Monday, August 30, 2010

Design Wall Monday

This picture is completely unrelated but does show what I'd like to be spending my time doing.

I have been working but don't have any new pictures to post. I layered the baby quilt and started hand quilting on that. I also sewed the half square triangles for dh's quilt but when I went to lay it out I found out that I need to change out a fabric that is too light and change the placement of a few of the fabrics. I'll have to work on doing that next week.

I hope everyone else had a more productive week. Check out the links at Judy's blog

Wear Hijab on 9/11

In response to a campaign by a group in FL to "Burn the Quran" on 9/11, a woman on Facebook came up with an alternative statement to counter the hatred. People of all faiths are asked to wear a hijab (scarf) on 9/11 to counter the extremist views circulating right now.!/group.php?gid=144913692209438&v=info

Someone also created a new PSA entitled "My Faith My Voice" which you can view on YouTube here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Design Wall Monday time again

Well, I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to this week. It's hard to get much quilting time in when you're baking half the day and spending some four hours out each night.

I'm still cutting out the background pieces for dh's quilt. Late on this one since it was supposed to be for his birthday. I have to put borders on the baby quilt. I've got to hurry with that since the baby is due in two weeks and I really want to give it to the mom before hand.

I hope everyone had a more productive week that I did. (Does it count that I made about 30 dozen cookies, 9 dozen brownies and several loaves of zucchini or banana bread this week?)

Go check out the other design walls at Judy's blog.

Two of the many reasons I didn't get much done on the quilting front this week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Design Wall Monday

It's Design Wall Monday once again but I don't have much progress to show. The only thing I've done this week that is "quilty" is pull the fabrics and come up with an idea for dh's quilt. He likes bright colors and likes the quilts I've made using black as a background so that's what he's going to get. I'll make them in a star pattern using half square triangles. I'm adapting a pattern I saw on-line but, unfortunately, I can't recall where.

Because of Ramadan, I've been super busy. We're usually at the masjid for 3-5 hours each night; plus, I'm the unofficial dessert lady for iftar. This means that I've been making dozens of cookies and brownies as well as multiple loaves of zucchini or banana bread each night. We started on Wednesday and I've already gone through more than 10 lbs. of flour and 10 lbs. of sugar and about 3 dozen eggs. I'm going to have to go shopping tomorrow to stock up on more flour since I'm just about out. I stocked up on everything else Sunday but didn't make it to the store I usually buy flour from. I would have gone today except a) two of my boys had tummy trouble so it was best to stay close to home and b) I was busy chopping and grating lots of zucchini. How much zucchini you ask? Roughly 17 lbs. or about 26 cups grated and 9 cups chopped. Since the boys are sick (H. and R. have runny noses and R. and M. have tummy trouble), I'm staying home with them tonight so maybe I can get some sewing done after iftar. Speaking of which, there's only about 15 min. left before it's time to pray and break my fast and I want to make a salad. I don't usually eat much salad but I seem to crave them when I'm fasting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I wear

A few weeks ago in response to the picture of my dh and I, Jodie asked about the clothes I wear and the climate where I live. First, I live in Northern Virginia, which is hot and humid most of the summer and cool during the winter.

I usually wear pants, jeans or overalls, a T-shirt, an over-sized men's shirt and a scarf. This is my own style and not necessarily reflective of other Muslim women any more than one woman's clothing is the same as every other woman. I have friends who prefer long skirts with a blouse and other that dress in multiple layers. I'm not particularly fashionable but I know others that are very stylish. One thing we have in common is a requirement to wear loose, modest clothing, covering from head to toe except for the hands and face. Those that cover their hands, faces or both, do so more out of culture rather than a religious requirement.

When I'm in Iran, I wear a monto (light weight cotton or rayon long coat) with pants and a T-shirt underneath.

When I was asked this question, it got me thinking about our perceptions of seasonally acceptable attire now versus the not so distant past. You see, growing up I spent a lot of summers living with my grandmother in Florida. She was a real estate agent and every day she would "dress her best" and her best required multiple layers. First she put on the foundations pieces, followed by pantyhose, a full girdle, a full slip, a polyester dress, heels, a full complement of jewelery and full makeup including liquid foundation. As the owner of her own agency, she pretty much worked every day except Sunday and then she dressed for church. She would be out early in the morning until late in the evening, often times running all over town. She dressed like this year round until maybe the last decade of her life when she slowly started incorporating pantsuits and into her wardrobe. One of my aunts dressed pretty much the same way. Now, anyone who's lived in Florida knows what the weather in summer is like. Perpetually hot and sticky, with occasional thunderstorms that result in steaming streets. I can't ever remember her complaining about the heat and only remember her donning a swimsuit a handful of times to take us to the beach.

We seem to have developed a skewed sense of what is acceptable and expected of people, especially women. A man wears a three piece business suit to work and it's completely acceptable but a woman in pants and long sleeves is somehow odd. Next time you're out, count the number of guys wearing jeans versus the number of girls or pay attention to the difference in the average length of the respective gender's shorts.

And, in case you're wondering, loose fitting clothing is far more "breezy" that tight clothes that are short and leave you sticking to everything when the humidity is high.

Ramadan Mubarak

Assalam alaikum (Peace be on you)

Today marks the first day of the month of fasting for Muslims known as Ramadan. From dawn until sunset, Muslims around the world will keep from eating and drinking but also will keep all of their senses and their manners focused on good things. So, not only do we keep away from sodas, coffee and burgers but also lying, gossiping and cursing, either from our mouths or the mouths of others. No smoking or kissing, either. For all of the things we should keep away from, there are many things we are encouraged to do more of. Be more generous of our time, money and forgiveness. Spend more time with friends and family. Fasting naturally slows you down a bit, especially the first week or so as your body gets used to it again. So we enjoy a more relaxed pace to help us focus more on becoming better people. We're encouraged to spend more time reading the Quran and quietly reflecting on spiritual matters. So, during this month, my family and I will go to the masjid/mosque as many nights as we can to join others in reading a section of the Quran (broken down into 30 parts for the 30 days of Ramadan) and breaking our fast with a shared iftar (evening meal). But we are also meant to continue in our regular activities, so we will begin our homeschooling once again, although, I'll probably wait a few more days for the kids to get used to fasting again. M, S, and Z all fasted last year and will again this year.

FYI: Who fasts? Muslims over the age of 9 (younger kids sometimes want to fast like their big brothers or sisters so they do mini "fasts", like no morning snack but regular lunch time)- Those that are sick, pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly or are on a trip are not required to fast but all except the elderly and chronically ill are required to make up the days of fasting when they are able or give charity equal to each day of fasting to feed a poor person. (The same goes for women on their period. We're grouchy enough that time of month; no need to add to the grouchy factor.)
When do we fast? During the lunar month of Ramadan, we wake up early and eat a meal (sahoor) before dawn, do our morning prayers and, depending on work schedules and time of year, go back to sleep for a few hours. We break our fast about 20 min. after sunset with an evening meal (iftar). This time of year that means from about 4 a.m. until about 8:30 p.m. The lunar calendar is shorter than the solar/Gregorian calendar by 11 days, so the month of Ramadan falls at a slightly different time each year. This makes fasting more equitable for everyone. No one has Ramadan every year in the hottest, longest days, while those living in the other hemisphere celebrate in the coldest, shortest days. It wouldn't be very fair Ramadan was say every January and Muslims in North America only had to fast during winter, while those in Australia had to fast during summer. This way we take turns.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment and I'll respond to them in another post.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Design Wall Monday

True to form, I finished sewing the binding on the baby quilt one hour before the baby shower. It was well received by the mom-to-be and I had a few requests from other moms wanting one for themselves. Told you I work best under pressure. heehee!

The other two baby quilts are still on my design wall. I'm hoping to at least finish piecing them this week. I also need to get started on dh's quilt since his birthday is in about 3 weeks.

Well, I'm off to go frost a cake and cupcakes for a party this afternoon. I better get moving too; I only have 30 min. to get it done. Eeek!

Friday, August 06, 2010

We interrupt this quiltathon to bring you...

gardening fun.

I was trying to do the quiltathon yesterday and today along with Judy at Patchwork Times but I just can't get that into it. :( I have to finish hand sewing the binding on the baby quilt for tomorrow and that will likely be all I get done.

Yesterday we go tons of rain along with a good bit of lightening so I ended up keeping the sewing machine off for most of the day. I guess the extra baby quilts won't get done in time.

The extra rain meant the garden needed attention. This is the first year we've every really tried to grow much. A few half-hearted attempts have been made before but only a plant or two here and there. This year, dh decided to make a raised bed. It's not that big, maybe 7'x7' or so. We were REALLY slow to get the garden going. I think we started it in early-mid June. Being that we're inexperienced and weren't expecting much, I planted 7 zucchini plants, 2 or 3 cucumbers, 3 tomatoes, a pepper (only one survived being transplanted), about 8-10 corn, some radish, pumpkin and cantaloupe. Now the first attempt at planting and watering showed that the water wasn't being distributed evenly, so all of the plants were removed and the seeds (pumpkin, cantaloupe, radish and most corn) that were planted got redistributed or lost forever. After about a week the corn seeds started growing along the edge of the bed, so I planted a few more seeds because they proved at least something would grow. :) Then a few days later a pumpkin started growing on one of the dirt irrigation barriers (just mounds of dirt to hold the water in), followed a few days later by another on an adjacent mound but still in the same general plot. This plot also held the pepper and some radish seeds and baby plants. June was really dry and although we watered the garden nearly everyday, we had VERY little growth on any of the plants and figured we wouldn't get much for our efforts this year. Then July came and with it, RAIN!

It's amazing how quickly everything started growing once the rain started. We've gotten dozens of zucchini already with lots more growing. They're so productive that we have to pick them at least every other day or we get giant zucchini. The two biggest ones in the picture are about 9" long and just two days ago they little when dh brought in a zucchini big enough to give me about 3 1/2 c. of chopped filler for stir fry. The cucumbers have taken over the whole bed, wrapping their little tendrils around all the other plants. They're so bad, we decided to stake them to see if we could control their growth a bit. We've gotten a about 8 cucumbers so far but there are tons of flowers and several more growing. The pumpkins have escaped the bed and now have a bunch of baby pumpkins developing. The pumpkin plants shaded out the pepper which hasn't grown much, so we moved it up near the tomatoes. We'll have to wait and see for that one. The tomatoes have just started to really grow. There were only the smallest beginnings of tomatoes last Wednesday, but now, in just over a week, about 8 small to medium sized green plum tomatoes have appeared. I'm hoping we'll be able to pick some in the next week or two. We've even got about 5 ears of corn growing. I wouldn't have even known about the corn or tomatoes if it weren't for the rain. When dh came home last night, he told me that the corn had all fallen over. Apparently the rain and winds were so strong yesterday, that the combination was just too much for the corn. So this afternoon, I was out building up the dirt around the corn and checking up on everything else. The zucchini and cucumbers are what developed in the last two days. Everything we've grown has been grown without pesticides or fertilizers, so it feels good to be able to eat what we pick. And the saving are nice too. Just the zucchini harvest alone will save me a good bit of money since we eat a lot of zucchini, probably 3-4 lbs./week minimum.

The two oldest kids are the ones who started all this growing. They planted sunflowers and flax (M.'s experiment) and have been "competing" to see who's grows fastest/tallest/any other -est they can come up with. Now they can't wait until the can harvest the seeds. They've been plotting to take over the entire backyard with a sunflower maze created out of the seeds they harvest this year!

We now return to the regularly scheduled quiltathon. Thank you for your attention.

S.'s sunflowers
M.'s sunflowers
a picture of the garden last week, now much wilder, taller and greener after yesterday's hours of rain (mulberry and peach trees behind and to the right)
Today's harvest

Monday, August 02, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Well, I didn't get as far as I had hoped but I did finish quilting the most important baby quilt. Now I just have to get it bound by Saturday afternoon for the shower. I'm going to try doing the Quiltathon with Judy on Thursday and Friday so we'll see if I can finish the other two quilts by Saturday as well. Wish me luck!