Dasara let's celebrate our lives Dussehra symbolizes the conquest of good over evil. It is thus considered as an auspicious day. On this day burning of the effigy of Ravana along with his subordinates Meghanad and Kumbhkarana are done  to celebrate the win of good over evil.,  As Lord Rama fought a battle of ten days with Ravana, who had abducted his wife Sita, the day of his victory is called Vijaya Dashmi, the tenth day of Victory.That is why this day is held in high regard by people who believe that whenever there will be chaos in the society and evil  tries to take over humanity, God will appear in a the form of savior to protect his devotees. This is about the story behind Dussehra festival,but  can we relate this festival saga to our life? let's see...There are ten gunas or innate natures of human beings which play a major role in defining their life. 1) Kama(Lust) - lust for any physical thing has to be under control if it crosses a barrier life will be doomed. 2) Krodha(Anger) - Our anger might or might not harm others but it surely will damage our own thought and well being. So keeping anger in control will be a boon to life. 3) Moha(Attachment) - Over Attachment towards people or things will always leave us in a vulnerable situation. A small jerk will pull us down. But  with out attachment we cant live. So try to be more semidetached than fully attached. 4) Lobha(Greed) - This greed will for sure pull our life to a place where we have nothing but greed to live with. So beware. 5) Mada(over pride) - Having pride is a normal trait but having abnormal pride is dangerous. 6) Maatsarya(Jealously) - Pride is liking ourselves more but  jealously is Hating others even more,will that help us in any way? 7) Swaardha(Selfishness) - If jealously matures it will give birth to selfishness,which will make us think about "me,myself"only 8) Anyaaya(Injustice) - Naturally if we think ONLY about our good,we tend to do injustice to others 9) Aaamaanavathva(Inhuman) - While we do injustice we tend to become more like animals,inhuman . 10) Ahankaar(Ego) - Once a person reaches this Ego Level its hard to come back. So when we know that these 9 vices are around us,and trying to conquer us, dont you think we should wage a war to win over them? Try to do that and our life will become a "Dussera" celebration every day. Happy" Dussehra" --Pushpa

Nava Durga "Poorna" The Symbol of Energy Siddhidatri Navdurga, ninth and the last aspect of Goddess Durga, is worshiped on the ninth day or Mahanavami day during Durga Navaratri. Siddhidatri devi is worshiped  to acquire all chakras and spiritual procedures with their attentive sadhanas and develop competency to conquer the  world. In some parts of India to recognize the feminine energy vested in a girl, Kanya Pooja/Kumari Pooja  is also performed on the ninth day that is Navami..This pooja is mainly done to emphasize  that a girl child is as important as boy or the so-called heirs. In a country where a girl child is not even  given an opportunities to survive, we have A 13-year-old girl from Telangana  who fought against all odds and scaled Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, to become the youngest girl in the world to achieve this feat. "Malavath Poorna", daughter of agricultural laborer from Nizamabad district,in Telangana is a Class X student in a government-run social welfare school. “Each step was dangerous... climbing steep rocks, braving cold waves blowing at a speed of 40 km per hour in minus 40 degree temperature, it was tough, but I did not want to be called a coward,” Poorna said post her successful endeavor. “ It was a great experience. When I reached the top of the mountain, I cried and placed the Indian flag. I prayed and thanked all,” she said.Every one has the power to achieve their dream,they just have to do the Sadhana/ practice to reach there. We should remember that nothing is impossible if we have a will.  Happy Maharnavami . --Pushpa

Give your nails the festive look ! Ladies...its that time of the year again !!! Dress up as much...wear all the jewellery you want to flaunt at the Daandiya event and show off your pretty Mojaris and Colorful Lehengas...why leave the nails ?! Matching nail polishes for a dress is one favorite thing for ladies. Think of giving a little festive touch to the nails this time you polish them. Explore the ideas your brain offers with 2-3 colors matching the dress you chose to wear that evening. Don't forget to buy a Gold shimmer and one Silver glitter nail polish, they have to be there when it is festival time for that flamboyant feeling..and they come for rescue incase there is a nail accident or lack of time to do a manicure and design the nails. Experiment using tiny faux pearls, stones, bindis. Apply a base coat if you have a base color or just use a transparent finish for base. Once dry, apply first coat of the color you chose, then the second coat or proceed to the third coat. When this coat is wet, stick the stones or bindis very carefully with a foreceps and let dry. Finish and seal with a top ( transparent ) coat. Between each coat, make sure to let the polish dry completely. No matter how careful you are, these stones or embellishments dont last for more then few hours., so just dress your nails up before the party or event and give up once done. Dont forget to take pretty pictures of yourself and your beautiful festive nails !! -- Pratyusha

  Durgashtami -- One Durga amongst us India is a place where color and looks of a women are always given priority while  judging her worth. In such scenario if a young women,who is an aspiring designer, is disfigured for life and traumatized in an acid attack that too from a step mother.Will there be any chance of her coming back to a business  which deals with beauty?? Or will there be a possibility of her leading a good life ever?? The regular reply will be a big NO. But Rupa , the new age Durga..has proved every one wrong. She not only started her own cloth line and started designing clothes for all,she started helping other survivors too. From being an acid attack survivor who used to hide her face behind a dupatta, she rose to a place where she bravely posed for a fashion photo shoot ,she also brought out with her friends and fellow survivors. They all  wore Rupa's  designs. Rupa's clothing collection is proudly called "Rupa Designs" Rupa, 22, says: 'I always wanted to be a designer but after the attack there was a pause in my life. I was so insecure and embarrassed by my scars I used to cover my face with a scarf. But I always used to hung onto my dream and today I launched  my own label.' She did it,so can every one too. There is a Durga in every women ,its just that they need to believe in themselves  and pull up with out waiting for any ones help. Durga is  nothing but the shakth in.   -- Pushpa

Special Toranam for the Festive Days Decorating homes during the festive season in India is such a colorful element of Indian tradition. Hanging Toranam to the main door posts is a symbol of celebration, be it a festival, or a wedding or an auspicious day. People from every part of India carry this tradition of hanging Mango leaves or garlands made of flowers such a Marigold or Chrysanthimum to the door posts during festivals. The contemporary times have always brought innovative ideas in every decorative aspect. Using Plastic flowers instead of fresh flowers to ensure the flowers look fresh always and now flowers made of paper for an eco-friendly reason or flowers made with wool or silk for a trendy effect are all innovations. If you cannot find one perfect garland for your main door in the market, then browse through the web on PINTEREST or Google for ideas and make your own. Using cardboard, some glitter paints and motifs or a shimmer fabric and some dangling beads you can have your friends or siblings help you make one for every festival coming next. Toranams look so inviting and attractive. If you have the time and patience, they can be your gifts to Friends and Relatives. --Pratyusha

  Most Decorative- Area Rugs and Carpets   Area Rugs or the Area carpets have been in use for ages..but their evolution as modern ones has been pretty attractive. Gone are those days of only oriental and traditional designs on these..we can now find the most urban and contemporary patterns and designs when hunting for just one area carpet. It is so difficult to choose just one with such a vast variety and choice...tell me your favorite color and pattern, it is still difficult to narrow down your search to one. Bright colors and trendy designs...for your living room or color coordinated bedroom, or a child's bedroom and nursery, there are numerous pieces available in the market. Make sure to choose a sturdy material just to avoid tripping and skidding. They tend to make a big and empty room look smaller and cozy if you want, or they can make a small space look spacious. Some come as a set of matchingrunners, door mats and one circular rug too.   For the nature lovers, there are sisal, jute, bamboo, banana fiber rugs available too. Find your choice in the outdoor category, even they come in a wide variety of colors and designs, treated for longer color stay without fading under the sun. Outdoor rugs can be used indoors too but the material is slightly rough to stand the harsh outdoor weather. If you have a vacuum cleaner at home, maintaining a rug isnot so difficult. Some dry cleaners offer services to dry wash your area rugs too. Who says decorating a space with an area carpet is not your cup of tea ??   ------ Prathyusha

  చిత్రకళలలో అందెవేసిన చెయ్యి అందమైన చిరునవ్వుతో అందరినీ పలకరిస్తూ,    అలవోకగా కుంచెను తిప్పగల నేర్పు...  చిన్నారులకి ఫేవరెట్ (ఇష్టమైన) ఆర్ట్ టీచర్ గా,  ఎన్నో కళలను అందంగా తీర్చి దిద్దగల సుధా స్రవంతి రస్తోగీతో కాసేపు... ఇటీవల గోకులాష్టమి సంధర్భంగా జూబిలీహిల్స్ లోని "సప్తపర్ణి" లో ఫైన్ ఆర్ట్స్ పై వర్కషాప్ జరిగింది. గుడ్ సీడ్స్ వారు ఏర్పాటు చేసిన ఎగ్జిబిషన్ లో  పర్ఫెక్ట్ స్ట్రోక్ ఆర్ట్ అకాడమీ వారి ఆర్ట్  పెయింటింగ్స్ ఎగ్జిబిషన్ లో వుంచటం తో పాటు ఆసక్తి గల వారికి పెయింటింగ్ క్లాసులు కూడా నిర్వహించారు. ఆ సందర్భంగా ఆర్టిస్ట్ మరియు ఆర్ట్ టీచర్ శ్రీమతి సుధా స్రవంతి రస్తోగీ తమ అకాడమీ గురించిన విశేషాలు వివరించారు. 2010లో ఏర్పాటు చేసిన పర్ఫెక్ట్ ఆర్ట్ స్రోక్ అకాడమీ లో ఇంతవరకూ చాలా మంది విద్యార్ధులు నేర్పుకున్నారు. ఇక్కడ నేర్చుకునే  అంశాల గురించి అడిగితే  "స్టూడెంట్ కి ఏ అంశంపై ఆసక్తి వుంట్ ఆ అంశం పై నేర్పిస్తాము.  ఇక్కడ దాదాపు 41 అంశాలలో శిక్షణ ఇస్తాము.  డ్రాయింగ్, స్కేచ్చింగ్, తంజావూర్   పెయింటింగ్, 3డి  మురల్  పెయింటింగ్ , అక్రిలిక్ పెయింటింగ్,  ఫాబ్రిక్ పెయింటింగ్, స్టైన్ వుడ్ పెయింటింగ్, వాటర్ కలర్ పెయింటింగ్. కేరళ పెయింటింగ్, గ్లాస్ పెయింటింగ్, తంజావూర్   పెయింటింగ్, సింగల్ స్ట్రోక్ పెయింటింగ్ ఇలా ఎన్నో రకాల పెయింటింగ్స్ వున్నాయి.  ఆసక్తి గల విద్యార్ధులకి  ఇక్కడ అన్ని నేర్పిస్తారు.  అంతే కాదు పాలిమర్  క్లే, టెర్రకోట జ్యువలేరి,  క్విల్లింగ్ , పంచ్ క్రాఫ్ట్, చాక్లెట్ తయారి, కాండిల్ తయారి,  వంటివి కూడా నేర్పిస్తాము.’’  అని అంటారు. ఈ అకాడమీలో నేర్చుకోడానికి వయస్సు ఏమైనా వుందా అంటే... లేదు? ఇక్కడ చిన్నారులే కాదు రిటైర్ అయిన వాళ్ళు,  చిన్నప్పుడు తీర్చుకోలేని, నేర్చుకోలేని వాళ్ళు, ఇలా ఎవరికి ఆసక్తి వుంటే వారికి నేర్పిస్తాము.  ముఖ్యంగా ఆడవాళ్ళు తమ కిట్టీ పార్టీలలో  తంబోలా వంటి ఆటలు డబ్బుతో ఆడుతుంటారు. వాళ్ళు కూడా ఆ డబ్బుతో ఇలా ఆర్ట్ క్లాసెస్ వర్క్ షాపులు నిర్వహించమని అంటారు.  ఇలా వాళ్ళు కూడా ఎంతో ఉత్సాహంగా పాట్ పెయింటింగ్ వంటివి నేర్చుకుంటున్నారు...." అని అంటారు సుధ. ప్రస్తుతం ఈ ఫైన్ ఆర్ట్ కి ఎలాంటి స్పందన వుందని అడిగితే.... "చాలా మంచి రెస్పాన్స్ వుంది.  తల్లిదండ్రులలో కూడా మార్పు వచ్చింది. తల్లిదండ్రులిరువురూ ఉద్యోగాలు... పిల్లలు ఎప్పుడూ చదువులే! ఈ పోటీ ప్రపంచంలో నిలబడటానికి విద్యార్ధులకీ కొంత రిలాక్స్ కావాలి... శని ఆదివారాలు, సమ్మర్ లోను మేము నిర్వహంచే వర్క్ షాపులకి పేరెంట్స్  తమ పిల్లలని పంపిస్తున్నారు.... అత్యత్సాహంతో పిల్లలు కూడా నేర్చుకుంటున్నారు.  ఎక్కడైనా ఎగ్జిబిషన్ లు జరిగితే తాము వేసిన పెయింటింగ్స్ కూడా ప్రదర్శిస్తుంటారు... అది వారికి ఎంతో మానసిక ఉత్సాహాన్నిస్తుంది.... మా వద్దకు వచ్చే స్టూడెంట్స్ ని చూస్తే చదువులే కాదు ఇతర అంశాల్లోనూ ఆసక్తి వుందని తెలుస్తుంది. నా అభిప్రాయం ప్రకారం తల్లితండ్రులు తమ పిల్లలకి ఎందులో ఆసక్తి వుందో గమనించి ఆ విషయాల్లో నేర్పిస్తే బాగుంటుందని అనుకుంటున్నాను. అది ఫైన్ ఆర్ట్సే కాదు... డాన్స్, సంగీతం, ఆటలు, క్రియేటివిటీ అంశాలు ఇలా ఏవైనా కావచ్చు’’ అని అంటారు సుధా రస్తోగి. భారతీయ సంస్కృతికి అద్దం పట్టే ఈ చిత్రకళకి మెరుగులు దిద్దుతూ ఎన్నో ఆసక్తికరంగా విద్యార్ధులకి నేర్పిస్తూ ముందుకి వెడుతున్న ఈ పరెఫెక్ట్ ఆర్ట్స్ భవిష్యత్తు ఉజ్వలంగా వుంటుంది... వీరు చేసిన ఆర్ట్ లు ఎందరో కళాభిమానుల ఇళ్ళలో అలరిస్తున్నాయి. విదేశాలనుంచి కూడా  ఆర్డర్స్ వస్తుంటాయి. ఆనిమేషన్ లో డిగ్రీ పొందిన పవన్ రస్తోగి, సుధా రస్తోగి దంపతులిరువురు ఈ అకాడమిని విజయవంతంగా నడిపిస్తున్నారు. వీరు నేర్పించే  పెయింటింగ్స్ లో కాఫీ పొడితో చేసే పెయింటింగ్స్ చాలా బాగున్నాయి. మీరు నేర్పించే ఇన్ని అంశాలలో ఏ ఆర్ట్ట్ ఎక్కువగా ఆదరిస్తున్నారు అని అడిగితే.... "మేము నేర్పించే ప్రతి పెయింటింగ్ కోర్సు మాకెంతో ఇష్టం. అలాగే అన్నిటి మీదా అందరికీ ఆసక్తి వుంటుంది.   ప్రస్తుతం ఎక్కువగా 3డి సాస్ పెసొ ఆర్ట్ ని ఎక్కువగా ఆదరిస్తున్నారని, అలాగే  ఆర్డర్లు కూడా వస్తుంటాయి.  యువతని ఎక్కువగా  అందంగా వుండే టెర్రకోట జ్యువెలరీ, పేపర్తో చేసే కీ చైన్స్ ఆకర్షి స్తున్నాయి"అని అంటారు సుధ.  సుధా స్రవంతి రస్తోగీ ... డిగ్రీ చదివి వీరు హార్డ్ ఆనిమేషన్ అకాడమీలో 2డి. ట్రెడిషనల్ ఆనిమేషన్ లో డిప్లోమా చేశారు. సుధా స్రవంతి అభినందన  పంచరత్న అవార్డు, వాసవి ఆర్ట్ ధియేటరర్స్ వారిఆల్ రౌండర్ అవార్డు, కామ్లిన్ వారి స్టేట్ అవార్డుని అందుకున్నారు.... ఈ అకాడమీ వద్దకు వచ్చే వారిలో ప్రముఖ సినీ, రాజకీయ నాయకుల పిల్లలు, మనుమలు మనుమరాళ్ళు వస్తుంటారు. వారిలో ప్రస్తుతం మహేష్ బాబు కూతురు, తాళ్ళపాక అన్నమయ్యగారి (7వ తరం) మనవరాలు, సీతారామశాస్త్రిగారి మనవరాలు, మాజీ మంత్రి  సబితారెడ్డిగారి మనవరాలు, మాజీ మంత్రివర్యులు జానారెడ్డి గారి మనుమలు మనుమరాళ్ళు వున్నారు. వీరి శ్రీవారు పవన్ రస్తోగీ కూడా  ఫైన్ ఆర్ట్స్ లో, ఆనిమేషన్ లో కూడా డిప్లోమా చేశారు. వీరు ఇరువురు 2010లో పర్ఫెక్ట్ స్ట్లోక్ ఆర్ట్ అకాడమీని స్థాపించారు. దీని ద్వారా ఎంతో మందిని ఆర్టిస్ట్ లుగా తీర్చిదిద్దుతున్నారు.... వీరి అమ్మాయి, అబ్బాయి కూడా ఈ కళపై ఆసక్తి  చూపిస్తూ ఎన్నో పెయింటింగ్స్ వేస్తున్నారు. చిన్నారుల మదిలో చెలరేగే ఆలోచనలు, అభిరుచులు తెలుసుకొని వారికి అనుగుణంగా తీర్చిదిద్దితే వారి భవిష్యత్త్ నందనవానమే.....  పిల్లలే కాదు పెద్దలు కుడా తమ మానసిక వికాసానికి దారులు వెతుకుతున్నారు. ఎవరైనా  ఫైన్ ఆర్ట్స్   నేర్చుకోవాలంటే పర్ ఫెక్ట్ స్ట్రోక్ ఆర్ట్ అకాడమీలో చేరచ్చు. .......Maninath Kopalle

  Growing Succulents in your Handful garden Succulents are full of moisture and regenerate through leaves and stem, without the need of roots. They develop roots on propagating and spread. They can be grown in the smallest pot to a very large pond. Even old toy trucks and empty tin cans can make a spacious room for a tony succulent. Get one home or ask a friend for a leaf....you will end up with a prospering succulent in your window sill or your little balcony soon. They can handle the hottest sun but shiver on a cold day. During winters, they are better off inside, in a sunny warm spot. Forget to water them, they will not even bother to remind you....these are so generous. They can handle days of waterlessness!! Best Friends of a forgetful gardener. Some are opting for tiny versions of these as wedding favors and wider versions of these as housewarming gifts. Aloevera can be called one, with an Air Freshening, Health Restoring  feature. Propagate one at home and give it to a friend as a tomen of love or a Thankyou gift for helping you with a Baking project or send one to your child's teacher on Teacher's Day or her Birthday...make people happy and you loose nothing....your succulent is with you and theirs' handed over. Browse the web or go to a big nursery, they will have quite some varieties for each corner of your garden, or for a potpourri on your center table.     --pratyusha

  Innovative Curtain Hanging Ideas   Draping with curtains is a major part of interior decoration. Even a boring space can be decked up with nothing else but a pair of curtains. The usual mounting a curtain rod and hanging curtains is old fashioned now. Very innovative ideas and suitable hardware are available in the market to hang curtains from the ceiling, to a door with an over-the-door shelf attached to the curtain rod as a showcase or for storage, and using semi-circle rods with appropriate holders to make a new statement. Designers and DIYers across the globe are creating ripples of trends everyday. Here are some pictures from their creations. They also share their suggestions such as 'hang curtains from the ceiling height to make the room look big and wide, instead of fixing the rod just above the door or window. Using a double layer of sheer curtains can provide a good privacy while bringing in light whenever necessary. Black out curtains or layered curtains hung to two separate rods come handy in transforming a room the other way around in any climate. ' This time you shop for curtains, think if you can replace the rod to a higher position and buy longer curtains to give your room a new look Or just replace the finials on the rods to spruce up an old curtain rod. Even your Mom's old yet good conditioned saree or your not so used bright long dupatta can drape your windows if provided with the right curtain fixture. Are you thinking already? ….Prathyusha Talluri

Festival Cooking and the Hurrysome Tension ! The festive season kicked off with Sravana and Ladies get busy with Pujas, Shopping, Cooking and Decor. Here are few ideas for your decorating hands...these days, the acrylic motifs are hot in the market for someone who has the decorative eye yet can't spare much time or creativity. They are readymade and come so handy. Just buy the right design and assemble on the floor. I see some wooden and terracota motifs entering the market this year. The DiYers all over the web, have ideas galore for each of us, who is ready to experiment a new rangoli design...if you cant handle the massive patterns, then simple settle with borders, starting from your entrance leading to the puja mandap, or end up with a stunning piece right before the puja corner, with a medallion. let the Rangoli colors be non-toxic and try mixing glitter for shimmer, and fine sand or the white rangoli to every color for easy flow from the hand. Rangolis can be called so when flowers become colors, but just make sure there is no fan around the place or a windy curtain sweeping the floor !! I just found a wonderful rangoli piece with vegetables..can you believe ?! Artists around the world have masterd the craft of Rangoli...kudos to all of them who created these designs, so that i can share thier ideas with yo, today. Dont you forget to share the pictures of your trials with us. Prathyusha Talluri

  Festive Decorations Galore ! The festive season kicked off with Sravana and Ladies get busy with Pujas, Shopping, Cooking and Decor. Here are few ideas for your decorating hands...these days, the acrylic motifs are hot in the market for someone who has the decorative eye yet can't spare much time or creativity. They are readymade and come so handy. Just buy the right design and assemble on the floor. I see some wooden and terracota motifs entering the market this year. The DiYers all over the web, have ideas galore for each of us, who is ready to experiment a new rangoli design...if you cant handle the massive patterns, then simple settle with borders, starting from your entrance leading to the puja mandap, or end up with a stunning piece right before the puja corner, with a medallion. let the Rangoli colors be non-toxic and try mixing glitter for shimmer, and fine sand or the white rangoli to every color for easy flow from the hand.   Rangolis can be called so when flowers become colors, but just make sure there is no fan around the place or a windy curtain sweeping the floor !! I just found a wonderful rangoli piece with vegetables..can you believe ?! Artists around the world have masterd the craft of Rangoli...kudos to all of them who created these designs, so that i can share thier ideas with yo, today. Dont you forget to share the pictures of your trials with us. Prathyusha Talluri

  Permanent Marker Fabric Fixes Ladies....here is one interesting solution to save your TShirts or your regular PJs....the Permanent marker craft ! Your maid washed it wrong or your Washing machine did it....there is one way to give your dresses a second chance.....get a permanent marker of your color choice and fix the bug. Or if you have a plain light colored T-shirt, dress it up with a new design. I just restored my child's favorite tshirt. It is white and had few odd stains to spoil. This trick made me proud and my child happy !! We need: * Linen of your choice, (old or new, TShirt or a Skirt) * Permanent Markers of your color choice * Rubbing Alcohol ( Isopropyl Alcohol) bottle * Empty and clean Ink Filler ( Or a kid's medicine dispenser) * A baking sheet or a Tray We need a washed fabric that is free of Fabric softeneror Starch. Slide the tray or baking sheet under the top layer of the tshirt or anyother fabric to avoid the color from blotting. If you have a spot to fix or a design to create on an empty tshirt, then using the permanent marker of your choice, draw a design. Fill isopropyl alcohol into an ink dispenser and pour drops of it onto the design. As the liquid spreads on the fabric, it bleeds along the color and design, creating an interesting pattern. Once the fabric is dry, move it to another area and follow the same steps.. Let the fabric dry completely and iron it on the other side, covering it with a wax paper. This step is to seal the ink, otherwise the color will fade on washing. After ironing, wash the fabric gently with hands and let dry. Flaunt your fabric or the dress with your permanent marker handmade design on it !!! Prathyusha Talluri

  Pillow Mattress    Crafts for kids are fun....one sewing machine and a Lady who knows to sew is really an asset to anyone like me who craves crafts !! I have been thinking of making a fun mattress for my child with the extra pillows and pillow cases that have been lying at home...and because sewing doesnot come so easy to me, i needed a friend with a sewing machine... I brought in just 4 pillow cases, ( you can use color coordinated or even contrast cases) 4 pillows that fit in those cases Line up 2 pillow cases first, horizontally, beside eachother and sew. Then attach another case in line, similarly the fourth. All you have to do is stitch only on one side of these cases, when you are done, the sew line should not be seen once flipped over. Just make sure you dont use up much for the border, otherwise your pillows might not fit into the cases.Insert pillows and tell your kids you made them a new mattress....they jump on them or take naps...forget about their stuff now !! - PrathyushaTalluri  

  Home made Sunscreen Lotion   I know summer is over, but skin tanning and sun burns continue until end of October in India and until end of August, mid-september in the Western world. Sunblock is a must have when in sun. Many sun protection products contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the hormone system in humans. Considering to use a safe, natural, effective sun protection cream or lotion is the best, one that is made with essential oils. These natural oils like carrot seed oil help maintain liver functions, myrrh oil works as a powerful anti oxidant, helichrysum and lavender oils act as armors protecting the skin from sun damage. Coconut oil contains a natural SPF of 4, zinc oxide has natural SPF of 20+. To make a natural sun block at home: 20 drops each of lavender essential oil, carrot seed oil 10 drops each of myrrh oil, helichrysum essential oil, 1/2 cup virgin organic coconut oil ( at room temperature) 2 tbsp zinc oxide. Combine all ingredients, except zinc oxide, in a large glass jar. Place the jar in a bowl of warm water and stir the ingredients, this melts the coconut oil and helps mix all ingredients well. Add zinc oxide to the melted mixture and stir in well. Pour into a squeeze tube, tin or lotion bottle. Shake a few times after converting the mixture into the container, just to make sure zinc oxide doesnot settle separate. Before applying, shake well. **Caution: Use within 6 months of preparation. Try this once and if you like it, you might make a few batches to prep for the harsh summer next year. This can even be a very nice gift to the other ladies you know. Our homemade sun protection block works pretty well as a scented application too, it has the sweet essences of natural oils...no reactions and no worries !!   ----------- Prathyusha Talluri

Tin and Sand Candle Holder   Memories come a long way...the summer vacation with the kids, little girl's first beach trip,...and the souvenirs we bring along are so precious...son's first collection of sea shells when he was 4, sand from the family reunion at the beach, put them all in a Tin Can and why not make it a memorable gift to grandparents or Daddy !! We need: * A clean washed and dry Tin Can *  Decorative Paper or Printed Self Adhesive Sheet *  Modge Podge *  Hot Glue Gun *  Foam brush or Wide painting brush to apply glue *  Decorative twine or Satin Ribbon * Small candle that fits in the Tin *  Sand, enough to fill 3/4 of the Tin Tin cans are easy finds at the grocery store, even the famous Delicious Milkmaid, Condensed Milk comes in a Tin. Take an empty, washed clean and fully dried Tin, measure the dimensions of the paper you would like to cover the Tin with. Cut the paper correctly. Apply Modge Podge partly to the exterior of the Tin and start sticking the decorative paper you like. If you like Self Adhesive sheets, then Modge Podge is not necessary, just stick the adhesive sheet directly. Using the hot glue gun, attach decorative twine or Sarin ribbon to both the rims of the Tin or wherever you want to dress it up. Fill the Tin 3/4s with sand. Now place the candle on the sand...wallah...your surprising candle holder is ready...you can plce some seashells if you collected any around the candle for more decoration. Caution: just make sure you let others know the Tin might get hot when the candle is burning inside, and so place it on a coaster for safety. Memories go a long way !! - Prathyusha Talluri

Mini Hot Air Balloon Crafts To decorate spaces is a very creative hobby...specially childrens bedroom or nurseries are fun...they are the most colorful and dramatic with murals and borders of cartoons,fairies, flowers and such. Choose your theme and do your best! Creativity is at its sharpest when decorating kids' rooms. Today its the hot air balloon's turn. Think of painting a big hot air balloon on the wall, match it with similar curtains and bedspread...then for the statement art piece, design a realistic Mini hot air balloon. All you need are: * some colorful balloons, * bright colored Spherical Paper lanterns, Or Make paper mache Balloons with the real ones as moulds. * Some tiny, suitable sized cardboard boxes or Chinese take-out boxes, * Wire to hang the balloons, thread to hang the boxes under * Glue * Pair of scissors * Colored card stockpaper Keep the take - out boxes or similar small boxes brightly colored and decorated as needed. If you have paper lanterns ready, then just attach these take- out boxes using thread and glue. Now attach wire to the lanterns, hang them to the ceiling with a hook. If you want the paper mache balloons, then soak colored paper stripsin water until very wet. Blow a real balloon and start pasting the soaked strips using coats of glue. Let dry and blow off the real balloon once the paper mache is fully dry. Your hot air balloon is ready for dressup..follow the same steps for attaching the box and hang it up. Or using hard card stock, cut up and glue pieces of cards as shown in the picture and hang it up as in above steps. Those cute hot air balloons look so realistic that you will not want to remove them ever!! - Prathyusha Talluri

 Butterfly Crafts with Paper     Paper crafts are numerous...there is a humongous database of paper crafts if you browse on the web, and at any craft store. Who dsnt have paper at home ? Any paper, not just a colored paper, we can make butterflies with even a used newspaper or an advertisement pamphlet. As long as it is printed or colored, we dont have to bother about coloring each butterfly.   We need: * Paper as much as the many butterflies we want * Strong thread or wire to tie  * Glue to stick * And any base to stick the butterflies we make, like a canvas, greeting card, paper lantern etc.  Draw a palm size butterfly and cut it to shape. Then fold like an accordion and tie with a thread or wire at the center. Your fancy butterfly is ready, you can even keep it as is without folding. As shown in the pictures, we can paste our butterflies to decorate any item. Many artists have created chandeliers, Crib Mobiles, Canvas board art, greeting cards, paper curtains etc., using the same butterflies. There are paper cutters and stencils that are in butterfly shapes available in the market, with these cutting numerous pieces for a large craft project becomes easy. Such a project is perfect for a school craft class too. They decorate any space perfectly and are forever beautiful! Who says butterflies dont stay longer?     - Prathyusha Talluri

 Decorating Spaces with Floor Pillows   Wow, those Floor pillows!! For someone who loves decorating spaces, floor pillows are favorites! Indian tradition of Deewans and the Floor seating arrangement nothing different to decorating with Floor pillows....and hence we reign in innovative pillow decor too. Floor pillows have become a craze with many interior designers and lifestyle-furniture stores, across the world. The fabrics used create a mark of the region they showcase. These floor pillows come in various sizes and shapes....the widest for twosome,to the wierdest shape of a stone pebble...made of leather, cowhide, silk, wool, woven fabrics, jute, knitted materials etc.....they are also for someone who doesnot want to spend much for furniture or who lives a nomadic life of relocating often, just carry and move, no need to dismantle or assemble, these are even ready for a clean wash in the machine sometimes, or just a sun bath for sanity. Child-friendly, comfortable for sleep, ready to carry for a long drive in the car, simple and innovative as house-warming gifts,easy to make your own at home.....we can go on and on about the features of these floor pillows. Mom's saree your sentiment, then use it to drape your favorite floor pillow, match it with similar curtains and make it a fav.corner in the room for reading a book or sip a cup of coffee on a rainy day....give me a chance and i will make a living room full of floor pillows ONLY!! - Prathyusha Tallari