Sunday, November 8, 2015

Diwali tablescape - ethnic inspiration, the Aalayam way!

Hello! It is Diwali and there will soon be a billion of us celebrating this festival of light and food and cherishing the bond that we share with our friends and family and I hope the preparations have picked up speed at your end as well?

A DIY diwali card ...for that personal touch!
Here is our annual Diwali edition- an Aalayam tradition!

 This time my Diwali tablescape is swathed in earthy colors and carries a haveli-esque feel and this was my attempt at capturing yet another shade of our fascinating culture.  

I have always wanted to travel to color and culture rich Rajasthan – maybe next year… This year though, I brought flavors of Rajasthan to my Diwali dinner table.  

My tablescape is a tribute to the pomp and pageantry of Rajasthan that I have heard so much about. I have combined vibrant hues, miniature paintings, rustic and brass accents to reflect the earthen flavor of the Thar.

This tablescape includes the hallmark of Indian décor –it is full of life and fit for a Maharajah! I had fun working with this exciting palette of colors and patterns. Did you like this Diwali composition? Write to me.

It is going to be a quiet Diwali at home for us this year but I still want to savor mom’s epicurean delights, relive childhood traditions and soak in the sparkle that only Diwali night brings. And here is a simple attempt at creating a setting that appeals to the senses. This is going to be a festival seasoned with meaning and gratitude and we have much to thank for. The tepid glow of the flickering lights that metaphorically represent the essence of Diwali will serve as a gentle reminder of all our blessings.

Supriya and I want to wish all of you a very happy Deepavali. I hope you all revel in the symbolism and gaiety and indulge in beautifying your homes as an uplifting reminder of the spirit of Diwali!  We hope your celebration is beautiful regardless of whether you are honoring religious traditions or cultural customs. And we also wish that all of your dreams come true this Diwali.

Wishing you all love and peace this Diwali!



P.S: All images in this post are from my home and subject to copyright

Saturday, November 7, 2015

At home this Deepavali - Inspirations from a guest blogger.

And it is that time of the year again- when light prevails over darkness and fills our heart with hope and optimism. It is that time of the year when we tend to reflect on ideals such as compassion and empathy in the backdrop of twinkling diyas. It is that time of the year when our homes are filled with a festive glow and our hearts are full of gratitude for life’s little blessings. And as always, we are thrilled to celebrate Diwali with you.

This Deepavali, I am elated to invite Pinky of Pinkz Passionto Aalayam. She shares her thoughts on adding a magical elegance to your Diwali décorscape with brass, flowers and twinkling diyas! 

Take note dear readers and join Pinky as she rings in festive cheer with a beautiful Diwali tablescape. The magic of Diwali beckons and without much further ado, I present Pinky’s Diwali tablescape. We love to bring you décor ideas that you can recreate in your home and we hope Pinky’s beautiful Diwali images will encourage you to conjure up fond Diwali memories of your own as you gather around the dinner table with friends and family. 

We hope you will be that intrepid hostess hosting the most recherché Diwali dinner this year and Aalayam will be your go–to resource for ideas and inspirations.
I absolutely loved her sparkly and celebratory images. Thank you Pinky for showing us how to pack style and substance as we attempt to savor the warm glow of Diwali diyas.

 Pinky blogs at Pinkz Passion and her blog just celebrated its one year anniversary – congratulations!

Pinky is an inspiring stylist and photographer and keeps a beautiful home in Toronto. 

You can catch her creative work and seasonal inspirations over at pinkz passion. It was my absolute pleasure to collaborate with her for this Diwali feature. Thank you Pinky!

Next up is Aalayam’s annual Diwali post – the one that I love putting together just for you dear readers. Let me inspire you to create a festive ambience at home the Aalayam way! Rustic and haveli-esque, my Diwali décor this year is influenced by the earthy flavors and variegated textures of Rajasthan! Piqued? Join me tomorrow, will you?

p.s: Images in this post are the property of Pinky and subject to copyright.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween haunting - let's get the creep on!

Hi there Aalayam family!

Let’s get straight down to business today – the  spooktacular business of Halloween! Typically, I tend to ignore Halloween (in spite of running into a pop-up costume store at every corner this time of the year!). Halloween is smack in the middle of Dasara and Diwali festivities and I’d rather spend the one weekend in between enjoying nature’s colorful display outdoors than switching gears between festivities. 

This year, however, my maternity leave allows me a little more time (or not?!) and I figured, I’d get into the spirit of the season and create a photo booth with hints of Halloween for our family. 

I took the decorating down to our basement to amp up the creepiness! Well, the lighting is going to pose some serious challenges for photography but I’ll let the husband deal with that!

 So, here is a pretty basic, low-key vignette in Halloween staples and autumnal hues. 

Ideally, I would’ve loved to include a seasonal DIY and some handmade accessories (for that personal touch) but something’s gotta give when you have a newborn (I reasoned) and reluctantly settled for a scattering of store bought Halloween props to create this simple and inexpensive vignette. 

Now, if you are hosting a Spooky Soiree – you could create something similar and add some Halloween-esque glam to your candy or the buffet table.  If ghouls, goblins and eerie spiders are not your thing, then just stick to a seasonal color palette to bring in the Halloween flavor. Remember too, the Dollar store is a great place to shop for seasonal décor and props without breaking the bank.  Halloween allows us to escape into a world of imagination and BE A CHILD AGAIN and I hope you all pack plenty of fun into your décor this year!

And how about the costumes? 

Are you brave enough to tackle a DIY costume this Halloween? Well, my husband was and I must say I am mighty impressed with the end result! He is a HUGE Game of Thrones fan and this Halloween; he decided he wanted to be a Son of the Harpy – the masked insurgent rebelling against the queen Daenerys Targaryen (for those of you not following the popular HBO series). 

I must confess that I had my doubts about his abilities as a crafter and I argued that he was setting himself up for failure by taking on the fierce golden mask with its symbolic horns. 

But I guess nothing can stand in the way of a die-hard fan and a wannabe Westeros resident – not even the wife’s skepticism! 

 His DIY costume is the outcome of painstaking labor, single-minded focus and can-do spirit!  I guess there is something to be said about the joy of making your own costume. The whole family got to weigh in and this homemade costume was indeed a game changer for us this year making Halloween more memorable.

 So, what face are you putting on this Halloween as you step out into a dark and creepy autumn night?

Or maybe, you want to pass up on the spookiness all together and I wouldn’t blame you at all! You could still commemorate the season – the colors and the crisp evenings and honor the essence of fall via decorating your porch with nature’s bounty or taking some family portraits. Maybe  your prefer to simply relax and get used to the dawdling year-end rhythm. After all, summer is a busy time of the year for many of us and perhaps it is time to wind down and enjoy quiet evenings in the cozy comfort of home by a warm fire!

Thanks for joining us this Halloween! Next up – the Festival of Lights and our annual Diwali edition that I am so looking forward to! Join me then, won’t you ?
Now, let's dig through our archives for a throwback at our previous Halloween posts  - here and here 


p.s: All images in this post are from my home and taken by my husband and may not be used without permission.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Namma Mane Habba!

When I was canvassing actively for Dasara Bombe Habba pictures, my best friend from school reached out to me on Facebook and asked 

"I wish I could send in something Suppi! But we don't have bombe tradition in our home. I'm itching to write something from a rather different angle but related though, just not sure...would you accept it? "

I said "Why not?", because what is celebration, if not personalization? Adding a little bit of yourself to the ceremony, to make the tradition more meaningful, more real. I was so moved by Divya, my friend's entry, which touches your heart and takes you around the world, that I decided to dedicate a post in itself for it! 

Here goes! Listen to Divya share about "Namma Mane Habba" (The Festival in our Home!)

Love, Supriya

Many of my Dasara holidays were spent at my grandparents' hometown, Mangaluru. It was a different bombe tradition, so to speak, where things came alive! The absence of the traditional bombe arrangement was made up by the 'huli vesha' - an age old traditional, regional dance form where men paint themselves in the familiar vibrant stripes of the tiger and dance to hypnotising drum beats. I remember watching the dancers dancing around in circles in the open verandah or 'angala' in front of the huge ancestral home.

Back in Bengaluru, we didn't have the tradition of bombe arrangement. But that didn't lessen my spirits during the festivities. We little girls would get all dolled up and visit neighbours and 'ooh' and 'aah' at every display and leave content with all the yummy treats we were offered.

After I married and became part of the Tam-Brahm community, I was introduced to 'Golu'. Again, although my in laws' home does not have the tradition of Golu, it still stayed on in the form of visiting friends and family who followed it. The new daughter-in-law was softly urged to sing for the divine Devi and I would go red faced, trying to recollect something from what my mum had taught me years ago :)

Now, here in Australia, we haven't started anything new. Yet. I'm not sure if we will do an actual Golu, though the idea tempts me. I'm sure it's a wonderful way of getting my kids excited and interested. A beautiful concept to keep our culture alive.

For now, I'm blessed with my little, real-life doll, Sia, who came into our lives on the first night of Navaratri. This year, I dressed her up!

Happy Navarathri,