Easy Salt Dough Recipe

One of my all-time favorite craft medium would have to be the humble salt-dough. Its one of those easy to make mediums where you almost always have the ingredients at home and the kids can not have enough fun with the endless possibilities. Ofcourse there are several variations to this recipe on the internet but I stick to my tried and tested recipe which has worked for me for over a decade. Here it is.

Image

Ingredients : Salt  : 1 cup Flour (all purpose) : 4 cups Water :  1 1/2 to 2 cups

In a large bowl, blend the salt with flour and gradually keep adding the water until a thick palable ball of dough is formed. Knead the dough firmly for a couple of minutes until it can stand on its own and no salt is left in the container.Wrap the dough tIghtly in plastic or put it in a plastic bag secured with a twist tie. Let it sit for a few minutes.  

Image

You are now, ready to play with your dough. This is the best part of the entire process for little ones. You could let the little ones play freeform or hand them a bucket of cookie cutter and let them have a blast.

Image

After items are formed, set them on a baking sheet. Bake in 250 degree oven until items are completely hard. This can be from half an hour for small items to several hours for large ones.

Image

Ofcourse, there are variations again.

* You can add a bit of vanilla essense or cinnamon powder at this stage. It will leave a beautiful fragrance long after baking.

* You could also roll the dough in a cylinder shape and cut 2 inch batches and add a drop or two of cooking color. That way, you dont have to color them once you have decided to mould it into your desired shape.

Once out of the oven, let it rest for a while on the wire.

And then begins the second best part of this activity : Painting 🙂 The kids absolutely love painting their prized creations.

Spread some cling film or newspaper on the kitchen table or where you intend to conduct this activity ~ lots of paint brushes with pots of water , some acrylic paints and some poster paints. Voila ! BTW, dont be surprised if the kids nag you again next weekend for this activity 🙂

                      *****************************

Some tips :-

Keep all pieces of dough not-in-use wrapped tightly in plastic.

Store leftover dough in the refrigerator and use it within one week.

Bring the refrigerated dough to room temperature before working with it.

As much as you’d like to grab a bit into these “cookies” ~ DON’T ~ Not a good idea 🙂

                      Enjoy the salt dough and enjoy making memories.

Thank you for visiting me today. Have a beautiful and thankful day.

I would love if you could share your salt dough experience with me too !!

In the Newspapers.

One of the many things great about living in a community is the “feeling” of belonging, of being a part of the community. One of our proactive residents at the Ranches, has started a blog directory for all the business women in Arabian Ranches. She’s been very enthusiastic and worked very hard to get everyone involved in providing services or exhibiting their talents, into this directory.  What an innovative idea… isn’t it ?

There are few women, who are involved in fashion wear, or accessories, party organizing, jewellry, gifts and handmade stuff. It is, now, so convenient to know exactly,  who is planning what event,  rather than having to go two highways away to pick a special gift !  We now have the information right under our nose and thats just brilliant. Its always that one person who is ready to carry the baton, claim the baton and in this case, pick the baton, that makes all the difference. And for the Ranches, its Clemintina.

Two weeks back, we were interviewed by Express times of Gulf news and finally, the feature appeared in last Thursday’s newspaper. Its such a delight ! I suppose there are several ways of being featured in the Newspaper, unfortunetly one of the many being, in the obituary or having done some thing obsene like straus kahn. But I’m glad in my lifetime, I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by City 7 for a 15 minutes programe and now, I got a chance to have my mug in the newspaper and all for good reasons !!! Alhamduallah.

Here is the link :-

Please visit this link, to read what we had to say, here.

Also, here is our blog directory : Business Women of Arabian Ranches.

Thank you for visiting me today. So glad you dropped by.

Naush

Tutorial on Home Craft show organization and preparation.

I hope this article benefits some or any of you who are planning on setting up a craft sale in your home. Its about my preparation and the arrangements to be made before the actual day.

Ok, so its that time of the year, when I generally start my summer craft workshop. In addition to that, I will be organizing a home show for all my craft products which include :

  • Handmade greeting cards
  • Art and Craft Kits
  • Scrapbooking stickers
  • Altered Frames and wall hangings.
  • Altered tins, door hangers etc
  • Craft embellishments.
  • I have 3 times more cards which need to be placed with envelopes in cellophane !!

These are just the main items, ofcourse there are plenty more in the sub category.  for example, the craft embellishments include,  

 

As you can see, my work station1 is completly a hill site full of colorful embellies.

  • foam
  • fabric
  • ceramic
  • metal
  • glass
  • wood
    Here they are all just mixed in the larger packets which first have to be sorted into different categories.These are the altered clothespin with woodsies attached to them. I have a huge pile of these to sell too. Anyone interested ?

  •  

Further more there are different shapes like, hearts, stars, flowers, critters, butterflies, oceanic, baby related and so many many more. Here I have somehow managed to fill 4 different boxes categorizing woodsies, clothespins, baby embellies and fabric flowers/butterflies. There are some more smaller boxes which I could not fit in the pic.

trying to keep some focus and make some sense of all the chaos .. .
Being methodical can be time consuming and painful but in the end, you stand to gain alot from it. I am a perfectionist and always need to see things arranged in clusters, groups, with tags, in packets etc. Ofcourse, I will be putting up my 200 different types of ribbons as well. And my handmade papers too.However I have just one week at hand and a H U G E task ahead of me in this short time.
 
Here are the few main tasks at hand :
  • Preparing the product for selling
  • All the cards have to be placed in celophane with coordinated envelopes.
  • Price tags with store labels.
  • Stickers sorted in different categories and price tagged
  • Door hangers, wall hangings and altered arts wrapped, sealed and price tagged.
  • Plastic carry bagsCalculator, cash for change, pen, receipt pad, business cards
  • Prepare the cork board for sample display sets.

 

Ok, so some progress is taking place. Placing here are some envelopes coordinating with the card colors.

My newer wall hangings, door hangers, placards, and bookmarks ~ waiting to be wrapped and dressed.All the embellishments, packed, tagged, and priced. Hanging for now in a make shift display.

All the embellishments, packed, tagged, and priced. Hanging for now in a make shift display. Eventually all the embellishments are going to look like this.

 Note: The tags on my embellishment packets were designed by me on my last trip to India. Very early on, I realized that its always important to market your products well. Hence these tags are printed front and back and I just punched a tiny hole so as to let them hang on the wire rack.

I know the picture quality is not good but I think you get the “picture” :)

 Display organization

I can never emphasis enough how important, a display really is. Probably the reason why, big stores hire a proper merchandiser just to enhance the visual effect of a display. It is necessary that the display looks uncluttered, organized, has easy access, and is attractive. No matter how brilliant a product is, if the display does not grab your attention, no one is really going to want to pick that item up, leave aside buying it.

  • Invest in a good simple fabric to cover your display area or table. Please remember dont use a printed sheet, lest it distract the buyer.
  • Give them ample of space to move around. If possible try to use the wall to hang items which can be hung.
  • Another thing, make sure, you have ample of lighting in the room and if not, try to find spot lights or lamps which can light up dark corners and focus on the item.

Here’s a list of the things I need to prepare for 

  • Get the display items out of the shed, clean the 2 metal racks, 2 foldable white tables,
  • paint the wheeled rack in the courtyard,
  • Ready the 3 table top racks
  • Find the small table top easels from the shed.
  • Get the special runners (for fairs) for dinning table
  • Gathering all the baskets for keeping the embellishments
  • This wheelie wire display is desperate for a coat of some fresh paint. There’s the table wire rack that I was talking about.

    And there’s the 1+2 portable tables for display.

     This is my shed. Completly stacked to the brim with my exhibition/fair stuff. Except for the blue floor sofa, its all MY STUFF !!

  •   

    There’s the table wire rack that I was talking about.

  •  

Decoration

  • Prepare the Doodle Buddies Banner/Bunting with fabric
  • street signs poster
  • This bunting, I prepared last night. Ofcourse, this is not complete. I am preparing an entire tutorial for this which I will upload soon.

Advertising :

  • Facebook list on Naush and Doodlebuddies
  • Emailing list
  • Arte List
  • social club friends, or coffee morning bunch.
  • Making digital poster as well hard copy of the poster for Le Marshe, Spinneys, Lakes, Shop and Sell.
  •  
    Ofcourse, I have kept the message clear with no fancy fonts. This is my flyer.

    Menu Planning

Keeping some light refreshments and snacks, serves two purposes. Not only is it courteous to keep something at hand to serve in this horendous heat but it also helps in keeping people over for longer while they munch something.

Dont forget, some very special friendships of like minded people can form thru such events. I know, I have met some extraordinary people thru these meetings so dont be shy to open up, speak up and talk about your art. I always look forward to exhibitions like these, becoz there is nothing better than to bump into someone who is always designing similar things like me and so, faces the same issues like myself.

Although this may not look like alot, its best not to leave anything for 2 days before the show. So the adverts, have to be out ASAP !! People need to plan their weekend and see how they can fit a little shopping at Doodle Buddies in their schedule so its best they are invited much in advance.

So far only the banner is done and looks awesome, if I may say so myself. Not even 1/3 of the cards have found their way into the cellophanes :(   The embellishments need a lot of organizational work. At this point, if you can get someone to help out a bit. That would be great. A close friend, a good available neighbour, naturally the husband if he is willing. In my case, my kids are a huge help and support. And my hubby is like a backbone to the whole episode.

Although I have a very large courtyard/garden, due to the incredibly hot temperature, I will be keeping the show in the lounge room which means alot of reshuffling of the furniture to accomodate the show racks and keeping some space for movement at the same time.

I have managed to click and add a few photos to give you a brief idea of what I have in my plates !!

I hope you enjoy these pictures and please remember, this is my situation with the loads etc, but its not necessary that everyone HAS to unload an entire shed to get things out !! A little bit of organizational skills will help you tremendously in keeping prepared for the big day. Becoz you are the best judge of how your rooms look and how you can arrange your room to accomodate your products, you would have to have a vague picture in your mind of approximately how you want things placed. Inspite of all the best of the preparations, things do tend to go wrong at the last minute but atleast with a list of things in hand, you are overcoming a large part of if and how things can fall apart.

I have some more pointers about what kind of snacks to provide for the show in a climate like the one, we are experienceing right now, but I will keep that and a whole lot of more things for my next post, since this post has got so long already.

I hope you enjoyed your stay at Creative Mom in Dubai & Doodle Buddies. I hope you found some solutions, some ideas and found some inspiration to try out a long awaiting fair too. Please write to me if you found my article inspiring.

Thank you for stopping by.

Naush

Mission : Declutter and Organize Boys Room.

Hello Friends, And how have we all been the past month of May ? This post was supposed to be out atleast 4 weeks back but I’ve had plenty on my plate, but becoz I am alittle unwell and put on bed rest, I am able to get the post out.

Now for those of you’ll who have been following my blogs, you already know, that atleast twice a year, I declutter the boys room. There are piles of toys which the boys have grown out off and some just did not survive the wear and tear of the Samama Clan and yet other toys have found places in the boys’ friends homes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anyways, after the garage sale, it took, nearly an entire weekend to get the boys’ room back to alittle bit of sense. We decided to reorganize the furniture which meant moving all the beds and the toy racks. It took nearly 4-5 tries before which all of us were satisfied with the end result.  I am leaving a slide here to show you exactly how much of a task it was this time. I look forward to your comments.

One thing I have often noticed between couples, is that, women generally like to take charge of where to place what in the house. But to all the women out there, just two tiny advice.

1. Instead of breaking off in a fight, just let the set up go as your partner likes, sleep over it. Any change, takes time, to grow on us. Initially alot of things dont suit us, however later we realize, it was an ideal decision.

2. Inspite giving the said setup, some time to dwell, if you persistently dislike the placing or set up, then you can bring your view forward in an amicable way. Dont rush it and dont get him defensive ~ neither will help. And you can only be happy if both of you are happy.

Although I am not 100% satisfied with the setup of the beds in this position, I am trying to look at things from my spouce’s point of view and perhaps, it might seem odd initially but lets wait and see how it goes. The paint job has not yet started but I was too excieted so I wanted to share this with you’ll. Meanwhile, both of us are happy and most importantly, the three little men in our household are very excieted too.

Bye Bye for now. Thank you for visiting. Dont forget to visit www.doodlebuddies.wordpress.com/ before you leave.

Naush

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

My Cards.

I wish to share with you’ll some of my recent creations which I havent been posting on this blog. Hope you enjoy them and I would much appreciate if you let me know, which ones you like the most.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.