Monday, September 7, 2015

A Rug for BHB

Hubby D and I are giving BHB and her family a carpet from the Middle East for their Christmas gift this year.  For those of you in the US, rugs are called carpets here in the Middle East.

This purchase is going to be done in phases.
     #1 I just returned from the carpet store. Itook pictures of patterns to email to BHB.
     #2 BHB and family will choose a pattern they like.
     #3 I will go back to the carpet store and take pictures of rugs in that pattern. They request that I focus on blue.
     #4 BHB and family will choose their rug.
     #5 I will go back to the carpet store and buy the rug. The carpet store will ship it for me to BHB hopefully in time for Christmas.

It is really not as hard of a process as it sounds. The island is only 7 miles wide and it takes me less than 10 minutes to get to the carpet store. The store is actually located close to the restaurant area of Manama on a street we nicknamed Shawarma Alley because there are several shawarma restaurants on the street.  It is delicious and you just drive up, wave out your car window and they bring you a sandwich --  Arabic drive-through.

I have purchased a few carpets since arriving in Bahrain. I love mine.

All of my carpets have come from Oasis Handmade Carpet Centre in Manama. Abdul Wahed Abdulla is the owner and he helps me every time I am in the store.

Here we are in Abdul's shop when I went shopping for a rug for BHB.

I have one carpet in my dining room that I just can’t wait to find a place for in the States (in my home) when we move back eventually.  

I have 2 in my kitchen that Abdul swears will scrub clean easily. And, to his credit, everything I have spilled on them so far has come right up. I bought them because I had to have something softer than stone to stand on in the kitchen.

In my guest bath and my own bathroom, I have these adorable elephant designs. I can’t take all the credit for these as my good friend DW found them first and I copied her idea of using them for a bath rug.

Down our long hall that we call the “Hyde Gallery” we have two runners.  One is 16 feet long and one is 12.5 feet long.  Long runners are hard to find and expensive, but these halls had to have a carpet of some kind. My knees were giving out walking up and down on the hard surfaces all day.

One of the vendors we have made friends with in the Mamama Souq, gave us this map of the region where the carpets are woven. Each design is a particular family.

When you google Persian or Oriental rugs, there are many resources and a wealth of information.

One article with a strong vein of history about carpets caught my eye. I must have read about carpet history for over an hour.

You can find the complete article at

The Oriental carpet has long been a luxury commodity sought by textile museums, rich collectors and wealthy merchants all over the world. Not sure we fall into any of those categories, but we do love the carpets.

The fame of the flying carpet of 'Al'a Al-Din added some emotional mystery and value to the already exceptional beauty and tangible quality of Middle Eastern or Oriental hand woven carpets.

It is not surprising that carpets also represent one of the most valuable art items obtained by museums and wealthy families of the West.

In fact, carpeting is one of the essential ingredients of today's living standard in the modern world. Modern manufacturing has made it one of the cheapest available floor coverings allowing carpeted floors to invade all houses, apartments and offices.

Information about carpets is published under three main themes; the Oriental carpet, the Muslim carpet, or under regional classification such as Turkish carpet, Persian carpet and the like.

The carpets we are looking at to buy for BHB include Afgan, Persian, Tabriz and Kazak.

The people of the Middle East regard the carpet with special esteem and admiration. For the traditional Bedouin tribes of Arabia, Persia and Anatolia the carpet was at the center of their life being used as a tent sheltering them from the sand storms, a floor covering providing great comfort for the household, all curtains protecting privacy and useful items such as blankets, bags, and saddles. It was indeed a resourceful inspiration to make use of the abundant wool produced by their herds. 

Historic sources have established that the carpet tradition is a very old custom practiced by early civilizations. Recent discoveries (1949) of a carpet in the tomb of a Scythian prince in Pazyryk in the Altai Mountains (southern Siberia) date back to the sixth century B.C. This carpet, now in the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, is the oldest extant knotted carpet.

Much of the history of the carpet industry is drawn from paintings.

King Henry VIII (1509-47) of England is known to have owned over 400 Muslim carpets. A portrait made for him by Holbein in 1537 shows him standing on a Turkish carpet with its Ushak star while Arabesque is bordering his garment, and other Muslim interlacing patterns appear on the curtains.

My personal favorite pattern is Tabriz. Here is a link to some images of Tabriz carpets.

Here are some images of Persian carpets.

Some of the most vivid colors I have seen are in Kazak carpets. They also have a geometric design. I think my kitchen carpets might be Kazak.

I thought Afghan carpets would not work for BHB because the only ones I had ever seen had really dark colors with tones of red and black. She requested blue tones.

However my trusty carpet salesman, Abdul did show me some light colored Afghan carpets that were very pretty. They do have a specific pattern to them. Here are some images of Afghan carpets.

There is also a carpet available in Bahrain that I have not seen before. Everyone calls this the “War Rug.” I am not kidding, this is hand woven and on sale in all the carpet shops. I have been told that these rugs are the examples being used to teach children how to weave carpets. The children are choosing the objects to depict from what they see in their environment.

I thought about talking in this blog about how the carpets are made, however it seems the blog is getting too long so you will have to research that part of the process on your own.

Here are the examples of the different patterns I am sending to BHB and her family. When you look at these examples, remember she requested geometric shapes and not a lot of flowers. For now, she is only choosing the design.





Which one is your favorite design?

Remember, we will look for the design in a blue color after we choose the design. :-)

Let me know and we will find out which one is the most popular one with my crowd.  You already know my choice, Tabriz.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Back to the USA

At 6AM on the very first day back to work in the Middle East after our trip to the States, Hubby D said something I thought was strangely humorous.

Disclaimer: The last few days of our trip were spent in Washington, DC where D worked at his company's office.  He also worked every day at the beach, usually for several hours online or on the phone. Was it a "work"cation?  Or something.....?

As he was getting on the elevator leaving for work, we had this exchange.

D, “It's amazing. You go to the US and it’s all about leisure time.”

Me, “Yes.”

Elevator arrives and D gets on.

D, “And, then you come back to the Middle East and it’s all about work.”

Me, “Yes?”

The elevator doors are closing.

D. “. . . need more.”

Me, “More leisure time here?”

Doors are closed and the elevator is starting down.

I hear him call up to me through the elevator walls, “No, more work there.”

Before we went to DC we did have a wonderful and relaxing trip in Florida -- I thought.  And, while we were in DC we spent some FANTASTIC time with our very good friends SS and ES. They have a new grandson to show off as well. He was sooooo cute.

Mom RA with the NEW big sister, EA.

Little baby WA was so small but it felt very familiar to hold him. AHHH - memories of little LW.

Our granddaughter, ML came to the beach with her friend JB for a week while we were in Florida.

This selfie was taken on our "girls day out."
JB with little LW.

It was great to see ML (and JB, too). She had an outstanding first year in college. She made the Dean’s Honor Roll, the Engineering College Honor Roll, qualified for National Honor Society and earned an additional scholarship from the Dolese Concrete Company to add to her already complete academic scholarship at the University of Oklahoma.


Makes me tired just thinking about how hard she worked this year.

I make a point to mention this early on in the blog because I sometimes overlook how great she is doing in school.  It has become normal and expected.

While we were walking on the sand one-day, she pointed this out to me.

“LW rolls over and gets a complete blog post. I make straight A’s and not a word.”

She was smiling when she said it, but the more I thought about it, the more I kicked myself. She is right. I brag about her all the time to my friends but I forget to write about her in my blog. I am extremely proud of her and hope she will forgive me for being so thoughtless.

While ML and JB were visiting, we took a trip to the Vero Beach Botanical Gardens. When we arrived, the guide warned us that not much was in bloom. However, we thought it was beautiful and many gorgeous flowers were blooming. I can’t wait to go back when it is really in bloom.

Here I am with ML. The branch at our feet fell right before we sat on the bench and scared us to death.

One night we ventured out to the beach after dark. A nest of baby turtles had just hatched and we were able to see them scurry down to the water. It was amazing.
After ML returned to Oklahoma to get ready for the first week of school and move into her apartment (YES, she has an apartment with 3 other honors students this semester), we went to the beach with our newest older grand kids, MB and AB. We had a terrific time surfing and playing around. They were completely exhausted that afternoon.

MB buried herself.

D playing beach football with AB.

One evening we even took on babysitting LW for a couple of hours. He was helping me cook.  Later on he watched golf with Opa D.

Playing Uno with Oma (that's me).

Playing with Opa (that's Hubby D).

Opa is telling LW (while they watch golf on television), "This is the game of golf. Next summer I am going to teach you how to play."

They still have the same barber, but LW is catching up with some cute, blonde fuzz.

We achieved our goal for the summer visit by seeing granddaughter ML and celebrating the new grandson LW’s one half birthday. He is already 7 months old as I write this blog.

I took LW shopping while his mom had her nails done. We had a great time. Here he is with his bag of goodies from the Gymboree store. I think he likes shopping with Oma almost as much as ML does.
Here is Hubby D giving LW his first safety moment. LW was listening to every word.
I am teaching LW to splash D.

They are protecting the top of their heads from the sun.

Just a couple of days after we were back in Bahrain, daughter BHB sent us a video. LW is crawling! We just missed it by 2 days.  It is a wonderful video and I am just thrilled that I was able to spend just a bit of time with him while he was such a cute little guy.

Here is the video.  Remember, if you are reading this in an email, you need to go to my blog page online to watch.

Congratulations to ML for a year well done in college and good luck to BHB because LW is off and running on all fours.  She is in trouble now.


Hey, LW --  you just give 'em heck!

Our last sunset for this visit to the beach. Cheers!