Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Feature- Book Review:Marriage and children four book series

Asalamu alaikum,

This is a four book set that I had picked up at the book store in the Masjid I used to attend in Florida.

  • The Quest for Love and Mercy
  • Closer than a Garment
  • The Fragile Vessels
  • Our Precious Sprouts 

As a new Muslim and at that time being newly married I found these incredibly helpful. Learning the rights responsibilities of each spouse according to Islam can be confusing at times, this laid out everything in a very easy to follow manner. There are translations of each hadith /ayat used and detailed explanations.

The fourth, Our Precious Sprouts has been useful with each of my children. I sometimes have problems with cultural traditions that go against Islam, so it is good to have on a hand a reference book to be able to sort out what is allowed and what I should keep away from my children.

This book set seems to be geared towards slightly to the right of moderate Muslims. I would still recommend it even if you follow a more progressive branch of Islam, it is an excellent reference.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pinterest Projects: Chocolate chip cookies

Asalamu Alaikum,

After avoiding it for so long, I finally joined pinterest, and quickly got addicted. I don't pin that much, mostly just ohhh and ahhh over the brilliant ideas. I have managed to tear myself away for a bit and actually do some of the stuff I pinned. As an encouragement to myself to keep going(rather than just waste my time drooling and never doing) I wanted to post some of the stuff and do a bit of review, keep track of any mods, etc. To see other projects in this little series, click on the "Pinterest projects" label at the end of this post.
Original Pin here

My version-
Delicious. That's it, just delicious. The recipe made a bunch, but they didn't last long!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Feature: Life's little coincidences and crossovers.

Asalamu alaikum,

I love the little things in life that just seem to pull it all together. Sometimes it is just something small, like I am thinking of something, a particular fruit or snack food that I want and Tariq will bring it when I haven't said anything yet. Mostly it is just small things that make me smile, but sometimes it is bigger.

Remember this from soooo long ago? A crochet rectangle made by my MIL. not really having a purpose and left behind when she left after visiting the states. Who knew she would have a DIL that crocheted, that Tariq's cousin's wife would hold onto this seemingly purposeless piece for so long, and that it would end up with me for finishing?

Saad about 2 years old snuggled under Dadi Amma and mama's joint handiwork.

I did finally finish it(Oct. 2009 according to my Ravelry projects notebooks, so useful!) but couldn't find a post of it on the blog(Odd). So Saad used it for a while and it has been packed up and was waiting for the next little person. When Saif was born in November 2014 out it came.

Another similar thing has happened. Last year while cleaning out the storage room during SIL#3's wedding prep, SIL#2 found a partially completed sweater. the front and half of the back had been done, so they asked me to complete it. It sat around in my WIP pile for some time, while I worked on other more urgent projects.

Almost exactly the way Ammi had left it, I picked it up and knit from mid-way thru the last wide stripe of white.

Getting a rush of energy to finish up a bunch of WIPs and get everything in order(well, slightly less chaotic would be nice ;-)  I took this one out and just got it done. When I had almost finished, I looked at it and thought, "Hmmm, this is kind of big, it wouldn't fit FIL or BIL, I wonder who it was for?" Then I had that ah, if it was a snake it would have bit me moments, my husband is much larger than his father and brother (taller and wider in the shoulders). I thought well that must be who it was for then. So from curiosity I got out a sweater that I had knitted for Tariq while we were still in the States. EXACTLY THE SAME SIZE! Chest measurement, length, armhole, neck. Everything matched. Bit of a color difference, mine was done in maroon and black and hers in maroon and white.

It is just so interesting that we both knitted a sweater that was the same size, while living on opposite sides of the world, for the same person, (though I don't know when she started it). It is like a little thread of connection that we have. 

I really like to think that MIL and I( and maybe MIL and my Mom) would have gotten along very well. She seems, from what I have been told to be similar to my own mother. Crafty, loving, big heart. It is sometimes unnerving that people here that knew MIL, family, friends, neighbors, all tell me how many similarities we have. I really do regret that we never got to meet in this life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pinterest Projects: Maternity dress/kameez

Asalamu alaikum,

After avoiding it for so long, I finally joined pinterest, and quickly got addicted. I don't pin that much, mostly just ohhh and ahhh over the brilliant ideas. I have managed to tear myself away for a bit and actually do some of the stuff I pinned. As an encouragement to myself to keep going(rather than just waste my time drooling and never doing) I wanted to post some of the stuff and do a bit of review, keep track of any mods, etc. To see other projects in this little series, click on the "Pinterest projects" label at the end of this post.

Here is the original pin,  and here is my version-

This is a kameez inspired by a vintage maternity sewing pattern. It is a princess cut, with a bit of gathering across the front just under the bust. I sewed up a pair of simple trousers in the same pink as the sleeves to go with it.

Mods-I didn't do the rolled collar, instead I made a regular square neckline with a zipper down the front, to allow for easier breast feeding. I also opted for full sleeves.

I do love the pattern but it would have benefited from a better fabric choice. This one doesn't have enough drape, so on an already fluffy pregnant woman it just made me look a bit more tent like. I might consider doing another version in the future in a different fabric.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Feature- Book Review: Two Islamic children's books

Asalamu alaikum,

As Saad gets older I wanted to get him some books of Prophets stories or stories with Islamic themes that we can  read together.

These are part of a set that I got on a trip to Saddar's Urdu Bazar. I was able to pick up two- Stories of the Ambiya for Children and Stories of the Qur'an for Youth both by Sheikh Hamid Ahmed Tahir. There is a third(Stories of the Sahabah for Children) which was not in stock at that time, inshAllah I can pick up another time.

Though they are too advanced for Saad to read alone still, we read them together and he enjoys them, generally choosing them over his other story books. The language is somewhat simple and at the end of each section there is a list of beneficial lessons, some simple questions and answers, and fill in the blanks to reinforce what he has heard.

I am working on some lesson plans for Saad (I want to supplement his formal education, which is kind of lacking in many ways), and am using these as one of our resources for Islamiat lessons.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Mini Tutorial: Bell Shaped Sleeves

Asalamu alaikum,

Bell sleeves are another simple modification that you can add to change they style to suit your own taste. I find that this style is better for fancy suits that do not get worn to do chores around the house. Because they hang down, they will get dirty quickly if you are doing things like making bread or doing dishes.

Step 1-Fold the sleeve in half, and at the ver end of your sleeve you will measure out from the fold the desired width of the sleeve. In the example I want a sleeve as wide as I can it so my mark is at 7.5" with one inch left for the seam.
Step 2-Five inches away  from the cuff towards the upper part of the sleeve you will put your second mark, this should be just enough to be snug on your arm. I have used five inches from the fold line.
Step 3-Connect the two marks.
Step 4-Draw a connecting line from the second mark to the top of the underside of your sleeve. You want the point at the upper side to be on inch away from the cut edge to give you a one inch seam at that point.
Step 5-Draw another line one inch away from the first, this will be your cutting line.
Step 6-Sew along the upper line, and attach to your kameez using set in sleeve method. If you are uncomfortable using this method, the procedure is the same when you have already attached the sleeve to the kameez, and then start from step 1 of this tutorial.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mendhi on Mondays: Simple flower on palm

Asalamu Alaikum,

I have been working on getting better at my mendhi skills, and thought it might be fun to share some of my little doodlings, maybe make it a kind of regular thing, maybe once or twice a month? Well, we'll see anyway ;-)

First up a simple little flower I did quite a while back now-

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Feature: Eid Milad un-Nabi

Asalamu alaikum,

 Eid Milad un-Nabi is the celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad(SAWS). It is celebrated on the 11th and 12th of Rabi' al-awwal(the third month of the Islamic calendar) which fell in mid January this year. Here in Pakistan it is celebrated with Naat(Urdu or Punjabi songs/hymns that honor the Prophet(SAWS)) and poetry readings, donating food to the needy, and decorating with lights on many of the buildings.

This year during Eid Milad un-Nabi, my father-in-law took two of my sisters-in-law, Saif and I to see the lights set up in a neighborhood near our house.

In this neighborhood the streets are relatively small, and houses right next to each other. so when they get together and decorate it is like long hallways full of lights.

At the entrance of each street they have different styles of lights setup in arches over head.

Garlands of lights continue the length of the whole street.

There are also chandelier style lights set up at intervals.

In some of the streets they had shaped the lights with wires into flowers and different designs.

Since Eid Milad un-Nabi is still falling in the winter months(January of this year), it was quite cold. After seeing the lights Papa took us for soup from our favorite soup cart, with egg and extra masala, Spicy!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Feature: Baby Names

Asalamu alaikum,

When our first son was born, the name discussion was rather short. We agreed that my father in law would be choosing his first name, but I wanted to be able to select a middle name from my side of the family. Tariq's father selected "Saad", which was the name of his father's elder brother(Tariq's great uncle). I wanted to select a middle name that was important to me, and that showed a connection to and respect for my side of the family. There are certain requirements for Muslims' names(it can't be the name of a pagan deity or denote worship of one, it should not have a bad/negative meaning, etc.). Going through family names I selected one that belonged to my maternal grandfather, one of my father's brothers, his grandfather, and brother in law.

When our second son was born, the discussion was a bit longer as Tariq's father had run out of male relatives' names(mashAllah lots of grand kids!). Tariq and I had a list of possibles for the first name and I was still going to go with a middle name from my family so I had my own list. In the end Tariq's elder brother suggested "Saif" and his father liked it, so the first name was settled. I got four or five names from my side-my father/grandfather's name(dad is a Jr.), my brothers' names(one first and one middle), and my other paternal uncle's name. I decided on my father's name, and that was that!

Occasionally I get odd looks or comments about the kids "mixed" names, but I try not to let it get to me. InshAllah I am planning to raise them to be proud of both sides of their family, where they come from, and to understand why I would give them names that are not traditionally Muslim.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Feature: An Aqiqah for my boys!

Asalamu alaikum,

After Saif was born, we started thinking about doing his Aqiqah(for those not familiar with the term-it is an Islamic tradition that involves sacrificing two goats/sheep etc. for each son, and then cooking them to feed family, friends, neighbors, and the needy). Since we had not been able to do Saad's when he was born, we decided to do them both together now, while we are still in Pakistan.

We held the function on our roof, alhamdulillah it is spacious enough to hold a good amount of people. We ended up with around 60 guests. As with every function in our family it was all arranged at the last minute! The orders for tables, chairs, caterers, soft drinks etc. were all given only one or two days before, and the butcher came to perform the sacrifices only that morning!

We got matching sherwanis for Saad and Saif along with groom's kullas(turbans).

Tariq was going all around organizing all the last minute details with the waiters and food while I stayed downstairs and got the boys ready at the last minute so they wouldn't ruin their outfits. When everyone had arrived and all was ready, I suited up the boys, Tariq came and all four of us went up to the roof together. At the top of the stairs all the younger ladies had lined up to shower rose petals on the boys, and Tariq's father put rose and jasmine hars(garlands) on them. After greeting everyone and passing Saif around like a game of musical baby, it was time to eat.

MashAllah the food was fantastic, we had mutton biriyani and qorma with taftans(small round slightly sweet breads), with doodh dulari(a thin pudding with bits of fruits, jellies, and colorful noodles) for dessert.