10 things…

Ten things I am grateful for right now (in no particular order), Alhumdulillah…

  1. Midwives- Seriously they are the best thing ever. They are so kind and helpful and caring. They always seem to go above and beyond, Alhumdulillah. My experiences with my last 4 pregnancies and births have all been positive. And even though I had some challenges with my last pregnancy and had to have my care transferred over to a doctor, my midwife stayed with me during the labour even though she didn’t have to, which I really appreciated.14269087_531783850353455_1582437870_n
  2. Summer weather- Everyone was complaining about how hot it was, but after being pregnant for the first half of summer with my oversized belly, I am actually really enjoying it, belly free, no matter how hot it is! I love going for walks in the parks on trails with the family.
  3. Fit Bit- Speaking of walks, I am really into using my fitbit to count my daily steps. I have been aiming to get 10,000 steps a day but have only been succeeding half the week. But it’s good progress I believe, considering I had a baby not too long ago :). InshaAllah I will get there! The fitbit really motivates me.
  4. Dressing baby boys- I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t get enough of dressing my little man! I have had enough of frills and bows after having 3 girls haha.

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  5. Family- I am soo grateful for family. My husband was able to take time off the first weeks after baby was born and he helped me out a lot, and I also stayed with my brother and sister-in-law for a week and she cooked and did everything for me, May Allah reward her! My mother also came to visit for a week and helped me out with the kids and chores. And my mother-in-law helps me out all the time whenever I ask her if she can watch the kids she is there for me. My eldest girl helps me day in and day out, I honestly don’t know what I would do without her, she is such a good girl, mashaAllah. May Allah reward them all, Ameen.
  6. Audiobooks- I love listening to audiobooks these days, especially right before bedtime, when all the kiddos are in bed, and I am nursing the baby. I just close my eyes, nurse, and someone reads me a bedtime story, perfect!14099541_1170147596380029_1933007220_n
  7. Crafting- When I was busy with my business and tired from pregnancy I didn’t get that much time to do any crafting with my girls. But recently we have been doing a lot of things including painting, print making, nature collages, popsicle stick puppets, furniture makeovers and more. It’s been a lot of fun creating with them, look out for some of our projects here on the blog soon, insha’Allah.
  8. Vans- Okay so we recently switched over from a packed car to a spacious van! We used to use all 5 seats in our car and with the stroller taking up most of the trunk, it was always pretty tight in there! Alhumdulillah we have a van now with two empty seats and lots of trunk space for both strollers and groceries! I am really enjoying it Alhumdulillah.14052296_1287499987949027_1412239320_n
  9. Simplicity- I am really trying to simplify my life in many ways- simplify our routines and schedules, simplify our home by declutttering and keeping only what we love and use. As I simplify I am able to use my time for things that are most important Alhumdulillah.
  10. Pocket calendars- a little random thing I am grateful for, but I have been keeping pocket calendars since the year I got married. They are so small and convenient to put in your purse, and I now have a collection of them from the past 11 years and it’s great to look back on my life and see what I did in the past and how my life has changed with each year and every new child I’ve had.

Well those are a few things I am enjoying and am truly grateful for. What are you grateful for these days?

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Four

Alhumdulillah by the grace of Allah we were blessed with a fourth child, a sweet little baby boy, masha’Allah! The girls are just smitten with him, and they compete for his attention. My friend commented that he will now have 4 moms (my 3 daughters and I), which is so true! My youngest daughter is surprisingly not jealous of her baby brother, but is actually very protective of him, and she tells me immediately if he is crying, and only wants me to hold him, not anyone else including the midwife haha. Like all pregnancies we decided to keep the gender of the baby a surprise. My midwife came to know what the gender was from the ultrasound report, but she didn’t reveal it to me. Once I had the baby she told me that the ultrasound report had said it would be a girl and she was as surprised as we were when it was a baby boy. We are content whatever the gender, all children are a blessing from Allah! The month leading up to the delivery of the baby was very difficult with me getting sick and we met some challenges at the end of the pregnany, but Alhumdulillah, praise be to Allah, everything worked out. It has been a new experience for me with a boy. Changing the diapers for one! And normally people get so excited about baby girl clothes, and I get so excited about baby boy clothes, haha. We are really enjoying this time with baby, he is getting big so fast mashaAllah! I’ll leave you with some pictures of the desserts my Mom and sister made for baby’s aqeeqah.

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The past 6 months…

It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged here. The past 6 months have been quite a whirlwind, in a good way, for me and my home based business, Alhumdulillah. I wanted to take a moment to document what an amazing year I have had so far. I have learned so much and met many amazing people. Here’s a little recap!

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January: I started regularly teaching sewing classes for kids and moms in my home. I taught roughly 3-4 classes a week from Jan-May. It was such a rewarding experience working with children and their moms and sharing this life skill with them. It always brings me joy to see the smiles on the children’s faces after they have completed a project, proudly telling their parents all they have learned. The funny thing is, I was learning just as much as they were! With every new project they requested, my skills were enhancing and my skill set increasing as I prepared each class before my students arrived, Alhumdulillah.

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February: I started making my homemade Ramadan Advent Calendars, that I make every year. I also started to research new ways to apply letters and numbers to my calendars- fabric paint was too time consuming. Orders were pouring in from the community daily and I needed a new faster method! I considered creating silk screens, cutting felt/fabric letters, or using heat press vinyl.

March: Because there was such an interest in the calendars, I decided to reopen my etsy shop after 5 years of being closed (I took a hiatus from my shop to teach as a Islamic school kindergarten teacher, and to thereafter focus on my small children)! This month I also decided I wanted to machine cut my letters- be it with fabric or vinyl- and I finally invested in my own Silhouette machine (it’s been on my wishlist for YEARS)! Best investment ever- bye bye fabric paint!

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April:
I was contacted by Salam Shop for a wholesale order of Ramadan Calendars using fabrics of their choice; we met up at Fabricland to choose colours! They also requested a different method for the letters and numbers using printer iron on transfers- but I felt that method was not very durable or long lasting. I really wanted to put my new Silhouette machine to good use- I was still in the researching/testing phase and I was running into a few problems 1) I didn’t have a supplier of bulk vinyl (my preferred method), 2) applying fabric cut letters, though cost effective, was not very efficient by sewing or gluing 3) I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go the silk screening way. So I stalked google, websites, and craft forums for hours and finally discovered a local supplier of vinyl which saved the day! Alhumdulillah, I could now cut all the letters and numbers for my calendars in vinyl with my Silhouette machine. Ahh, a few months of research and testing paid off.

May: My new method of cutting vinyl letters was great, and I had a great supplier… but the process of ironing on each and every vinyl letter and number was too time consuming! So I got my hands on my own professional heat press that could heat the numbers in one go- bye bye iron! Making calendars was much more efficient now.

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June:
I attended my first real bazaar! It was put on by Kaamilah Boutique to Welcome Ramadan. My main item was my Ramadan Calendars- only because I had been sewing them daily for the past few months and didn’t really have time to develop new product lines! The bazaar was great and I met so many inspiring Muslimah entrepreneurs, Alhumdulillah.

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Today: Just when I started finding my groove and just when I started creating new product lines for my etsy shop… I have decided to shut everything down! No more sewing classes, and my etsy shop will be closed. Why? It is all in preparation for the last nights of Ramadan, and also for my approaching due date for baby number 4 insha’Allah, Alhumdulillah. I really do look forward to continuing my home business in the future insha’Allah, but for the time being- I feel like I need to catch my breath and focus on this new season of my life with my growing family. I can’t say how truly grateful I am for being able to live my dream, even if for only a little while :).

Onto the next chapter!

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Evolution of the Ramadan Advent Calendar

I have been sewing Ramadan Advent Calendars since 2009, subhanAllah! It is interesting to see how my sewing skills and also technique have evolved over the years- I have chosen all blue calendars that I have made over the years to compare :)

2009:

  • Applique pockets
  • fabric paint free-hand written letters
  • fabric paint free-hand written Arabic numbers
  • rainbow pockets
  • fringe trim
  • dowel and ribbon to hang

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2011:

  • plain non-applique pockets
  • fabric paint stenciled letters
  • fabric paint stenciled Arabic numbers
  • one colour pockets
  • no trim
  • dowel and ribbon to hang

 

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2015:

  • plain non-applique pockets
  • fabric paint stenciled letters
  • fabric paint stenciled Arabic numbers
  • rainbow pockets
  • no trim
  • dowel and ribbon to hang

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2016:

  • plain non-applique pockets
  • vinyl transferred letters
  • vinyl transferred numbers
  • rainbow pockets
  • assorted trims
  • 3 ribbon loops to hang

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Pretty neat to see the progression… what will next year bring insha’Allah? :)

 

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Ramadan Advent Pocket Calendars

It’s that time of year again! I’m in Ramadan calendar making mode. Here is the batch I’ve made so far this year. Good news is, I’ve reopened my etsy shop, and you can purchase them there too inshaAllah. I’m really loving the purple one. What’s your favourite? Every time I make a new one my eldest wants to claim it as her own, haha. I think I’ve come a long way since I first made one for her many years ago, my sewing has improved and so has the quality of the Ramadan calendars. I really enjoy making them and seeing each one turn out uniquely different. Thinking about the children using them during Ramadan and counting down the days brings me great joy too. There are so many different treasures you can hide inside the pockets for your children to discover each day. My favourite ideas are: Quranic ayahs, hadiths, duas, dates, Ramadan activity cards, and candy. What are you doing to get ready for Ramadan this year? :)

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Yarn Dolls

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Making yarn dolls with my daughter at her girls bookclub, brought back so many childhood memories. This was a craft to go along with their reading of, “The Last Safe House”, by Barbara Greenwood about the Underground Railroad. I had almost forgotten about ever making these types of dolls, until I was researching how to make corn husk dolls- like the one featured in the book. I had a look around at the grocery and craft store and couldn’t find any corn husk for sale, then I remembered this similar yarn doll I used to make as a kid. Once the girls got the hang of how to make a doll, they got creative and starting adding hair, and omitting legs, in favour of a yarn ‘dress’. My daughter even outfitted her doll with a doll dress from home. Alhumdulillah it was a really nice meeting where the girls each took turns to tell a story orally, and they did such a good job, mashaAllah- there were some very creative fictional, and very interesting true stories too! The girls also had a nice discussion that my friend led about slavery, safe houses, code language and the passage to Canada. We are looking forward to the next book club meeting- my daughter and I are usually put on bookclub craft duty… which we don’t mind one bit!

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Little lessons in sewing

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I’ve had a lot of beginner sewing students visit me this past month, and learn little lessons in sewing, and each time they come, gradually building on their skills.

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I wanted to share some of the projects they’ve worked on in our little sewing studio corner. I hope to keep taking snapshots of their completed projects, and doing an update each month. I love looking back on all the sewing creations, and keeping a photo log so I can show the ideas to new students who might want to try out a project. One unique thing about my sewing classes, is my students always go home with a completed project. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and they look forward to what we will create the next time we see each other.

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Crowns for all

Somehow when my daughter’s friends come over to visit, she always convinces them to do a sewing session, that I end up overseeing. Why can’t they just PLAY like normal kids, haha. Jokes aside though, sewing is something my daughter really enjoys and she loves sharing her passion with her friends. So the other day when my husband’s 6 year old sister came over, my eldest convinced her that they all needed handmade princess crowns. First step was creating a template by drawing a crown on a piece of paper, making sure it was long enough to go around the circumference of everyone’s head (with a little extra for seam allowance and velcro overlap). Then the girls chose their fabrics, and embellishments- the best part! Buttons, and sequins, and ribbons, oh my! They turned out really great masha’Allah.

At times like this, I wish I were a kid again. The possibilities for pretend play costumes are endless! My daughter has already made a template for a superhero mask. She has a dual personality and can be very girly at times, and very tom boyish too. I sometimes joke to my husband that she is the son he never had! It reminds me of that test I took from the book “Why Gender Matters,” by Leonard Sax, I believe it was- where you determine whether you were more masculine or feminine. I turned out to be neither masculine nor feminine, which when I think deeply about it, is probably true- but is just a little bit strange! Either way, the great thing about pretend play- is you can become anyone you imagine to be. I am looking forward to more sewing, and I am hopeful for a basket full of handmade dress-up costumes in the near future.

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Handmade Cloth Dolls

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Ever since I was 3 years old I’ve always been fascinated by handmade dolls. It was around that time that my elder brother and I went into a small shop full of amazing handmade treasures. The lady there was so kind, and gifted my brother a stuffed bear, and me a handmade doll. The doll’s skirt could be flipped up to reveal another doll underneath. I still have that doll until this very day and I marvel at it’s craftsmanship. One day I plan to try and make a similar one insha’Allah. For now though, I’ve just been practicing making my own doll sewing patterns, and coming up with dolls like these ones here. My daughters are really enjoying them, Alhumdulillah. These three are a little bigger than the first dolls I made, and I think this size is just perfect for toddler arms to hold. For my next adventure in doll making, I’d like to try to make a doll with yarn hair, a round head, and rounder feet. Making one of those dolls, will be many hours in the making though, so I am in no rush right now as my hands are full with my 3 girls.

Bits of Crochet

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With a new niece in the family coming this Spring inshaAllah, I decided to make a little something handmade for the wee bundle of joy. I’ve always wanted to try crocheting baby booties, and they were surprisingly easy to whip up. In fact they were so easy to make, my eldest made a pair for her dolly! I also added a matching baby bonnet for good measure. Once you get started in a certain craft, it seems you can’t stop. The excitement of creating something and seeing the finished project is just so satisfying. So I also crocheted little bow hair clips, in a variety of colours! I think my bout of crocheting may have come to an end though, as I find myself being drawn to the sewing machine… I am thinking of making a quilt for each of my daughters, though that is no easy feat! If you’re interested in making any of these things, I found them via a simple google search- there are so so many patterns and tutorials online.

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