Where do you buy craft supplies from, in Dubai ?

Kindly visit http://www.doodlebuddies.wordpress.com for the complete post and information.

This is one of the most asked questions I receive in my blog. There are several other places too which I will address in another post.

The whole point of this post is to give you information of

  • where you can buy craft supplies,
  • what kind of supplies can be bought from which stores
  • what uses can certain products adapt to.

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Let me clarify one thing in the very beginning of this post ~ I am NOT a hoarder.

Ok, so now that we have THAT out of the way, let me explain, that over the past 3 months, while the house was frequented by a regular stream of visitors, I still managed to utilize some of the shopping time with them to pick a few craft goodies for myself too.

 Carrefour at Mall Of the Emirates.

Now, I know, your probably looking for specific stuff – but let me tell you…

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Market Day at Arabian Ranches 2011

We have already entered the fair (events) season, with the first one being the Arabian Ranches Market Day which was held on the last Friday of October. I was participating in the popular Arabian Ranches Market Day, last year, but this year, my schedule was too tight with the inlaws visiting us from Saudi and all the transformations I am working on at home presently.

 As always the Market Day was excellently organized.  We spend a lovely afternoon finding some amazing stuff and enjoying all the activities organized. Not only did we have over 100 stalls selling clothes, shoes, decoration items, cds, electronics, toys, books, games,  furniture and heaps of many more things, but we also had stalls for games, face painting, rodeo rides and ofcourse tons of more activities. I managed to click a few lovely photos which I am sharing here.  As a community, Arabian Ranches, always amazes me with friendly and mostly helpful residents. 

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Needless to say, I bought myself a heap of lovely stuff from the table top sales !

 

 

A fun July weekend.

July is always a month of celebration in our household. Not only is it celebration coz school’s out, but coz we have 3 huge occasions. Sam and I took our vows on 5th. I was born on 16th, and sawaab, our middle man, arrived in this world on 29th !! Now how special does it get than that ! 

We dont celebrate birthdays etc so last weekend, we took the boys out for movies at Mall Of the Emirates. Yep, its the Transformers part3. I’m not exactly a great fan of 3D, but it was shocking to see that the place was swarming with people. All seats were being sold like hot cakes. So we just had the 3D ones available. Its been ages since we saw a movie and eversince the boys, we’ve only seen the Toy story or Terminator kinda ones !! May be one of these days, we’ll just sneak into one of the Indian movies leaving the boys with their bazookas and car stunts in their theater ! May be, who knows ! Not that, that they’d miss us anyways 🙂

Ok, so back to Transformers. The movie was good. There’s a term we use in slang hindi for a movie as such “paisa wasool” which means, the movie was worth every penny. Ofcourse I love GM cars and the corvettes and cadillacs were simply amazing. The stunts and graphics were mind blowing. Watching in 3D also kinda made it more “REAL”.  We had a blast with the movie and annoyingly I was the one, super excietedly saying awesome or wow or whatever when the stunts took place, while Bilal was simply glued to the movie with ONE expression ~   Talk about being childish 🙂

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Oh yeah, the boys had been craving for some Dubai ski fun, and its really been a long long time since their last visit so we decided to drop them over there too. Now for all those of you who may be interested. There’s a superpass available at Dubai Ski for dhs 200, which gives the child 4 of the major attractions in addition to the snow park. I think, it was totally worth it. The boys could not have enough fun.

They were too tired to go else where for a meal so we settled for chinese in the food court on the first floor. Wow, I was totally exhausted by the time we were home. But amazingly the boys just got so fresh once we were back home, Jumping into their study (I call it gizmo cav, these days) rushing to switch on their computers and PS2 and back to tapping keys and rocking joysticks and whatever till the wee hours of the night ! What I would’nt give to have that kinda energy !

I’m so glad that the summer is going smooth with their swimming and their guy friends visiting us frequently. Every year, I get stressed before the summer holidays worrying what i have to plan for the boys, to keep them occupied. This is the very first year, when they have taken charge of what they’d like to do and I think, they are enjoying it and I think, thats all that counts.

See ya folks ! Hope you all are enjoying you summers too.

Flea Markets in Dubai

Actually, its rather the lack of flea Markets in Dubai !!
 
I know, some of you may have totally different opinions about friends and making “real” friends in the blogosphere, but I have been fortunate enough to have bumped into some very thoughtful and creative friends thru the blog world. Its always a joy when you “meet” someone who is practical, creative, has the same hobby as yourself, and is a mom ! One such friend and I, have been enjoying exchanging a bunch of links.  What links ? you ask ? 
 
Well, one of the most fullfilling feeling I get, is when I see an old piece of furniture get a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint or a new fabric to cover up old spoils. Things like how you can reuse, recycle or refurbish a room are abosolute joys to me. I used to virtually spend hours dug in, links into links into links ~ lost in a beautiful world where common people like myself are making a difference, one object at a time. One such fantastic site is :http://betterafter.blogspot.com/ Amazing transformations here.
      
(This transformation is an absolute joy from “three boys“. Kindly follow the link to view the other amazing projects too. )
                                            
And another one of those “viewing” passions, is the Flea Markets in America.  Its amazing to visit just a few of them on the web and feel so enchanted by the vast variety of different period furniture, clothes, suitcases, antiques and what not.  It is a such an eye candy just visiting those booths with a cocktail of items from jewellry to boots to a swing !
                                             
In Dubai however, things are different. Being a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, languages and traditions, people of different mentalities feel certain inhibitions towards using second hand stuff. There is a large population of labourers and maids from India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Philipines, indonesia, Ethopia and a few other countries too.  Then there are the clerical workers, mostly Asians again but not very handsomely paid for their 6 days a week, 10 hour a day job ! If anything, such sales would benefit them the most.
 
One of the most generous groups of people in Dubai are the super affluent locals (Emarati’s), who would generally handover their clothes and accessories to their drivers and maids, while the furniture is traditionally changed every year and the old ones are simply “dumped”. Thats right, you read it right, dumped by the dumpster !  They would generally consider it below their dignity to sell it in the second hand market. 
 
There is a large second hand market in Dubai which caters to mainly furniture goods. Some of the shops in Karama are the favorite haunts for new lower income asians to pick their furniture from. One of the things I love about Dubai ~ theres a place for everyone to find what they’re looking for, be it food, accomodation, grocery or clothes.
 
Ofcourse the advent of “Foreigners” ~ aka Americans, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders did bring about the concept of garage sale or yard sales in Dubai. What with ads for garage sales in the Jumeirah and Mirdiff areas in the 1990s and ofcourse with the boom of the property era, areas like the Greens, Marina, Lakes, Arabian Ranches, falcon city ~ have all followed the traditional annual spring cleaning followed by garage sales. These sales are generally community based run by word of mouth or a flyer on the community market notice board or an advert in the local classified section of Gulf News.  They are so popular especially coz nearly everyone is benefiting from them.
 
Our Arabian Ranches Market Day is a huge hit, and you’d find everyone selling and buying toys, clothes, shoes, stuff, that kids have outgrown, or lost interest in, grown up, and sometimes, even unwanted “gifts” !!  People from all walks of life, are seen buzily buying and enjoying the family time together becoz the management sets the school ground as a family day park  for the residents, putting up food stalls and bouncing castles for the children.
                                                              
                                            
For a long period of time, The Feline Friends garage sale was hugely popular. You had people lining up from early hours of a friday morning in the sultry heat, hours before the gates opened at the factory outlet in Al Quoz where they would temporarily pile up heaps and heaps of clothes, toys, shoes, furniture, house decor and so much much more into a dozens of mini mountains. Word spread amongst the labour community and these became very popular. With designer trousers going for dhs 1 !!!!! why wouldnt it !
Now these sales are a rare event in some villa courtyard in Al Barsha, maybe once every couple of months but definetly nowhere close to the amount of stuff and crowd as it used to attract before.
 
                                        
I have been an ardent visitor to the FF Garage sales. It gives me tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have not blown away 3 workers salary on a single branded handbag or an entire years salary of one labour on a pair of branded sandals !! Its truly a joy, knowing your putting in your bit by trying to recylcle and reuse. For whatever reason, those sales are not held anymore, unfortunetly.
 
Generally folks living in villa’s, leaving the country for good, would initially give away most of the things to their maids and helpers and sometimes put up a “Leaving Country” sale. If your lucky, you could hit jackpot. Years back, I remember, I heard of one such sale from a friend of a friend of one Mary who was then running the scrapbookers network in Dubai and when she was leaving her house she put up a sale,  although I was late in attending it, I remember, feeling like I was in a crafters paradise !!!!  
For someone who was looking for clothes, purses and cooking utensils, her crafters scrapbooks or rubberstamps would’ve meant zilch, but to someone who saves for every copic marker, it was BIG !!
 
You’d be amazed at what is seen lying in the bylanes of Umm Sequeim or Jumeirah or Nad Al Sheeba !! To the westerner who cannot even come close to imagining, to what extent the Rich are Rich here, a close up of their garbage bins, is a good place to begin from 🙂
                                         
I remember, in the 2008 economic melt down, we remember, seeing a group of maids rumaging thru a heap of garbage bags in one of the communities of Ranches. On a closer look, I saw one of the maids toss a handbag behind which I recognized was a PRADA. No not the fake ones. Having been gifted the original thing, I knew how to differentiate them.  There were 11 such designer bags in that garbage bag !!!!!!!!   There were several such garbage bags scattered everywhere…  Naturally, they belonged to some filthy rich but unfortunate lady,  who had to leave the country in haste lest she get stuck in the jail for defaulting on her bank loan payments, decided Prada was not worth her freedom !
I was super happy some time back, when they started a flea market, in Safa Park, jumeirah. In the summers, they kept it in the adjacent school auditorium and it was attracting a crowd and people were leaving happy with their shoppings and vendors were not too unhappy too with their sales. It is a good platform. Unfortunetly, I feel they have not really marketted themselves well and I feel, alot of vendors are now bringing stuff from India etc trying to sell it there. Not alot of people are aware of them in the different areas of Dubai. Look them up here at : Dubai Flea Market. Dubai Flea Market
 
I know, there is one store in a small mall in Satwa, where ladies (the super rich class )  who if they wish to give away their “Original & Only Designer ” handbags, scarves, accessories etc can put them up there and they sell them for a relatively good price instead of dumping them in the bin. Imagine a Versace or a Channel, visiting something close to the dump !! Criminal, isnt it ????
 
In my experience, I have found, one good option in selling and buying second hand goods in Dubai is Dubizzle. Thats an online market, where, you just register without having to pay any fees. I have sold my ikea egg chair and a fax machine thru dubizzle and was amazed by the spontaneous response, I got. I never thought it was so popular but I suppose, online shopping has finally caught up in Dubai.
                                        10.1 Flea market,Athens
 
Ofcourse for those of you, who are interested in a good reading, dont forget to join the second hand books fair, that feline friends hold with the Arte Market at Times Square. Imagine a good book, and the proceeds goes in the upkeep and the feline neutering programe.
 
I still feel, there is a huge market here for selling used goods, not necessarily for workers but there are so many many, low income families who would benefit too. Having a proper flea market could and would answer alot of problems. Its a way, in which your trash is going to benefit someone. A hole in a sweater may mean a good bye from you, but for someone who decides that a 20 dhs sweater may be too steep a price,  would be overjoyed to have yours for free or even if it is for dhs 1 or 2 !! Please remember, what you give, (eventually after completing the whole circle) , returns to you.  
 
If you have enjoyed this article or benefitted from it, kindly leave a comment. I would appreciate it alot.
 
Naush
 
Photograpsh: courtesy Google Images.

CraftLand.

I am continuing on the series about my favorite stores in Dubai. Well, today I am going to tell you about someone who not only do I like her very much for her nice, kind, and polite nature but I actually admire her for her determination, motivation, enthusiasm and business skills.

She is my friend Jenny who has recently celebrated her stores first year anniversary.  Craftland is a store which houses craft items for knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery and sewing, including sewing machines.  Its a knitters paradise !! A complete eye candy from the moment you step into her store !   Not only are the products of excellent quality but she also offers classes.

They are located in Town Center, in Jumeirah, very near Mercato shopping mall.

You can visit them at this blog as well. Craftland

or join her facebook group at :  Craftland

Here are just a few pictures of her store on a recent visit.

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Handmade items/Hobby ~ business in Dubai.

Dear Friends,

Often I have been asked on my blog if I run classes and could employ people and/or for some kind of guidance in this field.

Recently amongst the many calls I receive for some guidance was a call from Rida Farooq who also wished for some direction in this matter, staying in UAE.

Firstly, by no means, am I, an expert but I could only provide some of my own experience in this field.

I am a papercrafter and create handmade greeting cards, altered art, book binding and recylable items.  To view a full range of my cards and papercrafting creations, please click here.  In the past I have taught in schools and institutes but realized that these venues provide a large limitation on budget and generally dont fullfill their pledge when they advertize a product to their clients.

Therefore, I decided to offer private classes for children as well as ladies. I offer classes from my home at the Arabian Ranches every quaterly. For the children, there is a beginners and advanced art class covering all aspects and mediums of creating art works including water colors, arcylics etc.  And for the ladies, classes are limited to the various aspects of papercrafting.  I am not a sewer (which I would have loved to be !)

5 years back, I chose not to get involved in full time business for various reasons which do not apply now. But becoz you could be in a similar situation I am disclosing it to you.

1: My kids were alot younger and I prefered to do something on the side, rather than jump into a full time commitment which I may not be able to fullfill.

2: Business, in this part of the world is rather complicated with the involvement of trade liscence, visa procedures, having a partner’s constant involvment ( to have a business in Dubai or UAE, one must have a local “arbab” who is the local representative or sponsor of the business, although his involvment could be limited, in terms of finance and decisions, nevertheless, one has to pay him a fee on an annual basis, depending on the individual case )

I too, like many, prefered to manage from the comfort of my home while waiting for the right opportunity. (Which by the way, may not be the most ideal situation for you, but it “WAS” for me.)

Having said that, now, for what you should do, if you feel you have a talent which has the potential of bringing in, monetary gains ? Well, Primarily find out what exactly you wish to pursue ? You have the choice of selling your product or selling your skills ? Which would you prefer. That is ‘THE’ most important question. Please realize that most people who visit us in our homes or our friends, are going to praise our “ART” skills, becoz that is the polite thing to do, but are they appreciating it so much as to buy it ?

Next, having determined which direction you choose, “NETWORK”  … It is a KEY WORD. Talk to people at work or spouces’ friends, or neighbours, friends of friends and spread the word that you can offer some skills or you have products which you would like to sell.  Which ever, but first find out from your community, what response you get.

Another important aspect is “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION” as they say in the business jargan . Perhaps you reside rather far from where your potential customers are. Well, then you have to find a way or a channel to come to them, if they cant come to you.

Here, I can also suggest that selling online is also another option. It has benefitted several folks, I know. And its really not as complicated as we make it out to be. There are several sites where you can join to be able to sell thru eg : ETSY.

One drawback about handmade items is that , being handmade, naturally they are always above the regular prices, and there is generally only a particular kind of clientele which appreciates handmade. So reaching them is the question here.

In my opinion, ARTE ~ Artisians of the Emirates,  provides an excellent and very balanced platform for the new hobbyist. They are a monthly “souk” ~ exhibition/fair where you can participate on a monthly basis once you register with them. What I would advise to some one like Rida, is that you should probably visit one of their exhibitions/fairs which is held every first friday of the month at the Times Square on Sheikh Zayed road. Get a feel of how they exhibit and what are the kind of products that sell, talk to the vendors, and see how you think, you can place yourself there.  You can reach arte from here : ARTE  or join their facebook group here : Arte

One amongst the score of ladies selling handmade crafty items at the fair. She creates fantastically creative wall hangings.

If you feel more confident then this could be one way you could choose to move in. Another permanent option is where you take up a space/store/shop in a small sized mall or a larger mall. Depending on your budget, these are the basic two ways to go in. Both can turn out to be fruitful provided you believe you have what it takes to make it suceed.

I know of ladies, who have started out from Arte, moved on to get a space thru the Freezone but they struggled, becoz they were located far from the reach of the “REAL” client and I also know of women, who persisted with home business for years before actually opening up large size stores in more renowned malls. We all have our own situations to deal with, so in the end, it boils down to what your situation and budget is like.

I could go on forever on this subject but the most important thing is, that you set your priorities right first and see where you place your hobby/skills. There are scores of books written on this subject. But the bottom line is, as my closest friend Judith put it when I was in a delimma too, was “Running a store/shop/full fledge business is like getting on an ongoing  threadmill”  If you get what I mean. Are you 100% committed ? If so, and if not so too, trying out opportunities is alot better than waiting to let things happen to us, get out there, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH and atleast make an effort to know where you stand with your product.

If I can be of any help. Feel free to contact me.

I hope you found my little article informative, inspiring and educational. If so, kindly leave a comment to tell me how and what you feel.

My Favorite Stores In Dubai.

Due to the wonderful holidays in Dubai and the fact that for once in the last decade we are finally celebrating the winter break her in Dubai, I wanted to share with you’ll some amazing stores in Dubai that I love to visit.  You’ll find they stock up some super duper items of aesthetic and functional values.

The first store for todays post is a store called : Little Luxuries. Like the name suggests, it has a whole lot of goodies for gifts and presents. Indeed you could be gifting yourself as well. Although their prices are alittle on the higher end, it will be well worth a visit and you can decide then. Meanwhile let the photographs speak for themselves.

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Hope you found these pics interesting and worth popping over for. They are located in Jumeriah Center at the ground level, on the Jumeirah Beach road. This is the mall on your left side just alittle after Mercato if you are coming from satwa.