04 September, 2007

Craftwork - Project Rakhi

Raksha Bandhan was just around the corner. And the thought suddenly dawned on me that I had done absolutely nothing towards procuring a Rakhi. Bright tool that I am, this does not surprise me - not one bit. And to people who think that I am organised, well ...... , this should serve as a huge neon billboard, effectively advertising the fact that I am not - organised, I mean.

Gave the whole issue a lot of thought and realised that I was so not looking forward to buying a Rakhi. Because of the simple reason that Rakhis are available only in the Indian stores and invariably the Rakhi's look either pathetic or downright gaudy and flashy. Either way they look as if they have been through the manufacturing process ...... say about a decade back. That is a fairly safe and reasonable estimate, given the condition they are in, when on display in the shops here.

Realisation dawned - that there was enough crafting material at home to "make" a Rakhi. There was just one little problem - there was no appropriate "dhaaga" available at home. Tried imagining how a "dhagaless" rakhi would look ..... and that idea fell flat on its face before it even took off.

Just as I was trying to imagine and conjure up all kinds of dhaaga possibilities - ranging right from the thread used for the diyas to some of Aparna's old and discarded hairbands - the inspiration presented itself. Or rather, it sort of came walking to me !!!!

Who else but Abhay !!!

He was walking around with a paper bag, trying to pry the bag open by pulling on its handles. The idea quite apparently had been to invert the bag on his head once he had managed to pull the bag open. His noble intentions were thwarted by a loud screech that emanated from his Mommy. Screech that came about not because he was going to invert the bag on his head but because momma had found exactly what she had been looking for - the dhaaga. The very same "so very difficult to get hold of" dhaaga had now become the "so very ubiquitous" dhaaga.

Yes - the handles of paper bags which are invariably made of a silky sort of material. There had been plenty right under my nose but it took a bit of monkey behaviour from Abhay for inspiration to strike.

First started off Project Rakhi by cutting off one of the handles from a small paper bag. Chose one which was on the thinner side and silvery grey in colour. Then used a fine toothed comb to slightly frizzle out the edges of the handle to give it that tassel-like appearance.

Now for the main body of the rakhi.

There were many sheets of suede-like craft material in many different colours at home - also thanks to a stationery shopping binge that I had once been on.

Chose to stay with the familiar "circle-shaped" rakhi.

A deep maroon background looked rather visually appealing and so - maroon it was.

Cut out two circles from the maroon suede sheet. And to achieve perfect circles, a one-dollar coin was brought into play. A circle traced and cut out and then another circle.

Decided to cover the dhaaga on both sides with the suede just in case the dhaaga irritated the skin. With the suede cushioning the dhaaga, that problem would not arise.

Ran into a slight problem here because the two pieces of maroon suede (with the dhaaga running through them) refused to adhere with PVA glue. So then, had to resort to using various single stitches all over the outer rim of the circles and some more stitches to ensure that the dhaaga stayed in place.

Next came the decoration of the Rakhi.

We had some sequins leftover from one of last year's art projects which had been sent to Abhay's school. One of those sequins was transformed into the centrepiece of the rakhi.

Some more of the suede sheets were brought into play - this time in many different colours. Cut out two little pieces each from four different colours and shaped them into small petals.

A generous helping of PVA glue and a multiple of crossed fingers and the glue did work its magic. The petals stayed stuck to the main body of the rakhi.

Now all that remained was to jazz the whole thing up and add some glitter to the rakhi. Not to mention, cover up the stitches that were somewhat visible around the outer rim of the rakhi.

Glitter glue to the rescue.

And this is what the rakhi looked like.

Surprise, delight, awe, enchantment, glee, fascination – all rolled into one was what I saw in Aparna and Abhay’s eyes and demeanor when they took a peek at the Rakhi.

And that look on the two little faces when they glimpsed upon the Rakhi, all completed and ready, will always remain a very very dear and cherished memory.

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23 voice(s) said so:

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Beautiful!Just beautiful!

choxbox said...


please look down. can you see a pair of feet? please touch them for me!

can tharini and you hold art workshops for folks like me?!

DotMom said...

so imaginative.. very pretty..

Kodi's Mom said...

lovely, as always! and three cheers for Abhay for leading you to a solution.

Tharini said...

Excellent work Gauri. I love how your mind works and you see possibilities in every little thing. Am bookmarking this!

mnamma said...

Wow! I just echo choxbox here! We have a lot to learn from you and Tharini!

the mad momma said...

ohmygod. you just keep moving the bar higher every few days. i just abt managed to pick up the rakhis in time!

Gauri said...

Inq. Akka, Dotmom, K's Mom, MM, mnamma, Tharini : Thanks a lot :-)

Choxbox/Namvor : I wish I could - touch my own feet, I mean. Fact remains that I can't - my abs get in the way :-))

Anamika said...

that was oh-so-pretty! i love the bag handles idea. now whenever i see a bag with those silken handles a voice will call 'raaakheee, raakheee'!

Lavs said...

You are truely gifted Gauri.

Something to Say said...

holy moly!!! now I know where your kids have gotten their artistic sense from - from you girl!!! what a pretty looking rakhi - I wud have never ever guessed it was handmade.
yes I agree with choxbox - we need art classes from the 2 of you. Else my child is going tobe that one - the one with he horrible uninteresting art projects :(

starry nights said...

The rakhi you created was just beautiful, and meaningful because it was not bought.and thanks to Abhay.

karmickids said...

Gauri you make me envious, such patience and such a beautiful rakhi...hats off to you.

Just Like That said...

Awe, delight, fascination, enchantment... pretty much what's going thru my mind too.You're an awesome Momma, Gauri!

LOL at the way Choxbox said it.
please look down. can you see a pair of feet? please touch them for me!"
Echo the same. You're awesome, abs and all! ;-)

choxbox said...

you've been tagged!

Peridot said...

Just WOW :-) You share your name with my lil' sister, for that reason alone I'd 'wow' you :-)

NainaAshley said...

You are extremely creative and very patient I must say. I love the art projects you do with your kids. The rakhi turned out to be so beautiful. I also enjoyed Appu and Abhay's pictures in the previous posts.

Mystic Margarita said...

So creative and beautiful - adds so much meaning to raksha bandhan.

Usha said...

Oh my god, you are a super talented mom!

Swati said...

Beautiful :)

Kodi's Mom said...

Abhay is tagged.

Moppet's Mom said...

You're picking quite a few tags! Have tagged you too.

Squiggles Mom said...

gorgeous rakhi. i am v. impressed. i sent all my bros ribbons :))