Spin Drums – Craft Activity


During one of the lazy monday mornings in the summer vacation, Santoshi announced that she wanted to do a craft activity. It has been a long time since we made the dragon eggs, so I looked in to the pins in my craft board. I found this to be perfect for the day. As usual, I have improvised it to suit the materials that I had.

We became hunter-gatherers and collected these for the activity:

  • Cardboard
  • Sticks
  • Beads
  • Thread
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter
  • Tape
  • CD and Pen for the circle shape
  • Crayons and markers for decoration


How to do:

Step 1: Using the CD and pen or pencil, mark the outline of a circle and cut it out. You will need three circles for each spin drum. I used the box that came with Lapcare Multi Function Stand.

Step 2: Get the handle ready – I used some thin twigs from our garden which were not very strong, so I added a thin metal wire and taped them together.


Step 3: Decorate one side each of two of the circles. The third one would be sandwiched between the other two circles.

Step 4: Punch two holes in the third circle and make a thin slit for the stick to sit in – like this:


Step 5: Add beads to the thread and tie them to the circle at the holes punched. Insert the stick in the slit and secure using tape. Add glue to the wrong side of the outer circles.


Step 6: Stick the outer circles on either side of the middle one and add some weight on top so that they stick well together.


After an hour, ta-da, your spin drum is ready!!

Santoshi made one for herself and I made one for my younger daughter Anjana.


The activity was a lot of fun and so were the spin drums!

Thanks for reading the post and do let us know your comments.



Homemade ice cream and popsicle


Whoa, it’s been a month since my last post. So, let me post something tasty and cool to beat the summer heat in Chennai.

At the start of summer vacation for my kids, I tried making two kinds of ice-creams. One was kulfi, which I had done once before and the other was chocolate ice-cream for the first time.

Kulfi recipe:


  1. 500 ml of milk (full cream or standardised)
  2. 400 gm of Amul Mithai Mate
  3. 100 gm of mixed nuts (pistachios, almonds and cashews)
  4. 100 gm of evaporated milk
  5. 1 tbsp of rice flour or corn flour
  • Grind the nuts coarsely and keep aside.
  • Bring 500 ml of milk to boil in a heavy pan.
  • Add evaporated milk and mix well to ensure that there are no lumps.
  • Add 400 gm of Amul Mithai Mate and mix well.
  • Mix rice flour (or corn flour) with water and add to the mixture. Mix well.
  • Add the coarsely ground nuts and turn the stove off

Let it cool. Before pouring into moulds, give it a twirl to ensure that the nuts are evenly distributed. Freeze for 4 hours before serving.

The kulfi turned out real nummy. I did not have any kulfi/popsicle moulds when I did this, so I used one of my tupperware lunch boxes to freeze. Sorry, the pics are not great.


Chocolate ice-cream


  1. 500 ml of milk (full cream or standardised)
  2. 100 gm Chocolate syrup
  3. 100 gm Sugar
  4. 1 tbsp of rice flour or corn flour
  • Bring 500 ml of milk to boil in a heavy pan.
  • Add chocolate syrup and sugar and mix well.
  • Mix rice flour (or corn flour) with water and add to the mixture. Mix well.

Let it cool and pour into moulds. Freeze for 6 hours before serving.

The chocolate ice-cream tasted more like dark chocolate and was not creamy enough, but not bad for a first try. Anyhow, it was a big hit with both my kids. Sorry for the awful quality pic.


Orange Popsicle using Tang


  1. 60 gm of Tang Orange
  2. 600 ml of water
  3. 50 gm of sugar
  • In a pitcher or a bottle, add Tang, water and sugar.
  • Mix well. I used a bottle, so I closed it with the lid and shook it vigourously.
  • Pour into moulds and freeze overnight.

I found a set of popsicle moulds at a local store. It was priced at INR 109 (roughly USD 1.50). When I billed it, I realised that there was a discount on it and I got it for INR 69 (a little over USD 1), yay!


I was delighted to see that the popsicle coming out clean!!


My elder daughter Santoshi just tried the popsicle, she loved it!! Made my day, ha!

Thanks for reading!


New shower caps from old raincoat


This is a post on how I made two shower caps from my elder daughter’s old raincoat. By default, I went to the all-knowing pinterest to get ideas on DIY shower cap and I was impressed by two pins – one by Rochelle and the other by One Thimble.

I did not have any vinyl and most definitely did not want to spend more money on buying vinyl than get a shower cap for INR 28 (roughly 40 cents in USD). I looked into my scrap clutter and came up with this:


My mother had bought this for my elder daughter Santoshi in 2014. This is Santoshi wearing it on a rainy day in November 2014:


Needless to say, Santoshi had outgrown the raincoat a long time back and the raincoat was beginning to tear at all possible joints. But, I was keeping it because it has cute baby looney tunes characters printed and yes, I am a packrat.

Given the usual hot summer in Chennai (a heat wave advisory has been issued for today – 18 April 2017), bath time in the morning with a lot of toys, bubbles and hand shower has become the norm for both my kids. And that, more often than not, ends in tears, “She splashed water on my head, my hair is wet, but I don’t want shampoo”. So, I thought that a shower cap would be a good idea to end this. But, of course, they will find other ways to fight!

Ok, let’s get back to making the shower cap before you close this tab.

Things used:

  • old raincoat (any waterproof material will do)
  • elastic cord
  • scissors
  • polyester thread
  • sewing machine
  • Pan lid for drawing a circle, LOL

Step 1: Measuring and cutting the raincoat:

Most pins suggested a radius of about 9 inches. But, having to work with a raincoat which makes the front part (open, button-down front) unusable for this project. I needed two shower caps (parents with two kids would understand – one for each kid, whether the little one needed a shower cap or no) and the back portion was not enough to get two circles. Which means that, as usual, I did not strictly follow either of the tutorials but improvised once again.

With the help of the pan lid, I made a circle of about 7 inches in radius and another one 6 inches in radius. Only one circle could be centered around the prints of Bugs Bunny and Taz. The other one has a part of Sylvester’s face, a heart balloon and a part of Bugs Bunny’s face.


Step 2: Cut long rectangular strips of roughly 5 inches in width from the remaining part of the raincoat.


Step 3: Align right sides facing each other, sew the strips to the perimeter of the circle. This gave it more of a hat-like construction, than just a circle. Sorry, I don’t have a picture for this step.

Step 4: Fold and sew the casing wide enough to accommodate the elastic band/cord, leaving a gap of about 2 inches to insert the elastic.


Step 5: With the help of a safety pin, slide the elastic band or cord through the casing and sew (band) or knot (in case of cord).


Step 6: Push the elastic band/ cord inside the casing and finish sewing the casing. Turn the cap right side out and it would look like these:


The big one fits Santoshi, yay! 

Looks cute, doesn’t it? Please let me know what you think. Thank you!


Dragon Egg Craft Activity


It is summer time in Chennai and my elder daughter Santoshi’s summer vacation has begun already! She decided not to go for a summer camp since I am not working anymore. So, apart from a little writing and maths worksheets, I started looking into craft activity pins in Pinterest and have saved many ideas in here.

The first activity for this summer was making a Dragon Egg based on this pin! I liked this idea because the pictures were impressive, it was easy to do and not a very expensive project.

Things used:

  • Modelling clay (purple – my daughter’s favourite colour)
  • Gems and beads for decoration
  • Old newspaper as filling (instead of foil; I didn’t have foil)

How we did it:

  1. Crush a sheet of newspaper into a ball.IMG_20170413_131558
  2. Use clay to wrap it and gently bring it to the shape of an egg. IMG_20170413_131747
  3. Decorate with gems and beads. IMG_20170413_132711

I did a small one to serve as a demo. Then, she did hers.


The best part was not even the eggs. She wrote in her notebook about the activity. I helped her only with the spellings.


The dragon egg activity took just about ten minutes. The write-up took another ten minutes. Not enough to keep her occupied throughout the day, but it did give a lot for her to think and talk about. She told everyone about the egg and we also had to rescue the egg from my younger daughter Anjana.

How much did this activity cost us?

  1.  The clay was INR 27 and we had used only about a fourth of what came in the box. So cost of clay is only INR 7
  2. Gems and beads – INR 10 for the little pink beads and INR 20 for a flat gems. Again, we still have lots of both items left. So, INR 10 together for gems and beads.
  3. Newspaper – a local newspaper delivered free at out doorstep.

All these total to INR 17, which is roughly 25 cents (converted to USD). Not bad, right?

Thanks Adventure-in-a-box for this fun activity!!



DIY Iron Board


When I was mindlessly going through Pinterest, this pin popped up. I thought to myself that my iron board could use a new cover. But then, I had stacked it somewhere high up which was not readily accessible and I found the iron board with its collapsible stand too bulky to use (the real reason is my laziness).

But, this pin by Ashley was totally awesome!! A table-top iron board removes the bulk, makes it easier to store in the wardrobe and can be brought to the table as and when I needed. Wow!

I had salvaged a piece of plywood a few months back which could serve as the base. A lot of scrap fabrics in the box could easily be the batting. The missing ingredients were hot glue gun and a big stapler. That will not stop me, after all there are always workarounds and alternatives. I took the basic idea from Ashley’s tutorial and improvised to suit what I had.

Things used:

  • Thin plywood board
  • Quick-dry sheet (size: small) [to provide a little cushion]
  • Scrap fabrics
  • Cotton twine
  • Needle
  • Glue


How I did it:

Step 1: Lay the fabrics flat one on top of the other, leaving out the outermost layer. My faded kameez was my outermost layer, so I kept it aside. The cotton dupatta was at the bottom, followed by the black fabric, then the pink fabric and the quick-dry sheet on top.

Step 2: Place the board on top of the sandwich and cut the fabrics with a seam allowance of about 1 inch on each side.

Step 3: Place the board on the outermost layer and cut it with a larger seam allowance. As it was a kameez, I did not get an even seam allowance on all sides.

Step 4: Stack the layers up with the outermost layer at the bottom.


Step 5: Cut the corners (triangles) so that they are not very bulky while folding.


Step 6: Apply glue to the layer which will be facing the board. I applied glue on the quick-dry sheet which will be sitting on the board.


Step 7: Place the board on top of the sheet aligning with the corners and let it dry. I used my laptop and a few books (they belong to my husband; old books bought long back before eReaders were available in India) and waited for about 20 minutes.


Step 8: Fold the fabric over and sew the corners together. Once all four corners are done, sew the ends together.


Looks gross, isn’t it? Thought so.

Step 9: Using a piece of fabric, cover these stitches on the board and hem it with the outermost layer.



Not so much of an eyesore, right?

Turn it over and you have a new, portable iron board – handmade by you!! Need we say more?


I used the iron board to fold the seams of the red fabric at the back for hemming. Cool, right?

Thanks for reading my post! I would be very happy to know your comments!


Refashion adults’ top [kameez] into a little girl’s dress


Of course, this is yet another post on how to refashion or upcycle old clothes. Since I made two skirts for my younger daughter Anjana, the elder one, Santoshi, was getting a teeny weeny bit jealous and felt left out. So, I had to do something for her too.

A couple of weeks back, I drove on a puddle of wet paint and skidded off from my two-wheeler, injuring nothing but my pride. There were mild and not-so-mild scratches on the vehicle, but happy to report that the road was unharmed!!

Luckily, we (Santoshi and I) came out of it with only bruises and to my surprise, the salwar kameez that I was wearing remained intact, but the white paint never came off. It was one of favourite set of clothes but the white smear made it unwearable.


My initial thought was to make it into a nice tote bag, but I knew I will never use it (because I hate oversized, structure-less, open totes). Since Santoshi brought the topic of the skirts made for her younger sister up at every possible juncture, I checked if the kameez could become a knee-length frock for her.


Looked like it may be possible!!

Things used:

  • The kameez
  • Small pieces of fabric for motifs from the salwar
  • A small piece of fabric for lining the bodice and waist band
  • Zip
  • Scissors
  • Co-ordinating threads
  • Sewing machine

Step 1: Considering seam allowance, mark and cut off the skirt portion.


Step 2: I used lining for the bodice (since I don’t know how to do bias binding on neck and armhole). Align two pieces of the kameez (front and back) and two pieces of the lining fabric. Fold into half – now there will be eight layers. Fold the frock into half and trace the outline of the bodice on the fabric.

The paint smeared part was right where the top of the bodice was.  So, I used the wrong side of the kameez for the back portion of the bodice. I could not find any difference in colour between the right and wrong sides.


Step 3: Make another outline for seam allowance and cut. You will end up like 2 sets like this.


Step 4: Align the fabric and the lining and sew on the marking (not visible on this one, sorry).

Step 5: Cut small triangles out in the seam so that it lies flat when you turn it right side out.


See the paint smear? So obvious and in the face, right? Gross!

Step 6: Turn the sets right side out.


Paint smear is not so noticeable, yay!!

Step 7: Repeat for the other side and join the zip on the back portion.

Step 8: Pleat the top of the skirt portion and attach to the bodice.

Step 9: Attach a tube of the fabric as waist band.

Step 10: Align front and back sides and join them.

Step 11: I cut motifs from the salwar and added them to the frock because it was looking weird without them.


Yup, that’s my baby, not so happy to pose, but I think she likes the frock!!

Thanks for reading my post!


DIY cloth towels from fabric scraps


Another pair of jeans successfully went through an amputation (that is, became a pair of shorts) and I was the proud surgeon, again. (Read this post to see how I did it.)

The left over part of the legs became something else altogether, unlike last time when they were transformed into a document holder.
As I was celebrating Anjana’s clearing the school admission interview process (she will start with kindergarten in June 2017), I started to make a list of items that she and my elder daughter Santoshi (moving to Grade I come June). One important item that needs to be packed for school everyday is a cloth towel (or lunch napkin as Santoshi calls it). While Santoshi needs two everyday (one each for snack and lunch) and Anjana will need only one (no lunch).

The school is quite particular about the size of these towels in order to avoid territorial wars on the snack table (“Hey, don’t you keep your water bottle on my towel!” or “Ma’am, I don’t have a place to keep my snack box, his towel is sooooo big…”). Bottomline, the towels have to be square in shape and measure around 10 to 12 inches each side. 

Luckily, the leftover denim legs were roughly about the same size. And, if (that’s a big IF) I cut them properly, there will be eight towels.
I looked into many pins on Pinterest about DIY cloth towels, applique, perfect corners, etc. I was thinking – there are people out there who sew things perfectly and put tutorial pins up. And, here I am, far far away from perfection, but that’s ok. After trying to do corners with a strip of fabric, I gave up and used serging for the corners. I checked with my daughter and she approved the serged ends, yay!

Now, let’s move to how I did it:

Things needed:

  • Leftover denim fabric from the pair of jeans
  • Fabric scraps for applique
  • Colour-coordinated threads (I didn’t use this)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Machine
  • Stencil/ template (I used freehand drawing for my shapes)

Step 1: Draw the design / shape on the fabric. If it is a symmetrical design (such as a heart or a butterfly), fold the fabric into half, draw one half of the design on the fabric and cut both sheets of fabric together. I can never draw both sides to be of the same shape or size.

This is the outline of a bird:


This is one of the wings:


Step 2: Cut to shape.

Step 3: Arrange on the base (cloth towel in my case).


Step 4: Sew the fabric pieces one by one to the base. The body first, then the wing on the body, then the tail wing, followed by a small brown triangle for the beak. I used zig-zag stitch in my machine.


Step 5: Sew the other parts, if required – I did the eye and the legs using the regular stitch.


Step 6: Serge the ends or use fabric tapes to go all around the edges. I just used zig-zag stitch the one side which might fray.


And, that’s it, you are done!! Simple, isn’t it?

I did make towels with the other pieces too. I am posting pics of all but one (which is bad, trust me, you don’t want to see it).


Thanks for reading the post and hope my sewing did not scare you. Please leave a comment.