Monday, 7 October 2013

Recycling boxes

The amount of waste we 'produce' day in and day out is piling up on the surface of the earth. If only we could reuse articles it would take off a great load. However, reusing stuff is often taken up as boring and ugly which is one reason why many things land up in the trash bin.

How about making 'reuse' a little exciting and more fun. This following bit of activity is a short and sweet one and in no time you can have two boring looking boxes transformed in to cute storage boxes. Can you guess what these two boxes originally contained?

A little bit of alteration, couple of articles and a torch and cookie box take up a completely different look. This is what you need - fabric, fabric glue (I did not have this then and hence used the normal PVA glue), scissors and a measuring tape.

  • Cut off one side of the box to give you a long boat type container. 
  • Measure the box and accordingly cut the desired fabric - one for the interior and one for the exterior. It is just like covering it with paper. A little bit of variation in measurement is allowed as you will be pasting it and not stitching.
  • Apply glue on the exterior and stick the appropriate fabric.
  • Next, apply glue on the interior and paste the other fabric. 
  • There, your boxes are ready. 

Store whatever you wish to now:

Friday, 28 June 2013

Very Versatile Chocolate Syrup - Homemade

Modern day city living means getting everything from the store. It is one of the many 'luxuries' of living in a metro where homemade is becoming minimal and store bought is seen as a way of living. But how many of us take care to look at the ingredient list and then decide what to buy and what not to. Believe it or not, not many of us. Time is short and workload is immense. The best thing to do is land up at a super market and grab all necessary items.

Chocolate syrup was one thing I had always spotted at the store but the presence of preservatives, fructose and corn syrup always discouraged me from getting it home. It definitely gives an instant kick to all those desserts and making chocolate milk becomes super easy but I could not go ahead with it.

The day I came across this recipe for chocolate syrup I went for it. In the next half hour I was sipping my glass of chocolate milk with my very own homemade chocolate syrup. It is one of the simplest recipes and the results are amazing. Plus you have none of the unwanted stuff. It is just chocolate, sugar, vanilla, salt and water.

Today I finished making my second batch with a little less sugar than what the recipe mentions. After all the sweetness preference varies from person to person.

Here goes the recipe (courtesy )

You will need:
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1 1/4 cup brown sugar)
dash of salt
I cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan.
Add water and mix well. Take care to remove all lumps.
Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring regularly.
Allow to cook for another 1 minute.
Remove from fire and add the vanilla.

Allow the syrup to cool before pouring into a container. Store it in the refrigerator and use as per your wish. The possibilities are many. You can make chocolate milk both hot and cold; pour over ice creams, add to cold coffee, drizzle over brownies and the list will go on and on.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Chicken Junglee Salad

Children always tend to love food that is not homemade. Going with this habit Aseem seemed to just 'love' the Chicken Junglee Sandwich that he ate on board a flight. On tasting it I realized there was basically mayonnaise mixed with chicken shreds. I had to give it a try and soon came up with my very own version of it. It is a rather healthier version with lots more vegetables, less salt and with a crunchy edge.

This is a very simple recipe with minimal cooking (only the chicken has to be cooked) and very versatile. You can have it as is or use it as a filling for sandwiches and wraps.

Versatile Chicken Junglee Salad

Chicken mince - 100 gms

Cucumber - 1 medium sized

Onion - 1 medium sized

Capsicum - 1 medium sized

Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp

Mayonnaise - 2 tbsp

Mustard sauce - 2 tsp

Crushed black  pepper

Coriander leaves chopped -  2 tbsp
Salt as per  taste


Place the chicken mince in a non-stick pan and set to cook on a slow flame. No, you need not add any oil. Add the salt, stir a bit and cover it. The chicken will soon give off its juices and you will notice a fair amount of liquid in the pan. Let it cook in the juice. Stir once in a while.

While the chicken in cooking wash all the vegetables and finely chop . Mix all vegetables, add the mustard sauce, mayonnaise, garlic powder, pepper,  coriander and salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

The chicken would still be cooking and will take some time for the water to dry up. Once the water has dried  stir the chicken and try to get rid of lumps. It will have a rather grainy texture. Let it cool down.

Once the chicken is cool transfer it to the vegetable-sauce bowl. Mix all the ingredients very well and return to the fridge. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or till it is fairly chilled.

Relish as desired.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Re-purposed Boxes

Creating things time and again always gives a satisfactory feeling and when it involves making use of waste material the joy is greater. Same happens with this piece of craft - if I may call it so.

Milk cartons are a regular and till now I had been throwing them away. One of those bright days when ideas dawn upon me I saw a good storage space option in these boxes. Fabric was available at hand and in no time waste was transformed to a dainty storage box.

Since there is no stitching involved this project hardly takes time to complete. The only time taking part is the measurement and cutting of the fabric. Once you have your fabric pieces in place then it is a joy-ride.

Store whatever you feel like. They hardly cost anything. In fact, the fabric used here are the ones I obtained at discounted rates. The vendor was left with the last one or two meters which he wanted to do away with quickly. He offered them at reduced rated I could not resist the offer.

Worked out pretty fine for me. Spare one hour in a day and this super quick craft activity will be done in no time.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Mobile Pouch

Since the last phone pouch I think I have gained a little more experience with my stitching. I got a new phone and that called for new phone pouch. This one had to be a little larger, in fact a lot larger than the last one. I wanted an extra pocket in which I could hide in a little money and keys as well. The results were not bad.

Mobile Phone Pouch
As is pouch is supposed to carry by phone it needed some cushion. There is an entire layer of foam in between the two layers of cloth. Vertical stitches are done all along to keep the fabric and foam together. As for the button it is only for decoration.

You see, I was in a bit of hurry to complete it and so went ahead and stuck Velcro patches. I had come across these adhesive patches in a store and could not resist buying them. I know the two black spots do look out of place but who has to look at them all the time. :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

T- shirt to Drawstring Bag

This was a project I had on my mind since a long time. Aseem outgrew this t-shirt but I would not let go of it. Somehow liked it a lot and wanted to re-use it.

T-shirt to Drawstring bag

Initially I thought of making a cushion cover out of it but finally settled on a drawstring bag.

Being a full-sleeve t-shirt I had ample material to give it extra storage options. I ripped open the seams of the sides and the sleeves. (This was the most difficult part of the job since the entire shirt had a serge stitch running all around.)

The front and back of the t-shirt formed the front and back of the bag. The sleeves formed the front and internal side-pocket. (see the two small pen caps peeping from the right side. they are in the pocket).

I did have the basic idea of a drawstring bag but the task of inserting storage space, especially the internal side-pocket, needed a bit of thinking. Besides, as is well known, practical on-the-job work is the best way to understand the task and this was exactly what happened here. As I continued the stitching the ideas kept coming in the pieces fell in place. What I had before me was a cute looking t-shirt looking even better as a re-furbished drawstring bag.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Envelope Pillow Cover

This is my first envelope pillow cover project and took me a little too long to complete it. But the result was rather satisfying.

It is for my son since his pillow is of an unusual size and hence not possible to get one in stores. But I guess it is much more satisfying to have one hand made pillow cover. Select your own fabric, colours of your choice and give is it a desires design. You can go for one with or without the frills.

I used different fabrics for the front and back to add a little more colour and to break the monotony of the print.  

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Bolster pillow cover

The covers of my two bolster pillows had to be retired long back. The only reason I hung on to them was because I wanted to stitch my own covers rather than get ready made ones. Finally I get enough time to stitch the covers and here I have two brand new covers which give a new life to my pillows.

These were the simplest that I could come up as they were the first ones I was trying out. With the minimum material required the pillows have transformed from old and faded to bright and colourful. If you want to make it this is how you go about it. The measurements as per my pillow size which was 27 inches round and 32 inches long. You may need to alter it as per your pillow size.

You need:
Printed fabric – 20X30 inches
Plain fabric – 7.5X30 inches (2  pieces)
Matching thread
Laces – 40 inches approximately (2 pieces)

Make it:
Align the 30 inch edges of the plain fabric and printed fabric with wrong sides together. Both plain fabrics should be aligned on both ends as these will form the sides of the cover. Pin them in place. Leaving less than a  ½ inch space stitch both the sides. This is an optional step that I did to give the cover the clean look from the inside.

Turn the fabric over to get the right sides together. Press along the stitch to make a firm mark and fold.

Leave ½ inch of space and stich keeping right sides together.  If you do not want to go into so many steps you can simple place the right sides together in the first step itself and stitch leaving half and inch space.
Now fold along the four corners lengthwise. The fold should be just about a little over half a centimetre. Run a stitch along all these folds.

Make a slot along the open end of the plain  fabric to allow the lace to go through. To do this fold half a centimetre of the material and once again fold over keeping  just about an inch. To make stitching this part easy it would be a good idea to press all along.
Stitch on both sides.

All that remains is to give the cover its basic shape. Join the two length sides of fabric. Once again to give it a clean finish on the inside stitch along the length with wrong sides together. 

Turn the cover inside out to get the wrong side toward you. Press along the stitch and keeping a space of around an inch. Turn right side out.
Insert the lace into the slots and pull the cover over the bolsters. 

There you have a new looking boster.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Wide Open Pouch

As the name goes, this pouch has a rather large mouth. Unlike other pouches it gives a clear view of its contents doing away with situations of rummaging through stuff. The other difference is that it gives a wide base to enable it to stand erect.

Can prove to be an ideal cosmetic bag or a handy bag for carrying baby's needs.

Had seen this design on a website and was wanting to try it out since a long time. The little bit of this fabric that was left turned out to be the perfect size for it.

I am pretty satisfied with the result but will surely make some more and get a better finish.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Drawstring Bag

This was something completely new that I was trying out. Had been on my mind for quite some time but finally gave it a shot today and I am not disappointed. It surely could have been better but for a first time attempt it turned out pretty fine.

Will be trying out an additional one soon but for now this one is acceptable to Aseem though he would have preferred a denim bag.

The following little one was for the neighbor's son for his third birthday. It was a fairly small one measuring 11" X 10". The prize was the fact that he had it on his back throughout the party.

Drawstring bag 
Birthday gift for a three year old

Monday, 7 January 2013

Cushion Cover

Between all the article writing and storyboarding it is always fun to take some time to create something. This one cushion of mine was screaming for a cover and I just could not ignore it. So here it is with its brand new cover made all by myself for my cushion and to add a splash of color to my couch.

It is simple and easy to do it. I did go a bit wrong with the zipper as I was trying out this different way to attach it. But in the end it turned out to be pretty fine.

I have also tried to keep the inside stitches clean by first stitching the three closed sides right-way out. Next I pulled the inside out and ran a stitch all along the three sides with right sides in. This way the inside stitches do not show the rugged edges and besides it also adds strength to the stitch.

I will soon come up with a tutorial for this as I find a DIY cushion cover to be far more better than a store bought one.