Category : hobby


I have to accept. 2014 was not a great year for Woodooz in terms of the number of posts and projects. Compared to the previous year, the count is paltry – A mere 18. Not even two posts a month and the blog has been dormant, if not dead, for the last 3 months.  And this is making many ask me, “Are you done with it? Have you lost interest? Is this not a sustainable hobby? “.

A 2014 project - Side Table
Before I answer that question, I wanted to look back at 2014. Despite few posts, we had some interesting things happening at Woodooz:
  • First was the coverage in Smartlife Magazine. This gave us a big motivational boost.
  • Second was my visit to the Bosch DIY Square in Bangalore. Woodworking is fun and to experience it in a proper studio kind of environment was very exciting for me.
  • Third was meeting up with a fellow woodworker. It was an evening well spent talking about not just carpentry, but also about life in general.
  • And lastly, a lovely vacation to end the year. To be lazy and do absolutely nothing was the objective of the holiday and Kumarakom ended up being the perfect destination for it.
 At the banks of Kumarakom Vembanad lake
All good things ? Yet there was a dearth of posts. Why ? Have I lost interest ? Has the passion died ?

The truth is, there have been too many activities in the last 3 months that have been taking my attention. Activities that I have started to enjoy and pursue as parallel hobbies that I ended up giving very little time to Woodworking.

Cricket

To start with, I have taken to Cricket every Saturday morning. Not the professional sport types, but the tennis ball kinds that you play with friends. This I took up to introduce physical activity into my schedule to stay more fit and active. Much like every Indian, I love playing Cricket and now this takes up good 4 hours of my every Saturday.

Lots of action in the cricket ground

Photography

We recently bought a DSLR with absolutely no knowledge on using one. The prime reason was to start taking better pictures of our Woodooz projects. But then, what happened ? As I started exploring the camera and the basics around using it, I was involuntarily drawn into photography. A sudden surge that prompted me to go click click and click. The result – I have been spending way too much time in getting my techniques right. I love this so much that we have even started going bird watching to explore photography more.

Butterfly - Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Row of Park Benches
Spot Billed Pelican - At Pallikarnai Marsh Land

Reading

And finally reading. A collection of books that is supposedly epic novels written in my native language Tamil. I started reading the first in the series and realized how much I have been giving my mother tongue a step motherly treatment. These books written by Kalki Krishnamurthy are beautifully written novels that use fiction around real historical characters and events. What this did was not only unearth my interest in my language, but also in history. These books about the pallavas, and cholas are among the best that I have read in a long long time. And so, you can imagine. I still have another 5 parts to complete and I intend to be glued onto them.

Kalki's Ponniyin Selva collection
All said, what happens to Woodworking ? Had a little positive distraction in 2014 that made us give divided attention to Woodooz. However, we are resolute now to find all possible excuses to create newer projects that will keep us and Woodooz engaged throughout 2015. Which in turn only translates into providing you with quality updates, how tos, FAQs and other project updates at frequent intervals.

On that positive and forward looking note, we want to wrap up our 2014. We don't know what is in store for us in 2015. But the year that went by has certainly been enjoyable and exciting.

Wish you and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


I cannot even sit down to explain how frenzied life has been over the last month and a half. Being away from home and working long hours without weekend breaks has been demanding on both of us. Indulging in DIY was the last thing on our minds. A mini vacation is all we needed to de-stress, re-energize and pick ourselves up.
Nature photography
Much needed vacation to Thekaddy
The short retreat to Thekaddy was quite a welcome escape from all things that have been keeping us occupied and pre-occupied. It is always good to slow down, loosen up and relax and that is all we did. I learned a trick or two from Preethi in using her camera and I went click click click. Maybe I should learn photography properly to up the quality of pictures that we post here in the blog.

Well, sadly, we are back now and back to the usual rigmarole.  Still not sure how much time I would be able to spend on Woodooz for a short while now. You will see the frequency of posts coming down in the next two months, but only to pick up the lost momentum from thereafter.

For now, giving the customary DIY how-to posts a break and leaving you with pictures from our trip. Please do remember to not give up on us when you don't see a post for a long time.

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Saying am not bothered about numbers would be a clich̩ and a big lie too. Numbers indicate growth and consistency and they certainly have their way of providing the necessary push. This 100 signifies one key thing РThat I have been able to hold on to Woodooz for 100 long posts. It also tells me that I have had at least one post a week in the last one year which is significant, considering how awful I am at managing my time. Just wanted to look back at those projects that gave us immense pleasure, and the required drive to keep the momentum on. Will leave you with the pictures and links to the posts that have been extremely special to us. Do visit each of these pages and leave us your words of encouragement.



          The one that started it all. The first thing that I ever made after deciding to indulge in DIY
   The first clock that I ever made for our master bedroom
The first lampshade that was actually a result of looking at ways to recycle an old kurta
Preethi's Aravind Kolapkar reproduction that adorns the living room wall
The first decoupage project and experiments with madhubani
The paper mache name board that we so proudly display in the entrance of our home
It may just seem like a filler post, but then this is a milestone and I wanted to place it on record. It does seem a little nice to sit back, go through the archives and wonder how all this started, but then reality kicks in and I realize I'd rather be working on a work in progress project. While I get back to it, do leave us a comment. Let us know what you think of Woodooz.

- Somu
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CRAFTZINERS is a growing community of very highly imaginative and talented people who create art and crafts projects in their homes and communities. Craftziners is one of the most prolific art and craft  site providing a platform for new and upcoming talents and also a resource for how to create new art and crafts.
When Madhavi, the editor of the Craftziners magazine wanted to feature Woodooz and us in the January issue, we were thrilled beyond words can explain. Here are some excerpts from the interview. For the full interview, do check out the magazine. We are on the 10th page.

I was featured on Craftziners Magazine


Tell us more about Woodooz and how it all started ?
Woodooz right now is about everything (well almost) that one can do with simple hand tools. It is also about exploring creative outlets to escape the everyday routine, through arts and crafts. When we moved in to our new home and wanted to buy a center table, our search ended in vain and we did not find the right fit. It was Preethi's brainwave that we build the table ourselves with customized dimensions. We drove straight to a hardware store, bought a cheap electric drill, and it all started from there.
How did you decide on the brand name "woodooz"?
Working extensively with wood, which was our prime medium and with fabric, handmade papers and other media that added vibrancy to our work, we wanted our “brand name” to represent all that. So we derived the name from "Voodoo” that stands for black magic, only Woodooz is about the magic that is an outcome of a spectrum of colors, functionality, and the purposefulness of our work.
  • Do you still believe "Do what you love and the money will come" ?
  • How has blogging and the internet influenced your work as an artist?
  • What are your top 5 goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years?
These are some of the questions among many others that we so loved answering. Hope you like the read.

Thanks a lot Madhavi for the opportunity to be featured in your magazine. It is indeed very motivating and we wish you all the best in bringing small crafters and bloggers into limelight through your Website.

- Somu and Preethi


In School

Get good grades. Study well. Aim for that elusive first rank. Keep studying. History. Civics. Geography. And the whole thing all over again. While this was the expectation that was set upon me during my early days in school, I was also encouraged to pursue painting as a pastime. I sought every opportunity to spend my spare time with water colors trying to reproduce the painting in the back of Reader’s Digest. This diversion gave me that much needed time off from the nerve-wracking quarterlies, half-yearlies and finals. I was never good at painting (I have hoards of participation certificates, but no prize :P) and  at some point, I realized this is not for me and gave up my aspiration, but the scores of joy it gave me are quite unforgettable.

Water color painting
My 21 year old water color paintings

In college

GRE. TOEFL. MS vs MBA Vs a corporate job. Peer pressure. In the midst of all this, I found a haven in writing – an interest I discovered while writing slam books for my friends in school. I took refuge in poetry and it saw me through all my years in college. It taught me to be my own friend, helped me explore my inner self, and it enabled me to make a verse out of every worse situation. My fervor for writing was never past its best despite the trying outcomes demanded by Engineering. Back in school I had cricket and football to supplement my leisure needs, but in college, I found solace only in poetry. It eventually led me to blogging, blog meets, blog friends and a new social life that I would have otherwise not known. Eventually I gave that up too.

Love poem
Just another poem on Love

And now

In due course, I moved on from the comforts of my bed from where I used to write. And I took my place in the balcony where I now toil with nails and screws, wood and timber, hammers and pliers. The fascination that I have developed, for what I would call, the basic levels of woodworking is no less than the appeal that writing had in it for me. The idea of building something from scratch (though triggered by a totally different reason), fixing something that is broken, or redoing something that has lost its sheen gives me a kick now. Today, this kick  relieves me from the anxieties and stress that are a result of  all the meetings, travel, calls, projects and the deadlines.

Carpentry as hobby
Woodworking as a passion
In all this I realize that as I transitioned from one phase in my life to another, my likes and dislikes changed. And how much ever exciting life is, it is quite easy to get tied up in the routine that it has to offer and a leisure pastime is always required to unshackle oneself from that routine. I have learnt that it didn't matter what hobbies you pursue, but as long as you are focussed, engrossed and excited, it helps entangle you from the tiring, monotonous and sometimes taxing regimen.  

Share your thoughts on this post. Have you ever given up a passion of yours ? How do you break free from your tedious schedule ? What are the favorite activities that you love indulging in ?
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I remember being in a leading furniture store in Chennai two years ago looking for a center table for our newly moved in home. A simple yet elegant low table is what we had in mind.

I remember how much we liked a particular table that had just the right height and width, but was too lengthy for our living room.
I remember how the store manager refused to honor our request for custom making the table to the dimensions that we desired.

And I distinctly remember those 6 words from Preethi. “Why don’t we make one ourselves”.
We are turning two

It didn’t take us much time before we decided to take the challenge of making a table head on. Despite having no knowledge whatsoever and the necessary skills, the prospect of dirtying our hands to make that table seemed exciting. And so we built it, with the same dimensions the store manager refused to custom make it for us. (Now you know why our logo is a center table)

And then later on when we needed something or the other for the home, guess what we decided to do ? We decided to build them all ourselves.
Woodworking and DIY projects
A Collage of some of our works
The seed for the doing-it-ourselves and building-things-on-our-own culture was sown by those very same words that Preethi muttered. And eventually they led us to Woodooz. And today we complete 2 years of having started that fun filled, zealous and near obsessive passion of ours. While the need for things around the house helped us with our enthusiasm to create, there were other factors that kept us going with our interest and momentum.
Thanks to Raji and Madhu for custom ordering and buying our first work. They made us believe that if we make good stuff, people will be willing to pay for it.

Thanks to Patricia Torres, her Colours Dekor and the link parties. She continues providing us with a wonderful platform and the support to showcase our works.

Thanks to all the fellow bloggers and our readers who never failed to visit and leave us a comment or two. It made us realize that we are not alone.

Thanks to all those Facebook fans, all of whom we would love to know personally in due course.  Every like in the Woodooz page has been a big boost to our confidence. Incidentally we also reached the 200 landmark yesterday.
Join us on Facebook
Click the image to like us on Facebook
 Two years on and we still want to continue what we do here. Share and Learn. Do continue supporting us and  join us in this journey filled with abundance of passion and enthusiasm.

Leave us your best wishes and comments. Let us know what you think about Woodooz. Good, bad or otherwise – Your opinion matters.

~Preethi and Somu
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What my obsession makes me miss

Ever since we made our first DIY center table, I have been very passionate about doing one project after the other, and have taken a certain pride in showcasing all our works. This little balcony is where I do most of my work from. I roll down the bamboo blinds to beat the heat and get engrossed in my own work. It gets so obsessive that at times I have to be reminded of the things I miss. So, for a change, I gave DIY a break, rolled up the blinds and decided to open my eyes to the things I should not let pass (All pictures below were taken right from the comforts of our balcony).
Working in the balcony

While am facing the other side and working on my gate, there is a flock of cranes that are cooling it off behind my back in the mini lake that is an outcome of winter showers. Sometimes a dog playfully runs behind one of them. In a place like Chennai, such a sight is unheard of. Luckily for us, we have another year or two of this visual luxury and it is indeed criminal to show my back to this picture perfect splendor.

Flock of cranes
Flock of cranes - A view from the balcony
Like a sage in his unperturbed penance, this cormorant stays put in that pillar almost every other day. Unmoved and focused on that prized catch that it may spot inside the water. It takes a moment like this to realize the grandeur of life around that should not be missed because of certain fixations.

Cormorant
A cormorant waiting for that elusive fish
They are common mynas but they are not so commonly seen perching on our window sill. And so when there is a couple happily posing, I would rather not be elsewhere hammering. 

Common Mynas
Mynas on the window sill
Preethi’s mini balcony garden (that calls for a separate post by itself) invites humming birds almost every other day. Imagine seeing them flapping their wings and trying to suck nectar out of the flowers. We experience that sometimes, and know what keeps them away often ? Someone squatting on the balcony floor with  preoccupation, wood and tools. These birds have now inspired us to make a mini bird bath for them.

humming bird
A humming bird - Or so I think
On a rainy day, my work space is all wet and soggy and it spoils any project I may have in hand. The only consolation is the fresh change these rains bring. Next time, given the choice between sweating it out in my make shift work space (the guest room) and taking pleasure in the weather sipping a hot cup of chai, I should remember to go with the latter.\

Balcony Garden
Flowers in their full bloom - Balcony Garden
Oh sometimes, I spot these too. Considering this is not something I would see on a normal day, why would I even want to miss it. I played it safe and took this picture from 4 storeys above and at least about 50-60 meters away. Am obsessed with DIYing, not dying. 

Water snake
Slimy and slithery - A water snake
This is just one aspect of it. There is whole lot of other things that get hit because of my obsession. A weekend outing, a movie together, shopping, maybe my favorite show on TV, reading a book (4 years since I did that), or just that do nothing moments. This is a hobby and I should learn to give it only its due. But by being the addiction that it is now, it is really robbing me off my time that I would spend on otherwise more fulfilling things.  To step back and slow down is an art. Its about time to start mastering it.

Do you get overly obsessed too with your hobby? What is your way of ensuring that you do not get sucked into it ? Share your thoughts. It will certainly help me.

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Woodooz Home Decors,
3/371, First floor,
Metukuppam, Thoraipakkam,
Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR),
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