Friday, April 24, 2015

A Springy Welcome

Our home is punctuated with many personal collections of 'Ganesha'. Many gifted, discovered, collected and inherited exquisite pieces are often revealed on facebook page. Though, some pieces of my collection tug at my heartstrings. Today's special appearance of my absolute favorite Ganesha is one of those piece. It is one of the interesting decor find of our proud collection. As soon as I had my eyes landed on him, I knew this fabulous, exceptional and unique "Ganeshji" is coming home. Many of you have witnessed my winter oasis of front foyer, created with all neutral white leaving a calm effect inside during those chilly, white winter months. Today, taking you closer to a more springy note. Few swirling spring thoughts and trial & error phase has resulted this vignette  cheering at the front foyer.
This fabulous plus of "Jhula Ganesha"(swing Ganesha) has been added to our collections since almost 10 years. The spring has repulsed my thoughts and my décor fundas to exhibit a remarkable piece from our collection. And on one of those "design moments" well chosen pieces are all set to guard my entry utterly uniquely.
Flowers have always been my best bet. A quote on one of the recent read; "Any thing that holds water can mostly be used for housing flowers" takes after my theory of setting flowers. Beside, nothing looks as inevitable as fresh flowers when you enter the home. Flatter the style with some fuss free arrangements of fresh flowers and you will be complimented at every initial encounter at the front doors. I have set them in an antique brass kettle to suit my purpose here.
 My mirror where I check on my last appearance before heading out the doors has reflected the perfect capture of the vignette. The proud brass lion is a visiting card holder piece which was rescued from Aj's office desk to complete the boldness on my table.  

 Lately, brass details implemented into home décor are a huge hit. The common thread of brass stiches this vignette together as well.  Posing above "the Ganesha paintings" add playful hit of solid colors. The back drop art of brilliant water color painting of Radha-Krishna on cotton canvas was a gift from Jaipur (15 years back) which I treasured by framing. It has been just displayed informally  here so that I can alter different looks more often on that console table.

After gathering up all well chosen pieces for entrance,  I stir up some fun and achieved this look of spring at the front foyer. Have you added some design punch at your entrance to upbeat the mood of spring? I would love to hear all about it,  until we meet again, toodles!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The wonder of the World - Niagara Falls!

The held thought of writing about Niagara Falls was been rearing its head with some wondrous thinking in mind. Being truly Canadian I have already shared my portion of journey in part 1 & part 2 blogs of the west coast places that have left their spellbound impact on us here in Canada. Today's feature story of Niagara Falls speaks my heart out as it's our most loved holiday spot being an easy reach to us.
“WE” get the itch to visit the place be it for an occasional weekend getaway, or a compulsive trip for any ambitious visitor’s request. From Toronto it’s about 1.5/2 hour drive and an excellent excuse for some “us” time on that long drive .
 To justify the beauty and navigate you to the place more accurately, I have snatched first 5 clicks (American side) from the personal album of a very creative photography duo, Jo and Dhruv of Strokes Photography. They are primarily wedding photographers but also specialize in lifestyle and event photography. Do take a peek in their mesmerizing clicks on their website. Their outstanding harmony truly understands how to seize “the moment” of their clients. The enthralling pictures will accurately drench you to yield your way to the Falls.   

3 famous falls of Niagara

Chiefly three falls - American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe (Canadian side) you have to explore. American falls transports much less water than Horseshoe Falls but you can get real close to the fall on American side, and truly feel the water hurtling down the falls.  

The very first glance of the powerful falls guarantees goose bumps. As you drive by the naturally beautiful Canadian side falls, the swooshing of windshields,  prove the presence of mystical droplets greeting you. As you justly stand in front to meet the thundering and loud falls, the whizzing wind, the powerful rumble of water, and few facial mist of h2o is likely to work as a bliss factor to pull away all your fatigue and revive yourself. Absolutely wonderful thing to hear, see and feel!  

The Observation Tower
The observation tower is the best bet to view all 3 falls from American side. Though the Canadian side is not purely visible from the tower.

American & Bridal Veil Falls

Cave of the Wind is simply a thrilling adventure to enjoy the majestic view by literally taking shower in the water of Falls. Rain ponchos and Sandals will try to keep you dry, but don't bother, just get soaked up completely in the beauty of the nature without having a second thought of being wet or cold (be careful with your camera, though). The most spectacular scenario and rainbows you ever come close to, (trust me on this one, it's worth every bit) you will have once in a life time mighty powerful experience. 

Canadian Skyline

Though, unlike American falls,  you have to appreciate the beauty of the falls from far-off on Canadian side. "Journey behind the falls" is also a part of major tourist attraction on Canadian side where series of tunnels lead you to go behind the falls. Skylon Tower on Canadian side is quite popular for formal, classy and an expensive dining experience with a great view of Falls in a revolving 360 degrees. 

Maid of the Mist at the basin of the Horseshoe Falls
This one impressive cheesy touristy ride I wouldn't ask you to give up at the cost of anything. I have jumped on the board countless times but "once you have seen it, you've seen it all" phrase is far eluded for this ride. The crashing down on the fall on your face, when the boat deliberately travels right in to the lip of the Horseshoe Falls, will leave you speechless. Feel the rocking of the boat and plopping on your face, let this natural wonder of the world leave you a lifelong personal reminiscence.  

Cheesy Maid of the Mist
This breathtaking Maid of the Mist ride is operated at both American and Canadian falls. They do provide their iconic blue poncho but when you soak up at the brink of millions of litre water, you don't expect to be dry and hey, it's just purest water of Niagara River.

Rainbow Bridge connecting USA & Canada
The Fall falls as Canada's major tourist charm. Covering most of the sites by foot will be much easier on warm days specially. Strolling over the Rainbow Bridge to US side or vice versa is much quicker and incredible. The idea of walking just few steps and you change the country is quite fascinating for many like me. You don’t want to miss out the phenomenal backdrop of Niagara Fall from the bridge and the feeling of being close to the splendid beauty of Mother Nature.  Ensure to carry your passport or visa as you have to go through the customs for crossing the international border.

A view from our 42nd Floor of Embassy suite 
And on one of those days/evenings we just go to literally chill and don’t bother going by the falls, instead stay in our room and revel in the view from the window. Pretty fancy accommodations are available around the falls, but I highly recommend to reserve your place with the sight of all 3 falls.
Those special fun and elegant nights certainly are incomplete if you don’t crack your hands at one of the 2 strikingly grand casinos at the falls.

The most recent click from 9th floor of Embassy Suite
In winter, its beauty touches at the peak and looks truly majestic but mind you it gets unforgivably cold. You will unquestionably have a remarkable camerawork in winter months; moreover, the pedestrianized streets will be less crowded for the period of winter months. In summer months being a tourist season in full swing you get the feel of herded like cattle at times.

Night lights & fancy fireworks
The Falls enhances its exquisiteness when you captivate the lighting effects of the falls when water is dipped in the color. A remarkable spectacle of stylish fireworks above the falls on those special nights will hold your breath in awe.

Clifton Hill

You won't have trouble filling up days around the falls as beside this major attraction the place is covered with tons of other beautiful places such as Aquariums, Winery, Helicopter rides. Marine Land and the Great Wolf Lodge are a compulsive places for those young visitors in Canada.  Clifton Hill is another tourist trap and a happening fun street on Canadian side. Mini Vegas would be just the right term to describe the hill with lots of fancy food chains to please every taste, museums awaiting to impress/horrify and an arcade to perplex any age group.

While creating this post I highly needed sound of “mantra” than those expressive adjectives to make you fall in love with stupendous beauty. So, what are we waiting for, put that additional tick mark for the Niagara Falls on your bucket list. Let that traveller bug in you plot a little jaunt to splash in full splendour of Niagara Falls. A Canadian charisma has gorgeousness in every season. Stroking of these wonderful words have craved me another trip soon ;) with warm days ahead, if we get bumped up at the falls, do wave me a hand!

Until we meet again, toodles!

Image: 1-5 (strokes photography) 6-10 - (Pinkz)
Image: 7 (via) Image: 8 (via)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring is in the air

Happy Sunday folks, finally Spring is in the air. Toronto was soaked up in wet and muggy shower kind of weather but honestly, the weather has whisked me away, I feel I have rediscover myself after a long hiatus. The first trace of dawn in bed is surprised with whistling and chirping of bird songs outside, a hot cup of my ginger tea is enjoyed with occasional visitors in the pond of my backyard and evening is indulged by trailing off for a long briskly walk breathing in the pleasant air.

 Mr. Sun is perking up in little corners of the home and enveloping us in a bear hug. My spring blooms adopt a perfect look in the sunshine adding bonus of enjoying spring.  

This little transition has rekindled my love affair with Mother Nature.  Surveying these scenes create a new surge of assurance that warm days are just around the corner after big hangover of wintery days.  I am determined not to mess up with this chance of warm spring weather ahead and enjoy it with my happy-to-be attitude!  Wish you all a very happy week ahead, I know I will have a good one as my weather bug has all double digits Celsius lined up for me :)
Until we meet again, toodles!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Zone of Serenity ( Tour of Pooja Room)

Hope you all have melted the tough vibes of a crazy work week and now treating yourself with some Easter fun around. Spring has been brutally slow this year but some warm days surely threw signs of Spring coming out of the gate. No matter how much crushed we feel or be in a gibbering state of impatience, we have to keep the games going until it actually arrives. For now, let's "rain check" the thought of Spring and continue to a pure spiritual bliss post.

An affable vibe was nurturing ever since a thought of sharing this post came to my mind. Finally today, I am steering you through a zone of serenity, a place in our home where we connect to the perpetual supremacy GOD - Our Pooja Room (A Home Temple).  It is a dedicated space in our home where we pray every day and stay a while to communicate to our “KRISHNA”. Though I strongly believe, all may become immaterial if you fail to give the pureness of your heart and soul to him.
Travelling back in times reminds me that in our early phase of new life, we had apportioned a shelf in our home to feel his presence with us. When we began to build a life in Canada, due to the space constraints, we had just a card board carton from grocery store recycled as a temple in one corner of the home. Before a bigger leap to a new house, a thought was pre-settled to create a separate room for GOD considering our rituals on every festival. We purposefully moved laundry room in the basement and allocated that room as God's mandir. And now, this new home being our third home in Canada was endorsed with a very special space keeping in mind for him. Our library/den in the structural plan is converted into our pooja room. 
Bearing in mind Krishna's “Bal Gopal” form, we comprehend him as the youngest and the cutest family member who needs all our attention and pampering. My every single morning start in that room with a ritual of dressing that li’l Krishna and offering “Prasad” to him.  

Aesthetically alluring  and traditionally designed (especially stained glass and brass bell) doors were only dreamy possibilities being far away from the homeland. Thoughts were racing and exploring for beyond ordinary and exceptional doors rather than usual French glass doors for our temple room. Even after tons of clicking and calling, my mind was refusing to entertain the idea of failure for those doors. At one casual dining place, my eyes caught wind of their glass door, something similar to what I was exactly looking for. Next day, something compelled me to drive back to that restaurant and get the contact number for the glass company. And here we are, now these powerful addition of glass doors brilliantly suite the temple room.
The classy, sophisticated piece of art work, Pichhwai, is the welcoming element in the room reciting stirring sagas of Krishna.  It not only adorns as the backdrop of the temple, it depicts Lord Krishna being in different moods, doing leelas with gopis near banks of Yamuna River and by the Kadamba trees.  An accurate age of this pichhwai is tough to predict but it was all out of action and on the fritz. An antique treasure trove piece is a merit of Aj’s travel find.
The aftermath of this piece is a bond of our chemistry as he completely trusts my instinctive penchants while exploring thru his travel, knowing the fact that any of his hunts will find a room in our home pretty pleasantly with my own touch ;) I accomplished its perfect look by capping off with some details of lace embroidery and adding some pearl and mirror work along with hanging loops on my last visit to India. The new discovery of picchwai was more pleasurable than expected and now it grants a stunning impact in the place.    
Time to time, I rearrange things in the pooja room as well. Likewise, I go shopping in my own home and alter the look with few brass pieces pulled from another room to get a new look in a different spot.

The TV console,  a secret storage of devotional items, fits perfectly well in that corner. Tons of accessories and spiritual books brightly conceal in this armoire.   
At the advent of any religious function, pooja room beautifies in the mood rendering to the celebrations. On "Janmashtmi"  we welcome "Krishna" in his rocking cradle, at the arrival of Ganesh Chaturthi, we pay our homage to an eco-friendly clay model of Ganesha and prior to onset of glitzing Diwali, the room and our hearts get illuminated with tons of bright diyas and glittery rangoli. You may catch the glimpse of our "Annakoot" celebration in the same room. The perfect size of the room welcomes many guests on these religious gatherings in our home.
The opposite wall of our temple is decked up with our daughter's beautiful creations and few cherished memories of collected of gifted Ganeshas. You may glimpse at the post of the collage wall right here.
Now this area sets as a perfect platform to ease off our hurly-burly in life where we get torn away from gadgets and spend much needed peaceful time. Interceding with God, before we get paraded through the chores of daily life, not only brightens the day but charges positive vibes and energy to fuel rest of the day. 
I do hope with bits and pieces of my Living Room, Kitchen and now this Pooja Room, you could steal some inspirations. Stay tuned on passion page of face book and let me hear your thoughts until we meet again, toodles!

Here is the link of my youtube channel for DIY stencil wall art. Virtual tour of our temple room is up on the IGTV on Instagram here.