|Deepavali begins with a row of lights - add some color and a festive signage!
This Diwali, as we herald the Hindu New Year, I want to shine the spotlight on the notion of "SEVA" and social responsibility that is central to Hinduism. After all, it is the little altruistic efforts that spread the light and save the world from its darkness and what better time than Diwali to talk about helping those who are less fortunate. So, dear Aalayam readers let us start a conversation about giving back to the community. From personal fulfillment to a sense of connectedness to the community - giving back implies different things for all of us. What does it mean to you? Do you like to volunteer your time, help the elderly, champion for environmental issues, plant trees or adopt pets? Please write to us about social causes that you are passionate about and Supriya and I will be glad to moderate this conversation, right here on Aalayam.
And now - a creative tribute to the spirit of Diwali! I love Diwali for its symbolism and gaiety. Here is an excerpt from my Diwali post last year which echoes my sentiment about the festival - " Mom always celebrated Deepavali with much oomph! Cleaning, cooking, shopping, decorating, religious worshipping - she went the whole nine yards, always! And so, with much fondness, I brought a montage of memories of firecrackers, clay oil lamps, new clothes, visiting relatives, home made sweets and my parents’ unique Diwali traditions to my married home and over the years I have created a tailored array of rituals to suit my own family.Decorating my home for Diwali is a huge part of that tradition. A round or two of autumnal cleaning usually precedes the decorating. Rummaging through boxes of stored away Diwali décor items often yields re-usable items. A few new items are added each year but the design is always built around the core elements– lights, flowers, rangoli and thorans. I am very tradition-centric. For me the focus rests on light, divine blessings and good-will."
|Start with the basics - flowers, lamps and rangoli (kolam)
|Find of the season - copper toned tea lights from Hobby Lobby!
1) A little planning goes a long way - no really, it does! I tackle life with the age old to-do list. There is no greater joy than striking off things on my to-do list. My Diwali planning was no different, it began with the inescapable to-do list. Notice also my tea light holder from Hobby Lobby. I am calling it the "find of the season". The gleaming copper finish is a perfect little way to add sparkle to your Diwali decorscape!
|Use what you have - brass accents for a festive touch!
2) Incorporate heirlooms - why not personalize your festive decorations with a treasured heirloom? Start with what you have. I am sure with a little combing, you can always find things around the house that can be incorporated My Panchaloha Vishwaroopa originally belonged to my mother-in-law. Paired with a few floating mums in an urli, it makes an eye catching festive display in our home!
4) Build around a theme or not! Really, decorating is all about letting your creative visions come to life . So, have fun or if you are like me -short on time, then pick one core element and build around it. Huge time saver! My treasured brass pieces have been lovingly used in the various vignettes around the house this year. Flowers and colors make the perfect companion accessories - it's Diwali and you can tell!
5) Quirky accents add interest - Why not pair traditional brass accents with a few off the wall accents for a unique creative rendition? The peacock feather adds an element of whimsy, don't you think? I have also included a wooden tray and an etched glass votive holder in complimentary colors for added punch.
|styling credits : lakshmi
6) Pay attention to details. Our home is a collection of ethnic accoutrements - pieces lovingly collected over the years. This stone Krishna is a testament to exemplary artistry. Look at the etched details on the garlands and the braid - it is the brilliant handiwork of an artist somewhere in Mahabalipuram, India. Diwali is the perfect time to pay a tribute to such craftsmanship. This vignette was styled by my friend, Lakshmi. She was an enthusiastic accomplice and helped me put together a couple of the vignettes. Looking at this,would you be able to tell she is a Neurologist by profession? Brain circuitry and creative expression - a unique mix of interests, don't you think? Well, that's my friend Lakshmi for you!
|styling credits : lakshmi
|styling credits: lakshmi
8) And lastly, a depiction that echoes the shanti mantra (saying) from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad - Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya - from darkness, lead me to light
|A thali dinner awaits my dinner guests! Thali tablescape from my home.
While I work on putting together our favorite family recipes together, I will leave you with a few snap shots of my tablescape.
|colorful accessories for a festive tablescape!
|Kalamkari and block print come to life in this one of kind table mat!
Supriya will feature the artist and creative genius behind the brand Varnangall (Lavanyaa) in our next post. Her products are the amalgamation of passion, artistry and ethnic identity and you don't want to miss our next two posts. In collaboration with Varnangall, Aalayam will be giving a gorgeous Varnangall product away and here is a sneak peek into what we are giving away!
|You could win this ! Stay tuned for more information on how- Image credits :Varnangall
Dear readers, I wish you all health, happiness, prosperity and peace this Diwali. I had a lot of fun styling these vignettes and I hope this will inspire you to kick your decorations up a notch this year! Take a stab and I promise you will enjoy it!
P.S: All the images in this post (barring the last one) are from my home and are copyrighted to Aalayam. Please ask before using.