Monday, 11 July 2016

Growing Lotus in Apartments or in Containers



Growing Lotus Plant in Containers at Apartments
Most on the population in various countries lives in apartments. Which means having your dream garden is difficult. But not anymore!!! I bring in front of you the steps of having a small pond in your apartment Balcony/Porch. Yes! You read it right. All you need are – -

  •          Lotus Seeds (available at Ebay.com, Amazon, aliexpress.com .etc)

·         A big Tub (20-24 inches in diameter and 12 – 15 in height)
·         Black/Red/Clayey soil
·         Small Bowl (10-15 inches in diameter and 2-3 inches in height). (SHOULD BE CIRCULAR BOWL)
·         Sand
·         Manure/Vermi-compost/rose mix/Fertilizer Tabs/Liquid fertiliser.
·         Gravel/Pebbles (Optional).
Introduction to Lotus Plant
The lotus is a beautiful water plant with round bluish green leaves held well above the water. They vary in size from the miniature Chinese noodle bowl lotus, which has flowers the size of a watch face, to huge standard size plants which can stand 6-7 feet above the water surface. The flowers open mid-morning and close mid-afternoon. Each flower lasts three days before the petals fall away revealing a distinctive seed pod. The pods continue to grow another 6 weeks until double in size. Flower colours are combinations of white, pink, red and yellow. Newly planted lotus will not always flower the first year. The chances of flowering are better if the early summer season is very warm and sunny. Lotus grows in zones 4-10. Most hybrids are developed from species native to East India.

Phase 1: Germinating Lotus Seeds                

Image result for germinating lotus seedsGerminating lotus seeds can be a tricky job. Lotus seed is covered with hard coating which will NOT let water pass into it. (In nature the seed takes 100 years or so to sprout). To speed up the process, we need to remove a small bit of that outer coat to let water pass into the embryo. To do that, I used a sharp knife. Cut off a small bit of outer (dark brown) coat to reveal some cream colour cotyledon (Don’t do that too much, you may hurt the seed). After doing so, put the seeds in a container of water and wait. Change the water once every day. After 3 days, your seeds will swell up almost 2 times. And after 2 more days, you can find that the seeds will split and green shoots will be emerging. And, for 2-3 weeks, place them in different long jars. They will grow really fast.

Phase 2: Potting


After 1 month or so, the plant is ready to be planted in its pot. Fill the smaller bowl half with clayey/Black soil and press it hard. Make a hole in the middle and plant the seed in it. Spread some manure/rose mix around the seed and cover the entire pot with thick layer of sand. Place some stones/pebbles for good look and place it in the bigger tub. Fill the tub with water. Make sure that the temperature outside DO NOT drop below, 15 degree Celsius before planting them outside. Lotus love heat and sunshine. So, place them in a sunny and hot spot. Place them at a place in your porch where they will get at least 4-5 hours of direst sunshine. (More sunshine – better growth).


Phase 3: Maintenance
The first spring leaves to appear will float on the water surface. Active growth begins when water temperature reaches 35 degree Celsius. After some 4-5 months of hot sunshine, probably the lotus will begin to send up leaves which will stand above the water surface.
In the winter you can store you lotus in an unheated garage, a greenhouse or drop it to the deepest part of your pond (the tuber cannot be allowed to freeze). After the last frost the next spring, the lotus should be lifted from the pond or moved from the garage and placed in a sunny, warm & protected location to begin its seasonal growth. When the plant has developed its aerial leaves & the pond again reaches 70 degrees, you can return the lotus to the pond.
(If the temperatures at your area do not go below 15 degrees Celsius at night times, you need not let your lotus go for dormant stage.)
Feeding is not necessary for 3-4 months after the planting. As soon as lotus starts sending aerial leaves, use fertilizer tabs very carefully. (As too much fertilizer might burn the plant).

Now just wait for a beautiful Bloom!!!




After 3 Months - 






Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Recycling Pots - With Clay - Using Kulfi matkas.

Decorating Small Pots called Matkas with Clay/M-Seal. 

You need - 
  • A Small Pot
  • Clay/M-seal
  • Metallic paints (Acrylic)
  • Brushes
  • Touchwood (varnish)(Optional)










Monday, 9 May 2016

Different Types of DIY Fabric Painting Ideas

Fabric Painting 

Painting you dull fabrics and transforming them into the master piece is an art of appreciation. Learn this awesome hobby without much effort and money at "Craftopedia"!

Tie and Dye Technique

  • Wet the fabric and squeeze the excess water
  • Tie the fabric with tie cords/ Rubber bands at required areas using different kinds of ties such as beads, coins or grains.
  • Paint the untied area with thick coats using desired shades of fabric colours with applicator brush.
  • Allow to dry for 24 hours and then untie the cords. 
  • Iron the reverse side to fix colour on the fabric. 
This technique of tying  and dyeing helps to create Fabulous patterns on a plain fabric. 


Blending Technique 

  • Dampen the fabric.
  • Dilute the fabric colour with water.
  • With light strokes or dots apply two or more diluted colours on the fabric.
  • Allow the colours to blend with each other.
  • Dry for 24 hours.

Stenciling Techniques

  • Position the stencil design on the fabric holding it firmly with adhesive tape.
  • Prepare fabric colour in a pallet with a little water. Dip your brush in the fabric paint. Dab excess paint from the brush and stipple or apply on the fabric. 
  • use different colour combinations and shades by applying different colours in different areas of the stencil.
  • Remove the stencil to see the overlay full effect.
  • Let dry for 24 hours.


Stenciling allows you to reproduce a pattern or a design as many times as you like. 









Block printing Technique 

  • Draw a design such as a flower on the raw surface of a potato. Carve out the design. You can also choose vegetables and fruit having textured surface when cut (eg; lady finger, onions, pineapple etc). Leaves having interested shapes can also be used as block.
  • Hold the fabric in the place with adhesive place.
  • Apply a thick coat of fabric colour on the block with brush or sponge.
  • Place the block carefully on the fabric and press in firmly.
  • Lift the block without sliding or tilting.
  • repeat the procedure using different colour combination and different types of blocks.
  • Dry for 24 hours. 


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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Old is Gold - Ceramic Jars (Jaadis) for Home Decoration

Old Ceramic Jars as Decoration for Interiors and Exteriors
It was Early Summer time, perfect time for mango pickles. My family bought a huge amount of raw mangoes and started preparing the world famous – “Aavakaaya”. The pickle was not supposed to be stored in metallic containers as they might react with metal over a period of time. Since ancient times, many of the south Indian families were using Ceramic Jars called (Jaadis) for storing pickles’.

These double colour beauties mostly in white and brown combination are pride of the kitchen few decades ago. They come in various sizes from huge jaadis for storing pickles for the entire year consumption for those large combined families to small ones to store ghee and curds for daily consumption. These marvellous jaadis come in different shapes but invariably in double colours of brown and white. The standard shape is a tall and cylindrical. They come in the shape of yellow pumpkin called gummadikaya jaadi. 

Well after filling the pickle I was left with one small jaadi. Its, 2 coloured glazing appearance delighted me. It seemed to get back the olden days in our modern home. I decided that it would bring a perfect mixture of olden and modern day’s cultural ambience. And so, I searched for more such containers and decorated my table like this –
 
 Bigger jars could be use as planters also. But my small, cute jar was perfect for 2 stems of healthy money plant in water. They bought elegance to my table. I’m still constantly searching for some more such jaadis or old containers for my house. Then what are you waiting for??? Grab such ceramics from you attics or buy some (they really Inexpensive) and adorn you home with these antiques. 

Your garden can just have such jars standing on a stone table. Or you can fix a fountain in it. They possibilities are endless !!!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Making Leaf Skeletons and Painting them.

Making Leaf Skeletons – Painting them 

When the chlorophyll (Green) is removed from a leaf, the skeleton of the leaf is left behind. This skeleton is almost transparent and does not dry up. These skeletons could be painted and could be used for decorating walls. It could be used as bookmarks or on greeting cards and more. Usually, these leaf skeletons are made using the leaves of evergreen trees. For example - Peepal, Jackfruit, Maple, etc. My favorite is peepal leaf. In this post, I will teach you how to make a peepal leaf skeleton and paint it.

Coming soon : I will also show you 4 DIY Ideas with Peepal leaf skeletons.

You need –
·                    10-15 peepal leaves
·                    A Tub full of water (You may take a bowl also if your peepal leaves are small) (Make sure that the bowl/tub is NOT MADE OF METAL)
·                    A Heavy weight (A Stone)
·                    A Cloth/Plastic sheet (To cover the Tub)
·                    An Old Toothbrush.
Procedure –
1.         Clean the freshly collected Peepal leaves from any dust.
2.        Pile them all and submerge them under water


3.        Place any heavy weight on them so that they remain submerged.
4.        Cover the Tub with a Cloth/plastic sheet to avoid smell and mosquitoes.
5.        Wait for 15 days
6.        Remove the old water and add new water (The old water would stink horribly).
7.        Wait for another 10 days
8.        Then, remove the leaves from water. (They would stink horribly)
9.        Take an old tooth Brush and start scrubbing the leaf surface. (You will find that the green layer starts to wear off)


10.     Carefully scrub off the green layer from the both sides of leaf.
11.      After scrubbing, rinse it in clean water.
12.     Let it dry in sun.


13.     If the leaf curls up after drying, keep it between the pages of a big and heavy book (Dictionary).



Your Leaves are ready – 

Painting Leaf Skeletons
Leaf skeletons are easy to be painted. I have used acrylic paints. Keep the skeleton on a paper. Paint it with diluted acrylic paint. This is how to do it 



These are the painted leaves - 
Soon I will give 4 DIY Ideas to decorate your home with theses skeletons -