Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from A Crafty Arab

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas today. 

Whether we read His words as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or Bahá'í, He is Allah in all written and spoken Arabic.  Below is a humbling reminder of this unity.

This is a beautiful photo taken in Beirut, Lebanon with a Christmas tree in front of a mosque.  It  showcases how we Arabs come in all faiths and love to embrace this uniqueness of our historical ancestors.

Christmas in Beirut, Lebanon

Be sure to check out my Arabic Christmas section in my shop, and always support handmade! :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Arabic Authors Book Club

My Arabic Authors Book Club meet this month and our book was Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shereen El Feki.

I am not at liberty to discuss what our group spoke about that evening, however, I wanted to share these photos of our Arabic food offerings as an idea of what our topic of discuss was.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

30 days of Ramadan Crafty challenge roundup (2013)

As the year is drawing to a close, I have realized that I did not do a roundup of the 2013 30 days of Ramadan Crafty Challenge.  So before our new year starts, I'd like to take care of one last detail from one of the best years ever for A Crafty Arab.  Shurkran to everyone!

As many of you know, I started the 30 days of Ramadan Crafty challenge back in July 2011 to give my daughters a creative outlet for making some fun Arab/Asian/Islamic crafts to celebrate this month of their heritage and culture.

Most of the crafts I've done in the past three years have been ones that I have created on my own or had to adapt from other resources.  I had to do this since there are currently no good craft book for Arab/Asian/Islamic/Eid/Ramadan crafts.  But maybe things will change soon and I can take my craft ideas and turn them into an ebook.  I'm just not sure there is a market for it, as it's never been done before.  Plus, I'd love to hire a photographer as my skills are amateur.

Until then, please enjoy this list of 30 free DIY craft tutorials to celebrate the days of Ramadan with your children.  If you'd like to see all the images of all the crafts, make sure you visit my Pinterest board for this year.  And follow me to get updates for 2014!

1.   5 Pillars of Islam Wind Chime
2.   Arab League Word Puzzle
3.   Arabic Numbers Toss
4.   Camel Coffee Cozy
5.   Clothespin Debke Dancers
6.   Crafting Update - Eid Party Distressed Wooden Sign...
7.   Crescent Moon & Star Thaumatropeis
8.   Eid Mubarak Money Envelopes
9.   Eid Mubarak Puzzle Card
10. Eid Mubarak Sheep Magnet
11. Eid Paper Star Table Toppers
12. Eid Party Distressed Wooden Sign
13. Elegant Brown & White Eid Decorated Letters
14. Emirates Button Card
15. Glass Zakāt Decorated Jar
16. I'm Praying Door Hanger
17. Ishmael and Family Story Stones
18. Libyan Cooling Fan
19. Mini Canvas Minarets
20. Moon & Star Stamp
21. Mr. Jalabiya Eid Mubarak Card
22. My First Ramadan Sharpie Plate
23. My Ramadan Moon Flip Book
24. Nazar Hair Clip
25. Ramadan Crescent Moon & Star Ithnain
26. Ramadan Dates Advent Calendar
27. Ribbon Moon Door Hanger
28. Somalian Flag Pennant
29. Sun Printed Arabic Numbers Cards
30. Woolly Sheep Eid Mubarak Card

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Arabic Alphabet coloring pages...Ya is for Yamam

I'm continuing my quest to take the animals from my Arabic Alphabet Animal poster and turn them into free coloring sheets!

Today's free download is the twenty eight letter of the alphabet: Ya (yā’), represented by Yusra the Yamam (dove in Arabic) Here is the newest page to print: Yamam Coloring Page.

You can enjoy these Arabic letters and animals that have been done already -
Arrnab Coloring Page
Batreek Coloring Page

Thu'ban Coloring Page
Faraasha Coloring Page
Samakah Coloring Page
Qird Coloring Page

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Palestinian Spinach and Lentil Soup

Continuing on our culinary journey from Thursday's book club, today's posting will be the recipe for the second soup I created.  This time I was inspired by the Tabikh Sabanikh (Spinch Stew) in my The Gaza Kitchen cookbook by Laila el-Haddad I recently purchased.

However, since I was already using chickpeas in my Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup, I didn't want to have two dishes to have the same main ingredient.  So my search lead me to the Addas Bi Hamoud (Spinach and Lentil Soup) in my Pita the Great cookbook by Virginia T. Habeeb.

Here is my adaptation of both recipes into my own Palestinian Spinach and Lentil Soup creation for book club.

Palestinian Spinach and Lentil Soup by A Crafty Arab

2 cups lentils
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large red potatoes, cut into one inch squares, skin on
1 packet frozen spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon coriander

1 - Wash and drain the lentils twice.  Add them to a large pot with the water and after they come to a boil, add the salt.  Cover them and reduce to simmer for an hour.
2 - In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions and the garlic.  Cook them for about 5 minutes until they become translucent over medium heat.
3 - Add the onions and garlic cooked mixture to the lentil pot.  Stir in the potatoes, spinach, lemon juice, and coriander until everything is mixed.
4 - Recover the pot and continue to simmer for another 20 mintues for the potatoes to cook.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup

Last night I hosted book club at my home.  We had spent the last month reading Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell and gathered to talk about it.

Since we were traveling to the Middle East, I wanted to make an Arab soup to warm our bodies on a cold and wet November day.  I couldn't decide between an Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup or a Palestinian Spinach and Lentil Soup, so I made both!

Here is the recipe for one and tomorrow I'll share my recipe for the other.  So be sure to come back to this space!

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup drained jarred roasted red peppers
3 cups chicken stock
Dollop of sour cream, for serving
1 - Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt, and caraway, and cook for 3 minutes until garlic starts to brown.
2 - Add chickpeas, tomatoes, red peppers, and stock. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
3 - Set the soup aside for a bit to allow it to cool slightly.
4 - Working in batches, puree soup in a food processor.
5 - If the soup has gotten too cold, warm it back up. Add a spoonful of sour cream in the middle for a bit of color and taste.
6 - Sahaa! (Arabic for To Your Health!)

From Publishers Weekly

Russell's enjoyable latest historical is told in the exuberant, posthumous voice (yes, it's narrated from the afterlife) of Agnes Shanklin, a 38-year-old schoolteacher from Cedar Glen, a town near Cleveland, Ohio. After the influenza epidemic of 1919 strikes down Agnes's family, a childless and unmarried Agnes settles the family estate, acquires financial independence and adopts an affable dachshund named Rosie. Accompanied by Rosie, Agnes travels to Cairo during the Cairo Peace Conference, where she befriends Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia among other historical heavy hitters. She also falls in love with the charismatic Karl Weilbacher, a German spy whose interest in Agnes may have less to do with romance than Agnes will allow herself to believe. Agnes's travelogues, while marvelously detailed, distract from the increasingly tense romantic play between Agnes and Karl. When a more worldly-wise Agnes returns home, her life—first as an investor wrecked by the Depression and then a librarian until her death in 1957—remains low-keyed. Though the bizarre, whimsical ending doesn't quite gel, Russell (The SparrowA Thread of Grace) has created an instantly likable heroine whose unlikely adventures will keep readers hooked to the end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Arab Festival 2013

Recently, I had a booth at the Arab Festival, which occurred at the Seattle Center.  While my sales were low, I was really excited to try out my new grid wall unit.

I had gotten eight walls at a sale this summer, along with about a dozen six inch hooks, four tshirts holders and a lamp that was broken.  When I was at my monthly Crafting at Crossroads event, I mentioned to my friend Kacey (the super mom over at OnAWhimm) my excitement at using my new walls.  I also expressed concern at what to need to buy to be able to use the walls with my crafts.

So Kayce offers up her grid wall baskets to borrow.  How awesome is she?

I got to play around with layout of the wall for a few days.  I even payed my friends Laila, Oraib, and Jill in snacks and products to come over and re-arrange.  The best part of the brainstorm session was little adorable Maya, who just turned two, was reciting the animals on the Arabic Alphabet poster, in Arabic no less, in front of Jill, who spent over a year drawing them.  It was an amazing full circle moment.

After the grid wall unit got to where everyone was happy, I grabbed suitcases and packed it all with only a day to spare.  I didn't end up using all the baskets and hooks, and also left two walls at home, but here is the finished product.  

I'd love to hear what you think about it.

And if you want to come see it in person, consider this your reminder that the 7th Annual Homemade Harvest is coming up second Saturday in November.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

I love my birthday.  And this year the day has started out amazing yet again.  And while I'm still experiencing it, I wanted to share my special day with you by offering a rare coupon code to my Zibbet store.  You are welcome to share my post with your friends and they can also use the same code on their order.

Since it is my annual 29th birthday (despite what my friends and family will try to tell you) the coupon code is 29AGAIN.  Simply cut and paste that when you are checking out. 

You can use it on any one item in the store, but you only have 29 hours to use it.  So head over there and see if there's anything pretty you can't live without. 

If you come over to my house within the next 29 hours, I'll also offer you one of my moon birthday lemon cookies.  But that offer is only limited to availability, and right now I have to say they are moving super fast into my stomach.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Camel Coffee Cozy

Eid Mubarak to all my followers & fans & friends & family.

I know so many of you out there, but especially my brother, have missed your morning coffee.  So today's Ramadan Craft Challenge is dedicated to you.  Those that have braved co-workers coffee runs, driving by 15 Tully's on your way to the mosque, and most importatntly, that big, beautiful lonely coffee pot that has been sitting on your counter.

Go ahead, make that cup.  And give your kids the supplies to make this:

Fabric coffee cozy
Camel template
Fabric paint

Take the camel template and place it on your cozy so that you can outline the desing with your fabric paint.

After your camel is done, start decorating your coffee cozy with other designs.

Once you have your design painted on your coffee cozy, lay it out in a sunny spot to dry.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

5 Pillars of Islam Wind Chime

My youngest daughter is learning about the 5 Pillars of Islam so I wanted to come up with a craft that would have her seeing them all the time.  I love that she wrote out the 5 pillars herself in her handwriting.

Wood beads
Colored Pens
Letter stickers
Wood tags
Wood dowel
Floral wire

Our wood beads came with two sets, one that had two holes, and one that only had one hole.  Take the set that has two holes and write out the word ISLAM with your letter stickers.
 On the bottom tags (with only one hole) write out the 5 Pillars with a colored pen.

Using your pliers, make a curl on the end of your wire so your tag does not slip out.  We also put the wire back in after this and twisted it on.
 Take your wood beads and feed them in the other end of the wire.

Once you get to a length you like (we didn't measure anything), slip on your other tags that have the two holes.

Continue to add more beads and when you get to a length you like, twist your wire around your dowel. Cut off about 1/2 inch from the top of the dowel and make another curl in your wire.  Continue to do this with your next four wires.

Take another wire and fold it in half.  Twist it around twice in the middle so that you have a hook for your nail.  Twist the two ends on either end of the dowel.

Your wind chime is done and ready for hanging.  We wanted ours to be an indoor chime so that my daughter can see it daily.  However, if you'd like to make your wind chime an outdoor chime, make sure you put a protective layer of a sealant on the stickers and written words.

 Here is a close up of the two tags in their completed forms:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eid Mubarak Money Envelopes

I spent the day today making these really cool Eid Mubarak money envelopes to hand out to random homeless people in Seattle this weekend. I do this with my kids as part of our Random Acts of Zakat.

Unfortunately my conversion from a word document to a PDF did not work as well as I hoped. So for now, you'll have to content yourself with what they look like. Insha'allah when I can get my computer hubs to look at it, I hope he can help with the conversion.

UPDATE: We got the PDF conversion to work!  Here is the file and good luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crafting Update - Eid Party Distressed Wooden Sign

Do you ever have one of those days that no matter what you do, nothing gets done?  Yup, we had one today.  We had grand ideas for our Ramadan Craft Challenge, but those grand ideas were just ideas today.  Insha'Allah those ideas will happen for us tomorrow, but in the meantime we did accomplish one thing: the completion of our Eid Party sign!

Please note that despite the warm weather, it took a couple of white coats of paint and several drying periods to get this sign done.  So if you are having a party, make sure to plan ahead and make this sign early.

After the paint finally dried, we used the sandpaper to take off the layer of white that was on top of the Petroleum Jelly.  Since we had added on a few layers, this step took a little elbow grease.

Once the layers of white has been taken off, place your carbon paper on your sign with your Eid Party template on top.  Using your pencil, draw out the letters.  Really push down hard on the paper as you're trying to make a mark on several coats of paint.  Take off the papers and paint your letters green.

Your Eid Party distressed wood sign is done!  You can leave it like this or if you'd like it to last for a long time, you can add a layer of Mod Podge for protection.  We left ours alone so that the elements outside can help a little more with the patina of the wood.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ramadan Dates Advent Calendar

When you are trying to introduce the concept of Ramadan to children, it's always a good idea to create a calendar of some sort to help with time.  As you know from my Ramadan Craft challenge, I like to make things as easy as possible, with most of the items found from items around your home.  When I finished wrapping up some Eid gifts to donate, I had this paper roll that I knew couldn't go into the garbage.  So we took it and made dates with it for our Ramadan Advent Calendar!

Gold spray paint
Pipe cleaners
Long empty wrapping paper roll

Spray paint your empty wrapping paper roll gold and let dry.  Cut off about half an inch from the end.  You'll need two of these smaller pieces for each date, so just keep cutting till you get to the end. You should have sixty smaller pieces by the time you finish.

Once your pieces are all cut, put one in the other like the photo below.

Take the awl and punch a hold through the two pieces on one of the ends.

Cut your pipe cleaners in half and then in half again.  Take the small piece you cut out and put it in the hole you just made to go through both pieces.  Bend the end of the pipe cleaner so that it holds inside the date.

Hang yarn on your wall and bend the other end of the pipe cleaner to fit over the yarn.  Every night take off a date to signify that end of the day!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I'm Praying Door Hanger

With three girls in the house, life gets crazy with people coming in an out of various rooms, so it gets a little hard to concentrate sometimes.  I believe that children have a honing device instilled in their bodies when they are born.  When you are cleaning or doing something boring to them, they are lost somewhere in the house.  But as soon as you pick up the phone to call a friend, or finish wudu and get ready to pray, they find you.

So today we made this little door hanger to put on the outside of the door when you need privacy.  Here is how we made it.

Hand made paper
Wood door hanging sign
Rub on letters & butterflies
Chalk inkpad
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
Wood stick

Cover the door hanger with Mod Podge and made sure it's light.  Place another layer of Mod Podge on the back of the paper and put the paper on the door hanger.

Tear off the paper from the door hanger.  We also took a little bit of sandpaper to even out the edges.

Use the ink pad to give the edges a little bit of color.

Lay out the rub on letters and butterflies to make sure everything fits.  Use the wood stick to rub the letters onto the door hanger.
We were going to put 'Come In' on the other side, but to be honest, the letters we bought were not that great.  As you can see, the y and the g are missing parts.  This was our second attempt at cutting them out and putting them down.  So make sure you don't use Kathy Davis Glitter Rub on Letters.  None the less, we're going to try other letters for the other side.

Whatever letters you do end up using, make sure to cover the end result with another layer of Mod Podge to protect everything.

I pray this sign might give you a few moments of peace with Allah :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Eid Party Distressed Wooden Sign

Today's Ramadan craft has been turned into a two part session due to weather.  We got lots of rain today, which means no sunshine, so our paint still had not dried at 10:30pm.  We'll show you all the steps that we got to below, and isA, tomorrow we will finish our sign.

With our upcoming Eid party being held at a community public park, we wanted to have a sign that would point our friends towards our event.  I had come across a website showing distressed wooden signs and thought they looked easy to do.

Pre-cut wood plank
Eid Party printout
Petroleum jelly
Carbon paper
Brown acrylic paint
Green acrylic paint
Silver acrylic paint
White acrylic paint

Randomly place the brown and silver acrylic paint all over your board, making sure to hit the four corners. Wait for this to dry.

Rub Petroleum Jelly over the board that has either the brown or the silver paint.  Wherever you put the Jelly, will show under your top coat color.

Paint the board white all over.  Wait to dry.

And wait...and wait...and wait...we just couldn't get the paint to dry today as it was a wet, gloomy, icky day.  Tomorrow they say the clouds are to clear, but we'll see what happens. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ribbon Moon Door Hanger

With Ramadan so close, we are decorating our home to get ready for the festivities!  Today we made door hangers in the shape of a crescent moon.  This is an easy craft, but some of the little hands might be frustrated with the ribbon, so my oldest is the one that made this particular moon.

Used cereal box
Satin ribbon

Draw out your crescent moon on the back of the cereal box.  Then draw another crescent moon inside the first moon.  You'll need each moon to be about an inch apart all the way around.

 As you can see from our photo, it took us several times to get the Sharpie drawn on the cereal box.  If you make a mistake, it will be covered up with ribbon later.  You'll need to cut out both moons from the cereal box.

Put a dab of glue on the back of one of the ends and hold it down on it until it sticks.

Start wrapping the ribbon around the moon shape, going from one end to the next.  It's okay if you need to cut your ribbon on one of the ends and start rewrapping the second side.  We also added more glue as we went, so the ribbon wasn't only being glued on the ends.

When you get to the end, put a dap of glue down to close off the wrapping.  Cut off the excess ribbon.

Here is the detail of our moon. 

Oh, and for those that are curious, yes, I have a chalkboard wall in my studio for my to do, to buy, and to make lists.  My daughters, however, like to come in and draw all over the bottom half.  This week it was a mural of a friendly dragon blowing water on a village to cool it down during a heat wave.  I think they are getting their imagination from a hot, summer Ramadan :)
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