Tuesday, December 28, 2010

AA Living: Store Launch

We saw a Fair Trade organization at SHP earlier, today I bring you another, headed by a dynamic young entrepreneur. At 25, after 6 years of specializing in woven textiles in India and the UK, Rohina Anand returned home to launch AA Living.

While studying at the University of Leeds, Rohina wrote her dissertation on the cruelties of leather and the possible of modern alternatives. AA Living originated from this quest for cruelty-free alternatives to traditional materials.

AA Living positions itself in the 'ethical retailing' space, specializing in Cruelty Free products. Rohina launched the store during recession in a market already filled with price-conscious Indians. However, Rohina strives to surmount this by constantly introducing new product lines like a special yarn which retains the luster and lush texture of silk and is machine washable to boot! Or an antique leather finish on a range of wooden products.

“I’m not expecting a revolution against animal skin, but the focus and promise of new-age alternatives should be given a chance in India, especially with regard to its clear cut advantage of price, ethical standpoints and sustainability", concludes Rohina.

Head here to shop online or to get details of their store in Mumbai. You can also check out AA Living's Facebook page for updates and more photos.

SHP readers, to avail a 10% discount on AA Living's products, please print out this coupon before heading to the store.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Creative Talent Profile: Vineeta Nair, A glimpse behind Artnlight

Vineeta Nair requires no introduction in the blog world nor does her blog. Vineeta has been creatively inclined since she was a child, and continued to hone that by studying Applied Art at University and rising to become an Art Director at an advertising agency in the tough competitive world that is Mumbai. This bio could read like several others- creative persona working in a creative field, but very few actually turn into recognizable artists themselves. Vineeta has achieved this challenging task by choosing decoupage as her medium to fame.

How about a little tete-a-tete to get a glimpse of the artist and her journey that is Vineeta Nair? I am sure after years of reading her blog, there are a lot of artnlight followers intrigued and eager to know more about Miss Artnlight!

Were you always very artistically inclined? Are there a few hidden away VN paintings?
Yes, I was always artistically inclined, but no VN paintings really :) I’m hardly a 'painter'. In spring cleaning sessions across the years they - most of them, got thrown away. Initially you are attached to them, later it becomes easier to just give it to someone who will value it much more than you do. But a few water colours are still somewhere in the attic.

What got you started with decoupage? Why this medium?
I showed my friends a handpainted tray. And they promptly informed me that they were organising an exhibition and if I wanted to have a stall? I said YES! So I had 1 and half months to fill my stall with my work.  I knew that I had to try decoupage because there was no way I could hand paint 20 trays in that much time. 

Earlier, I had tried my hand at decoupage for furniture in my house. I got it wrong the first time, but I was willing to try again. Thinking back, it was just a blind leap of faith. And decoupage worked for me in many ways, because I love graphic design and all my years in advertising as an art director just helped me hone that.

What do you think sets apart your trays from others?
I transfer my own designs as is on boxes or trays. I believe what sells is the design on the box or tray and not the technique. Decoupaging is the simplest thing. You take a printed piece of paper and stick it on wood. There is really no rocket science there.

The struggles of holding a day job and being entrepreneurial AND blogging?
Technically, I quit my 'day job', where I was art director in an advertising agency, last year. But, still the business of earning a living continues as I am (like most people) independent and pay my EMIs. So yes, it is juggling my interior design and advertising assignments, apart from expanding my decor accessories line.
The trick that I'm learning is to be flexible and really throw all notions of 'how things should be' out of the window. Things will be the way they are, will happen when they have to, if you can do what comes your way happily and honestly, then you are sorted. I won't say it’s easy all the time. But I'm learning to be open, say ‘Yes’ and have fun.

And blogging, Ah! - blogging is the place from where I draw my encouragement. It is from where I give and take back my fire to do things the way they ought to be done. At the end of the day, you do what your heart tells you to. More often than not, I do wish there were more than 24 hrs to a day :) But the one feeling that I have felt largely after quitting is- Gratitude. I'm just grateful that I get the opportunity to do all the things I get to do. I'm just so glad I quit my day job. It frees me to do all the things I really want to. And this last year has shown me that I can sustain it. Earn + do what I want to. There's really not more I can ask for, except for more discipline on my part.

As this has been a literature heavy post, I am going to let her work do the rest of the talking. Please feast your eyes on Vineeta's decoupage work- Sorry, her graphic art ;)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Spotlighted: Ralph Lauren's Manhattan Apartment

Ever thought you would eat under a spotlight? Ever thought of buying discarded spotlights from a movie set and hanging it above your dining table? Think Ralph Lauren! These vintage light fixtures add just the right touch of drama to an otherwise simple/sober room, don't you think? Bring on some filmy drama!

I leave you with this image and a touch of red to bring in some Christmas cheer. At the SHP station here, to make up for a week of no posts, stay tuned for a slew of posts all this week and introductions to some wonderful new artists. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DIY- My Mexican Mirror

This post is dedicated to Sundeep aka Designwali for making it possible. 

A few months ago I won a giveaway on Designwali and I promised Sundeep I'd write a blog post on it. It has taken me a few months to get around to it as I had to wait for my parcel to arrive from Mexico. Got you curious as yet? My dresser needed a mirror and I found this on CSN.

Plain ole' black and me? Nah!

So a tube of epoxy, some ebay-ing for Mexican Talavera tiles and glass mosaic tiles and I transformed it into this!

What do you think ladies?

The rest of my weekend was spent shopping for and with some SHP readers at my favorite store

I am linking this up to some wonderful blog parties:

The Girl Creative

Friday, December 17, 2010

SHP Feature: The Green Elephant

Riddhi and Amisha were two friends bound by their common interest in  architecture, design, form and colour. Four years ago Riddhi moved to the US and they decided to bind their passions together in founding The Green Elephant.

They started TGE at a time when the term 'Fair Trade' wasn't a buzz word as it is now.  The TGE store sells only organic, sustainable, handmade and recycled products.

NRI design enthusiasts, we no longer have to time India visits with dastakar events to be able to buy all those products we drool over from so far away. They are available right here at the TGE store.

The list includes wood and lacquer jewelery, Dastakar Ranthambore Artisan Group's bags and linen, key chains, luggage tags, yoga bags, stoles, recycled lanterns, relief carved wood boxes and so goes the long list of sustainable artisan products. Here is a peek!

 Image credit to The Green Elephant

I have bought several products from some of the organizations and artisan groups that TGE deals with- Dwarka, Earthen Tree and the Chettinad basket weavers and was so kicked to see that they are now available here.

Despite the unique Fair Trade aspect of Indian artisan products what most of the artisan NGOs sadly lack are marketing skills. I am glad that Riddhi and Amisha have jumped in to fill that gap. All the best ladies!

You can find more information about TGE and its products on their Facebook page, website and blog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Blogging at Once Upon a Tea Time

I am Guest Blogging today at Once Upon A Tea Time (OUATT). Please head here to check out my post on 'Globally Inspired Gift Ideas'.

Thanks for the invitation Priya! I thoroughly enjoyed doing it :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Notable Newbie

I received an email from Blogadda last week, informing me that I am on their 'Notable Newbie' list.


THANK YOU Team Blogadda! I am quite honoured, I say!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indian Street Art: Meena Kadri

Art doesn't have to be confined to canvases, as we have already seen here on SHP. In India, it assails you in a burst of colourful advertisements hand painted on walls, temples, doors, store signs, behind trucks(look up at the SHP masthead please!), rickshaws and so goes the list. Any fan of typography would have found paradise!

Today, I bring to you one of the most gorgeous set of photos on Indian street art that I have come across in my hours of trawling Flickr.

The photographer, Meena Kadri has donned many hats. With an undergrad in anthropology and Masters in design, some of her hats have included graphic designer, creative director, teaching design across the globe- including a stint at India's prestigious NID (any of the NID grads reading this blog recollect any fond memories?) You can read more about her on her informed and interesting blog, Random Specific.

So, now for the eye candy!

Here are some more of my favourite images from her various sets on India, including the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Uttarayan Kite festival, Backview Bollywood and the Streets of India. 

I was forced to make collages to show off Meena's work, as I had SO many favourites that they wouldn't fit in a blog space. 

Please do go check out more of the uber talented Meena's work for a visual treat at her Flickr stream.

{All image credit to Meena Kadri and Meena Kadri only}

Monday, December 6, 2010

How about a little P&P today? Blog swap alert!

I am honoured, thrilled, exhilarated, ecstatic, exultant (I've run out of adjectives! But Gagan deserves much much more) to introduce you to Gagan of, Of Peacocks and Paisleys! Her follower count reads like an Indian auto meter, which stands testimony to how popular and wonderful her blog is. Gagan holds a very very special place in my memories of SHP, as she was SHP's first follower.  Now over to Gagan.....

A Moodboard for December......

Hello SHP readers, I'm Gagan, author of the blog "Of Peacocks and Paisleys," and I'm  thrilled to be posting here at Sound Horn Please today!!! 

I'd like to share with you my ideas for holiday decor with a global influence. December is a time for bidding adieu to the old year and for bringing in the new year with a bang! There are festivals galore and  it's hard to avoid the upbeat spirit of the season. Shorter days and cold wintry winds just beg to be countered with color and sparkle....it's the perfect antidote to post-Diwali blues!!! I usually dress up my home in festive colors and sparkle during Diwali and the festivities stretch through to mid-January, the string lights stay up through winter and a few seasonal elements creep in...most years I've gone with the palette of rusty reds, emerald greens and antique gold,  but this year, as we moved into a new city and home, I've been itching to switch things up. Ennui is a big driving force for creativity!!!! ;) 

This December, I've introduced some peacock blues and amethysts to the mix, making it a truly jewel-toned Diwali and Christmas, a navratan palette so to speak! What's interesting for me is that I've been seeing a lot more color in  storefronts and displays as well--looks like everybody has the same idea! :) Also, the global influence is inescapable--and it thrills me no end to find little treasures to decorate with. This year, in an effort to curb clutter, and in an effort to go green, I've re-purposed most of what I had at hand, using paints to bring in the colors I wanted, but If I were to build it up from scratch, here's what my December would look like...........

The festive colors of the rainbow--exotic and rich!! Some colorful seating options, a few Moroccan lamps or string lights + I totally {heart} that blue chest of drawers!! 

Colorful M&Ms, a few oversized beads, some twigs spray-painted gold, refreshing mint tea served up in Moroccan tea glasses....

1, 2 and 3.

More Moroccan colors!!! And purple and red look SO good together, don't you think?

These are the colors of MY December-- what color is yours?

Gagan, thanks for the moodboard! You did really do wonders for my mood. The whiff of Morocco, reds and purples chased away my exhaustion!

 My dear readers, In case you are wondering- Yes! Gagan is as lovely a person as the peek into her personality we get from her posts! 

Also, I am blogging at Of Peacocks and Paisleys today. Do hop over!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Your Own Retro Balcony Garden

Both my grandmothers were skilled gardeners. Consequently, I grew up in homes surrounded by lush gardens. I had a childhood filled with working in the garden, painting pots with red oxide, playing with a garden hose on hot summer evenings and flower picking and watering duties. I try to bring a bit of my childhood into my home with great enthusiasm, little skill and some online research, by attempting to grow (and routinely kill) houseplants.

So, when I came across this lovely vintage Pepsi Cola crate from Rhapsody Attic on Etsy, my own little herb garden filled with fresh chives, basil, rosemary... came to mind. Don't you love the possibilities?

Also, Rhapsody Attic has lovely vintage decor items at reasonable prices, like the lovely mis-matched pair of brass vintage trinket boxes. Do check them out!
To all your emails that I haven't replied to, I apologize. I've been thoroughly exhausted for the past week, I will get through a few emails a day, over the course of the week and ensure that I reply to EACH and EVERY one of you. Till then, please bear with me.

Coming Up: Another SHP feature and a blog swap with a fave blogger from my blog roll. Keep checking in!

PS: I hope by now all of you have made good use of Chumbak's 'Free Shipping' offer. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It is common knowledge now about how I love featuring entrepreneurs on SHP. Today, I bring to you two such awesome women- Alicia Souza and Shubhra Chadda and of course, lurking in the background- the anonymous benefactor Darth Vader.

Chumbak started four years ago (and died to be re-ignited earlier this year) as an idea in Shubhra's mind to create India inspired fridge magnets. And then she met illustrator extraordinare, Alicia Souza and...... do you think I'm going to use the clichéd "The rest is history!"? Think again! Well, Shubhra and Alicia went their separate ways, rather separate countries- Alicia moved to Australia. They re-connected a few years later and finally Chumbaki was born.

I'm going to start the peek into Chumbak's fun products with Alicia and Shubhra's first love: Chumbak fridge magnets. And unlike most other 'India inspired' products, Chumbak's stuff is priced very reasonably.

Fridge magnets too banal for you? How about a tin of Indian flavoured chocolates then? Supari, Coconut, Garam Masala and Ginger! I would buy those just for that colourful fun tin!

Here is a peek into some of Chumbak's loot. Look at how far A & S have come from fridge magnets! So, the loot includes- Boxer Shorts, Posters, Keychains, Tees, Bookmarks, Luggage tags, Notebooks, Postcards, Charms, Coasters, Mousepads, Mugs, Piggy Banks, Playing cards and even Hadmade soap! Phew!

My first glance at Chumbak's webstore and 'Travel pens' caught my eye. Whazzat? City guides in a pen. These travel pens have banners inside them, giving you a quick "Lonely Planet Lite" information on each city- What to eat, where to go, what to buy.  Quite unique isn't it? Way to go girls!

Visit Chumbak's online store to buy their fun products. Or you can find them on Facebook here.

Suggested reading:

Story of Shubhra and Alicia's struggles as an entrepreneur on their blog: The joys and sorrows of a startup.

How it all began- I think this inspires aspiring entrepreneurs to keep trying at it, even if it is a 4 year journey like Chumbak's was.

Alicia's wonderful illustrations on her blog.

Sound Horn Please for these inspiring women!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Namaste: Good Morning Monday!

Namaste! How did your thanksgiving go? I had a wonderful time in Boston with some wonderful food and some wonderful company. Food, some good company, a positive bank balance and I'm a happy person.

As I promised in my earlier post here is another peek into my home. My painted rock was inspired by Geninne. Have you checked out her wonderful blog? If you haven't, you are missing out on how fascinating  painted birds could actually end up being!

Also Peacocks & Paisleys, PreeOccupied and Indya Kaleidoscope are all hosting wonderful giveaways. Do drop in and try your luck at winning them!

Stay tuned this week for another one of SHP's trademark features. Here is wishing you a wonderful wonderful week ahead!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On a trip to one of my favourite stores

Warning: This is going to be a picture and word heavy post. Read at your own peril ;)

SHP's previous post on 'Pop Goes The Art' was chosen by BlogAdda as a part of it's Tangy Tuesday series. You can read all about it here. It was a wonderful email to wake up to. Thanks BlogAdda for choosing Sound Horn Please! Honoured!

A friend of a blogger friend recently emailed, asking me to recommend stores in NY to buy Indian decor items. Well, I thought to myself why not take all of you on a tour of one my most favourite Indian stores in New York?

Yes! Yes! You ARE reading it right! The name board is in Hindi! And it made me stop in my tracks and walk in. Beti, it's the only one in Manhattan to have one, the owner proudly proclaimed. And then began my romance....

Let me take you on a tour.....

Bhartiya Vasthra Bhandar is not your usual posh Manhattan boutique with accented voices smoothly telling you the history behind 'the piece'. You walk in and its a warehouse choc-a-bloc with colourful stuff, making you take a few deep breaths to decide where to start from. None of the products make you go- 'Errr.. maybe a trip home to buy this would be cheaper'.

Bottom right- That's a desi double horn  and its definitely on my 'To Buy List'. With Sound Horn Please as a blog, how can I not? Those light switches brought on a wave of nostalgia.

The cameras below hit right on my soft spot for antiques <sigh>
 Buddhas, Buddhas and more Buddhas! Drool!

I know you must be wondering what I've brought back from the store over my many trips.... So, here is a peek!

I'm thinking of spray painting the lantern red.. Yes? No? And that's my all black bookcase that got a little bit of my brushwork to add some zing!

Here's my favourite- My antique brass paan daan!On my next trip to India, I hope to add my paan daan's South Indian sister- the equally beautiful rectangular brass vethalai petti.

I've had a few emails asking me to post photos of my home. So, here is a tiny peek. I don't usually burden my lovely porcelain elephants with the heavy brass paan daan, they stand tall for their mahouts- my tealight candles.

All of the above images have been clicked by me. Please do not copy. Email me if you want to post it elsewhere on the internet and they are yours :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pop Goes the Art: Nidhi Chopra

 Ever thought of breaking out of that boring 9-5 job and making it on your own someday? Well, Nidhi Chopra, then Karnavat, did exactly that. Armed with a graduate degree in Mass Media and a pop art painting she had made as a gift, Nidhi started 'Pop Goes The Art'. And take a look at how far she has come!

Send PGTA a photo of yourself or a loved one and you get a hand painted canvas a la Andy Warhol!

... Or hand painted personalized clocks 

Like the previous SHP post on 500 BC, here are some more kitschy bags! How dreamy is Madhubala?

These gorgeous laptop desks makes the prospect of spending long hours working on the laptop easier to bear.

How about some colourful cushion covers? I loved the colourful one on the evolution of means of transport and then given my Buddha fetish, of course the Buddha!

Love Indian kitsch? Here are some printed wall clocks. Don't you love the 2nd one? It doesn't have the usual images that we see everywhere defining what Indian kitsch is...

Loved all the eye candy? Hop on to Pop Goes The Art's website or Facebook page if you want to place an order or enquire about prices.

I'm leaving you with some lovely PGTA boxes, as a peek into tomorrow's post on my box fetish. Check back in tomorrow! The Lakshmi boxes are PGTA's latest Diwali launch. Order while still in stock!

{Photos credit to: Pop Goes The Art}