Saturday, February 25, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Monogram Pillow Case

Our 'Jummah special' for AR this past Jummah was a handmade monogram pillow cover made by Mama. I think this was by far the best gift he had gotten, his face was glowing mashaAllah, he took it from my hand a hugged the pillow and said "it says A  R mama... JazakaAllah khair" he was just so happy and excited about his new handmade by Mama pillow case.

The pleasure of taking time and making things to give your family and friends is priceless. And when done for  our children its truly worth seeing the expression on their beautiful faces "you MADE this for ME". When my husband came home from Jummah AR ran to him and said "Baba you know Mama made me a special A R pillow case..she made it last night even though she was sooooo tired". My husband and I were suprised to hear what he said, SubhanaAllah children are so caring and loving by fitra (nature)...its our duty as parents to nutrure this fitra they have.

I have always enjoyed makng my own things, I still have a skirt I had stitched in high-school. Last year I had started an etsy store named 'Handmadebits" alhumdulillah made a few sales but it was really taking from my time with the kids becoming a bit challenging from here, so I had to close it for the time and hope to go back up when Allah permits it inshaAllah.

InshaAllah if time permits I'll be sharing some of our previous handmade and future 'Jummah specials' and some tutorials.

Here's the tutorial for the Monogram pillow case. I didn't buy anything for this project, thats the best part!

You will need:

  • Fabric (used or new) for the pillow case or cushion. (I used a fitted  i had lying around)
  • GOOD fabric scissors
  • Printed fabric for the monogram (I used an old dress of H)
  • sewing machine!
  • Iron
How to make it:

Step #1
Cut out two same size fabric pieces (square, rectangle,  circle) . Then iron it, when I stitch I  iron my piece after every stitch, it really helps balancing the whole piece.
Step #2

On a piece of paper draw a picture of how you want your final piece to look like and then stick to it. Trace your monogram letters on a paper free hand or print then if you want it to look perfect. I simply drew them straight on the fabirc with a fabric chalk free hand (you can see the orange marks), it washes of right away. Plus I like the natural look it gives when done free hand.

Step #3
Cut and pin your letters on the right side of the fabric. Design it how you want - you can just put the letters in the middle and leave the rest plain or add stripes on any side to give it some accent it will look amazing regardless...because you made it. If you choose to use trips or fabric for accent make sure you pin it to the fabric as well.
Step #4 
Stitch the letters on by keeping the setting of the machine on the 'zig-zag' stitch, this helps the letter stay firm and it looks nice. For the strips I used a straight stitch. 
Step #5

Put the right sides of the pillow case together and stitch the 2 long side and one short side close. Start stitching from the corner of the long side. Now stitch the fourth side half ways leaving enough space for the pillow to go in. You can hand stitch the opening close or use the machine, it up to you.

 You are all done!!

To be honest with you, you can make these any way you like... change the size, color, font, style and if you are feeling confident even the fabric! I used 100% cotton. This tutorial was just to give you an idea.

Stay tuned for our girls version of the monogram pillow!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Syria - you are in our duas

Bismillah, All Praise be to Allah Azawajallah

Assalamualikum wa rahmatullahe wa barakathu, 

As most of you know we live in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. The Tabuk region touches the borders of what is known as Bilad al Sham, which included Syria. Syria is about a few hours away from Tabuk... the situation of Syira in the past weeks has deeply affected the people of this region. Knowing that we are so close to our helpless brothers, sisters and children is a very painful feeling. 

I feel its very important to share these things and feelings with our children. Its important to remind them (and ourselves before them) of the uncountable blessings Allah swt has given us and our families and at this moment protection and peace is a great Nia'am(blessing) we have. We shouldn't forget that if Allah swt wills He can test us any moment. We shouldn't feel safe and heedless of what is happening around us. Living here in the middle east, so close to all the wars happening around us is to some extent scary, but nevertheless a great reminder...that has really helped me move on/away from the petty things of this temporary life.

If we can from within ourselves feel the suffering and hardships our Muslim brothers and sisters have been and are going through, only than can we help our children feel their pain and suffering. There are so many things we can do with our children to show them the importance of this matter at hand. Tell them about whats happening in Syria, show them some videos (appropriate ones according to their age) of whats happening. Its also a great time to teach them about what the importance of the Bilad al Sham is in Islam. This history of what Sham was and is. Show them where Syria is on the map (We posted a map in the family room to see and remind ourselves and our children of whats happening n Syria). Collect money with them to send to Syria. And most of all ask them to make dua for them, children are pure and innocent, they are free from sin, Allah azawajaAllah will hear their duas against this tyrant and his army and will destroy his just as He has destroyed the previous tyrant and their nations. We need to inform ourselves first and for most so we can inform our children. (Below i have added some recent Khutbahs and lectures done on Syria - please take time and listen to them and share them with friends and family too)

My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not a scholar, I am not as knowledgeable as some of you. BUT, I am woman...and it cuts my heart to hear of another Muslim sister and girl being raped my her own brother in Islam. I am mother and a daughter... and the thought of having a my child die with thulm (injustice) shakes my soul. I am also a wife and a sister...its hurts to see all the Muslims brothers being torched to death by their own brothers in Islam. (May Allah make the suffering of Syrian people come to end and grant those who are dead Shahadah martyrdom).

I wonder if this tyrant and his army would be considered in the fold of Islam or not..??? Allah knows best.

May Allah swt end the suffering of Syria. Destroy their enemies. Protect their women, men and children. AND let US take a lesson from it and not be heedless of the Aakhirah by getting too engrossed in this duniya and its temporary life. Ameen

- Umm Abdir-Rahman

Sh. Saoud Shuraim Khutbah About Syria 10/02/2012 - English

Shaikh Muhammad Alarifi Friday Khutba,19,02,1433, My sights in Syria

2012-02-10 - Khutbah - Yasir Qadhi - Syria Crisis - O Bilaad al-Shaam! You are in our hearts!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


This is a notice that I will be changing the blog url within a week. If you have any questions or concerns you can email me at

The url will be from the following two.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Jazakumullahu Khairan

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dirty truth about the CFL light bulbs

What's environmentally safe is not necessarily safe for us. I was not surprised to hear this but its surprising that most people are unaware of the side effects of CFL bulbs. Here in Saudi they use these giant size CFL bulbs, they are becoming increasingly common at shopping areas because they last forever! Extreme exposure to CFL's can lead to many health effects. They can even greatly harm our unborn babies and infants.

Alhumdulillah, in the middle east and most of the world we can still find incandescent bulbs. However did you know that the Canadian government is banning incandescent bulbs!  Alhumdulillah we do have an alternate to CFL bulbs they are known as LED bulbs, they are not as common and are a bit more pricier, but the also last 10 times longer. Click here to read more on this topic.

We should definitely care about our environment and as Muslims even more because we will be questioned about it. But this doesn't have to happen on the cost of our and our families health and well being.

Watch this short documentary film to learn the truth about CFL bulbs!

Book Review - Letters, the alphabet in the natural world

Letters is a wonderful book with amazing really illustrations that chidlren of all ages (including parents) find very fascinating. We've had many different alphabet books for both our children but this eyelike book is just so unique in many ways.

Some amazing things you will find in all their books are:
  1. Colorful yet very subtle and cooling color choice.
  2. Photos and graphics are very natural and eye catching that even we enjoy the illustration. 
  3. Picture selection is very unique and rarely seen in other books. It so simple and the pages are not overcrowded or confusing for a child tiny mind.
  4. Helps increase your and your children's vocabulary and knowledge.
  5. The verses have a touch of humor and relates the pictures to each other in a very creative make the child think outside the box. 
Take a peek into this wonderful book. 

Check out more of their books here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Climbing to Cave of Hira

One of the other things we did this break was, we visited the Cave of Hira. We had been talking about it with AR since before the break, so it was one thing he was really looking forward.

There were 4 main reasons for his excitement, the first being climbing the mountain itself, I just can't find words for his excitement for his first mountain climb. He couldn't stop talking about it, before AND after (MashaAllah TabarakaAllah). The second reason I believe was the name, "Cave of Hira", his one and only aunt/phupoo's name is Hira, so to his little mind this was so fascinating that he was going to a cave which has the same name as his aunt. He even said "did you know phupoo's name is the same as the name of the cave we went too". Third reason was that it was an only boys event, he was excited to go with his Baba, and Uncle/Mamoo. Lastly, but most importantly he was very interested to see where our beloved Prophet SAW used to go and where the Quran was revealed. Although its a deep concept for a 4 year old to understand but he had this excitement to go and see the cave he has heard stories of for so long. 

Here's a small video AR's uncle had made at the top of the mountain and you can also see a special appearance of AR in the video for a second. Hope we all can benefit inshaAllah.

May Allah swt grant you all a chance to visit inshaAllah. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm still here :)

Where have we been??

Well Alhumdulillah for the blessing of living in the KSA. (MashaAllah TabarakaAllah). We had our semester end break afew weeks back, so we decided to get on the road again to go to Makkah to do Umrah, we also spend time with my parents and did lots of field trips.

We did our usual route Tabuk -> Yanbu -> Makkah and on the way back Makkah-> Madinah -> Tabuk. For the drive we kept mostly the same things I posted about in Muslim Travelers Guide. The few different/added things we had this time were a thermos of Saudi Qahwa (coffee) for Baba and for me I had my same old sweet water thermos and a ziplock of my favorite herbal teas. Since it was a bit chilly the kids even enjoyed a cup of warm tea.

This time (just to make it a fun learning experience and implement the sunnah) I wrapped two of the kids not so favorite fruit and veges aside from a surprise toy. MashaAllah TabarakaAllah they truly enjoyed it and eat it! We also got to revise the Hadeeth and even H repeated the hadeeth after me. Kids learn so much from these little practical examples. It really doesn't require too much extra work, its all about our intention, meaning we want to teach them the importance of exchanging gifts. AR wrapped an orange for me and gave it to him as a gift the next day, the wrapper was his drawing too.

One more thing that we did different  this time was, focusing on the nature and what they can see outside the window. I tried to keep them engaged my saying things like.. "SubhanaAllah look at the amazing colors on that mountain... see how the sand changes colors... Look at the SHEEPS and the white Camels..." We kept saying Allah made all this. Eventually they started showing us things masahaAllah TabarakaAllah. It kept them busy for hours and I didn't even have to pull out the activity kit for a long time! We would look for the mosques and chant hurray for who so it. For H we told her to look for the moon on the minar of the mosque and before we knew it she was pointing at every "moon" and "maadeed" she could see, infact shes still doing that. MashaAllah TabarakAllah.

Around Makkah we got to visit some Islamic historical sites.  InshaAllah I'll be sharing the pictures of some of the places we went too. I was initially not going to share these but I thought it would be nice for those mommies who want to teach their little ones about the Islamic History and how they use to travel. (and learn themselves too) inshaAllah. Also, it would be a nice resource for those who live in Saudi to know where they can take their families.

I apologize before hand for not being able to gimp the photos since I have not been able to fix my laptop.

We took the kids to the different Hajj ground. This is the Mina Valley.

Masjid Nimra in Aaraf,

The mountain of Mercy 'Jabal-e-Rahmah'. We climbed it with AR because he really wanted to go up  and see it from the top.

I took the kids to Haram in the morning times as many times as  I could before the Umrah season opened. They just enjoyed running around freely without fearing that they would get lost. It was the best time MashaAllah TabarakAllah. 

Some pictures of the Jeddah Science Oasis at the Andalus Mall, it was really worth the trip. It was kinda sad to see how empty it was, although it was good for us. It was small but a good size for kids to enjoy and yet not get too tired. Most of the stuff was hands on.
This robot was nice... kids were a bit scared at first but then thay really enjoyed it.

Outside of one of the muesums in Jeddah. you can see masjed Aqsa, and the Haramain.

On the way to Taif from the top of the mountain.

The kids fed the monkeys bananas and tangerines. It was amazing to see how they peel the them so quickly
On top of Shifa mountain. It's the place where the Prophet saw went  when he was sick and when he saw came back he felt better. So the Arabs have named this place Shifa.
The mountain where they the Prophet SAW was stoned when he SAW when to the people of Taif to call them to Islam. There is also an masjed there which they say the place where he prayed, Allah knows best. I remember seeing it when we use to live in Taif.

Inside of the masjed

The fenced area you see here is said to be the farm where the he SAW had taken refuge and the slave man became muslim. 

A fort some say was built by Ali (r.a) and some say by the Turks. Sadly there are no description boards telling what the place but my dad knew these from the older Arabs living in Taif who have had these tales passed down to them by there ancestors.
The top of the tower. You can see the holes in the ball on the top, which makes it seem that it was used in wars as a  fort.
Souq Okaz. This is that market that the Propeht SAW talk about in a  Hadeeth. It's a market that's been there since 2000 years (they say). It located in a rollng dessert plain north of Taif. Now it opens once a year. Till this day people travel to visit this market from all over the kingdom. It was the most popular trade stop for the trade caravans. They carry all sorts of things, Scents (itars and incenses) , handmade and homemade gooddess of all sort, food, and traditional and non traditional clothes, dates, honey, different oils.
InshaAllah I will post the hadeeth as soon as I can find it. 

Courtyard of another museum we went to which was closed. 3 out of 3 museums we went to were closed. It was sad. One of them said if you have a group of 10 then you can go in. 

Baab Makkah (Makkah gate) area in Jeddah. Its just a historical site. There are homes building here that are made out of coral.

Coral buildings.

LOL This board was hilarious. I think its funny in English and Arabic
This was a quick 'break in pictures' for you all.