Posted in My life

Tattoos and Difficult Clients

Mehendi is a lost art…

Okay, not entirely lost, but it is certainly changed quite a lot. Mehendi tattoos are a pain (only) in the ass because of sitting ducks for hours. You can’t even twiddle thumbs. The traditional subjects for the designs include flowers, peacocks, plants and marriage. But the new generation has changed that.

I made my 4-year old daughter’s Mehendi tattoos a couple of days back on the occasion of Eid. Any guess on the subject?

Right hand (my fault): Before, After and Between

What better way to give your child a Maths lesson that sticks, literally? The numbers are mostly illegible, thanks to my superior(?) skills with Mehendi cones, but well, it served the purpose. In case you are worried, it will wash off within a couple of weeks. 🤣

Left Hand: Kung Fu Panda and Furious Five

It all started with a random doll and a beaver that my daughter took fancy on. But beavers live near rivers that have fishes and octopus, and they need trees to gnaw. And then, gnawed trees could fall on little dolls. (Please don’t ask me to label the characters. It is too embarrassing. 😁)

So, Po, the Panda Dragon Warrior, had to come for rescue along with the Furious Five–Monkey, Viper, Mantis and Tigress. I know, there are only four here because Crane decided to stay back to take care of the old Master Shifu (Pssss, I forgot both of them but don’t tell my daughter that.).

Overall, my client was satisfied and declared her Mehendi better than mine, which was, I guess, the best praise I could expect.

What do you think?

Posted in Random Thoughts

As Things Begin to Take Shape

My daughter was born Leonardo Da Vinci and she is just improving from thereon.

I still remember the eight legged lion with its legs sprawled out like a pretty spider, the minimalistic designs of a fish without fins and tail, the cat without limbs and kittens with various degrees of abilities (no hands no legs, hands but no legs, legs but no tail) and her adopted monkey baby.

But now those days are gone and what I see is real stuff.

Please don’t ask the logic of the train, elephant and giraffe in front of the cottage. The cat and rabbit make sense with the girl, so please be grateful for that. I have seen weirder stuff.

The new and improved variety of lion and tiger, along with giraffe half-hidden behind a kangaroo, along with a hippo (pink), gazelle and crocodile (guess?). The outline of the girl can be accepted as a jungle sprite looking over these creatures…

And then there is stuff like this which is actually is superb considering it comes from a 4-year old working only with her imagination.

I’m sure she’ll turn out to be a far better painter than her mom. 😁

Posted in My life

Busy Bee (Part 2)

I mentioned a couple of projects for my daughter in my last post, but elaborated only one–the folding kitchen. Well, the other one is a jungle/zoo/farm backdrop.

Everybody at home had been complaining about how my daughter’s toy animals turn up everywhere in the house at the most inopportune moment, like on the floor under your bare feet, on the pillows when your head hits it too hard, on the chair seat when you are too tired to check before sitting, under the bed where you can’t pull them out without getting yourself dirty, behind the huge almirah which needs four grown up men to move (we have only three at home)…

I guess, the herbivores have the habit of running away to go looking for grass and plants, and the carnivores follow them to eat them…

Well, it became important to build a ranch/sanctuary/safeplace where they were allowed to roam. It also helps my daughter create stories that I could, then, publish in the blog (Hah! Mastermind me, stealing stories of the minions…).

So, I used an old flat cardboard box to build the backdrop with water colours (all that I could find at home during lockdown).

The walls have silhouette of a deep forest.

I also built a detachable cave and a hollow tree out of a plastic box. The 4-year-old Madame Leonardo Da Vinci coloured it to perfection.

The forest comes with yellow and red trees built out of old coloured cardboard boxes. It also has a fishy pond and an even fishier river that can be moved around at will. These were made of the old plastic sheets from my old organiser diary. The stones donated by an unsuspecting relative add to the effect.

To ensure flexibility to convert it to a zoo, we have combined it with a set of foldable cardboard cages and coloured by the family artist a few months earlier.

The piece is a continuous work in progress since we plan to add grass, a few more trees, a lying down hollow tree, and other cool stuff to build stories. We are gradually working towards adding farm buildings to the set as well. I’m looking forward to building a nice blue ocean out of the box top, thanks to my daughter’s new found love for water creatures.

The best part is that it also works as storage space for all these sets.

All in all the hard work seems to have paid off, considering the time my daughter spends with the set. I had too much fun…so there’s that too.

Posted in My life

Busy Bee

So, you might have noticed that my posting frequency declined greatly lately. Earlier I used to write at least a couple of posts every week. But in the last month, since mid-Ramadan, I went slow, too slow actually.

No, it had nothing to do with fasting, something to do with my book–The Forest Bed–and everything to do with a couple of projects I had going on for my daughter.

As you might know, I love building things with hands. Earlier I saw on You Tube a folding kitchen that a father had created for his daughter where she could stand and cook. The kitchen was simple, clean and orderly with hangers and stands for utensils, a microwave and a working sink. I was specially struck by how everything was in place and ready to play when the girl opened it so the child doesnot spend time setting it all up.

My house doesn’t offer enough space for anything that elaborate. But setting the kitchen up is my daughter’s pain point. Usually by the time she is done with it, it is time to sleep, eat or study. So, I definitely agreed with the ready-to-play and folding kitchen part.

So I built it out of waste material.

The cardboard was home, thanks to Amazon–around 12 X 8 inches. I just cut one side to be folded up and down. Then, I used the side flaps to add to the depth. Of course, they close too when we are folding, making it a compact storage for all the things that were earlier found all over the house. Since cardsheet was not available due to lockdown, we covered it with the artsheets my daughter had already coloured. The utensil hangers are made of old buttons. The racks are made our of smaller cardboard boxes.

Since the space was too small, rather than sticking the oversized plastic stove on the counter top, we painted it on the counter…by we, I mean my humble-self and my very own four-year-old Leonardo da Vinci.

I added a bit of rough outlines for accent…”rough” being the operative word here. I didn’t want to take away the childish feeling from the paintings so I ensured that the outlines were not clean and symmetrical…they were drawn as if I didn’t have my glasses on (which I didn’t)…way off the mark but still leaving a mark (smudge, actually) on the sheet.

Closed front gates open upwards all the way back and down to form the floor.

The crazy fun I had during the process made me question my mental age…which was about five a couple of years back. I think now it has shrunk to three and a half.

I am planning to add a refrigerator and oven on the outerwalls in my next vacations. Any ideas?

Posted in My life

Your Art Inspires Mine: Making Software Training Bearable

As Instructional Designers, we create online courses for adult learners. Recently, I and another colleague were training around 12 colleagues on an authoring software that we use create these products. We were worried about the mental barriers of virtual training, the monotony of software training and the difficulty our colleagues would face in remembering the huge number of functionalities.

So, we decided to go crazy. To show them the various capabilities of the software, we used a dragon activity that Ellen Forkin had shared for free on her blog Ellen’s Wonderfuss Fairies for kids to doodle on.

We showed them how to insert icons and images of food in it’s stomach and then add labels and various functionalities to the page. It earned quite a few giggles from our ‘class’. Since, we are all 30-50 years old, I would call that quite a feat. More importantly, it helped them remember.

Next day, as a refresher of the functionalities taught the previous day, I quickly built a story using a troll hair activity, again by Ellen Forkin. It had the same functionalities and some new ones to get my ‘students’ excited and ready to learn. Some may think it unprofessional to use cartoons for adult learners but it worked for us.

Here is the story and a couple of screenshots. Together with the animation, narration and various functionalities, it came out as entertaining, if nothing more.

Now, a farmhouse, complete with animals and a farmhand, sat atop his bald head.

The old couple was horrified–it’s not everyday that you see the earth move beneath your feet. The young farmhand was rather amused–it’s not everyday that you see the earth move beneath your feet. The cow and sheep were wide-eyed and stopped mooing and baaing for an entire minute. The rooster, however, loved the higher perch and began cock-a-doodle-doo-ing right away.

But the gentle troll that he was, Munchkins put them down, smiled and walked away.

Thank you, Ellen, for waking my student’s inner child, which made the training a resounding success. Your art inspired mine.

For the love of cartooning and Norse mythology, and a good laugh, visit Ellen’s site: https://ellenswonderfussfaeries.wordpress.com/

I love this blog and recommend to anyone with slightest interest in Art, Mythology or Humor because Ellen has mixed it all in the most delicious way. I follow her religiously and miss when she takes breaks between posts.

You can find and follow her on Facebook as well as her WordPress blog.

An ogre came up with the title for this ‘bloggut’. They can be oddly poetic when they’re not regurgitating tractors. He visited me two years ago, gifting me a rather startled mole that was trying to burrow into his ear. The mole was merely a furry pea on his finger, and has since disappeared into […]

via The Beginning of Blogland — Ellen’s Wonderfuss Faeries

The Beginning of Blogland — Ellen’s Wonderfuss Faeries