Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!!! For all lovers of Halloween art, here’s a papercut I made about two years ago. A wizard with a telescope, some bats, pumpkins, this picture is screaming Halloween all over!  If you wish to see another of my Halloween papercut, click here .

The month of October is always about going into the forest and looking for beautiful and delicate mushrooms. I love the fallen leaves strewn all over the forest grounds, the red tinge everywhere you look, and peeking out of the nooks of the ground are mushrooms of all varieties.

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I think I could just weave a story out of this mushroom..

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These dainty mushrooms go very well with the majestic chatêau behind them. I know not any names of mushroom varieties, and I am quite aware of how dangerous it could get eating wild mushrooms so I leave the tasting to our little animal friends.

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Sadly, this year there has hardly been any mushrooms in the forest. I was so disappointed!! All of these pics have been taken by me last October. I truly hope to see them back again next year!

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In the meantime, kids came by all afternoon and evening trick or treating. My thoughtful husband had anticipated the visits and had a bag full of goodies ready on the table. The expression on my little one’s face staring at the girl is so priceless! 😉

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Actually, I am so glad that Halloween this year has kicked off so well here in France. I don’t think I have ever seen so many Halloween costumes being worn by kids or adults in any of the past years!

Here’s my magical young wizard boy, busy checking the constellations, peering into the Halloween of 2017..

If you like my art and want to support it, buy my art prints or templates at Etsy, or forward it to someone you think might enjoy it! Cheers!

 

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Halloween Kitty, and inside a haunted French castle

 

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Halloween is sneaking in closely! It’s time to be thinking of scary pumpkin heads, witches on brooms, bats and other ghouls. Here is something fun and cute that I’ve made. Always a big fan of cat art, here’s my Halloween Kitty, framed in a box frame so that the shadows can be enjoyed.

This Halloween Kitty has been hand drawn and hand cut. Would you like to have this design, and cut it out yourself? Yes you can! This art is available as a template, all you need to do is take a print out, get ready with your scalpel and cut away! You too can put it in a shadow box, or just stick it to cardstock and give it to someone special on the day of Halloween! Here she is before I spray painted her black. Do you like it black or white?

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Look at this gorgeous castle below… It’s deserted for many years… Haunted? I think so!

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This is the second time I am entering a deserted premise by the way! And with all those overgrown weeds, I was very careful not to go stepping accidentally over ‘l’ortie’ ( stinging nettle in French)

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Such deserted castles or old monuments can be found plenty around France. My husband and I, while on a stroll, found this beauty somewhere around L’isle Adam, an elite French neighborhood, 30 kms north east of Paris.

Alas! The secrets of this castle are only enjoyed by squatters now..

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A piano that has seen much better days.

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I can imagine this foyer at one time a resplendant place, welcoming, warm, and people walking to and fro the different rooms.

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This staircase walked up and down by an absent minded homemaker, realizing too late that it’s raining and the windows upstairs need to be shut..

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Pitter-patter, pitter-patter go footsteps silently in the dead of night

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I hope you enjoy looking down staircases as much as I do..

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What is this cage like structure? A medieval torture device? Nooo…. Any guesses? It’s for holding wine bottles.

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Whew! Am I glad it’s a sunny day out! Shakes away some of the cobwebs in my head!

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Whoops, a skeleton car just pulls in!! Nah, just joking! This hilarious car advert is something I had seen at the Shiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

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Have you been totally spooked out by the haunted castle? If you want to read something similar, click here, of a trip into a haunted and deserted hotel I walked into, in Darjeeling, India.

Halloween Kitty up close to let you know how spooky things are going to get! 🙂

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If you like my art and want to support it, buy my art prints or templates at Etsy, or forward it to someone you think might enjoy it!

Sketches of an Indian Goddess, and Maison de l’Inde

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Here is Goddess Durga, beloved to Bengalis of India. Every October has a week long celebration dedicated to her.

Here are some simple and quick sketches I had made in 2015, depicting her as a young girl. In this sketch above, I have her holding a Shiuli flower, a delicately shaped, small and fragrant flower. The shiuli plant starts to flower around October in India, hence this flower is strongly associated with the celebrations of Goddess Durga.

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Goddess Durga reposing in a lotus flower

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If you see showers of stars across the sky, you will know Goddess Durga is in a playful mood

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Beautiful flowery swing

Today I attended the seventh day of the Durga Puja celebrations in Maison de l’Inde, located within the campus grounds of Cité Université, in Paris. If you walk inside, and walk up the first floor, you enter a big room where the celebrations are held year after year in this very room. I asked some of the senior Bengalis around the room how long has Durga Puja been celebrated in Paris? ‘Since the last 30 years’ I receive the reply.

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I can tell you that the ladies you see seated close to the idols, wearing saris, these ladies work hard year after year to produce equally beautiful, and as authentic Durga Pujas as Bengalis have it back home. They constantly move around making sure everyone is OK and enjoying themselves. One more thing : ANYONE can enter this place for free. There is no charge, or any kind of obligation to pay. I see many curious visitors, French and other nationalities coming in here, and usually enjoying themselves, admiring the colorful saris, and the relaxed atmosphere. In the evenings, there are usually traditional dances, or Bengali songs sung, that lend to a very cultural atmosphere.

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Nom Nom! This is called ‘bhog’. It’s not the name of a recipe. It’s the term used for food that is prepared for lunch time, during the days of Durga Puja, at the place of worship itself. Here at the Maison de l’Inde, yes, ANYONE can just come in and have this plate of heaven. Bhog is always vegetarian food.

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I had the opportunity to watch this Bengali gentleman, an active participant of the Durga Puja, make pulao, in this rice cooker. ( It was a great chance for me to finally learn the recipe myself!)

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Rice, butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and rasins. And of course, finally add water that is double the quantity of rice, and shut the lid and let it cook about 15 minutes.

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Everyone busy eating the plastic containers distributed that had the cut fruits ( pieces of apple, banana, pomegranate, grapes, halwa) to everyone.

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Here is the Shiuli flower again, just making sure you remember that sweet little flower! 🙂 And here is my papercut Butterfly Girl, surrounded by shiulis.

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If you have liked this post, and would like to support my work, buy my art prints and framed papercut art at Etsy, or forward this post to someone you think would like it!

Handmade baby announcement cards, Design 2

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This is my second lot of the baby announcement cards that I’ve decided to take up personally and make them handmade. I already have the feeling that I am starting to become a kind of semi-expert on making personal cards, given this is my second venture after my first lot!

I have used the same cards as before, with the cards measuring 13.5 cms by 13 cms. They are of the same colours, the cards being teal-ish in colour and the envelopes dark blue. And yes, the design is mine completely! I think it feels so nice to know that you came up with the idea. Both of lots are centered on the idea of having a peek-a-boo cut-out on the first card page to show the photograph that will be fitten on the inner page … soon hopefully! 🙂

The sequence of the card making is simple. I used my rubber stamp of the baby in the flower and my glitter paste around the petals, I made blue and white felt flowers as decoration pieces, along with the curtains and the peach coloured flowers that I cut out by using my punch-machine.

I first made a rough design on a card so I would know better of how to get the card going. The idea is to create a window with shutters on either side, curtains to be fitted in, and a pot of flowers on the window ledge.

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And voila! My card is done! I made, just as the last time, 11 cards, and now I have 15 more to go.

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Feeling happy with this lot, in fact I like it even better than the first lot I made! The idea of the pot with the peach flowers in it actually belong to hubby. I haven’t made up my mind yet though what design to follow for the third lot, but I have already bought some materials.

An interesting observation!! Yesterday, while hubby and I were driving through Paris, I made a grand realisation… all the time I’ve lived in France, I have never ever seen a …. school bus for children!!!  A sight I’ve taken almost for granted on the roads of any country I’ve been to, especially if I’m in the vicinity of a school. I told this to hubs and he gave it a thought and agreed that it’s true, one hardly sees schoolbuses at all here in France. How just so different! Well, the reason behind is mainly the fact that almost all schools, or let’s say a big majority of the schools in France have almost the same quality of education offered, so parents don’t feel the need to send their children off to schools far away from where they live. Every city or town or village in France has it’s own school so parents usually drop off their children to school directly. It would be so great if this system could be followed by other countries too, it sounds so logical and easier this way! Children do not have to waste much time in commute and can rather spend the time otherwise in more useful activities. I remember as a child how often I would be nodding off to sleep int he bus and one time, I’d even missed my stop! Oh well, those are my childhood memories! 🙂

Handmade baby announcement cards, design 1

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My very first project of the year is semi-completed, yayy! And what better project could I start off with than getting to prepare the baby announcement cards of my own little angel due to arrive soon. 

This is the first time I attempted making cards, and so many of them too. At first I had no idea of how to start off with them. I got blank cards of the shade of teal, with envelopes a dark shade of blue. I scouted through Pinterest for inspiration, but finally I had to come up with my own ideas as I had already shopped random stamps and ribbons for baby ideas. 

I prepared the list of folks I needed to send off the cards to, and the number’s come to 45. I decided to make 3 designs in total (more to keep my interest alive!). in this set, I’ve prepared 11 cards of a particular design. The photo of the baby is inserted inside of the card and part of the photo will peek out through the heart design on the outside. I started off with a rough sketch of the design in my notebook. Here below are my 11 cards of the size 13.5cms X 13 cms. To start off, I decided to use my masking tape that has ‘100% boy’ on it, and I made myself a rubber stamp with a heart on it, that I could use to stamp evenly all over the card to give it some sort of background design.

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And here’s the result:

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Next, I’ve cut out part of the heart shape on the card, keeping a mini heart inside of the big heart, and covered the heart borders with an aqua-green glitter paste. For the second deco piece, I’ve made use of my polka dotted blue ribbon and made a tiny bow shape with a sequin stuck in the middle. For my third decoration piece, I’ve cut out myself heart shapes out of blue felt and made some stitches on it.

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Here’s how it looks like :

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Doesn’t it look so nice already? 🙂 Now, for the bottom portion, I wanted to use my rubber stamp on a separate background paper, and I decided to prepare the background paper myself. Using watercolours, I first dampened my drawing sheet with water and then ran parallel lines of dark blue and green through it. Once dried, I used my rubber stamp and created a border around, which I cut out and stuck each print on the bottom right of the card. On the left of the stamp, I used my special scissors to cut out a nice cursive border around a chart paper aqua green in colour. I filled up the paper with messages both in English and French. 

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Ta- daah!! Below are my cards completed!! I bought a nice calligraphy pen that helped me a lot making that nice handwriting. 

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The inside of the cards have a stamp that mentions details like the date and baby’s weight and size, etc.. details important to mention in a baby announcement card. Here’s a look at the envelopes that I designed. I am relieved and glad I managed to finish off my first lot, and can now look forward to my second!! 🙂

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