Dubai, Fairs & exhibitions in Dubai, My Favorite Stores in Dubai, Treat bags

Dollar Store – in Dubai ?

Dollar stores have been sprawling all over the US and Canada for several decades.  England has its own version as the Pound store and I am sure, the rest of the world too has them.

Here in Dubai, we’ve been spoiled for choices at the numerous 10 dhs – 20 dhs stores and Day to Day stores.

We even have a Japanese counterpart ‘Daiso’ providing most items at dhs 7.

Dollar store in Dubai (1)

Let me tell you 26 years back, when I landed in Dubai for the first time, these exact stores offered 1,2 and 5 dhs items. Infact you still might find a few of them in certain pockets of Sharjah and Ajman.

A “certain class” of people tend to have a biased view about their products, looking down upon them as cheap Chinese goods. However, I believe that is a blanket statement that just does NOT apply.  Some of the items you find here, are really good quality and some are far from it. But I would not generalize it.

For the longest time, I used to pick bulk goods from these stores for filling “return gift bags” for my children’s birthday parties.  (from Kindergarten to grade 5 !!)

Infact I remember, I used to add note pads, pencil cases, little stuffies or toy cars and some cupcakes or juice packets for valentines days for all my boys’ classmates till they completed Primary schooling, alternating the items with puzzles, popup books, coloring books, stickers, rubic cube, etc as they grew older.

When you have to pack, 70 – 80 bags, one has to be wiser with the penny and the pound ! For years, my sons’ friends looked forward to these bags.  Once secondary school began, everybody had such tech-related needs !!

Finally a few years back, Dollar Plus opened its doors at Madina Mall.

Located in Al Qusais – closer to Al Muhaisnah

This is just a quick glimpse of what you’ll find at the store.

My next post will be more elaborate with a theme !

Click on the above photos to view them in detail.

These colors are so delightfully appealing !

I love their collection of earthen mugs, colorful pails, fancy candles, baskets and those lovely vintage pictured vanity/mirror cases ! Oh so chic !!

My next blog post will also be related to the Dollar store but it will be focused around the creative aspect of what appeals to a Crafter in a Dollar store.

I am very excited to share plenty of tips and ideas of how and what to make use of, at the store. Please be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my blog, lest you don’t miss that post.

PS. I am NOT being reimbursed by ANY Dollar store for this post.

When I share my experience or any information with you over here – it is done purely to help, moms, teachers, crafters, students and people who don’t have the time or energy to research for these avenues.  I have NOTHING to gain from it except perhaps some appreciation from people who leave kind words of gratitude in the comments.

Thank you for visiting me today. Have a lovely day and be sure to subscribe to my blog (top right column)and my instagram here.

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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.

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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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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 :-

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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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Craft Room, Dubai, House Moving / New Home, Makeovers

Tour of my Ikea Craft Room !

 

For the last 4 years, we stayed in the newly developed Al Warqa area of Dubai.

We went from a community living in Arabian Ranches to a stand alone 12,000 sqft villa.

Visit here for my craft room in Arabian Ranches.

What was spectacular about the villa, is that it was designed by an Emarati for an Emarati lifestyle. Whats different about Arabic styled houses ?

Well, Arabic style houses generally have two main entrances to the main building, one for the family, and another one for the male guests. The men guest entrance is greeted by a very large hall which is called the Majlis. This comfortable large space is generally where the men of the family entertain their male friends, hence it is lavishly large.

Another significant thing about the villas’ is that every bedroom is ensuite. Which meant, my 5 bedroom home had 7 bathrooms !!! (1 extra for the lounge room and another for the dining room)

Cleaning such a large house is not for the faint of heart ! But Thank heavens for the abundance of easily available part-time help in Dubai.

Another aspect, which we were lucky, we did not have, is the presence of an entire block of an adjoining building which houses the maids and drivers of the house.

Most of the times, the kitchen is also a part of that building block. But we were lucky, our kitchen was in the main building.

That was too much space for a family of five, however, it would benefit, the constant arrival of relatives and feline friends ( fostering that me and my family volunteer for.)

Thanks to alot of persuasion and prodding – We decided to convert the majlis into my craft Studio.

Was it a dream ??

Absolutely YES !!

For someone who started crafting 12 years back from a modest desk  placed at the  corner of her bedroom … here I was, in a HUGE studio with craft supplies and goodies, I could have only dreamt of years back !!

The studio took nearly three months to be shelved, stacked, stored and organized.

As you will notice from the pictures below, 100% furniture and 95% storage items (like boxes, pots ) are from #Ikea !!

I think, for artists, Ikea is a PERFECT !! They cater to each and every need of ours brillaintly and I have NOT been compensated to state so 🙂

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Don’t they look organized ? Even the white pots holding markers are from Ikea.
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The large striped boxes as well as the white bookshelf is Ikea.
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These wired racks make it easy to locate ribbons etc
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Different sizes of #Trofast boxes
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The white cookie or cupcake , wire stand is also Ikea.
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This PVC rack was designed and constructed by yours truly !
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Ribbons, twine, yarn, embellishments all stored in the ikea wire racks
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Linnamon study desk ! Notice my delicious pinking shears ! Over the years, I have picked quite a few diecut machines, as you will notice, there’s the Silhouette, Revolution, Cuttlebug, and Big shot !! What ?? Hoarder, you say ???? No way – just moving with time !
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4 Glasholm glass tables !! Every shelf counts as storage !!
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The two drawer racks on the left of my chair, houses all my rubber stamps and diecuts. My throne is the Marcus swivel chair from Ikea
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I picked these white storage boxes from Ikea as well as the Trofast shelf and storage boxes.
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Unfortunately these wire racks have been discontinued by Ikea !! The newer version are not as sturdy as these.

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Trofast storage combination
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This stores my jewelry making supplies

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Most of those colored plastic drawers have paints and glue
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10 Snille swivel chairs.
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My precious books and notes – one of my fav Ikea cubby cupboard
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Felt, fabric and more stored in the Ikea cupboard
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Another Ikea cupboard

Was the craft room a  good idea ?

Absolutely !!

How long did it take ?

Very long to organize it all ?

what happened next ?

We moved out of this house this January (2016)  !!!!!!!!

How do I feel about it ?

Miserable !! I miss the sprawling length and breadth of that room so much, so dearly 😦

It was perfect in every way and the  best possible gift, my husband could give me !!

Our new home is in the area called The Villa – Dubailand. Its a modern villa and the added benefit of the majlis is deducted in the form of a pool. We have converted the 5th bedroom into the craft studio – but it is still a project under progress.  Will share with you the development in another post.

I hope you enjoyed my craft studio tour and found inspiration in some of the ways in which I manged to store some supplies.

I’m sharing this post at the following parties here.

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Monday
Inspiration Monday – I Should Be Mopping the Floor
Inspire Me Monday – Create with Joy
Clever Chicks Blog Hop – The Chicken Chick
Monday Funday – That’s What {Che} Said
Craftastic Monday – Sew Can Do
Mix It Up Monday – Flour Me With Love
Munching Mondays – Nibbles by Nic
The Creative Corner – Curly Crafty Mom
Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop – A Blossoming Life
Block Party – Rae Gun Ramblings
Create and Crave – Pink Heels Pink Truck
Melt in Your Mouth Monday – Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Best of the Blogosphere – It’s Me DebMCb
A Round Tuit – Creating My Way to Success
Something To Talk About – 2 Bees in a Pod
Inspire Me Monday – My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
The Scoop – Worthing Court
Create Link Inspire – Naptime Creations
Dream Create Inspire – Whimsy & Hope
Much Ado About Monday – Huckleberry Love
Monday Madness – How to Get Organized At Home  

Tuesday
Turn It Up Tuesday – A Peak Into My Paradise
Treasure Box Tuesday – Memories By the Mile
Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party – Lou Lou Girls
Project Inspire{d} – Yesterday on Tuesday
Two Cup Tuesday – Pint Sized Baker
Simple Supper Tuesday – Hun What’s For Dinner
Show and Tell – Sugar Bee Crafts
Tutorials & Tips Link Party – Home Stories A to Z
Totally Terrific Tuesday – Live Randomly Simple
Two Uses Tuesday – Sarah Celebrates
Tuesday at Our Home – Our Home Away From Home
Tip Me Tuesday – Tip Junkie
From Dream to Reality – The DIY Dreamer
Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Just a Girl and Her Blog
Fluster’s Creative Muster – Fluster Buster
Create and Share DIY and Recipe Party – A Simple Pantry
Moonlight and Mason Jars – Cherished Bliss
A Little Bird Told Me – The Life of Jennifer Dawn
Tutorial Tuesday – Hope Studios
Inspire Me Tuesday – A Stroll Thru Life
Awesome Things Tuesday – My Craftily Ever After
Tasty Tuesday – Creative Kids
Share It Link Party – The Winthrop Chronicles  

Moonlight Mason Jars link Party – The newly wed Pilgrimage

Friday
Friendship Friday – Create with Joy
Friday Flash Blog – The Jenny Evolution
Craft Frenzy Friday – Craftdictator
Freedom Fridays – My Turn For Us
Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday – Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons
Foodie Friends Friday – Walking on Sunshine
Foodie Fridays and DIY – A Dish of Daily Life
Weekend Bites – Homemaid Simple
Friday Feature – Oh My Heartsie Girl
What To Do Weekends – Crafts a la Mode
Friday Favorites – Diary of a Real Housewife
Pretty Pintastic Party – Coffee With Us 3
Weekend Potluck – Sunflower Supper Club
Pinworthy Projects – Just Us Four
Inspiration Spotlight – Dear Creatives
Weekend Recipe Link Up – Gator Mommy Reviews
Pin Me – Diana Rambles
The Creative Collection – Lolly Jane
Link Party Palooza – Tater Tots and Jello
Weekend Wind Down – Snippets of Information
Linky Party DIY Inspired – The Girl Creative
Dare to Share – Pam’s Party and Practical Tips
Simple & Sweet Fridays – Rooted in Thyme  

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