Wednesday, October 21, 2015

No Halloween? No Way!!

As Halloween approaches, I have been hearing news of schools banning Halloween parades and citing cultural diversity as a reason.


Naturally, many parents have taken up the issue and there are many comments about sending immigrants back where they came from, etc etc.

With the immigration issue already looming large and leaving the nation divided, this is bound to create more bad blood. So here I am, a first generation immigrant, telling it as I see it.

I Love Halloween.

I LOVE Halloween.

And I'm not just saying it. Every year, for the past 8 years that I have been here, I too dress up and go trick or treating with my kids. I'm no lover of candy. Yup, lost my sweet tooth somewhere long ago, but I still love to create new costumes and new looks.

My kids have grown up with a healthy love for Halloween too. We have prolonged discussions about their costumes for the year. And here's the thing - I don't think it's just me. Every Halloween I give out a LOT of candy to kids who come to my door, and many of them are immigrants too.

The saying 'When in Rome...' is very true. If you have decided to make your life in a country other than the one you grew up in, you must embrace the new way of living. You don't need to change your religion or eat foods that you don't want to. You don't have to forget your own culture.

But don't restrict your children from experiences that don't harm them. And if you do feel strongly about not celebrating Halloween, please take the time to explain your reasons to your children. Teach them to accept and respect the traditions of others.

Cultural Diversity does not imply stopping your own traditions to accommodate others. It means teaching your children to respect other traditions even though you don't follow them. Even my mom, who is in her 60s, decided to jump into the Halloween fever with enthusiasm.

We figured Dad looked scary enough on his own that he wouldn't need any costume! Ha ha.

And one year, we decided to give the kids an extra reason to don their Halloween costumes - we had a Halloween themed birthday party!

I am proud that my children celebrate Halloween with the same gusto as they celebrate Holi - our very own festival of colors. Aren't Tolerance and Empathy the most important traditions we can teach our children ?

To all my readers, far and wide, I declare that I find Halloween to be one of the most fascinating holidays ever. I hate spooky. You will never convince me to watch a horror movie. I never want to enter a haunted house (even one that I know is make-believe).

But I love Halloween. This year I was ready for it early too.

Want to know what my kids will be dressing up as this year ? I will be revealing it on my Facebook page Decorating 4 Kids. So I hope you will visit me there too.

Which reminds me...I should get on with the costume making. My daughter comes back from school everyday with the same question on her lips, "Did you finish my costume today?"

Happy Halloween to one and all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mural On The Wall - the Reveal

Hello hello,

Are you ready to see what is up on my dining room wall? This project has been a long time in the making. But it is finally done and I am quite happy with the results.

A blank wall, to me, is an art project waiting to happen. I was not very clear what I planned to do in my dining room. I picked up quite a few knick-knacks while I sorted things in my head about where I wanted to go with them.

I found these super pretty measuring spoons in Michaels (of all places!).

I haven't even taken them out of their packaging yet. I also picked up this tray from The Christmas Tree Shop.

In the picture you can't tell it's a tray...but it is. I wanted to go with a French theme for the dining room. I had visions of a silhouette of an ornate lamp post. You know. To give it the feel that we are dining in Paris.

And then, I found source of inspiration.

It's a blank greeting card! I found this in BJ's - just goes to show that inspiration is all around us. And I knew this is what I wanted to re-create. So it was off to Michaels for the duck tape et al. I live in a rented space, so I can't paint the walls, which would have made my life so much easier.

Instead I had to deal with tape and thereby, whatever colors I could find. So here is a picture of my BLANK dining room wall, or should I say, my canvas before the project.

Yeah, right. As if you have never seen a blank wall before. But really this is just to show you the BEFORE and AFTER pictures. So just bear with me.

Naturally I did NOT find the colors that I wanted. But now I quite like what I did find.

The orange is a really bright orange and it had me worried for a while. But paired with the sober beige, it actually gives a pop of color that is quite refreshing. The edges are rough, but one smooth layer of tape over it can work wonders. Here is the bottom part of the wall all done.

It was surprisingly quick. I added the 2 single lines of tape over the broad bands and I do think they make it look better. Gives the eye a break from just the 2 broad bands, methinks.

Then came the hard part of drawing out the Eiffel Tower. Lot of measuring involved since it was to be a BIG size almost reaching the ceiling. Can you see the faint pencil lines? I don't mind using pencil on the wall (though there are strict rules for the kids.). I know I can easily remove these with the Magic Eraser.

Well, truth be told, my project came to a standstill right about here. For one, I could not figure out what color to use for the Eiffel Tower. The card, as you can see if you scroll back up, has the tower in a darker shade of beige with lines on it which give it the feel of the Eiffel Tower. So I just stopped here.

And then, the elves came to help.

My kids and nieces were eager to work on my project and since I had to figure out a way to keep them busy during the summer hols, we finally got the project on the move again.

I found this tape which had lines and a lot of color too. It's quite perfect for the Eiffel Tower. So I got them the tape, scissors and a black sharpie...and they literally took off. So a BIG thanks to them for helping me complete the dining room mural sooner than I expected.

And here is a look at the completed project.

The plate and the birds are also from Michaels. I simply painted the words 'bon appetit' on the plate with a paint pen - thank you whoever came up with the idea of a paint pen! And then hot glued the birds onto the side. Et, Voila!

Let me know what you think of my project. Have you tried duck tape murals? What are your favorite ways to decorate the dining room. Do share your thoughts, so I can start planning my next project!

Smile Always,