Thursday 25 April 2013

Bead Craft Class

During the Easter holidays, I and Little Lady attended a family craft workshop at her school library.  The sessions was on jewellery making so I thought it would be nice for us to do as we both enjoy making our own jewellery.

We started by following instructions from a worksheet and the instructor to make a keyring in the shape of a little person.

We had to pick beads for the head, body, feet, hands and some long thin bugle-type beads for the arms and legs.

I watched whilst Little Lady threaded the body parts together

The whole person was fairly easy to string onto two wires up unitl the neck and an additional two wires for the arms.  The wire was looped back on itself at the hands and feet to secure the beads.

Where the wires emerged at the top of the persons head they were coiled tightly over a matchstick and then pulled slightly to make some crazy hair.

We the secured the keyring and chain to one of the wires.  There is a nice tutorial for how to make these here

The second thing we tried was simple bead-weaving which always seemed very complicated and fiddly to me.

We were asked to measure some elasticated string which was twice the circumference of our wrists.  We then picked out roughly enough beads to go round wrist twice. The beads used here were basic pony beads.

We taped our string to the table with masking tape and started threading the beads through one pair of beads and then the other string through the same pair of beads as below.

Little Lady quickly had enough to go round her hand.  I tied the two ends of the string up to form the bracelet below.

I haven't tried this before because I thought it looked like a lot of work for an effect that didn't seem a little too simple.  But after this workshop, I realised how therapeutic something like this and with the right beads and threads how pretty something like this could look.

We got home and Little Lady promptly made me this ring.  It's nice that she felt motivated to try other things and we both enjoyed the session.

Picture of the Day 24.04.13 - First Anemone

I finally started on the mess that we call a garden this week - so much to clear up, but this little anemone, the only bright thing to have grown in my garden so far helped spur me on.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Shutterbug Sisters Blog

My younger sister M, or Shutterbug as I call her on this blog, has always been a keen photographer.  Of all of my sisters she is probably the kindest and most selfless.  She wanted to buy a DSLR camera (apparently these are the serious cameras - I wouldn't know) for years but always managed to spend the money on someone else, or bills, or to help someone or on my parents.

I was so pleased when she finally got one and enrolled on a photography course.  I have been on at her for a while to share her images with the world, so I was pleased when she finally started blogging her journey as a photographer at do check it out and let her know what you think insh'Allah.  Some of her images are below.

New Necklaces and Something Exciting

I finally got the chance to bring out my beads after what felt like a very long time.  I had finished the housework, the kids were school, hubby was on a  job and Darling was asleep.  My afternoon was MINE!!!

I love the glass crystals that are available right now and like mixing their sparkle with some semi-precious stone chips I sourced from another jewellery maker.

These are grape coloured glass crystals and quartz chips.

I managed to get a fair bit done and when the kids came home, they pestered me until I let Little Lady and Little Man thread some of the beads in the evening.  Little Man helped finish off this one.

I love turquoise (my grandmother who lived with me for  a few years and was an amazing woman was called Feroza, which means turquoise) and bought these turquoise beads a few years ago and couldn't decide how to use them.  I love the slightly matte feel of the discs.

Little Lady helped me play around with colour schemes until we came up with this one: turquoise, red glass crystals and green aventurine (another type of quartz) chips.

I love the textures and colour contrasts of this one, although I think I will have to live with it a little before I decide if this is the best use of the turquoise  - what do you think?

Part of the reason I picked up my beads again, was encouragement from my sisters (Shutterbug, Fashionista and Kooks).  We make a great team and although we constantly squabble we also bounce ideas off each other and can get so much done when we team up (like my brothers wedding and then Fashionista's).  Between us we have four bloggers, two keen photographers, four bibliophiles, one crafter, two writers and four girls who love to party, travel and learn and see new things.  So we recently decided to make good use of our skills with a collaboration.  I won't say what yet but insh'Allah more news and lots of pics soon!

Teething, Weaning, Loving

You might remember not that long ago we welcomed our fourth child, Darling as Little Lady calls her, into the world.  Well I'm slightly amazed that Darling is six months already.  Mash'Allah this little one has given me six of the happiest months in my life.  She has been an easy going, happy little sweetheart and I am grateful for her every day.

Now that she is six months, teething has kicked in.  She has two tiny little teeth which are set exactly like her dads, who she is the carbon copy of down to the dimpled chin.  We had about a month when her cheeks would go bright red and she would scratch her ears furiously and try to bite anything she could before her teeth broke through.  Thankfully she is a little more comfortable now, although everything she can reach, grab or lunge for goes straight into her mouth.

She loves slices of cucumber that are nice and cold and for some reason her favourite thing to bite on is one of her dads tasbeehs (rosary) which has very very tough string and quite small beads (I think its the right size to get her teeth into).

Mash'Allah she's sitting up now and rolls around all over the place.  When I pray I put her on a small prayer mat next to me and by the time I am finished, she is somewhere else (including half way under my bed one time). 

Alhamdulillah, now that she is six months we are started to wean her.  I've tried baby rice and cucumber and hope to try avocado and sweet potato this week.  I've come across some fab ideas on Pinterest which I have pinned to my Baby Food board to try out.  Alhamulillah, this little girl has brought me out from the difficult place I was in last year, she has helped me regain my mojo and most importantly, this is the first time I have immersed myself in motherhood without thinking about work or career or anything else and really, really enjoyed it.

Monday 22 April 2013

Sunshine, Blossoms and Secret Gardens

Now I know why we had such a long, cold winter - so that we can really appreciate it when the warmer weather comes along.  The last few days have been lovely mash'Allah - bright sun, blue skies, a fresh breeze and everything starting to blossom.

I thought this weekend was perfect for taking the kids to the park, so that is what we did.

I love how blue the sky was and how all the pink blossoms on the trees look so pretty against it.  If there is one thing that nature does well it is perfect colour contrasts (think red roses with glossy green leaves or fields of lavender against blue skies).

The daffodils have finally starting appearing, this usually starts happening around February here, but I think they were waiting for the snowy weather to depart.  This wave of daffodils reminded me of the yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz.

We found a corner of the park that we had not explored and found that some formal gardens were being planted.  These were walled off into sections which led into each other.  It was fun to see what was through each arch.

Alhamdullilah, I always avoid going to the park and try to get hubby to take the kids instead so that I can catch up on housework and rest, but whenever I do go I'm so glad I did.  There's something about, greenery, nature, great big trees, sunshine and blue skies which is like medicine to me.

Friday 19 April 2013

Designing T-Shirts

 I have had these fabric markers and t-shirts for over a year,.  They were a gift from a lovely sister and friend in America and the kids have been pestering me for ages to let them use them.  So in the Easter break I told them to create a design on paper and we could have a go at drawing it onto the fabric.

Little Lady managed to get on with hers herself, whereas the boys needed some help, so I got them to think of some wording, traced out letters and shapes that they liked and let them fill them in with details and colour them in.

As usual, they got really cited  threw themselves into the task, then realised it took patience and work and got bored and started wandering off at the end.  I had to encourage them to finish the design so I could iron it on.

The pens were fairly easy to use, although it was slow progress as you have to go over the colour more than once sometimes to get the intensity of colour you want.  I quite like how these turned out and might customise some for the baby.  Now we just have to wait for summer to wear them insh'Allah.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Anglo-Moroccan Wedding

I posted yesterday about my best friends sister's henna party.  The day after the henna, we were invited to the wedding.  My family, my mum and brothers family went along with Shutterbug Sister accompanying as a photographer on the request of the brides family (all of the pictures below are courtesy of her).

Mash'Allah the wedding was the most organised Moroccan wedding ever.  Everything was on time, everyone got their pictures taken and the bride had her outfit changes on cue (that must have been the Anglo- part of the wedding coming through as the groom is English and his lovely family did a lot of the setting up).

The venue was very plush and it was nice to have separate rooms for men and women so that the ladies could let their hair down (sorry guys, all the fun happens on this side, you carry on discussing the football scores).

Traditionally at a Moroccan wedding the bride has a number of outfit changes with matching jewellery and make-up with each outfit.  Mash'Allah each outfit was gorgeous and the bride looked like a princess.

This display of traditional sweets, baklava and  dates was gorgeous.  It really caught my eye and my fancy and the dates tasted delicious  (I asked and was told that these were made up by Sweetland) with the brides family preparing the stuffed dates themselves.

I was wondering if the food would be Moroccan or South Asian (like the last Moroccan wedding I went to), but it turned out to be English: tomato soup, smoked salmon, tender chicken breast with mashed potato and grilled vegetables.  It tasted really, really good.

The bride is a teacher and thought of separate kids meals for the children - mini jacket potatoes and chicken strips (I tried these out too - they tasted good)

I like this picture, someone was evidently busy tidying up the table diamonds that the grooms mum had scattered all over the table.

Alhamdulillah we had a very nice evening, being taken care of my the brides mum, watching my best friend run around like a headless chicken, watching the ladies get down to some Moroccan dancing, eating good food, going deaf from the loud Moroccan music (I thought Darling might get unsettled, but she was unfazed as always) and catching up with the people I had met at the henna.