Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Simple Eid Table Frame Decor

I was enjoying a much needed break recently and headed to Pinterest for some fun.  While there, I came across an adorable Christmas frame project and wanted to try it for Eid. 

This is what I came up with and I thought you might enjoy the tutorial so that you can make your own.

Simple Eid Table Frame Decor

I had all the supplies on hand, so I was able to just whip up the entire project in less then 10 minutes.  It might be fun to revisit this project with my daughters, but with different letters, for our 2014 - 30 Day Ramadan Crafty Challenge.

Gold frame
Arabesque paper
Wooden scrabble tiles

Eid Table Frame Decor Supplies

My frame was a 5x5 frame, so I cut my cardstock to fit inside and glued my letters to the outside.  Wal'lah, it's that easy.

Glue your Eid Saeed scrabble tiles on

Tip: I just used regular Elmer's glue because I want to reuse my frame/glass for later.  If you want your letters to stick on there very well, you'll want to use a hot glue gun or E6000.

Eid Saeed!

If you want to change the color, just spray paint or decoupage your frame.  The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Alif Mabrouk to Oscar nominated Omar's Square Wall!

Okay, so I'm making a little play on words of the three movies representing the Arab world at the Oscars, but I'm actually quite besides myself with the news.

Can you imagine my joy at seeing not one, not two, but three films on the short list of Oscar nominations today that actually show people that look like me on the screen?

For many that know me, I love movies.  If you'd like to see what Arab movies I recommend, please visit my Arab movies I ♥ board on Pinterest. 

I see, on average, about ten movies a week.  This week I've watched Soap Dish, Harold, Saving Mr. Banks, Cake, August: Osage County and My Girlfriend's Boyfriend and Tara Road already.  And it's only Thursday. 

I love to go to the theater, and I always have a movie going while I'm making art in my studio.  It inspires me to think about all that people that had to work together to get that one scene on the screen.

I look forward to watching these movies and adding them to my board.  I also can't wait to see them win on Oscar night, so alif mabrouk (1,000 congratulations) to the nominees!

Here is a little more detail about the movies:

Karama Has No Walls
Director: Sara Ishaq

'Karama has no walls' is set amidst Yemen's 2011 uprising. The film illustrates the nature of the Yemeni revolution in stark contrast to the gross violations of human rights that took place on Friday, March 18th 2011. Juma'at El-Karama (Friday of Dignity) marks a turning point in the Yemeni revolution as the tragic events that took place on this day -when pro-government snipers shot dead 53 protestors - shook the nation and propelled hundreds of thousands more to flock to the square in solidarity with their fellow citizens. Through the lenses of two cameramen and the accounts of two fathers, the film retells the story of the people behind the statistics and news reports, encapsulating the tragic events of the day as they unfolded.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Omar is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja. By night, he's either a freedom fighter or a terrorist -- you decide -- ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek and Amjad. Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game-is he playing his Israeli handler, or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side?

The Square
Director: Jehane Noujaim

The Square is an intimate observational documentary that tells the real story of the ongoing struggle of the Egyptian Revolution through the eyes of six very different protesters. Starting in the tents of Tahrir in the days leading up to the fall of Mubarak, we follow our characters on a life-changing journey through the euphoria of victory into the uncertainties and dangers of the current 'transitional period' under military rule, where everything they fought for is now under threat or in balance.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

11 Arabic Folktales

My Favorite Arabic Folktales - A Crafty Arab
 Arab children's books are like a four leaf clover to me.  Every time I come across one, I realize the rarity of the occurrence and I snatch it up.

One of my favorite things to visit in any city is its used book store. I feel that it can always tell so many stories about it's character by the people that are left on the shelves.

These are some of my favorite Arab folktales books, all of them purchased from used book stores around the Unites States.  Each one has a city name written inside (in pencil of course) that reminds me a little about it's original home.

(I recently became an Amazon affiliate member and you are welcome to visit my store here.)


Ben-Ezer, Ehud. Hosni the Dreamer. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997
-Based on an old Arabian folktale, this enjoyable story features Hosni, a poor shepherd, who works for a sheikh. His evenings are spent listening to the tribal elders' tales of travel and adventure in faraway cities. Hosni dreams of seeing these cities some day and shares his dreams with his sheep, causing the other shepherds to tease him mercilessly.

Gold, Sharlya and Caspi, Mishael Maswari. The Answered Prayer: And Other Yemenite Folktales. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1990.
-Yemenite Jews were the victims of harsh laws and persecution, yet out of their troubled lives came tales of joy as well as of sorrow. When the Jews left Yemen for Israel, the stories came with them, reflecting their culture, their heritage, and their struggle to survive. Mishael Caspi collected these stories and translated them for Sharlya Gold, who adapted them for children. The wonderful illustrations by Marjory Wunsch highlight the authenticity and spirit of Yemenite Jewish life. This collection of 12 folktales, originally published by JPS in 1990, is sure to entertain new readers and introduce them to the rich lore of this ancient culture.

Green, Nancy.  Abu Kassim's Slippers: An Arabian Tale. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1963.
-This is a story of the miser Abu Kassim and his attempts at scheming to get rid of his slippers.

Johnson-Davies, Denys.  Goha the Wise Fool.  New York: Philomel Books, 2005.
-Meet Goha, that funny little man with the faithful donkey, whose tales, beloved for their wit and wisdom, have been passed down through the streets of the smallest villages of the Middle East for centuries. Meet Goha, who in making us laugh at him, shows us—young and old everywhere— that we can laugh at ourselves.

Kimmel, Eric A.  Rimonah of the Flashing Sword: A North African Tale. New York: Holiday House, 1995.
-A North African version of Snow White, with 40 thieves in the role of the seven dwarfs. Eric Kimmel has complete reworked the story by turning Rimonah into a "fearless young woman who rode with the reckless daring of a bedouin horseman." Beautiful, layered watercolor illustrations greatly enhance the story.
-A retelling of the adventures of Aladdin who, with the aid of a genie from a magic lamp, fights an evil sorcerer and wins the hand of a beautiful princess.

Kimmel, Eric A. The Three Princes. New York: Holiday House, 1994.
-A princess promises to marry the prince who finds the most precious treasure.

Laird, Elizabeth. A Fistful of Pearls and Other Tales from Iraq. London: Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2008.
-Secret serpents, devilish demons, mysterious magicians — the folk tales of Iraq are filled with otherworldly creatures, enchantment, and earthy humor. During her time spent in the Middle East, award-winning novelist Elizabeth Laird gathered together the very best Iraqi stories, ranging from thieving porcupines who get their come-uppance to the hilarious tale of the chaos caused by a handsome stranger who knocks at a house harboring a marriageable daughter. Meticulously researched, these stories reveal the true, traditional heart of Iraq, far removed from today's news headlines.

Lang, Andrew. Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. London: Viking Juvenile, 1981.
-Recounts the tale of a poor tailor's son who becomes a wealthy prince with the help of a magic lamp he finds in an enchanted cave.

Mayer, Marianna. Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp.  New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1985.
-Retells the adventures of Aladdin who, with the help of a genie from a magic lamp, outwits an evil sorcerer and wins the hand of a beautiful princess.

Todino-Gonguet, Grace.  Halimah and the Snake.  London: Stacey International Publishing, 2008.
-In Halimah and the Snake, Grace Todino-Gonguet has collected and re-written a handful of stories from Oman's folktale heritage. As with folktales and legends worldwide, the creatures and characters are at times terrifying and fantastic, the stories always enthralling, and invariably seek to impart some moral guidance to their young readers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

6 Arabic Dictionaries for Children

Teaching Arabic to Children (Dictionary List) by A Crafty Arab
I am always getting asked which are my favorite books for introducing Arabic to young children.  Below are the six Arabic-English illustrated dictionaries that I have in my home that I always used with my own three girls.

And yes, I would recommend buying as many as you can since it was always nice we were able to leave them in so many rooms in the house.  What is the point of having to track down a book, just so you can track down a word?  The one in the kitchen got the most use, I must admit!

And of course it doesn't hurt that each child has an Arabic Alphabet Animal poster in their room so they start and end the day looking at the Arabic alphabet. (Shameless plug :-)

(I recently became an Amazon affiliate member and you are welcome to visit my store here.)


Amery, Heather. First 1000 Words in Arabic. Tulsa, OK: Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2001.
-This is an introduction to 1000 common words in classical Arabic. Arranged thematically, many of the pages show an everyday scene, surrounded by pictures of objects from the scene with their Arabic names. An Arabic/English dictionary of all the words is included.

Dumont, Deborah. Hippocrene Children's Illustrated Arabic Dictionary: English-Arabic/Arabic-English.  New York: Hippocrene Books, 2001.
-Designed to be a child's very first foreign language dictionary (5-10 years). 500 entries, each accompanied by a large illustration.

Lebanon Library Authors. MyFirst Word Book English-Arabic. Lebanon Library Publishers, 1991. -This bountiful hard cover book of words in a typical preschooler's world contains close to 1000 words for common items in both Arabic & English. Crisp photographs and a few supplemental drawings of familiar household objects, foods, toys and clothing are neatly arranged on the spreads. Ages 4-8.

Siddiqa, Juma. My Arabic Words Book. New York: Iman Publishing, 2007.
-My Arabic Words Book presents each letter of the 28-character alphabet along with a vocabulary word, in both Arabic and English, on each page, making it the perfect introduction to the language. Delightful illustrations bring the vocabulary words to life, and there is a pronunciation guide to help with special characters.

Turhan, Sedat & Hagin Sally. Milet Picture Dictionary: English-Arabic. Chicago, IL: Milet Publishing, 2003.
-This thoroughly original dictionary features vibrant pictures that stimulate creativity as children learn to identify objects and words.

Whitesides, Barbara. Sugar comes from Arabic. Northampton, MA: Interlink Pub Group, 2009.
-No other Arabic alphabet book demystifies the letters in such a comfortable way, by introducing them in English alphabetical order of the Roman alphabet and using the spelling of English names and words as a way to learn the Arabic. Look up matching letters, follow the directions, and soon you'll be writing your own name in Arabic!
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