Composting at home is all about willingness to reduce the waste and some constant efforts before you get into the habit.
I love plants and the beauty they bring along, the green, earthly touch of nature that they add to a home is unmatchable.
While I love plants, I also agree they need to be looked after, watered, manured.
In my previous post on home decor, I mentioned about my love for creating something useful out of waste and so composting drew my attention.
I was tired of buying khaad (cowdung manure) and other fertilisers, so around 4 years back my journey of home composting to create good quality compost for my plants began.
Let me begin with telling you what composting is- Composting is a process where waste decomposes naturally to create fertile compost ( the output of composting). All the kitchen waste does eventually decompose, but if left in the bin it will go with the rest of the waste and take longer to decay and lengthen the decomposition process for other dry waste too, releasing harmful gases in the environment.
I first tried composting in a bin, without reading and knowing enough. It attracted bugs and smelled bad, the food did decay and i did get some good compost, but I had to find a better way of composting. Continue Reading
Repurposing and upcycling can save you money and save the environment too.
This Native American Proverb “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,” sums our environment threatening lifestyle and how we must not take our planet for granted.
I have loved creating stuff out of waste from early on in life. I used to think of ways to put old, abandoned stuff to use.
3 months back, when we moved to our new home, I wanted all things bright and beautiful for my house, but instead of splurging into brand new furniture, upholstery and artwork I revived what I already had and substantially cut down our expenses.
In this post I will share about few of the things that I brought from our old home and how I got them customised for our new place.
Wish I had before and after pictures of these, I didn’t plan to write about my refurbishing story hence have no “Before” pics.
Beginning from the entrance, this setty is probably more than 20 years old. Even before we moved to this new house, I knew what I wanted to do with this one. I wanted to make a sitting space outside our main door. We got the laminate changed, added a handrest and got new mattress. Although, the carpenter didnt do justice to my idea of handrest, but it does look decent; just by giving it a little contemporary makeover, this setty was all set for its new role!
New home for us meant buying new curtains as the windows here are much bigger than our previous home. It could have easily costed us 2-2.5 lakhs, when we were already burdened with far too many expenses, I didn’t want to add this to the list. Also getting new curtains would have meant disposing the old ones, the where and how of getting rid or storing the old stuff was too much of a headache. I then checked with my upholstery guy if he could customise these old curtains that were still in great shape for our new windows. He happily took up the job. Although the Labour charges were steep but we had our good old curtains and we saved much more.
The sofa set too was a misfit for our new home, getting a new sofa would have meant spending hefty and then getting heartaches everytime my son jumped on and off it. I have a monkey for a toddler who has just begun jumping wildly on sofa, need I say more?
I got the upholstery changed and gave it a look that matched our new home, all at a reasonable sum.
Art work adds to the beauty of a home, you can transform a house completely with the pieces of art that you use.
My husband’s nanaji (maternal grand father) was a government officer and an artist at heart. His art was put for exhibitions (30 years back) and we are proud owners of some of his work, paintings and driftwood art.
The paintings had gone dull with time and the frames took away all the beauty, I got them reframed and now they adorn the lovely walls of our house. I also got many of old photos framed and created a beautiful memory wall in the foyer of our new home. Cant tell you how happy I am that this wall now stands as the most interesting part of our house.
I have many sarees that have been passed on to me by my mother in law. I got a beautiful table and bed runner made out of one of the silk sarees that I knew I wouldn’t wear. There is much more you can do with old clothes, I am going to do a separate post on it. I recently got more than 20 cloth bags made from old clothes. You can check my post on eco-friendly return gift ideas, the post also talks about ecofriendly packaging ideas.
Some of our Upcycling projects are still a WIP ( Work in progress) and probably would be taken up in my future posts.
We are still settling to our new place and a lot still needs to be done, hoping that we create a home that soothes our souls, exudes positivity and brings happiness to our lives.
Thanks for coming here and reading it, share some love if you liked my work, do tell me about your upcycling projects.
This article is a part of #Reuseblogtrain hosted by Papri of Through my pink window and Yogeeta of Vrag.in and sponsored by Aroma Essentials . Read and engage on some really useful #reuse #recycle #reduce posts by 15 amazing bloggers. Thank you Nisha for introducing me.
I’d like to introduce Shreenithee, a #beautyblogger by passion and a working professional. Through her blog, she wishes to share her thoughts on safe beauty, indigenous beauty practices, all through naturally available resources. She pens down her thoughts on desireflexions
1. Piggy bank- A ceramic or wooden piggy bank. Piggy banks or Gullaks as we would call it have been one of my priced possessions all through my childhood and teenage years and that is what precisely I chose as party favours for my son’s first birthday party. The Gullak (piggybank) was a wooden house shaped box with lock and key. I sourced these from Sarahanpur in Uttar Pradesh known for artisans making brass and wooden artefacts and furniture. The gift was super-hit, everybody loved it.
2. A sapling or a plant with a pot- for Little A’s second birthday. I had a mix of return gifts. For kid’s above 3, I chose plants like ajwain, mint, tulsi etc and gave a pot separately, with a message ” plant me, water me and watch me grow”. The plant was given separately so that kids can engage in potting exercise and take ownership, learn to nurture, watch it and relate to the lifecycle of plants and what is required for them to grow.
3. Wooden puzzles/toys- Unlike plastic toys, wooden toys last longer and look better.
There are few Indian brands selling wooden toys puzzles etc. I have written a dedicated post on why we prefer wooden toys, you can check it here .
Also my personal favourites are Chanapatna toys. Chanapatna toys are wooden toys made in the town of Chanapatna near Bangalore. Channapatna is also known as GOMBEGALA OORU ( toy-town) of Karnataka. The toys are handcrafted and have a unique appeal to them, these can be used as art pieces or just as toys to play with.
Chanapatna kitchen set
For kids under 3 years I chose to give wooden puzzles/puzzle books and regular books. I bought puzzles from “little fingers at work” they have great variety of educational toys that are also reasonably priced. You can find more about them at their website.
4. Small Terrariums or a Terrarium “make and take ” activity. – Terranium is a sealable glass container having soil and plants, the container can be opened for regular maintenance. These look wonderful, though slightly expensive these can make a perfect return gift. Check this post to know about different varieties of terrarium and how they aren’t so difficult to make. Bigger Terrarium can make a good b’day/ house warming gifting option too.
image credits- whatagreenlife.com
5. Craft kits- Craft kits are always a hit with moms and kids alike. You could gift a quilling set, DIY craft set for making paper bags/envelopes or just a kit with variety of craft supplies for open ended work. We absolutely adored the craft kit that we recently got in a party.
6. Terracotta clay with steel moulds or cutters- I love how clay can take any form, terracotta clay is natural as it is sourced from the riverbeds and prepared to produce various articles. It can be baked for strength or just used as it is. You can now buy terracotta clay at Amazon too.
The cutters can be bought at snapdeal or amazon. I found these at a throw away price for a set of 20 cutters. (click here ) You could alternatively buy cookie cutters and give 2 each to a kid along with some (250/500gms) clay and paint.
Here is a picture of me with my amateurish work at handbuilding pottery, I find working with clay therapeutic, you can tell that from the smile on my face in the this picture.
7. Books to choose from- You could keep 2-3 sets of different books and have the kids choose one from them.
8. Cloth hand puppets or dolls – hand puppets and cloth dolls look really cute and can be used as props for story narration and for pretend play. Not only the kids will love it, your mommy friends will love it too.
9. Plush toys – keep a counter/table with a placard saying “adopt a friend” and have 2-3 varieties of plush/soft toys, the kids can choose one and take it home as a return gift. The fibres used for a soft toy may not be natural, however it is better than giving plastic toys/tiffins/boxes that would soon break
10. Gardening kit- The real learning happens outdoors and there is nothing better than growing your own garden. Sowing the seeds of greener practices early on in life will have a positive impact on little ones. A gardening kit makes a great gift for young kids aged above 3.
The purpose of your gift will fail if you choose to give it in a plastic bag, try to use eco-friendly packaging for your return gifts. We have been using home made newspaper bags and for heavier gifts repurposed clothbags ( made from my old kurtas and pyjamas). I am going to do a dedicated post on packaging gifts the eco-friendly way!!
Are you planning your child’s birthday?
Here is a post for you to streamline your planning.
Birthdays have never been so exciting before. Well, yes, I used to be excited about my birthdays, but never did I get into such strategic details and planning before, I guess no one does until they have a baby.
This reminds me of A’s first birthday celebration and sleepless nights I had before it. It was even worse than those exam jitters. The first birthday celebration was a big affair and I wanted to do it the green way, check out the link to my blog here
Here is a basic birthday checklist that I am following for A’s second birthday.
1. Guest list- your guest list is the first thing before you start thinking about any event. It will give you an idea of what kind of venue you can book, once your guest list is in place you can decide about the menu and head count. So, basically it is the first step. For kid’s birthday party it is important that you have an age wise list of kids and also list the adults who will be attending the party (your menu may differ for kids and adults or a common kid friendly menu)
From the guest list arrive at a number that will definitely attend the party, make this number your minimum guarantee for booking the venue.
2. Venue- for smaller numbers and bigger houses a house party is the best and most economical way to celebrate. However, there are good options available now for birthday parties. From Quick Service Restaurants(QSRs) to banquets to play areas all are tapping birthday party market. Decide what fits your bill and book weeks in advance.
3. Invite- Create an invite that talks about the birthday theme, the invite should have following details
Date, Time, Venue, RSVP contact and any other note that you may want to include regarding theme etc.
4. Theme – Decide onto theme if any, so that you can work out other things like return gift, decor, outfits etc based on the theme.
5. Return gift- Return gifts or party favours have become like a mandate for kids’ birthday parties. I can’t forget how I used to wait to receive mine as a kid. Base the return gift on the theme and also keep in mind the age of the child you are giving it to.
Also consider the packaging, it should be attractive and easy to carry. Ensure what you are gifting is secured in the package.
6. Menu to be finalised- menu would depend on the time of the party. Kid’s love junk, parents love junk too, but parents hate feeding junk to their kids. Avoid keeping junk food in the menu.
7. Birthday Cake- This post has taken me years back, how magical was the moment when mom put the big colorful cake in front with fancy candles; all the eyes focussed on the bday kid and the cameras flashing khachaak!! Somethings never change and why should they?
The only change is that there are better options available now offering fancier cakes and making our jobs tougher.
Try choosing the patisserie that you or your friends have tried and tested(tasted) before.
1 kg cake can suffice for 8-12 people. Before finalising the size, keep in mind other desserts that you have in the menu and the shape of the cake.
8. Party Games, prizes and props- Party Games/ entertainment is life of any party, choose games as per the age of invitees. Try to include games that all can participate in and have prizes that would suit all. Keep a few extra prizes just in case there is a kid who asks for a prize or there is a tie between two winners.
Keep hats, masks etc or any other prop to go with your birthday theme, keep those handy for all to pick.
9. Photographer- Be it a house party or a party elsewhere someone needs to capture your precious moments. Have one person dedicated for it. It could be a friend/ relative or a professional photographer.
10. Birthday kid dress and outfits for others in the family- well, this one is important but not as much as other points above. Choose a comfortable outfit for your child and carry an extra pair ( If the party is being organised away from home).
Easy isn’t it? Well, no. This is just a checklist, doing all or even a few of the above will take your time, efforts and of course money; but will also give you lots of precious smiles, laughter & memories in return.
Happy planning and executing. Do share your birthday party planning tips in the comments.