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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homemade Harvest 2013 Artist - Thea Starr

Today you are going to meet Thea Starr, who will be selling her beautiful reclaimed vintage kimono fabric turned into precisely folded kanzashi flowers at the 7th Annual Handmade Harvest Open House.  Thea and I go way back, first meeting as Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames teachers and then at an EtsyRain Crafting at Crossroads gathering (which happen every first Wednesday in front of BubbleTea, hint hint).  I have always loved her work and get so excited when I see it in craft books (yes, I actually accidentally screamed once in a library, a la Will Ferrell as Elf, "I know her!").  I hope you are one of the lucky ones that can come by this Saturday to see her work in person!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
My creative business is what I do for a full time job. My other full time job is being a mother to my four children. In a different life I was a tax auditor. I lead a much more exciting life these days.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
I love sharing a small bit of history of my heritage with others.  I also love work created by hand. It's amazing what can be made by hand.

What other passions do you have in your life?
I am passionate about organic gardening. I believe in chemical free foods and urban gardening. My dad always kept a garden when I was growing up. I do the same now for my own children. Nothing has been more educational to me than learning about growing my own food.
How do you promote your work?
Over the years most of my business has been from word of mouth.  I have been lucky enough to have had press on my work on a large scale, but the most exciting work I get has been from customer to customer.

In the future I’d like to be…
Doing what I do now. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Homemade Harvest 2013 Artist - re.Served

Continuing our exploration of the fantastic vendors that will be selling at the 7the Annual Homemade Harvest Open House, today we talk to another Victoria, this time from re.Served.  I am so excited to see her wares in person on Saturday.  Plus I just found out that she can do personalizing!  Her beautiful items might make a wonderful Eid or Diwali or Hannukah gift for those of us that aren't represented well in the holiday gift guides.

Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
I am a stay-at-home mom to Bella (age almost-7) and Nilah (age 3).I try to volunteer as much as I can in their classrooms, but this little business makes it tough to commit regularly. Nilah is home Tue/Thurs and only goes to school until 1:30 the other three days of the week. So aside from being a stay-at-home mom and small business owner, I DRIVE. A lot.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Trends, beautiful designs, style niches that have room for my ideas.  But I am mostly inspired by the customers who like and buy my stuff.  I've gotten some of my best ideas from customers.  And if they give me a winning idea that ends up in my shop on Etsy, I name the line after them.
Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
I look up to many people, friends and family and public figures.  But I would say the person who impacts me the most in regards to my business is my husband.  He is a hard worker, extremely smart and beautifully humble.  He is Brazilian and was educated in Porto Alegre receiving master's degrees in things I can't begin to understand.  We met in Michigan at a tech job and eventually moved to Seattle after he survived the terrifying Amazon interview process.  He's always investing in our future and is wise about money, selfless with us, and constantly looking for that one idea that will change lives for the better.  I am so impressed with him on a daily basis.  Did I mention he's incredibly hot?

What other passions do you have in your life?
I'm passionate about family.  Passionate about making a better world for my children.  Passionate about teaching my children how to be kind humans full of empathy and selfless to a fault.  I'm passionate about writing and creating and wish I could spend my days lost in a cloud of creativity.

How do you promote your work?
I don't spend a lot on this business.  By nature of the business (reclaiming and repurposing unwanted items), cost savings and sustainable resourcing are key aspects to making this both a business and conceptual success.  So I rely solely on social networking for any promotions.  You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest with some occasional Twitter posts thrown in for good measure.

In the future I’d like to be…
Financially independent, healthy and traveling the world with my husband.  Oh, and with spare time to write That Novel.