Organizing Craft workshop and designing masks.

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Did you know, not every great artist can be good teacher.

Arts and Crafts are a very personal affair and very few of us have the flair to “teach”.

Most of us are excellent at demonstrating our skills as artists and designers but teaching is a skill, all on its own and not all of us are equipped with what it takes to be an motivational teacher.

I believe a ‘good’ teacher is one who can inspire you, one who has patience, and one who is prepared to accept the chaff (those who may not be exceptional talented but who are zestful and eager to learn ) as well as the wheat grain.  Alot of people believe that you have to be born with artistic skills – but I don’t adhere to that theory. Skills can be cultivated and talent can be honed.  Everyone who stumbles upon a craft-kit, is not looking to build something magnificent – but he might find comfort in simply ‘trying’ to build something abstract out of it – maybe that is his prowess. That’s where the creative adroitness of the instructor comes handy.

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I’m going to talk more about crafts here, rather than arts.

I have been teaching crafts for the last 12 or so, years, in schools, art institutes, with corporate organizations, and one aspect that stands out in “crafts” is that, alot of planning and organisational skills are required for a workshop or class.

Some of the aspects, you should figure out before committing to a workshop are :-

  • The length of the activity
  • The age of the group
  • The ability of the group
  • Will any assistance be provided for a group larger than 7 or 10 participants ?
  • The venue and availability of wash basin, electric socket.
  • Hanging equipment if project needs to be hung for drying.
  • Leg work on the theme :- research the theme, source photographs, make a fancy power point presentation and have a small write-up to introduce the background story to the students
  • Plan all the supplies needed.
  • Inorder to calculate all the supplies and quantities needed, I suggest to ‘actually’ work this activity out and figure out how much time and the quantity of supplies needed. Then add that by the number of participants.  And remember to carry spares.
  • Visiting the venue atleast once before the workshop is a good idea. And it also helps to develop a smooth rapport with the coordinators.
This December, I was invited to give a workshop at DUCTAC located at Mall Of Emirates.

Crafts are so much fun but it can be challenging when we coordinate the activity with the curriculum or in this case, the theme.

The theme was Threads:  A link between two totally different cultures or countries, of a peculiar habit, tradition, game, food, ritual, structure etc. Obviously, I had to come up with a craft based on it as well.

I found this theme very exciting and after a day of relentless research, i was fascinated with what I discovered. While at it, I also realized, what separates us, are our differences, while in our similarities, we find solace and unity.

Here are just a few of the similarities I found, in my research. (ofcourse, there must be a few hundred more !!)

  • China – India                                                            ⇔ Kites

    Both the countries are known for the zest with which they enjoy the sport of playing with Kites. However, kites in China, are much more elaborate and designed in various shapes, much unlike India.

  •  U.S.A – Russia – China – Burma                       ⇔ Bells

    Amongst many other countries, these four countries are known to have Bells playing a remarkable and important historical role.

  • Egypt – Mexico – Cambodia – China                ⇔ Pyramid structure

    Although the Egyptian Pyramids are the most popular structures known worldwide, Mexico, Cambodia and China are also known to have their own ancient mystical prism structures.

  • Africa – India – China – Japan                           ⇔ Masks

    Different cultures symbolize the mask with various deities, animal, spirit or human. Made from ceramic, wood etc, communities use masks for weddings, funerals, coming of age. They ask for spirit blessings, protections etc. They use it to tell stories and impart wisdom. Used in puppetry as well as ceremonial celebrations.

  • Australia –  USA Arizona                                    ⇔ Boomerang

    Although the earliest boomerang was designed in Australia, it is widely used and played with in Arizona – USA.

  • Mexico – China                                                     ⇔ Bowls

    (Taco Bowl / Bowl to eat rice and noodles) Rice is one of the staple grains in both Mexico and China – Infact they handicraft their own bowls to eat it in !

  • Bali – Mauritius                                                    ⇔ Woven baskets  

    Both Bali and Mauritius weave their own baskets but in different designs and colors and techniques.

I decided that my subject would be Masks.  It intrigued me just as much it did, to the children.  I provided the children with cardboard after the power point presentation on how, why, when and where masks are worn,  all over the globe and then asked them to design their own masks, providing them inspiration and a whole lot of recyclable material. It was amazing what the children came up with – far beyond expectation. mask-making-craft-3

Here are a few samples from one of the groups.

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One of the reasons, I love this project is becoz it helps children play and utilize scraps of foam, cardboard, buttons, macaroni, foam cups, beads, thereby realizing and understand the main concept of reusing items found around the house.

Clearly the kids enjoyed it and got to take a little of History and Geography back home too !!

I believe imparting  knowledge and information is very gratifying.

I hope I have been able to inspire you into trying something new, something unique and something fun today. If so.. please do write to me.

Thank you for visiting me today. Trust you will stay a while and leave some love in your comments.

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20 Ways to recycle fancy carry bags/shopping bags.

Hello friends. I’m so glad your visiting me today. How have you been ?

If you’re visiting me, having read the title of this post, then naturally, your a craft or a recycling enthusiast. Either ways, I am so happy to share some of my ideas with you.

Two things that are found in abundance after any seasonal holiday, are, carry bags and wrapping papers. As a nature lover, I find myself investing a lot of my time, energy and creativity around, recycling, reusing and upcycling things. There can be nothing but gains out of this initiative.

Today, I am sharing a very simple idea with you.  My children take my craft studio for granted !! They assume that any and every art related supply can be provided on a 24 hourly basis ~ free of charge ~ in my studio !! Hence, finding them snooping around in the studio at odd hours, looking for a special design paper, or a fine nib sharpie, does not surprise me anymore. What’s more, I almost expect them to arrive at the 11th hour, in need of some ‘urgent’ help for a school project !!

Such was the case of my youngest, who, comes in late one evening looking for a large craft sheet for a Ronald Dahl project. I did not have one at my disposal but I noticed I had 2 large carry bags from a baby store,  which could fit the bill. A little trimming here and there, a few snips and we had our very colorful chart ready.

Its not something extravagant. Its something very simple which cost, virtually NOTHING !!  His classmates never realized that it was just a carry bag turned into a chart paper. (until he pointed it out to them)  I am glad, that the few students in his class, now realize, that they too, don’t need to dump large, fancy carry-bags.

They too can use it in numerous ways.  If nothing else, Paper bags can be recycled with other paper items, making them as easy to recycle as tossing them in the bin or taking them to a collection center.

20 ways with carry bags

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Ronald Dahl school project

I have turned this carry bag into a chart paper for a project. However, because, these carry bags use a sturdy quality of paper so as to carry things, their general quality can serve various other uses too. For instance :-

You can :-

  • Cut bits of these in various shapes and stick it to your pencils, as pencil poppers
  • Use them to cover journals or autograph books or even book binding
  • Cut and stick large heart and star shapes onto a straw and gift it to your class friends etc
  • Cut small pieces and make a collage out of it.
  • Make a flip book from them.
  • Cut thin strips and use in quilling projects
  • Cut long and large sheets and make bookmarks from them
  • With the help of a paper punch, cut designs and use as a sticker.
  • There are several youtube videos to show you how to make small boxes with sturdy and glossy paper.
  • You could also make a simple envelope with them.
  • Making hats, calls for sturdy chart paper, replace it with our very-own-carry bag !! 
  • You can also use them in crafts like puppet-making
  • Or make large colorful flowers for a wreath !
  • Why not make a pin-wheel with this excellent material !

Another important aspect to remember is, that the cord handle of these bags are so useful too !!!

  • Attach a bell or a feather and turn it into a cat toy
  • Glue some of them into a round coil shape and you have a lovely embellishment for your cards etc
  • You could also hot glue some of them in a coil shape and attach it to a hair pin
  • Use them in string art
  • Glue them on a toilet roll and get your little ones to use it as a painting accessory for textures.

These are just a few ways of recycling fancy carry bags, but I’m certain, there are dozens more ways of recycling which I haven’t thought off !  Please share with me your efforts in recycling too.

I’m sharing this post with all its ideas at the following parties here

and @ Funky Junk Interiors

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Upcycled chalk board tray.

Hey friends ! How’ve you been ?

If you’ve been following me, then you know, that the past couple of weeks have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for me. I have been participating in several weekend fairs and exhibitions. Not only has it been exhaustive but for a change, we have been such an “outdoorish” family !!

I have been loving the fairs, interacting with people, getting little hands to try out crafts and just having a blast letting these events dry the creative juices out of me !! Its been fun.

I am one of those people who works best under pressure. I have a tendency to try out a dozen projects for a couple of days, and then there are those ‘slumpy’ days when I am glued to pinterest/fb and almost never enter the studio for weeks.

This particular chalk board tray was from ELC, I think. The boys used it for a couple of years until we moved into Warqa House and then, it gave in 😦  I loved the thin wooden tray used to keep chalks and dusters on both sides.  It was a shame to let it go, given it was made of wood and I really like those cheerful snakes/worms. So I unscrewed the trays and it remained as a stationery organizer sitting parallel to eachother on Sawaab’s desk.

Long story short. While the past few weeks have been full of finding dumped tree trunks and branches and utilizing them in various ways.  I decided, I could give that tray a facelift. The best way to organize on a busy study desk is to go vertical  ! I cut out two chunks of wood trunks and used the drill machine to drill some holes in them from above and bottom.

From not having a place to keep the pair, we not have 2 boys quarreling over who gets to keep it to display their stationery !!

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I decided against painting the trunks ~ Love the rustic look against the comical child-like colors of the trays.

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I love how the little branch protrudes from the main trunk. I deliberately trimmed it and kept it that way. I feel it adds character to piece. Do you ?

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This was one of my fastest projects to date !! It was over in just a matter of minutes. So if you too have any two pieces of shelves that could be given a similar look, please share it with me.

I am sharing this project with my friends at the following parties including Creativity unleashed & Funky Junk Interiors

Thank you for visiting me today & I hope you enjoyed my little creative idea.

If you like what you see at my blog, you could subscribe to my blog using any of the following media or simply ‘like’ me or ‘join’ me on the various platforms below 🙂

                 

 

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Ikea Pigeon Hole Organizer Makeover Tutorial

Ikea pigeon hole organizer makeover

I love the Ikea pigeon hole organizer.  Not necessary for functionality but I just love the look of tiny pockets ! This pigeon hole organizer  has been in the family for a couple of years.

Buddy would keep his hot wheels cars in them.  Eventually He outgrew the toys and I was only too happy to be the next recipient. Ofcourse, by now, you already know, that few things get dumped in our home, until and unless the cats chew on them or pee on them !!!

A little tender, love and makeover is all it kept screaming out to me for ~ until finally I decided to decoupage it.

Decoupage sounds like a very fancy French word but in reality, it just means to stick objects with paper cut outs. So don’t let the French term, intimidate you 🙂

The surface needs to be cleaned and sanded well. A layer of modge podge or any such medium can be applied. Then you can cut out pieces of tissue or paper and stick it on carefully. Make sure to get any air bubbles out.  When your certain, that its dried, apply another coat of modge podge to seal it. This is the tutorial in a nut shell.

Here’s the pictorial 🙂

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Hideous, isn’t it ??? Whats the connection between little boys and the skull face with two cross bones, still remains a mystery to me !!

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Ugly paint sticking out from our previous wall paint on its edges.

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First, I gathered design paper, in various patterns and colors and decided how the collage should be placed. This project is excellent at getting rid of good by small scraps of paper !

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Took measurements and decided which cutouts would contrast with which patterns. Then came my drawer of amazing edge punches ! Oh how I love Martha stewart 🙂 ok ok Fiskars, I love you too 🙂

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One after the other, I distressed the edges and kept covering them all with modge podge. (I am quite the distress-addict 🙂

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For the top, side and bottom, I painted some off-white synthetic paint. Two coats got me the results I wanted.

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Finally, I coated one layer of modge podge on the pigeon holes.              AND ………………………………………….. VOILA !!!!!!!!

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Talking of decoupage, If your looking for decoupage supplies in Dubai. I am happy to recommend the decoupage specialist, Creativa Middle East. Located at Times Square, they have a huge array of art and decoupage supplies. Definitely the go-to place for Decoupage.

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I love the transformation and hope you liked it too.

If you like what you see at my blog, you could subscribe to my blog using any of the following media or simply ‘like’ me or ‘join’ me on the various platforms below 🙂

                 

I am linking this project to the following parties HERE.

Savvy Southern Style  , Between Naps on the porch.

Have you attempted any transformations lately ? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Thank you for dropping by.

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Face Qibla.

Hello friends.

It feels wonderful being back after my Ramadhan break.  I am grateful to be alive, in good health and happy to be able to fill you up with my creative endeavors.

Today I am sharing a simple plaque.  The message is the focus, and the message is deep ~ hence I did not want to add any fancy embellishments to distract the essence of this quote.

The definition of Qiblah is the direction of the Kaaba (the sacred building at Mecca), to which Muslims turn to, at prayer.

Muslims all over the world, pray towards the Kaaba, five times a day.  However the meaning of this quote is far deeper than that.

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QIBLAH PLAQUE

I am linking this plaque at the following fantastic parties.

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Thank you for visiting me today.

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Upcycled Pizza Box into Mixed Media Canvas

Hello friends ! Becoz my sons’ summer holidays as well as the holy month of Ramadhan begins by the end of this month, my posts might be far and few in between from now on.

Today I am sharing with you a mixed media project. I love mixed media (mm) becoz it allows me to experiment without any inhibitions and rules ! I explore with colors, textures and patterns and somehow, it just ties in together.

I, rarely work on a canvas for any of my mm projects ~ being an eco-friendly person, there is always, some effort placed on upcycling or repurposing objects (which can be). Here I have upcycled a pizza box for the mm canvas. I use the back of a pizza box and I love the texture it gives. Two coats of gesso to begin with, and the texture is just so good.

Techniques used are :-

  • Sponging acrylics
  • Decoupage
  • Paper piecing
  • Recycled Pizza box

The quote is dear to my heart. Coz any place in the world is acceptable and bearable, just so long as I am with my husband.  ‘He’ is the best gift Allah swt blessed me with.

I hope you like this attempt.

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Upcycle pizza box to canvas for mixed media

I am linking my mixed media pizza box at the following fantastic parties.

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Thank you for visiting me today.

Naush

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Wooden Crate Makeover ~ Tutorial.

This wooden crate is from ELC had been a resident in Eman’s room (the youngest son)  till last year,  where a couple of Action Men has established their headquarters in it.  As Eman grew older so did his collection. I made him a more suitable place as the headquarters of his Action Men. (that’s another later post)

You already know that very few storage items find their way to my trash can, hence that also meant that the little box was again at the mercy of yours truly.  I decided to work on its appearance before qualifying it to enter the “girl” domain (my craft studio)

Naturally (darlings as they are)  my boys always come to my rescue  (or should I just say, I have my ways of persuading them !!) We got all those hideous stickers out, alittle sanding, 2 coats of matt pink paint, some stencils on the longer edges and some chalk paint on the shorter edge and we have a pleasant looking crate !

 

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I think, all the pictures are in the way of a self-explanatory pictorial. I hope you like the new look of the charming little crate. It has been housing several tiny buckets of paint brushes, copic markers, and stationery.

I am sharing this crate transformation with the following link parties here.

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Thank you for visiting me today.

Until we meet again in the virtual world,

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Upcycle Cans to 8 Tealight designs.

Upcycling cans is such creative fun. However alittle caution while cutting the cans is necessary.

I have made 8 different designs out of the cans. Ofcourse, there are many more designs which can be created but for now, I am pleased with these designs.

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Very straight forward ~ just cut the cans and snipe the ends to leave a pointed end. I masked the end with a little tape and spray painted the rest. After it dried (which is relatively soon). I peeled the tape and here’s what it looks like.
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I’ve cut thinner stripes here. Once cut and spread on a flat surface. I folded the stripes inwards in half. Its quite simple but has a lovely effect. Then I spray painted it.
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This one is probably the easiest. I cut the stripes wider and then spread it on a flat surface. Then I masked tape at two random measurements and spray painted it. when dried, I had the tapes removed to leave me with this lovely effect.
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This probably looks abit complicated but its really quite easy. Like the rest, I cut thinner stripes and instead of folding it inward, I had them fold inward horizontally and hide behind the alternate stripe. kept continuing till all of them were folded and then spray painted it.
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This one is slightly tricky. Cut 1/3 of the can ~ all except two stripes on the sides. Attach those stripes on the top with a stapler and spray paint the can.
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Here I have just curled the stripes slightly down wards to give it a spider effect.
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Using the end of a paint brush, roll the stripes inward and voila ! Spray paint.
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Around 1 cm from the bottom of the can, make straight cuts toward the top. continue to do so. Once you have cut enough stripes, just squeeze the can gently to form the lantern shape. Give a gentle pull to help get the stripes out. Spray paint.
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The tab of the drink can be used to hang it from a branch or a stand.

8 upcycled cans tealight holder designs          

I’m sharing these tealight holders with my  favorite parties here.

Do you like to recycle ? Have you made any lanterns or tealight holders lately ?

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I’m so glad your visiting me today.  Please remember to subscribe to my blog !

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Easy Spring Wreath from recycled material ~ Tutorial.

Making a wreath does not and cannot get easier than this !!!

This simple wreath is made from cardboard from cartons, magazine paper, some ribbon and a few handmade flowers from paper, a can of spray paint and some hot glue !! This is again one project that is all about RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE !!

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Cut a cardboard using a bucket rim as stencil and the inside using a large plate. Using a blade make the cut. Apply a thick layer of wood glue and adhere thick stripes of magazine paper rolled up to form a loop. Place the outer circle first followed by the inner circle.
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Once they are all adhered to the wreath, spray paint some color of your desire on it. I have not covered the entire space coz I wanted parts of the print peeping thru the green. Let it dry.
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I made a bunting with some leftover pieces of design paper and ribbon. Adhereing it to the bunting randomly with some hot glue.
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I rolled up some scrap paper and made some flowers and attached them using some hot glue.

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I’m linking this wreath at my favorite hangouts  here.

Thank you for visiting me today. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes today :-

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