Saturday, January 12, 2008


Creating mehndi designs is actually quite simple and just takes practice to master. Mehandi design consists of taking small designs and motifs (Paisley [mango] shapes, straight lines, scallop lines, dots, tear-drops, leaf shapes, etc.) and combining them to make large, more complex designs as you will see here. I suggest that, if you are a beginner at mehndi, you purchase a henna book or find a number of small designs so that you can understand the basics of mehandi design.
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Friday, January 11, 2008


Banana-3, red chillies-6, thur dhal-2 tspn, urad dhal- 2 tspn, mustard-1 tspn, asafetida-1 pinch, salt-1 tspn, oil-4 tspn
• Cut the bananas into two and boil till done. Cool and peel the skin. Grate the banana.
• Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the remaining ingredients till golden brown. Ground to a coarse powder.
• Add the grated banana and mix well

Banana flower-1, thur dhal-½ cup, coconut gratings-4 tbsp, red chillies- 3 to 4, tamarind pulp- 2 tspn, salt- to taste, asafetida- a pinch, (oil- 2 tspn, mustard-½ tspn, urad dhal-1 tspn, curry leaves- few for seasoning).
• Remove the centre firm stem from each flower and chop the flowers.
• Heat 1 tspn of oil add thur dhal, red chillies and asafetida and fry till light brown.
• Add the chopped flowrs and sauté for few minutes till tender.
• Allow to cool. Mix with grated coconut, salt and tamarind.
• Grind to a coarse paste. Season and pour over the chutney

Dates-1 cup, chillies-2, garlic-2 pods, jaggery- 1 tbsp, tamarind-1 tspn, salt- to taste
• Chop the dates and soak them in half a cup of warm water along with chillies for 10 – 15 mts.
• Put all the ingredients and blend for a minute.

Kovaikaai-½ kg, tamarind-a bit, green chillies-6, garlic-if needed, onion-½ cup, oil-1 tbsp, curry leaves-to garnish
• Add oil and fry garlic, onion and kovaikaai.
• Add salt, curry leaves, chillies and tamarind and then grind to a coarse paste. Seasonings can be done

Roasted groundnut-1 cup, tamarind- lemon size, dry chillies- 6, coriander-½ bunch, urud dhal-1 tspn, mustard and oil for seasoning, salt- to taste
• Add oil and fry urud dhal and coriander leaves.
• Add all the ingredients and grind. Season it with mustard.

Brinjal-350 g, dry chillies-15, asafoetida-a pinch, tamarind-a bunch, black gram dhal-2 tspn, salt-to taste, oil-50 ml
• Grill the brinjal in heat and remove the skin.
• Fry black dhal, chillies, asafetida and salt with little oil along with the brinjal. Add tamarind and grind

Thur dhal-2 tspn, urud dhal-2 tspn, onion-½ cup, garlic-2 pods, coconut-½ cup, beetroot-½ cup, garnish-oil, mustard, curry leaves-to garnish, tamarind water-2 tspn, salt-to taste
• Fry all the ingredients and grind.
• Add tamarind water and garnish the chutney.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden
Butterfly gardening has become one of the most popular hobbies today. What could bring more joy than a beautiful butterfly fluttering around your garden?! Here are some tips to make your garden especially butterfly-friendly.
Your first step should be to find out which butterflies are in your area. You can do this by spending some time outdoors with your field guide to see which species are around.
Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny location (5-6 hours each day), but sheltered from the winds. Butterflies need the sun to warm themselves, but they won't want to feed in an area where they are constantly fighting the wind to stay on the plants. It is also a good idea to place a few flat stones in your sunny location so the butterflies can take a break while warming up.
Butterflies need water just like we do. Keep a mud puddle damp in a sunny location, or fill a bucket with sand and enough water to make the sand moist.
Butterflies use two different types of plants - those that provide nectar for the adults to eat (nectar plant), and those that provide food for their offspring (host plant). It is best to find out which plant species are native to your area and plant those rather than exotic species. Be prepared for a heavy munching on your host plant.
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Dosa Recipes

Raw rice-1 cup,parboiled rice-1 cup,grated paneer-1 cup,green chillies-2,chopped coriander-1 tspn, salt-to taste,oil-as needed
• Mix both the rice and soak it for 2 hours
• Add salt to the soaked rice and grind.
• Add paneer, coriander and green chillies to the batter
• Make the batter into thick dosas.

Raw rice-1 cup, Bengal gram dhal-1 tbsp,chopped palak-1 cup, green chillies-3.asafoetida-1 tspn,salt-to taste,oil-as needed
• Since the texture of the green varies Bengal gram should be reduced
• Soak the raw rice and Bengal gram dhal together for 2 hrs.
• Add palk, salt. Asafetida, green chillies and grind nicely.
• Leave it untouched for 5 hours to ferment
• Make it into dosas

Red gram dhal- ½ cup,Bengal gram dhal- ½ cup,black gram dhal-1 tbsp,raw rice- ¼ cup, parboiled rice- ¼ cup, drumstick leaves-1 cup,grated coconut- ¼ cup,dry chillies-6,asafetida- ½ tspn,oil-as needed
• Mix the dhals,rice and the chillies and soak it for an hour
• Add asafetida and salt to the mixture and ground it to a coarse paste
• Add oil in a pan and fry the drumstick leaves.This aids in digestion
• Add the grated coconut and the fried drumstick leaves to it and make it into dosas

Green gram dhal- ¼ cup,black gram dhal- ¼ cup,Bengal gram dhal- ¼ cup, raw rice- ¼ cup,horse gram- ¼ cup, soya- ¼ cup, white corn- ¼ cup,gingelly seeds-1 tbsp,green chillies-3,dry chillies-6,ginger-1 slice,grated coconut-1 tbsp,curry leaves-a bit,asafetida- ½ tspn,chopped coriander-1 tbsp,salt-to taste,oil-as needed.
• Mix all the dhals and soak it for 5 hours
• Add the chilies, ginger,asafetida and salt and grind it along with dhals
• Add the chopped coriander, grated coconut and curry leaves to the batter and make it into dosas.

Ragi – 1 cup, rice flour-1 tbsp, scrapped coconut-1 tspn, jaggery powder-1/2 cup, cahew and cardamom- as needed
• Add water to the jaggery mix it until it dissolves and boil it for minutes
• When the syrup is ready add ragi flour in it
• Mix thoroughly without lumps
• Add then add rice flour, scrapped coconut and cashews
• If needed water can be added to bring it into batter consistency
• Now make dosas with these batter and ghee.

Rice flour-1 cup, chopped fruits-apple, orange, pineapple, grapes, pomegranate, papaya
Grind all the ingredients together and prepare dosa. If u want it hot can add pepper to it.

Raw rice-2 cup, parboiled rice- 2 cup, blackgram dhal- ½ cup, fenugreek-1 tspn, salt-to tatste, chopped coriander-1 cup, grated carrot-1 cup, chopped onion or radish-1 cup, grated beetroot-1 cup, oil-as needed
• Soak raw rice, parboiled rice, blackgram dhal and fenugreek together add salt to it and grind
• Divide the batter into 4 parts and add the vegetable.
Kambu-2 cup, parboiled rice- ½ cup, raw rice- ½ cup, dry chillies- 4, asafetida- ¼ tspn, scrapped or grated coconut- 1 tbsp, chopped coriander-as needed, salt and oil- as needed
• Soak jowar and the rice separately for 2 hrs
• Grind all the ingredients together and make dosa

Maize-2 cup, parboiled rice- ½ cup, raw rice- ½ cup, dry chillies- 4, asafetida- ¼ tspn, scrapped or grated coconut- 1 tbsp, chopped coriander-as needed, salt and oil- as needed
• Soak maize and the rice separately for 2 hrs
• Grind all the ingredients together and make dosa

Raw rice-2 cup, chopped vegetables- (carrot,capsicum,beans and peas)-1 cup, green chillies-2, chopped coriander- to garnish, salt and oil- as needed
• Soak the rice separately
• Grind all the ingredients together or grind the rice and others separately and mix them
• If the raw smell of the vegetables is not appetizing then cook the vegetables for few mts and then add.
• Don’t add too much of water.
• Now make dosas with the batter

Raw rice-2 cup, parboiled rice- 2 cup, black gram dhal- ¼ cup, tender pirandai- ½ cup, fenugreek- ½ tspn, salt and oil- to taste
• Soak raw rice, parboiled rice and fenugreek for 3 hours
• Grind them when the rice is half ground add pirabdai to it and continue
• Add salt to the batter and allow to pulikka over night
• Make dosas with the batter

Other dosas include wheat dosa, rava dosa, podi dosa, ghee roast, ladies finger dosa..
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Paper Sculpture

Materials Required
newspaper, tissue paper, cardboard,glue,paint,masking tape and gold powder
1. Take newspaper and roll it tightly with a help of a broom stick.
2. now stick the other end so the role doesnt come out
3. Make as many rolls needed
4. Now bend a paper roll to make the torso, 2 hands
5.make a ball of newspaper for the characters head
use masking tape to attach the body parts
6.mix glue with water 1:3 and apply over the sculpture and paste the tissue paper
7.allow it to dry for a day and paint it black
8.take it on the next day and apply gold powder ur paper sculpture is ready for display
10.prepare musical instruments or sports article with cardboard and attach it to give a better look.
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Sunday, January 6, 2008


One theory about the beginning of Bonsai is that it actually originated in India. Ancient ayurvedic physicians carried back shoots from medicinal trees from the Himalayas and grew them in miniature forms in pots by trimming and cutting back the roots, the tulsi being a good example of this. In the 12th century Bonsai in India was known as Vamanatanu Vrikshadi Vidya which translates as the science of dwarfing trees. Bonasi is am art and it needs a lot of patience…I own a ficus and bonsai peepal 3 yr and 2 yr old…

Its fun and enjoyable
Selecting a plant for Bonsai
Plants that are suitable for Indian climates are

Botanical Name
Ficus bengalensis
Ficus riligiosa
Ficus glomerulata
Mangnifera indica
Bouhinia varigata
Citrus lemon
Citrus auriculatum
Duranta variga
Bougain villea
Bamboosa species
Achrus sapota
Delonix regia
Psidium guava
Pine Lausonia inermis

Soil for bonsai
Bonsai soil is much more free draining than potting soil and doesn't contain as much fertilizer as normal potting. Making your own soil mix isn't as hard as you think A basic bonsai soil mix to use - and one that would apply to almost all species is: one part loam, two parts sphagnum peat moss, two parts granite grit.

Feeding bonsai
To keep your bonsai in good shape and to maintain healthy growth requires regular feeding at the right time of year with the correct fertilizer. Fertilizer must be continually replenished due to a certain amount being washed out each time the plant is watered.
To understand exactly how your bonsai should be fertilized, you must be able to understand the basic make-up of fertilizers.
Nitrogen is an essential ingredient for leaf and stem growth. Too much nitrogen however will make the tree produce long, stringy growth. Phosphorus encourages healthy root growth and helps the growth of new buds, whilst also protecting against disease and unfavorable winter conditions. Potassium (potash) encourages the formation of flowers and fruit, and is vital in the fight against disease.
feed your bonsai from early spring to late summer. Use a balanced fertilizer with a fairly low nitrogen content year round, and one with as little (or no) nitrogen as possible in autumn to aid the tree (so the tree can retain its energy) through the winter. Bonsai fertilizer has an NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) ratio of 0:10:10. This is an autumn feed (containing no nitrogen) which will harden off the current season's growth in readiness for the winter.

Pruning Bonsai
Pruning is necessary to maintain (or refine growth to obtain) the right shape of a bonsai and encourage new growth. Some plants naturally respond well to pruning. To prune correctly you must find out the type of plant your bonsai is and research when the best times are to prune old and new season growth. Generally, new growth is pruned during the growing season to maintain the shape of the bonsai, while pruning of hard wood (old season growth) is done in mid-autumn.

Finger pruning
This involves pinching back new growth which does not come within the general shape of the bonsai or is at the top of the bonsai - helping to encourage bushy foliage and a more tree-like looking bonsai. To do this, take the growth between your thumb and forefinger while holding the branch with your other hand and remove with a twisting movement. This is better than trimming the growth with scissors, this leaves an unnatural look and leaves the foliage an unsightly brown.e.g. junipers and cedars

Scissor tip pruning :
For deciduous trees scissor tip pruning is best. When trimming outward or 'overenthusiastic' growth, trim shoots back to just after the next series of leaves, but don't cut the foliage as such.e.g. maples, the chinese elm and cotoneaster.

Leaf pruning :
It is also known as defoliation, in bonsai is used for several deciduous and tropical plants such as ficus or maples to reduce leaf size, remove unsightly leaves and speed-up growth by causing two seasons' growth in one. For deciduous trees such as maples it also means that their autumn country is brighter. This is done in mid-summer, by cutting 60-90% of the leaves off the tree, only leaving a few to ensure that the tree keeps its energy. Remove leaves with fine scissors, cutting them from directly behind the leaf. In the next few weeks make sure that you keep the plant in a hospitable position and climate and supply it adequate water. Remember however, that this form of pruning is only applicable to certain types of plants.

Wiring Bonsai
Not all plants need wiring to achieve their desired shape or to achieve official 'bonsai' status. wiring of a bonsai is not done to keep the plant small, but rather is a temporary measure used to hold branches in a desired position in order to enhance the shape of a tree. Wire should not be left permanently on a tree and should be checked regularly.
Wire and gauge used - copper wire and aluminium wire, Aluminium wire is better and easily malleable. 3.5mm aluminium wire or 2.0mm for small branches.

When wiring, try to imitate the natural curves of trees in nature. Make sure that you only attempt to wire branches that are unlikely to break when pressure used to twist the wire around the branch is applied. The safest method to use when wiring is by clenching the branch with both hands (not dissimilar to the look of a clamp) and applying the wire by slowly following it around the branch - making sure it does not damage the trunk. Wire the branch first, and then worry about bending the branch (which is made possible by the wire and using the clamp method) to achieve your desired shape. Be careful of leaves or if in autumn, leaf buds. It is always best to anchor the wire so it does actually re-train the branch. This can be done by digging it into the soil and training the wire up the trunk until it reaches the desired branch, or by anchoring it to another branch It is best to not water a day before wiring, and to keep the tree in shade for two weeks after wiring. Check every few weeks for wire cutting into the bark of the bonsai - particularly during spring and summer, or risk the danger of irrepairible scars.

Repoting bonsai

Regular repotting of your bonsai to replace important nutrients, 'stale soil' and allow for new root growth is vital to your bonsai's health and growth. Generally, the trees should be repotted at a time when they are most dormant - such as late autumn to early spring, so that they are subjected to the least amount of stress possible. Young or small bonsai require repotting every two or three years, and older and larger specimens less often. A bonsai needs repotting if water takes a long time to drain through the soil or if the roots are crowding around the sides.

To repot, carefully lift the tree out of its current pot by tilting it to one side and trying to move it by the base of the trunk. You can not pull too hard on the trunk - so if this does not work, try tapping the pot with the side of your hand to loosen the rootball or poke a stick through the drainage holes and 'push' the rootball out. Next, using a chopstick, knitting needle, metal hook or similar, remove any moss or accent plants and carefully try to brush and untangle the roots. Start at the edge and gradually work around. Try to 'comb' and 'tug' rather than to 'pull' at the roots - for risk of damaging or tearing some very important main roots.
After this has been done - continue to shake and brush off the soil until about one third to half of the original soil has been removed from the edge and base of the rootball. It would now be a good idea to spray the roots with water to ensure that they do not dry out and so that they will not have too much soil on them when it comes time to pruning the roots.
To prune the roots, use very sharp cutters. There are bonsai root pruning scissors commercially available, however you could just use a normal pair of bonsai clippers. Start by cutting the thick, old brown roots that have come close to the edge of the pot and are restricting the growth of the young 'feeder roots'. Remove a third to a half of these - being careful that you do not remove too many feeder roots in the process. Next, prune the thinner roots which hang below the depth of the pot by trimming them all into a suitable shape that the pot will accommodate. This should be a shape that fits comfortably into the pot with a 1-2 cm (1/2 to 3/4 in) space between the edges. .
Clean the original pot thoroughly or select a new pot that is more suited to the tree and cover the drainage holes with simple wire mesh. As the plant will now be unstable in the new pot as it has nothing to anchor it - we have to make some anchors to prevent the tree from falling over from winds or from being moved. Thread some wire (doesn't need to be very thick) through the drainage holes or specially designed holes for anchoring and leave for later use. Add a thin layer of gravel to aid drainage and then a layer of soil. Moving the tree around, decide a basic position for it (usually off-center and slightly to the back of the pot) and make a small mound that it will sit on.
Now you can place your bonsai on the mound by gently nestling it in and spreading its roots out evenly throughout on top of the soil. Once you are happy with the height and position of your tree (it is going to stay like that for 1-2 years), take the wires that you threaded and twist them together over the main rootball of the tree until it is held firmly and will not rock. Because these wires are quite unsightly, you can remove them in a few months time once the tree has settled in.
Add more soil up to the base of the trunk - which should be just below the base of the pot. Tap the side of the pot with your hand to ensure that the soil becomes settled and that there are no gaps around the roots. Use your chopstick to incorporate the roots into the soil and to make sure that they are placed correctly. . Don't fertilize at this time - as this can burn or cause stress to the plant. You can feed in around a month though, when the roots have recovered.
Note that to balance out the extensive pruning you have just done on the roots, you should prune the branches of the bonsai as well so that it can recover quicker and not be disadvantaged further. Root growth usually does equal branch growth.

Watering bonsai
A dry wind, excessive heat, or a combination of both, can quickly dry out the soil, so you must monitor moisture levels regularly. Generally if you keep your trees outside where rain can water them, you don't need to worry much in the winter except in times of hot weather or little rain. In the summer you should endeavour to water your plants several times a week, and daily in very hot periods - where you should move the trees into the shade. You may find it is a good idea to set up a drip sprinkler system - where the bonsai are watered every day in the summer and every three days in the winter. Alternatively, you can use a watering can with a fine rose attached to water the soil and roots. Using a general water sprayer to increase humidity is also a good idea if your climate experiences dry periods.
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