Featured Zibbeter - ACraftyArab

Meet Koloud ‘Kay’ Tarapolsi, owner of A Crafty Arab and a Libyan American who creates art and crafts to promote a positive image of Arab culture.

She has been with Zibbet since 2009. You can find her on the Community Hub where she contributes to discussions. She is a proud member of a dozen Zibbet groups.

We are thrilled that Kay has chosen Zibbet to display her work. Please enjoy the interview, leave Kay a comment, and then use the Share tool so others can read it, too.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

    I’m a mom of three wonderful girls. I want them to grow up being proud of who they are and feel comfortable in their own skin. After our family decision that I become a stay-at-home mom, I had to revisit myself and decide what I wanted to do. I have always been in the art field and knew I needed to continue creating with art.  Then 9/11 happened and the world was changed forever. I felt that I could take the stereotype of what an Arab and/or a Muslim had become in America and help change it. I particularly wanted to display the positive aspect of our extraordinary rich heritage to my daughters. I began by making greeting cards in Arabic and sending them to my friends, coworkers, neighbors. Everyone loved my cards and asked to buy them so that was how A Crafty Arab was born. Since then I’ve created cards in Farsi and Urdu. Now I’m adding a line of fun and bright education products. I started by developing my Arabic Alphabet Animal poster, and I will soon add numbers, shapes, foods, and colours, to the line. This product line will eventually include flashcards, placemats, board books and more educational tools. All products will be available for schools and other moms who wish to promote our heritage.

  2. Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?

    It so important to teach your children that we are all on this planet together and need to help each other. I’m very active in my daughters’ lives as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and an Art Docent in their school. I’ve also been an Art Docent at the Seattle Art Museum for 17 years and have been Board Director of the Arab Center as well as an Art Commissioner for the city where I live. I also started a non-profit in June 2001 to promote Arab artists called Arab Artists Resources & Training.  I love volunteering and giving back to my community.

  3. What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?

    My mom inspires me.  She has a PhD and is active in her community and I admire her immensely. Because she wears a hijab, people look at her and speak to her in a way that is full of misunderstanding and distrust. I hope to change that through my artwork and crafts.

  4. Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?

    I look up to any crafter or artist out there that step out of the ordinary. I love to see new combinations of mediums that step so far out of the box that they are in a circle with never ending possibilities. For example, Kathy Cano Murillo does such an amazing job of taking the Mexican culture and making it fun, bright and colorful in such an uplifting way. I would love to create an Arab crafts book someday and have her do my introduction.  That is a life goal.

  5. What other passions do you have in your life?

    St Augustine once said “the world is a book and those who do not travel, only read the first page” and I’ve used that as my motto for life.  Travel is my passion!  I’ve been to 45 of the 50 US states, North Africa, Europe, Mexico and Canada with Australia and Japan as my next dream vacations. If I had unlimited funds I’d take my girls traveling the globe.   My current top travel wish is that things settle down in Libya soon so I can visit family that I haven’t seen in over 30 years!

  6. What do you like most about Zibbet?

    My favorite part of Zibbet is the staff. I love that they are so responsive, whether in email or on the forums. I had a specific request on another website to add Eid (a Muslim holiday) as a choice of categories and it’s been three years that no one has helped. I asked on Zibbet and it was taken care of within a few months. Imagine having a landlord that came over in the dead of winter to fix your heater on the day it broke instead of saying he’ll get around to it this summer!?!  I was in shock that staff here really cared about making the site work for their sellers and immediately decided that this was the place to be.

  7. What ‘new’ things would you like to see added to Zibbet?

    I would love to see how many times an item has been viewed next to it in the shop front. We can currently see Individual Item when we are in My Zibbet, but I want to see those numbers next to items not in my shop. I love to use the Share It button under each product to promote other people’s items, so it would be nice to see what isn’t getting traffic and listing that for them.

  8. How do you promote your work?

    I am a social network junkie. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Kaboodle, TeachStreet, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Blogspot. I include my Zibbet business cards in every thank you note to customers (even if they buy from my main website or another website) and I have been known to pass them out to strangers in craft stores. But the number one way is that I always sign my shop link with my name.   Not just in the Zibbet forum but also other places that I post.  The more that people see the word Zibbet, the more well known it will be.

  9. How would you recommend other Zibbeters make the most of Zibbet.com?

    The best thing you can do for your shop is to fill it with your wares.  The fuller the shop, the more you show up on the search engines and the more options you are giving your customers of things they can buy. If you have a Basic Shop, there really is no excuse for not having 50 items in it and if you have a Premium Shop, you should have a minimum of 200 items.  Oh, and check your SEOs to make sure you are showing up on the search engines!

  10. In the future I’d like to be…

    Well known as a crafter who has brought Arab crafts into mainstream America. I want to be on morning TV shows to showcase Ramadan crafts and in magazines with tutorials on kid’s Arabic projects, and of course more traveling!

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47 Responses to “Featured Zibbeter - ACraftyArab”

  1. NiftyKnits

    This is great - I must admit I’d assumed you’d been featured ages ago, you’re so “part of the furniture” (I hope that translates to American, I mean it seems like you’ve always been here)

    I admire your upfront attitude about changing stereotypes, and particularly that it’s not just an attitude, you’re actively working to bring about change.

    Thanks to you, I’ve now heard of Art Docents!

  2. AllAboutTheButtons

    Wonderful to learn more about you, Kay, on and off Zibbet. Keep going, higher and higher!

  3. handmadefuzzy

    wow, what a “fire cracker” you are, your energy just jumps of the page!
    I can feel the passion of your work.

  4. AlaiynaBDesigns

    What a pleasure to read and to get to know you better. I commend you on your passion and work to change stereotypes.

  5. walkinthewoodsllc

    Love her creations … what a great feature!

  6. gardengatebotanicals

    Very nice getting to know you a little bit. Your passion for life, and all it has to offer radiates through your words. Great feature!

  7. RaigeCreations

    I love that your determination has paid off and that your strength shows so vibrantly. You are an inspiration to us all. It was so nice to read more about you, and if we could meet in person that would be wonderful. But for now, glad to get to know you a little better this way.

  8. XquisitelyLadyM

    Kay, what a fascinating interview! You are as beautiful as your work! Every time I see you in the forums and catch some of your work I get more and more curious. I absolutely LOVE the little teaching aids you have - those are stellar and I’m sure those will launch a whole new area for you! Stellar and thank you for sharing!

  9. AmyJosCreations

    What a great interview and a great philosophy. I love your Alphabet poster & have a suggestion for you. When my kids were little I found a book that had words in (I think it was 3 different languages) and there was also the word in English. I loved that book because I knew what I was trying to teach the kids, I could read it in English and see it in the other languages (with pronunciation) so I could teach them. I don’t think any of us remember all the words but it did give my kids a great appreciation for different languages :)
    I wish you all the luck and may all your goals/wishes come true :)
    Handcrafted for Style

  10. HannahsGems

    I know Arabs to be warm, welcoming, friendly, and hospitable. Arabs are family oriented. You are proud of your culture and heritage and love to share it with others.

    I have seen pictures of your family on Facebook…Masha’Allah you have a beautiful family.

    I now buy greeting cards online, but I use to spend an hour or more in the greeting card aisles admiring the artwork. I’ve always seen greeting cards and art and craft as a great way to convey the message peace, unity, and spread joy to the world. I have great admiration for artists and artisans.

    Your determination, passion, and good intentions will surely help you to complete all your goals and they will remain for generations to come.

    Great interview!



  11. Clarify

    Great interview, Kay. Through your talented work you are accomplishing your goal to banish bias.

  12. GrandmothersHouse

    Delightful interview - and so happy to know you better! You are such a thoughtful commenter in the Community, and so very helpful to others (I see that happening in FB). I wish you the world travels that you desire!
    Grandmother Carolyn

  13. RWestDesigns

    Kay ~
    SO nice to see the face behind all the posts! It’s really nice getting to know a little better through this lovely interview! I love the fact you are using your craft to help change the world, I too, wish you all the world travels you wish for!!


  14. Suhafuha

    Assalam Alaikum Kay,

    What a wonderful interview! I admire your passion for spreading positive message to the world through your craft. You’re doing a great job and Insha’Allah, things will change for the better.
    Your Urdu cards are always a delight to read! We should meet for coffee or kehwa :)

    Kindest regards,
    Saba Ali

  15. seattlechic

    kay, it’s an honor to know you. you are the best representative i could ever imagine to break through american fears & stereotypes. beyond that, you are brilliant, funny, & so very unselfish helping others find success. Wonderful, thoughtful interview. YOU DESERVE TO BE FEATURED! BRAVO:) cherylz

  16. acraftyarab

    Awww, you guys are so sweet. You’re making me tear up!
    Thanks for all the warm responses. You are the reason Zibbet is the most amazing community for selling handmade and it can only get better. :) :) :)

  17. LOCDesignStudio

    Kay, Congratulations on a great interview. It’s so nice to have you as part of the Zibbet community. Thanks for all that you contribute. Vicki

  18. theyellowroses

    What a great feature! I am pleased to know more about you! I hope all your dreams for yourself & your daughters come true!

  19. fireflyglassdesign

    What a wonderful interview, Kay. You are an inspiration to others. I’m proud to call you my zibbet friend. Judy

  20. Egilpatr

    Dear Kay,

    I so respect what you are doing and who you are. You are a heroine. You are a woman who has made her values the script for her life and you do it so well. It is an honor to read your story.

    Cheers, Eleanor

  21. ElinorSethman

    Hello Kay:

    I enjoyed reading your interview and seeing your photo. Now I can put a face to your posts. You are beautiful! I wish you success. You really are working hard getting your shop known. I really hope that things settle down so that you will be able to see your family again. My neighbor is going through the same thing.


  22. juditmdesigns

    Kay - great to get to know you a little better. It’s nice to see all the old 1km-ers still around…


  23. InkspirationalDesigns

    G’day Kay
    It is great to get to know other Zibbeters through such a feature. I already count you as a friend and find it hard to realize that I have only known anyone on Zibbet for less than a month.
    I would love to get to know you personally any time especially if your dream of coming to Australia ever works out to be reality. I do not know any Arabs and value any opportunity to learn more.
    May I wish you every success in breaking down barriers between cultures as well as providing a service.
    All the best

  24. artrussell

    Kay, Wonderful to “meet” you through your interview! I’m new to Zibbet but I’ve seen your comments and felt your postive energy in other corners of the art and craft online world. Great interview and thanks for the tips. Best, Wendy

  25. pattymara

    Yes, like Wendy wrote above, it is wonderful to ‘meet’ you, and read about your life. I’m so pleased that you are ‘at home’ with your daughters and working artfully in their schools. This is a magnificent offering. Bless you.

    Your art is wonderful, your spirit is contagious.


  26. PetitPoulailler

    kay! look at you! Congratulations on Zibbet’s feature ~ what a wonderful interview ♥ karen

  27. itsmythingdesigns

    Congratulations on your feature, Kay!
    So wonderful to learn more about you. I love the passion you have for your culture and how you are teaching your children to embrace and be proud of their heritage. I also love that you are sharing your culture through your fabulous art and education.
    Nicely done!
    Wanitta :D

  28. patchworkflamingo

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I wish you the best for you and your family’s future.

    Christina Cochran
    Patchwork Flamingo Quilt Designs

  29. MillionsofStitches

    So nice to learn more about you Kay. Like so many others I admire your work to help non-Arabs learn about and appreciate your culture. Your spirit and warmth came through loud and clear in the interview. I’m happy to be a fellow Zibbiter.


  30. rotemgear

    It’s wonderful to “see” you and get to know you a bit better, Kay. You are one of the most warm, helpful and welcoming members here on Zibbet. I so admire what you are doing with creativity, skill, humor and love.

    (Hope I got the salaam right!)


  31. LifesAnExpedition

    Kay, I love this write-up about you and I love your work immensely.

    dj runnels

  32. bhbkidstyle

    I´m really-really happy to get to know you better! I love your arabic alphabet teaching aid! I do wish that you accomplish your dreams for the future!

  33. cherylwallace

    A truly great interview. I wish you luck and hope your dream of more travels comes true!!!

  34. secondsisteratmoarkjewelry

    Wonderful interview Kay! As our paths have crossed here and there, it is so nice to get to know you better! May all of your dreams come true!

  35. Heronkate

    What a super interview. I so enjoyed getting to know you better and to be aware of your goals. Your work is beautiful.

  36. abracadebra

    Hi Kay, That was a truely inspiring interview. You as a person are just as lovely as the art you create. May all your wishes and goals come true.

  37. acraftyarab

    It’s been so wonderful to come in here and read all the new entries. You’ll are so nice! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading the interview and I wish you much success here on Zibbet!

  38. Avedouda

    Wonderful interview! Thanks for share and good luck for the future of your shop!

  39. GrannyMooseDesigns

    Kay, you are beautiful and so clever and talented. What a great interview! It’s always a pleasure to see photos of those you associate with here on Zibbet and get to know them a bit better when they are featured. Congratulations!

  40. ariamy

    Great interview Kay. Wishing you luck!

  41. GypsyGoods

    What a great interview! Congrats on being featured! I enjoyed reading about you and your art.
    : )

  42. PartyPeople

    What a great article, Kay. Very inspiring. I love the reasons behind what you do. What a great way to teach your kids (my kids and other kids of the world, for that matter) about your culture! I love the bright, cheery colors you use and I LOVE the alphabet poster!!! Great work and great read!

    Wishing you continued success!

  43. LorisStylingHairStuff

    Great interview! Great getting to know a little more about you.
    Thanks for sharing

  44. matursuksema

    Nice to “meet” you Neighbor!

  45. PineRidgeTreasures

    Nice to “meet you” and get to know you better! Congratulations on a really great feature!

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