little late, the reason being I myself learned it after Diwali (or Deepawali, as some people in India like to call this festival of lights),
Traditionally, women would make colourful designs in front of their house with rice flour, but these days preference is given to colours.
The one which my husband’s aunts made was a free-hand design. That is one way of making it, the traditional way being making a matrix of dots in square or rectangular shape and then joining the dots to make various patterns.
Now the aunts selected a clean spot in front of the house and first used white rangoli powder to create this design.IMG_20131104_161725

They decided on what colour is to be used where and then got down to filling it. It is quite a task to get the lines straight and a clean design shows how experienced the women are.
They used two shades of a colour in some cases, for example in leaves, to give it depth.

They then finished it off with a black background, or carpet as they call it.

IMG_20131104_162753I noticed this Diwali, peacock seemed to a popular choice in design. I guess the vibrant colours and the way a dancing peacock can be depicted in so many mudras was the catch.
I personally prefer rangoli made with flower petals and leaves. It has a very earthy feel to it and it is easier to clean up after the festival.

Here are some pics of rangoli designs which I have shamelessly copied from my friends’ facebook pages. The circular design rangoli is made of flower petals and leaves.

rang2 Rang3 Rang4Rang1

Picture collage as wall corner

Picture collage as wall corner

Endless hours on Pinterest finally pay off! When my husband and I moved into our first house as a married couple, we decided to get some pictures framed and hang them on the living room wall. I saw this pin on Pinterest where someone had used up two adjacent walls and made a gallery there. So we tried out the same. First we got a general asymmetric design on the wall with the help of brown paper. Then we selected a bunch of pictures from our albums and decided which one will go in which size. Had to make some changes at this point since we had more horizontal pictures and couldn’t find any good pic to fill the two vertical pictures at the bottom. So replaced them with horizontal as well. And we were damn happy with the result (and the subsequent compliments from our friends).
A couple of pointers while you are trying this out… keep at least one or two pictures as the peg, that is, of a much bigger size than rest. In our case, we had three. And also, use a couple of thick frames among the thin ones. It gives it a little balance.

DIY Designing a lehenga

There was almost an year’s gap between my engagement and wedding, and when that happens, your brain kinda goes into planning some pretty unrealistic projects. You know, stuff like what you want to do on your wedding day, who all should be there, what everyone should be doing or wearing… totally random.

So I got this idea in my head that I will make my own sangeet lehenga since most of the lehengas I checked out in the shops were not what I wanted. And the ones which actually caught my eye were way too expensive.

Now I have a very simple taste, I don’t like a lot of embroidery work on my garments and usually go for something elegant and classy. I used to shudder at the thought of being buried in a lehenga which resembled a chandelier — both in cost and look.

Fashion Designer Vyoma Kawdikar
Fashion Designer Vyoma Kawdikar

So my fiancé’s cousin, Vyoma Kawdikar, who is a fashion designer and owns a label called Vyoma, got on board with this idea. She lives in the USA now, so we had to discuss most of the things online. She helped me out with what colours would go with each other and what kind of borders I should use on them.

Our combos changed almost every fortnight. But she was really patient with me and finally we zeroed in on the combo which was very very in at that time — emerald green lehenga, hot pink choli, and yellow dupatta.Then my colleague introduced me to Kaveri Batla in Delhi, who owns a boutique in Lajpat Nagar, who (again, very patiently) ironed out other design issues like what kind of fabric I should go for and where I would find all the raw material. She told me a gher-daar lehenga would need at least 8 metres of chanderi fabric which is light weight silk, about a metre of raw silk for the blouse, and 3 metres of net fabric with sequins work on it for the dupatta.

So I scan the Delhi markets and buy everything that I would need.

From Lajpat Nagar

1. Green Chanderi fabric – Rs 900

2. Raw silk in hot pink – Rs 250

3. Brocade fabric in hot pink, for sleeves – Rs 100

4. White net with sequins buti on it – Rs 450

From Chandni Chowk (Kinari Bazar)

IMG_0572-ok
The final product

1. For dupatta, yellow border with kundan work (9m) – Rs 2000

2. For lehenga, golden heavy sequins lace (15m) – Rs 250

3. Golden ribbon – Rs 50

4. For lehenga, hot pink narrow lace with leafy design (9m) – Rs 350 (for two rolls)

So I buy all this, and give it to Kaveri, who got it stitched for me in her workshop. She added lining in blouse and the petty coat of the lehenga from her side and charged me Rs 3,750. She even dyed the white net fabric in yellow, which saved me a lot of running around the market. And voila! in just two weeks I have this lehenga ready which was very simple and the flair of the skirt caught everyone’s attention. I was damn happy that I achieved this within my budget in just Rs 8,100. A similar lehenga in Hauz Khas or Shahpur Jat would probably cost Rs 20,000! Way to go.

Check out Vyoma’s collection here
https://www.facebook.com/Vyomafashion

While Kaveri’s work can be viewed here.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reet-by-Kaveri-Batla/159207244269258