Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long and Thanks for All the (Gold)Fish

So Long and Thanks for All the (Gold)Fish handmade cookie cutters by A Crafty Arab
I have had the privilege of being an officer/organizer in four separate mother's groups in my life as a mommy and have met some amazing women as I've done this.

Apart from being officer, I have also been a participant in a few more.  I was recently asked to name them all and here is a partial list from what I can remember:

Bellevue Eastside Active Moms
Dragonflies and Butterflies
Eastside Cool Mommies
Eastside Mothers Club
Messy Kids, Happy Moms
Sammamish & Redmond Mothers & More
Seattle & Eastside Mothers & More
Sisters of the YaYa Motherhood

On December 31st, this one chapter of my life will be closed on LinkedIn forever as I leave my very last organizing position on ECM, also the last mommy group of which I was still a member.

Its mind boggling to think of all the Mother's Night's Out, Playdates, Hiking Outings, Book Clubs, Movie Nights, Craft Nights, and the thousands of other things I've done as an organizer of moms for the past eleven (!) years.

I wanted to throw a little "retirement" party to help me transition out of my mommy phase.  Now that the girls are older, it's rare that I even get called that anymore, so it was time to move on.

I had named the event as a play on words inspired by So Long and Thanks for All the Fish book by Douglas Adams.

My daughter and I made homemade goldfish crackers for my party, which were the perfect munchies for a night of reminiscing. 

We used the recipe here, and decided to make our own fun shapes out of Diet Coke cans to go along with the theme of the party.  Originally I was going to just buy little shapes, but when I saw how easy it was to make them, we couldn't resist.
The shapes we came up with were round planet, crescent moon, star, and of course goldfish.  We also had a rocket shape, but the dough keep getting caught and it was scrapped. Once you cut a strip all the way around the can, simply shape it, pinch it in place, and tape the ends together!

Here is another photo, sorry it's blurry.  If you look at the fish on the right, you can see the tape. Try to make your pieces connect anywhere other then a corner so that the food doesn't build up and get stuck to the tape.

So Long and Thanks for All the (Gold)Fish handmade cookie cutters by A Crafty Arab
This is what we came up with when we were done.

So Long and Thanks for All the (Gold)Fish handmade goldfish crackers by A Crafty Arab

I had no idea it was easy to make goldfish.  Of course my daughter wants to make them again as the two bowls we made for the party were happily (and quickly) eaten.  We have already decided to use the Asiago or maybe the shredded Mexican blend instead of cheddar cheese.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year and may 2014 also bring you new adventures!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Steelers Earrings

Being an owner of original artwork, copyright is very important to me and my business.  So I make it a point of trying not to use Disney, Pixar, Legos, etc designs in any of my handmade products, however I had to make an exception recently.

I was part of a gift exchange with a group of friends online.  For those that have never done a gift exchange online before, it's actually pretty simple.  There is one person in charge (thanks A!) who sets a spending limit and takes the names, wish list and address of all those that want to participate.  She/he then secretly buddy up random people and give them their recipient.  It's all done in secret because it's fun to not know who will be sending you a gift. 

The best part of the exchange was that all the items had to be handmade.

After I found out who my person was, I went to check out their profile.  One of the many things they loved was the Pittsburgh Steelers.   I then went to work researching handmade items and was amazing at all the selections.  However, having spent a full semester on Copyright Law in college made me realized that I really couldn't justify spending money on an item that I knew was not giving any profit back to the team that owns the logo.

So I decided to solve my dilemma by making the item myself.  This way, there is no exchange of money.  I settled on a pair of earrings that I thought might be cute and were exactly at the point of our spending limit.

Of course, the stumbling block that I'd never made this type of jewelry before never crossed my mind or stopped me.

I headed to Joann to buy the Swarovski crystals but already had all the other supplies.  I then drew out the design and tried to figure out how to wrap the beads to make the yellow/blue/red logo work.  I had also bought two sizes of the crystals so I would have the larger ones in the circle ring and the smaller yellow/black on top.

A few hours, lots of broken circle rings, bent wire and bleeding fingers (just kidding, there was only one), I finally figured it out.

I knew it was a great design because on the day I was to mail it, I had lunch with some girlfriends.  I showed them the earrings I was proud for figuring out and they both immediately wanted to order some for relatives.  I had to politely decline that this was a one of a kind design and I couldn't take money for it.  But I did point them towards the website of others that do.

And the person I made the earrings for loved them and took a photo of what they looked like when they arrived in her home.

Friday, December 13, 2013

MA'a salama Large Arabesque Clocks

While I was at the Arab Festival, I received a custom order for two Arabesque clocks.  I've been working on these clocks over the past few weeks and today I had to box them up.

So MA'a salama (goodbye in Arabic) to these clocks as they find new loving homes.  It is sad to see them go as I've become quite attached to them.  I hope they are well received.
Large Arabesque Pattern Clock
Large Arabesque Paisley Clock


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Are you a member of MFGCS?

Today is a grey and gloomy day in Seattle.  The temps are down and I'm wearing fingerless gloves and boot slippers in my studio.  I don't want to turn on the heater because I'm finishing up two custom clock orders and there are too many fumes.

While waiting for the sealant to set, I cleaned out part of my closet and I came across this sign I had made for the Muslims are Coming event.  It made ma laugh, so I though maybe you need a laugh of your own to cheer you up if you are also having a grey and gloomy day.

Muslims For Grammatically Correct Signs

Monday, December 9, 2013

Arabic Children's Clocks

As I had previously mentioned, I started creating these Arabic kid's clocks back in September and I'm now finally getting a chance to list them both on my Etsy and Zibbet site.

I have four clocks total and I'm going to experiment to see which gets the most views.  Since Etsy is no longer a handmade site, I'm a little nervous about posting handmade on there.  But I've had a few sales over there recently, so I'm just curious if the first Arabic clock sells on Etsy or Zibbet.

Here are the four listings:
(click the caption under the clock to see more photos)

Gliding the Dog! Arabic robot wood wall clock
Blast off! Arabic wood wall clock

Up Up and Away! Arabic hot air balloon wood wall clock

Fishing School! Arabic wood wall clock

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fun Filled Free Contribution to Small Business Saturday

It's Small Business Saturday.  To be totally honest, I'm blessed right now with more custom orders then I can handle.  So the only thing I'll ask of you is a simple click.

I'd like to reach 1300 Likes by December 31, 2013 on my business A Crafty Arab Facebook page. 

13 is my lucky number.  My birthday falls on a 13, along with my husband's birthday and our anniversary.  Growing up I would always get so excited to see it, since it was often rare, and I thought that those that suffered from Triskaidekaphobia should be verified as clinically insane.  How can you not love the most perfect of numbers?

Considering that 1300 is a great way to end a fantastic year for my business (alhumdullah, knock on wood, tap a rabbit ear, whichever showing of gratitude is your pleasure). I'd love to end it with by getting 178 more heart felt Likes from people that love supporting handmade. 

If you already Like my page: Woot!  Now share with some other friends that appreciate your refined taste. 

If you haven't already liked my page, please do.  Between my handmade listings and Arab cultural going ons, I do thrown in some heavy sarcasm*.

Stick 'A Crafty Arab' in your handy little white search Facebook box, click on Like when you get to my page and comment to let all your friends know you did your part on Small Business Saturday. 

If that seems like too much work, just Like here and don't say a word.

Now just sit back in your pajamas and feel good about what you just did.  You made my day by helping me end a great year with a great number.  You, awesome you, have contributed to the American Dream on Small Business Saturday.

If it's not too much work, feel free to pat yourself on the back.

(*Please make sure not to share this page with anyone that goes by the name "grandma" and especially, seriously, not "taita".  No exceptions.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov 2013 Quilling Class & New Quilled Earrings

Last Thursday was my Beginning Quilling class over at Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames and it was so much fun.  I am pretty excited to say that I had my oldest student ever to attend.

She gave me permission to now be able to say that "if a 90 year can learn to quill, so can you!"

Can you believe it?  I taught a 90 year old something new that she's never done before.  What an amazing feeling I had all night.

Here is her card, along with the cards made from my other students, twins!  Another new for me.

I hadn't quilled in a while since life has been hectic with shows and custom orders, but I was inspired by her new found love to quilling and make these earrings over the weekend.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Neverending List With Dragons, Pirates, And Mermaids, Oh My!

I love lists.  I'm not sure how I would be able to cope without them.  I do so many things at the same time (raising 3 daughters, teaching three classes of art to kids, plus an art class to grownups, running a full time budding business, custom orders and the other not so fun things I do), I have to have lists to survive.

I love writing things down and the tiny little high I get when things get crossed off.  One less thing in the brain and out into the universe. What a feeling!

I have a list in the car for people to call.  I have a list on the fridge for things to buy.  I have one on my night stand for things to do the next day.  I keep one in my sewing box for notions to buy at Joann and I have a list next to the TV of movies I want to see.  I have a list on my Nook of books to read and a list on my iPad of fun things to do on a rainy day in Seattle (this is a very very long list).

At any given time, I could have about 12 ongoing lists within easy access of my overactive hands.

Recently I added a chalk wall to my studio that has become my favorite list of all.

It started innocently enough as a To Buy, To Do, To Make list but has now become my youngest daughter's art wall. 

I love seeing her drawing on the wall, adding so much color and silliness to my adult never ending lists.

And yes, she is wearing a cape made from a skirt.
Because today is cape day.
Be sure to put one on your To Buy list.

If you have a child in your home, you need a chalk wall. You'll wonder what you ever did without one. Now I need to go, because my list has turned into a game of tic tac toe!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Arabesque Scrabble Tiles with Cord Necklace Tutorial

The brick and mortar store in Pike Place Market, Ventures, that sells a few of my fun things for Seattle tourists, is low on my Arabesque Scrabble Tiles, so I made more!

This is the way I used to package them for my customers: 

But Ventures has requested that I change out the ball necklaces for cord necklaces.  So I get to spend my day making them!

I thought it might be fun if you got to see the process.

You'll need 
Jewelry pliers
2 Cord end caps
6 Rings
1 Clasp

Cut the cord at 18 inches.

Add end cap to cord end.

Attach five rings to end cap

Add scrabble tile.  Note: my bail cord openings are too small to go over the rings and clasps, that is why I add them now.  If your pendent opening is bigger then your closure, you can slip it on after.

Add end cap to cord, attach one ring and clasp.

Your cord is done.  Feel free to come over and help make the 27 more I need. :-)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Homemade Harvest 2013

Just when I thought my year can't get any better, you have helped make this weekend one of the most successful Homemade Harvest Open House ever.  Shukran shukran shukran.

Attendance was fantastic this year because so many of you brought others!  We had husbands, mothers, fathers, kids, and of course babies, oh so many babies!  (I want to now apologize to those that had to wait to pay while I was getting my baby fix in.) 

I love the sense of community this gathering has turned into.  Plus with extra people, there was less food to deal with at the end of the day, so shukran on behalf of the landfills too.

We even had a neighbor that stopped by on her walk, just from seeing our HH sign outside our lavendar house.  This was a first for this event and maybe an indication that more signs need to be purchased.  It was lovely to meet her and I look forward to getting to know her better in the future.

The best part about the Homemade Harvest is that, except for a small percentage taken out to help pitch in to pay for the food and a few other small things, the women you talked to on Saturday received all the money for their hard earned work.  You can pat yourself on the back for buying from the source of all that unique goodness you now own.

Kudos to Kayce for letting me borrow her baskets to use for the show!

If you enjoyed Handmade Harvest and want to support handmade in the future, please put November 8th, 2014 on your calendar.  I'll have another batch of returning and new vendors to get to know and support.

Even better, if you know of someone that wants to vend, or attend, please let me know: ACraftyArab at gmail dot com.  I always welcome feedback about the event.

Thank you to our vendors this year:
Natural Goodness Skin
Navanka Creations
Thea Starr
Vanilla Bean Treats

Please continue to support them!  And if you want to see more amazing handmade artists, be sure to visit Zibbet and stop by my shop. :)

And last but certainly never least in my heart, my own daughters also sold at the show.  However, since they made a decision to go see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs II, instead of selling, I was not able to take a photo of them.  Their new business is called Las Kuhns Clay and More.  Next year they will take a vote, depending on the movie, to see who stays in hopes of increasing sales to 4 items.

Shukran again to everyone that came, here are some highlight photos.

Victoria from Natural Goodness Skin

Amrita from Navanka Creations
Victoria from re.Served (without her lovely mom Beth)
Thea from Thea Starr
Another view of Della's table earlier in the day when it still had product on it!
Squeeeel, Thea signed my book.  I wonder how many millions I can get for it now? :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Homemade Harvest 2014 Artist - Vanilla Bean

Of course saving the best interview for last means that it's time to get to know Della from the Vanilla Bean, who is returning to the 7th Annual Homemade Harvest Open House due to popular demand.  She sold out of a few treats last year, so you might want to get there early to get ahold of some of her delicious goodies she'll be bringing.  Della and I go way back, having meet through a mother's group when our first born daughters were young.  It's so great to see her bake because I know it brings her so much joy.   And it brings us sweets!

Also this is a reminder that the Homemade Harvest event is very kid friendly.  So be sure to bring them, it will be good for them to see you support your handmade community.

Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I have two kids and two step kids, and we have all four every other week!  It works out really well- I have a week of joyful chaos and a week of peaceful silence! :-) I'm on two PTA boards, and volunteer in several areas at the three school they attend. I am also about to start volunteering at A Safe Place in Everett, where kids go while foster families are being found.

I also have another business I opened with my fiancé last year! We sell hummus, baba ghanoush, and other dips at farmer's markets in the summer.

I love reading and dreaming about renovations I want to do to my house!  :-)

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Who doesn't love cake and cookies?! Treats make people smile, and I love making people smile!

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
I look up to anyone who follows their happiness, even when it make life more difficult for awhile.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I've been trying to change our eating habits, and eat more unprocessed, whole foods (yes, seems counterintuitive to baking...moderation in all things!). I love finding recipes that are healthy AND my kids will eat them -- not an easy task!

I have a really wonderful tribe of friends, and a lot of my own happiness and sanity comes from the time I spend with them.

How do you promote your work?
Right now it's all word of mouth. I'm concentrating a bit more on my other business, so baking is something I do on the side, for my own enjoyment.

In the future I’d like to be…
able to fully provide for my family with baking and hummus! That would really be living the dream... ;-)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Homemade Harvest 2013 Artist - Navanka Creations

Today I'm happy to reintroduce you to Amrita over at Navanka Creations.  Amrita is one of three returning sellers at our Saturday 7th Annual Handmade Harvest Open House and I'm so excited to see what beautiful creations she will be showcasing this year.  We both share a quilling passion and you'll often find us at a EtsyRain Crafting at Crossroads event comparing quilling photos.  Her work is really in the details of very scroll and bend of the paper she creates.  I am always inspired by her use of so many colors and you'll get so see her work in only a couple of short days!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I am a work at home mom to a wonderful four year old boy. I co-own Navanka Creations on Etsy with my elder sister Nimisha Singh who lives in Wheeling, Illinois.

Courtesy of my son, I spend a lot of time playing all kind of sports with him.   Listening to music and reading books help me unwind after a long day.

I also write a craft blog Craft Ideas for All with my sister where we share craft projects of varied skill levels.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
I grew up in India and lot of my work is inspired by the local art and vibrant colors of India. The best part about my work is that it lets me be part of special moments in the lives of our wonderful customers.

That little smile on someone’s face when they receive a unique gift is the best payback of my work and inspires me to do better.

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
I get inspired by my family, fellow artists and friends but I am most inspired by my parents. I am amazed at the hard work, sincerity and love with which they raised me and my siblings. We were always encouraged to do what we love and strive to be the best in whatever we did.

After having our son I decided to leave my engineering career to be able to spend more time with him. It was their faith in me that inspired me to pursue my passion for all things creative and open Navanka Creations with my sister. And now my son inspires me to be a better parent and make this world more beautiful for him.

I would be happy if I can raise my son to have that confidence to make his own choices in life and strive to make them work.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I am passionate about my family and my work. I would want to make this world a greener and healthier place for my child to live in. We try to make choices at home that are better for the environment.

I also love to teach and enjoy taking craft classes for children.

How do you promote your work?
At present we promote our work mostly using social media. We have a Navanka Creations Facebook page where we share our latest listings and events.

We also write a Navanka Creations blog where we share our creative process.

And we have a Navanka Creations Pinterest board to help promote our work.

In the future I’d like to be…
I would like to be a successful artist and entrepreneur. I would love to be able to give back by raising money for charitable causes for children.

I wish to open a Craft Academy where people of all age can come and learn various crafts and engage in creativity. I would also love to write a book on paper crafts someday.