Saturday, April 30, 2011

Romantic lights

Its been a lovely day- long, lazy and warm. This is my favorite time of the year - the evenings are bathed in a cool gold hue. We tend to gravitate outside for dinner and maybe this is the year we actually add some lighting to our patio. It is just begging for lights such as these, from the very fancy to the very simple and both really romantic..

The lighting makes all the difference, doesn't it? The Eloquence Globe chandelier from Layla Grace and Mason jar candles photograph from Beth Helmstetter- both via Pinterest.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy weekend

Red rose

Are you ready for the weekend? I am playing hostess to an army of 7 year old boys- an army may be an exaggeration but it sure feels like a lot of little kids. Summer is in the air and it feels glorious here today. I want to wish you a wonderful weekend- I may be in and out, so do watch out for a post or two. 

Royal Wedding

I can't help feeling all dewy eyed as I browse the pictures of the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. There is something so beautiful about weddings. Congratulations to this young couple! Did you watch it live? It looked like the entire world was gripped by wedding fever. Here are two funny posts about the bridegroom and the wedding that you might want to read/see..1 and 2

Image from the BBC 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Over a cup of tea..

Tea time

I just finished a large cup of masala chai with a spoon of honey and a small macadamia and white chocolate cookie. It was bliss in a pot! How has your week been treating you? I am ready for some quiet relaxation because it does seem like my mind has been whirring continuously. Do you know the feeling? I have started receiving emails from people about different artisan-oriented organizations. I am trying to work out the details of how to go about it and then respond to those who have written to me- in fact, that's my plan for tonight (It also means that I have a legitimate excuse to avoid watching a movie- my husband and I take turns picking which ones we are going to watch. Its his turn and he has chosen Crocosaurus versus Manshark or some such horrible, big lizard movie. Yes, there is really a movie like that and no, I don't know why he would want to watch it.) Getting back to my Support the Artisan project, I am excited about it! I want to say a big thank you to Gagan of the blog Of Peacocks and Paisleys for posting about my endeavor- GB, you are the best! 

Life is pretty

I wish every week was like this one- I got up every morning, wanting to blog and feeling excited about life and all its possibilities. I felt like a bouncy ball- in a good way :). Resilient and able to bounce back from most situations. Now if only I could make that more permanent. What do you do to keep a more positive attitude? I hope you will write or leave a comment because I love hearing back from you. As part of my effort to get to know more about the creative people in blogland,  I have been visiting many blogs and I am so grateful to have discovered this parallel blog universe (I am pretty sure I have written this same sentence before:). Thank you for making my day better, everyday. 

(Pictures taken today at my home)

Have you Dabble-d yet?

I am headed out to work but I will be back in the afternoon to blog some more. For now, you should head out to Dabble and browse through their latest issue of tempting rooms and places to visit. There is Santa Monica and San Juan and Puerto Rica and India- so many gorgeous places are featured and I just got a glimpse at the pages today morning. I am looking forward to coming back and reading it from cover to cover. 

This dining table did catch my eye- love the rustic chairs! 

Read Dabble here.
All images of Dabble magazine.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Perfection starts at the cutting board

The sun is shining, the kids are playing in the yard with what seems to be all the neighborhood boys and I feel myself slipping into my Look boys, here's Mom with a freshly baked pie (cookies or whatever baked goodies you want) mode. You just need to add the aroma of something cooking in the oven and my idea of Perfect Mom is achieved. Kind, smiling, gracious, ready for a game of tag or to read the same book again and again and then excusing herself to become baker extraordinaire. I find myself thinking about this often and especially around Mother's Day. I have realized over the years that this is not some perfect entity that I have dreamed up - I am just hoping to be like my mother who is all the above (except for the game of tag- we were girly girls who played a lot with dolls). And for me, I feel more inspired to cook and bake if I have gorgeous tools- its like creating poetry, you use beautiful words.
Todays temptation? The Pie Plate Footed cutting board from Gray Works Design. It is made of "sustainably harvested black walnut" and hand rubbed with olive oil. Sigh! Or the Tiger Maple Footed cutting board...
Visit Gray Works Design here.

Images from Gray Works Design. Link via Shelterness.

More teacup/tea mug finds from Anthropologie

I could wait until next week to share this new temptation masquerading as a tea mug but I couldn't resist ( I don't think I even tried to). Anthropologie's newest tea mugs- I saw them when I was in the store a few weeks ago and walked away,  congratulating myself on my will power. But they have followed me home and into my email inbox! They have a background of Australian artist Samantha Robinson's patterns (I have featured her work here) and not just do they look pretty, they are prettily priced too!

Images from Anthropologie. Visit them here.

Marie Claire Maison

I love this apartment featured in the latest Marie Claire Maison and I thought it would be the just right pick me up for Wednesday! I especially love the tall ceilings and cream walls. The whole place just feels so cheerful, don't you agree? I have a thing about tall ceilings- a few rooms in my home have low ceilings because the house has been added on to over the years and it has resulted in a slight hodge-podge of styles and heights. I love it anyway :) but there is something to be said for soaring ceilings and really tall windows, don't you think?

Images are from Marie Claire Maison magazine and the photographer is Vincent Leroux/Temps Machine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Supporting artisans...

I have been wanting to do this for the longest time and finally, I can! I want to offer free advertising  on Once Upon A Tea Time to fair trade organizations that support artisans. 
If you know of or are a part of any institution/organization that supports artisans engaged in arts and crafts, please email me. I am especially hoping to find  small organizations from all over the world that need to get the word out about their efforts. The products can be clothing, items and fabrics for the home, bags etc. I would appreciate it if you could help spread the word on Facebook, twitter or via your blog or website. I will work out the details of the duration of advertising etc once I know what the response is. I am really looking forward to hearing from people all over the world!

(I took this picture some years ago when I visited Dakshinachitra in India.)

Matsya Craft tours

Have you been to the Matsya crafts site lately? I did and I was excited to see that they offer guided craft tours that "aims to connect the global traveller with India's artisan and craft communities." Whenever I read about these tours, I am so tempted to go! I wish I could drop everything and go visit these amazingly talented people and learn from them. It would be treat for the senses. To be young (life does begin after 30) and  free from responsibilities (and no, I don't want to be single) again! 
The visionary behind Matsya, Neha Gandhi has put together a book on the craft tour in collaboration with Maria Joao Arnaud. Here are the two lovely ladies now...
As you can see, Maria draws really well and here is her rendering of a block printer (DROOL!) at work..

These illustrations are by Maria and you can read the entire book on the Matsya site here. Creativity such as this always lifts my spirits and I am sitting here typing this with the biggest smile on my face! Way to go, Matsya Crafts! If you are as crazy about gorgeous fabrics as I am, you will want to bookmark Matsya crafts and Maria Joao's website and blog for beautiful inspiration! 

Better Living Collection: Fabrics for the home

I heard from Gurmeet Kaur whose family runs a textiles and interior design business called Better Living. I love almost every fabric there is but when Gurmeet mentioned suzanis and embroideries of all types, I had to check it out. Even though I wasn't familiar with the name, it turns out I have seen their products like pillows and  quilts in many magazines. They share that East meets West sensibility that I really appreciate. 

I visited their website and found they do custom work in addition to to selling to many stores. These screen printed pillows that are part of a series called 1857 (I wonder if its named after the Mutiny of 1857) really stood out..very contemporary! I would love one of these on my couch- they make a very stylish statement.

If you are interested in buying from them or in having something custom-made, click here.
Thanks, Gurmeet! 
All images courtesy of Better Living; 1.) Elle Decor; 2.) House Beautiful 3.) In Style magazine; 4.) Cottage Living; 5.) and 6.) Better Living. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello Yellow

For the past week or so, the sun has been emerging from the clouds only after 12:30PM. We I have been relying on flowers, candles and hot cups of tea to get through the really grey mornings. Which brings me to this post- wouldn't it be nice to wake up and have your morning cuppa in a breakfast room wallpapered with this really beautiful paper? Imagine it- a rustic table to match the turquoise chairs, fresh pink peonies in a vase, toast with strawberry jam and steaming cups of chai.

If ever there was a morning room wallpaper, its this one- its the Brian Yates' designed Pip Early Bird wallpaper. While I say this, I am not sure if I would try it in my home. You see, I am not brave about color- in fact, I don't think it has anything to do with bravery. I am very fickle and I know that I will tire of most colors soon. Yes, its easy to paint over but I just want a serene and calm cream against which everything else can shine. But if you like yellow, I want to share a few pictures that may inspire you...

I love this picture of a the mural on a mustard/yellow wall and the settee- so gorgeous! Its from the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens (India). Its a great idea if you want to add interest/drama to a bland yellow wall. You can try stenciling zinnias too...

Even though I may not try it, I can't help hoping that someone with rooms as pretty as these will invite me over. And for those with a yellow and paisley fixation....

Image sources: 1.) Tangletree Interiors via Pinterest 2.) Better Homes and Gardens magazine (India); 3.) Zinnia Grande Flower Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils via Pinterest; 4.) Horchow via Pinterest

Royal Wedding

I was such a huge fan of Princess Diana and almost swooned with joy when I saw her back in Muscat, Oman. I have literally boxes of newspaper clippings, pictures, postcards and scrapbooks of the British Royal family. My teenage crush on them has simmered down but I still can't resist this circus style poster. Love the tongue in cheek humor!

From the Keep Calm gallery

Hello and teacups

It feels like I have been on spring break forever. Technically, I don't have a holiday now but my two boys do. They have a week off from school but this year they are in different schools and their holidays haven't coincided. Which means we haven't been able to go away. I love spending time with them but its exhausting keeping first one and then the other occupied and entertained. Today, we are planning on a quiet day at home. How have you been? 
I have some lovely teacup finds I wanted to share with you. They are of completely different styles but I like both of them. First, the pretty in pink Bird print cup and saucer from PiP Studio..very dainty and perfect for a tea party to celebrate the upcoming Royal wedding!
The second teacup find is more contemporary and I like its casual yet stylish vibe. Its the Navy Splatter Mug from Emma Bridgewater. It has splotches of navy blue and I can never say no that that. I think both these vastly different teacups/mugs could fit easily into my crockery cupboard and come out depending on the occasion- the bird cup and saucer for those quiet teas with girlfriends and the navy splatter for more impromptu get togethers. 
Both are available from Liberty of London. Click here to browse.

Image credits: 1.) Taken by me sometime ago for the Saffron Marigold blog; 2.), 3.) and 4.) from Liberty of London (UK).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Hope you are having a wonderful Easter celebration! 
I am headed to the farmer's market to get some flowers- lilies, tulips, hyacinths- and then off to lunch with the three boys. The skies are overcast here and its been raining on and off. I am hoping to brighten things  with the help of some fresh flowers and candles. See you later!

Image from Ikea Livet Hemma by Minna Mercke Schmidt. (Click on the links on how to make your own bouquet in the Gotti bowl.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekend recipe: Mango Rice

I have been really late in posting this wonderful recipe shared by Sridevi of Sreelu's Tasty Travels. Ideally, I should have shared this during the festive Ugadi (New Year) (early April) season. My only excuse is this has been a crazy month and I have been a little behind on my blog posting.  Anyway, over to Sridevi..

" Mango rice is a favorite of mine, the more unripe and sour the mango the better the rice tastes. We however, are in the  Bay area and don't get raw mangoes that taste sour. For the most part, the greenest of the mangoes taste sweet. This time was no exception, except it was not too sweet.


1 cup rice
1 raw mango peeled and grated
2-3 tbsp of lemon juice ( in case mango does not taste sour or has sweet flavor)
1 tbsp of turmeric

For the seasoning:
3 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp jeera
2-3 tbsp Channa dal
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
5-6 green chilies
2 tbsp of ginger finely chopped
pinch of hing
20 curry leaves

1. Boil rice in a rice cooker; add tbsp of oil or spray pam and allow to cook, adding oil will make sure the rice doesn't stick.
2. Remove from cooker add turmeric, grated mango and salt to the rice and mix till all of them are well incorporated. Keep aside and allow to cool down. You can leave for couple of hours and allow the flavors to soak in.
3. Now heat a pan, add oil. When the oil is warm, add all the ingredients mentioned for seasoning.
4. Saute till mustard starts to splutter, remove from heat and add to mango rice.
5. Mix seasoning well and adjust for salt, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

This tastes even better the next day!

Thank you, Sridevi! Visit her blog Sreelu's Tasty Travels for more details and pictures. 

Block Prints at Pottery Barn

I was at my local Pottery Barn store yesterday and I spotted so many gorgeous things. I tried really hard to stay aloof and not be tempted. I am not a huge fan of coastal decor or other similar beach themed stuff, so they were not a problem. But the block prints were another story.  First, I want to say that I love traditional Indian arts like block printing - especially when the traditional bright colors are toned down just a little. East meets west, they fall in love and live happily together for ever after.  Pottery Barn does this love story really well. Take their block printed pillow covers- cool colors perfect for summer. 

(Some of the above covers are on sale for $9.99 and may be still available.) 

Among their newer products is the beautiful Leila collection of fabrics that is inspired by "block prints of Mughal-era Rajasthan." The green and the red prints are to die for. 

If this isn't enough to send me and you to eye candy heaven, there is the Kerala dinnerware in melamine. (I don't know why its called Kerala. The prints are reminiscent of those you see in Mughal era marble paintings. Is there a history connection I don't know about?)

So much for withstanding temptation!

All images are from Pottery Barn. You can visit them here

Elle Decor (India)'s Casa on the coast

Gorgeous colonial style inspiration from Goa, India--spotted in Elle Decor (India)'s April/May issue. The combination of a beautiful tiled roof and dark wood interiors is very appealing to me.  And a four-poster- I fall for that every time!

All images from Elle Decor (India). The photography is by Fram Petit- click here to visit his drool-worthy portfolio. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

For the love of books>> A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay

Its Friday afternoon and by this time, most blogs and bloggers have said their goodbyes for the weekend. I, on the other hand, feel like I have just warmed up. Oh well. This post isn't about gorgeous rooms (though I do have some of those to share later today or tomorrow)- instead its about a book. You see I am sitting in my living room, with my feet on the coffee table and all around me is the gentle perfume of a creamy soy vanilla bean candle.  I have  settled down to read a book, any book from the random pile that I borrowed from the library.  I want to be lost in a book. Do you know the feeling? Like you have no idea what is going on outside of the book? Yes?  But lately, I have found that I read up to pages 26 or 57 or even 100 and then, I actually find it hard to sustain enough interest to go on. The book lover in me is shocked and finds it sacrilegious to abandon a book midway. But not today!  I am reading A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay and I have to tell you it is a luscious read. In fact I have interrupted my book just to come online and tell you that if your are looking for something to read this weekend, try this one. The book describes memories of someone's summer vacations and that really resonated with me because my childhood summers are also stored in my head as a pristine time when both people and events were magical. I am just getting to the middle but it promises to be unputdownable!

I have interspersed this post with pictures of tempting libraries from Lonny- I love them and I love them more because they have a growing section on dreamy libraries and bookshelves. 

Image credits: 1.) Lonny magazine, Dec 2010 issue, Interior design by Lulu Powers and photography by Patrick Cline.
2.) A Secret Kept, by Tatiana De Rosnay. Find it here.
3.) Lonny magazine, Apr/May 2010, Interior design by Lauranna Claridge and photography by Patrick Cline. Visit Patrick Cline's website here.

Happy Earth Day

Step outside and take in the beauty of nature....
The promise of new beginnings

Have a Happy Earth Day!
Blue and green

(All photographs taken by me at our home in the Bay area)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Over a cup of tea: My life (and my living room)

Snowball flowers (a beautiful gift)

How are you? I am okay, especially now that I have taken a short break. After many days of  waking up in the morning, mentally reviewing my to-do list and then realizing, "OMG, I have to blog too", it was time to stop for a few days. I enjoy blogging but I don't want to post anything when blogging feels like a chore. Are you like that too? For the first time in many days, I am happy to be here. 
So what have I been doing? I stepped away from my computer, didn't respond to every email, went to work, took my kids to school and to birthdays and play dates, enjoyed the sunshine AND debated going back to graduate school (Dear UC Berkeley, thanks for asking me, I am honored! Maybe we will see each other in the fall?). You will agree it was a momentous week. Surprisingly, I also found time to rearrange and try my styling skills on a bookcase at home....
styling at home.1
The styling exercise brought home a very important fact- in our house, the living room is the room where my husband and I spend a lot of our time- this is contrary to every article I read that tells us that living rooms will soon disappear. I hope not!
Styling at home.2

Styling at home.2

I brought in all my favorite old books and magazines- yes, I know that is contrary to the "rules of living room decor"-  but if we spend a lot of time here, we want it to be pretty,  comfortable AND we want to be surrounded by all our favorite things. What do you think? 
Leave me a comment! 

All pictures are taken by me- the beautiful snowball flowers are a gift from a friend with very green fingers.)
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