Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘jewelry’

How She Does It: Ifrah Shahid Khurram

IMG-20181026-WA0009Today I’m delighted to introduce you to Pakistani mother artist and amazing jewelry designer Ifrah Shahid Khurram, currently residing in Canada. Ifrah has been featured in She Canada as a she-preneur of the month. Lets have a chat with the designer and explore the ebb and flow of her success story!

Hi Ifrah! Please tell us about yourself, your work, and your family.
Hello dear moms! I’m a busy mom of two beautiful girls, ages 9 and 5. I’m a home economics graduate and run the jewelry design business American Diamonds in Ontario, Canada. I love to play with colors and shapes to create and customize pieces. Today we are one of the best jewelry brands serving the Pakistani and Indian communities in Canada, featuring formal and bespoke bridal jewelry.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I belong to a typical Pakistani family, where dad wants you to be a doctor and mom wants you to learn cooking. So naturally I imagined myself as a doctor. But in my spare time I would find myself painting or hunched over some craft project I had either picked up from kids time on TV or created on my own. I even used to split my earrings into pieces to create more originative ornaments.

diamondsWhen did you explore yourself as an artist?
While I was super crafty throughout my childhood, I viewed at my creativity as a hobby and never thought of it as a career. Just after I moved to Canada, three years into my marriage and after my first child was born, I went into a career in the retail sector. To be honest I enjoyed in retail. I excelled and was content.

But life took a small turn after we had our second daughter. Initially, I took maternity leave, thinking I’d go back to work after things settled down. But with each passing day, my confusion about whether to leave my kids behind for work on days when my husband was home or drop them at day care when we were both at work — or quitting work and staying at home — multiplied. Eventually, I chose to stay at home and give my daughters the best early years.

Honestly, it wasn’t easy. I had been quite ambitious and focused throughout my career. While living far from my family of origin and not having any sort of domestic help, raising kids and fulfilling household responsibilities was a tough row to hoe.

IMG-20181026-WA0000-COLLAGEI found some time to myself when our older daughter started school. During those hours I explored various ways to stay busy other than housework. I was in search of a career that would allow me to look after my kids at the same time. My love for creativity and crafting jewelry returned when I helped a friend market her jewelry. It was challenging. With Almighty Allah’s help and my husband’s constant support and encouragement, we faced deadlocks and losses but persevered.

How has being a mom affected you as an artist?
I often found myself at sixes and sevens when I had both kids and work to take care of. Time and again I felt guilt-ridden and frustrated by work pressure and household responsibilities. I thought of quitting multiple times. During the transition my husband supported me to the fullest, showing me the brighter side of every negative thought that popped into my head. Gradually, the kids and I settled into a routine. I dedicated my unclaimed hours to work, which were mostly after putting kids to bed. I learned to manage time, home, and kids together.

My little one has seen me working since the day she started recognizing me as her mom, so she’s pretty comfortable with my work schedule, and I’m happy with it. With the grace of Almighty Allah, our perseverance has helped achieve some of our goals, but there is still a long way to go, InshaAllah!


What keeps you inspired to create every day?
Being a designer, I’m inspired about the stuff around me. The weather, a flower, a piece of cloth, an animal, or even food can click an idea. I’m also in love with Pakistani fashion and look for inspiration in the latest trends and designs.

aa05dbbf2391a5d5bb5344f91cfd6be3d2f0af8f_111Which part of the day makes you feel most energetic and creatively driven?
I love it when I see a customer proudly wearing a piece of our jewelry with a smile on her face. The unique sense of achievement and satisfaction that comes with being an entrepreneur greatly surpasses all the challenges that come with it.

How do you think your struggle and success as a mom would influence your kids?
I haven’t gone to a single exhibition without taking my kids along. I believe parents’ hardships and success make an everlasting impression on kids. Watching their parents struggle and ultimately succeed help them follow their own dreams. They learn to cope with disappointments and hardships. At present, my daughters want to be jewelry designers like their mom, and the feeling is absolutely out-of-this-world.


What is one strength that helped you make your mark?
One strength I always count on is my ability to get along well with others. My easy-going temperament and service orientation have helped me succeed.

What is your key to staying positive in challenging situations?
Challenges are inevitable. We have to face them no matter which field we work in. I’ve learned that while facing a challenge, remember to take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, dream big, believe in yourself, and put forth your best efforts into achieving your desired goals.


Tell us about your latest project.
Currently I am working on our SS19 bridal collection. My inspiration behind it is a “perfect bride.” To me, the perfect bride is someone who carries herself with a positive self-image. I want to design sparkling jewels that celebrate not only the big day, but the bride herself.

Who are your favorite artists/designers?
Some of the designers I’m highly inspired by are Art by Misbah, Shafaq Habib, and Deeya.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I envision having a storefront in Canada and expanding our delivery services worldwide, as currently we cater only to clients in Canada and the US.

Any advice for aspiring mom artists who might be on the verge of giving up?
The key to being who you want to be is consistency. While you’re busy working on your dream, stumbling blocks may delay what you’ve given your blood, sweat, and tears to. This phenomenon is natural. Be determined. Consistency will turn the tide in your favor.


Christine: The Crooked Path of Creativity

I’m Christine. My path in the creative life is, like most, not very straight.

I have been a trained, professional dancer, and am now a trained, professional speech pathologist.

I used to only view my creativity in terms of my physical and emotional ability to respond to music and choreography, but now I see that my gifts extend far beyond what I could do as a dancer, to encompass all the things I can do with my hands and my mind.

Right now, the majority of my work is in artisan jewelry, but the essence of my soul is one of a teacher and a student. I truly love any creative work I can do with my hands — fabric and metals and glass are my main media at this time. The physicality of swinging a hammer to forge copper, the intense concentration over a flame and melting rod of glass, the feel of textiles that I shape into three-dimensional objects feed my soul and fire up my life. There is really no art or craft I don’t want to try.

I am the lucky mother of three beautiful children — intense creations in their own rights. My eldest daughter is thirteen, my middle daughter is five and a half, and my son is three (“and a half, Mommy!”). When my son was born, I left full-time clinical practice to be home with my children. The creative work I do is not required to maintain our standard of living, and the professional work I do part-time (which does maintain our lives) can be done by telecommuting, by working off-hours, and by setting my own schedule. So, technically, I suppose, I am somewhat of a stay-at-home AND work-at-home mother.

Navigating the work, the household responsibilities, my children and their needs, and my own desire (NEED) for time to create is often exhausting on many levels. I admit to feeling a significant amount of stress whenever I considered ALL that I had to do or was responsible for in the course of a day. I often felt like I was running out of time, or that I needed to accomplish EVERYthing EVERY day. Read more

4/29 Weekly Creativity Challenge and New Prompt

Only two entries for our April Showers prompt, and with them comes a welcome back and a congrats to this week’s winner Dale Meister for her lovely necklace, pictured below.  Dale writes: “I have created a necklace inspired by the ‘april showers’ prompt.  I know this isn’t exactly the usual media you get at your blog. I hope this is okay. This is my second time participating, after following the ‘little black dress’ prompt a while back.”  And we’re happy to have any media Dale! 


From me (Kelly): a photo entitled “Marion County Roadside”.  I took this shot last year about this time on the way home from a meeting in Tampa.  I’ve always wavered back and forth between wanting to live my life on the river and wanting to live my life on a horse farm in Ocala.  Some of the most beautiful property in all of Florida is along U.S. 301/441 in Marion County horse country.  I loved how this view captured the rain on the left and the sun on the right at the same time. 


This week’s prompt: “May flowers” (did you see that one coming?)
Use the prompt however you like – literally, or a tangential theme. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to by 10:00 p.m. eastern time (GMT -5) on Tuesday, May 5, 2009.  Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly challenge, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) All submissions are acknowledged when received; if you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt within 24 hours, please post a comment here. Remember, the point is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.

2/25 Weekly creativity contest winner & new prompt

Ah, the eyes have it! Lovely submissions for this week’s creativity contest. Our winner is Elizabeth Beck, for this beautiful collage. Elizabeth writes: “i just finished this collage this week …. and intentionally left out the eyes …. to leave it all more ambiguous and mysterious ….. so … for my eyes entry, i give you no eyes!” (I just love your work, Elizabeth, and I’m anxious to try my hand at collage with the SIX BOXES of potential collage materials I gathered up while packing for my move.) Congratulations, Elizabeth — your $10 gift certificate has been issued.



From Karen Winters, a watercolor painting. Karen writes: “I have always admired the way Egyptian women were portrayed in sculpture and painting, so I decided to do a closeup watercolor just featuring the eyes of an exotic beauty. Unlike the ancient paintings that were very stylized and graphic-looking, I chose to represent the eyes in a more realistic manner. The kohl that Egyptian women and men used for distinctive outlining served more than a decorative purpose. Originally made from the soot derived from burning sandalwood paste, kohl served as a medicinal aid and protection against strong sun. Modern preparations may contain lead, so caveat emptor.”



From Jen Johnson, a poem. Jen writes: “My submission is a quick little poem dashed off during naptime (because that’s all the time I had this week!) based on something I seem to remember reading somewhere a long time ago. Your prompt reminded me of it — not sure if it’s scientific fact or not (and a quick google search with the kids in my lap can’t confirm it) but I like the idea anyway.”


They say that the dark side of the moon,
The side blind to human eyes,
Has a gigantic crater, so big it could be seen
With ease from our own Earth —

If ever we could see what can’t be seen.
It would look like an enormous lunar eye,
Peering down at us each night.
The huge hole a dark iris, pale moondust sclera.

What myths would have been made,
What stories spun, what gods imagined,
If each night we looked up to see
A changeable gaze staring down from the sky?


From Rebecca Coll, a painting that she created this week as a gift to her husband on their anniversary. Rebecca writes: “I stretched the theme of ‘eye’ to include how we use it and experimented with the whole optical illusion thing. I figured after 19 years a marriage is about so much more than you can see on the surface. It’s about who we are and the love we have shared. To show this I painted a tree (growth, stability, branches for our independent passions, etc.) using both of our profiles to create the trunk. Then, up in the tree I added 19 hearts for the 19 years… Can you see them all?”



From Kelly Warren: “Pure goofiness…the eyes are two of my evil eye pendants.  I’d say this is me after one too many margaritas.” Love it, Kelly!



From Cathy Coley, a poem:


My eldest son’s mossy deep forest green
glow in the sun and mute to wood.
They are the unusual eyes
of my grandfathers,
both of Carolina Cherokee blood.
I wander lost in those eyes
when they look at me.

At a powwow when he was three
a young Mohegan boy of eight
smiled and said,
‘He has the eyes of my tribe,
the eyes of the wolf.’

From boy to boy passed more
than a stick of rock candy.
This is his second early memory
after the red and licorice
ladybug birthday cake.
He has the eyes of a wolf.

My second son’s eyes kaleidoscope
from bright blue to green to slate.
My mostly Irish father’s eyes are aqua green,
Turn to crystal blue, even lavender.
My boys’ father’s Irish eyes switch, too —
Sky eyes clear blue to thunderclouds.
My young son’s eyes are big as the sky.
I can fall into them, and rarely swim back out.

My daughter’s eyes are deep,
clear, warm bullets,
black brown depths of her father and me.
My mother, my grandmother,
his father and generations
back into the hills and across the ocean.
The deep history of continents
collide in our daughter’s eyes —
founders, natives, immigrants,
brown as earth’s rich soil.

Histories upon peoples read
in our children’s eyes.


From me (Miranda): A header image that I several months ago — it’s one of my favorites. Naturally, I am enchanted by the eyes of all of my children, but I have to say that Liam (the youngest) has extra depth to his baby blues.



This week’s prompt: “Light”
Use the prompt however you like — literally, or a tangential theme. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to by 10:00 p.m. eastern time (GMT -5) on Tuesday, March 3, 2009. The winning entry receives a $10 gift certificate to Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly contest, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) All submissions are acknowledged when received; if you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt within 24 hours, please post a comment here. Remember, the point is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.

Breakfast with Lisa

Welcome to the second installment of our new weekly series, “Breakfast,” where we get to know an inspiring, creative mother from the blogosphere, and be treated to a visual peek into her creative space. Meet Lisa Leonard, a self-taught jewelry designer, blogger, and mother of two boys, ages 4 and 5. Lisa’s customized jewelry is fresh, inspired, and hard to resist. Hand-stamped sterling? Love it. (Hey, if I order the “tiny squares” necklace I’ve been drooling over, can I write that off as some kind of blog-related business expense?)

CC: Please introduce yourself!Lisa Leonard
LL: I am Lisa, most of all wife and mommy, but also a sister, daughter, and friend. I love to create things that are unique and special, something that will touch your heart.

CC: How did you become a jewelry maker? What else do you enjoy creatively?
I started my jewelry business after my first son was born. Over the last 5+ years it has changed in many ways. It has grown beyond my expectations, which has been so exciting and also a bit scary! My designs have also changed and evolved. I also love to take pictures, do crafts with my boys, and decorate.

CC: What inspired you to launch a blog?
My sister started blogging and it seemed like such a great outlet for creativity and keeping in touch with friends. I have been surprised how many new friends I have made through blogging and what a connection it has been.

lisa_spaceCC: Where do you do your creative work?
I work from home and it is certainly nothing fancy! I started the business so I could be close to my boys, so working from the kitchen table [click on photo for larger image] or kitchen counter make the most sense.

CC: What do you struggle with most?
Balance is always a challenge. I thought working from home would be perfect, but then I starting feeling pulled between the boys and the mountains of work to be done. After a major meltdown I realized I needed help. At first I thought about hiring a sitter, but that meant less time with the boys. So I hired someone to help with the business. It was hard to let go, but it has been great for my sanity and for the business.lisa_leonard_necklace

CC: Where do you find inspiration?
LL: I feel like inspiration hits me all the time! It can come from other artists, such as painters, seamstresses, or poets. It often comes from nature…shells, sand, blue sky, or trees. Sometimes it comes from random things like the light through a window or two colors next to each other.

CC: What are your top 5 favorite blogs?
LL: I love: Tara Whitney, Sarah Markley, SouleMama, Flip Flops and Applesauce, and Bling.

CC: What is your greatest indulgence?
Man, I love a good pedicure. I get a couple every month and it’s my guilty pleasure. I also love time with my girlfriends, watching movies, reading magazines, sitting in the sun, and a gooey chocolate chip cookie.

CC: If you were having coffee with a mother of young children who wanted desperately to fit more creativity into her life, what advice would you offer?
Have fun with it! Start small and let it grow. Find something you love and do it a little every day. Always think of ways to make it more yours and more unique.

CC: Thanks, Lisa!

%d bloggers like this: