Tag Archives: journal

How a parrot and a Tunisian cage taught me to fly

7 Jul

I love birdcages. Probably they are more popular around this time than ever, but I have loved them all my life. When we were kids we had a beautiful white-and-blue cage from Tunisia – like the one above. I learned from this cage that cages were not permanent; that’s how I fell in love with them.

It was decorative. The cage.

Every time we tried to convince our parrot – back then – to consider it home, it managed to use its beak to bend some of the handmade cage wires and get itself out.

It was great fun seeing my parents,  who were usually gloomy and very serious, run around the house while trying to catch the crazy bird. He was very colorful, and he left a good impression on me about birds in general, which I grew to love over the years.

The cage, too, is a staple of my psyche. It’s amazing how we, as children, form  our own imaginative world – our hidden psychological and figurative treasures – from things around us, in ways nobody else seems to notice.

Although I was very little back then, when we had the Tunisian cage,  I actually have a very good memory of it; how could I forget it when its image stayed with me for almost all my life?

Source: wafi.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

The Cage of Freedom

I don’t know how I can explain this, but the cage for me is actually a resemblance of freedom. As a kid, I never saw a caged parrot, I saw a bird succeeding to break free from that cage every single day we had him.

This bird set an example for me.

He taught me an early lesson about hope, that’s why all my life I believed with all of my heart that I could break free from any cage anyone could put me in.

All my life I carried that Tunisian cage with me, with its easy to bend wire frame, and it helped me get out of the worst life scenarios you could ever imagine.

Till this day, I see parrots in a different light than everybody else. I view them with great respect, because one of them was an early mentor of mine, who taught me at the age of 4 that I,  too, can fly.

And I flew.

 

The reason I’m remembering this is that the lady who gave the cage away as a gift to a Queen, yes, a literal Queen, broke my heart today. I had to remember the cage! It was she who gave it away, when  my childhood was still clinging to its white wire skeleton and blue dotted beads. She broke my heart too many times, this woman. She, not once, saw life through my eyes or understood where I came from.

But just so that you would know. I saw the cage again. Back in 2000. I saw it at the Queen’s parlor. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it did happen. I saw it and I said nothing about where it came from.

“That cage used to be mine when I was little,” I could have said.

But I didn’t. I was way too grateful to be in the presence of both, the cage and the Queen.

People who travel through life with a knife in their hand, can never capture a child’s little shining world. They will continue to live through life abruptly, insensitively, and quite selfishly. But they can never ever stop the white wire frame of a Tunisian cage from bending open for a resilient parrot, who will always be free!

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Earth Day Resolutions

22 Apr

My Earth Day resolutions start by believing my contribution to the wellness of earth is never insignificant. People often believe if they’re not rich and famous then they are no-bodies, therefore their actions are unaccounted for. Well… That’s not true.

If you’re not in the media, and if you live in a small town, your actions and the way you treat the earth & nature are always very significant. Because you can never know whose life you’re touching, or whether a little child is learning from you and secretly making you their idol! What’s more important is, the quality of our lives, the quality of who we are is always an important matter, it doesn’t have to attract attention or make us lots of money: Our character, what we do, and how we live life is a daily gift. Our happiness depends on our choices!

So my first resolution is…

I am responsible for my actions, no matter where I live, or what kind of life I lead, and whether or not I have “fans” or not.

My second resolution is…

I am conscious of my consumerist trends and try my best to change them. I don’t have to follow the fashion or buy the latest technology, but rather buy what I “need,” not what I “want.”

Here’s a video (up above) to help understand these two concepts: Need & Want:

The earth is polluted because most of us “want” things and we don’t care about the price we’re paying. We create heaps of plastic and don’t care if they’re bio-degradable or not.

We are responsible because big companies carry out research that study people’s general trends & attitudes and serve these attitudes by making more new things. They make more and more and more of what we “want.” But if we go back to the basics, we will discover we only need a few things to make us happy, and these can all be handmade.

My third resolution for that matter is:

I try my best to buy handmade. Even when it comes to clothes, I try to find a local tailor instead of buying ready-made attire.

And…

I try my best to recycle, upcycle, and DIY. And if I “want” something badly, I try to make it, instead of buy it.

Happy Earth Day,

Karboojeh

Craft show: Table Display & Handpainted Pencils

5 Apr

I’m not in the mood for words. So, today, I leave you with a few pictures from yesterday’s craft show.

Just a little note about these hand-painted pencils… I adore them. They almost sold out yesterday at the Shigh Ead Craft show. I made the pencil holder (display unit) in the pic above by upcycling a Pringles can.

And finally a general view of the table. You can see some of the new items I have been working on: Fridge magnets/towel holders, notepads, “My Inspiration” notebooks & journals, in addition to jewelry (rings, bracelets, and earrings) and jewelry trees..

That’s it for now, Take care,

Karboojeh

Tutorial: How to make a stamp by burning wood

2 Apr

The other day I spotted this photo tutorial for making a wax stamp. I thought that maybe I can make one for paper… and even fabric. So here is my version of a burnt-wood stamp using soldering gun and a few other materials.

You need:

  • A piece of wood
  • Soldering gun
  • Pencil
  • Craft foam sheet
  • Sponge brayer
  • Acrylic colors
  • A plastic plate for the acrylic paint

Steps:

Trace the stamp text or image with a pencil on the piece of wood (make sure it’s in reverse). Heat your soldering gun and start burning the wood using little dots, then connect them as the gin gets hotter. Apply some acrylic paint to the plastic plate and roll the brayer with the paint until it gets covered evenly. Apply the paint even over your wooden stamp.

Place a piece of foam under the paper you intend to stamp, so that you get all the nooks of the stamp; this isn’t a rubber stamp, so it won’t leave a good print if you use it on a hard surface.

That’s it! I love the end result. It’s not clean and shiny, but it’s got lots of character. I’ve used my stamp to label some of my craft work. I basically stamp the signature on paper, cut it to size then mod-podge it to the back of my craft project to label it. I haven’t tried this on fabric yet, but I think applying the right amount of paint and using foam under the fabric might get me good results.

Happy stampin’ everyone :)

Karboojeh

An Artisan’s Tipping Point: The Critical Mass of Crafting

26 Mar

Thoughts By Karboojeh Handmade

Today I entered my craft room and made something I didn’t know I was able to make. It was my first draft, but it looked like I knew what I was doing. I finished the project at hand & it looked too good to be true! That’s when I knew I reached the tipping point of my skill as an artisan.

The Tipping Point - via widro.com

Have you read the book? The Tipping Point (by Malcolm Gladwell)? Well, you should. This book is probably the most cross-cutting, cross-sectoral book you could ever come across. It suits everyone: cooks, artisans, managers, high-up executives, students, mothers, crafters, teachers, pilots… everybody!

I watched the Tipping Point law work for me when I was a musician, and now that I am crafting, I am seeing it happen all over again.

What the tipping point is all about boils down to one thing: When you build up a skill, a project, a campaign, a life together, etc… it starts at the bottom of the hill, and as you go up it becomes harder, and it gets too tiring as you push up your know-how: you read, learn, attend seminars, learn, err. It’s like pushing a huge mass up the mountain… until you reach critical mass; the mass enough to bring your up-hill snowball rolling back down, easily and smoothly. That’s the Tipping Point… when it basically tips.

The darkest hour comes right before the dawn

let’s linger a bit here and talk about what happens before it tips, before the ball starts rolling when you reach critical mass and become a pro. You basically have the hardest time of all times; you put all your frustrations & energy into what you are doing but you feel insufficient – not there yet. And you feel a bit lost, and aimless – “where am I going with this, I don’t see results?” You feel like you’re reading all of these tutorials (books, papers, etc), and you are completely lost as to where to go from here. As an artisan, you spend hours on Pinterest, pinning things that are relevant to you, to your dream project, but you don’t know when you will be the DIYer you want to be!

And then one day you walk into your craft room (office, kitchen, classroom, etc), and you just do things like a pro. “Where did this come from,” you ask. “Last week I sucked at this, now I’m putting this beautiful thing together… effortlessly?

Yep… that’s the tipping point.

In spirituality, there’s a metaphor that is based on the fact that the darkest hour at night comes right before the first streak of dawn; just right before the sky cracks open with a slight, thin thread of light. That’s the most difficult hour for us as people journeying through life. Right before any dawn on any level: work, love, spiritual growth, psychological maturity… there comes the darkest hour.

But after that very dark place comes the tipping point, the dawn.

P.S. If you’re in a place of uncertainty right now, brace yourself, be patient… the tipping point might be just around the corner.

 

 

Inspiration: Ideas for recycling vintage book pages

22 Mar

See this Anthropologie painting? It’s to blame for my vintage-paper-crafts-craze lately. I pinned it on Pinterest some time ago, hoping that with time I will build up the creative force to go in this direction.

I’m the kind of gal who likes to sleep on things. I started to arbitrarily collect photos and tutorials from around the net with ideas of how to recycle vintage/old paper. I noticed you can do a lot of things with pages from old books: Decoupage, handmade tags, envelopes, scrap-booking, garlands, and so many other ideas.

In a previous post, I spoke about “Recycling, upcycling vintage books”. It was about sketching illustrations while using vintage paper as your canvas.

Here are a few ways to re-use an old book in so many other different ways…

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Envelopes look so chic when they are obviously from some old book.

Tags: Who would have thought? They look so romantic.


Butterflies: Can be used as mobiles and garlands, and in scrapbooking.

Source: elfenpulver.blogspot.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

The idea (above) is so cool. Cardboard boxes can look much prettier when decoupaged with old pages from an old book. Add a little bit of lace and you got yourself a romantic storage unit that can really add a touch of beauty to your craft room.

More romance… with this recycled vintage-looking envelope, using old pages from a book.

P.S.  If you have a recycling idea that you’d like to share, please post the link to your project in the comments box :)

Take care,

Karboojeh

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The Source of the first pic in this post is: anthropologie.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

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DIY Monologue: Jewelry with a story

12 Feb

Karboojeh handmade leather boho hoop bracelet

I believe that when you make handmade jewelry (or anything handmade, including food), you put a little bit of you in each piece (recipe, dish, artwork, creation, etc). Making beaded or leather jewelry is more than just fitting colors and shapes together; it is a little journal where we write our life’s untold story – using jewelry components instead of words and ink!

I very recently noticed that when I am making a piece of jewelry or accessory, I am mostly reminiscing over a particular time in my life.

The boho leather bracelet above (sold) is just an example of this. Although the design is quite basic, it did take me quite a while to garner enough courage to make this one: It meant I had to re-live part of my adolescence, since such a bracelet would have been a hit in my teenage years.

After gazing at the ingredients (metallic hoop, leather cord, caps, clasp, jump-rings, beads, eye-pin/findings) I had arranged neatly in a box for almost two months, I decided I was ready to make jewelry that appealed to me back when I was a kido-turning-into–woman.

Adolescence is emotionally painful. Up until mid-twenties, one is virtually walking into all kinds of walls, hurting over so much as we grow up, especially if we have the artist streak, making us more vulnerable to life than most of our peers.

I sold this bracelet to a 40-something lady at a local craft fair who was looking for something to buy for her daughter. She impersonated her kid every time she looked at a jewelry item, and vocalized out-loud what she imagined her kid would criticize about it.

“Oh, no, this one has shells on it… my kid would say: ‘Mom, why did you bring me shells, don’t you know I hate them? I look like a board game of Barjees!*”

The mother sighed and continued…

“She’ll stop talking with me for a week!”

Obviously, that’s a difficult child. Like many of us.

The mother’s features relaxed when she saw this boho bracelet:

“Ah, she’ll love this one!”

Her kid is a 13-year-old girl. When I made this bracelet, I was thinking of my jewelry-taste (and life) back when I was 13.

Moral of the story: Any work of art, or artisanal work, that is made with a story behind it, will find a place to continue telling that story!

Cheers,

Karboojeh

DIY Tip: I used E600 to glue the caps on the leather-cord ends.
* Barjees is a board-game known in the Levant, specifically in Syria & Turkey. Instead of dice, cowrie shells are traditionally used so contenders would move their metallic pegs a certain number of blocks towards their target, the final house of win. The numbers are pronounced in old Turkish, and that’s how every one plays them.
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