Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Once Upon A December

Can you believe we are already on the last days of December. This year certainly had its bittersweet moments, but December has proven to be the sweetest. There's something special with this month; the smell of barbeque in the air, spontaneous trips to the desert with family, outdoors gatherings, hot mugs of chai in the afternoon; it's definitely one of my favourite times of the year. My mind usually starts to wander and flutter as soon as the temperature drops below 30C, with plans of outdoor parties, afternoon teas and bike rides around the park. But then soon enough, we're aleady heading into June and barracading ourselves indoors away from the killer heat and humidity, and what is left of all my parties are just a figment of my imagination. So to add on to the list is this awesome outdoor movie night for a 13 year old birthday party, . I just love all the details and the colour scheme, and look it has a vintage vibe too (it's like it's calling me to do it). Let's hope this time around one of my December wishlists becomes a reality.

 Yes, that is a 13 layer chocolate pancake cake.. and doesn't those movie reels just go perfectly with the theme

I am in love with those huge balloons, can I have one please?

film reel inspired party invitation

Images via:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Arabic Kitsch

There's a wall in my studio just begging for this artwork to hang in it's place. There's just something so fascinating with painted Arabic graphics, and certainly does bring back memories for 90's babies.

image via:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

{Little Peanut} baby shower

Back in June, my sister and I planned one of our closest friends a baby shower for her first baby. Her due date was smack in the middle of June, and well our summer plans meant we wouldn't be in the country when she delivers. So one thing lead to another and we decided to throw her a shower. Of course, she had to make it harder on us and keep the gender a secret (well we knew, but the rest of the party didnt' and she wanted to keep it that way). So no boy or girl, she called her baby 'Little Peanut'. And being designers, we ran with that as our inspiration for the baby shower theme.

pastel coloured baby shower invite

At the entry, we created a baby guest book table, that's my pretty vintage typewriter my sister got me from a Venice flea market, for people to write darling sweet letters to baby peanut.  That long essay of a letter tucked into the typewriter is my homeage to baby peanut. I do tend to get lost in words, but it's rather sweet I must say. 

Baby themed table; my cherished olivetti typewriter (need to get me some black ink asap), a baby guest book, mini cupcakes in a mini jell-bar (isn't it just adorable), a 'guess how many peanuts are in the bottle' game, snippets of baby pictures of the soon-to-be mom and dad, and strawberry, plain and chocolate milk in mini bottles

We found it really difficult to find a nice baby guest book. But in the end we decided to undertake a mini DIY project. We got a pretty photo album cover, after some cutting punching and threading, replaced the photo sheets with thick bristol paper, and tada one baby guest book done. Going with the peanuts theme, we filled a big drinking bottle with peanuts for the guests to guess the number of peanuts inside. Boy, people really underestimated how many peanuts could fit in this thing.

The set-up for the tables were basically divided into colors. Mini water bottles were wrapped with the invitation artwork and each table were decorated with a jar of more peanuts and a empty jar with 'Name the peanut' label to help with name suggestions for the parents. Don't you just love those purple and green striped cones, and look the tabs close as a heart shape. Wondering what's filled inside these cones, well could it get any 'nuttier' (quite lame I know, but it was begging me to, anyway it's stuffed with a mixed assortment of nuts if you were still wondering). We made personalised baby themed crosswords as a tension breaker at the start of the party when people are just arriving and get those awkward mini conversations. And it was the best idea ever! Everyone was so into their crossword with people actually finishing it all, mind you the clues were pretty hard.

personalised ABC cubes spelling Peanuts, while each table had a frame with a baby picture of the future mom or dad

mini baby themed decorated cupcakes; just look at those baby shoes and that adorable baby face. Some other peanut treats including peanut butter cookies and peanut butter and rise krispie crunchies, and did you notice some peanuts creeping here and there, They're everywhere I tell you.

We had maybe around 8 games planned, we started with Measuring Mummy. Each group had a piece of ribbon that they would cut to the length of mummy's tummy, a fun, quick and probably not the best way to start the day, especially with mommy already in stress about how fat she looks. We then had Baby Pictionary (drawing out baby words for the team to guess such as diaper, projectile vomiting <-- sister's idea), Baby Trivia that we projected onto the wall, followed with an extremely fun Guess the Baby Celebrity game where we projected pictures of celebrities when they were kids and then each team had to guess who that famous person was. I think everyone was dumbfounded when we put a photo of young Maryln Manson. Next was a game for all the artists there, to design a onesie for baby peanut.

I guess most of them caught the peanut fever, but aren't they so adorable, a lovely keepsake for sure!

Our last game was a challenge, the Ultimate Mommy Challenge obstacle race, one hell of an adrenaline-rush game. Contents: a baby, a bucket, a piece of rope, a diaper, a bottle and a onesie, and a paper tucked in the bottle containing a cherades clue to act out. Long story short, some of those girls have game, so competitive and they sure can run in heels!

 Baby Jeremy in the Ultimate Mommy Challenge

All in all, it was an amazing day with lots of laughter fun, games and peanuts! One table actually finished most of the peanuts in the jar from their table haha. But oh how my poor feet ached, one 90mins massage was certainly what my body was begging for.

pretty wrapped presents for the winners

 Cake pops for giveaways. Don't mind my scribbled writing, I had less than 1second to get this done before the guests arrived

Update: On June 18th, the most gorgeous baby girl was born. We had just travelled 2 days before so I had to wait a whole month before I saw this little princess.

Friday, August 05, 2011

UAE Chronicled; A street's Tale {St. 24}

One of the other projects that I was working on before the summer back in May, was a graphically designed set of notebooks aimed to revisualise the country's urban sprawls. That's right, going to back my design roots, I collaborated with my colleague Bushra on creating a collection of products under the series 'UAE Chronicled'.

As I designer, I found that urban spaces and their experiences are an interesting and yet practical subject matter to represent. The project's first phase is dedicated to documenting Al Satwa, Dubai. One of the bustling areas of Dubai, Al Satwa is a far cry from Dubai's glitzy lifestyle, a community comprising of high density retail outlets; of fabric stores, tailors, cafeteria's and furniture shops.

The process of it all, hours under the scorching sun taking snapshots of every single detail in and around Satwa.

Intricately designed doors in bursting colors around Satwa

Blaring neon signs from every shop and store

Rundown sofa's on the sidewalk of houses

created an icon to use as a pattern for 'Satwa'. Our inspiration; the doors

Satwa is a very convenient area in Dubai, it hosts a large array of products and services. There is actually very little that you wouldn't be able to find in Satwa, yet there are no directories or maps of the area. A Street's Tale; Street 24 is a range of notebook designs depicting a visual narrative of Al Satwa, and most importantly incorporates a colour coded directory of the retail spaces. Al Satwa is basically one long curved street (Street 24) with rows of narrow buildings on either side, small shops and stores tucked around every corner.

So anyone in Dubai looking for some polka dot fabrics or hidden gems, head on to The Ara Gallery, email or comment to purchase a notebook for yourself. Believe me, once your in Satwa, the chaotic of it all can really get to you (so will our Sun), so having a directory will do wonders in getting you around. Here's a few pictures from the launch and the notebooks at The Ara Gallery.

Check out our blog and follow @UAEChronicled for updates on the project and upcoming products. Would love to hear your comments or any thoughts you have.
Have a great day, and Ramadan Kareem to all. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bits & Bobs

It's been a week now and there are still traces of my holiday scattered across the room. I tend to get a bit distracted when it comes to unpacking, rearranging and cleaning out my whole wardrobe. Most of the time I do it in steps; create huge piles on the floor, take a break, sift through one of the piles for a few minutes, take another break, stare at the mountain of things accumulating ontop of the bed and magically wish they would disappear to their right places.  It's pretty exhausting I tell you, my system that is, but I've come to terms with it.
Though I'm sure if I had these pretty items from Present & Correct to organise my random collections and my day.

for all things small and button-y

Office in a jar; I wish I could fit everything I need inside a jar as compact as this

The travel envelope; the perfect accessory to carry all your loose papers

If only all the random objects lying around would magically compose itself to this beautiful artpiece

images via; Present & Correct

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer time

So I'm packing my too-small-to-fit-everything-but-damn-this-is-one-heavy suitcase, and I thought I needed a break from all that folding and rolling, so I decided to pop in a bit for a post. Yes, summer is here and that only means one thing. Travelling. My other love besides eating, daydreaming, designing, sleeping...

So on the subject of travelling, here are some typographic logotypes for the destinations I will be jetting off to in 24 hours. Have a great summer.

Fine dining and extremely fine shopping.. in New York, New York!

All ready to hit Miami, the Carribean & Florida with my sunblock & sunnies

Cambridge is close to London yeah? I was never good at Geography

And Part 2 of last post's story will be coming up after the break :)

Images via:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Art in the City

I held off writing about this until everything was in picture perfect place. And now that I'm sitting here with my legs perfectly cosied up on the worktable and my sleeping patterns in tact, it's time to unveil what I have been designing, planning and cooped up in my studio for endless hours on this last month. May certainly did take its time to pass, but I'm not complaining, when you have a deadline you always beg for a few extra hours in the day.

There are two parts to this story (sounds intriguing, doesn't it :P). Ok, let me just get on with it then. As a graphic designer, I have always still loved to produce artworks. Get that canvas out and start splashing wildly away. I wish. I'm more of a detailed person, very micro in my works. While in university, I had taken a printmaking course, and I had started working on creating artworks on a theme around the old area of Dubai, Bastakiya, where my grandparents had lived. Back then, with no AC's (and living in a desert you can imagine how hot it can get), I was fascinated about how they used to live; in summer time when it would get hot, they would hoist up their mattresses and sleep on the rooftops. Their windtower houses, a funcionally built architecture that would capture the wind through the narrow slits in the box-like structure, and drive it within, cooling the interior and its inhabitants.

After university, I had always wanted to continue working on this theme, and I saw my chance when The Ara Gallery posted a call for an Emirati artist exhibition representing the UAE from their perspective. And here I am now, 2 weeks after the launch of the exhibition, breathing a sigh of relief and delight as my artworks have finally come to life on paper.

"Once upon a time" a reflection of Bastakiya's Windtower houses

a detailed look; the arabic type inteprets to 'once upon a time'

"Across the times" their means of living, on board Dhows and Abra's

"Endless Strides" their means of transport, across the harsh sandy dunes

"A moment" a blurred memory, captured to be preserved

Another Emirati artist exhibiting her artworks was Aljoud Lootah, the designer behind the successful fashion brand Niftee ( I really loved her works, depicting elements from the Emirati traditional gold jewellery blended with Arabic calligraphy to create a piece of art.