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10 Ways to Decorate with Wine Bottles in 30 Minutes or Less

10 Ways to Decorate with Wine Bottles in 30 Minutes or Less_EggfacemomheadWhat must a mother (and others) do when they’re done downing their favorite wine? Well, slurry speech monologues and then, some decorating. With their slender neck and bulbous bottom, wine bottles are beautiful. Why would anyone want to throw them away anyway? I’ve never thrown one till date. So what I’m always looking to do is decorating with wine bottles in interesting ways around the house. If, like me, you went about searching for design hacks on the web you’d likely hit upon many gems but most of these are very elaborate craft projects. The latter are definitely unsuitable for people who have had to perfect teeth brushing under two seconds.

Instead what I wanted to begin working with were easy on design (and time) ways to use old wine bottles, without having to chop, cut, drill. Here are ten ways to decorate with wine bottles in 30 minutes or less.

#1_Use String LightsThis one does require a visit to the electrical shop to get string lights (which may be more than 30 minutes), but if you can pick it up on your weekly/fortnightly market visit, then just dip it inside, turn it on and watch the magic.

#2_Wrap A Twine AroundFor a rustic vibe in a corner or your centre table, just wind a twine or a jute rope around the wine bottle. Then throw in some real flowers or colorful dry decoration inside or even an interesting tag around the neck.

#3_Paint the BottleThis one the whole family can have fun with. Bring out your paintbox, choose your colors and go crazy. Okay, stay sane because honey you’ll be the one cleaning up afterwards.

#4_Wrap in FabricEver so often we have odd bits of fabric lying around that is too small to do anything with. Just wrap your wine bottle in it, tie a contrasting ribbon around the neck and voilà, you’ve put two ol’ things to good new use.

#5_Make a hanging vaseSounds too darn simple and that is why it’s here. As a bonus, it can also look very garden-y if you’re stuck on the 14th floor far far away from any garden. Put a twine around the neck, tie it to a balcony railing or any pole resembling surface, fill water and put your favorite flower in it.

#6_Bring the beach inFill the wine bottle with different shades of sand, small pebbles, shells and set it on the window sill or your writing desk. Dreamy days will be made of these.

#7_Candle Light ItMany tall candles fit in to a standard wine bottle mouth. If not, use sand to fill the base, drop your candle in and light it up.

#8_Glam & GlitteratiSome boys and girls love glitter. Even if you don’t, a little shimmer and shine never hurt a soul. Spread some glitter on a paper, roll your bottle in it and watch it turn the groove on. When you decide to try this one out, I suggest declaring it Glitter Day and putting the leftovers on old boring tee shirts, white canvas shoes, your faded denims and just about anywhere that cannot protest. (Your cat will.)

#9_Go VintageEveryone has old, yellowed, frayed pages of books or even newspapers lying around. Cut these out (keep interesting headlines in to make them pop) and give the bottles an old world makeover.

#10_Bottle of MemoriesMy absolute favorite. Feel like a pirate as you roll up an old photograph or a love note from a beloved and preserve a message in a bottle, maybe even for posterity. The odd maneuvers to make it straight once it’s inside might take a bit of practice and loads of patience, but hang in there because the result will be delightfully sweet. (P.S.: If like me you’re wondering what if I want to pull that picture out at a later date, you could also put the picture on the outside. Otherwise the bottle will have to break. But if you are ready to commit to letting go of a bottle bottom, then there’s a whole lot of other decorating ideas to try out!)

Why don’t you give these a go and tell me how easy or difficult you found them. And which one was your favorite?

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In which Vikram Seth is (possibly) Drunk and Arundhati Roy asks Who I Am

The room is bathed in a red light reflecting off from the neatly laid out chairs and tables covered in red linen. The stage is lit, the podium is set, with a placard in front of it reminding everyone what this evening is about. It is the posthumous launch of Editor Unplugged, the autobiography ‘sequel’ of Journalist & Outlook Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Vinod Mehta.

AloneI walk in dressed in red corduroy pants (and a non-committal black & white tee), unaware then of being co-ordinated with the color of the night. My friend is waiting, with his brand new camera around his neck, waiting for her and him. She is a woman with a Man Booker Prize. He is A (bi-sexual) Suitable Boy. She is launching the book. He is going to read from it. They are the reason I’m not attending a string music festival that night at a garden across town.

IMG_20150331_185404771My friend ventures out into the thin crowd to thrust his camera unabashedly into the faces of attendees, only the remotely famous ones. I stand in a corner, watching him, wondering what wine they’ll be serving. And then she walks in, clad in a plain saree (is it light brown, with a green tinge, or does it bear the shade of dust in Delhi?). It is paired with a gold and green blouse that fits so well I want to ask her where she got it stitched. The saree is from “a small shop in Meherchand Market”, she’ll be telling gushing ladies later that evening.

IMG_20150331_195449800By now I’ve smiled at other guests, the kind of smile that simply acknowledges another human being, strangers though they may be. I’ve had a glass of white wine (of indeterminate origin, since the waiter does not know and I’d have to walk to the bar to find out, and well, let’s leave it be because it’s a nice drink on a fine evening). And then he walks in, with a non-polythene packet from the publisher (with the book inside I presume) and his mother on his arm. He’s short. He’s wearing a blue blazer and you can see that his hair will soon leave him. Some already have.

IMG_20150331_200348576After greeting certain other guests, they run into each other and smile, politely. They’re not friends. They’re here for respective roles in the book launch drama.

He’s called in first to read a passage from the book. He walks to the podium with the book packet in one hand and a glass of red (Merlot?) wine in the other. The audience will need theirs too. The reading is boring to say the least, irreverently mis-pronounced to say it all. In his drunken slur, ‘rummaging’ becomes ‘scrummaging’, silent pauses are deafening, not poignant and while he raises an arm to settle sparse but flowing locks, we all forget the man that we’ve gathered together to celebrate. And everyone claps.

“Vinod was in love with me.” She is looking in the distance as she talks about the editor who published her copious politically-incorrect essays that got both of them into trouble. My eyes dart towards the gentleman’s wife seated at the table near the stage. I can’t see her face. “We were partners.” She continues in a similar vein, taking everyone along on a walk through her years working with a man she believed stood for ‘fearless journalism’. Perhaps there are tears, if only a hint. But it now feels like an obituary in prose, befitting the event.

She smiles as she walks away from the podium and the guests are encouraged to wine and dine (with finger food). I wonder if I should ask her to write something in my book, not her book, but the one I’ve been reading. It’s from the 18th century so I presume she wouldn’t be miffed. Watching her I imagine she would smile even if she was miffed. I ask my friend if I should do it and he wants to click our picture together instead.

She is standing next to me and smiling at the camera. This is all quite neurotic (with an unhealthy sprinkling of thrill).

“And who are you”, she asks.

“I’m Manika.”

She goes back to smiling at me, at the camera and again at everyone else in this garden party book launch, before making a royal exit, the first for the night.

We follow soon after, less royally, leaving behind one of the many worlds that seem wonderful at a distance, are a tad humorous up close, and are positively entertaining if you’re watching from the sidelines, preferably with a witty partner and/or fine wine.

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Twisted (K)aleidoscope

Eating fruit yogurt (pineapple flavour, if you must know) and listening to INXS is supposed to help me generate ideas for my new piece. In between the will it, won’t it game, I consider the convenience of writing my thoughts (random as they always are) in the sequence they come to me. Let all who read on be forewarned: This is an experiment.

If one could sort life like a music playlist, things would be just fine. That i can get the late Michael Hutchence to start the show, have Kurt Cobain and Roger Waters follow, is the exercise of one of the best kind of personal choice.

Incidentally, the Pink Floyd song ‘Coming back to life’ reminds me of the time a friend and I wanted to hear the song so bad that we were ready to leave a trying-to-be-a-party at another friend’s home and go sit in the car and hear it (the only option available at the time).

That day also happened to be the time when one witnessed brilliance from close quarters…opening of a wine bottle with a screw driver as the cork screw could not be located. The cork fell into the bottle after being pushed this way and that and as expected, didn’t enhance the taste of the ‘warm’ (it had been worked at for a long while) wine. Someone floated the sacrilegious suggestion of putting some ice in the tall wine glasses. Rest assured, things didn’t go as far that.

From wine glasses to another kind. What is the most difficult thing to find without your spectacles?
Well, your spectacles.

For reasons unknown, I just remembered this restaurant in Delhi (lets not name it), that had created two seating areas demarcated as ‘smoking and non-alcoholic’ and ‘non-smoking and alcoholic’. Asthmatic non-alcoholics could not have been happy.

Have you ever wondered how marketing managers of cigarette companies live with themselves? For several years now they have probably been taking inspiration from the film ‘Thankyou For Smoking’ (some people will tell you I really sell this film). Three words for you : go get it.

Come to think of it, there are quite a few things I sell to people around me: contact lenses, bananas as breakfast, taking notes to keep from sleeping, carrying a book to read everywhere, etc.

Perhaps after reading this piece people will also see the benefits of blogging. How else can you get away with something like the above.

Needless to say, this stream of randomness could flow on forever.
I must practice restraint and build impenetrable obstacles in its path.
Au revoir dear reader.

Rest assured there are better days ahead. Amen.

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Crooked Crumbs

Judgement hid behind glass frames

shadows of present lives hang by

words sift through wine and sea shells

muted laughter and picture smiles

 

Scent of new beginnings in a bottle

faint desire in a stolen glance

beauty wrapped up in secrets

evening invitations denied

 

Cruel love chained to a rock

new life across the gilded sky

an unknown tongue and its travails

old symphonies buried with time

 

Postcard memories of winter noon

spoken truth amid hidden lies

distant farewell at curious turns

faltering fish and February rhymes

 

Old boat, new tidings, inspired dreams

quilted darkness along lost walls

imagined lives betrayed by distance

’til words find routes to swim ashore.