New Bags & Sunday Inspiration

November 29, 2015

Our newest bags and jewelry are landing next week and so am I!

Super excited about Katies’s kilim totes. Check these out. Made from vintage wool kilims, these were constructed by hand complete with embroidery by the ladies and leather details. Each one of a kind, limited edition with top handles and adjustable cross body strap… hitting our shop and website next week.

Also coming..new jewelry from our master metalsmith Ahmed, Hand of Fatima cuffs and some great Berber jewelry.

I’ll be helping with our holiday pop-up shop at the new SONO Holiday Bazaar which is now OPEN in Norwalk CT. Plan to stop by and say hello. Thursdays-Sundays until Dec 23rd. Bring on the holidays!

I love airports. See you soon, Heather

“Business owners must live close to God. They show up each day with faith that their next customer will come.” -(wise words from my husband M. Haoujar)

 

How awesome are these!? That designer sister, she’s good.

Simply Gorgeous.

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My latest Berber finds.

Ahmed does it again. Seriously the best metalsmith in Morocco!

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Loving these dainty Berber amulet earrings -believed to protect from evil, danger, & disease.

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Mushmina Khamas and Tea

Why do we fear what we don’t understand?

I am an American living in Morocco.  People ask me all the time if I feel safe living in the Middle East, in a country and culture far from my own. My husband is Muslim and so is 99% of the population in Morocco. I first came to North Africa 12 years ago as a Peace Corps volunteer with the mission of promoting better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served and also better understanding of other people on the part of Americans. I cannot tell you how much this experience changed my life and how grateful I am that I had the education of living in another culture. It is humbling, eye opening, and yes I feel safe. I never met a Moroccan who wouldn’t stop what they were doing to welcome a foreigner with a pot of tea.

At Mushmina, one of our goals is to create positive purpose by sustaining the beautiful traditions of cultures. Developing relationships with the artisans that we work with and with our customers promotes understanding between cultures. It is the way we promote peace in the world.

Last night  as I meditated with Deepak Chopra on healing the division between ‘us and them,’ I couldn’t help but think of the state of the world this week. Katie and I did not want to let this important subject go unaddressed. Our hearts go out to Beirut , Paris, Syria, and all individuals living in war torn countries.

It has been our experience that sometimes people generalize a group based on the actions of a small minority that painfully misrepresents so many individuals.  It’s not a race or a religion that is evil, it is individuals who have lost their purpose and have been misguided.

This is why we feel so strongly about education, empowerment, and creating opportunity in the world.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving

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This week, reminders ‘service’ seemed to be following me.

On Wednesday, I woke to a beautiful birthday message from my sister Katie about how my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco sparked a beautiful journey that later became the business we created to employ artisans. I’m not going to lie, I cried. Thanks Katie!

As luck would have it on my birthday (Nov 11, Veteran’s Day…speaking of service)  I was invited to participate in the Peace Corps annual Thanksgiving celebration for volunteers in Morocco’s capital, Rabat. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and always a hard time to be away from family, so I was so grateful to spend this special day with more then 100 volunteers who are currently serving in Morocco for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck feast. It was coordinated by PC Director Ellen, and her wish was for volunteers to gather and have a taste of ‘home.’ Mission accomplished. Thanks Ellen. I met some great people of all ages and was inspired by stories of peace and progress…. cultural exchange programs, women’s cafes, building job skills and women’s training centers. The list of great projects goes on…

Have you ever met a Peace Corps volunteer? Their energy is refreshing! Some of these volunteers traveled 15 hours (on a souk bus) to be together. wow! That used to be me.

I am now 10 years out of the Peace Corps. A lot has happened in ten years. Moving home, grad school, moving back to Morocco. The birth of Mushmina!

I’m not going to lie. Starting and running a business  has not been easy. Like other small businesses we have our challenges and some days are really difficult . Katie said to me this week, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” And so, this week I am reminded of my roots of ‘service.’ Cheers to Peace Corps Morocco, where I first learned the meaning of service and in the meantime found my passion, purpose, and a second country to call ‘home!’

So as we approach Thanksgiving I am grateful for so much. Bring on the holidays and remember to shop Mushmina in support of #smallbusiness  #artisanbusiness. Because service is why we do what we do. #laboroflove #handmade

Symbols of 2 countries and peace hangs in the volunteer's lounge. Designed by my friend Josh Haynes 10 years ago.

Symbols of 2 countries and peace hangs in the volunteer’s lounge. Designed by my friend Josh Haynes 10 years ago.

Ellen, the current PC Director and I

Ellen, the current PC Director (in a Mushmina tunic!) and I

Pot luck!

Happy faces and Pot luck!

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The walls of service, in Rabat Morocco

A happy Mushmina customer

Brenda, a volunteer and happy Mushmina customer. Hand made prayer necklace. Employing and empowering women in Morocco.

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What do I love about Sunday?

New Adventures.

Last Sunday my family and I found ourselves in Skirat Morocco, a sleepy little fishing town on the Atlantic. I have been to the beach a few times before but never before to the Skirat port.

Part of what I love about living in Morocco is the adventure and the discovery of new places. You slip through a small unsuspecting doorway, down a few steps, and find yourself in the middle of a crazy, bustling little port. Cats, dogs, people, fish…everyone is there. The fishermen have pulled their boats in for the day and have now set up stalls with their morning bounty.

King crabs, tuna, sole, sardines, and calamari. We are in seafood heaven! For 300dh, $30 we buy fish for the day’s lunch and to bring home with us for week.

Next you walk steps from the port and they prepare your lunch for you. Grilled fish, Moroccan salad, baskets of bread and families fill the plastic chairs. This place is no fuss. Simply fresh fish …and a view of the ‘Titanik’

Come eat Morocco style….just be sure to leave your leftovers for the cats.

Mushmina Morocco Fish Market (1)

Mushmina Morocco Fish Market (4)

Mushmina Morocco Fish Market (3)

Mushmina Morocco Fish Market (2)

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What’s on the menu this Sunday you ask? Fish sandwiches and snuggling. It’s a rainy Sunday in Morocco.

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