Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ramadan 2013: Watercolor and Mosque Silhouette Art

Hello my friends! I have a fun art project to share with you today. It's watercolor painting layered with a silhouette of a Masjid/Mosque. It reminds me of my childhood and the joy I had making these very kinds of paintings. The ones I made were with silhouettes of cars, but for my kids I decided to increase the spirit of Ramadan and make Mosque silhouettes.

Water color painting and silhouette art evokes so much nostalgia for me. I love it and love watching my kids take joy in painting and creating them as well. The concept of painting rainbow watercolors and layering over it a silhouette is not a new concept, but the creativity behind it is endless and it's a project that never gets old.
What reminded me of doing this project with my kids was this art piece below that a student at the kids' school had done last term.
Black Arabic calligraphy on a background of multi colored watercolor created by a student. 

It's gorgeous isn't it? I can't even do that. Swooning over that calligraphy masha'allah! Obviously, if I'm not a calligrapher I couldn't teach my kids to do it lol. That is where the idea of doing a masjid/mosque instead came from. 

I made my own watercolor paint. Pink was my first go and as you can see it took a couple tries to get it right. But I got it right! Why go buy when you can just use what you have? 

I got an ice cube tray and filled with water for every color we would use. In each square I started with half a pea size of acrylic/water based paint. For some colors like yellow and orange I had to add more paint to get a good saturation. If you add too much color to the water you'll lose the translucent watercolor effect, and it will just look like plain paint. 

I tested the colors out to make sure they were saturated yet watery enough. 
Note that for the top image I cut out more windows to allow more colors to show through. I later did the same for the bottom image.

We traced out the stencils onto black paper to be cut out and glued down onto the watercolor painting. 

Z2's art.
 The extra windows gave the entire art a lot more character. I taught Z2 how to use an X-acto knife and with supervision he was able to cut out majority of the windows by himself.

Z1 insisted on this Istanbul mosque silhouette, but the solid black was too much. We had to cut out some windows for more punch of color.

Z1 was a little overwhelmed by all the cutting so I helped out. 

Z2's art. 

Z1's art (in collaboration with mama ;o)
To make the faux matte, I took a bigger piece of orange construction paper, cut it down with a 2 in. boarder and glued the art on top. A true matte would be thicker and placed above the art. We weren't going for perfection here, just something fun and cool looking.  

We stuck them to the wall near the electrical panel. Maybe in the future I'll get them some proper frames, but in the mean time they are so lovely as they are and we are all enjoying the new art. I can't believe something so simple could turn out so beautiful! With ten days left in Ramadan this would be a perfect craft to celebrate the colorful blessings of this great month! Give it a try and let me know how yours turn out. Thanks again for stopping by. 


Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY Zebra Stripe End Table

Hello everyone! Hope you are all in the best health and happiness. I am so happy to finally share this project. It is looooooong over due for a reveal. So long over due we'll just have to stop talking about it. K? K! (o:

This end table was my moms and being that we hate getting rid of stuff that's ugly but still functional and needed, I decided to give it a facelift. I wanted something different, punchy and with animal print, but not crazy and standing out from the rest of my home.

The supplies: 
Medium sanding block
Wood Filler
Ace brand primer spray and white spray paint
Folk Art gold craft paint 
Small paint brush

I removed the hardware and spray painted and let that sit aside. I used Ace brand Gold Spay. I've said this before, and I'll say again, Ace brand spray paints are THE WORST paints I've used in my life. Especially the metallic. I did this project when Ace was the only option I knew, but I've now moved on to Krylon brands.  The problem with their metallics in particular is that they get dull and lose all the metallic sheen. 

Left: The hardware spray painted with Ace brand gold spray paint.
Right: A rock spary painted with Krylon gold spray paint. 
See the difference in shine and shimmer? 

There were some patches in the surfaces from years of wear and tear. I smooth them out with a sanding block. Be carful when sanding furniture made of compressed wood and covered in some sort of vinyl paneling. You don't want to reach the compressed wood. 

I used maybe two or three cans of primer, again Ace brand = lame, because the primer was so thin. I also used a couple cans of white just to get a decent coat on. When painted anything with legs, I usually turn it upside down and paint the legs first. I get better coverage that way and avoid missing "blind spots". Blind spots are those spots you don't notice while spray or brush painting, but you notice you missed when you're sitting on a chair or couch and are at eye level or lower than the furniture you painted. Plus it's easier on my back to paint that way than to try and bend in awkward positions. 

If the piece is small enough, I can flip the table while the legs are still wet and continue with the surface. After I was done painting, I took a yellow color pencil and drew my pattern freehand.

I looked from some true Zebra patterns for inspiration and copied the center pattern on this rug. 

If you look very closely, you'll see a faint outline of the stripes.

My Dad and Brother were visiting at the time and my dad helped by painting the first coat of gold craft paint. The stripes took about three coats because it was very thin and translucent. 

After three coats the gold was still a little patchy and translucent, but it ended up looking good anyway.
The white paint hasn't held up well, it's chipped in many places, but at least there are enough chips to make it look like a rustic piece lol. I might re-due this table with a better paint I have, but in the mean time I'm enjoying it's unique character.  
I've always wanted some sort of animal print in my home without tackily representing the 80's or "New Joy-zy" lol. No offense to New Jersey, but it's the first thing I think of when I think of animal print. Don't ask me why. I also wanted to do something more exciting than the plain beige zebra pattern that's been popular like these...

Do you have any animal print in your home? Would you dare consider it? I am really happy with the way this turned out. It was daring just enough without being obnoxious. If you really want to try this or another animal print, consider a small foot stool, a pillow or if you really don't want to much effort print out a nice zebra print and frame it if you can't stand it's easily removable. So what do you think of my small animal print introduction to my home? Please leave a comment below and thanks again for stopping by! 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ramadan 2013: Keeping Track of How Much I've Read

Hello All! Before I get into my project just wanted to give a shout out to Egypt. If you haven't discovered it by now, I am a first generation Egyptain American, and with the events that unfolded yesterday in Egypt I am dedicating this post to the people of Egypt along with all the Middle Eastern countries that are currently suffering political plight. Praying for a speedy and safe development of just governments around the world!!!

Ramadan is coming to a speedy end and unfortunately, like every year, since I've had kid's, I find myself not able to finish reading the entire Quran. )o: Ramadan is such a special month because it is the month in which the Quran was FIRST reveled by Angel Gabriel. Don't confuse the first revelation with the complete revelation, which actually took place over a span of about 23 years. The very first verse recited was... 



                             Recite in the name of your Lord who created ...(96:1)

So it is befitting and highly encouraged to read, and if possible, finish the entire Quran in the month of Ramadan. Reading is the key to life. With reading, hopefully (o: comes knowledge and understanding. What brings us closer to God and understanding Him is reading his text. 

So every Ramadan, since I've had kids, what usually happens with me is that I'm off to a good start and then quickly slow down and ultimately giving up because I've fallen behind in reading. This year I thought I'll just keep at it regardless while moving forward instead of halting at one chapter. I used this calendar I made for my kids last year to motivate me. I didn't want it to be so plain so I first printed this image....

I couldn't find where I got this pic, but here are others.

My husband lightened the image, blew it up and then I printed the calendar above it. 

"Quran: # of pages read"

It's hard to see in this pic, but for each day I wrote the Juz' number that should be read for that day, so I don't lose track. For everyday I wrote down how much I read for that particular Juz'. If I couldn't finish the Juz', the next day I would move on to the next Juz'. I just want to get through to the end and after Ramadan go back and read what I hadn't finished. Either way we are encouraged to read throughout the year not just in Ramadan, so it's a good reference for me to look back at and cover what I hadn't before. 

I stuck it on the door to the kitchen so it's always up as a reminder and it looks cute and festive for Ramadan. :o) 

There you have it, a festive calendar to track how much Quran I've read this month. It's a simple craft and makes it more enjoyable to monitor how much, or little :-O, I've read :o) You can personalize your calendars in this way anytime of year. It makes it more fun for kids and adults to track goals for reading, assignments, project deadlines, fasting, whatever it is you want to keep track of. Hope you'll give it a try. Thanks for stopping by!!


P.s. Please Keep Egypt and the Mid East in your prayers!!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ramadan 2013: A Little Decor Around the Home - Part 2

I love decorating for special holidays, but I never like to go overboard. Decorating, for me, should be just enough to make the home feel different than any other normal day, but not so materialistic that we forget the purpose of being humble during this special month of Ramadan.

My usual go-to decorations are banners, lanterns, moons/crescents, and lights, if we have working one that is :o). This time I'm sharing another cute banner. 

Originally I started off with one banner, but felt it was too broad.
Banner courtesy of Sakina Design and can be found here
I split the single banner in two and found it worked much better. 
Half Pattern + Half Solid Color

Mostly Solid + One Pattern

 All Patterns
Islamic Pattern

Solid Colors

Sorry for the poor lighting, Z3 thought it was funny to throw pillows at me as I was taking pictures. I was focusing on not getting nocked over or chatting a pillow in the frame as opposed to the lighting of the pics. (o: 

The stars have Islamic patterns on one side and solid colors on the other, alternating between gray and yellow. I took a few shots with different pattern variations just for kicks. They are so cute, I couldn't decide how arrange them. If you haven't printed these yet it's not too late and you definitely should!! We our really enjoying ours. Thanks again to Sakina Design for their awesome designs and free printable! Thanks again for stopping by! 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramadan 2013: A Little Decor Around the Home - Part 1

Hello folks! If you haven't gotten your Ramadan decorations up, it's never too late. A little goes a long way and changing up your home even a little bit really makes the spirit of Ramadan that much more lively! I wanted to share some of the things I did around my house this year. I still have couple more ideas in store so keep an eye out while I wrap up those posts.

Let's start with something "old" and move on to something new.
You might remember these Diy ornaments from last year. Unfortunately, my two year old broke obliterated them. Luckily I was able to fix them with minor scars. I decided to hang them over my foyer mirror. 

The mirror gave it a nice reflective flare plus, I didn't have to worry about the kids flinging them every time they walked trough the walkway.
Then, I gathered up some of the lanterns I've collected over time, threw on a runner for an Islamic theme. I also included a traditional Emirati tea pot. They are so cute! Arabs are known for lighting up lanterns in celebration for Ramadan. This is a cultural tradition and not an Islamic requirement, just so there is no confusion. 

Of course we cannot forget the lovely banners made with love and generously shared by Pik over at Sakin Designs. I had this banner up last year, but for the life of me cannot find the post I did on it. Sorry.

These banners were provided by Sakina Design for you to print, for free! Thanks so much and jazakom Allah khair for your making Ramadan special for us! They have new prints this year that I just got printed. I'm putting them together and will have them up for you to enjoy in the next post. 

I (daringly) tried something new this year. I say daring because I was worried my 2 year old would shred the books! Luckily he just hoards them and sticks them back in the book case lol. I found these cute Quran stands at Panda Hyper Market. My kids have been asking me to buy them their own for a while, but they were out of stock up until Ramadan started. I bought one for each kid and a mini one for Z3 as well. I placed Quran's in them and an Islamic themed book for Z3 so as to encourage them to read during this holly month. Obviously Z3 cannot read, but he loves to be read to. 

I also filled a beautiful glass bowl with my jar of incense powder surrounded by prayer beads. These beads are perfect for making spaghetti and ice cream, in Z3's world that is and under adult supervision of course :o) Actually, I'll be honest, this bowl was removed after one day. I know I don't have to explain. Don't judge me, it's Ramadan! You can't blame me for trying to decorate my home ;o) 

I also got a Quran stand for me just to motivate and make reading the Quran easily accessible, and because it's pretty, of course! 
I found these beautifully hand crafted star and crescent ornaments at a store that, aside from these ornament, has nothing else affordable in it lol. 

Hope you liked part one of my decorating this year. I 'll be sharing a couple more posts on things I did around the house. Now enough of a distraction, LET'S GO take a nap READ QURAN!


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