Alter Art, Altered Box, Altered Wall hanging, Art & Craft Ideas, D I Y, Home Decor, Makeovers, Recyling, Recyling, Reuse, Reduce., Reduce., Reuse, Trash to Treasure

Canvas from Cardboard Container

Hello friends. How have the first 11 days of 2019 been ?

Are the resolutions going strong ?

I hope one of the resolutions is to lead a more sustainable existence – Recycle, reuse, repurpose.

upcycle project

We have been rescuing and fostering cats for alittle over 14 years. Presently we have 11 cats. One of the things you’ll find in abundance at my home are ‘cans’.  Your right, cat food cans.

Most of my cats love tuna.  We generally buy bulk cat food when there are some promotions running.  These cans come in packs of three’s within a cardboard packaging.

I have used 3 such Tuna cans cardboard packaging as my canvas.

I gave the cardboard 2 coats of gesso. With sharpie, I outlined the house and colored it with acrylic paints.

I topped it off with a final coat of modge podge.

I love quirky prim houses and tried to give them a cartoonish look.

One of the mistakes, I made was I did not leave too much time for drying between the two gesso coats.  When I began the final acrylic paint, I got a smudge at one of the houses.

The other mistake was that I did not continue the house colors on the side of the cardboard.

Still, I like how it turned out.

transform the tuna can container 1

repurpose tuna can containers 3upcycle tuna can container 2

cardboard to canvascanvas from packaging cardboard

So how did you like this innovative canvas ?

Have you ever attempted using anything other than a canvas to paint on ?

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I’m glad you stopped by. You can subscribe to my blog to read all my posts and projects.

Hope you  have a bright and happy day.

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Dubai, Something inbetween

Summing up 2017 – fateful or grateful.

Hello friends,

How have you all been ?  I hope and trust, life has been kind to you all.  Thank you for still following me, inspite of my unpredictable and erratic presence/absence in the blog-world.

2017 was a mixed bag year for us – literally !! It felt as though some one dumped us all in a bag and mixed us rather hard !!

It was a year where we lost a dear friend to a rare disease. Another dear friend buried his only 18 year old daughter due to abdominal adhesion.  Some family issues which I prefer not to discuss here. It was a year, we decided to take a hard look at our own circumstances, priorities and make some firm decisions about our near future. We moved homes, lost jobs and somewhere inbetween all this, discovered our own threshold of strength and patience.

I have always been a very firm believer of being GRATEFUL.  Grateful to Allah swt for every single blessing bestowed upon us.

In the absolute order, I am grateful for my health, my healthy and compassionate children, my healthy and caring husband, my healthy and blessed parents and I am grateful for all the comfort, I am living in. I am even more obliged that Allah bestowed me with immense talent.

Every second year, I find myself evolving ; a restless spirit, on a creative journey.  From paper, to wood, to wire to jewelry … it keeps feeding my inner drive to create, to change, to complete, to develop.

How can you complain, when you have been blessed with the medusa touch ? And yet, we mere mortals, chase materialistic gains, lofty positions and a shimmering facade.

Kuwait was our home for over 23 years.. My parents loved to play demi God, making plans and trying hard to make them a reality. Problem is, all Indian parents were doing the same, those days..  Then came 2nd Aug’ 1990 and it changed everything.  Our world was crushed under the armored vehicles and military tanks that Saddam Hussein sent to Kuwait.

That chapter taught me a very essential lesson in my life.. ..

” Take each day as it comes …. don’t PLAN for too far ahead …  ”

This vital principle is now ingrained in my entire being.  We are expats, living in a foreign land, which would never give us a passport, regardless of how many years, we give the country. That thought has always been a bit unnerving but then again, I took each day as it came, with optimism and gratitude.  Perhaps, I became too complaisant …….and 2017 was a jolt for me.  A wake up call.

I am pleased we were able to make firm decisions and take positive actions on those decisions.

I am an optimistic soul – the silver lining is my goal AND my armor.

So the clouds may have been a bit dark and heavy, but we still have a long way to go, and I’m pretty confident, Allah swt will reward us handsomely for our patience, in sha Allah.

2017 – reaffirmed my belief in being grateful.

…………….. in turning ONLY to the Almighty for all your needs.

………………complain to him, weep and share your insecurities with him.

He WILL answer ….. but remember, believing in him, also means believing in His Timing.

May all of you have a pleasant year, full of achievements and good health. ameen.

Thank you for visiting me today.

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Art & Craft Ideas, Art Classes Students, Dubai, Fairs & exhibitions in Dubai, Recyling, Recyling, Reuse, Reduce., Reduce., Reuse, T U T O R I A L S, Trash to Treasure, Workshops and Classes

Organizing Craft workshop and designing masks.

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.

organizing-craft-workshop-and-designing-a-mask

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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Dubai, Fairs & exhibitions in Dubai, My Favorite Stores in Dubai, Window display

Where do you buy craft supplies from, in Dubai ? Part 2.

24 Years in this beautiful city called Dubai, and I’m still in love with the spirit of this city.  I believe, Spirit is not defined by tall, fancy structures, sophisticated transport system, exuberant hotels or a show of unimaginable wealth. But the spirit of a city engulfs, the culture of its native inhabitants, the simplicity of their existence in a rapidly growing and glowing environment. It is also characterized by how quickly, it can adapt to change while preserving its hospitable nature as hosts. The maintenance of regulations, the observance of discipline and respect, the conservation of its fauna and flora are just a few to name.  Infact, today, I feel, this vivacious city, bloomed right before my eyes.

From harsh unforgiving dunes rose a mighty tower that attracts more visitors from all over the world – by the hour !!! From a trading port, today, it is recognized equally for being a tourist haven. Dubai has changed perceptions.  Dubai has challenged and accepted challenges. Dubai has morphed from a transit city to a tranquil dwelling for thousands. It has smoothly flourished and enabled thousands to burgeon as well.

15 years back, I started toying around, with the idea of crafting with my toddlers, reawakening a latent passion for arts.  However, there were no classes, workshops or tutorials to cater to the craft enthusiasts. (ie non-art academic students) And neither were there, any specialized hobby stores.

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Ofcourse, where we’ve been fortunate with some excellent stationery stores like Dubai Library distribution, Farouq Stationery, Al Furqaan, which, carry basic school, office, art supplies in addition to kits for various activities eg. knitting, jewelry making, cardmaking and such  .. but there were limitations … infact plenty of limitations back then.

From an ‘era’ where internet was about the long and erratic wait to a dial up connection and where, skills were limited to enrolling in specialized classes, the average ‘crafting Joe’ struggled with realizing his potential quirky element !! Infact, names of some supplies were still unheard of then !  While rubberstamping was a rage, soon scrapbooking and Card-making followed suit.  Dozens of  hobbies became easily attainable and convenient for the avid but non-art-student with the advent of the ‘world wide web’ like quilling, decoupage, mixed media, paper-making, mosiac, print-making, flower making, sewing, knitting, origami, photography – just to name a few !

However, an optimistic craft enthusiast and an ardent shopper, has been a beastly concoction brewing within me ! My pursuit to explore and ‘gather’ (notice I used the word, ‘gather’ which gradually qualified into hoarding !!) rubber stamps, embellishments, die cuts, decoupage sheets, quilling needles etc,  had me rummaging through the bustling nooks and crannies of a ‘more tame’ and much more smaller Dubai and Sharjah !  Stores in Deira that would stock laces, beads and buttons – the local haberdashery, mainly for fabric and textile purposes – but it was an adventure and when I would finally land on an ‘ideal’ store – it was like hitting jackpot !!

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Paper lane, Creative Hands and Elves and fairies were one of our first sources for scrapbooking and card making supplies.craft-supplies8

While Wasco White star in Jumeirah, was a teacher’s paradise. They hosted top quality, costumes, party ware and school supplies, all made in USA.

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I bought my son’s first craft kit from …………………………………….. Toys r us !!!! (In all honesty, my little guy never got to use it – It was mine from the moment we got home  😉 )

If you ever google “hobby crafts” – it would lead you to stores which carry motorized toy cars, helicopters, boats and hummers ! ( you get, which ones I mean, right ?)

STEIN, GERMANY - JULY 05: A variation of colour pencils are displayed at the industrial selling shop at the Faber-Castell factory on July 5, 2011 in Stein near Nuremberg, Germany. Faber-Castell is among Germany's leading manufacturer of pencils, pens, art supplies, office supplies and high-end writing instruments, and was founded in Stein in 1761 by Kaspar Faber. Through a marriage in 1900 to the noble Castell family the company took its present name and is currently lead by Count Anton von Faber-Castell. The company still has two production plants in Germany but has its biggest manufacturing centers overseas, including in South America, Indonesia and China. The company will mark its 250th anniversary on July 8. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Fast forward 2016, we are spoilt for choices !! Some amazing stores that have been providing a vast variety of scrapbooking, paper crafting, decoupage, fabric, textiles, paints, canvases and other hobby supplies are :-

Three stores that carry a wide stock of art and craft supplies as well as ready made products are :-

craft-supplies3

I would not like to belittle the importance of the dhs 1 – dhs 10 stores, scattered all over the city, much like the Day to Day stores, these outlets can also act as catalysts for the innovative mind. (Their only shortcoming limited to their quality)

Ofcourse, Ace Hardware is every DIYer’s paradise ! But I also loved the DIY section at Clas Ohlen .

Naif Road and the back alleys of Gold souk still remain my favorite hotspots for buttons, beads, lace, fabric and embellishments. However, these are stores that are wholesalers, hence if you are looking for only a dozen buttons, its not worth struggling in this area – the store keeper is not going to entertain any quantity, lesser than a carton !!!

There has been a positive shift and crafters are utilizing the convenience of online shopping as well !!

My previous post on the same subject was nearly, 4 years back. Its pretty obvious how many more outlets have opened doors and virtual doors to creative individuals.

One of the most common comments, I receive on this blog are not comments – but questions !

Questions about where to buy supplies from, what material is durable, which glue is best for which surface, what are my go to stores for which items, which paint for what project, how to design a small garden etc. These are some of my most asked questions I receive.

I hope to be able to enlighten you with all the answers in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you take advantage of all the above information and enjoy, shopping and completing creative projects.

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

Instagram :-   artycraftynaush

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