Happy Dasara

Wishing all a Happy Dasara! In honor of the occasion, here is my little elephant getting ready for the Mysore Dasara procession. On this auspicious occasion I wish the color, bliss, and beauty of this festival be with you throughout the year. Enjoy the victory of good over evil.

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Curious to see more of my art? Follow my art blog at: andysartworks.wordpress.com

 

Upcycled/Recycled – Portable Ganesha Altar Kit

X-posted from my Creative Space.

Sometimes I like to challenge myself and do something new. Think outside the box and step outside of my zone of familiarity, and my zone of comfort. Kind of like the saying, do something new or something that scares you everyday. Not necessarily just by creating this piece, but also by sharing more about myself at the end.

I looked through my stash of art supplies and I decided to craft this portable altar kit. It could also be described as a mini-shrine, and mine is made of upcycled, repurposed and recycled materials. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on something like this. Honestly most things I acquired for free, already had on hand, or made. I gave a few examples of what I gathered the products from to give you your own ideas. On how you can upcycle things into a meaningful craft.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a shrine or altar is, here’s a brief description. While The dictionary talks about them being a receptacle for sacred relics, or a place considered sacred because of its relationship to a holy person or event, they can also be for other reasons. You could have one for political, humorous, satirical, one’s family, travel, nature, basically anything that is of interest of the artist creating the piece, or  imbibed with intentions for the person it’s being designed for.

 

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Materials used:
The “box” was made from an old altoids [mints] tin I had lying around.
The covering is a combination of papers from old kannada calendars, printer paper, cardstock, and scrapbook paper.
The sacred objects are items that hold value and have meaning to me. Things I have picked up during my travels.
-A red rock from a vortex in Sedona, Az.
-Incense
-Rudraksha seed/bead from a spiritual retreat.
-Thread from a puja in India.
-Mini-ganesha idol/murti.
-Sacred symbols, quotes, yantra, shloka book, mantras etc… I made using scrap paper and my printer.
-Auspicious paper marigolds.
– Battery powered candle.
-Bag to wrap everything in. [from a spare velvet gift bag, originally given to me with a birthday gift inside]

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I never feel like it’s 100% finished, because I add special items from my journeys, and because I keep adding items from a personal wish list of items I originally wanted to add to the little altar that I came up with as I was creating it.  Portable altars come in handy for those who travel, someone living in a small space, someone going off to college, and I am sure there are other examples.

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Taking a deep breathing and just diving in. Since I don’t always talk about myself on here, as some of you may not know I celebrate an amalgamation of holidays and this craft honors the cultures that resonate with me. I honor Hindu culture and customs, as well as the standard American / Catholic Holidays that are common such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter etc… The next Hindu holiday upcoming is Ganesha Chaturthi, and since I will likely be out of town this little altar will come in handy for me. I do not consider myself to be a religious person, but a person who is spiritual.

I previously haven’t written many personal details on my blog  due to the need in the professional world to have keep details of my personal life withheld. Keep my cards held close to my chest and keep myself out of the limelight.  I am now at a new path in my life where I can share more, not be so closed off or guarded. After not having done this for so long I feel really vulnerable to open up. Sometimes it can be freeing to write to a world of strangers, to write to no one you know in particular, but today alas is just one of those days I just feel more susceptible to judgement. Anyway I hope you enjoy hearing about me and getting to know more about me from time to time. I also hope this post maybe taught you something new or inspired you to do something new today as well.

Happy Varamahalakshmi

Today is Vara(boon) Mahalakshmi(Goddess of Wealth) festival. Celebrated across south of India. The women folk celebrate this for the wellbeing of their families. Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Siri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvathi (learning), Prithi (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santhushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus.

Here’s wishing one and all a happy Varamahalakshmi.

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India’s New Comic Book Hero

There’s a new comic book here in India named Priya Shakti, and she fights rape from the back of a tiger.

The comic was created by Ram Devineni, a new york based filmmaker. He was inspired by an incident that occurred a few years ago after a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Three days later she died from her injuries. The incident influenced millions in the city and all over India to protest the widespread violence against women.

Priya, India’s new superhero

More info at:

Goats and Soda 

 

Gift It Forward / Pay It Forward this holiday season.

Some of us have everything we need, so what do you get the person that has everything? I like to give gifts that give back. I feel like I have so much to be thankful for, and that others deserve the same. I choose to be filled with gratitude and open my heart this holiday season. It fills me with love, warmth, and I feel a sense of purpose that I can bring joy to someone and put a smile on their face.

Gifting it forward is my way of paying it forward each holiday season. I am not looking for any type of recognition, I just want to do what I can to make someone’s holiday season that much merrier. I may not be rich, I work hard just like everyone else, but I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes to keep me warm in the blustery winter weather. Not everyone can say that.

Last year in 2013 I sponsored a 4-year-old girl through a local organizations called DFC Department of Children and Families. My instructions were to purchase at least 1 clothing item and 1 non-clothing item and or learning toy. I found some great deals on little things for her so I was able to purchase 2 pairs of leggings, a Merida doll and a learning toy.

Pay-it-forward

This year I decided to go with something that had been weighing on my mind. India holds a special place for me. I have family there, and I wanted to do something to help the future generation. I wanted to give someone the chance to better them self. I kept thinking there must be a way to help support an underprivileged girl. To give her a chance in life. I wanted to be able to provide an opportunity, the tools to succeed in life utilizing the gift of knowledge and support. As a woman who put her own self through school, I feel quite strongly about other girls being able to go to complete school, rise up, and make a better life for themselves and their families.

Facts: One-fifth of the world’s out-of-school girls are in India, and among those that enroll in school, only 3 out of 10 finish 10th grade. Only 65% of India’s women are literate.

I had thought of starting my own organization if something did not already exist. I wanted a way to give back and support many girls in such a way. I wanted a way to make an impact. After much research I found such an organization, Nanhi Kali, already in existence. They help people like me provide a girl the chance to improve her future. Sponsoring a girl child in India provides her a new beginning. Lets work towards making poverty history, promote literacy and higher education, and support the education of under-privileged girl children in India.

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If you’d like to do the same here are some details for two ways to donate through Nanhi Kali. Its worth noting that both not only ensure that such girl children get access to quality education but also complete 10 years of it. Academic support towards improving learning levels, material support to provide access to quality education, tutors, uniforms, bags, books, shoes, pencils, notebooks, even hygiene materials so she can attend school with dignity and social support to ensure that she doesn’t drop out. This Christmas send a girl to school, be her Santa.

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The Girl Store  – Gift her school supplies.
Site gives the flexibility to the donor to donate any variable denominations of payments. You can buy a girl one or all of the items needed to send her to school for a year.

Nanhi Kali Sponsorships  – Sponsor her education.
Support the education of under-privileged girl children in India where you can look forward to receiving a detailed profile of the “Nanhi Kali” [little bud/flower] along with her photograph and regular updates of her progress.

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#behersanta
#payitforward
#giftitforward

To Follow or Learn more:
https://twitter.com/NanhiKali
https://www.facebook.com/ProjectNanhiKali
http://www.the-girl-store.org/shop
http://donor.nanhikali.org/DonateNowMfusa.aspx

I am in no way affiliated with the site or organization. I am someone who believes in their mission, wants to make a difference and offer you alternative gift ideas for any time.

 

Happy Belated Ram Navami 4.19.2013

I’m playing catch up on posts. Ram Navami was on April 19th. I planned originally to post a “Happy Ram Navami” blessings post that day, however at that time things were a bit out of hand around here. You see that was the same week the Boston Marathon bombings [a few miles from us] happened. The city shut down, the non government office I work in closed the business, and we had to work from home. My family and I are safe, unlike many of those who were at the marathon and injured or lost their lives. My heart goes out to those affected by such a tragic event.

Once stress and safety were no longer a concern, and the random April 19th National Grid power outages stopped, there were still a few niggling things on my plate. I’ve been caught up in some post vacation normal adult life responsibilities [read work, domestic goddess chores, playing tech support guru for family, and uploading vacation photos]. Anyway I am back from such a partially long unplanned posting vacation and….

I wanted to wish you all a belated Ram Navami, Jai Shree Ram. May Lord Ram shower his blessings on you on Ram Navami and always. Happy Belated Ram Navami.

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Image Source

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Happy Deepavalli Festival

While yesterday was Deepavalli, the celebrations spread across 3 days.  Today I am posting warm wishes of light and happiness to all.

Infinite blessings on your path.

Namaskar.

 

Happy Deepavalli

aka The Festival of lights

Image Source
http://blog.sajithm.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/happy-diwali.jpg

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

With today being Ganesh Chaturthi, today I woke up and made Kesari bath along with a few other items. We set up the idols and items for the puja. We set the offerings of food and such for the gods and it was a great start to the day. As the day progressed after work I melted into a lovely yoga practice that left me in a state of bliss. The sky had a lovely sunset that is uncommon for this region.

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I feel grateful to be alive and well today. I am counting my blessings.