About Me

Someone who fell in love with the natural world early on and has been smitten ever since. A blade of grass, a mighty mountain, a tiny raindrop, a roaring waterfall, all fill me with awe and wonder. Nature feels home, filled with warmth and love. It pains my heart to see this home being ravaged. This blog is an effort to find tweaks in modern living to preserve the sanctity of this home. I sincerely hope that you join me in this green karmic journey.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

How To Make Curd/ Yoghurt At Home

It has become very popular to buy readymade curd these days. There are many things going for it. It is convenient, well set, smooth, thick and tastes divine. There are a few issues, however, which just kills it for me. It leaves a plastic trail, isn't exactly economical, the ingredients which make it so firm look suspicious and the fear of plastic leachates in curd are a put-off.


I have always seen curd being made at home. It looked as easy as 1-2-3 when Mom did it in hot Rajasthani summers but became as tricky as solving Rubiks's cube when I tried it in cold climes of Europe. Now in Bangalore, I set my own curd and though it doesn't come as thick as ready ones, it's pretty good. The procedure is easy.


Ingredients:


500 ml milk
1 tablespoon curd


Method:

1. Boil milk. Let it cool till it is lukewarm. To test the temperature, dip a finger in milk and count till ten. If you are able to hold your finger comfortably, it is the right temperature. If you can't, wait further.....hum a song, drink some water, take deep breaths....(Trust me, after a few times it would be enough to dip your finger for a second to judge the right temperature) If the milk is not warm enough to begin with, reheat it and follow the above procedure again.


2.Transfer milk into a bowl. You can use steel, glass, ceramic or clay bowl. (Of course, you can use plastic but it isn't my favorite material on earth so I'll give it a miss.)You can also set it in individual ready-to-serve mini bowls or katoris.


3. Add a spoonful of curd and mix nicely. Consider mixing it by transferring from one container to another.


4. Cover it and keep undisturbed for 6-8 hours in a warm corner. Setting time would depend on the climate you live in. If you live in a cold climate, read the tips given below.


5. Open the lid and voila, curd is ready! You can eat it straight away, refrigerate it, strain it....the options are endless.



Tips:


1. If you use buffalo milk, you will get thick and chunky curd like the ready variety.


2. You can make flavoured curd by adding a little of fresh fruit pulp like strawberry and mango. Add pulp after point number 2 and follow the rest of the procedure.


3. If you live in a cold climate, place the bowl inside a casserole. Cover the casserole with a thick towel or a woolen cloth. Alternatively, heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes. Switch off and put the container inside the oven with lights on.


What can go wrong:
At times, your dream curd won't set. Here's what can go wrong and how to fix it.


Curd isn't firm even after 12 -15 hours - It will be in a trishanku semi-solid state. Neither milk, nor curd. 
Use this curd to make semolina uttapams. In future, add the curd in larger quantity at a slightly higher temperature. Practice will make you perfect. Try on small batches.


Curd is stringy or slimy - It has set in a semi-solid state with strings in it. Did you use a culture from store-bought yogurt? Use a starter culture from someone who sets homemade curd. As to what to do with this curd? Back to semolina uttapams!


Curd is too sour - Curd has set well but has become too sour. Maybe, it was left out for too long. Use it for making kadhi, handava, chaach or those semolina uttapams :)



For recipes with curd, check out my cookery blog. Enjoy your eco-friendly dahi!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

To Plant Or Not To Plant - The Curry Leaf Conundrum


Those of us who live in apartment complexes, enjoy a bit of greenery in the form of ornamental trees, bushes, and lawns. When my Mom came visiting and she wanted a sprig of curry leaf, she wondered why we didn't grow useful plants like curry leaves, tulsi, aloe vera, etc. in our common landscape. Valid question. This had crossed my mind too but when she aired it, it set me thinking.

Recently, a similar thought was echoed by a visiting farmer who practices organic farming. According to him, all available land should be used to grow food. In this day and age when there are multiple issues around food, it is imperative that we grow as much of our own food as possible. Plants with medicinal and culinary value should be an integral part of every community landscape. Only if we could work it out!

The usual defense against growing any useful trees in common areas is that they would be plundered. Isn't it a pity? We have resources of land, water, labour, money but we can't put them to effective use because it would lead to wars - issues of who gets what and how much. 

I think this is a classic case of the tragedy of commons. (Those who are too lazy to click the link, here's a simple explanation. Picture a piece of grazing land which is free for common use. To get the maximum benefit out of the land, each owner would try to put as many cows for grazing as he can. In this way, while the gains from putting an additional cow would be enjoyed by the individual, the cost in terms of decreased grass would be shared by all. Over a period of time, there would be too many cows with no grass and everybody would lose out.)

If we replace this pasture with curry leaf trees, we can picture people plucking more and more leaves out of self-interest without giving a thought to the sustainability of the tree. Soon enough, the tree would die and we would all lose out. Though we are a community of highly educated people, human nature would overpower reason and we wouldn't be able to manage our common resources. Sounds sad, doesn't it? 

Nevertheless, in my opinion, we should go ahead and plant a few curry leaf and drumstick trees. Say one curry leaf plant per block. The plants should be protected by enclosures till they are mature and then they should be open for use. Out of 216 apartments, how many would
- use curry leaf every day?
- would be willing to come down to pluck their share? 

I don't think there would be too many (how many of us use the clubhouse though we pay for it?) 

It wouldn't be possible to monitor trees so it would depend on residents (and housekeeping and helps) to behave responsibly. Though it might not work out, it's worth the experiment. What say, folks? Do you think a handful of curry leaves is worth bothering about? Will it work / won't work? Why? Has your apartment complex successfully managed such a resource? How can we ensure sustainable use of such resources?

Out with your ideas now so that we can reach a common ground. Tragedy or comedy of commons, we need to try out things for our own good.

Monday, 25 November 2013

One Should Borrow, One Should Lend......

"Never borrow, never lend, if you want to keep a friend" goes an old saying. Generally, I am a sucker for all things old and wise, but here, I do beg to differ. I vote for borrowing and lending for two reasons. One is environmental, the other is social.

You need it, you buy it - that's the mantra and the force behind consumerism. 
You have a party - instead of borrowing dishes, you go and buy disposables. 
You want to read a book - instead of asking around your friends, you go ahead and buy it. 
For the simple reason that you can afford it. This affordability is ruining our planet. On one hand, we are ravaging our resources for increased manufacturing and on the other, we are choking the planet by disposing indiscriminately. After all, in order to keep on buying, we have to keep on disposing too. It's a double whammy for the poor earth!

Why do affluent people have weaker community ties? Because they don't depend on anybody for anything. Whatever one needs, one buys it. You hesitate in asking your neighbours/ friends for help. It is much more convenient to buy stuff than to maintain relationships. 

In my childhood days, items of occasional use were freely borrowed and lent. That big kadahi (wok) for making sweets in bulk, that hamamdasta (a type of mortar and pestle) for pounding spices, that tall stool for reaching upper shelves, that special hoe for uprooting a difficult shrub, that set of x numbered knitting needles.....all were easily borrowed and gladly lent. 

We kids were dispatched to get the desired tools and weren't we willing messengers! Not only were we treated to goodies by neighbours, we also got to get together with our friends and found a few out-of-turn minutes of play. In short, borrowing and lending led to increased communication in a community. However, for this communication to stay positive, one should follow a few rules.

Borrowing comes with a set of caveats:

1. Know what can be borrowed and from whom:
You should have the wisdom to know which things can be asked for and  from whom. For e.g. you might borrow an expensive piece of clothing from your mom or sister but not from an acquaintance. A good way to know if you are welcome to borrow is to float your requirement. If someone volunteers to lend you, well and good, if not, use your good sense.You should think of borrowing only when you are very comfortable with that person and ready to lend to her too when the need arises.

2. Take care of the borrowed item:
You have to take utmost care of the borrowed item. Return it in the same or even better condition. A friend of mine borrowed a carpet from me. Before returning, she got it cleaned and it looked fresher than before. I wouldn't mind lending to her again!

3. Return it ASAP:
Return the borrowed thing as soon as possible. Don't hold on to it after your work is done. At any rate, don't wait till the lender has to ask for it.

4. Care for it: 
Ask for any special care or instructions in using. In case you damage the borrowed item, inform the owner and get it repaired.

5. No sub-lending:
Don't sub-lend the item, at least not without the lender's permission.

6. Don't borrow consumables:
Avoid borrowing consumables like flour, sugar, potatoes, milk....you get the drift. It won't save the earth as the other person still has to refill them. If you have to borrow, return it in some way or the other.

7. Be ready to lend:
Lastly, don't hesitate in returning the favour when the need arises.

Lending has its own set of concerns:

1. Learn to say 'No' politely:
If you are not comfortable lending a particular thing, let it be known politely. for e.g. if you don't like to lend your eye make-up or lipstick, explain the hygiene factor behind it. Avoid borrowing from friends who come up with unreasonable demands.

2. Don't hesitate to give instructions: 
If there are any set of instructions for using the lent item, let the person know in advance.(For e.g. I don't like my books to be read in a loo. Take note!)

3. Take damages in your stride:
If the item gets damaged and the borrower doesn't get it repaired or replaced, take it in your stride. Don't spoil a relationship over a broken tool.

I am fortunate to have a set of friends with whom I can borrow at ease. A few things I would particularly like to borrow and lend are books and toys for my daughter. She is three and at this age, kids need a variety of stimuli. There is a limit to the number of toys and books one can buy. If like-minded friends decide to exchange toys and books, this would lead to more sustainable living.

How comfortable are you with borrowing and lending? What are your views on it? Do you think it would help the first R- 'REDUCE'? Leave your comments and let's have a discussion.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Partying In (Green) Style

Once a green convert, always a green at heart! 

I know of someone who is a fervent practitioner of this religion. She lives in a community with 40 odd households. Looking at the waste that is generated due to disposables after a party, she convinced her community to buy common dishes for parties. 
They bought 50 full plates, quarter plates, bowls, and cutlery. The dishes are kept with the manager. 

Whoever hosts a party at home can borrow the dishes free of cost. The only caveat is that the dishes have to be cleaned before returning and if any item is broken or lost, it has to be replaced. Fair enough! If a party is held at the clubhouse, then a nominal amount is to be paid to housekeeping for cleaning up the dishes. 

What a wonderful idea! Since inception, the dishes have been borrowed at least ten times within a span of three months. Imagine the number of disposables saved due to this practice.

It reaffirms a couple of things. One, someone has to take an initiative to launch sustainable practices. Two, such initiatives don't go waste. Support is always round the corner. 

Hail the green spirit and its passionate practitioners!

Monday, 30 September 2013

My Favourite Green Quotes


“The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need but 


not a single man's greed."

- Mahatma Gandhi


"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one 


thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to 

ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” 

- Chief Seattle



"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try to sleep with a mosquito in your room."
- Dalai Lama 


“Oh beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,


For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.

America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,

And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily 

sea.” 

- George Carlin


"Everyone wants to park their vehicles in shade but no one 


wants to plant trees."

-Anonymous



"Man is a strange being: he makes deserts bloom and lakes

 die." 

- Gil Stern


"The only thing that can't be recycled is time."

-Anonymous


"Men are from Mars and 


Women are from Venus

And that's where they'll have to go

If this earth they don't clean up."

-Anubhooti

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Green Crafts -Upcycling a paint bin

After I got my apartment painted, I was left with many empty paint bins. I gave away a few to my help and saved others. The idea was to convert one to a waste bin and some others to potholders. We had recently started garbage segregation, so a bin for reject waste was needed. Before using, I wanted to beautify the bin. I thought that twining a rope around would make it look prettier. But I never got around to hunting for a rope.

On a trip to Sikar, Rajasthan, I spotted this rope while going around in the market. It is called 'moonj' in local language and is used to weave 'charpais'. (cots woven with ropes). I am always attracted to rustic things and was delighted to find this. In fact, I wanted just a little bit but the shopkeeper would sell the whole bundle. It was way too much for my requirement but there was no choice. When I reached home armed with a bundle of rope, everyone scoffed at my purchase and wondered what I was going to do with it. They ridiculed my idea of lugging the rope all the way to Bangalore:)

The rope, however, did get lugged to Bangalore. One fine day, my sis-in-law came to pay me a visit. She loves doing crafty things and I like to have a partner in crime, so we went ahead dressing the bin. After getting it cleaned and dried, we set about our task. It was alright to get the outside covered by a rope but the insides still looked unappealing. So we decided to line it with some fabric. Checkered fabrics always look chic and I remembered a dress that I had stopped wearing. It took a lot of cajoling from my SIL to sacrifice my beloved dress but then it was sheared and we got a lovely lining for the bin.



We pasted the bottom with cardboard. Then came the task of twining the rope. It was hard work and I was glad that I started this project with my SIL around. She is very neat and while one person applied Fevicol, the other held the rope tight and stuck it along the binder. After a couple of hours of hard work and sore fingers, we were rewarded with this. We were very pleased with the outcome.


I found a bow and stuck it to the top. What a difference a bow can make!


Now that it looked so lovely and also because it was lined with fabric, it couldn't be used as a waste bin and of course not as a potholder. So we decided to use it as a magazine holder.


The other bin has been painted with a basic coat and is waiting to be adorned further. I am planning a few worli motifs on it. Let's see. If and when it gets ready, I will post a picture.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

BYOC - Bring It On!

I am striving to be a practitioner of BYOC - the acronym I have coined for 'Bring your own container'. I don't like takeaway food- mainly because it creates a lot of trash. Depending on the food that you order, takeaways come packaged in an assortment of plastic containers, cardboard packaging and carry bags.

The joy of eating without having cooked is marred by this trash-trail. Agreed that packaging can be recycled but as we know, recycling is fraught with its own issues. The R to strive for is 'REDUCE'. 

Apart from the green angle, getting food packed in plastics also has health implications. You don't know what all leach into food when hot food is put into plastic containers. So I like to carry my own containers. Be it for samosa-chutney, idli-sambar, doggy bag or sweets. What it needs, is a little forward planning. Now I have equipped both my cars with a host of things - an Anya kit, a cosmetics- medical kit, an under-the-weather kit, a shopping kit and recently a takeaway or eating out kit (spoons, forks and a couple of containers). What is missing from the last kit is a steel straw! Yes, you heard it right. I read about a lady who goes about carrying a steel straw and I am mightily impressed! She sure has taken BYOC to another level.

Given that packaging is getting costlier, vendors are passing on this cost to consumers. At many eating joints, you have to shell out a packaging charge. That is good news as it encourages people to BYOC. A few years back, when I carried my container to a sweet shop and asked for a discount in terms of saving them packaging cost, the guy was slightly taken aback. The manager was sent for and I gave my logic to him. He graciously accepted, more to humor me than for anything else. I asked him to make it a policy to give a discount to customers who BYOCed. He didn't feel the time had come for that idea. He would be gladly charging extra for his packaging now, I am sure. 

Another idea for restaurants is to pack food in steel containers against a deposit. You return the container, you get your deposit back. The containers can be monogrammed for ease of use of both parties. This would ensure guilt-free takeaways for those who haven't carried their containers. I am planning to float this idea to a nearby eatery. I will surely update if it is implemented. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Of Return Gifts and Goody Bags

For Anya's first birthday party, which was on a fairy theme, I went berserk buying return gifts /party favors. I tried to buy age-gender-theme-appropriate trinkets which were budget-friendly too. And so I ended up buying fairy wings, crowns, jewelry,  stickers, badges, balls, photo frames, pencil boxes, card games, bubbles and whatnot. In addition, I bought birthday caps, face masks and party poppers. As pinãta fillers, I got pencils, erasers, small toys, hairpins and candies.

Goody bags mostly come filled with stuff we don't really need
At the end of my shopping spree, looking at the mountain of stuff, I felt guilty about the whole affair. Was I giving meaningful gifts or was I just trashing the planet? While keeping so many other criteria in mind, the green quotient had taken a beating. I silently vowed to be more eco-conscious from the next birthday onwards.

Anya is nearing her third birthday now. I have been to many more birthday parties since she turned one and have emerged wiser, I must say. Frankly speaking, return gifts are not the greatest idea, either for the environment or for kids. Kids these days have got enough and more. It would really not matter to them if they got one more lunch box, pencil box or a little toy. They, however, love to open gifts. They play with new toys for a while and then these get dumped in a pile of unused toys.

Now that return gifts have become de rigeur, one can't avoid them. I have read of moms who are courageous enough to refuse return gifts. Maybe when Anya grows a little older, we can talk about it and decide on a course of action. As of now, she just wants whatever her friends have. I am also not brave enough to stop giving return gifts. The most prudent course of action now is to switch to environment-friendly meaningful gifts which are also fun.

A few things that come to my mind are:
Books - Books can always be found to suit different ages and themes. Activity books would keep kids engrossed for a while.

Plants - Kids can decorate a pot as a part of activity at the party and then carry a plant in it. Taking care of a plant, watering it daily, would bring kids closer to nature.

Homemade crafts - If you are a crafty mom, you can make kid-appropriate handicrafts like photo frames, finger puppets, kid's nameplates etc. A dear friend of mine is one such creative mom and she made nameplates for all the little guests.

A home-crafted name-plate received as a return gift which I absolutely treasure
Handicrafts - Channapatna toys, toys made of clay etc. would be a refreshing and eco-friendly gift idea.

Birthday Activity - Kids can decorate cookies or an ice cream stick picture frame. That would not only provide an activity during the party, kids can take something handmade home. For a chef themed party, a friend let kids write their names on their aprons. For a bookworm themed birthday party, they can decorate a bookmark and for a Harry Potter themed birthday, the natural choice is a wand :)

Can green and fun go together? I am looking for more ideas. If you have any suggestions, do let me know.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Hawaiian Themed Green Birthday Party - Part 4 - Goody Bags

A friend had handed out return gifts in self-made newspaper bags. I was hugely impressed and decided to toe the green line. Fortunately, I could outsource the job to D and he came out with flying colors. We chose glossy supplements of newspaper. To give a Hawaiian feel, a hibiscus picture was pasted on each bag. We did not get time to color the flower. Gifting crayons as a part of goodies might have been a good idea but I desisted. (See my post: Of return gifts and goody bags).


In order to go the whole nine yards, I even made the glue at home. When I was a kid, we used lai - a boiled mixture of maida (white flour) and water. I wanted to recreate it.

How to make homemade glue:
Ingredients:
1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar,1.5 cups water, 1 tsp vinegar. (The ratio of flour to sugar should be 3:1.)

Method: 
Mix flour and sugar. Then slowly add a little water to form a lump-free paste. Add the rest of the water, vinegar and put on slow flame till the paste thickens. Cool and store in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated and used for a month or even more. Try it out for yourself. Vinegar is to preserve the glue. If you are using up the glue immediately, you can skip it.

What went into the goody bag:
Though I could not avoid buying plastic totally, I tried to be more meaningful and minimal. Girls got slipper-shaped hairpins and floral hairbands, bubble blowers and candy. Boys got play dough, bubble blowers and candy. The green thing I wanted to do was to give an aloe vera plant to each kid (aloe vera is found abundantly in Hawaii), in a pot customised with the kid's name and decorated with a tiki mask. I got the plants too but finally faced severe time-crunch. Had it been included in the goody bag, this is how it would have looked. 

photo.JPG

The mask is not eco-friendly though as it is made of plaster of paris.
For future, I am making a list of green things that can go in a goody bag. If you have any suggestions, they are welcome with an open heart :)

With this write-up, I finally come to an end on the series on Anya's green birthday party. I had a lot of fun putting together this party. An interesting fact is that the nearer a party is, faster the ideas pour in. But then, I inevitably run short of time. Hope to get green ideas in time for her next birthday party.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Hawaiian Themed Green Birthday Party Part 3 - Food & Entertainment

Welcome drink:
What could have been more natural and befitting the theme than tender coconut water! We bought dozens of tender coconuts, decorated them with umbrella cocktail sticks and placed them below surfboards towards the entrance. As soon as a guest came, she was welcomed with a lei. Then D carved an opening in the coconut and served it to the guest. 



Table decor and food:
Incidentally, I had bought a woven-palm-leaf mat and baskets from a recent trip to Kerala. The mat came in handy to cover the dining table. Sides of the table were covered with banana leaf skirt. The cake table was also decorated with the same skirting. In addition, baby pineapples, bird of paradise were put on the sidewall. Unfortunately, we don't have a picture.








Since the party was at home, I used steel plates for kids and Corelle for adults. (I had to keep my finger crossed throughout the snack time but it was worth it). One of the best purchases I have made are these colorful Ikea kids cutlery sets. Though they are plastic, their reusability saves the day. 





The only disposable thing I used were glasses. I kept a few steel ones but had to have disposables at hand which I made sure were paper. From next party onwards, I am  quite tempted to request parents to carry water in sippers/bottles for their little ones. In that way, I will have to keep glasses only for other drinks. I wonder if the suggestion would be well received and more importantly, acted upon.




Other than cake and ice-cream, food was mostly made at home. We made pav bhaji, pineapple pasta, fruit salad, a coconut-capsicum salad, and idlis. One thing which I was quite proud of and can't help boasting about were volcanoes fashioned out of papads. The plan was to light some coal and put under each volcano to give a smoking effect but like many other ideas, this had to be shelved due to lack of time. 

Games:
Kids had a go at hula-hoop. Adults tested their flexibility at limbo. I used a bamboo pole where one end was held against a wall and the other by my niece. Guests had a gala time and surprisingly were so good at it that we had to revise the lowermost marking to decide upon the winner!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Hawaiian Themed Green Birthday Party Part 2 - The Decor

Think Hawaii and images of exotic beaches, swaying palms, hula girls, orchids, garlands, parakeets - all crop up in your mind. Planning a luau is fun and before doing that, it's good to get acquainted with a smattering of Hawaiian vocabulary. So I went ahead and learnt these words:

Aloha = Welcome
Luau = Party
Lei =  Garland
Hula = Hawaiian dance form
Hula girl = A girl who performs Hawaiian dance called hula
Mahalo = Thankyou

Decor:
There are so many  decor ideas for a Hawaiian theme, the choice is mind boggling. I decided upon surf boards, a hula girl cutout, coconut tree and a few hibiscus flowers. The idea was to take a picture of each family against a backdrop of coconut trees and hibiscus flowers wherein Dad would hold a surfboard, Mom would have her face in the cutout and the kid would hold a ball. This picture would later be sent  to guests along with a thank you note. In the end, the picture idea didn't work out and I had to be content with these being only decor pieces.

A neighbour had discarded a few thermocol sheets. They came in handy.
I cut out two surf board shapes and painted them with colors leftover from a wall painting job. A few hibiscus flower print outs were colored and stuck to the boards.



A couple of waves were fashioned out of hand made paper. We stationed tender coconuts under the surfboards.





Similarly, a hula girl was fashioned by joining two thermocol sheets. A grass skirt was made with craft paper and her leis made of paper streamers.

Finally, for the coconut tree, the leaves were cut out from a sheet of hand made paper and the trunk made from thermocol.  Thermocol was surprisingly easy to join with the help of fevicol and a few allpins.
I had bought these cute little coconuts from a trip to Mathura long back. These now adorned the coconut tree and the look was complete.



 D also painted a few hibiscus flowers on a sheet.



To complete the colorful look, paper streamers were hung from all sides of the ceiling. We also blew a few balloons and I insisted on tying the ends with a thread rather than forming a knot. The logic was that the thread could be untied and the balloons reused for a later occasion. I faced a lot of opposition from fellow members but I must say that they complied and we could retrieve a few balloons using this method. I wonder if there are environment friendly versions of balloons?

Pinãta:


A cardboard box was decorated on all sides with Hawaiian motifs. The goodies included floral hairpins, erasers, pencils, chocolates and paper confetti.

Leis:
After racking my brains over leis, I finally decided upon fresh flower and paper leis. I bought pink (oleander) for girls and yellow (marigolds) for boys. To the credit of guests, most of them were sporty enough to wear them for the whole party.

I was happy with the fact that most of the decoration stuff was made of reused thermocol, handmade paper and paper streamers. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Hawaiian Themed Green Birthday Party Part 1 - The Invite

The inspiration for Anya's second birthday party came close on the heels of her first one. A hibiscus flower gave me the idea for a Hawaiian theme. But when it came to finalise, I was still confused between this and an animal one. Finally, I reasoned that it was better to do a Hawaiian theme while I was still calling the shots. In another year, her choices would rule and she might not be interested in this theme. So Hawaiian it was!


I must now admit that I also wanted to do a Hawaiian theme because I was enamoured by a "message in a bottle" invite. So as soon as the theme got finalised, the hunt for an ideal bottle began. Incidentally, just a few weeks back, we had started a garbage segregation system at our complex and while dealing with the recycler, I spotted Bacardi Breezer bottles. I knew I had found my bottle!








After the bottles were soaked and cleaned, they were ready to be decked. For this, I got some sand and filled the bottles one quarter with sand. I also fished out sea shells from my collection and dropped a few on the sand bed.





Then came the task of penning an invite. I am a DIYer and no DIYer worth her salt would like to cut and paste a rhyme. After acquiring a dash of Hawaiian vocabulary and a couple of days of brainstorming, I managed a poem. Here it goes.....



Time does fly, we just can't figure how
It's already time for Anya's 2nd Birthday luau

Oh, how we miss her babyhood days
Even as we enjoy her new endearing ways

She is full of fun, frolic and adventure
Ready to explore every nook and corner

One such journey she would like to make
When she invites you to Hawaii to cut her cake

Be dressed in Hawaiian attire for some hula fun
And we all will have good time by the ton

Date: 23rd September, 2012
Time: 5-8 pm
Place: Carnation Island, Hawaii
Dress Code: Think Hawaiian

Prizes for best dressed adults and kids
Aloha!!



I cut a sheet of paper 4 x 10 inches, scribbled the poem and scrolled it up. Then I took a long piece of grass string and tied the scroll with one end. The other end of the string was tied to an artificial flower which also acted as a bottle stopper. The idea was to pull up the scroll by gently tugging at the flower. I didn't know where to source a cork for the bottle, so I came up with the idea of a flower. This bunch of yellow flowers was with my sis-in-law for years and she wanted to dispose them off. Initially, I wanted to use fresh flowers instead of fake ones but the logistics wouldn't work out. The invites had to be hand-delivered on different days and I couldn't be sure of a fresh flower at hand every time. Anyway, the flowers were being reused, so I settled on the artificial ones.

















I tied a grass string bow on the neck of the bottle. The end result looked good and I was quite happy.
After burning some mid-night oil, I managed to finish 5 invites.










It was a good start for an eco-friendly party. All the material used was either natural or reused : glass bottle , sand, sea shells, grass string, a sheet of paper and a flower.