Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My big news and Happy New Year!

First of all, I apologize for this horribly long delay in posting, but once you read on you'll understand why it appeared like I fell off the planet!

Before anything else, I have to reveal the BIG NEWS I mentioned in my last post.

My husband and I are moving back to the US in April 2012. After almost 6 years in Hyderabad, we are moving back to Seattle. As of now its a temporary move, we hope to return in a few years or so, but anything can happen to change that. When we moved here in 2006 we had NO intention of going back, but things and events have a way of happening which completely turn things around. A company in Seattle which has been wanting to hire my husband Raga for years, finally got what they wanted! So - there's no telling when we will be back, but be back we will for sure....sooner or later.

It goes without saying that I am excited. I moved to Seattle when I was 23 and left when I was 45, so a good part of me belongs there. I love that city! And as much as I would like to call India home, I feel more at home in Seattle. But like anything else, there is a part of me that's a bit sad.....! India has this annoying habit of growing on you, like a rough blanket that irritates the skin but keeps you warm.....I complain about the noise, traffic, heat, dust, laziness and so on...but I know I will miss it. And most of all I will miss my parents with whom I have spent so much time. But that's an easily solvable problem.....they are only one - albeit looong - flight away! So I've threatened to send them tickets every year so they can come see me!!

So the last few weeks ever since we got back from the US has been a whirlwind of activity. I have had a house full of guests since I got back and it will continue for another week. Then we've had to get things ready to sell the house - this house that I simple LOVE but which has to go for all the practical reasons! Hordes of people have come and gone and we finally think we may have a deal....but I'll keep you all posted!

Its been almost a year since my dear FIL passed away and his first year ceremonies happen end January, and it is only after that that I can really start planning for the move. Even though moving is a hassle, playing "House House" all over again is so much fun and its a perfect excuse for me to shop.....saying "Oh we won't find this in the US, we better buy it here".....things like lovely Kantha bedspreads, blockprint linens, lovely teak furniture, artifacts and things! Then I've had to do a lot of research into pet travel cos we have to take our two canine babies along too....paperwork for their shots, kennels, crates, quarantine laws and so on. Then I've been scouring websites for homes and rentals so we have a place to stay in as soon as we get to Seattle.

So now you know why I have been a bad blogger. Hopefully I can post a few more between now and my move in March/April, but rest assured, once I settle down in Seattle and the creative Pacific Northwest juices start flowing again, I'll become "good blogger"!

So before I sign off for this year....a very Happy New Year to all of you! You folks have been great readers and commenters, and any self respecting blogger will tell you we need both to sustain us and keep us going! Thank you for that.

Happy New Year from me, my husband Raga, and my 2 pooches Junglee and Lucy! Have a great 2012!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Grandma/Ammamma/Nanima comes to stay!

I am back! Back from a 5 week long vacation to the US, 5 weeks in which I visited 7 states, if you include Denver...8. Thanks to unforseen flight delays and missed connections, I visited Denver airport way too many times!!!!! Of the 9 different flights I took, only one - I repeat - only one went as planned!!!!! But anyway, that's a story in itself, which will be up on my travel blog soon.

But this post is about my 90 year old grandmother, or as I fondly call her Ammamma, who stays with my uncle and aunt in Chennai, who wanted to take a vacation to the UK, so she got dropped off at our house here in Hyderabad a few days after I left for the US. My mother who usually stays at our place and takes care of my dogs whenever we are out of town has been looking after her since. The last time Ammamma came to stay at my house was the summer of 2009,  but I was away on vacation so I really didn't get to spend any time with her. Luckily this time she is here for an extended stay, so ever since I got back from the US, I have been observing my mom look after her till said uncle and aunt get back next month. And I have learned that taking care of elderly people requires a lot of patience and compassion!!!!!

Except for some serious short term memory loss, Ammamma is in fine fettle. She has no diet restrictions and can eat anything she wants, her hearing and eyesight are as sharp as ever. She's picked up on every whispered conversation we have had!!!! But in everything else she is like a 2 year old. So my mom has been helping her with her bath, combing her hair, tucking her into bed at night....all the things a mom does to her child, my mother now does to my grandma. Its been fascinating to watch. But what really fascinates me is Ammamma's daily evening ritual of making flower garlands.

Every evening around 4.30 or so, we sit her outside and my mom brushes her hair and packs it into a neat little bun all tucked into a black net!!!!

Then my maid picks little white flowers from the tree and hands them to Ammamma one by one, who in turn with her gnarled knobbly 90 year old fingers, her face wrinkled with years of wisdom and experience, wrinkled even more in furious concentration, deftly intertwines and weaves them into a garland. She holds the tiny green stem of each flower and wraps the twine around it into a knot, then the next....and so on till she has a flower garland about 2 feet long. The whole process takes about 30 minutes....I watch riveted and my dogs nuzzle at her red nail polished toed feet while she does so. So here are pics taken from this evening's ritual to share.....!

Isn't she adorable?

I have lots to share about my trip....and some BIG NEWS! So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mrhba Bkm Fi Bladi Blog!

In case you're wondering what the title is...it is "Welcome to my blog" in Arabic, the language in Morocco! 

As you all know I am off on a mini vacation, and except for the air travel part of it, (every flight I have taken so far has been delayed!!!), I'm having  a great time. My travel blog is up and running so do check it out.

In the meantime, Susi from Arcadian Lighting has kindly offered to do a guest post on my blog. And she said she'd write on Morocco! Anyone who knows me even a teeny tiny bit knows my love affair with all things Moroccan! So take it away Susi!

Hi, I'm Susi, a writer from the Arcadian Lighting blog, a fabulous source for inspiration from lighting fixtures to dÈcor. I'm so happy to be visiting Saffron and Silk today to talk about Moroccan style, specifically magical Moroccan spaces.† There is a love affair right now with all things Moroccan. Have you noticed? Are you embracing it? I am in love with the colors and patterns of Morocco so am delighted to share these 8 Magical Moroccan Spaces with you.† Hope you are inspired to add a bit of Moroccan magic to your dÈcor. Enjoy!
Moroccan Spaces
This Moroccan style living room can magically transport you to Casablanca or Marrakesh.† Moroccan lanterns, carved table, tile, rug and other accessories combine with the Moroccan arches for amazing Moroccan style.
Moroccan Spaces
Magical Moroccan spaces are all about color, pattern and tons of both.† Pillows, textiles, rugs and poufs can all help you create a magical Moroccan space in your home.
Moroccan Spaces
This Moroccan room is magical with layer upon layer of colors and patterns.† Low profile seating creates a casual atmosphere that invites lounging.
Moroccan Spaces
Magical Moroccan spaces don't have to be a riot of bold colors. Pastels in contrasting hues also create Moroccan magic. From lovely hanging pendant lighting to magical mirror to vintage rugs, this is such a gorgeous Moroccan style bedroom!
Moroccan Spaces
Blue and white and tons of pattern make this a lovely Moroccan space.† Pattern and gorgeous details are hallmarks of Moroccan style.
Moroccan Spaces
This beautiful living room is definitely a magical Moroccan space. The deep blue and purple palette is accented with gold and pearl inlay accents.
Moroccan Spaces
This gorgeous bedroom is a stunning example of Moroccan style. Love the door, the ceiling medallion and warm color palette.
Moroccan Spaces
Moroccan style in an outdoor living space is magical.† Hang a collection of Moroccan outdoor lanterns for twinkling, colorful light. Lounge on colorful cushions and poufs.

Want to add some Moroccan flavor to your home? Implementing some unique pendant lights should do the trick. Check out Arcadian Lighting today to get inspired!†

Images: ( 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 )

Monday, October 24, 2011

India to America!

My first post is up on my travel blog. More to follow.

Till then....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Or as we say in India "Ta Ta for now" TTFN - ....meaning bye for a few days!

Am off tomorrow to the US for 5 weeks......visiting Seattle. Atlanta and DC...with a few side trips to Nashville, Connecticut and New York City thrown in for good measure!

A lot of fun things happening on this trip:

I get to reunite with my best Seattle buddies, as well as a go for a Diwali party at my friend Leena's place. Leena started this Diwali party tradition sometime in the late 90's....it started out with a small gang of 4 to 5 families, then became 7 to 8, then more, and the last time I attended in 2005, it up up to 15 families. I hear it had swelled to 25 plus and is the happening party for Diwali. Her house is lovely, the food is fantastic, the drinks unending, but more than anything we all look forward to the riotous game of Teen Patti (the Indian version of Texas hold-em) we play after dinner. The monies we play with are pennies and nickels, but you'd think we were playing with millions of dollars the way things heat up!!!!Finally after 6 years I get to go back and re-participate!
Another exciting thing is, if things go as planned,  I get to meet 6 blogger friends. Anu of MDC in Seattle, Anpu in Atlanta, Sudha of TDE, also in Atlanta, and Divya of SHP in New York City, plus....2 food blogger friends - Richa of Hobbyandmore and Vaishali from this blog! So its a bloggievaganza!

My mom and dad will be here holding the fort....and looking after my 2 canine babies who adore her! My 90 year old grandma from Chennai will also be hanging out here...so yes, my mom will have her hands full. 

My travel blog will once again get resurrected...so do drop by and check out what's happening there!

So until then.....

If I find anything design worthy or Saffron and Silk post worthy, I'll post. If not, some inspiring quotes like this....just to keep things going!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ouro Preto ~ Baroque Architecture at its finest!

I really do not have time to blog....am up to my neck in shopping lists and endless packing for my upcoming trip in 4 days to the Americas. But I simply had to show you some gorgeous architecture!

Ouro Preto (Black Gold in Portugese ) is a city in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, a former colonial mining town located in the Serra do Espinhaco mountains and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its outstanding Baroque Architecture. 
European baroque arrived here and adapted itself. This is evident in the ups and downs of roofs and the narrow confusion of side-to-side housing, the palaces, the bridges and the fountains. 

Isn't this photo amazing??? It took a lot of convincing and googling and tumbling (my latest addiction) for me to believe it really is the town.
And here are more images for you to swoon over.
Now excuse me while I get onto Expedia to find out how much it will cost me  to cancel my US tickets and get a one way ticket to Ouro Preto!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Anna!

Quickly before you all start asking who Anna is.....I am referring to my late father-in-law! "Anna" in our native language Tamil, means elder brother. Not sure why, but my FIL was always called Anna by his 3 sons -  my husband and his 2 younger brothers, and after my marriage I started calling him "anna" too.

Many of you were with me (in thought) throughout his illness last year and his passing away early this year, and your heartfelt comments helped tremendously through the difficult time. So I am sharing with you all his birthday today. The last few years as his memory was slowly fading he would keep insisting his birthday was the 13th of October, even though we all knew it was the 11th of Oct. So we would celebrate both days....maybe he did that deliberately so he would get sweets twice???

Even though he is not here with us physically, his presence is still felt at home especially when I pass by our puja room.

And so today, in his memory and because it was his favorite food (and mine ;-), I made "pongal". Every Saturday night was pongal dinner for him.

Pongal is this decadent creamy concoction of rice and mung lentils, cooked together and then seasoned with pepper, ginger, curry leaves and cumin, mixed gently with coconut milk and topped off with fried cashew nuts!! Finally something that's not just delish, but good for you too and often recommended as food when you are ill (Ok, not the cashews maybe, but its equally delicious without the nuts!) Most South Indian wedding breakfast menus include pongal and it is the only reason I go for breakfast!!!

This along with coconut chutney is a gastronomic marriage made in heaven!

So Anna, Happy Birthday! We miss you! I know you're watching from above and licking your lips too! :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ikea - Portugal style!

I am not really a huge fan of IKEA furniture. I mean, there's nothing wrong with IKEA, I had a ton of their stuff when I lived in Seattle, and their store was 2 miles from home so any free afternoon I would go window shopping....to get some great design ideas. Their furniture is stylish and affordable...but...well....it's so IKEA! Its easily recognizable.....strong linear Scandinavian lines, easy-to-assemble looking, contemporary styled. It is a great place for families starting out and college kids!

But be that as it may, I LOVE their new IKEA family website and the Home stories section. You have to hand it to them, they know how to engage their customers and their marketing guy is a genius.

OK, enough blabbing! I came across this colorful psychedelic home in Portugal, and even though I do vaguely remember seeing it featured in other blogs a while back, I had to engrave it on my blog too. For those who haven't seen it, it is serious pink, eye candy and the color in the home will leave your head spinning for days!

The home belongs to Interior Designer Maria, in the charming little village of Sintra, outside Portugal. (If I had known I would have dropped by when I went to Sintra 2 years ago).

I'll let you read up on the design story and her ideas here. I just want to hurry up and post the pics because they are soooo lovely!

Got your dose of pink today huh? Maria is certainly not afraid of color!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Design theory in food!

Am guest blogging on Richa's blog today! Am so excited cos I actually get to blog on a seriously great food blog!

Have you heard of Washoku?

Did you ever look at the food on your plate and think how fantastic it would be to design a room around the colors on your plate? Or vice versa...have you ever looked at a bowl of creamy chocolatey Tiramisu and think how lovely a room would be in the same shades of cream, brown and espresso???

Well, think no more....go check out my guest post and tell me if you think I have finally gone off the deep design end here....