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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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 !!

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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

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.

Summer Art Class

I havent been able to find time to post stuff, primarily becoz, I have been  formating my syllabus for the summer camp. Its frustrating when you want to try and squeeze as many activities as possible but have to consider

  • age difference in children
  • skill difference in children
  • Certain projects get carried far longer than others
  • Certain projects dont actually help in building any skills but kids love it becoz it is fun.

I think I will be keeping the activity time as 2 – 2 1/2 hrs and now how do I manage to squeez two activities in there ??  Big question. Being a parent myself, I know how important it is that you feel the money you put in is worth it in the end. Children should learn a skill, enjoy building it and at the same time get entertained !

The last 6 week programe was jam packed with young and old ones, we had fun and it was really a sucess. 

Hmmm , lets see, I think primarily we can place two activities in a day. One would have to be the skill builder and one the ancillary activity.

I’ve noticed how most of the summer camps just treat kids as cattle and that really upsets me. When my own boys went for the summer classes to Al Nasr leisureland, it was a complete waste. They never learned anything there, they just ” hung around” the pool or the ice rink, ( not included although they had said it was a part of the deal, initially ) There were alittle more than 200 students !! I learned my lesson the hard way. No more packages for me. Although packages are economical, there is always a catch. That we find out after payments are made.   

I wish to keep smaller classes so that, while the kids do make a few friends, they learn a new skill and have someone giving them full attention. 

Anyways, its all a little bit of a messy so ONCE i have handled that, I’ll post some more

Till then ciao.

Salt Play ~ Therapy & Fun

honest results visible : ' this ' by sawaab

honest results visible : ' this ' by sawaab

Last week sam was in Libya, Algeria etc and that really left us feeling abit low. I have let the kids completly enjoy the  initial outlet, the kids desperately wanted after the exams, last two to three weeks and now it has started to fade off. They are getting restless and need some form of constructive routine. As such we have been sleeping at the wee hours of the night/morning and having breakfast at lunch !!

 Playstation ~ computer games and Cartoons are the only agendas in their lives at the moment.  These kids have really had to bury their heads in alot many books this year and thats why I felt it was ok to let them just “Chill out”.

Hopefully they will be getting into a better schedule with activities and sports shortly. Till then, I am going to relax too.

Last week, we played with salt. The boys not only made signs and alphabets but they also enjoyed making things with it. I could see sawaab making improvements in his spelling, but unfortunetly there was little to no progress in Eman’s case, it saddened me to see, how desperately he tried and kept trying. There is immense zest in this little fellow to “try” and try he does only he constantly looks at my face for reactions.  He excels with just a little encouragement but perhaps I am the one who really needs to practise more patience with him.

All you need is a large tray, some salt and a few pieces like twigs, combs or plastic knives. It adds a whole lot of fun to an afternoon.

All you need is a large tray, some salt and a few pieces like twigs, combs or plastic knives. It adds a whole lot of fun to an afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

abba I miss u, by sawaab .. message for his father by sawaab

abba I miss u, by sawaab .. message for his father by sawaab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He has written his name : as emna where as it is Eman !

He has written his name : as emna where as it is Eman !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

struggling to read and write

struggling to read and write

Bilal, taking it a step ahead. Blowing to make designs later using a straw too.

Bilal, taking it a step ahead. Blowing to make designs later using a straw too.

Hopefully we will be making salt dough tomorrow, and thats a whole new dimension of fun and experimentation.

How doodling could help you boost your brainpower

sun16Memory aid: Doodling helps people remember more and stop daydreaming

It seems those of us who covered our school books with scribbles may not have had an entirely wasted education.

For doodling may actually be good for the brain, scientists claim.

Far from being a sign of inattention, it is thought to focus the mind and stop daydreaming, allowing people to persevere with dull tasks.

Researcher Jackie Andrade, who conducted a study into the habit, said: ‘This study suggests that in everyday life doodling may be something we do because it helps keep us on track with a boring tasks, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist.’

Professor Andrade, of Plymouth University, asked 40 men and women to listen to a tedious telephone message about plans for a party.

It included names of guests, as well as names of people who would not attend, place names and other irrelevant material.

None of the participants was told they were to be tested to see how much they remembered afterwards.

The doodlers – around half of those who took part – had written down more names while listening to the message, the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology reports.

They also had better recall for both the party-goers’ names and place names mentioned in the recording – remembering nearly a third more than the others.

Professor Andrade said that doodling may help because it is simple enough not to drain brainpower, therefore allowing the mind to carry out a task without affecting how well it is done.

And by preventing concentration from wandering, it may help us focus better.