Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ikebana arrangement

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging. It is much more than putting flowers in a vase. It is a creative expression of arranging flowers within some guidelines. Ikebana often emphasizes minimalism. It contains a minimum number of flower with emphasis on shape, line and form. Graceful lines are created with stalks and leaves. Each arrangement  is based on a triangular composition by three points that symbolize the sun, moon and earth. The container is the key element of the arrangement. 

It takes years of training and practice to master this art. I am not an expert on Ikebana. I like the serenity of this beautiful art form. I try to practice whenever I can to improve myself. This is the arrangement I did for my house on Mother's Day.




For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hospice garden tour 2015 1

I love garden tours. What could be a better way to spend a leisurely afternoon strolling though beautifully manicured gardens while at the same time supporting a good cause? For me, walking through gardens is like therapy for my mind and soul as well as a learning experience. It gives me a chance to see what plants do well in our area.  Today I went on a local hospice garden tour with my husband. I think that was best time we spent together, since we both share the same passion for the plants. I wanted to share some of the images with you all. 

There is so much to share that I have to divide this post into two. These two gardens are an entertainer's paradise. Take a look.

My first spot was the Reitz garden. This entire garden looked as though it is part of a natural setting. The homeowner incorporated many succulents and it is all created with water-wise gardening in mind. 

Solar pool



Outdoor kitchen


All through the garden you see succulent designs



Unusual stone bench at the fire pit




Ground cover with mini-pansies


A large covered outdoor living room with a stunning fireplace with two chandeliers.


Similar colors and textures are echoed thoughout the garden


The colors are subtle but elegant. I love how this blue pot is echoing the color of the blue succulents


The 2nd garden is the McCarthy garden, which was simply breathtaking. As you are enter the garden, you feel like you are entering a 5-star tropical paradise. It's hard to believe that this is someone's backyard.

The backdrop to the garden is the a 21-foot high multi-level rock structure with a magnificent waterfall and a water slide embedded with marble tiles. 



Once you over come with initial surprise with ooohs and aaahs, there are so many new discoveries and delights to unfold


I like the wooden beam ceiling on this sitting area. I like anything that is rustic with natural elements in the garden.


The garden slowly unfolds its secrets at each twist and turn



This is the aerial view of the garden with lush tropical plants, waterfalls, and statuaries





The winding paths makes you wonder what is beyond to explore


Yellow clivia 


Throughout this garden, there are so many hidden treasures to explore. The one you see below is a  out door room with giant chess set and it has a disco ball. When you are not playing chess, this place is used as a dance floor.




At each turn, you see a surprise. The one below is a tiki bar.



This is one of the jacuzzis with a fire pit in the middle. This garden has two spas and four fire pits all together, each with its own entertainment value


A lion sleeping on the mountain is not bothered with the traffic



At one turn in the garden, there is a dry sauna


At another turn, there is a wine cave to discover


Driftwood is placed in the garden to hang parrots. Neat idea!



There are numerous seating arrangements throughout the garden to pause and savor the surroundings.


Hope you enjoyed the garden tour. Please join me in my next post to see two more gardens. 

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chicken coop

I have been trying to sell the idea of getting chickens to my husband for almost 5 years. I kept on pestering him about how convenient it would be to grow chickens not only for their fresh eggs but also for their manure which can improve my compost tremendously. He brought up a valid point about who is going to take care of the chicken when we are away and how much work it would be. I like fresh and organic food. Fresh eggs can support my love of fresh foods. At last I convinced him give it a try. A few weeks ago, one of my friends told me that Sam's Club is selling an adorable chicken coop. Of course I had to go and check it out. I thought it was cute but not sturdy enough. So I decided to get someone to build it for me. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but it was good enough to live with it.

After years of wanting chickens, finally I got the coop.


After getting the coop, it was time to think about buying chicken. After doing extensive research, we decided to settle with buying them from a local feed store. First we got four chickens, 2 Ameraucanas, 1 Cochin, and 1 Rhode Island Red. After that, I found 1 barred rock and 1 leghorn.  Since we didn't want crowd the coop, we decided to return one ameraucuna. I was choosing the chickens for the color of their eggs, even though there is no difference in nutrition or flavor related to the color of their shell.

Both of us are feeling that we are responsible for five more lives. My husband is more ease at handling the chickens than I am. I am very surprised by his devotion to chickens. He says he took care of chickens while growing up in India. I am hoping to learn from him and maybe I won't be as hesitant to touch them. Well, wish me luck. I will keep you posted how my venture is turning out.




















For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Elegant Japanese Garden

I am very fond of Japanese aesthetics and the soothing and serene ambiance of their gardens and architecture. Japanese garden designs are a representation of their life style that is deeply connected with nature and religion and the topography of the region. The Japanese style of design have evolved over many centuries based on their philosophical outlook on life. 

Last week when I was in Vegas,  I was very delighted to find out that the Japanese garden in the Bellagio's conservatory. It was indeed a visual retreat. Enjoy!



These are the arrangements from the lobby with cherry blosoms


Now we are entering the conservatory. Japanese gardens combine the basic elements of plants, water and rocks with simple clean lines to create tranquility in the garden. Notice that the simple rock is used as a centerpiece to create hormony


The tea house




Crane made with flowers 



Here is the classic Japanese bridge, water and sand



All the flowers and greenery were brought in the containers and arranged to create this landscape.


A traditional Japanese house was incorporated in the landscape







Love the tulips!


Again, the bamboo, rocks and greenery play an important role in the Japanese design.


Cranes are flying at the ceiling


Of course, no Japanese garden is complete without water and koi fish


The following pictures are from the Aria casino lobby. So many origami crane garlands were hung in the lobby.


This side had all green garlands


Another miniature Japanese garden in the lobby with a bonsai tree, a few rocks and baby tears grass. I love this design. I would like to create something similar in my garden.



Hope you enjoyed the Japanese garden tour from Las Vegas.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.