Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Plate up, Basket up, Tray Up!

wall decor, plate arrangements

Pretty collections of plates, baskets and trays -  whether they are new buys or family heirlooms, look gorgeous in a wall arrangement.   I have always been a fan of wall plate clusters, and I recently completed one such project in my dining area. I used a collection of Jaipuri plates by Neerja, but I need to add a few more plates to it. Based on my experience doing up my wall of plates, I have some tips to help guide you

  1. First, you need to have a collection. If you haven't yet collected stuff, see info in box alongside for some tips on collecting (include different sizes, shapes and designs – they don’t have to be ceramic or porcelain, try metal, woven baskets, and family keepsakes).
  2. When you have a collection, start by sifting through your collection of plates and go over them with a critical eye.
  3. You are sure to see a pattern emerge based on what you already own – perhaps only white plates in different sizes and shapes, or plates with a certain motif, style or material of work, or plates in different colors. Pick only the ones you love, and keep them aside. 
  4. Hmm I confess, I won't be sharing tip 4 here. But the good news is, I do have more info for you up on the Portico India blog about how to decide on a plate arrangement, and what to use to hang your plates up. 

                   wall decor, plate arrangements

wall decor, plate arrangements
wall decor, plate arrangements

So click here for more information on hanging you collections up on a wall (and also watch out for for beautiful images of brass plates and baskets on the wall)!

Pics via here, here, here and here

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wild Berries:Kansai Nerolac's Color of the Year 2015

So those of you who are eyeing Marsala (read the post on the Pantone Color of the Year here) hold on! Kansai Nerolac has named Wild Berries (not the purple nail polish color that springs to your mind), a distinctly Indian hue, so maybe it reflects the color of Indian wild berries (the bor/ borum) as the color of the year! I wish they had just called it bor because I had a tough time connecting the name with the gorgeous hue they say it represents!

Anyway, that apart, I absolutely love the color - it is really the color of borums - not quite orange, not quite terracotta, but a shade distinctly Indian), and very close to these two shades. Here's more info shared by Kansai Nerolac....

According to a press release by Kansai Nerolac,

Wild Berries is a variant of terracotta which is a careful selection and representation of something that is inherently Indian. At the same time it also reflects a nurturing, robust and rich colour. While this colour is grounded in our culture, be it the red soil of the Western Ghats, traditional Indian pottery or the sloping roofs in the South of India, it also emanates a sophisticated and natural earthiness. 

In today’s times, with the whole world being fixated to their ‘screens’ and technology, the Indian consumer is now going back to feeling the need of earthiness and being close to nature.There is a trend to now connect more and more with nature, trusting in it to break the monotony of life. 

With a view to rewind from the fast pace of life, this shade is an impression of warmth, values and richness that reminds us of our roots.The beauty of this shade is it’s interchangeability of interiors with exteriors and its authentic feel makes it the preferred shade of the year.

The company also says that Wild Berries is a mid-tone, and it has identified around 5 themes that Wild Berries will go very well with - they are all beautiful shades of nature and our culture, as you can see below

So how are we going to incorporate bor aka Wild Berries into our home decor? Here are a couple of ideas.

Refurbished Vintage Retro General Electric Fan  
in bor wild berry:) found on Etsy

A room in warm tones of orange including
Wild Berries.Pic via

Check out my Pinterest board (preview is also on the side bar of this blog) for more decor inspiration in this gorgeous color!

Image on top of post via Jaypore
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spaces we Love: Arif and Inderjit's Mumbai Studio

studio space

arif and inderjit chandni posterYou loved the home of artist-duo Syed and Inderjit  that was featured on this blog recently. Today, I bring you the much-awaited tour of their studio, housed in a 1 BHK Mumbai apartment.

While many of us have seen and admired this Chandni poster (right) Bollywood corner, the rest of the studio is also worth exploring! I had the opportunity to meet the talented duo at a local event in Pune (they jointly run a designer apparel brand called Item Number), and I feel this kitsch-retro yet arty funk style in their studio's interiors is so them!

Says Arif, "It's a tiny one BHK apartment in the suburbs of Mumbai. The best thing about this place is it does not have any high rise/building/house or any structure on one side thus making it look big, spacious and so unlike Mumbai congested apartments."

Inderjit and he were very clear about turning their studio into a colour riot palette. Rich, colourful and fun! No wonder they say, they chose the colour Yellow as it represents sunshine, happiness and warmth.

 It also compliments lots of fun arty stuff that they bought for the studio. They have also done a few doodles of Cat, Mouse and Monkeys, with marker pens on the walls while the shifting was taking longer than anticipated. They complimented the yellow walls with transparent camera print curtains to give enough light and protection from the dust while they worked. Neat, I say!

studio space monkeys on wall

The living room is converted into  their brand Item Number's work station cum storage place. They commissioned a row of drawers (the sea blue one with their brand's cushion covers on it) which doubles up as a seat when they entertain clients and guests. It has Arif's  favorite Sridevi starrer Chandii poster on one-side and Inderjit's Oil painting on other. The work table and the chair with complimentary pink faux leather upholstery is from Mumbai's Chor Bazaar.

Arif adds, "The bed room has been converted into my painting studio consisting of my small and big canvases, frames, books, colour tubes, brushes and other material".

I am quite a fan of their work!This is Arif 
at work on one of his paintings
An assortment of painting painting paraphernalia

Religious frames and interesting finds
make for interesting table-top

Item Number)painted metal chair

Item Number)
(Left) Pretty drawer knobs, and (top) Ajantha door handle are some
of the pretty door embellishments the duo has picked on their travels
Item Number)

Item Number)

Item Number)Item Number)

Item Number)
The loo is cutesy kitschy with these messages on elephants' behinds

Here are the takeaways from this awesome workspace:
1. Decide the mood you want to set
2. Then decide a color that you think best represents the mood.
3. Accessorize accordingly
4. And if you are into collecting things, incorporate them into your decor - this is what will make your space all yours! Say nay to cookie cutter interiors, especially if you are into a creative line of work.
5. And finally, pour your talents into your space.

What did you like best about Arif and Inderjit's workspace? You were so generous with your comments on their home, and now do the same for their studio!
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Recipe: Austrian Coffee Cream Cake with Chocolate Coated Hazelnuts

 The first cake coming out of my kitchen this year had to be a special one! That's right. I didn't bake a single sweet treat since Christmas!So when I was offered two gorgeous appliances from Hamilton Beach India, I decided to bake something from the "Something Spectacular" section of my favorite dessert cookbook (Quick and Easy Dessert Recipes from Trident Press).

The fact that it was a more or less "healthy" cake helped! Of course, the rich coffee cream filling spoils the healthy tag somewhat, but I was more than happy to try a cake that didn't need butter or too much APF.I also had a huge stock of hazelnuts in my kitchen gifted to me by bestie Sonia. So perfect for this cake!

The original recipe uses alcohol - but I skipped the alcohol, and it still tasted great!

Here's the recipe
with Coffee Cream & Chocolate-coated Hazelnuts

                                       Printable Recipe

For the cake

4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
45 gr. ground almonds (or hazelnuts)
3 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved in 4 teaspoons boiling water, cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup flour

chocolate covered hazelnuts

Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick and creamy.Beat in nuts, coffee mixture and vanilla essence.

Place eggwhites in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Sift flour over egg yolk mixture and fold in with egg white mixture. Spoon batter into a greased and lined 8 inch tin. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degree C or until the cake is done.

Unmold and turn onto a wire rack to cool.

For the Coffee Cream

1 tablespoon caster sugar
3 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved in 4 teaspoons boiling water,
1 cup whipped cream

Mix sugar and coffee mixture into whipped cream.

For the hazelnut coated chocolates


Melt chocolate in a double boiler. When completely melted, dip hazelnuts into the chocolate and quickly arrange on butter paper. Cool in fridge until the chocolate has set. Reserve the flakes of chocolate that  you see on the butter paper.

Split cake horizontally and sandwich using coffee cream. Spread remaining coffee cream on top and sides of cake.Arrange the chocolate coated hazelnuts on the cake. Sprinkle with the extra chocolate flakes from the tray of chocolate coated hazelnuts.

The cake is not too sweet and tastes light, but it certainly is rich. If you are used to tea with sugar, then serve this cake alongside some pav buns with a light tomato basil pesto. Or you could simply have chutney sandwiches. That's all you need for a spectacular tea party, with this beautiful coffee cream cake!

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Product in Focus: Hamilton Beach OTG and Hand Mixer

It's amazing how technology can simplify lives and make families happier. A well-functioning piece of kitchen equipment is quite a boon! This week I have been busy with two new additions to my kitchen appliances - an OTG and a Classic Hand Mixer.

There was much excitement when the products arrived at my door step! When I unboxed it, I was delighted to find that they were both packed very professionally, and they reached me in perfect condition. I was apprehensive about creating a video because I have never done it before, but I guess there's always a first time :)

Here's the link to the video on YouTube!

I decided to make an Austrian Coffee Cream cake first because it would use both the Hand mixer and the OTG. I will upload a video soon and the recipe will follow. But I have to tell you that I was very impressed with both products. The hand-mixer is pretty heavy duty with 6 speeds, and even though I already own 2 hand mixers (a low-end stand mixer included), the Hamilton Classic Hand Mixer is soon becoming my hot favorite! Why? Because of its ease of use, and the fact that it beats batter very efficiently. You can tell the difference immediately after you start using it, because the batter mixes quite evenly and quickly. It is no doubt a heavy duty mixer which anyone would love to own!

Hamilton Beach OTG in use

Wait there is more! The mixer has a sophisticated chrome and black finish, and besides the usual paddle and hook attachments, this one has a milkshake attachment too.

The OTG which is meant for small families is quite a small wonder! I tried baking and toasting in it and both were successful, very successful! The instruction manual could have been better (or maybe I am particularly critical because I have written a lot of manuals myself). The timer is a bit tricky to use because the manual is not too clear, but once you start using it, you tend to get the hang of it. The manual says that the OTG can be used by 8 year-olds and above, so I got my 8- year-old to try it out, and she enjoyed making her own toasts. So yes, it is that easy to use.

 I already own  a large 40 litre oven, but it was always a challenge to bake small quantities with it. I am quite pleased that The Hamilton Beach OTG has come into my life now, because it lets me bake whenever I feel like it! I can even bake a couple of cupcakes if I feel like it, and that pleases me immensely!

Hamilton Beach Classic Hand Mixer in use
 The coffee cake turned out spectacular. I used the mixer again to whip my cream and mix my icing, and it did a splendid job on that as well!

The oven was put to the test once more when I made a quick and healthy batch of brownies. An unbelievably simple recipe, it is also healthy because it doesn't use flour or butter! The procedure as well as the recipe to do that will be up soon!

So its been 3 days since unboxing, and I have tried out that many recipes. That's a good start, we think!

Watch out for the two recipes mentioned here.  In the meanwhile, I do hope you too are inspired to #createfearlessly

This is a post in connection with my participation of the #createfearlessly activity in association with and Hamilton Beach India.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happiness is being outdoors: Summer Fun Ideas

Summer is around the corner. Here in Pune, it seems like spring is being bypassed as the temperatures soar barely a week after winter ends.

So how about some summer fun?

Here are some ideas in pictures :) completely unedited :D
Does it give you some inspiration to make plans for the summer?

Location: A private home in Mangalore
Models: Daniel Colaco, Anna D and Mark D
Products: Portico's Happiness range of soft furnishings and bags
For more creative ideas check out…/happiness-isyour-creativity/
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