Monday, April 25, 2011


I've been asked to make a FREE SYPRIA button for a client on Zibbet who liked my FREE LIBYA buttons.

She got 49 buttons and took them to a rally this past Saturday where they were gone within 10 minutes.

She's now asked for more.  I wanted to share them here because I'm proud of my Arab sister rallying for her country too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Women's Wellness Weekend - Spring 2011

I went up for the weekend to teach at the YMCA Camp Colman in Longbranch, WA. What a remarkable weekend it turned out to be.
I had originally decided that I wasn't going to tell anyone else about this job, or try to recruit any girlfriends to go with me, only because I really needed a people break. I love everyone and am a very social person. But lately, I've decided I've been to too many social events and really wanted to spend some time with myself. Between the Libyan rallies, lectures, fundraisers, playgroups, girl scouts, book clubs, workshops, and the other five hundred things that I attend on a weekly basis, I really just wanted to take a break.

So when the opportunity to teach Quilling at Camp Colman's Women's Wellness Weekend came up, I jumped on it and was looking forward to some me time. I must say I was ready for some beauty in nature, since I knew from having taught at the beautiful site of Camp Orkila in the past that the YMCA picks some astounding locations for their camps. But Camp Colman really took my breath away. It is in the Key Peninsula rested on top of a lake/lagoon that overlooked the Puget Sound and surrounding islands. In fact, you had to drive on this little graval inlet that separated the two bodies of water apart.

Our cabin were minimalist, having zero furniture other then bunk beds, but that was to be understood, since it has just finished being build two days prior. While there, I did get to visit in some of the other cabins, but I would say Freeman 3 (where I slept) was the best by far since it was furthest away from the others (less noise) and had that new wood smell (which reminded me of my past job as Gallery Manager for the Northwest Fine Woodworking). On my second day there, I took a book, chair and some water and was reading by myself on the porch, when some chickens decided to come by and say hello. After I found some peanuts in my car to feed them, we became best friends and they followed me around for the rest of my visit.

The camp meals were unbelievably fresh, nutritious, flavorful and colourful! I would dare say they even compare to the meals I've had at Sleeping Lady when I previously was a part of the annual Cultural Conference that was held there. And they had this wonderful Greek yogurt for breakfast that I could not really get enough of and keep sneaking more! I also tried acupuncture for the first time, got a facial and once again had a screaming good time on the giant swing. The staff was really something else and always went out of their way to make you feel special and comfortable.

But let's get to the fun part: my class! The write up about it had used the word "advanced" but really, Quilling is super easy to do by anyone over the age of 16. I taught two classes and the first one was full with over 14 students, and the second one had about 8 I think. The ladies really had a lot of fun with it, so much in fact that I brought my supplies out the final day and they created more over breakfast! Some of the cards were so creative and I really hope they pick up the tools to continue to make more quilld designs at home.

It was a much needed break from life and I really hope I get privileged enough to be asked again to go and teach another time. It doesn't even have to be Quilling; I'd go and do anything for a chance to be surrounded by so much beauty, relaxed women and chickens! I drove home, crossing the Tacoma Narrows bridge with Radiohead blasting on the radio, ready to come back to reality of kids, email, phones, work, volunteering and all that life has going on for me.

Here is a photo of trillium that were all over camp:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Islamic Life interview

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am the mother of 3 Muslim children, wife to an Egyptian Muslim. I have been a SAHM for 11 years, and have been sewing off and on just as long. When my girls started learning how to pray, I asked many women from the Masjid and my husband's family about getting hijabs for the girls to practice with and kept hitting brick walls. My mother and sister in law helped us track down little girl hijabs to buy, but it wasn't an easily found item because most mothers just make them for their daughters. In countries and families where you grow up practicing Islam, its just something you know how to make.

I went to my Halaka one Friday night and was venting about this problem and a dear friend offered to bring me some outfits for the girls from overseas. When she returned, she brought me beautiful outfits, trimmed in lace and ribbon. They were so dainty and girly and pristine that my ladies didn't want to use them. They were afraid of ruining something so special.

I thought, if I am struggling so hard with this hurdle, I know I am not the only one! I want to be supportive of my daughters and teach them the proper way to pray, but why is it soo hard to find the support I need? I saw the need for prayer outfits for little girls who love colorful, fun and soft clothing.

Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
Aside from being a wife, mother and the creative vision behind My Islamic Life, I am a teacher, a daughter, a good friend and sister. I love to read and cook, watch movies, spend time with my family and be present in my daily life.

What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Growing up Christian in America, I took for granted that I could find inspirational and devotional gifts and trinkets everywhere. In just about any store you go to, you could find some little something with a cross or Christian saying on it to remind yourself of your belief, or gift to someone who was having a bad day. I have started making Islamic themed jewelry to fill this void. I use English letters, and I stamp phrases and words on silver, brass and copper shapes, making necklaces and, Insha’Allah, bracelets. I have also been creating pendants, bracelets and earrings from Islamic and Middle Eastern themed clay beads.

In addition to sewing and crafting prayer outfits for little ladies, I make one and two piece prayer outfits for adults. I spoke to many women who were mending their one piece outfits in desperation because they could no longer buy them overseas. I take the time to make the outfit the way it should me made and in the fabric and colors specifically requested.

How do you promote your work?
I rely heavily on word of mouth and repeat customers on my shop site. I have a blog where I address issues that come up as the non Muslim partner and parent of a Muslim family. I also have a fan page on Facebook, and a Twitter Feed. I am trying to explore other ways of getting my name out there as a resource to American Muslims, parents of Muslim children and reverts to Islam. Primarily my customer base has been people who know me in person, who I see on a daily basis.

In the future I’d like to be helpful to more women like me. I would like to make a difference so that someone else’s journey might be a little easier. I would like to continue being a source of support and comfort to my daughters so that they grow up strong and confidant in who they are and what they believe.