Monday, December 29, 2014

Painters Tape Allah Canvas Art

Today is my mom's birthday. To my daughters she is Taita, which is Arabic for Grandmother. 

For the special occasion, we took a vote in our house and unanimously decided she was the Best Taita In The World, for many reasons of course, but we each had a favorite -
she makes the most amazing mubatan
she gives the best hugs
she can hunt down a bargain like a pro
she knows a way to a son in law's heart is through waraq' 3inab
she is a brainiac with a phD

Honestly, the list can stretch for miles and miles and miles.  We wanted to make her a little present for her birthday to let her know we love her. 

She is in transition and can't have too much stuff in her house.  She is also in need of a little color in her life right now, so we decided to make her a mini canvas painting using painter's tape, although some might call it packing tape, paint and math.

These projects are all the rage over in Pinterest right now.

Except instead of randomly placing our painters tape on our canvas, we decided to write Allah, which is the Arabic word for God.  It is used by Muslims, Christians, and Jews who speak the Arabic language.  It is written from right to left as الله‎ . 

Painters Tape Canves Art Tutorial
There are many way to write Allah, and we were inspired by the square Kufic script that can be seen here.

My eldest daughter is the one that made the Allah painting and I took photos of the process to share with you in case you'd like to make your own. 

4x4 inch Canvas
Acrylic Paint
Painter's tape
Cutting Mat

First we laid out our painter's tape on the cutting mat and used the xacto to cut three equal lines.  We found ourselves having to measure quite a few things in thirds.

We then measured a third of the way down and lightly made marks on both sides of the mini canvas. I love these mini canvases and buy them in bulk every time there is a 50% off coupon at my local craft store.  I've used them before on our Mini Canvas Minarets Tutorial.

We picked up one of smaller pieces of painters tape and placed it between the two marks. Make sure you press down hard so no paint leaks through later.

On the larger side of the canvas, make markings a third of the way on the other end.

Cut off another piece of painters tape from your mat and place it like the photo below.

Once all your pieces are laid our flat, start painting one end of your canvas with blue paint.

Stop about halfway, making sure your whole canvas is completely covered in blue.

We didn't wash our brush, simply squirted a little green paint on the newspaper and started painting it into the blue, blending it in gently.  Then we concentrated on painting the rest of the canvas solid green.

We let it dry overnight, and then took off the tape.

Yalla, what do you think? I hope she likes it.

Other than drying time, the project took us no time to make, but was still made with lots of love.  I bet you can make a whole batch of them and give them out as Eid favors at your next end of Ramadan party.

(Please be respectful where you place your Allah canvas.)

For more handmade artwork celebrating Allah's name, please visit
I Love Allah This Much Card
Allah Monogram Button Art Tutorial
Tissue Paper Allah Framed Art Tutorial

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu

Merry Christmas to all my fans, followers and friends. I hope this holiday season brings you the best of all gifts around any tree: a happy and safe family.

Here is how you say Merry Christmas in the three languages I sell in the A Crafty Arab Zibbet shop:
Arabic - Eid Majeed
Farsi - Kerimas Mobarak
Urdu - Krismas Mubarakho

I've been making Farsi greeting cards the last week and plan to list them throughout the weekend.  I thought you might be interested in the Christmas ones for next year's list before I make them public!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December Arabic Authors Book Club - The Corpse Washer

(There are affiliate links in this post)

Tonight we had a lovely Arab authors book club where we discussed the book The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon.

We were fortunate enough to be only one degree away from Mr. Antoon, and despite a time difference, he was generous enough to accommodate us with a video question and answer session.

The Corpse Washer showcases the struggles of a single desperate family in contemporary Iraq.

It took me much longer to digest then other books because of the circumstances our protagonist, Jawad, has in his life.  He wanted nothing more then to be an artist yet the events of US invasion of his homeland changed his world and he had to give up his dream to return to his family business, washing the dead.

It was so sad. 

Yet so beautifully written that it did it with style and I would still highly recommend it. The description of the pomegranate tree alone is well worth the heart strings tugs.

Lest you think our evening was all talk of dead bodies and strife, it was also a good lesson in understanding other cultures.

As usual, we started with an amazing potluck dinner with spinach stew with lemon basrah & Iraqi meat loaf (a traditional dish from the authors' home town - The city of Mousel), batata bel syneh "potatoes and minced meat," Iraqi summac salad, and a few other dishes that were quite yummy.

As we all sat down to the table, we brought out the laptop and plugged away at reaching Mr. Antoon. He quickly came on and spent the next hour answer all our questions. Here are a few that struck a cord with me and I wanted to share.

Book Club - What did you want people to walk away learning from this book?

Sinan Antoon - Before I had the idea for this book, I was trying to figure out how I could portray people in a difficult war to the outside world. I needed them to see the Shi'ite in a different light, even thought I had to do a lot of research on the Shi'ite rituals, since I've never had contact with them. I came across an
article about a corpse washer in the paper, and how business for him was
too much right now, and I realized I needed to tell that story. My other books had never had this voice and I wanted people to hear it.

BC - Do you know the ending of a book before you start writing?

SA - Yes. Always.

BC - How do you translate poetry or other's writings from Arabic to English?

SA - First when I have a work, I translate it word for word, it is only when I go back that I start changing a few things, just to help with the flow. But the content needs to stay whole to still have the voice.

BC - Our book club is always struggling to find authors to read from the Arab world because so many countries are missing voices. What is being doing by the established authors to help these others find a way to share their stories?

SA - As you know, this is a difficult time for us, because of so many situations in different areas, but a few are trying to make a difference. Khaled Mattawa held a conference soon after the Libyan revolution to encourage writers and poets to record their history. But as you know, the country has once again become difficult to do anything right now. It is a struggle.

We ended the evening with a promise to Mr. Antoon to read more Arab authors and get their narratives heard.

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