5 things I did this Weekend

A walk in the park ... and some Handstand

After stocking my fridge with 2 weeks of grocery, my husband and I drove to Nurragingy reserve, a 63 hectare beautiful park in Blacktown Council. He wanted to practice skateboarding, while I found a nice place under the trees to do some sketching. Somehow before leaving we ended up arguing over handstands. 

I am still a beginner so it took about one thousand and five hundred attempts to finally get it straight. My husband of course has to show off and tell me how easy they are, so we ended up doing a handstand duel. I couldn't hold in for even one breath.


And since I am such a bad loser, I haughtily pointed out that his form is wrong and he is making the typical banana shape that instructors warn you about. But well, I will get him the next time!!

handstand - fitness - health



Gardening

This weekend I planted my Tomatoes and Chili seedlings in the garden. I have been protecting them all through winter. So as the temperature is slowly becoming normal, it was time, for the young to go out... into the wild.

Since I had only grown cherry tomatoes from seed, I bought few plants of bigger variety too. 

The Onion plant in the picture is grown from a discarded onion that had started sprouting. 


Growing tomatoes - growing vegetables at home - home garden
My Vegetable Patch

Nail Stamping


Long time since I dabbled with nail paints and stamping. This is my favorite pattern and I keep coming back to it when I want to give my nails a quick makeover.
Nail polishes - Sally Hansen and OPI, Stamp plates by - Cheeky
Wanna learn how to do nail stamping at home. Check this post.



DIY nail design - trendy nail art - nail polish - nail nail stamp


Sketch


Started a new zentangle project this week. I am really running out of ideas . After hours of scrolling through Pinterest I zeroed in on a painting of a Japanese girl. The outline I drew is inspired by it. Will be spending the next few days filling it up with zentangle patterns.

sketch of japanese girl - drawing ideas - pencil drawing ideas

Thalipeeth

If you have been following this blog, you might already know that my husband is an excellent cook. He keeps experimenting with different dishes, adding his own twist. On Sunday morning, while I was busy in the garden, he made a mixture for Lauki ki Thalipeeth . It's a thick paste of Lauki (Bottle Gourd), Chickpea flour, wheat flour,  a bit of cornflour and rice flour, onions, tomatoes, mint along with whole heaps of different spices. Once he started cooking, I simply sat on the kitchen slab and finished off whatever he put on the plate.

lauki ka thalipeeth - tasty  indian cusine breakfast - healthy india breakfast

#MondayMusings

7 Signs You are Turning Into a Fitness Freak

Freak yes, but fitness - not a chance. I was never considered “one of them”. Mostly because I can be extremely lazy at times. I could never envisage myself as someone who's crazy about workouts and health.

So last Saturday, when I woke up at 6 am, and went into the garden with a spade to remove weeds (Yes on a SATURDAY) and prepare the soil for vegetable growing, I had a epiphany. The past three years tumbled down the memory lane and I realized that maybe ... even a teeny weeny bit, I AM turning into a Fitness freak.

These are the tell-tale signs, so watch out!

1) You have started cleaning up the Fridge - much to the chagrin of other family members.


Gif Source - here


Coke, Soda, Fries, packaged Fruit Juices and food from fast food joints have long disappeared from my plate and non-fat, non-fun, non tasty healthy snacks have replaced them. In fact last week when I ordered my favorite Wonton Noodles soup all I could think of was the amount of sodium floating in the bowl. With every sip a voice kept screaming in my head - MSG MSG MSGGGGGGG. I just ate the dumplings and noodles, and left the soup.

My husband and I now quarrel like old couples over food, a tug of war happens too where I would be trying to pull away a tin of ChamCham from his hands, while he would be muttering "Let me eat woman"!! Sometimes he would deliberately slurp the sugary syrup in front of me, making me sweat and hyperventilate imagining sugar rushing through my veins and arteries and clogging all the pores. Is my heart still beating?

2) You spend half your lifetime looking at fitness photos

My life is filled with challenges - Planks, Squats, Splits, Abs, Gravity defying yoga poses. The gallery on all my electronic devices look something like this. 

fitness photos on phone - fitness photos gallery


It doesn't matter whether I can do them or not, I just love looking at them. The position of knees over toes, the bend in upper back, the rotation of the hips - Perfection is this!!

My search history is probably the weirdest of all, a reason why I keep deleting it - 
How to do handstands without falling over, 
How to do backbends without snapping into two, 
what the heck is a sacrum, 
What's the average push up a women can do (Please it be one), 
How to do planks without setting your body on fire
Is it abs or just fat lines due to sitting the whole day :P

3) When you overhear someone buying slim tea for weight loss.


Image Source - giphy

Really, you gotta workout Sweetheart!

4) Your friends are just 'one photo' and 'one chat' away from blocking you forever from their lives.

Friend: The new guy is so cute.
Me: I am in love with my jump rope.
*blocked*

Friend: The little one got cold again.
Me: Oh ... I can understand, I struggle so hard to breathe in a backbend.
*blocked*

Friend: My timeline is flooded with your legs suspended in air ... grrrrr
Me: Have you tried meditation ... breathe in breathe Out.
*blocked*

5) At any point of time, there is at least one muscle in the body that's sore from a workout.


Image Source - Google Images

The horror of a Leg Day is real my friend, mere thought going to the bathroom grips my heart with extreme pain. Wearing a bodycon dress, a day after working on abs usually starts with Tarzan howls. A day after arm balances makes you incapacitated to even lift a toothbrush.

6) Online shopping carts have more Active Wear than normal clothes. 


Image Source- Here


Yup, yoga pant is the new Jeans.

7) The days you are forced to miss out on workout are like


Image Source- Google
Life has no meaning ... none at all.


What do you think, is it enough to be branded as Fitness Freak? :P

Note: Read this brilliant article on evolution of MSG, popularly known as Aginomoto in India.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Love for Inversions

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Japanese Paper Doll Tutorial

I have been in love with Kimono wearing Japanese Paper Dolls ever since I started doing Origami. They look absolutely adorable and can be used as a bookmark, a gift tag or decorate wall frames.

After scrolling through scores of pictures on Pinterest, I was super inspired to make one for myself this weekend. 



Choosing the pattern of the Kimono is probably the toughest part.


Here's a tutorial I made, documenting the steps to make the paper doll.





Pretty Easy, isn't it?



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#MondayMusings

5 New Things I did Last Week

Aladdin - The Musical
in Sydney Capitol Theater

Have you ever been so enthralled, so mesmerised that you don't want it to stop ever? That you can't take your eyes off or can't imagine anything more bewitching at that point of time. Last Friday, I watched the Aladdin Musical, a theatrical performance of the famous Disney movie. It was so beautiful that I almost cried. The lights, visual effects, colors, dance sequences and singing ... oh the singing ... my god the singing!! The crowd went berserk, and cheered loudly when Genie appeared on the stage. He was no doubt the most endearing and funny character who had us in splits in almost every dialogue. My favourite was the carpet flying scene, when Al and Jasmine flew high across the stage, against a shimmering starry background. So dreamy... so magical!! You could hear the audience sigh and at the same time wondering - How did they do it? Oh I still get goosebumps when I remember the scene.

If this ever comes in your city, go for it without a second thought.

Since photography wasn't allowed, here are few pictures from their website






Century Egg
at Din Tai Fung

Century egg or pidan (Chinese皮蛋pinyinpídàn), also known as preserved egghundred-year eggthousand-year eggthousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese preserved food product and delicacy made by preserving duckchicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clayashsaltquicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. - Wiki


My silly friends of course made a joke about it - now I can clear up their 3 months old stuff from their fridge as I like eating old stale stuff *shakes head* But this tasted just like a normal egg with a real nice creamy yolk. Since this was my first time, I really don't know how it's supposed to taste like. But with Tofu and Pork floss, it didn't taste bad.

Truffle and Pork Xiao Long Bao
at Din Tai Fung

truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. - Wiki

Source

When my friend saw it on the list we decided to give it a go and see how it tastes like. This is a premium dish and a pint size dumpling costs about $5. We decided to buy 1 and split. Now this is a very unique combination I have ever tried and I still can't register what flavor it was. Totally weird!!

Skipping/Jump rope



Remember those skipping ropes we used as a child. I really hope I had continued skipping all through my life, but well, it's never too late. So I ordered this medium quality jump rope on Ebay and started a jump rope fitness regime. This is great for a busy evening, when you got lot of chores to finish and no time for a long workout. 15 minutes on the jump rope is enough to burn a good amount of calories. I started with 500 jumps, let's see how much I progress to.

Succulents

This isn't something I did, but what I found - a gorgeous looking succulent, lying on the ground, uprooted. I have planted it in one of my clay pots but still need to figure out the name of the species. 



My baby succulents are growing really well and it feels so good to see them born out of a leaf. Isn't nature absolutely fabulous. I have been waiting for months to see the buds.


All the plants above have been grown from succulent cuttings.


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The love for Yoga Inversions

Yoga Inversions are poses that place your heart higher than your head. These are the elusive gravity defying postures that makes you put your hand on your heart and sigh!! At least that's what I do when I watch the Fitness Goddesses of this world balance their complete body on one hand or just on their head. And it gives me a deep longing of achieving the same feat. But, and this is a big But, the truth is - one should not rush into it. It requires years  of practice, hours and hours of hard work to train your body to hold that one enticing pose, even if it's for a couple of breaths. Including the understanding of how each movement effects the anatomy of the body. Injuries caused by Yoga and other workouts are pretty scary. We need to let go of ego and not hesitate to practice with props, be it against the wall, or with blocks under knees, or a strap to reach for the foot.

Undoubtedly, preparatory poses for inversions plays an important role in training the body. During the initial months of practice, I only did the preparatory poses, because that's all I could manage. They are also a great way to know if your body is ready to go upside down. It feels like magic when after weeks of practicing, one day suddenly you are defying gravity. Apart from Shoulder stand, Tripod headstand was the first inversion I was able to, where you are balancing your body on your head and palms. If you are able to hold a Pike tripod headstand, then you can gradually straighten your body into a headstand. I initially started practicing against the wall and then slowly moved away. It took me months to get there. Few rounds of Suryanamaskars to warm up the body, followed by standing stretches and then the preparatory poses. 

Headstand

Here's a quick guide to prepare for Headstand

I like trying out different variations and movements to find the right balance.




Tripod Headstand

YogaByCandance explains here how to Hold a Tripod Handstand
This was me in Sept 2015, barely able to keep straight, elbows flayed out, feet not together!!



My inversions are still a work in progress. I haven't moved away from the wall for most of them yet and can hold them only for a couple of seconds. But to get there itself involves an hour of practicing Hatha yoga and variation of planks.

Forearm Stand

I find forearm stand extremely difficult. There's very little space between my shoulders, head and floor. I never practice them without support and only after Headstands. Dolphin pose is a great way to gauge how ready your body is.



Supported Handstand 

 As you might have read, I only started holding handstand since this February..

In my attempt to get that heady feel of balancing on arms, I used to practice between doorways or 'one legged handstand' (1st in the below picture) with support from the wall. These slowly helped me in building shoulder and core strength. 


What I learnt on my first day of headstand was never to get up immediately after doing inversion (I had to answer a call). You will see black spots and stars and moon and feel the rotation of Earth. Always rest in a child pose.

Stay Strong, stay humble!!


Note: Please consult a Doctor if you have suffered from injuries or any ailment before starting a fitness regime. I am only a beginner, a student and this post describes my practice and what works for me. 


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5 Easy DIY Papercraft Tutorials

I absolutely love making papercrafts. There's an inexplicable joy in spending hours creating and perfecting an object that was born as an idea, to see and feel it in real, to present a manifestation of your mind to the world.

As more and more people are into papercrafts now, I have compiled 5 easy tutorials to get you started.

Monster Bookmarks

For all those Bibliophiles, who cringe at the mere mention of earmarking book pages, here's probably the easiest fanciest bookmark tutorial. And the best part is you can select any design you want. Draw a pair glasses and a scar, and it would be perfect for you new Harry Potter book. Or make it red like Angry birds, cute like bunnies, dangerous like monsters or just use plain patterned paper. 




Click here for more - Handmade Bookmarks


Paper Rose tutorial

This is one of easiest ways to make a paper rose. Cut, swirl and paste.  Check out the tutorial - [Handmade Flower] Paper Rose Tutorial




Paper flower tutorial

This is another easy flower making tutorial to add an extra zing to your handmade card or frame.


Have a look at my original post here


Quilling Flower

The art of quilling paper has become extremely popular in the last few years. You don't need advanced skills or tools to get started. I made my first quilling frame using strips of paper that I had painted with water colors and a toothpick to roll them. All you need is an idea and the rest is fairly easy.


Step by step process to make an Orchid Flower by Quilling
Flower Tutorial here and Leaves making tutorial here






3D Origami

Although 3D origami requires a lot of patience and time, the outcome is absolutely stunning. Your kids and their friends are for sure going to love it. You can make flowers and vase for home decor, or a simple flower to be added on a gift wrap. I once owned a collection of Dragons, Cartoon characters, Guitar, Bicycle and Birds, painstakingly made using hundreds of used paper, but had to leave them at home when I relocated.

The principal unit is a triangle made by a technique called Golden Venture Folding



You need to make hundreds of these paper triangles, depending on the size . 

Sharing with you an Angry bird Tutorial, which till now is my most popular post. For more instructions here is my original post



Similarly you can make a blue one too.



Or how about 3D Origami Kid in Dragon suit




If you are a paper crafter like me, you will find more interesting stuffs of my Facebook Page - The Art of Folding a Paper

Hope you like them. Do you like making paper crafts as well?


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Sketch - That Maroon Haired Girl #MyFriendAlexa

Remember my almost terrified girl from previous post. Thank you for all your comments and appreciating my novice work. After working some more on her chin and adding few Zentangle patterns, my frame is ready. Although, now she looks startled rather than terrified. 

That's it. That's the end of my portrait drawing career :P I would rather draw cartoons than human features. It's just not my forte. Here's few pictures of my work in progress and the completed look.

The whole sketch was done using pens and sketch colors. If I wasn't so scared of my Mom's broom, I would have have been sporting a similar hairstyle ;)



After scrolling through thousands of tutorials on Lips and Eyes, I somehow managed to draw this. The hair color is a mix of black, brown, red, pink, orange ... yeah practically every pen my hands could lay on.





The flowers were coloured using three shades of blue and yellow around the outlines.





This is my favourite Zentangle Pattern that I found on Pinterest. You would have seen this in my other works too. Very simple and pretty!
Source Pinterest

The Final Look


Related Posts on Zentangles:

This month I will be taking part in #MyFriendAlexa campaign to take my alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter . My current rank is nothing fancy -  a big number 18,052,291 (the less the better) . I hope by the end of September I get to see a significant change :)

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