Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New A Crafty Arab Twitter Banner & Background

As I've mentioned before, I've started working on my business branding to make everything flow better.  I had wanted to make my blog and facebook page hook up with the same color scheme, logo, and banner.  This week it was time to sync up my Twitter account too.  Yesterday I came up with this banner for my Twitter page. 

I can't figure out if it's too busy or okay.  I'd love to hear what you think of it!

Here is the banner on its own:

Here is the whole page with the banner and background:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Arabic Alphabet Fun Flashcards Update 1

Can you believe it? It's been one week since my Kickstarter.com campaign was started.

I am trying to crowd fund to make my Arabic Alphabet Fun Flashcards a reality.  Now, one week later, we are already at 35%. And with 44 backers, that is very impressive indeed. And what makes me the most awestruck about this, is that all these people (and more!) believe in the project.   

To add even more excitement was the fact that Kickstarter picked the flashcards as the Project of the Day, out of hundreds of entries.

I was so excited, I called Jill right away and we both spent some time on the phone screaming with excitement.

I went out yesterday and got some really fun fabric so that I can start thinking about how I’m going to sew the handmade holders for the flashcards.  Of course, I might be putting the cart before the horse, since there is 2/3rd of the project left to fund.  But I am trying to stay positive and keep my faith in Allah that all my facebook friends, twitter friends, pinterest friends and yes, even strangers (well, new friends, I mean!) will help get this project off the ground.

So if you know anyone that might be interested in this project, let them know!

Shukran, shukran, shukran, I can't say it enough!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Little Smiles Boutique Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Toronto, Canada. I just love the liveliness of the city and its multicultural communities. It's a great mosaic. This is my home. I am a mother of 3 lovely kids. On my free time (which is limited!), I like to focus my energies on my 2 side businesses: The Olive Tree Soap Company and Little Smiles Boutique on Etsy. It give me the creative outlet I need to de-stress from everyday demands of life.

Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I'm a domestic engineer (aka stay-at-home-mom) :) I actually homeschool my kids as well. It's a very rewarding experience. While teaching, to see that "ah-ha" moment in my children's eyes is priceless! And to be a part of that light-bulb moment is just so amazing. I also love the fact we get plenty of opportunities to bond and just being together, learning from each other. It's great!

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
I like to draw inspiration from nature and my surroundings for my designs and creations. I also grew up watching my mother sew which had a great impact on me as a child. I would stay up late with her while she sewed our clothes for Eid, anticipating the final product. To see her transform pieces of fabric into something so intricate and festive was truly exciting. So when my eldest daughter was born, I was ready to reinvent these experiences for her. And guess what? She also sews now!

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
My parents have been my source of artistic inspiration in very different ways. My mother has been creative all her life. We had her oil paintings all around the house and I admired them so very much. She also frequently sewed clothes for us. My father on the other hand sang children's songs and classics from back home so we always grew up listening to him singing. He had a permanent gig at every family gathering, weddings, or just at home on his free time. It was a very lively home! I have fond memories I can cherish forever.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I've always loved science and anything related to it. It just fascinates and inspires me. It makes you ponder how truly small we are and how the system of this world is so intricately planned. It helps me appreciate God's creations. So, you can expect me to get a little more passionate during my science homeschool lessons!

How do you promote your work?
I'm a serious pinner on Pinterest. pinterest.com/down2earthsmile/
The visual display and structure really appeals to me. Funny, before Pinterest ever existed, I used to use this little known software called Portfolio by Microsoft to save links and photos that I would run into online...just like Pinterest except a lot more work! Pinterest just made my life much easier!
I also have Facebook pages for each of my shops:

In the future I’d like to be…
...content with whatever I'm doing. I would love to simplify and live a minimalist life...develop a real natural rhythm of living. I truly crave that and hope I can attain it.    

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Arabic Alphabet Fun Flashcards Kickstarter Campaign

I got the email today. The one I've been waiting for and that has been giving me a near ulcer all week. My project has been approved by Kickstarter!!!!

For those that don’t know what it is, Kickstarter is a website that supports crowd funding.  That is when complete strangers believe in helping out (and getting a ton of cool stuff in the bargain) to lend a hand to each other so that little dreams across America are fulfilled.

So it's official, my Kickstarter campaign to get funding to print the Arabic Alphabet Fun Flashcards has begun.

Now comes the really hard part: asking for your help in spreading the word. Even if your own funds are tight and you can't help out, I totally get it. But if you can help spread the word about this campaign, to be honest, that would be the bigger help. I want this campaign to reach ten thousand people, because maybe if only 4 out of ten people decided to pledge only one dollar, this project will get funded.

Thanks so much and here the link for the campaign:

And here is the screen saver that I'm going to keep around for awhile :)
Arabic Alphabet Fun Flashcards are launched!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

**Handcrafting a vibrant Arab world**

There it is. Five simple words that make up my tagline. What is a tagline, you ask? Taglines are probably the second most noticeable element of a business identity (after a logo). With just a couple of words, a tagline needs to summarize your product or service, build trust, or incite to buy. For example, Microsoft's tagline is 'Where do you want to go today?' and Morton Salt's is 'When it rains, it pours!'. Kellogg has 'They're greaaaaaaaaaaat!' and Visa is known for 'It's everywhere you want to be'.  And of course one of the most famous in the world is Nike's 'Just Do It' which is seen on t-shirts from Nigeria to Japan.

Slogans are different then taglines because slogans are a temporary marketing devise used more towards a product campaign and can be changed according to target market or audience

So a tag line doesn't necessarily have to say anything about the type of business you are, but it's almost like the jingle of your business commercial. You want your customer to think of you when they hear or see your tagline.

Who knows, maybe someday, when you see 'Handcrafting a vibrant Arab world' you'll think of A Crafty Arab!

Right now, I must be off. I'm craving cereal for some reason.

1 comment:

Connie Mitan said...
That is a perfect tagline for you and what you do! Much luck in spreading your positive message!

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Love to Pamela Geller...no, really!

I've become a little scared lately at what is happening to America. This is not the America that I remember when my folks came here in the 70s to get away from a brute dictator that was systematically killing all of their college friends. Our 70s America was a fun America. Everyone got alone, went to the Persian market for their sweets, headed to the Greek deli for their feta, and the French bakery for their bread. I remember my classmates in school being mixed; we had Indian, African American, Hispanic, even an Iranian. The college town where I grew up had all kinds of nationalities that got alone great because there were no haters. Our potlucks were amazing mixtures of delicious spreads.

But this America that I'm raising kids has school, mall, military fort, and office shootings. And what about the our droids attacking play grounds, our oil spills that last for months, and worse of all, we have two grown men publically fighting to try to save a country falling off a cliff? But the America that is hurting me most right now is that one that includes people like Pamela Geller.

For those that do not know who she is, please go read up on her on your own. Go ahead, this post will still be here when you get back.

Okay, for those that know who she is, I'll continue.

In my language, we have a word for women like her: Makara. This is a person that goes out of her way to be mean. She is that bully in the high school cafeteria that stuck out her foot as you were walking by with your tray of food. She is that twit that won't let you merge in the lane even though you've been signaling well ahead of her. She is that person at work that drinks the last of the coffee and never makes more for others. That is what Pamela Geller is: a Makara.

When I first created A Crafty Arab, my number one goal was to try to combat negative Arab stereotypes with positive images through my craft products. I wanted to let people know that what happened that horrible day in 2001 had nothing to do with me or what my religion stood for. It was a group of 12 men who thought they spoke on behalf of 1.62 billion people. But in reality, what they did is everything that my religion speaks against. 

But here is Pamela Makara, trying to stick a finger in my face, blaming me for what happened and the downfall of civilization as she knows it. So, today, inspired by this video, I made a Love notebook for her. If anyone has her address, please send it my way and I'll include this lovely letter with it:

Ms. Geller,
I made a Love notebook that I'm dedicating to you. Please don't panic over the Arabic writing, it does not say Death to all Americas, it actually says Love. Inside this notebook, I'd like you to write down each good deed that you do a day. This good deed can in no way harm another human being. It should not make people angry on a morning commute in their subway . And this good deed should in no way make one human want to push another human off a train platform. Examples of good deed can involve donating your current funds (and salary) to a breast cancer organization or perhaps help out your neighbors with a little Sandy fund donation?  Your deed can be volunteering your Thanksgiving time feeding the homeless or perhaps builing a Habitat for Humanity house in New Orleans?  You may visit the website United We Serve for more ideas on ways to fill your notebook..  Whatever you do decide to put in your notebook, I will pray to our God that it makes you happy.

A Crafty Arab who loves you

Okay, I did include a couple of P.S.s on there, but they sounded a little bit makara from me.  So I will not add them in the letter, but they did feel good to write. ;P

Oh yeah, here is the notebook.  I hope she likes it!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Start the New Year off right (Make Money)

I found this great photo showing you how you can make $1,378.00 dollars by the end of the year.  All you need to do is put in the dollar amount for that week into a jar. 

Week 1, you put in $1, than in Week 2, you put in $2, so that now you have $3 in the jar. 

You keep doing this for 52 weeks and you end up with $1,378.00 at the end of the year.  Pure genius!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Weekly Cleaning Schedule to Start the New Year off right

So here we are, all of two days into 2013 and I'm so excited that I can scream. 2013 is going to be the best year yet, I just feel it in my bones. With the death of my father and my youngest now fully submerged into Kindergarten, I felt that last year was full of losses. As if losing a loving parent isn't enough, my baby left me with the big bad cruel world to fend for myself.

But this year I'm on track with my business (I'm figuring out Quicken!), my health (I'm back on track with the workouts) and I've learned to better say no to the millions of volunteer asks I get. I’m also back on track with my housework. I used to have someone come in twice a week to help out, but she moved back to Mexico and I've never been able to find someone else that I like just as much in the two years she's been gone.

My dear friend Kristi gave me this cleaning schedule last year and it has been a life saver for me. I use it all the time and it has cut my house work load by a ton. Instead of feeling overwhelmed in the morning by the amount of cleaning, job tasks, kids, meals, and the 15 other directions I'm pulled in every day, I simply look at this sheet and get done what I need to get done first thing in the morning.  And no matter what happens the rest of the day, I've at least accomplished one thing. I hope this list can help you out also.

Monday - Bathrooms

Weekly - Sweep & mop floors. Disinfect toilets, sink, tub. Empty the trash. Clean mirror.

Focus Cleaning:

Week 1 - Wash shower curtain.

Week 2 - Wash trashcan.

Week 3 - Wash windows.

Week 4 - Dust/spot clean walls. Clean light fixtures.

Tuesday - Living room /Family room / Playroom

Weekly - Dust & Vacuum

Focus Cleaning:

Week 1 – Wash windows, declutter toy basket.

Week 2 -  Spot clean & dust walls.

Week 3 – Clean out light fixtures. Wash mini blinds.

Week 4 – Dust & vacuum behind/under furniture. Vacuum upholstery.

Wednesday – Kitchen (pantry) & Dining room

Weekly – Mop. Clean microwave / toaster oven.  Scrub/disinfect sink & counters.  Wipe appliances.

Focus Cleaning:

Week 1 – Clean cabinet doors & fridge.

Week 2 – Spot clean & dust walls.

Week 3 - Wash windows. Disinfect dishwasher

Week 4 – Clean light fixtures.

Thursday – Laundry room & Hallway / Entryway

Weekly -  Sweep & mop. Wipe down counters. Vacuum stairs.

Focus Cleaning:

Week 1 – Dust & spot clean walls.

Week 2 – Wash windows.

Week 3 – Declutter hall closet.

Week 4 -  Declutter laundry room.

Friday - Bedrooms

Weekly – Dust. Change sheets. Sweep/vacuum.

Focus Cleaning:

Week 1 – Tidy closets.

Week 2 – Wash windows

Week 3 – Clean light fixtures. Dust & spot clean walls.

Week 4 – Tidy closets.

Saturday/Sunday: Outside / House projects.

Weekly: Tidy / sweep front porch. Clean out car.