Friday, April 30, 2010

We Won..

... the Artsy Craftsy April Challenge.....Yaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!

Here's the entry

Shruti - What an effort! And how well you pull it off! Thanks for adding that extra splash of colour to our lives :)
And thanks to all of you for all the nice words.... *ALL SMILES*

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

London Bridge is falling down..., what does Pattu build it up with?

...'Buillld it up with iron bars, milky bars, monkey bars,
............buillld it up with milky bars, 

My Fair Ladiiieeeeeeeeee......

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Excuse me

Pattu has been told to say that when she has to interrupt someone. With Pattu though, every lesson has its pitfall...

Amma talking on the phone one day. Pattu has to interrupt whenever amma is on the phone.


The person on the other end hangs up. Amma glares at Pattu

A Smug Pattu: Amma, see I said Excuse me :)

Amma: Pattu do you want want to have milk now?
No response. Amma repeats question
Amma: Patttuuu, I'm asking you something...

Pattu: You should say, 'excuse me' amma
Amma: Gulp. But you are not talking to anyone
Pattu: But I am talking to this pencil

Well... if you insist Ms Pattu.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Slam by Adam Stower

SLAM by Adam Stower. Pattu Rating 5

We read this book We viewed this picture story book - Pattu's first and boy, did we have fun!

The book tells a story of consequences through just the illustrations and some sounds (through onomatopoetic expressions). It all starts when this boy goes out with his walkman on, oblivious to the complete mess that results from SLAM-ming the door! The ball that is caught on the roof falls on a resting cat which springs in fright, causing further fright and a row of disasters. All this while the boy walks on with just the music in his ears, completely insulated from his surroundings.

We discovered a variety of sounds... sound of a soft fall, hard fall, bounce, bump, clash, splash, screech, scrunnnch, huff puff...oh so many more...

Another very insteresting aspect is that there are multiple threads of consequences that come together in the final mess and there are lots of little details that you'll discover (like a little jet that crashes into a little girl's kite, a cat that goes after a fish and so on) in the second, third, and subsequent readings. Pattu pointed to a couple of them that I hadn't noticed myself! So you can even weave many stories by just shifting your perspective. Last night was riot with Pattu laughing till her jaws ached and me acting the disaster till all my joints and my throat ached - but it was all worth it to see Pattu laugh like that :)

Now, I have to hide this book before my joints give in! I'm looking to buy a copy (the one I have is from the library).

There's one more like this by Quentin Blake... will review shortly.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Keep them Buzy...

Has anyone checked out the workshop on Chrysalis Busy Bee Fun Factory at Landmark, Apex Plaza? It is on till 25th May. Looks like it is only for kids 5 yrs and above.
Dakshinachitra seems to have lots in offer for children - residential camps, activity camps, Glove Puppetry and Leather Puppet making on 5th and 28th May respectively. There are some workshops for adults as well - more details here
I would like attend the Art Exhibition between 1st and 10th May by Rohini Thotta Tharani.
Let's do something has a Mocktail workshop tomorrow - just what we want to beat the Chennai heat! The Robotics Workshop is back on popular demand and there's the summer camp for kids 5+ yrs.

Also noticed that Velachery now has Born Babies on Bye Pass road. With Half Ticket, Niel & Nikki and Cotton City (inside Srishti on Bye Pass Road), Velachery definitely seems to be improving!

Tried the Citrus body wash and Papaya Ginger jam from Fab India and loved them! Highly recommend Papaya Ginger ...

Have just got some organic groceries delivered from a new vendor - will check them out and give more details later....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some books and an award...

The First Well (A folk tale retold. Published by Book Box): 
Pattu Rating: 4.2

A samurai warrior goes in search of water when rains fail his kingdom. He brings back a huge icicle from the cold mountain cave following the advice of an old lady. By the time he gets back to his kingdom, there's only a small lump left of the icicle and people think it is a water seed. They dig a pit to plant the seed and the moment the seed is dropped, it disappears and then begins the frantic search for the elusive seed. They dig deeper to find the seed and what do they find eventually?

Who wants Arthur? - Amanda Graham, Illustration: Donna Gynell. 
Pattu Rating: 4.5

A very endearing story. Arthur is an ordinary dog in a pet shop eagerly awaiting his turn to find his home. Luck favours the Rabbit the first day and Arthur thinks he could find a home if he is as cute as a rabbit. So he practices that night to hop like a rabbit and eats carrots too. The next day his rabbit tricks fail as the customer prefers a snake and so every night he practices to be something else, all in the hope to find his home. Does he finally find his home? And how?
I like this one because it goes to prove that people would eventually like you for what you are and not what you pretend to be.

Norbu's New Shoes - Chewang Dorji Bhutia. 
Pattu Rating: 4.7

First thing - Norbu looks so cute! Pattu immediately connected with him.
Norbu gets a gift from his dad - a pair of bright yellow shoes, and he is thrilled! The happiness doesn't last long though as he loses it eventually. This book introduces a different culture - Bhuddism, Monastery, etc. What I liked: Norbu doesn't get his shoes back but something else cheers him up and he goes on leaving the shoes behind (and probably learning a lesson).

Greedy Miss Miao - Amar Chitra Katha. 
Pattu Rating: 4.5

Cat steals milk, chased by old lady manages to escape only to find itself in a jungle. Jungle animals take the cat to be the wise one who will protect the jungle and its creatures. Cat is well fed and looked after and leads a royal life, all the while plotting to eat the mouse one day. Well, nothing too good lasts too long ...

Best Friends - Nina Sabnani 
Pattu Rating: 4.2

Lovely story about a little girl's relationship with a tree. This is just the kind of story that young children should grow up reading. It is rather disheartening to see adults chopping off trees to accommodate illegal extensions of their apartments. Hopefully, stories like these would help our children develop healthier sentiments towards our green friends.

The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten - The Magic School Bus Series. 
Pattu Rating: 5

I wasn't planning to read this for Pattu yet but something about the book seemed to have caught her fancy and she insisted on reading this. I didn't think she would understand food chain but I was surprised that she did. This is one of those books that she wanted me to read a hundred times. Once she gets hooked like this, she wouldn't be receptive to starting a new book. The only strategy is to hide the book and say that it got lost. I knew taht she understood food chain when she asked me, 'Amma, I eat carrot...who will eat me?'

The Rooster and the Sun - Meren Imchen. 

Pattu Rating: 5

Another sticky book that I had to hide from Pattu! Why does the Mighty Sun scramble out of bed at the rooster's call? Find out!

And I've got an award from Swati - Thank you lady!

And I pass it on to Lavanya, Jayashree and Hema.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Artsy Craftsy - April

Edited to add:
Shruti asked me to share my clay recipe and here it is:

For the clay -

The recipe said
1. tear paper into strips and soak overnight
2. Grind it into a pulp using a blender
3. Add glue and knead into dough
4. Make whatever you want

and you could add some colours while grinding if you want some interesting combination and patterns...

But what I found while trying to make this:

1. Soaking for couple of days makes it softer to grind and the lower the quality of paper the better - eg TOI is better than Hindu in this context :D
2. Blender doesn't do a great job - the paper gets lumpy and clog up. I had to mash it a bit with hands and then use the blender - better still, the grinder. Also, you need some water for it to grind. I tried using some soaked methi and it works because it adds a bit of sliminess which helps the blending
3. Since I couldn't avoid water while grinding, I squeezed the water out before adding glue
4. My glue:pulp ratio was something like 1:3. I used fevicol.
5. Then I made all of these... I used some bowls for the form - I should remember to use Shruti's tips next time. And for some of the bowls I applied a very thin layer of pulp which became thinner when it dried. The thicker ones are more sturdy.
6. And for the lady, I made a skeleton with an iron wire - I wanted to make one who would be able to stand on her two feet but my pulp collapsed.
7. My sheep, mushrooms, fish, tortoise and Ganesha were nice and fat when I made them but they shriveled up on drying and the sheep got a sprain in the neck as he also couldn't stand on his fours and hence had to make him lie down. I think my pulp/ clay wasn't thick enough.

Then after drying and after the struggle to separate the bowls from the form, I used acrylic, undiluted to paint them all. The insides of the bowls were easier to pain since the surface was smoother...

On the whole - 2 days to soak paper, 4 hours to grind and make all the stuff, 2 days for drying (3 days of struggle to get them apart) 2 hours to paint them all and 1 night for paint to dry.

Here goes...

All but one of the bowls were made from paper mache clay...

Art on a Platter - Group Photo

A Gopika and a tribal woman - same piece painted differently on either side. Two shallow bowls, Fish - again the same fish painted differently on either side, two withered mushrooms, a sheep with a sprain in the neck and a Tortoise...

See some flowers that the tribal woman is picking?? A Ganesha who hasn't had his quota of kozhukattais and the bowls ...

The bowls up close - kitschy, drippy, sprinkly and all...

A peek into the making...


Saturday, April 17, 2010

A goofy tale

My paper mache stuff has dried crisp in the hot Chennai sun for the Artsy Craftsy Challenge. But let me share the making of the *great piece of art* by the eternal goof...
This is my first attempt at paper mache with recipes that I gathered from few sites. By the looks of the specimen, I don't think I got either of the recipes right - my FIL was going to dump the 'hideous looking lump' around the plants thinking it was cow dung LOL!  I tried the strips as well as the clay - but they just refused to leave the containers that I used for the form *ROFL*! So, I told Shruti that if I manage to pull them apart without much damage, she'll find an entry from the Pattu household...
Did they part? Well, we forced them apart. Quite a struggle it was and you will see the evidence on the piece(s) of art. I think I used too much glue. My maid and Pattu's care taker told me that the glue is not required - it seems that they just mash the pulp with methi seeds soaked in water and that's enough. I should have taken the wisdom instead of waving it off with my 'google' confidence. They laughed and laughed and laughed at my struggle :(

The painting is WIP - watch out!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Fair Deal...

We were playing and we had to go upstairs. Pattu tries to push me aside and run ahead.

Pattu: I'll be first
Amma: No, I'm gonna be first this time (amma's master plan to equip her to face defeat! Yes, Pattu's amma can be like that sometimes..)
Pattu: Nooooo...I'm first
Amma: Not fair Pattu... you come first all the time. You should give me a chance..
Pattu: (After pausing for a few nano seconds, by which time she thought of a win-win model) Ok. First, I'll go first; then, you go first ..Ok?

Fair Deal Eh?

Monday, April 05, 2010


Lately, I've been a bit worried about Pattu. It has always been a bit difficult to get her to do one thing at a time, get her to complete her tasks, hold her interest for more than 15 mins and so on - any parenting guide would sound out an alarm at these signs (and every other parent would tell you that her kid is exactly the same). Add to it the occasional temper tantrums, hyper activity, talking to invisible friends or sometimes inanimate objects, not answering/ responding etc. Well!

As though these weren't enough, Pattu has been writing mirror images. She still hasn't chosen one hand over the other - she uses both hands equally. I'm not sure if I should be worried yet. Her school reports are normal though - apparently, she is obedient and well behaved, grasps reasonably well, etc.

But it ok for a 3 yr old to smile at and have conversations with the street light that she can see through our bedroom window? My bro says that says a lot about how interesting she finds our company!

Guess I'll just wait ... though I can't entirely quit worrying...