Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ayyam i Ha Party #1

Happy Ayyam i Ha to everyone

Our community had the first of two Ayyam i Ha parties last night, and Tawa and Sam laid on a tremendous spread, which was supplemented by “pot-luck” items for the rest of the guests.
We had a wonderful time with food, fellowship, fun and of course a craft.
We made the flowers from an earlier post, with the addition of a Happy Ayyam I Ha sign, which was made using a stamp purchased from “Our Town Papers” at the Bluebonnet conference. (They sold out of them very early – I wonder why?)
This was the first time we had used this craft at an event, and it proved to be just right in complexity. It is not too complex to intimidate the non-crafter, and the time required is just right to fit into a study circle. Let us know how it works out for you.
Also I discovered this great idea for an Ayyam I Ha, advent style banner, check it out at:
So without further ado here are the pictures.
Happy Ayyam i Ha from Tyauvin On
In case you are wondering about the tooth brush and the paper towel, I had just finished cleaning the ink off the stamp when Juliet snapped the picture.
Kerri admires the card her daughter made for her
The crafting table
Karaoke from Linda and our hostess Tawa
Mrs. Nosrat and Tahereh
The excitement was just too much for Afsaneh and Rob

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Bluebonnet Conference

We are just back from the 14th annual Texas Baha'i Bluebonnet Conference, (February 18th – 20th), which featured former member of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Hooper Dunbar, as the keynote speaker. The theme of the conference this year was “Immortality and the Human Spirit”. Details of the conference are available at, where you can purchase CD/DVDs from previous conferences.
I understand that this year’s conference will be available on CD/DVD for those who were unable to attend, or simply need to review this weighty subject again, so I will not detail the main program, which is outlined at the link above.
As well as the awesome program these events are always an opportunity to meet and socialize with friends old and new.

This was the first time that we publicized the Ruhi Crafts Blog, and we shared a table with Juliet’s Divine Stars. I had been travelling all week and Juliet offered to make the sign for the display. I had intended to produce an graphic, and print it out, but Juliet made this fantastic sign, incorporating crafts, crafting tools and materials, I am sure you will agree it is vastly superior to a simple printout. You will recognize a few crafts from earlier posts on the display board.

We spoke with anyone who would listen about Ruhi and the arts, and I hope have encouraged folks to contribute, or at lease participate in discussion. We handed out cards and hope to see an increase in collaboration in the next few months.
As well as the wonderful talks and the evening’s entertainment, there were a number of vendors many of whom were artists or craftsmen.

We were beside old friends Marie and Dan Caldwell’s, “My Town Papers “ table.
Visit their site at: for a great selection of stickers, innovative photo albums and just a score of great “scrapbooking type” materials for both Bahá’í and general purposes.

Our old friends the Nossas were also there with a table selling Jorge’s beautiful jewelry, which you can find on Etsy.
It was wonderful to spend time with them. Susan had introduced us to the institute process, and the Ruhi Craft blog owes much to Susan’s love and encouragement, as we went through the sequence of courses. Susan commented on the display, that this had grown from the single mind-map I had made during our Book 2 study circle. So it just shows what can come from the nurturing atmosphere of the study circle. Their son Pablo, who was also there with his wife Bita, was the ONLY tutor for our oldest son.
I bought Juliet this lovely ring symbol necklace.

Next to the Nossas was Sabrina Laumer’s display of arts, ranging from paintings, tile magnets, to prayer beads. You can see more of her work at

We had met the wife and husband team, Gigi Alford and Anis Mungapen, who created the book “Hasten Forth”, when we attended the Louisiana Bahá’í School, and it was a pleasure to meet Gigi again at the Bluebonnet Conference.
At first glance this is another pretty coffee table book, but one soon realizes it is much, much more than that. The first clue is the fact that the Forward is written by Mr. Kiser Barnes, but as one progresses through the book the blend of pictures and quotations from the Bahá’í writings tell the story of the Faith and the lives of the central figures.
The idea of the book is to stimulate discussion and interest in the core activities, as an aid to teaching, and a call to action. It’s a superb example of harnessing the creative spirit.

Here is what the creators say:

“All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit,” are the worlds of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. He describes the station of the arts in the youngest of the great world religions. “These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God.”
Showing forth God’s praise was the motivation to undertake this project. The creators of the book hope that the pages herein may provide, in their own small way, not merely a narrative, but also meditation; not only a companion for exploring the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, but actually inspire and incite to action.

Well that is it from an action packed Bluebonnet conference, I hope this post has given those who were unable to be there a flavour of the event, and acts as a pleasant reminder for those who were. Also I hope it helps stimulate the artist in you to get involved.
Remember you will be able to buy CD/DVDs of the conference, and if you can, please support the artists.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Featherston Bahá'í Children's Class

We were off to the Bluebonnet conference this weekend and will provide a report in the next post.
However I wanted to share a post from a childrens class blog, in New Zealand, which I read this weekend. The subject is the same as an earlier post on this blog but it just shows the infinite variety of ways we can use the arts to illustrate a virtue or a quote.
It is wonderful to share ideas and to see how things are done on the other side of the world. But also to see how similar we all are and how we are striving for the same ends
Great job Leyla.
NOTE: The general link to this blog is on the right hand column.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Art + Soul

“All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit” (See full quotation on side panel), is unsurprising in a Bahá’í context, but imagine my surprise when reading the current issue of PMI Network, (a publication of the Project Management Institute), I saw an article entitled “Art + Soul”.
This was a piece by Emily Wray about the “Children’s Art Village”, a charity founded by Ms. Mai Q. Lai, in 2007.
The Children’s Art Village supports art & music programs in Ghana and India which currently reach over 2,000 children. The organization works in collaboration with local schools to provide children, who are suffering from trauma and abandonment, access to art and music programs, with the aim to facilitate healing and a return them to normal childhood things. The mission statement on their website succinctly defines their aims.
MISSION STATEMENT: At the Children's Art Village our vision is to connect children to themselves and to their creative spirits through art. Our focus is to use art & music as mediums of expression to initiate the process of healing for children who have been abandoned. We promote and support creating and maintaining sustainable art & music programs in each of the different locations around the world where we work.
For more details visit the website at:
As I was preparing this post a friend Neyssan Moshref posted a link to a 2006 TED talk given by Ken Robinson, arguing that schools are killing creativity by suppressing the arts, and relegating them to a subsidiary role.
You can listen to the talk at:

It is refreshing to see these examples of the use of the arts, and the positive effects possible for both the individual and society.
So please let’s follow the guidance and increase the core activities and their artistic elements. Please contact us if you want some ideas or to share what you are doing.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart...

Here is a simple craft for Valentine’s Day, based on the following Hidden Word

My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.
(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

The basic heart box is made by printing the template courtesy of the “Craftideas 4Kids site”
• Cut out the template
• Fold along the dotted line
• Glue where indicated
• And there you have a “heart box”

An alternative is to use the cereal box heart from the Ruhi Craft post on December 29th 2010.
Decorate the heart to suit
Create or use the following two pictures and cut out the “Pure - Kindly - and Radiant shapes, and place them inside the heart.

Now that we possess a PURE KINDLY and RADIANT heart, all we need to do is live up to it.
Happy Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Flowers of One Garden

The idea for this post started with a flower project by Amanda Formaro on the website below.
The construction details are include on the site so I will not repeat them.
Thank you Amanda for the inspiration.
I made some templates for the petals and leaves, but they were only half hearted. :) :)

I made the petals and leaves from marbled construction paper, cut into 80mm strips and then folded it in half. I then assembled as per the website and added, an extra touch with a heart and two small pom-poms.

This in itself can be a project for a children’s class with each child making a flower. (We did have this scheduled for last Sunday’s class but it had to be postponed due to illness.)

But Wait! There's More!
I was about to throw out an empty tissue box when I had the idea to make a garden, or at least a window box.

• Take the box and using wallpaper paste cover it with tissue paper

• Cut the tissue paper out of the opening leaving approximately a 4mm overlap.
• Cut a piece of card slightly larger than the hole

• I covered it with brown marbled construction paper to simulate soil
• Cut three slots slightly smaller than the flower stems (Craft sticks)

• Push the stems though about 5mm and hot glue in place

• Stuff the box with scrunched-up newspaper (or similar) to fill the space
• Slide the soil and flowers into the hole in the box and position. (Be gentle – I was too rough and damaged the box and had to do some repair work)
• Decorate box to suit and add an appropriate quote

NOTE: The right hand flower has a stem cut from cardboard; so if you do not have craft sticks, use cardboard.
This is probably more suitable for junior youth, but you could make a “box garden” to display the flowers from a children’s class. Or with Valentine’s Day the flowers would be a great gift for Moms. (Or Mums).

OK! So there you have a cheap and cheerful project for you classes – give it a go, and please let us have some feedback – did this work for you and what additions did you figure out.

Another HEART project coming for Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Of Pearls, Gems, and Shells

In this post I want to share another craft from the recent Book 8, however this craft is also ideal for children’s classes and other study circles.

• Large Craft Sticks (Wooden tongue depressors)
• Shells
• Glass Gems
• Imitation pearls
• Magnets
• Quotes
• Stickers
• White glue
• Glue Sticks
Print the chosen quotations, on a sheet of paper, make the size and layout to suit the size of tongue depressor you have. You can also write the quotes on with markers.
In this case we used the following for the Book 8 craft:
"The rise and establishment of this Administrative Order - the shell that shields and enshrines so precious a gem - constitutes the hall-mark of this second and formative age of the Bahá'í era.
(Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN)

For the children’s class we used:
O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.
(Compilations, Baha'i Prayers, p. 35)

Aigerim and Quddus

• Take the craft stick, cut the quotation to size, and using the glue stick mount it in place.
• Select a shell and using the white glue mount on the end of the craft stick.
• Select a gem or pearl and glue inside the shell.
• Decorate with stickers or crayons as desired.
• Using the rubber cement glue a suitable magnet to the back of the completed project.
• Set aside to allow the glue to set.
We're Done - Juliet and Aigerim

Gab didn’t exactly follow instructions, but his little man was great fun
Frugal Finds.
• If you are looking for ways to keep down the costs, you can cut-out the “craft sticks from cardboard. You can get a lot from a cereal box. (The Cereal crafter strikes again)
• If you live near the beach you can collect the shells. Indeed this would be a great outing for your class/study circle.

Aberdeen Beach
• In many places companies hand out fridge magnets to advertise their product or company. These are free and can be cut up and used for this and other projects.