DIY fake photo canvas for zero dollar | Frugal home decor idea

Staying in rental apartment means paying a high price for damaging walls due to several holes.  So I came up with a solution and decided to add our photos and personalize our living room and our apartment by putting up fake photo canvases.

Fake photo canvas?  Yes, and this is using Thermocol (aka Styrofoam).  Again.  (The previous wall decor idea gluing a paper over Styrofoam sheet).

SpushtChats | Wall decor idea: fake photo canvas

baked goods as gifts

Earlier, when we were invited for lunches or dinners, it used to take some time to think about what to gifts the hosts, whether they might already have it, whether they would like it or would get it exchanged, where to shop from, and so on.

Then I started baking cookies and brownies and gave the baked goods as gifts.  Not many people bake, not many bake without eggs, people's kids especially like cookies and brownies, it is easier to bake and gift something for everyone to eat and enjoy, and putting in a little effort in this kind of gift is more obvious.

give baked goods as gifts at lunch or dinner invites

While I used to take the baked goods placed in tissue paper inside a transparent box, last month I added a little personal touch to it by writing a decorative label/note on the box.  So now the host knows what the baked good is made of as well as when to consume it by.  It looks thoughtful and it looks good.

Go an extra mile - sometimes it is absolutely worth it.
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apartment search checklist

While cleaning up the drawers some days back I found this apartment search checklist.  Last year since I was on vacation in Asia and Alok had to hunt for apartments here, I left with him this long checklist of the kind of apartment I want and the kind of things he needs to look or ask for.

spusht | new apartment search checklist

recipe testing and comparing results

So many times I tried a new recipe first time when I were to have guests over for lunch or dinner at my place and the dishes flopped.  So many times Alok has told me to cook something I have before, instead of experimenting a new dish from a new recipe when I invite guests.  Because of the numerous times a recipe did not give me the results I wanted and because of the numerous variations in recipes for a particular dish - I started testing multiple recipes at home to discard the flop ones.

When Shumaila commented "so much research went in this" on my Blueberry Muffin post few days back, I thought of posting a few photos I had randomly clicked over a period of time.  This is how I test 2-3 recipes at once because if I cook different recipes over a gap of few days or weeks, I may forget what one tasted like in comparison to the other.  And the recipes that work - I upload them on my blog.

one cup of tea

This happened almost ten years ago. One day my dadaji (grandfather: father's father) came home for a bit in the afternoon.  My mom and the help were probably not at home, so I offered to make him a cup of tea (Indian Chai) although I rarely entered the kitchen those days.

As the tea started to brew, I felt I had put too many tea leaves (chai patti) since the tea looked dark.  So I added more milk.  But I knew my mom used 50-50 ratio of water and milk.  So I also put more water.  That meant adding a little more sugar.  I was trying to apply logic.  As I let the tea boil, it appeared a little lighter in color than what I used to see mom serve.  Without any sense of measurement, I put another spoon of tea leaves and let it brew longer.

The chai continued to get dark brown.  Then I had to add more milk, more water, more sugar.  I sieved some chai into a cup, whiffed to cool it and took a sip.  Oh lord, the chai tasted way too sweet!  I probably should not have added sugar each time.  So I put in more tea leaves, more milk, and equally more water.  And prayed for this to be the last trial.  Because the one cup of tea turned out to serve almost eight people.

Finally, I sieved the chai into a cup, put some biscuits on a plate, and took the tray to my grandfather who had been waiting past 40 minutes for one cup of tea.  He took the cup by its handle, looked at me and asked, "itni der kaise laga di? chai bana bana ke fek rahi thi kya?!" [translate: why did it take you so long? were you making tea each time and throwing away?]

Ten years later today, I laugh so hard remembering this incident that my stomach hurts.
That one cup of tea.
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blog content theft - stealing and plagiarizing

When I used to see bloggers furious over their photos stolen by magazines or other people, with watermark removed and no credit or compensation given - I could understand their anger but could not relate to it. Because no one stole my photos - which used to make me think perhaps my writing and photography sucks, that is why it was not worth stealing.  But I came across a blog that had pretty much copied my entire blog's text and photos from the homepage of Spusht without my knowledge.

All day I tried to search for the blogger's contact information, or search how to report content theft on Google (by reporting web spam or filling DMCA form for Blogger), or how to increase security settings on my own blog.  I read the information explained in excellent detailed form on this blog on how to deal with people stealing.  Then I learned about Copyscape where I can search for duplicate content, and after posting a few of my blog post links it happens that a LOT of people copy things from one blog to another.  A day that could have been spent more productively but was wasted because of some idiots who copy and steal.

I hate to see content from my blog being stolen without a back link, reference, or credits to me or my blog.  Now I understand how it feels when your ideas, your creativity, your hard work, and your intellectual property is not given its due credit.  But once you make your work public, people will always copy without crediting and steal without shame, and this is bound to happen.  Whether in the real world where people use other people's content for commercial purposes, or whether on internet where people steal content and make money from ads on their websites -  it is not fair for someone who puts in all the hard work.

Though I am now smiling to know that finally my work is worth copying, this is content theft and it is a bad thing and I want those particular blogs that copied my posts to be taken down and I am starting to relate to the furious bloggers and qpwm eocnru salfjdk svxizr mzytuplqf !@#$%^&*( ..........
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first try at canvas painting | fun weekend activity with husband

For the July 4 long weekend holiday Alok found out just a day before that he would get an off on Friday too.  Since we did not plan any trip or vacation for the four-day long weekend, and since booking this late would be unnecessarily expensive - we did random things on all four days.

Day 1 - relaxed at home and went to see fireworks in the evening at a park with a few friends.
Day 2 - went to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the morning and back home at night.
Day 3 - went shopping all day at the Gilroy Premium Outlet.
Day 4 - tried canvas painting for the first time!

the plot backfired

Since Alok does not help with anything around the apartment (heck, does not even pick things up that are lying around) until I specifically ask him to, I thought of trying a new method.  For some reason, I think of myself as a psychology expert trying to understand ways to influence the human brain, and ways to remodel human behavior.  The human in this context is my husband.

So my new method was to tell my husband I cannot do something and ask if he can do it.  Basically, I believe men like solving things, being the Mr. Fix-It, and especially helping more when a woman says she cannot do it.