DIY for the gardener



Because gardening is (mostly) an easy and do-able task done together with small children, just like baking and crafting, we spent a lot of these days outside.
Being in the garden this week, planting, creating and improving our flower beds, I’ve suddenly felt the need to go in, to my nearly forgotten sewing machine, and add bags and pockets to my work-clothes. And to sew some pocket-belts for the most important utensils of a gardener.
By reusing, repurposing and recycling, out of old trousers and aprons, arose those useful garden belts, very practical for all these little things one always needs to have at hand…., alhamdulillah

Many other beautiful ideas to be found online by searching for “garden belts diy”.

Happy April, inchaallah!



 

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Bread and Cookies

  
 

Thank you so much for all the interesting thoughts and comments concerning the compost toilet. I think it is a tough subject and a lot to discuss about; I will definitely keep you informed about its use on the long run, inchaallah.

 

But today it is time for something more edible: bread and cookies.

This weekend I finally had some time to sew some new bags for the school.
The pupils of ours are divided in several groups and every school day another group has to bring bread for the common breakfast-break. Every day, during our end-circle, we give to everyone of the group a cotton bag in which they will bring the homemade flat bread for the next morning. Using those bags, they are reminded to bring the bread and they use that bag instead of using plastic – that’s simple educational green living in action, you see.

 

These bags are very simple and easy to sew; made of old fabric or sheets, squares sewn together with one short sling on the top, nothing special but very nice and useful (even for other things).

 

And after having finished the bags, I made some cookies, rolled oat cookies, to be precise. Again something very quick and easy, nothing special, but really yummy:

 

Rolled Oat Cookies

350 g flour

250 g rolled oats (Haferflocken)

6 table spoons of brown sugar

200ml milk

200 g melted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Mix all together until you have firm dough. Roll little balls of the size of a walnut and press them flat on the baking sheet. Bake on 200°C for about 5 minutes. Done.

Bismillah! And have a blessed week!

Children’s prayer mats

 

In Ramadan I always enjoy the more of time for really important things (reading Qu’ran, praying, being with the kids and in garden, and working on personal projects) and I enjoy even the time for the lesser important things (household, working down my to-do-list, etc), because until late afternoon there is no distraction by meal-making or eating during the day. The day feels much longer in a very positive way, subhanallah.
Surely, the children get their food, but I keep it simple and mostly it contains leftovers from the iftar (breaking-the-fast-meal) of the other day or eggs, pasta or salad.
So, beside organizing the new school year, this means that I sometimes do have time now to sit in front of my sewing machine again, alhamdulillah.
I love sewing! Although I am not at all proficient, I like the quick results that can be made by sewing and I enjoy teaching myself new skills. I am really thankful for the www, where great tutorials and step-by-step-guides can be found that make it even easier. 

For the Ramadan calendar of this year I’ve sewn some prayer mats for the children.
Do you remember the praying mat I once did for myself? It’s the same kind of how-to-do-it: easy done of two layers with a Ka’aba-appliqué and a string. The children ones simply are much smaller and the outer-side is even made out of a dish-towel.

Our children do not already seriously pray at the moment, but they like to join me sometimes, to imitate the movements and to play as if it were serious, even the little one; she puts then her own hijab (head cover) on and rises her hands high to do the initial “Allahu akbar” movement – I love to see it, it’s heart-melting!
I think it is important for Muslim children to have their own mat, to feel invited, to feel confident, and to learn doing accurately their prayers and most importantly: to enjoy them. And with these light and personal mats they definitely do, Alhamdulillah.

Happy Sunday and a blessed week to you!

  
 

new Bags

  
  

While making up my wardrobe, I also did some springtime sewing. Here are the results from the last week:
 

a new bag made of repurposed jeans and realized with the help of Melissa’s great tutorial ;
and a little handbag for my girl, just as those I did for the boys before (made of old trousers).

Happy Spring and blessed week to you !

 

Spring Make Up

  
  

The air is getting warmer, the trees are blossoming and it feels like new life is growing everywhere. Slowly we put off the second pair of socks and woolen trousers and the fire in the chimney doesn’t burn that often any more…

…Time for a make up of my wardrobe:

I am still in the green-living and repurposing mood and anyway, as I’ve told you a year ago, buying new things is nearly impossible over here, even if I would have the wish and the money.
My style and taste changed over the years and the older I grow the more I like long and wide, feminine dresses. More and more I approach the Islamic manner of making myself beautiful at home and to wear lovely clothes when with family but to cover myself in modesty when going out – its’ quiet the contrary of what I was brought up with.

 
So when I recently opened my closet, I found a lot of things which I liked either in color or shape but nothing seemed to fit “perfect” with my actual feeling of style.
The easiest way of renewing my wardrobe seemed to put together some pieces and to make something new out of them.

So I took several tunics, skirts and dresses; I cut off the worn-out parts or those which didn’t fit, and I pinned together matching pieces in a new way: a top part of a tunic sewn together with the lower part of a wide t-shirt made a totally new long dress; the lower part of an old skirt sewn together with a piece of a blouse made another lovely new piece; a beautiful appliqué here, a new shawl combined with it there…
Subhanallah, totally fresh home dresses without spending any money only by repurposing old things.

And those clothes which I really do not wear any longer, those which kept untouched since more than a year, I’ll give away as charity, inchaallah….

I think the spring-cleaning season has begun just as every year, friends! Let’s see what’s about next to make up – any new ideas for home and self?

May I introduce…

 

This is Lilli.

Finally the doll for my little girl is done, alhamdulillah.
It wasn’t that difficult to make her. I quiet enjoyed the whole process although it took me more than half a year. But if I would sum it up, the real working time was only about 10 hours. All about how to do it I found online and most of the doll is easily sewn by hand, filled with pure wool and some lavender for a beautiful smell.
It was the first doll I ever did, but I hope it wasn’t the last one, inchaallah.

I like our new family member, and the kids do as well, subhanallah, and for me it’s a joy to have some girly things here amongst all the boyish cars, swords and legos.

…Off to a rainy-snowy-windy weekend at home playing girl-things and enjoying the coming of winter with a warm mug of tea, cookies and candles, inchaallah.
Happy cozy Sunday!

Style Files of a Muslimah

  

It’s been a long time I wanted to write about one of the most contradictory discussed topics concerning Muslim women: the head cover or veil, called « hijab ». And I feel as if now is the right moment to do so.
A few months ago I discovered a new love on how to wear my hijab, it’s a classical style called “khimar”, and I absolutely wanted to share this love with you. It’s the most practical and pure style of covering and to me it unifies my ideals of chastity and femininity. It reminds me of pure womanhood just as the elegant ladies of ancient times like the mothers of the believers, or the biblical Mary and nuns.
I know that many of my readers are non-Muslims, alhamdulillah, so this may sound strange to you and some already asked why I decided to cover my hair, why Muslim women in general wear hijab.

To explain it a bit I wanna tell you my personal story, which is kind of an ongoing transformation and a free personal choice:
When I first came to Morocco on a university field trip, still being a normal Christian western girl, I didn’t know anything about Islam except the prejudices out of the European media. But when we visited the rural areas I felt the need to cover my hair with a loose scarf, simply because my feeling of respect towards the inhabitants asked for it – and I felt better, I felt more polite but also more respected myself, subhanallah.

A lot happened and changed after that first trip to Morocco and about a year later, I reverted to Islam (that’s a whole other story…), alhamdulillah! But still, the headscarf was something I just couldn’t imagine for myself except during prayer or on those visits to rural Muslim areas.
I’ve always been a very independent kind of woman and my style was always a bit garçonne, mostly about trousers and sneakers – a veil just didn’t fit in with my own sense of self.
But I grew deeper in the religion and, subhanallah, slowly my point of view changed and soon I wished myself to dress more feminine and to act and to be more like a woman.
I didn’t believe any more in the picture of a woman who has to manage all without men’s help to become partly masculine herself to succeed in life.

I slowly embraced the Islamic view on womanhood and I began to see the good in gender separation and the divided duties between men and women. I began to acknowledge the God given different bodies, minds and strengths women and men have. I wanted myself fully fit in my role as a mother, wife and sister in Islam and I wanted to please my husband only and not attracting other men.
The more I learned about Islam and the stronger my faith became alhamdulillah, the more I felt the wish to be part of that “ummah” (the whole Muslim community).

Still living in Germany, I saw veiled women on the street and my heart yearned to be one of them. I wished they could recognize me as a sister in faith so we could give us greetings of peace; I wished I could tell them how beautiful they are in their modesty. But I was too shy and I feared rejection from family, friends and the German environment. (By the way I personally do not know any woman who is forced to wear a head scarf, but I know many sisters who would love to wear it but either aren’t allowed to or fear public rejection).

So when we finally made our Hijrah to Morocco, alhamdulillah, I felt so happy and relieved and decided to begin to wear the head scarf. First I just wore it occasionally and very loosely wrapped around the head. It felt strange and as if everybody would steer at me. Leaving the house first made me feel scared, but little by little my natural innate feeling of shame and modesty came back and soon I tried different binding techniques: shawls, Amira-style, squared scarves, etc.
I felt more confident and comfortable wearing loose clothes and covering my hair. I felt free from the burden of having to have the newest hair style or the sexiest hips. I felt free from being judged by my weight, shapes and fashion style.
And the longer I wore hijab the more I felt the need to cover myself properly. Whereas before it felt already too much to me wearing three-quarter-length sleeves, I soon wanted to wear long sleeves only…

Today I prefer wearing feminine long skirts over my pants and wide tuniqes, I prefer to cover my hair entirely and I feel already naked when my arms are seen… Modesty develops in stages and I don’t know where my personal evolution will lead me to, but I know now that hijab is not only about covering the body shapes, it is about natural shame, about respect towards one’s self and others and it is also about modest behaviour and speech… – in the end it is like becoming a beautiful pearl in a sea shell, hidden to the public but shining in its home.

So yes, you see, I simply love to wear my new sewn khimars. They are so easy to simply be pulled over the house garments, they match over all and cover entirely, without fixing, no safety pins, no slipping.
I made them in different lengths, some for working and playing outside, some shorter for hikes and longer for the city.
I used soft lightweight elastic cotton fabric (or viscose) which is perfect because it falls so smooth; it cools in summer and fits so well around the head, alhamdulillah. The basic pattern is sewn out of a simple rectangle (about 200 x 300 cm), the longer side hemmed at the edges, then folded on half, sewn together by keeping the head part open and the trimmed in form (see the sketches). If you need further information on the sewing process, please ask.

Wherever you are and whatever you believe, I wish you comfort in your body and a healthy sense of pride, self-respect and natural shame.
Blessed Friday and a most beautiful first-July-summer-weekend friends!