On Tuesday night a group of students got together to talk study abroad. One of the students had recently returned from India and asked me if I would be willing to help do henna at the gathering.
DISCLOSURE: I have NEVER been hennaed, let alone used henna.
But I was willing to give it a shot. In the end, it was much like piping a cake. We looked up designs online and in an hour I tattooed five of the students. Overall, I was pretty excited about how they turned out. We all decided this would be a great activity for a birthday party or ladies night. I just need a bit more practice!
I received my own first set of Uganda beads a few years ago from a dear friend. She was in law school at the time and as part of an international law project, she was able to go to Uganda to meet the women and children in the internally displaced people camps outside of Kampala. Several non-for-profit organizations work within these camps and teach the women how to make beads and sell them fair trade. While meeting these women, my friend was able to buy my beads direct from the artisans who made them.
If you can’t go to Uganda yourself, Beads for Life provides a great opportunity to get your own Uganda beads. Beads for Life is one of the organizations that work with the Ugandan women to sell their beads at fair trade prices. To share their goods, they’ve started a Bead Party program. To host your own Bead Party, you register with Beads for Life and they send you a full supply of Ugandan bead necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. With reasonable prices and beautiful jewelry, the Bead Party is a perfect event to socialize with friends while helping a great cause. I went to a Bead Party a few years ago and it was a great event. Not only did I get most of my Christmas shopping done but it was also a perfect way to talk about what is going on in the world amongst friends.
And if you’re real brave, you can also try out the Ugandan-style bead making yourself with just a little wrapping paper and glue. Here is a great tutorial if you want to try your hand at your own Uganda beads. After attempting making my own beads, I think I’ve decided it may be better to just host a party. 🙂
While in Minnesota with family and friends, I was in charge of bringing a craft for the kids. Ranging between the ages of 2 and 9, I wanted to come up with a fun idea that incorporated culture but that everyone could participate. So after a trip to Michael’s, I decided to do a photo booth but the kids would make their own props. I came prepared with Venetian masks, Mexican sombreros, and word bubbles with international greetings for the kids to decorate. In the end, both the adults and the kids enjoyed our international craft time.
If you want to host your own internationally themed photo both, here’s what you need:
- Black plastic masks
- Glitter glue
- Decorative duct tape
- Construction paper
- Wooden dowels
- Hot glue gun
- White sheet for back drop
Living in corporate housing definitely lacks character. Everything is brown and bland so I decided I needed to spice things up a bit and turn the corporate coasters into cultural art.
Adinkra symbols come from West Africa and as far as we know, date back to the early 1800s to the Akan of Ghana. The symbols convey traditional wisdom and life and are frequently used to decorate fabrics, pottery, and architecture. They are beautiful yet easy to replicate.
1. Chose your symbol
I chose the commitment & perseverance symbol. Which is also called “I shall marry you.”
2. Gather your materials: a paper bag, a sheet of foam, scissors, packing tape, stamping ink, a small piece of cardboard, and your cardboard coasters.
Here is all you need!
3. Draw out your pattern on the foam sheet.
I used a variety of household items to draw my shape.
4. Cut out your shape and stick it to a piece of card board about the same size.
I had the self-adhesive foam which made it super easy.
5. Dip your homemade stamp in ink and place it on the piece of the cut-up paper bag.
I cut the paper bag to be about the size of the coaster.
6. Trace the coaster to the paper bag and cover enter front with packing tape to make a waterproof surface. And shazam! I’ve got coasters that I don’t loath.
These are so much better!
When I travel I love to buy postcards and send them to our family. When we were in Mexico, I even got Hubby to send a postcard to his parents.
While I am fairly consistent about sending postcards from abroad, I’ve never really thought about sending postcards from home. In all of my places of residence (Ohio, South Carolina, New York, and California), I’ve never once sent Mom and Dad a postcard from my hometown. So I’ve decided to break that trend now that we are in Oklahoma and bring a global habit home with me.
Unfortunately in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, postcards are not easily found so I had to make my own. With a stack of Oklahoma brochures I picked up at our hotel from when we first arrived, some blank cards, scissors, and clear packing tape, I made some notes worthy of my new city.
The goal was to use what I had…glue stick would be fine too
I cut out pictures from the brochures that represented OKC
Then I placed the pictures where I wanted them and used the packing tape to secure them in place
This one is m favorite – love the wind mills
Fun and free Oklahoma cards to send home!
My first experience with origami was actually in Japan 4 years ago while leading a study abroad program. We took our group to a university in Osaka and the local students taught us how to make cranes. So when I went to the local craft store yesterday and saw 6″x6″ paper in the $1 bins, I decided origami would be a great Global from Home project. These three animals are easy and would be a great project for older kids too.
12 pieces of 6″x6″ for $1
These are the real origami packs that were just a few aisles away…and $6 a pack.
All that is needed for this cute owl is 1 piece of 6″x6″ paper and a pair of scissors
Wombie the Wombat only requires one piece of paper and a black pen
The puppy needs two pieces of 6″x6″ paper, a black pen, and tape.
Although I am actually in Mexico right now, it is super easy to explore Mexico from home too. For all you crafters, I’ve found some fun projects to recreate Mexican crafts. Check out these bloggers’ how-tos:
Have fun crafting Mexican style!
When we found out we were moving to Oklahoma City, we immediately started liking the Thunder. The team is easy to like because they are good, but also because the entire city is crazy about them.
Originally I went out to our local sports store and purchased a championship shirt for Hubby, but it was too small and then they lost, so I figured I would keep looking. I’m glad I did because it led me to a great little shop called Shop Good. Shop Good sells ethically made and social justice products which provide funding for local and international charities. For example, this shirt (which I bought for Hubby) provides funds for Sunbeam Family Services, an organization that helps young mothers in OKC get on their feet. If you’re looking for fun tees, they have some great designs to check out.
Need a gift for a girlfriend? This bracelet available at Shop Good is made by South American artisans and provided through the Andean Collection. Its $26 price tag provides fair wages and benefits to the artists.
Or want a little something to spice up a simple dress for a night out? This clutch from Sseko Designs helps employ young Ugandan women to make sandals and clutches while they learn business models and prepare for college. So far, Sseko has graduated three classes of women from their program and every single one of them is currently in college. Wow!
Of course Shop Good isn’t the only store that sells fair-trade and social justice products. If you are interested in looking at some other shops that have this humanitarian approach, scope out these:
If you know of any other great shops that help the international community, please share!
Today is my two-year wedding anniversary to the most wonderful man who just so happens to be my best friend. To commemorate our day, I decided to be creative with Hubby’s gift and got an idea from pictures I’ve been seeing on a variety of blogs: the love padlock. The cultural phenomenon of hanging a padlock with lovers’ initials has covered historical sites around the world. Have you hung a lock on any of these?
I wanted us to have our own love padlock but rather than permanently place it, I wanted to be able to take it with us. So here’s what I did:
1. First I purchased a 5×7″ matted frame, a padlock, and one of these 3M metal command hooks.
2. I created a 5×7″ Publisher document with important words and events from our marriage, leaving a space for where the hook would go.
3. Then I framed the Publisher document and placed the command hook on top of the glass over the reserved space.
4. Since the lock I bought has a four digit code, I put our anniversary 06.19 as the combination.
And voila! A one-of-a-kind anniversary gift for Hubby.
Today is my dad’s birthday, but unfortunately I am in San Diego and he is across the country in Atlanta. But in honor of him and in preparation of Father’s Day (June 17th in the U.S.) in a few weeks, I’ve been searching for some internationally themed gifts to give to one of my favorite men in the world. Here are a couple different ideas:
For the Stamp Collecting Dad: The World Encyclopedia of Stamps & Stamp Collecting and some Postcrossing supplies (postcards of his hometown and stamps that add to $1.05)
For the Coffee Connoissuer Dad: The Around the World Coffee Sampler with blends from Sumatra (Indonesia), Ethiopia, and Guatemala from Great Coffee (you could always throw in one of the classic World’s Best Dad mugs too!)
For the Global Fanatic Dad: Gear from the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews
For the Globe Trotting Dad: Do a little DIY and make this hand-sewn leather passport cover from Design Sponge
For the Lifelong Learning Dad: Rosetta Stone
For the Fashion Forward Dad: Personalized map cuff links from Juanitas
For the Softie Side of Dad: Thank him from abroad with a photo of you.
Let me know if you find any other great global gifts for Father’s Day!