My teacher Yukiko Miyai on the Martha Stewart Show

Yesterday, my teacher Yukiko appeared as a guest on the Martha Stewart show to show Martha how to make a holiday decoration. Me and my fellow instructors were bummed because on the Martha Stewart website, Yukiko was just described as a crafter. She's not just a crafter. She is a Master, in the true sense of the world. Amazingly talented and a very patient and dedicated teacher as well. If she hadn't shown trust in me and been patient with me, I would never have been able to learn this totally wonderful art that enriches me...
Without further ado, here's Yukiko


New Flower Arrangements

I am back with two simple floral arrangements. The first one here is 3 gerbera daisies put together casually in a bottle-vase. I started buying these vases more than 2 years ago, but I realized I hadn't been using them at all. I was making formal arrangements mostly, but I personally love just a few flowers thrown together. So, I thought I'd put the vases to use :). Here's an example. Let me know how I've done :).

The Gerberas are beautiful, grand flowers by themselves. These ones have anywhere between 45-60 petals individually worked on. And then you have the center and even the smaller petals :). It is a lot of work, but the end result is quite satisfying I am sure you'd agree.

This second arrangement with Peonies, Roses and Stephanotis. I made one of these for my cousin's family in California and they loved it :). So, I made one more and listed it on ETSY.

These are the flowers that I get the most requested for. Everyone seems to love peonies and roses! This is the new style of peony that I learnt from my friend and teacher Betty, as a part of the CIII course. Doesn't it look really fragile and pretty? And the roses, well.... Roses and Me, Me and Roses! I just love them myself and had taken upon myself to perfect it. Can't compete with nature, and I don't want to brag, but I am really happy with the roses I make now....

Alrighty, I have some very challenging projects to work on right now. Back to those now :). Shall post more photos as I progress.

This is a brother that I have always looked up to. So when he said that he liked my flowers and wanted some, I just HAD to make some.

KeepsakeBlossoms is now registered in Arizona

Dear Readers,
I hope you haven't forgotten me. My last posting was so so long ago. I was utterly busy and tied up doing a zillion things. But I have so much to share with you, now that I am back! We have now moved to Arizona and I have been finally able to register my business here. I am very excited about our move. It means that we get to live in our own home, which we have been working on for the past year. Little by little, we furnished it, everytime we came visiting from San Juan. After our move this time, we painted it.... keeping in mind our 'eclectic' (At least I like to think it is eclectic. LOL!) taste and varied interests. We also got our carpet changed after the builder-installed basic carpet had nails poking at us! We bought a real TV :) (our previous one was a darling Magnavox that we bought for 50 bucks 4 years ago.) And right now, we are having our landscaping installed.
I also attended a film festival and watched tons of movies that I had been wanting to watch for the longest time. (Movies are my stress busters :) )
Flower-wise, I made a couple of trips to Betty in Atlanta, who taught me some CIII projects. Then I had a lot of wedding orders to work on. I had to stop taking orders for a while when our move to Arizona finalized. But here are some photos from my latest wedding project:
Blush pink anemones and ivory peonies, along with antique green hydrangea for the bridal bouquet.
Ivory rose buds and hydrangea for the bouts.

The final finished bouquet :).
Because of my self-imposed exile, I had time to work on some flowers that I had been wanting to perfect. I shall post some photos soon. I hope you'll like them.

Been a long time....

Once again, I have been guilty of not writing much on the blog. But I have been working :). And thinking.... we (my husband and I) might be ready to take a few big decisions now. I shall keep you updated.
What I have been doing lately? Lots! In addition to working on flowers, I have been reading a LOT, watching movies a LOT and listening to music a LOT. Those are my three passions and I can't do without them. If you want any recommendations, feel free to write in :). By the way, those of you who haven't seen the movie "Invictus" - GO WATCH IT! It is wonderful.... very moving and very inspiring.
Okay, back to flowers.... Taking a break from wedding orders, I made some pieces for a friend. Here are some photos. (I shall post more soon)

Meanwhile, I just wanted to let you know.... there are a few causes that I have been supporting for sometime now. They are very close to me. You will find links to them, to the left of this write-up. Please check out the organizations. They are doing some great work!

The first of the organizations is "Women for Women". I am an avid reader and I particularly like autobiographies. One of the most stunning lives I read about was that of Zainab Salbi. She stayed with me through the years as a guiding spirit.... and I promised myself that when I start earning, I shall associate myself with the organization she started. I can tell you lots about her and Women for Women Internation, but it would be even better if you can read her books and/or look up . This organization supports women survivors of war.

Smile Train is an organization I came to know about, when "Smile Pinki" was nominated (and eventually went on to win) for the Oscars in the best documentary category. Smile Train focuses solely on the problem of cleft lips and palate. It is a huge problem in developing countries, where the poor can't afford the simple 45 minute surgery, costing just $250. is the website that gives you more information about this. is the third and the newest organization that I have committed myself to. Some days back, I came across an interview of Matt Damon - who happens to be one of my favourite actors. He was speaking about this non-profit that he started with a gentleman named Gary White. The organization works to facilitate safe and accessible drinking water to people in developing countries. I grew up in India, where safe and accessible drinking water is still a HUGE problem. I still remember the summers when we as kids used to haul up gallons and gallons of drinking water, delivered by govt. tankers, up the staircase of our apartment building. And this was in a city! Imagine what people in villages go through. Sometimes, they have to travel miles and miles for drinking water. And even then, it might not be potable. This is what is working on and I don't have words to express how much I appreciate their work. I hope you will check out the link and involve yourself in whatever way possible.
There are so many people out there who are less fortunate than we are. Let us put forward a helping hand, so the world might become a better place....

Wedding Photos - Hair Piece


I am guilty of not having posted this earlier. I got these photos months back. Somehow, I totally forgot to show them to you. I made these flowers for Veronica's veil.... She wanted a long-ish cluster of phalaenopsis orchids, with some pearls in it, to give it some movement. Also, her husband's bout is a clay phalaenopsis made by me :).
My finger is still healing and I realized, that not just did I manage to rip a thumbnail off, I also hurt my other fingers of my left hand (and that makes all the difference, because I am left-handed!). So, working is really, literally... a pain :(. So is typing on the laptop.
I shall therefore, leave you now, with these photos. Hopefully, I shall be back on the blog soon, because despite the injury, I have been working and have some cute arrangements to show you :).

My CIII Course

I hope you have noticed that I have been away for some time :). Well, I was away doing an advanced course in ... clay flowers :). I was working on projects of the C-III curriculum of the DECO Clay Craft Academy, in Atlanta, GA with my friend and fellow instructor Betty Phillips. Not just did Betty teach me the course very patiently, she also - very graciously - allowed me to stay with her, in her very beautiful home :). I had a lot of fun working on the projects and also hanging around with Betty and her wonderful husband.
The new projects are a lot more complex that anything else we had learnt so far. I loved the challenge of it!
Let me know how you like these flowers :).
I shall get back to work now. I am making new arrangements everyday. As soon as I am able to take some pictures, I shall post them for you to enjoy.

Wedding Photos - Tropical Flower Bouquet

Some time back I had posted pictures of a tropical flower bouquet that I had made for a bride. Oceana has been gracious enough to share them with me, so I could share them with you. I have to take a moment here and say that I am very grateful to the brides who share photos of their special day with me and my readers.
Without any further ado, here are the photos...
Oceana had a beautiful wedding on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Yes, that made me very nostalgic :).... I have tried to incorporate the colors and vibrancy of Hawaii in her bouquet. And now that I see the photos of her wedding day, I think I have succeeded in doing so..... :).
Do let me know how you like the bouquet and the photos....

I still can't get over how much fun we had in India during our trip there. Here are some more photos. These are mostly city scenes.

I begin with something that irritated me a lot! :) This is a typical poster asking for votes. This particular belongs to the Indian National Congress. To me, they are all the same! Nowhere to be found when people actually need them.
This is a quintessential Bombay(Mumbai) traffic jam. Sometimes I actually enjoyed it ... the only explanation can be nostalgia :).

The Gateway of India in Bombay. This place used to be a landing point for dignitaries travelling from Britain during the colonial days. The structure itself was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This was the first 5 star hotel built in India in the year 1903. To me, from childhood - being able to have a meal here was a benchmark of some kind of success. This time, when we went to Bombay, we had breakfast there. Can't say we've achieved that much in life yet :), but it was the culmination of a childhood dream.
This hotel was unfortunately, one of the scenes of the mindless terrorist attack on 26th November 2008. The hotel is still recovering from the shock. But like the BBC stated after the attack, "the hotel serves as a symbol of Mumbai's and India's resilience". I can't help, but agree.

Lonavala - a hill station near Bombay. The hills that look barren in this photo actually take on a lush green color during the monsoons. That is the 'tourist season' for this place. But even when its barren, it is quite beautiful in its own way.We had sweet corn at Lonavala, roasted(?) the traditional Indian way :). It tasted yummy with the lemon, salt and chilli powder that the guy selling it liberally rubbed on it. We followed it with a lemon soda with a dash of roasted cumin. I tell you, for a second, I didn't want to come back to the US :).

The Victoria Memorial in Calcutta (Kolkata). The least flattering picture - that is, the one just above this test - has been clicked by me. The other two are courtesy Wikipedia, just to show you, how beautiful it is. This majestic marble building was built in memory of Queen Victoria, between 1906 to 1921. Calcutta was the capital of British India until 1911 (after which Delhi became the capital). Hence, there are a lot of beautiful structures from the colonial times. Of course, there are purely Indian structures too, but this time, I couldn't visit those places. These happened to be in our daily travel route.

Traveling on the Howrah Bridge. Built (in its current form) in 1945, just before the Indian independence. To me, looking at the Howrah Bridge signified the beginning of my summer vacation in Calcutta. When we travelled from Hyderabad to Calcutta by train, the one thing that told me that I was in Calcutta, was the Howrah Bridge. When we saw it, we'd scream with happiness at the prospect of meeting with our cousins :).

This is a view of the Howrah Bridge at night. Of course, I haven't captured this one :). The photo is again courtesy of Wikipedia, so you can see how majestic and beautiful it is!This is a view of the second Howrah Bridge. Built in the 1990s..... serving to ease flow of traffic on the older bridge.

The Stuart Hogg Market, popularly known at the New Market, in Calcutta. This market was intended solely for the British who didn't like rubbing shoulders with the 'natives' :). But since 1874, its come a long way and now serves as one of the most popular shopping places for Indians and British (a lot of them stayed back in Calcutta, after independence. They and their descendants are now known as the Anglo-Indians) alike.
An inside view of Hogg Market /New Market. Loved all the colors!

A hand-pulled rickshaw (If you have seen 'The City of Joy', you'll know what I am talking about) .... not a very clear picture... these rickshaws are being phased out and there are only a few remaining now. It is a hard job to do for the rickshaw pullers. But in the communist ruled state of West Bengal (of which Calcutta is the capital), there are few other alternative job options available to them.
Anyway..... that ends my series of India photos :). I have just received photos from a bride and I shall be posting them next :). Till then, I hope you enjoy these..... let me know.

Happy New Year!

I know, I know.... I am a little late in writing this post. But like many of you know, I was away - vacationing in India. Now I am back, rejuvenated after meeting my cute and naughty little niece :). What a darling she is!
We all had a great time together and now I am dying to start work again. The jet lag this time is really bad though! Ughh....
Anyway, here are some pictures from my trip. First some flowers:

These are some flowers that we found during our trip to the beautiful hill station of Khandala. There were Jasmines, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Poinsettia and several other flowers that I didn't recognize by name. They were all so beautiful. But my favourite was this blue water lily :). I just fell in love with it!

This time, we travelled a lot in India. We went to Calcutta, Bombay (Mumbai), Lonavala/Khandala and Pune. While we were in Khandala, we visited the Karla caves (carved out around 3rd century B.C., right around the time Buddhism started spreading around the world).
These caves used to be the seat of a Buddhist monastery. We were stunned by the art there. We got some photos of the inscriptions there too. I hope we can find out what they mean. The only sad thing was, the caves weren't maintained at all. The visitors are charged a fee, but there is hardly any maintenance. There is rampant vandalism of the ancient monument and there was NO information available there in English or Hindi (the caves are under the guardianship of the Archaeological Survey of India). There was a board there with some info in Marathi (the local language there) that we didn't know! And the most disgusting thing was, people who visited while we were there, showed absolutely no respect - they were screaming like there was some kind of party going on. Disgusting! I hope people read this and sit up and take notice. Monuments like this one are priceless and we need to protect them at all costs. Don't you think?
Anyway, that's about all that I have energy for right now. Tomorrow, more photos from India.... How I love traveling! Only if I could cut down on air travel and jet lag :).