Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quilled board for BF

I have tried all kinds of advertising to get customers to sign up for my Quilling class at Ben Franklin Crafts in Redmond, WA. Social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, don't do as well since a majority of my connections on those sites are out of town contacts.

Listings on Craigslist and TeachStreet tended to get lost with the hundreds of other art class choices. After conducting countless unscientific surveys, I've found the best way that people find out about my class is thru these quilling boards that are placed in front of the store, by the registers.

I like to change up these boards to keep things fresh. Since my Spring Quarter classes are starting up, I created a new board with cards that I made up last weekend.

I've included a photo of the whole board and also closeups of each card. And if you happen to be at Ben Franklin, please stop by and see it live!

Entire Quilling Class Board
The Quilling Title, all done free hand.

Butterfly Happy Spring Quilled Card

Quilled Bunny with Fringed Flower
Underwater Sea Life Quilled Card

Introduction to Quilling writeup.

Spring Flowers and Bud Quilled Card
Quilled Earrings
Doves and Dress Birthday Quilled Card

Classes are 1/17, 2/21, 3/21.  Call (425) 883-2050 to enroll!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

I've been quilling up a storm lately, coming up with some fun earring designs for Ventures, the b&m store I sell at in Pike Place Market.  I needed to take a break from the earrings and decided to try my hand at a butterfly design.  While I was creating the butterfly, I decided to stop along the way and take notes and photos so I can show you how to make your own butterfly.

Here is the final product:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

First I decided on the colors.  I really wanted to keep it simple, so I just picked blue, orange and peach as my three colors for the wings and yellow for the body. 

I've gathered up my usual supplies for quilling: scissors, quilling strips, circle board, pins, glue, quilling tool:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

So the first thing I did was create the three main pieces for the wing:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

Here is a better close up of them:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

Then I just started randomly adding circles, curls, and other shapes around these main pieces:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

I have to admit, this is the first time I've done a piece this complicated and one that required so many pins!
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

After the pieces were all placed where they needed to be, I started putting glue points between where any two pieces of paper touched.  I then went around the both wings with a maroon strip to keep everything together:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

You'll need to walk away from this project for a bit to let everything dry:
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

And then you can take out the pins and you have a beautiful butterfly in only four short hours. :)  Don't forget to take notes along the way, just in case you'd like to make another!
A Crafty Arab Quilled Butterfly Tutorial

Monday, November 19, 2012

Omees Boutique Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I am stay at home mom to an year old beautiful baby girl. Bubu is her pet name. I can't survive without something to keep my hands busy, so I sew when I can, when my baby is napping and my husband is busy at work.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Since being a mom, I was never able to find anything that worked well for both me and my baby. So I began to make my own handmade products that everyone else also loved. My aim is to provide mothers alike the choice of cute and functional, one a kind accessories both for themselves and their baby.

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
My mom is my biggest inspiration. I learnt all my basic skills from her. I wish to become like my mom inshallah.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I love to cook, and also photograph. I am also the author of the food blog 'zaiqa.net'

How do you promote your work?
I have a facebook page where I post about my handmade items - www.facebook.com/OmeesBoutique

In the future I’d like to be…
successful etsy shop owner inshallah. This will give the flexibility to work from my home, at my convenience, being close to my baby all the time inshallah.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Crochet Owly Beanie Ear Flaps

Recently I made a purchase on Zibbet that was so cute that I have to share it with you. Isabelle recently closed her shop doors on Zibbet, but I managed to purchase these adorable Crochet Owly Beanie Ear Flaps, before the closure. I got one for each of my daughters, but had her change the little flower on the Owls to each girls’ favorite colors. Aren't they charming?

If you'd like to see more of Isabelle's adorable creations, please visit her Facebook page!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Story Spine for Qasim Sabti

If you haven't been reading my blog, then you probably don't know that I am currently a Docent for the Seattle Art Museum.  Docent is a fancy fru-fru word for tour guide.  The only difference is that Docents do a ton of studying and upkeep for that fru-fru title.  I do mean a ton.  I've been doing it for a long time and it's honestly one of my favorite things to do.

So today, I headed down to SAM for a Communication Workshop with Matt Smith.  In the workshop, Matt talked about a Story Spine.  I was mesmerized.  What a great way to break down a story!  Although I've been storytelling for years, and am getting ready to write a children's book myself, I'd never done a story spine before.  While Matt moved on to his closing remarks for the workshop, I couldn't stop writing up a Story Spine for one of my favorite pieces at SAM.  So with no further ado, here is my Story Spine for Qasim Sabti.

Once upon a time...there was a little boy in Baghdad who loved to draw
And every day...he drew for his friends since his polio would not allow him to run with them
Until one day...he became a well respected art teacher at the National Academy of Art.
And because of that...he was walking to work one day and realized that books were raining down on him in red tears of ambers
And because of that...he took as many as he could home since they were farmland where his thoughts could be planted
Until finally...he created beautiful collages from the pages and spines of those lucky enough to be saved
And since that day...his plantings of artwork hang at SAM to remind us that cultural civilizations can rise from ashes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shuruq - Olympia's First Arab Festival

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice will host Olympia’s first Arab Festival, Oct. 5-7 to be held at 222 Columbia Street NW, Olympia, Washington. Arab Fest is a full weekend event featuring Arabartists, educational tables, children’s activities, food, music, dance, films and more! This fun-filled family event kicks off Friday, October 5th at 5pm, at the Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural, on the corner of Capital St. & State St. downtown, with an Arab CafĂ© and Hookah Lounge full-day event at the Olympia Center, Saturday, October 6 th, 11-5 pm.
Admission is FREE to the public. Saturday evening features a lively show of Arab comedy and spoken word performances ($10 students; $15 general admission). On Sunday October 7th, we cap off the event with a film festival at the Capital Theatre ($5.50 OFS member, $8.50 general admission).
We invite our community to celebrate and experience the food, culture, traditions, lifestyles and peoples of the Arab world in a joyous and authentic manner. This event focuses on the diversity and complexity of the Arab peoples by challenging stereotypes, showcasing Arab arts and performance, and celebrating diversity within our community. As stated by Farihan Bushnaq, a local Arab-American community member,
Stopy by and say hi at the A Crafty Arab booth!

A Crafty Arab's new business partner, helping out by holding the cards and singing an Egyptian tune.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From Social Media banners to Eid banners

Last time I was on here, I wrote about branding and having a consistent banner in all my social media outlets. Since I was working on virtual banners, I went ahead and made a few craft banners too. I had listed this HappyEid banner in my Zibbet shop a while ago and it just sold:
So this week, I made more for my shop.

The first one is a horizontal banner just like the previous one.  But the shapes I created this time are very Arabesque.

Eid word detail:

I also created a vertical Eid banner that is in glitter:

Eid word detail:

And now that fall has started, I decided to make a spring banner.  I'm in need of some flowers to get me through the next few months of grey and rain here in the Pacific Northwest:
Eid word detail:
Once I started on the flower banner, it just felt natural to make another, but this time a vertical Eid banner in flowers and ribbons:

Detail of flower on the letter D.

I have one more in the works, but I'm getting ready for a booth at the Olympia Arab Festival this weekend, so it'll have to wait.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New day...new banner

I've been doing a bit of reading lately about finding your brand for your business. One of the key components of branding is consistency. There should be consistency in all your social media outlets. But I didn't have that consistency. The problem is that many years ago, I saw a photo of Libyan kids and their parents and fell in love with it. But no one knew the photo was of Libyan kids, or what the photo had to do with my business. The problem was that I didn't care, it was a photo I loved and that was what I felt was important to me. It was my business, after all…right? Here is the photo:

But when I created my created my Arabic Alphabet Animal poster, my new website needed to showcase that poster. So I designed a header for the website that reflected a few animals that I loved. Here is that header:

The animals were fun, bright and colorful, just like the poster. The problem? They weren't in order! Here I am, trying to sell a poster to educate kids about the Arabic language, but the header was a mish-mash of animals, in a random order. It was like having a header that has X, B, D, Q, and K. Very random but fun.

So today I decided was the day to have some consistency. It was time to meld my Facebook, Twitter, main website, Zibbet shop, Etsy shop and this blog into one brand that will be recognized by billions around the globe. Yes, you read billions. I've created a new header logo that will be the same on all my pages. It has the animals, but in the order of A, B, C, D, and F. Otherwise known as Alif, Baa, Ta, Tha, and Jeem. And my business name is in the same colors as the title square in the poster.

I hope now there is no more confusion about what it is that I'm trying to do: Strengthening Arab American heritage and culture by selling Arab, Farsi, and Urdu Handmade Greeting Cards and Crafts.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quilled Rings & Earrings

I've been making Quilled rings lately.  They are very addicting to make and if I hadn't run out of ring bases, I could have made 30 more.   
When I ran out of the ring foams, I started making Quilled earrings.
I'd love to get some feedback on what you guys think of my quilled jewelry!  I haven't quite decided if I'll sell them online or at one of my B&M stores.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Noor Kids Ramadan Review

Recently I volunteered to review a set of Noor Kids Children’s Book 4-Pack created by two Muslim brothers who dreamed of a better life for their niece.

On their website, they claim that Noor Kids is targeted for 3 to 8 year olds, and since I have one of those, I thought it might be fun to get her reaction to them.

She loved them and gave them two thumbs and two toes way way way up!

Noor Kids: A Light for Little Muslims

I was sent the following books
School is Out for the Summer!
Discover their Blessings!
Go to Hajii!
Honestly Speaking!

First of all, I was very impressed with the quality.  The covers are sturdy, the colors are vibrant, and the illustrations are really top notch.

There are four characters in each series, Shireen, Asad, Amin and Amira. There are Islamic stories, with questions at the end, unscramble word puzzles, spot the differences, word search, hidden objects games, coloring pages, mazes, and recipes for delicious foods. Some parts of the books we did together, but some parts she wanted to do on her own.

For future publications, I did have these five suggestions:

*Please return the numbers on the outside of the books
For my daughter who is unable to read just quite yet, it was helpful for her to grab books by numbers or images. While the covers are beautiful with the Arabesque window treatments in the later three books, the first one really stands out with the number in the corner.
1st Book...but what about 2nd Book, 3rd Book, etc
*Please (sometimes) uncover the moms
I know that for most people it's haram to look at a woman's hair, and I'd totally get it if these books was conscious of other harams, mostly the big one of drawing people, much less turning them into animals. But I am happy that someone decided to take this chance, because the outcome is wonderful.  So why bother with covering up the made up animal people moms when they were home?  

I do not wear hijab, but my mother does, which allows my daughter to be around Muslim women of both spectrums. Yet it confused her as to why the women in the books had their hijabs on while sitting on their couches, eating dinner or making banana fritters.  I think there was a missed opportunity to show the normality of Muslim women inside their houses.  Before my daughter pointed it out to me, I hadn't actually noticed that every single women in the book had on a hijab. If we are asking the Western media not to stereotype us all into one Muslim group, I think we need to do the same.
This is not what my mom looks like when she is cooking.

*Please use the Parent's Page more wisely
This space was a lost chance to help educate parents on how to get more involved in their children's education.  Here some tidbits on how to share the books with children could have been included.  Maybe remind parents that they should be reading to their children for 15 minutes each night by suggesting they do the voices in the story together with their child.  How about advice on how to talk to children about first revelation, water in Islam, appreciation of ants, etc.  And maybe tell parents to pull out an atlas or globe to look up where Oman or Swat are in the world.  While it is nice to spotlight a resource, a much better way was done with a feature (i.e. chef Yvonne).  And yes, it was lovely to see the"thank you"s, I'm just not sure why are they on the Parent's Page?
Please use this a page to educate parents!

*Please bring back the table of contents
It was there for the first book, but was gone in the other three. A table of contents is a beautiful thing to introduce to kids in this age bracket.  Plus the fact that it had words and pictures was pure genius.
My daughter loved matching the page numbers to the stories.
*Please include a full Arabic alphabet
I'm pretty sure you know by now that we are big fans of the Arabic alphabet.  So I was thrilled to see the addition of Arabic with Noor Kids in the back of the later editions.  This page has an Arabic letter, and five cartoons of things that have that letter. However, it would be lovely to see the full Arabic alphabet instead of one of the cartoons.  This way children can see where the letter is, in relation to the full alphabet.  Since the books weren't numbered, it's more confusing for kids to know the order of the letters. Well, unless you own one of A Crafty Arab's Arabic alphabet posters! :)
It's wonderful to show each letter in the front, middle, end.

Overall, these Noor Kids books are really wonderful additions to any Muslim or non-Muslim children's bookshelf.  It is quite obvious that a lot of work and love went into these publications. If you get a chance to subscribe, I would highly recommend it.

I'm looking forward to getting more copies as they are created, with or without my suggestions!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yeah to back to school

Seriously folks (or at least those that have kids), is this not your favorite time?  Forget Eid, or Christmas for that matter, back to school has to be the most joyous event of my year.  Don't get me wrong, I love my children and really enjoy hanging out with them.  However, a girl, especially one that owns her own business and works from home, needs her space. 

It's only been a week since they've been gone, but I've gotten through so many To Do lists that I'm even shocked.  In fact, I sometimes get through my lists so fast that I've been having some time to read some books.  Yes, real books, not owner's manuals, or board books with silly animals, or People magazine in the bathroom.  I'm all caught up on my two September book clubs reads and have started a book that I picked up at McDonald's book exchange.

Since I'm bragging about my completed lists, I thought I'd share with you a project that has been on my list for two months now.  Check out these cute little barrettes that I've finished up.  They are all ready to go to Ventures in Pike Place Market to sell.

A Crafty Arab barrettes at Ventures at Pike Place Market

Friday, August 31, 2012

Designer Cottage Interview

Tell us a bit about your self ?
My name is Erum, I am a Pakistani Muslim, mother of three teenagers and a part time bookkeeper at a CPA firm. I have been crafting, sewing and embroidering since I was 12.  I have always loved crafting, embroidering and designing using diffrent medium.

Since I moved to USA, Michaels and Joann became my faviourite stores. I gave up everything when I was raising my kids.  But now that they have grown up, after my part time work and household chores, I get some free time which I decided to spend doing what I love to do.

Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
Besides being a mother, wife and a crafty person I love to cook, garden, travel with my family, and watching Pakistani soaps on my computer.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
I am inspired by nature specially birds, butterflies, flowers and colours

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
Since an early age I always saw my mom crafting, sewing, and painting.  She used to help sew my doll clothes and setup doll houses with me. She has been my inspiration, my advisor and my instructor.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I want to be a succesful person in whatever I do.

How do you promote your work?
I am quite new to the social media networking and am using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.  I also recently started to Blog.

In the future I’d like to be…
a succesful etsy shop owner and a self employed person.