Tuesday, March 28

DIY Buntings or doorstep Thoranam

It's festival time. A bunch of Indian States' people celebrate their New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. We in the South call it Ugadi. It's that time of the year when I rejoice in the visual treat of tendrils on trees. I adore the fresh green colour of mango leaves, and the Ugadi pachadi (chutney), a special for the festival. 

I love the sight of mango leaf thoranam or thoran to welcome visitors on people's door-step tops. As kids we would stitch the leaves up using their stalk and create thoranam using a twine. That's a luxury I long for where I live in USA. 

But it's officially spring time out here, and stores are bursting with spring-summer colours for clothing, accessories and more. I decided to give the doorstep garland a twist. 

This one is a super quick tutorial that does not require much time. If your child is not too young, it's a project you can assign one of the holidays.

It's popularly called a paper bunting. I see these extensively used for party decor out here. 

What you need:

-- a pair of scissors

-- patterned paper of your choice

(I chose paisely designed one from my stash, with cool colours instead of warm. You can use old gift wraps, or cupcake holder cups.)

-- tacky glue or craft glue

-- satin ribbon (about one centimeter wide, or less)

-- marking pen or pencil

-- a stencil to draw out circles (a small plate or compass) ..I used an old ribbon spool

Reverse the patterned paper and draw out circles using your stencil. Depending on the thickness of the paper you can fold it to cut more than one circle at a time.

I made more than 10 circles from the single sheet. You will notice some brand printing on some circles, which is fine because you can fold it to the rear and it will not be visible. Also, the number of circles depends on the size you cut out, so if one sheet is not enough, keep a couple more. You do not need the same print. Related patterns or colours would do just fine.

Fold all these circles in half.

Place the satin ribbon on the crease of the fold.

Glue the inside of the bottom half in such a way that you leave a little gap for the ribbon to move.

Fix them all in a row. You can fix large beads between each half circle if you wish.

You may apply a little glue to the cut edges of the satin ribbon for it to stay stiff instead of threading out. Use this bunting or thoran to decorate your doorstep, a bare wall, or a table edge.

You can also embellish a plain circle with stickers. Enjoy the festival, and the new beginnings that come forth.

Content and pics: Radhika M B

Write to: radiscrbie@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 21

Spring-Summer wreath DIY

It's that time of the year when tendrils on branches turn a feast for your eyes. In the tropics it's summer already. Out here where I live, the last snow melts quick with the rising temperatures. The clock just sprang forward, and home-sters wait eagerly to fix their yard decor. As during any season, wreaths are common to door decor in the West.

A good wreath can cost your pocket too much though. If you are willing to spend a few dollars, and arm yourself with loads of patience, you can make wreaths at home. This project is available on the internet in plenty.

I used a pizza carton lid that was not soiled with the cooked pizza, and cut out a ring from it.

What you really need for this project, is a ton of gift-wrap tissue paper, or the paper we use to make kites in India, also known as Kite paper.

You will need:

Besides a pizza carton lid,

A pair of scissors

Gift wrap tissue paper or Kite paper (at least 15 sheets) in colours of your choice

Hot glue gun with a bunch of glue sticks for refill

pressing tool or maybe a popsicle stick

Tissue paper to wipe after using your glue gun

Plates of two sizes to draw out a wreath form or ring


It's common for stores to entice you into buying wreaths for each season. So grab your scissors and spread out the sheets.

Use a steel plate that fits the pizza carton lid, and draw a circle.

Use a smaller plate and draw out another circle. This circle becomes a ring, allowing you to begin decorating.

I cut pieces from the colour sheets, of five inches by seven inches. The diameter of this circle ?(big one) is 8 inches. Now, roll the tissue pieces into irregularly shaped flowers. 

One end of the piece must be narrow, which you can twist. Stick this in with hot glue.Work on the outer part of this ring and then move towards the inner side.

The wreath I made looks like this, with the gap being hidden. But it is really the ring. Be careful when you work with hot glue gun. Keep it away from children, and certainly not in the proximity of your study. Also, when you work with the piece, use the vertical narrow end to twist and turn. And then stick. Fill in the gaps after sticking the outward looking folds by spreading out the broader end of the vertical rectangle piece.  Use a ribbon to hold the wreath.

When you use the glue gun, hot glue may stick to your hands, causing the fingers to burn. Keep a first aid kit ready. I love how the greens protrude.

Cut ribbon, about two feet long, so you can tie up the wreath to a door.

Enjoy the green wreath.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

Write to: radiscribe@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 14

Pompom garland or wreath DIY

As kids, we loved carrying a steel basket around the house of my grandmother to pluck flowers for her morning worship every day. It was an activity we competed with each other to complete. Cut to today, and my heart breaks to a million pieces when I see plastic flowers adorning pictures of Gods. Interesting, but wool can come to your rescue if you want to decorate pictures and tables with garlands. Make pom poms and string them together. 

Making a pom pom with wool is very simple. I did not use a drop of glue for this project. All it required was a pair of scissors, some old barrette clip and a strip of cardboard to roll the wool over for pom pom making!

So you will need

-- wool - I used accented shades from the same yarn, and some dark red

-- a pair of scissors

-- a tapestry needle ( embroidery skein to match is optional)

Start by rolling the yarn over your index finger and middle finger. Make it a bundle. Or, roll it over a small barrette clip, or a tape ring.

Ease out the bundle, cut a strand and tie the bundle up in the middle. Use the scissors and cut off the bends where you rolled the yarn over.

Use your palms to fluff it up. And it turns to a soft wool ball...make a whole bunch of such pom poms. You may leave some thread hanging. My wool skein came in different shades of red. I put it to use alongside another colour.

Cut another piece of wool, string into the tapestry needle and insert through the centre of each ball. Play with colours and combinations.
Add a bead with wide hole on each end by either tying up or using the tapestry needle.

If you want a wreath, you can simply join its two beaded ends and stick it up the wall or door. You may use this as party decor, to decorate your altar, or let it hang on an indoor plant.

It makes for inexpensive festival decor.

Pictures and content courtesy: Radhika M B

Write for permission to radiscribe@gmail.com