Valentine’s Day is this Friday. It is a day to celebrate romance in many regions around the world and slowly starting to make it’s way into the Arab culture.
Children, where I currently live, give each other miniature Valentine’s Day cards in school, often attached to candy. Sometimes they build little mailboxes to collect these mini cards on their school desks.
This year, due to the severe snow storm that has hit our area, my daughters will not be at school. I decided to make them the mini cards so they could exchange them with neighborhood friends.
Of course, I had to add an Arabic twist. Each card has a little bit of fun with the alphabet. I used the same letters from my Arabic Parents Guide.
A Crafty Arab was honored to be asked to take part in the MENAL Festival, held at University of Washington, Bothell, located outside Seattle.
The Middle East and North African (MENA) Literature Festival provides a platform that magnifies MENA female voices, allowing them to be heard, and to engage with the public at large.
MENAL Fest featured Tatreez & Tea as the first annual keynote speakers for MENAL fest! This organization teaches about the centuries-old tradition of tatreez (the Arabic word for Palestinian embroidery) and the meanings it carries from generations past and today as a symbol of resilience.
I created a table with the following tutorials to teach about the MENA region.
There were a few other booths from the community as well.
The lecture was standing room only, overflowing so much I gave my booth chairs to others. Afterwards, I had a chance to take a photo with Wafa Ghnaim, the author of Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora and her mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. We are all wearing Palestinianthobes,an Arabic word for long, flowing garment, all hand embroidered with tatreez.
The next day, a workshop was help to learn how to embroidery and I was able to attend as a participant. I choose to work on a Tree of Life design with my favorite colors. I choose the most difficult design as I had cross stitched before, but I still was not able to finish it as I spent most of my time talking to my table mates. Here is the final project, finished at home.
I was so excited to be a part of this event, first to teach others about the Arab world, then to learn myself new things about the Arab world.
If you would like to have an A Crafty Arab educational book at your next event, please contact me. Be sure to check out other ACraftyArab outings on Pinterest.
The story is about former children librarian Shaimaa Saad and library director, Ismail Serageldin, in February 2011, during the Egyptian upraising.
They both worked at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, Egypt. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is trilingual, containing books in Classical Arabic, English, and French.
At the time, people were very unhappy with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak. They held rallies, demonstrations and parades to voice their concerns.
The library staff was worried, since the library has been destroyed before. But on this day, people from within the parade broke out of the demonstrations and linked hands on the steps to protect the building.
The pages are stunning, showcasing different aspects of Egyptian style, including colorful quilts, hijbas and the clothing of the Muslims & Christians who held hands.
The back of the book contains a double-page photo spread with more information of the uprising and the library itself. There is a resource page, which I loved, since it included the Arabic words shown on the protest signs.
My favorite page was hands holding the Egyptian flag that was opened on the library steps.
This gave my daughter and I the inspiration to make these handy review books, to write down what we think about a book.
Various colored card stock
My daughter started to make the review book by drawing an outline of her hand
She added a rectangular tab, for the staples later.
Next, my daughter cut out the hand. She used this hand to cut out as a template to make several others from different colors.
After all the hands were cut, she cut out all the tags for inside the review book. I typed them both up for her, in Arabic and English:
TITLE OF BOOK / عنوان الكتاب
THEME / موضوع الكتاب
AUTHOR / مؤلف
SETTING / إعداد
FAVORITE EVENT / حدث المفضل
RATING / تقييم
She made all the corners round on the slips of paper to make it look nicer.
To add them to the hands, my daughter added glue to the back of the pieces of paper and centered them on the hands.
The final step is to staple all the hands to each other.
We made a review book in English.
We also made a review book in Arabic. We made sure to start the book in the opposite direction and added our staples accordingly.
If you want to save some time, you can make the English and Arabic into one review book. Just start the English from one side and the Arabic from the other.
If you enjoyed making this handy craft, check out these others: