Friday, December 12, 2014

Campbell's Soup Dress Tutorial

Every year the Seattle Art Museum staff has an event to celebrate their Docent volunteers.  This holiday luncheon is always fun to attend with a lovely lunch, festive entertainment and a raffle. 

The theme this year was Andy Warhol's Factory, in celebration of the exhibit Pop Departures  currently at SAM. 

Everyone was encouraged to dress in period outfits, so I decided to make a Campbell's mushroom soup dress for the occasion. 

Below is the tutorial in case you'd like to make your own!

I started with three pieces of clothing to come up with my one outfit.  I found the red sleeveless dress, red jacket and white dress all at my local thrift store.  I took a photo of the pricetags because I thought it was very funny that the more material equals less expensive.  As you can see, the dress was $4.99, the jacket was $6.99 and the white lingerie was $8.80. I was able to make the new dress for a little over $20.

First I had to get rid of the ruffle that went all the way down the red dress, you can see a little of it here.

However, while trying to cut it out, I made a nice hole in the red dress. Learn from my mistake: be careful with your seam ripper, as sometimes they have a mind of their own!

I then took out the top part of my white dress you can see one photo up.  Don't forget: I was making a 70s dress and wearing bras on the outside of an outfit wasn't made popular till Madonna in the 80s.

You'll need to excuse the shameless plug of my hand's cool henna design I got on Saturday at Redmond Lights. Pretty, huh?

I wanted to sew the red jacket to the sleeveless dress because the luncheon was going to be held at the Seattle Asian Art Museum Board Room, which I am always cold in.  It doesn't matter that it's December, I'm cold in the summer months too.  I blame my Mediterranean blood.  So I went ahead and sewed the sleeves of the jacket into the sleeves of the dress so I wouldn't have to keep tugging on the jacket at the event. We all hate that, right?

I was finally able to put down the dresses and get to work on the letters.  First I printed out the word S O U P in very large boring font.  I cut out the letters from the paper, from mushroom fabric (in yellow!), and from a stiff stabilizer so my letters won't fold on themselves.

After I cut out the S O U P letters, I printed out the word Campbell's and made sure it was the correct size to fit on the dress. I cut out word from red felt. I'm not sure why the logo didn't print the apostrophe after the last L, so my proper English friends will have to excuse this little error.  I only noticed after my dress was done and the cursed machine had been put away.

Now the fun part!  All that applique sewing that feels never endinng!  First the word Campbell.

Then the yellow letters.  Check out the mushroom soup design on the fabric.  Isn't it the cutest? You'll have to excuse the uneven edges of the sewing.  The last few steps of this dress were done later in the evening when my threshold for perfection had long peeked.

Once all the applique was done, I found a round lid that I put in between the two words and lightly drew out a circle with a pencil.  I painted the circle yellow with fabric paint.

As a final touch, I added a silver ribbon I had in a drawer to the bottom of the dress to replicate the edge of the metal can.  It was the perfect pièce de résistance.
It was great fun to show off to all my friends. There were so many other women that got into the spirit of the party and dressed up also. 

During the event, the staff hired an Elvis impersonator that serenated us, and I won the raffle of a beautiful Chihuly coffee table book.  All the docents got a gorgeous book on the art in the Wright collection and I managed to leave with one of the table centerpieces. The adorable metal leaves were a wonderful surprise to discover when I got home.

Thanks SAM staff for a wonderful afternoon!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's not you, facebook, it's me

I'm a people hoarder.

I didn't know this about myself until a recent epiphany, but it's true. I collect people and can't seem to let them go. 

My "aha" moment occurred with Facebook over the past two weeks. I've got close to 800 "friends" on there and while most of them I have no personal connection to anymore, I can't seem to let them move on.

Despite joining Facebook quite a few years ago, I have only unfriended four people ever. Two for bullying, and two were husbands of women that unfriended me. It's amazing to think that somehow I can't seem to click that unfriend button, even if a person hasn't crossed my path for years.

I have my best friend from high school who shared an afterschool job at Long John Silvers.

I have my housemate from college, and her husband, a neighbor from my childhood home.

I have my favorite roommate (I had seven total) from my internship at Walt Disney World.

I have friends from every single mother's groups I've been a part of over the years.

I have friends from old jobs as an arts commissioner, board member, docent, dj at a radio station, waitress, Microsoftie, art gallery manager, merchandise hostess, teacher, book club, craft meet ups, student, the list is endless.

You name any continent, I've probably got a friend in it.

My epiphany occurred the week of Thanksgiving when I had two of these friends stand me up on two different occasions. On Thanksgiving day, I found myself not invited to a gathering of friends I've known for close to 10 years.

Some call it a hat trick, but having all three events happen within days of each other hurt my heart deep and hard.  Something snapped in my brain and I found myself, for my first time ever, searching for the Facebok Deactivate button on Thanksgiving night. I needed a friend break. More importantly, I needed to put my heart back together.

Suddenly, everyone was gone.

I wasn't getting hourly updates of my girlfriend's new baby that arrived on Monday.

I received no posts on Ferguson, #ICantBreath, or names of police officers that are members of the KKK.

I didn't see any photos of headless children from Palestine.

My girlfriend who is traveling with her daughters in Spain and was posting photos of Miro's studio disappeared.

Poetry writings, both in Arabic and English, and Harlequin romance novel quotes were gone from my life.

Videos of cats showing dogs who was boss, kids being cute, and a parody called All About the Paste were no longer attacking my eyes.

For days, my world was cut off, except for Twitter, where I had just unfollowed over 1,000 people in October.  I had done it after reading an article about clutter. So things were pretty quiet over there too.

Interestingly enough, disappearing on Facebook caused real friends that needed to find me contacted me via other means to make sure I was alive.  I got flowers with a heartfelt apology from the gathering that hadn't invited me and it was sweet.  Inquiries were coming in from Pinterest, my website contact form, emails, evite and phone calls. The friends that noticed I was gone and needed to check on me found a way to do it not on Facebook.

Now, almost two weeks later, I am amazed at the amount of work I have gotten done. I'm ahead on my products for one store, I made three custom pieces, two Arabic clocks, 26 sets of earrings, 109 sarcastic cards, I planned and taught two art class to second graders, I cleaned my studio top to bottom, my daughters and I completed three craft projects, we also made cookies for an upcoming cookie exchange, I made an Andy Warhol dress for a holiday party, I wrote up a time management plan, I went into Seattle midweek to take an optional museum class, I finished a book, caught up on my movies list and started my business plan. My To Do List was getting done at the speed of light as projecs were getting being completed left and right.

Not having Facebook on 12 times a day has made me realized that I'm a people hoarder and I need to stop. I've decided I'm only holding on to the people that I've physically seen in 2014, or have Liked my business, or that I'd have no problem calling up today and inviting to lunch.

Starting in January, I need to let go of those that I haven't laid eyes on in awhile or aren't invested in my passion. I have some big business goals for 2015 and need to make sure I'm not distracted by a friend's videos of cats getting into tight boxes.  

After two weeks without 800 friends, I've realized it's not you, it's me.  I need to stop hoarding you and set you free.

How can all not be forgiven with such a beautiful apology?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Welcome sign in Arabic, Bengali, English and Thai

A dear friend in book club recently moved into a multi generational home that includes two sets of grandparents.

As a housewarming gift, I hand painted her a custom sign that says Welcome in the four languages that will be spoken in her new home.  I knew the Arabic and English but had to look up the other two languages. I really hope I got the Thai and Bengali correct.

It was so much fun to make and I'd love to do it again.  Contact me if you'd like your own sign made.
Welcome hand painted in Arabic, Bengali, English and Thai
Here are a few close ups of the individual boards.
Hand painted Welcome in English
Hand painted Welcome in Thai
Hand painted Welcome in Arabic
Hand painted Welcome in Bengali

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Aminah and Ayah Custom Arabic Name Signs

A dear friend recently asked me to make custom Arabic name signs for her.  Her daughter picked out the anchor and dragonfly wood cutouts and requested that I incorporate the color turquoise in them.

I just finished painting them today and I hope she likes them.  I still have to add the wire for hanging, but while I hunt down my drill bit, I thought you might want to see what they look like completed.
Ayah and Aminah Custom Arabic Name Signs
Feel free to contact me if you'd like your own Arabic name sign.  Simply send an email to ACraftyArab at my Gmail account and I'll be happy work with you. Unless you see your name already here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Product Review - Happy Heart Kid

Recently I was sent a Happy Heart Kid kit to review as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs team.  I want to send a huge thank you to them because this product has been fantastic. 

I was sent the Manners Kit, which included everything below and has caused much giggling and conversation in our household.

When the package arrived on Friday, my seven year old couldn't wait to tear into it. As a business owner who almost lives at the post office, I was impressed with the packaging and how secure everything remained in the shipping process.

As it was getting close to bedtime, we laid everything out in anticipation of the fun we were going to have the next morning.

On Saturday morning, I was awoken by my bed shaking with a giddy 7 year old ready to play.  We started our adventure by first doing the Activity Book and meeting Caleb, an adorable elephant who needs some help being reminded of his manners when he visits his monkey friend, Ella.

I loved the Helpful Hints at the start of the book on how to engage my child to use the product effectively.

My daughter passed on drawing inside the book with the crayons provided because she was too excited about getting to the other stuff in the box.  However, we did read the story and do all the fill in the blacks.  She was surprised to see that later on she can cut out parts of the book to use.  She's never had permission to cut inside a real book before and one of the activities includes cutting out utensils, napkin and a class of juice and gluing them next to a dinner plate.

From the activity book, we moved on to the Create Thank You Cards goodie bag.  Again, I was very impressed with the Nurturing Good Manners section at the front written for the grownups. This showcased ways we can communicate with our child on showing courtesy by being aware of our own actions.

We followed the instructions on how to make our stamp with the materials provide: a block of wood and foam shaped stickers.
Then I asked my daughter who she has been thankful for in her life as of late and she named her teacher, her Girl Scout leader and me. After she created her list, she picked a card and wrote a few words inside.
Don't tell Ms. Meeks yet, but she also got a kitty inside her card, courtesy of the markers that came with the kit.

After the insides of the cards were dry, we flipped them over and stamped under and above the Thank You that came already written on the front.  Actually she tried a few test runs first on an extra piece of white paper so she can see how hard she needed to push down.  We both loved that the ink came in this multi-color green pack.  This lead to a great conversation about patterns and how often we see them in our lives.

Here is her completed thank you card.  It's already in the backpack on the way to school today.

Our next order of business was to dig into the Create Courtesy Bracelets goodie bag. I will have to warn you that when we first opened the bag, the beads went everywhere.  Luckily my daughter has a sharp eye and found the ones that fell on the floor, but I reached for a small piece of felt to hold the rest.

The book again starts off with an adult page on how to use the bracelets as reminders of courteous behavior through everyday activities. Yet, as I was explaining this to my child, she immediately started looking for the letters to write her own name. I had to remind her that this bracelet can either be given as a gift, or can be used by her as a reminder to say the one word she might need help repeating during the day.  She thought carefully about my words and came up with this

However, since she is a Princess in the truest form of the word, she wanted me to include a close up of her original design. She was worried people couldn't see that she had created another pattern by using every bead color provided.

By now, it was lunch and we took our last goodie bag, with the Manners Game inside, to share with the rest of the family after we ate.

If you look close at the kit in the first photo, you'll notice that it only includes 3 peg people, yet there are five people in our family.  We fixed this little problem by adding our own peg people.  We also used foam stickers provided to help distinguish the plain looking peg people.

Don't let the size of the miniature canvas board fool you.  Even after half an hour of play, we still had not gotten to the half way point!  Here was one fun highlight:

What is your favorite season? (from Table Talk)
7 year old: Fall!
12 year old: Salt!

We eventually brought the conversation back to manners when the next question lead to a discussion on appropriate questions to ask a new friend. We never did finish the game because the older girls had to rush off to robotics, but I'm sure we'll play it again.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with my seven year old, making another bracelet to gift and the thank you cards to hand out.

I would highly recommend this kit and encourage you to check out the Happy Heart Kit Kickstarter campaign.  We really need to support more of these mom & mom ventures that encourage our children to be better contributors to humanity.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Goodbye Arab Artists Resouces & Training

As my A Crafty Arab business has grown (Alhamdulillah), I'm finding myself with less and less time to do other pet projects of mine.

One that has fallen off the waste side has been Arab Artists Resources and Training. I started this non-profit organization back in June of 2001 as a way to connect Arab artists with museums and galleries.  I received a substantial grant from the New York Ford Foundation and Doha Qatar Foundation to publish a resource guide of Arab artists around the globe.

Then along came the internet.

Suddenly no one wanted to buy a physical book, everything moved online.  I spent months putting all the information on the world wide web for free.  I even added a database of grants and job opportunities available to Arab artists.

But I just couldn't keep up with this project, my master's degree, starting a family of three girls and now my full time business.  So, after two attempts at hiring web companies to keep the website spam free, I've decided to throw in the towel.

I'll try my best to add the database to my Pinterest boards, this one for painters and sculptors, one for writers, and this one for entertainers. If you think of others, let me know.

I hope you all wish me luck in mailing my last tax forms to the IRS.  I've decided to send a little joy by adding Eid sheep tape on the back.
Goodbye Arab Artists Resources & Training
All monies from AART is being sent to other nonprofit organizations doing good in our world.  More details about this later with everything is confirmed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Homemade Harvest 2014

Shukran (Arabic for Thank You) for everyone that came out to the Homemade Harvest 2014 last Saturday.
Homemade Harvest 2014

For the second year in a row, attendance was through the roof. I wrote close to 50 Thank You cards this year to the people that came.  I felt blessed to write each one.  I am grateful to all those that came to support the handmade community.

Just a reminder, except for a small percentage taken out to help pitch in to pay for the food and a few other small things, the artists you talked to on Saturday received all the money for their hard earned work.

Make sure to continue to support these artists:
Scarf City

Thea Starr

Navanka Creation

Blue Heron Dye Artwork

Sculpture Soap

Holli Dunn
To support handmade artists like these in the future, make sure you put November 14th, 2015 on your calendar now.

Thank you to our artists this year:
Blue Heron Dye Artwork
Holli Dunn
Navanka Creations
Scarf City
Sculpture Soap
Thea Starr

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. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Homemade Harvest 2014 Artist - Sculpture Soap

Continuing our exploration of the fantastic artists that will be selling at the Homemade Harvest Open House, today we talk to Tito from Sculpture Soap. Since the beginning, HH has only had female artists selling, which makes Tito our first male artist.  I am so excited to see his wares in person on Saturday. Be sure to bring the kids so they can get a look at these soaps up close.


Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
Besides sculpting soap designs all day, attending to customer orders, and working in 3D, I am an active freshwater fly fisherman and a dad of two kids that my wife and I adopted 7 years ago.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
I have always been an artist first and a designer second. Having worked as an Interior Designer earlier in my life, I admit that I am more in touch with decorative things for the home than most men I’ve known. I’ve also had an extensive career as a video game artist. This enabled me to hone my 3D skills and to appreciate sculpting expressive figurative designs. Only now am I truly embracing what it means to be working as a traditional artist.

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?.
There are several highly skilled 3D artist that I admire. However, the most well know sculptor that has had the longest impact on my decision to creating these uniquely sculpted soaps is the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. I saw many of his pieces in Italy, the summer of 1987.

What other passions do you have in your life?
Sculpting is my main passion. Learning to live healthier is quickly becoming my second passion. Otherwise, learning to appreciate my family as we are, and making time for them consumes any extra time I may have in my day.

How do you promote your work?
As a fairly new business owner, I am enjoying attending local markets, street events, and seasonal festivals. For my first year in 2014, I’ve attended over a dozen different events so far. I have a schedule online at my website.

In the future I’d like to be…
 A better sculptor as well as a great husband and father.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Homemade Harvest 2014 Artist - Scarf City

Today we get to know Roz from Scarf City, one of the artists that will be selling this upcoming weekend.  Roz and I have known each other for years, having met at a craft show put on by Seattle Handmade in SoDo. We have also done booths at Punk Rock Flea Market, I Heart Rummage, and a few others together.

Roz was an artist at the 2012 Homemade Harvest and I'm so happy to have her (and Smigel!) return this year.


Tell us a bit about yourself? Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
Aside from knitting and crocheting accessories I am also a Communications Manager at a non-profit in Seattle. I handle all media and public relations and the bulk of the writing for Washington Community Action Network.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Fashion! I love being a fashionista and adding stylish pieces to my wardrobe and helping others do the same.

Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?.
My Grandmother. She taught me to crochet when I was 10 years old and could crochet a whole garment in minutes (just kidding)

What other passions do you have in your life?
Smigel --- my ChiPomPeke

How do you promote your work?
I don’t …it’s sad really, but I don’t have the time or energy.

In the future I’d like to be…
Someone who can focus enough to finish a long-term project in the smallest amount of time possible.