Wow, it's almost Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival that seems to usher all other festivals leading up to Diwali. It feels like the first 7 months went by grappling with COVID-19 and the new world order it imposed on us, and before we know it, it's August. With the pandemic raging, this is going to be a different chaturthi, certainly a more somber one, and hopefully one that is celebrated responsibly, from a distance.
As hard as the pandemic is on everyone, artisans who rely on the festive period to make the bulk of their annual income have been hit hard. During the festivities, ganesh idol craftsman receive large orders for the many "pandals" that crop up all over the city. With celebrations rightly cancelled, orders have dried up and these craftsmen are suffering, left holding excess inventory, or at the very least, not earning during this key period. This article by the Times of India has done a good job covering the plight of craftsman in Coimbatore, but I'd think the situation is the same all over the country.
Let's take a moment to appreciate the skills of these craftsmen, skills that have been handed down from generations. I was hoping to showcase several varieties of ganesh idols, but the lockdown has affected our supply chain as well. So I'm featuring what I could lay my hands on- a wooden ganesh in a tribal style from my personal collection, and one that we have available in Sanskriti Lifestyle, with turquoise inlay work. Looking forward to a day when COVID-19 is a thing of the past, and we can freely share the full breadth and diversity of our artisans. Until then, stay safe!
More about Ganesh Chaturthi on Wikipedia
Hand-crafted brass objects date back thousands of years. The purpose of these delicate artifacts was utility in some shape or form. But it speaks to man's inherent nature to create things that are aesthetically appealing. Master craftsmen were skilled at making all sorts of brass items, right from utensils and tools to statues and decorations. This skill is slowly dying as demand for these items fade. Like with everything else, craftsmen need to evolve their art so it suits people's design sensibility. But this is a tough nut to crack. The trend today is cleaner, more modern lines. Traditional brass craftsmanship is intricate and detailed, at odds with a truly modern look. Craftsmen have diversified their skills, making popular items like letter and vine bottle boxes with inlaid brass. There is still a market for the truly traditional items as well, like sindoor boxes and diyas. Not surprisingly a lot of our clientele is from Indians living overseas, who want to stay connected with their heritage and want their homes to reflect a part of who they are.
As a community, we should be working towards preserving traditional handicraft methods. It would be a shame to hav skills that have been handed down for centuries die because we didn't care enough.
Featured in the picture on top is a set of antique brass utensils and wooden boxes with brass sheets. The picture below has replicas of sindoor boxes and combs from a bygone era.
Ah, blue pottery and white flowers. That's as classic as it get. And so striking. Group them together, split them up, place them in front of mirrors or on a mantel. The contrast of blue and white is simply eye catching. I've sees them in both modern and traditional homes, and the effect is always dramatic.
Blue pottery urns and vases at Sanskriti Lifestyle come from kilns in India, like Khurja. I am happy to see our traditional potters adapting their craft to a more contemporary palette. I love the traditional styles and colours of khurja pottery and hope we don't lose it to a chinoiserie fad, but for any craft to survive in this age of machines and mechanisation, the artist must adapt. The Indian version definitely has it's own design elements, where some of the Khurja or Jaipur style that tends to be more Mughal in its influences or just plain intricate, trickles through. Personally I love the blending of these influences.
Original Chinese blue pottery is also abundantly available in stores across India. It comes in a wide variety of quality, but unless you're a connoisseur, it serves the purpose pretty nicely.
I personally have a beautiful 18" urn from a discount store in Seattle and an antique ceramic and bronze combination vase that I bought from a garage sale.
For more design ideas on blue pottery, check out Ballard Designs. They have an amazing range of products, if you happen to live in the United States.
Depending on the type of wood and type of finish, there are simple things you could do that will refresh the look of your furniture.
Stained or dull furniture
If your furniture has too many glass rim stains, or is looking dull, here's a simple trick- beeswax. Make sure you use one that has no stain or colour so it doesn't alter the look of your furniture. Simply apply some and rub it along the grain.
Teak wood lost its golden glow?
Teak that is exposed to the elements will turn grey and lose its golden glow. The teak itself is still good, it's just bleached. Linseed oil is a good way to bring back the glow. Be prepared to do a fair amount of rubbing as this is what burnishes the wood.
If you just want a new look to your furniture, try a bright colour like a purple or yellow. Keep in mind that while any oil based paint will do the trick, it wouldn't be easy to strip the paint off if you decide you don't like it. Paint adds a good layer of protection, so if you want to place your teak wood outdoors, the paint will add a more protection than wax or oil.
We don't recommend placing Sheesham or mango (local hardwood) outdoors. It's simply not strong enough to withstand the elements and will crack, even if it has oil paint on it.
Protecting your carvings
Carving are best protected with wax or oil. Make sure to use a soft brush to get all the details.
How the pros melt wax
Here's a trick I've seen our polish guys use for wax that's solidified- they light a match and throw it in the tin that has the wax. Then they shut the lid tight. The match melts a small portion of the wax, and extinguishes when the oxygen in the jar is used up. Don't try it at home though!
A smart strategy to design your home can prove to be extremely beneficial to you in the long run. Here's how we can help you get started-
Running out of storage space in cupboards? Use the empty spaces on the walls instead! A small shelf built on walls can prove to be very helpful in storing the lighter home decor accents. You could even make pots and jars stand on shelves against walls in order to give a quirky countryside feel to your homes.
These rolling shelves maximize spaces and are one of the easiest ways to store away upholstery. Rolling shelves under beds are a great storage place for towels, linens and other delicate material.
Trunks and Boxes
The classic way to store things is to put them away in boxes. The boxes can also be used as side tables and coffee tables to give a rustic look to the interiors. Wooden boxes also lend an elegant, royal charm to your homes.
Maximise your bookshelf space by stacking your books vertically. If you're feeling a little adventurous, you could also use a step ladder as a make-shift bookshelf! Categorize your books by color for better organization.
It's important to utilize the floor space effectively. Install shelves at the base of a closet or even in the small space between the door and the bed and you'll never have to rifle through items strewn across the floor.
Home decor can be made both appealing and functional. Please feel free to share with us tips on de-cluttering and organizing homes. We'd be glad to hear what you have to say!
With Christmas round the corner, it's time to start thinking about the decorations. And this year it goes much beyond the traditional lights and Christmas Tree. Get your homes Christmas ready with the following tips-
Light it Up!
Lights during the festive season are a no-brainer; spruce it up with colored lights and funky lampshades. To give it a traditional appeal, stick to red, green and white lights for the perfect Christmas effect. Fairy lights hung on trees and around windows will give a delicate and feminine touch to the exteriors.
Enamel pots offer rustic style and sophistication. They also add a pop of color to your exteriors. Add in drama to your gardens. Switch over from flower beds and small pots to large terra cotta ones. Place them in an area you want attention drawn to- maybe the entrance or the side-walk.
Chairs and Benches
Add a dash of color to your gardens and outdoor spaces with vibrantly colored chairs and benches. There is no fixed rule when it comes to choosing a color- go with the one you’re comfortable with. If you're not feeling too adventurous, you could always start with a white bench and throw in printed cushions. The warm sun streaming through the window, the rustic charm of some vintage furniture and traditional upholstery- create your own cheerful nook in your gardens.
Dress up your Porch!
Outdoor decorations cannot be complete without Santa Claus! You could purchase a light up Santa, or simply have small, stuffed Santas all over the porch. If your home is a two-storey you can have Santa positioned to make it look like he’s climbing up on his way to the chimney! Wreaths are another way of decorating the front porch, especially the door.
Lead Them On!
To keep it traditional, line the walkway from your gates till the front door with miniature Christmas trees. Add some fairy lights to these trees and you could have the perfect Christmas welcome.
You don't always have to spend a huge amount while revamping your homes. Spruce up your home decor with these easy and budget friendly home decorating tips.
1.Avoid putting furniture against the walls. Pulling it in (even a few inches) can instantly make the room look bigger, and create a sense of flow. Plus, your walls will stay clear longer without the constant contact.
2. Contrary to popular belief, dark walls do not make a room look smaller. In fact they give a perception of depth, hence making the room seem bigger.
3.Have some old furniture lying around? Paint it in eye-catching vibrant colors to give the furniture (and the room) a new look.
4. Dark furniture making your room look too dingy? Add white molding around window frames to brighten up the room.
5.To create flattering light, use lampshades lined in a soft pink.
6.Loose cushions and pillows should be rotated and fluffed every week to keep filling materials evenly distributed. This also makes them look as good as new for a longer time.
7. Give your room a makeover with colorful pillows and eye-catching accessories. Add in a graphic quilt for extra effect.
8. The higher the curtains, the better. High curtains make the ceiling seem higher, thus expanding the room size.
As furniture manufacturers, we realize the importance of using a variety of materials and specialized finishes to protect the furniture during regular use. What can you do to protect the finish on your furniture? Here are a few tips we could help you out with-
1. Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight in the summer. Extreme heat can damage fine finishes, which results in cracks in polish as well as the wood.
2. If a vintage piece has a lingering smell, air it outside on a warm, dry day (again, make sure you keep it away from direct sunlight)
3. To prevent metal framed furniture from rusting, apply paste wax to protect it.
4. Leather is easy to care for. Avoid using normal cleaning supplies -- like soaps, detergents, solvents, etc.Just use a conditioner every 6-12 months and wipe up spills as they occur with a clean cloth, and you’ll have your leather furniture looking as good as new at all times.
5. Coffee mug stains on your table? Place a soft cloth on the stain and iron it for 20-30 seconds at a medium heating. Do not forget to keep the iron moving.
6. Dust your furniture frequently. Use a lamb wool’s duster or a damp white cotton cloth as they do a better job at cleaning out the fine dust. Avoid using a feather duster as it may cause harm to the furniture as it damages delicate finishes.
7. If you have wax or gum on the surface – Harden the substance by holding an ice cube wrapped in cloth against it. Pry off with a fingernail or credit card. Rub the area with extra-fine steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. Wipe dry.
8.Avoid all cleaners containing ammonia since it can damage wooden furniture easily.
9. Vacuum all upholstery once a week using a brush attachment only.
10.To keep teak looking beautiful, it should be oiled every 3 to 4 months with a lint free cloth or very fine steel wool.
Outdoor spaces should feel like an extension of your homes. It's important to make sure the outdoor areas look warm and inviting too. We at Sanskriti Lifestyle can help you with a few techniques that could help you give a personality to your outdoor areas-
Doormats are great ways to add a little bit of color to the outdoor area. These are the first things people see when they enter your home- why stick to the usual? Opt for some quirky ones to give your front door a little spunk. These creatively wacky mats will definitely add a personal touch to your doors!
The choice of furniture is all up to you. You can give it a royal, ethnic touch with wooden furniture, or opt for a simple look with light colored garden chairs. Vibrantly colored furniture works well if you wish to create a young, eclectic atmosphere. You can also mix and match your furniture items and have a variety of chairs and benches adorning your front porch.
Decorating with plants can never go wrong. Taking some inspiration from nature is not only inexpensive but also creates a calming, soothing and healthy environment. Plants bring life to your place and fill it with a natural vibrancy.
Bring in some drama to your front porch with some lamps. Vibrantly colored, intricately designed lamps lend a traditional appeal whereas Moroccan lamps help create drama. Lanterns add warmth to outdoor settings. Cheerful color shades brighten up the mood whereas dark colors might make the entrance seem dark and uninviting- choose the colors carefully!
Bright colored upholstery makes the outdoor settings cheerful. Throwing in vibrantly colored and/or quirky cushions spruces up the mood immediately. Experiment with textures, colors and eye-catching displays. There is no rule book when it comes to interior decoration.
No matter what the size of the exterior is, there is always a way to add a personality to the space. Do you have any interesting tips or suggestions? Share them with us!
There is no rule book when it comes to interior decoration. Have fun experimenting with colors, textures and eye-catching displays, and give the room a personality that you want.
Modern crafting is about 2 simple pieces that you have got together, and a whole lot of experimentation with prints, colors fabrics. Here are some ways you can incorporate colors and prints in your homes-
Adding in vibrantly colored cushion covers helps brighten up the space. If you're looking for a young look, try quirky prints.
Bright curtains that stand out against the color scheme of the room are a big trend. They add a hint of drama and energy into the environment. Opt for contrasting colors like red/green/bright blue in a subtle, cream colored decor.
Table Cloth and Upholstery
A classic print (like the check) can be made modern by playing around with patterns and giving it an unexpected color. How about experimenting with neon checks in your dining room?
Vibrantly colored doors (and window frames) stand out against the subtle decor and provide a quirky, eclectic touch to the interiors. They also add a hint of drama to the subtle surroundings.
Chairs and Benches
Painting your furniture in an eye-popping color is a trend that is slowly on its way to ruling the home decor circuit. Even a simple bench painted white can stand out if paired with quirky or vibrant cushions.
Carpets and Rugs
Usually available in traditional prints, these are a great addition to your home decor. They add sophistication and elegance to the interiors. Smaller rugs can also be used as wall hangings!
Mix and match, embrace bold colors, and give your traditional decor a modern twist with a quirky, colorful and eclectic look!
Hi! I'm one of the founding members of Sanskriti Lifestyle, and have absolutely loved our journey from small, tucked-away little gift store to our new avatar of sprawling bungalows dotting our beautiful gardens. Our philosophy is to put a smile on our customers' face, as they stroll through the colonial bungalows and embark on a discovery of our (very!) diverse home decor and furniture. We want to help our customers create their unique living space, either through our beautiful products, or through our style tips and ideas. Follow this blog. Team Sanskriti hopes you will enjoy it!