Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pink is in!

When legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland declared "pink is the navy blue of India", she meant people in India wear bright colors, and approach the color pink like folks in the US approach the color navy. In other words, Indians use a lot of pink. She was right. We Indians love our bright colors, and it seems of late that we love our pinks! Not the subtle pastel shade of pink, or the cutesy baby girl pink. No, we like the deep, intense, in-your-face shocking pink! 

For the longest time I avoided anything pink, it was too bourgeoise for my refined tastes...or so I thought. I mean, pink was for people who didn't know anything about color trends and color theory and interior design. Why would anyone choose pink when there were creamy whites and khakis and sage greens and lovely blues and taupes!! I shunned pink. But now the color seems to be taking its revenge and assaulting my senses with a vengeance! At the clothing store I reach for anything pink, at the flower shop I seem to unconsciously gravitate towards the dusky pink dahlias and gerberas, I am loving silver jewellry with pink stones, I just changed my cushion covers to pink silk, I have my eye on a set of deep pink mugs at the store.....!! And from what I see and read I am not the only one mesmerised by this exotic color. If what I see in magazines and stores and catalogs is any indication, pink is taking the world by storm along with its beautiful sister, the color purple! Arch at Rang Decor just posted an article on pink and purple, and Maryamm at My Marrakesh just bought herself a gorgeous deep pink Morocan caftan...! 

So this post is my ode to "pink". It is also for my mother, who has always been a huge fan of pink, and always the brunt of my merciless teasing!! Her bedroom has deep pink curtains, she has a pink paisley bedspread, she has pink accessories in her bathroom, I did a painting with pink lotuses for her, even her headphones for her portable DVD player are PINK! So Ma...enjoy this!

All things pink in my home.....


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More wedding pics...

Some preliminary pics of our son's wedding have come in from the official photographer, Dakota Fine. Here is a small sampling....
The rose and the rings
Ties for the boys
At the Newseum before the ceremony
GQ men...
Adjusting his tie...thats what we moms do!
The ceremony over...welcoming my son-in-law...
Table top decorations.....
Bangle centerpieces
And the cake from Ko Gi Bow in DC

Cool stuff!

A well designed product excites me. A well designed product that is functional excites me even more. One that is functional and eco friendly really gets me salivating! And a well designed product that is all of the above, AND affordable and a creation of a man consumed with passion, has me hyperventilating. That's exactly what happened when my husband's aunt, visiting us, told me about Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a potter from Wankaner in Gujarat. Mansukhbhai, a high school drop out (much to the disappointment of his parents) has achieved the enviable! He has been awarded a national medal by the President of India for his out-of-the-box invention - an eco friendly refrigerator called Mitticool made of clay, that cools without electricity, a boon for people living in rural India where electricity is still unpredictable and a luxury! 
Pottery has been the family's traditional business. Here is a picture of his father at work.

Mansukhbhai was inspired during the earthquake of 2001 in Gujarat, by a newspaper caption that said that ‘the earthquake did not even spare the poor man’s fridge’, meaning the earthenware pot many under privileged people use as refrigerators. That made him think and that’s when he thought of making an affordable eco-friendly fridge for the common man. The result of 3 years of his efforts resulted in Mitticool, a fridge that is made entirely of clay, runs without electricity and does not require any artificial energy. Touted as a mud fridge, it has 2 large water tanks at the top and the bottom that cool the sides. 

Akin to clay pots, or "matkas" that keep water cool in summer, Mitticool can lower the temperature by about 8 degrees Celsius in comparison to the room temperature. The USP of Mitticool lies in the density and quality of the mud used, which ensures that everything kept inside is protected from the heat outside. The upper portion of the fridge can store about 20 liters off water, while the bottom cabinet has separate storage space for fruits, veggies and milk. The natural cooling process inside the refrigerator can keep fruits and veggies fresh for about 5 days, while milk can be preserved for 3 days!

Here is a video of Mansukhbhai talking about the fridge...

Undeniably the low cost fridge which retails for 2500 rupees or approx $50, is his pride and joy, but his small industry also makes beautiful clay water filters. I would love to have one of these in my kitchen.

gorgeous ceramic storage jars....

and believe it or not, a clay pressure cooker! Isn't it beautiful?

At a time when global warming is wreaking havoc and we all want to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet by conserving energy, people like Mansukhbai deserve all the support and encouragement possible. It is products like these that will not only help the low income folks, but will also help spread awareness on eco friendly design....not Nano cars being made for the "poor man" at a cost of 1 lakh rupees, that will just choke up the roads and pollute the cities even more!!! Ratan Tata would have been better served putting his efforts into an electric car...but that's another story that I do not want to get started on......!
For more on Mitticool and Mansukhbhai, go here....!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Weekend!

So how is everyone's weekend going? I hope its a fun weekend. I am doing a little bit of everything. My Sunday started off with a power breakfast, yogurt with walnuts, raisins, blueberries, cranberries, apricots and honey.

Since it looks like the incessant rain has finally let up, I'll get some seeds planted this morning....
then I have to arm myself with cupfuls of green tea....
and then figure out this new Macbook. I've been sort of fumbling my way through, but I cannot procrastinate any more.
Then in the evening, my good friend Param who is visiting from Virginia is coming over for dinner and I plan to make some Basboosa for dessert by following this recipe from Sayantani!

Hopefully by Monday morning I should be a lot more Macbook savvy!!! Have a great one!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Barefoot Manifesto

Are you living barefoot? Is your home a barefoot home? And if you think that by this I mean do you walk around in your home without shoes or slippers on your feet?...then you're not entirely right, but then you're not too wrong either! The "barefoot home" is a home that is all about dressed down design for a casual living....a house where you can kick off your shoes, open up, embrace the sun, live outside as well as in and adopt a barefoot state of mind! Its a home that is not buttoned up and snooty with a foyer, a center hall with a grand staircase!! Oh don't get me wrong, a center hall makes a gracious entry space, but it insinuates itself between the major rooms of the house and casts itself an air of formality about the whole main floor!

Our lives have become informal, we don't have sitting rooms and parlors anymore. When we throw a party everyone crowds in the kitchen, we live more and more outdoors, we garden, we barbecue, we soak in the hot tub, we lounge on the deck, we leave the back door open...the inside and the outside are a continuum, yin and yang, in a constant and dynamic flux. OK, it's true that some of us live in climates not too conducive to outdoor living 365 days of the year....but a barefoot home can also manage to bring in the outdoors with open areas which provide expansive views of the outside!

In a barefoot home space flows uninterrupted between the rooms. Its a home that's easy to move through, easy to live in, easy to maintain. A home where if your friends walk in with muddy shoes you don't go "arrrggghhh"!!! A home that has no unnecessary walls and barriers and is bright, airy and relaxed. A home that is always open in the broadest sense. Daily living takes place in one large space, not the great room concept of suburban homes, but a multipurpose room perfect for cooking, eating and socializing. Rooms are animated by sunlight pouring in through large expanses of windows and glass, which casts a delirious soporific spell forcing us to slow down and relax, to savor the moment.

You experience a barefoot home with all five senses, most of all your sense of touch. Texture is especially important in a barefoot home where the feel of things contributes to the sense of informality. Materials in a barefoot home are rustic, honest and straightforward.......concrete floors, adobe and rammed walls, stone, ceramic, stucco and fieldstone. The lines between the outside and the inside are blurred. It's all about covered patios, courtyards, roof decks, porches, verandas and loggias and is synonymous with outdoor living.

My home is definitely not as barefoot as I would like it to be, as I am sure all our homes are. But by borrowing some of the basic concepts, we can work towards the idea of a barefoot, open, carefree home!

Barefootedness is a simple idea. A simple state of mind.

To inspire you, here are some perfect examples of homes that embody this style of living...

Images via The Barefoot Home by Marc Vassallo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Asian Vibe!

Its a subject that has been blogged to death I know...but I will never get tired of blogging or seeing pics of the Asian design vibe! Clean, uncluttered, refined, thoughtful placement of objects, harmonious blend of the outdoors and the indoors......thats the aesthetic here! So just as they follow the "less is more" too shall I stop blabbing and just let you feast your eyes on these pictures!

huntley & co. | Spirited Refinement asian dining room

Bridge Design Studio asian bathroom

huntley & co. | American Glamour asian dining room

FORMA Design asian

FORMA Design asian

Japanese Modern asian bathroom

Details asian bathroom

FORMA Design asian

c3d design - Portfolio asian living room

Mission Bay Condo Console Vignette asian hall
Japanese Modern asian family room