Tag Archives: reflections

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

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Naturally Homemade: Grandma’s alum recipe instead of commercial deodorant

30 Mar

Pic via jasminechemical.com

When I was 17, my grandmother told me to stop using deodorants since they blocked the perspiration glands.  Deodorants are dangerous to our bodies… nature has always offered us ways to beautify and clean ourselves. Why not use alum (i.e Shabbeh – شبة) instead?

Alum is not short for aluminum. It’s a natural stone, that once crushed into tiny crystals can be your personal hygiene’s best friend.

Pic via ehow.com

Aluminum, on the other hand, is a harmful component that is used in many of the manufactured deodorants out there!

Grandma, may she rest in peace, told me that over time the blocked sweat caused by commercial deodorants will accumulate under the skin and rot, and I will start to really smell, which means I will need more deodorant to cover it up. Ultimately this blocked perspiration is a form of toxin that is locked within the body… it will harm it.

As a nature-lover, my grandma hated manufactured cosmetics, and always opted for natural remedies to fix everything. She had great insight and respect for the ways of her grandparents. She didn’t need a scientific report to tell if unnatural cosmetics were harmful or not, she knew it innately. And I believed her.

Pic via dipity.com

Alum talc-like deodorant

My grandmother’s basic alum recipe – You can use this recipe like you use talc:

  • Crush some alums until they become a bit rougher than talc (if they’re not already crushed) – about 7 tablespoons of it (or more if you like).
  • In my part of the world you can buy already crushed Musk powder, which is then added to the alum (let’s say about 1/2 a tablespoon), and it gives it a celestial smell. You can check out your area for any oriental shops & ask them if they have it.
  • Mix the two well. Place  the powder in a clean cosmetics container with a lid, and use a cotton pad, or one or those fluffy pads used for applying powder facial foundation.
  • After taking a shower, fluff your underarms and any perspiration-active areas with this mixture.
  • P.S. If you have been using artificial deodorants for a long time, be patient while the body cleans itself. At first you might think the Alum-Musk mixture is not working out because you are basically smelling, but that’s because all the blocked perspiration is now to free to leave your body. These toxins have a bad smell, but after a while when the new perspiration is now dancing with the alum you will smell fresh and quite different than before.

Alum sprayer

Pic via realsimple.com

My grandma’s great grandmothers, back to God-knows-when, used alum and they always smelled superb. In fact if you have a sensitive nose you can always tell the difference between a modern home, around the Levant where I live, and a traditional home that uses natural soaps, alum, rosewater, and all the natural scents & cleaning materials that really make everything smell better.

Another simple alum recipe is making your own alum spray:

  • Crush the alum crystals
  • Mix them with water in a bottle sprayer
  • Spray your underarms, feet, and any sweat-active areas, right after you shower.

Alum with essential oils

You can always experiment with creating your own scented alum powder. If you have a good quality rose/musk/jasmine essential oil, you can:

Pic via ashitherapy.com

  • Crush the alum…
  • add a few drops of essential oil to the alum crystals and mix well
  • use like you use talc.

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.

 

 

Craft Show Wisdom: Life can be Full of Surprises!

8 Mar

Karboojeh Handmade Jewelry - Display stand at craft show/fair

I met wonderful people yesterday at the Souk Shighl Ead – Handmade Craft Show. And I learned a good lesson: Never generalize when it comes to purchasing power trends and attitudes. People can always surprise you!

This all goes back to the fact that life is a huge big mystery.

I don’t want to over-philosophize this. But, yesterday, I sold three rings that I didn’t think fit into the general fashion taste over here. I actually sold two very bohemian rings that were not at all bling-y, not sparkly, and totally not the kind of stuff I see people wearing.

Karboojeh Wood & Blue Boho Rings

So… What did I learn exactly? I learned to stop making judgements, expectations, and theories based on “perception.” What we perceive is not the Truth; it’s our way of making sense of the world around us – based on our hidden insecurities, prejudices, short-sightedness, and self-centered-ness. Perceptions make us who we are, that’s why we need to be very careful before taking them for granted. Perceptions help shape our destiny.

I learned being open to the experience was more rewarding than being in “control” mode. I actually went to the craft fair yesterday with a freer mind-set, less expectations than usual, less worries about what will happen.

I also sold another ring, which I didn’t even bother take a picture of before going to the bazaar, because I was so positive it will come back with me. Well, it didn’t! I was a bit surprised when a group of women actually started debating which ring looked better on their friend’s finger. The ring stash they were selecting from was on my not-their-kinda-taste list, until I experienced this!

Anyhow, I had a wonderful time. My table this time was a bit minimalist. I put on display a few handmade jewelry items, a few rings, a couple handmade jewelry trees, & a few hand-painted tableware ceramics – since I wasn’t in the mood at all for an elaborate display stand.

Hello beautiful.

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