Monday, 18 April 2011

1200 fans, we celebrate Hijabi style... with a touch of chocolate.

So Alhamdulillah! We are celebrating Firefly's 1200 fans today. :) To spread more smiles with the Firefly family, I'm giving out Hayaati Hijabi's Smile Sunshine keychains inshaAllah this weekend :) The lucky 12 were the first ones who managed to leave a comment on the post. :p How random. Right? :D I shall have those cutie keychains by the end of this week and I hope to dispatch them as soon as I do. I'm so excited. I've had a really awesome response on Hayaati Hijabi. My mum's in love with her. Given that she's a Cutieble version of my little sister. *too adorable MashaAllah* see... there goes Firefly's inspiration from life.

I have been working on my Research Document.. my Dissertation. It's based on the lack of local icons for children's textiles. And funny enough, I came across my own folk print for children's pj's... done 2 years ago. :) Praying to finish writing soon. Need to sleep and work out some sketches for Mini thesis as well. It seems so funny when everything is all vague and direction-less. Hayee. Direction come soon na. *note to self, email printer uncle today's orders*

Every day I tell myself that I will not splurge. And I tend to do the exact opposite. I think I turn to all the meetha and comfort food to make myself at ease when I have a lot of work at hand. To top it, I procrastinate my visions for exercise. :D Who else is with me?! 

Okay, so Neeners will be my support system now, as we both plan to enjoy veggies and fruits for a couple of days. Go us! :D *crosses fingers while looking at packet of Hershey's kisses* I'm not having any. Promise. *makes sad face*

Self Control is the Key to success (either to an empty, sweet deprived stomach, OR to a very very transformed you at the end of the year) I pick the latter. :) We can do it!

I had someone order this as a magnet a couple of weeks ago. It took me a really long time to decipher what it meant. Then it hit me:

It's for all those moments when you ask yourself, should I go for the Kaddu and shed a few pounds, or should I opt for the Nutella and experience chocolate bliss with maybe some banana on toast. Hehe. 

Saturday, 16 April 2011

A tribute in honor of Firefly's First!

As most of you recall.. or wonder.. or noticed.. Firefly turned ONE on the 25th of March. And well, since I wasn't home for the festivities, I delayed the celebrations. :)

Now that things are slightly settled, I'd like to get back to all of you who were anticipating and wondering what I had in store for Firefly's First Birthday Draw/Contest. I read through everybody's ideas for characters and doodled them out.. including a Smurfette Sue, a caterpillar, a yellow FLY... 

What clicked to me most, was the character put forward by Sadaf Hansraj-Sabir. *waves, Hey Sadaf!* Why not? There are so many doodles in the Firefly collection, I figured I really should introduce a new hijabi cutie for Firefly family and friends. :) So here she is. looking at her reminds me of my little sister the days she likes dressing up. I suppose we could call her Hayaati ;) The name implying, 'life'. Goes perfectly with Firefly's story of life now doesn't it?

So, Sadaf. Thank you for that little inspiration which encouraged me to represent a young muslim girl... woman... who enjoys humor, has brains and bright ideas, whimsical dreams, alongside faith and ambitions for a creative future.. InshaAllah!

*cricket sound* That's not all! Guys, waitttt... 
Sadaf gets a notebook featuring Firefly's newest character along with three keychains featuring the same with personalized text. As well as a bookmark. :) Hope that adds sparkles to your day! Lots of Firefly love. 

Everyone else who took time to participate in the survey gets goodies too! All participants get a keychain of their choice from any of the available designs at Firefly :D ain't that neat? 

So all of those with their names mentioned below, leave a comment on this blog post with the keychain 
selection of your choice & email me your postal addresses with 'survey participant' in the subject line. :D

Ayesha Baig 
Sanum Shaikh
Sanna Hussain
Urouge Raza
Sadaf Noman
Fazli Azeem
Kiran Ali
Zareen Ahmed
Mehr Azeem
Mariam Mamsa
Manaal Memon
Sadaf Hansraj-Sabir
Yumna Ahmed
Nida Fatima

The ideas you all put forward for products are awesome.. some of them a little crazier than others :p Some of them are already in the pipeline and will be launched as early as Summer inshaAllah! Firefly will be working out some of them a little at a time in the months to come. For the moment, hold tight as the Firefly girl needs to work out a 8000 word Dissertation as well as a Mini Thesis in order to graduate at the end of this year. (inshaAllah) :D I am positive that with support and duas from all of you out there, I will do great, and will do what I can to make Firefly the best it can be when it comes to spreading smiles and sharing those happy moments. :)


A milestone it has been. Over 1k fans on Facebook, with an increase everyday. A number of you are returning Firefly customers, and it means a lot to me. Several of you have even availed your loyalty cards 
more than once by saving up purchases. :D Firefly has spread smiles to cities outside Karachi... Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore... and has even surfaced joy abroad to Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Scotland, Australia, Canada, as well as across the United States. 

Firefly has exhibited with Ghazal Pirzada Creative Studios and Lumino-city at Port Grand, has participated at SAARC, and has put up a stall several times at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Firefly has collaborated with Firefly Photoworks at the WeldonMom's Chocolate Festival, too! It has doodled up Valentine craziness for Cupcake(s) by Cookie & Ensemble. It has designed for Kainaat Ensembles. It has put heart and soul into bookmarks for Literary Junction and has prepared keychains for Rahnuma and its projects. Firefly's goodies have landed in the hands of Strings as well as Bibi Russell all the way in Bangladesh. Firefly has been mentioned in DAWN's PGAG's online news story as well as The Daily Messenger. Firefly will be featured in the new youth magazine, Blah next month inshaAllah. What an awesome birthday gift for me :D Alhamdulillah!

Allah Kareem, all the success and all the blessings my life contains are your favor and generosity upon me. My biggest support is my family. Mama, for always being patient to our trips to the printer's. My Baba who constantly smiles at my ideas. My Mr Awesome, who's given me more and more encouragement, and tons of butterflies and sparkles. Alhamdulillah! My Papa, who gets excited about the little news clippings and of course, Mom, who believes in all the possibilities of me seeing the world and making the most of my talent. My brother, my partner in crime, Neeners, *waves* it's awesome having you help me out 24/7. My aunt and uncle, who drop in at odd hours to help me put together inventory. My little sister gives me new inspiration all the time. My unbiological sister, who tells me she's proud of me. My friends, who keep that Firefly spark glowing. I cannot forget Printer Uncle, Rauf Sahab, who is the best-est person around, who gives me enough 
morale boost to chuck out ideas round the clock and is the most cooperative and patient person ever.

MashaAllah... MashaAllah... MashaAllah...

Thank you everyone. For always being super supportive and always giving ME reasons to smile at the end of the day.

I am working out a 'faith' series... as well as some fun stuff to add to the crazy college humor as well as Indusanity. I have a splurge of ideas but right now studies are a first. :) 

Much Love,
Smile Sunshine. 

Monday, 11 April 2011

Firefly meets Ms Russell

So, a couple of weeks back, I'm sure everyone read the mad posts and comments on the Quarter Final in Bangladesh. I just wanted to let out a couple of disclaimers. :D

a) I'm not a die hard cricket person, BUT I really felt the essence and charm of the match, watching it live in  Mirpur Stadium against the West Indies!

b) I did not go to Bangladesh for the match, I went to study textiles and craft traditions.

Apart from getting published in the Bengali Newspaper and being on Live Tv for a few matters of a second, I had the  time of my life drooling over Naqshi Kantha, the running stitch of Bengal and seeing the beautiful natural dies, and pseudo Batik-Wax Resist printing. Everything I have read about in the collection of books sitting on my study shelf, came to life before me. It was precious. I learned so much. Watching the Jamdani weavers in Tangail was epic... well so were the people themselves. Remind me to post about their taboos some other time. :p *hint hint... disturbing imagery* Sonargaon was interesting. Slightly freaky with all the idols.. but the boat ride was bliss.

Anyhow, we had the honor of being welcomed at the mansion of the Komudini Foundation, we had a morning demonstration with natural dyes at Aranya Craft Center under the supervision of THE WOMAN herself, Ruby Ghaznavi. I bought her book and got her to write in it too. *gets all giddy* We were given a full tour of the Aisha Abid Foundation. Their set up is massive. What is more pleasing to know and witness for ourselves is the workforce. It is 80 + per cent women! Women screen print, dye, stitch, block and so much more. Their block library was out of this world, too. Thousands and thousands of blocks! God, I just wanted to bring some home. Aisha Abid Foundation has it's flagship Aarong. Pronounced Aa-RUNG. Which no one seemed to pronounce, even after we gave our Salaam to it almost everyday. Literally.

We went to see the  Bangladesh Institute of Textiles, was that the name? *thinks* This place was like walking into a historical museum, their equipment and facilities were awesome! BUT.. they needed to hire housekeeping. That place wasn't dusted since the partition I tell you! Anyhow, they treated us to patties, apples and tea.. AFTER serving themselves. We all slid the apple into our bags to make it look like we ate. :D

The reason this post has made it's long entry here is actually Bibi Russell. Everyone talks about her as THE model from Bangladesh for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and what not... but that's not the point! What she is today, is nothing any of us could dream up or imagine. She is the  Designer for Development, a part of the UN, she has so many mentions and honors to her name and humble personality, it's striking! She isn't at all boastful. Nor is she what you would expect to see in a designer with a name as grand as hers. Bless her, she's given all that she has for the crafts people. She works with ethnic identity. And simple traditions of Bengal. She's doing some amazing things. And May Allah Kareem give her even more to take forward the dream she's dedicated her life to.

When we met with Bibi Russell, we went to her office... or rather studio. It was totally funky! It's walls were covered with clippings and photographs along with little handicrafts from all over the globe. We all sat with fascinated faces and mesmerized vision. She was enthralling. She was really hospitable too, we had these local samosa thingies. Well.. most of us had at least 4. :P They were tempting. She was so easy to talk to. We could ask her anything. I'll post her responses in another post very soon :)  Her outlet had some kick arse accessories featuring Rikshaw Art local to Bangladesh :)

Before leaving, she gave us her cards, and we can write to her and everything! She even gave us little messages in our sketchbooks. I couldn't leave without giving her something... so I left a bit of the Firefly with her. :) That's a part of my dream.. My Firefly.

There's so much to see in this world. I wonder if I'd get to. It'd be so cool to travel. My brother teases me, saying he can so see me backpacking through Europe. :P I should start saving now. :) inshaAllah!


I forgot to mention! Bibi Russell loved the magnet! She said it was beautiful :D


Thank you Mercury!

I know this may sound utterly absurd, but the recent delays and miscommunication are all your fault Mercury. If you hadn't gone to sleep for a good month, I might not be having the tough situation I am at the moment with my illustrator files and keychains. *sighs*

I suppose I'll do a little at a time and refix the design formats on illustrator. Ooooh, this means I should REALLY start releasing my new doodles. *looks at pile of pending scanned doodles* Alhamdulillah, things could have been worse! OHMG.. yeaah..

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Dear Sir.

Yesterday was anticipated to be a very very big day for me. Given, I was going to exhibit my Firefly dream at SAARC. I had stayed up late for days and put together things. I even worked out the collages I did for my minor with you as keychains. I had planned to come by and give them to you as gifts since you always  appreciated them, and you had given me encouragement to put forward my 'digital' prints.

I was at the mela, and the news came. I didn't know what to think at first. It was one of those situations where I couldn't sit in a corner and cry, nor could I go back a day and come talk to you with Maria about Mazaar Bazaar. We were working so hard on getting things sorted for the Bahaaron ka Mela. It was insane. 

I spoke to Ms Darr. I spoke to members of the council. I seriously didn't know for a while, what we would become or be... what we should do or not do. And I certainly did not know how I would welcome my mini thesis without your presence in the Print Making Studio. Remember? We talked about children's books. And why I'd want to work on them. After having one proposal rejected on Friday, I had thought of the books again, and how I'd apply what I learnt with you. 

In the blur of emotions, immense pressure from surroundings, and more clearly... a plea for patience... I held it in. Everything. Because I remembered the day I cam late to studio, because of low blood pressure. I know you were upset. But you very humorously told me... 

"Zindagi mein masle tu chalte rehte hain. Insaan guzar bhi jaata hai, uski zindagi khatam hojati laikin masle tu chalte rehte hain. Masle hi masle hain."

Sir, with that in mind, I couldn't back out of everything we had set out to do Yesterday. I stayed at SAARC and then came to Indus. Seeing all the flowers, I went back to my minor. Everything pretty. Everything  beautiful, that was my concept. Remember? 

I bought a digital print yesterday, it had a fish. You always worked on fish in your studio in between the time you had with your guests and green tea. That time we tricked Anamta... we all laughed so much, til we nearly cried because of how funny it was! And your collection of lawn prints... Iman Ali would've been your brand ambassador. You used to swoon over all the pretty papers and scrapbooking supplies. You appreciated all the little things... that we'd probably never think of. I can't forget the adorable 'art' masterpieces by your children up in your office. The stories you'd tell us about them. Those times you'd ask our opinion on your prints, or the excitement you'd show when the soft ground turned out successful. Sir it meant a lot, you valued our words. Our feedback. 

I felt so at home in print making. There was always freedom to explore and experiment, and after your critiques, even more freedom to explore and experiment... and those not so successful experiments led to the work I produced at the end. My six panel-prints will always be very special to me. Whatever I've learned in your company has been immeasurable. The time I have spent in your studio has been priceless. 

Sir, it's funny na... things that make you laugh or smile so much, can also be the things that make you sad. You have been a great mentor. And all your optimism has made tough days awesome. It was a little difficult understanding the splurge of ideas we'd have from you everyday. At that time it seemed like you wanted something changed. Not because you did, but because you wanted us to try out endless possibilities. I've been unnerved and stressed... but my work's always surfaced my struggle and success. For that I am grateful. For that I can never forget what you've taught me. Your patience with me was commendable, and your encouragement has pushed me to work as much as I have.

I feel it's a little late to apologize again for coming late to class that day, but I believe Allah Kareem writes stories with reason. I received your message very well in advance to be prepared for yesterday.

Masle tu Chalte rehte haina? We learn to be stronger with them, we learn to work around them, and we learn to better ourselves with them.

Your Student

For all you've taught me, for all that you inspired me to do. For all that I never understood, to all that I understand now. May Allah Kareem make the road thereon easy, and let us not forget to remember... life's lessons. To Him we belong, and to Him is our return.

Inna Lilla Wainna Ilaihe Rajioon.

In Memory of Usman Ghouri. Artist. Print Maker. 

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