Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Tashya- by Charged Voids

Bringing you something different today... a first of sorts. A luxury, high-end bridal store located in Chandigarh. I came across this store on Dezeen Magazine and just loved the design. Modern and yet Indian, it celebrates India's rich heritage in traditional craft. Take a look...

Inspiration for Tashya, a luxury, high-end bridal wear store, was derived from traditional Indian embroidery with its abundance of intricate motifs, says Aman Aggarwal and Siddarth Gaind of Charged Voids, a local design studio based out of Chandigarh. The store won Shops Category in this year’s Inside Festival.

The design makes extensive use of wooden panels having traditional patterns out. These panels serve as ornate screens that are seen throughout the store. The motifs are repeated in different scales and on different materials ranging from wood to metal. The screens or Jalis, as they are termed in India, provide a perfect backdrop to showcase traditional bridal garments that are equally resplendent in their ornate character.

Although the design makes extensive use of pattern, it is used very sensitively and so still manages to achieve a contemporary, luxurious  setting that in no way overwhelming or jarring. 

[All images via Dezeen]

Friday, 22 November 2013

Jane & Vivek's Quaint 'n' Cozy Living Room

Yes folks, My Space, My Style is back! I'm thrilled to be sharing with all of you, a few images of my friend Jane's home... well living room actually. 

I've known Jane since I was in my early 20's. We were all part of a closely knit group of friends in my hometown of Baroda. She shifted to Mumbai after she married and we sort of lost touch, but reconnected a while back thanks to Facebook. Isn't Facebook amazing?! 

Jane lives in Mumbai, in a 1000 sq ft apartment, and when she posted a picture of her living room on Facebook some time ago, I nagged and nagged her to send me more images so I could share it with all of you! 

In Jane's own words, "My growing up years have always instilled in me that a "house is built by hands, but a home is built by hearts". And this is absolutely true because Jane's place is a warm, quaint mix of modern and country style that is incredibly welcoming and cozy, filled with curios and artwork that she cherishes dearly. 

A wonderfully bright living room bathed in filtered sunlight

Their tiny balcony filled with greenery

Some of the artwork Jane has collected over the years

The living room awash with the warm glow of light from a custom made lamp

Jane has also recently launched her own brand of jewelry Elizabeth Creations. Here are a few of her creations & you can see more of here creations here.

[All images - Jane Sridharan]

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I have recently discovered a love for cupcakes. OK, that's not quite right, I've always loved cupcakes, but I've recently discovered how much I love making them! They are just so darn pretty! There's a strange sort of calming pleasure I get when I make them, and especially frost them! I know it sounds a bit crazy, but there it is... And the best part is that they are so easy to make! You can whip up a batch in about an hour from start to finish, & then top them with whatever frosting you want. And although they are so easy to make, they can really wow your guests because if you take a little care they can look really sophisticated.

It's because of this that I've been experimenting with cupcake recipes in the attempt of finding go-to recipes that are simple, uncomplicated and made from ingredients that aren't too difficult to find. I found a really nice vanilla cupcake recipe the other day on Live Love Pasta and I tried it over Diwali when we had a few friends over for dessert. Filled them with homemade lemon curd and topped them with vanilla butter cream frosting. They were a hit with the friends.

After that success I thought I really needed an easy recipe for everyone's favorite- Chocolate cupcakes. And after a few unsuccessful attempts, I came up with one that is easy, quick and most importantly, YUMMY!

Aren't they pretty? I topped them with chocolate sprinkles

In fact the batter itself was so good that I had to resist the urge to eat it straight out of the bowl (wasn't too successful, ended up eating a few spoonfuls).  

The cupcake itself was light, fluffy, moist and had a great chocolate flavor. 

The icing, which was a bit of an experiment using some left over butter cream icing, was light, silky smooth, velvety and delicious. Trust me, it was so good, I literally licked the  bowl clean :) What I loved about it was that it's not clawing and sweet, and even though its rich, it still tastes light. It's also not too heavy on the chocolate, so kids will love it too! 

I will try the frosting again from scratch and update this post so that you can make it from scratch if you don't have some butter cream frosting in the fridge.

So now that I have my chocolate & vanilla go-to cupcake recipe, I'm looking forward to some interesting experiments with frosting combinations... will keep you updated :)

Chocolate Cupcakes  (makes 12 with a bit leftover which you can eat out of the bowl)

1/4 cup un-sweetened cocoa 
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
60g cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp cream
1/2 cup dark chocolate (chopped up into bits- smaller the better)
1/3 cup of some old left over vanilla butter cream frosting (softened)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Boil the water and stir in the cocoa until a smooth mixture forms. Allow to cool. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and honey, and alternately add the flour and cocoa mixture, starting and ending with the flour.

Pour into a lined muffin tin, about 3/4 way up and bake for about 20 minutes. Check them after about 15 minutes and keep an eye on them so that they don't dry out or burn. NOTHING worse than DRY cupcakes! They are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

For the frosting, heat 1/3 cup cream in a pan till it just comes to boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir constantly till the chocolate melts and you get a completely smooth mixture. Place in refrigerator till just cool. In a bowl, whisk the butter cream frosting till it is creamy and soft. Add the tablespoon of cream and continue to whisk. slowly add the chocolate mixture, all the while continuing to whisk. Fill mixture in a piping back and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. 

[All images- Shalini Pereira]

Monday, 11 November 2013

Boho Styled Bedrooms

Winter, it seems, is here to stay. It's come early this year, but there's no mistaking its presence. The days are getting shorter and colder, winter clothes are slowly making their way out of storage and its just so difficult to climb out of bed- out from under the reassuring warmth of those warm, snug covers. And it's even worse on Mondays, when you know you have the week ahead and the weekend is 5 days away! So here's a post to help you look forward to the weekend, to sleeping in & lazing around in your warm, cozy bed.  

I love this set of bedroom images. The rooms are so warm and inviting and give you a real sense of comfort. I also love the Boho style of the rooms, which whisper of a gypsy's life- of far away lands, mysterious strangers and travel. All this is so easily achieved with clever layering, old/traditional fabrics and a trip to the local flea/craft market. 

Love the ethnic touches in the textiles, bed linen and accessories like rugs and baskets. I think this style is perfect for bedrooms because you can really go crazy with things like cushion covers, throws, old quilts, traditional art, wall hangings and traditional crafts. Only drawback is, with a bedroom like this, you may never want to get out of bed!

What do you think of this look? Are you inspired? I'm a fan. I think its inspired me to do up the tiny spare room in our flat. 

[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Colorful & Cosy

If you live in Gurgaon, I'm sure you must be longing for the sun to peak out from behind all the smog & clouds. Diwali has come and gone and it seems that we are all being made to pay for all the fun, revelry and cracker bursting! 

For the last few days the weather outside has been dull, grey and quite depressing. Winter seems to have rolled in quite early this year with temperatures slowly creeping down, promising colder days ahead. Not that I mind the cold, but this dreary weather is getting a bit much. Bring back the sun!

So, keeping in mind the bleak, grey conditions outside, I thought I'd do a post of some colorful rooms which are sure to raise your spirits and cheer you up. It definitely worked on me. Well, partly anyway. I suspect that the chocolate cupcakes I baked today also had something to do with raising my raised spirits :) 

These are a rather eclectic bunch of images - rustic, contemporary, mid-century & kitsch, but the underlying theme is COLOR! There are solids, prints and textures and they all work together so well in a symphony of color and styles adding a sense of playfulness and cheer. Enjoy! And don't let the awful weather outside get you too down.

Images via [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Of Festivals, Family & Friends

I think everyone loves festivals. I mean what's not to love? How often can you gorge on food that is absolutely BAD for you and not have to justify it, slack off on exercise without being judged, sleep in, and party till late into the night without having to worry about work the next day? Festivals come around only a few times in a year so I think its best to make the most of these chances, no?

I have to confess that I'm a Christmas kinda girl... it is my absolute favorite festival. Our place is known for the rocking X'mas party we throw every year and I'm NOT ASHAMED to admit that I start planning it around October. My husband is from Kerala, so we also celebrate Vishu and Onam, but although they are special in their own way, they are quite somber and sedate in comparison to the spectacle that is Christmas. 

Diwali also falls into the category of big, bold & loud- a festival of generosity & giving, so much like Christmas. But up until this year we never really did anything in a big way. This year I thought why not? Let's start a new tradition at home, and celebrate this festival of lights, that rejoices in the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. It happens to be my sis-in-law's favorite festival, so I thought, 'lets make it special!' And how we did! 

We decorated, and there were traditional clay diyas (lamps), string lights hanging from every possible place, tea lights, floating flowers, rangolis- the whole shebang! 

(My precious blackboard all lit up & my not so precious 'artwork')

(The view of our building complex from our balcony which we lit with traditional clay diyas)

(Rangoli at the entrance of our home)

(Finally got a chance to light the hanging brass lamps that were a gift from my in-laws)

(Our dining area credenza all decked up in candlelight)

We ate, and ate & ATE! some absolutely awesome chole & bhature made by our friend Neha, who I think makes the best chole in the world. There was also authentic Mumbai vada pav, made by yours truly, and some cupcakes & gulab jamuns. Boy were we stuffed by the end of the night!

But aside from the food & the gifts and the sheer bling of it all, I think what makes festivals so special are friends and family. At least that's why I love festivals. Its having friends over, sharing good food & drink, and catching up on each other's lives. I think that at the heart of every festival the world over, lie two things- love & laughter, and that, more that all the other craziness, is what makes festivals so wonderful.

I hope that all of you had an absolutely awesome Diwali surrounded by family & friends. And I'm sure if you're anything like me, you  are already looking ahead to Christmas & the New Year and all the fun that comes with it. 

[All images- Ujwala Menon]

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