Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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