Tuesday, December 23, 2008

James Herriot

Assalm alykom:
Last year my daughter did the Oak Meadow 4th grade. This book was part of the reading for that grade. I had never really heard of James Herriot and thought the book looked childish for 4th grade. However, after reading the book, my daughter loved it. I read the book and loved it too. I looked in the library for more of his books and found he writes adult books and have been enjoying them ever since. James Herriot is a Veterinarian and all of his book recount his adventures as an animal doctor. I love all the animal stories. They are heart warming as well as educational. He is from England and all of his stories revolve around small town farmers and their animals. His books are pretty wholesome and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Duck Light Bulb

Assalam alykom:

We just got a couple ducks on our farm. My friend has so many. When we visited my husband cornered a male and female and brought them home. Since we have our little farm, I decided to work in to our studies with my first grader lessons about a farm. We studied a few animals and of course we had to study the duck. I am amazed at how freezing it is outside and the ducks are swimming in the little tub we have for them. While studying ducks we read that they have no nerves in their feet so they do not feel the cold. Also, their feathers are designed in such a way that their skin does not ever feel the water. Glory be to Allah how he creates things so perfect. You can see my ducks in my other blog. Here is our little craft we did about ducks. We made it from a old burnt out light bulb. We painted the light bulb with Kilz primer. This stuff will stick to anything. We cut the feet and beak out from foam and colored them orange with a permanent marker. We used feathers from our chickens and we glued the eyes, buttons, hat and lace with a glue gun. We drew the eye lashes with a sharpie pen. I think she looks really cute!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Live Your Life on Purpose

Assalam alykom:
This is a spectacular book that everyone should read. There is nothing in Muslim publications like this. It was such an easy to read book. It was not a book of rules like most Islamic books. It was done in a light conversational tone that mixed humor and great advice on spirituality and just living life the right way. Here is the abstract on it:
Book Abstract
In Live Your Life On Purpose, Radwan endeavors to awaken our senses by sharing with us basic truths about being more successful and fulfilled through living our lives according to God’s purpose for us. This book is replete with quranic and biblical passages, yet it is laced with humorous anecdotes, clich├ęs and quotes that make the tone of the book conversational, rather than as an aloof religious authority. Radwan expounds in a loving and peaceful manner to all people of God, seekers, and skeptics. Also, he offers chapters of positive and practical solutions to life’s stumbles, with simple yet invigorating advice that helps view ourselves with a fresh and positive perspective. The book shows a behavior model and sheds light on understanding and appreciating our relationship with God, improving our interactions with others, as well as building and maintaining a healthy, functioning community. Whether contemplating the age-old mystery of the purpose of life, seeking to enrich your spiritual path, or desiring to improve your Islamic knowledge and character, Live Your Life On Purpose will provide food for thought, inspire, and leave you hopeful and uplifted.
You can read the first 45 pages HERE
Here is where you can order your copy today!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fabric Notebooks

Assalm alykom:

I am an avid thrift hunter. I scour thrift shops, estate sales, and yard sales. I was recently at an estate auction where I picked up a huge box of vintage fabric scraps for a dollar. Here is what we did with some of it so far.

Materials: Fabric scaps cut in small squares with pinking shears, Composition book, Mod Podge or any decoupage medium, 1 button, elastic hair tie, paper punch, paint brush.


After you cut enough fabric squares to cover the book, you can begin to over lap them on the front of the book. I left about 2 inches on the end so I could fold them over to the other side. After I was sure I had enough squares I took them all off. I would put the Mod Podge in a small area, and then I would place the fabric with overlapping them. Then I would put the Mod Podge over the fabric until I covered the whole book. I let the first coat try and then applied a second coat. After that was dry, I used a hole punch to make a hole and tied an elastic hair tie through it. This is how I closed the book. I glued a vintage button on the other side and pulled the elastic around it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Year in Homeschooling

Assalam Alykom:

This year for me was like no other for homeschooling. It took us a whole year to finish. We lived in three states, and stayed in five different homes. We have finally settled in Nebraska. It looks like we are here for a while. While living in all of these temporary places, my schooling was very different. We had three plastic tubs that we kept all of our school supplies in. We had everything from books, to markers, paint, glue, notebooks, maps........Just everything we needed. Every time we moved, I would just pull those tubs along and set up our little mobile school. We started in Florida living in a vacation condo along the beach. We did many science experiences from the beach. I capitalized on the museums in the area, and we did field trips. We later moved to Tulsa Oklahoma. But, before we did, we stayed a few weeks in Orlando with my husband's family. I could not just sit around and not school the children for two weeks. I brought my plastic tubs/mobile school into my in laws home and started our school again. We spent 6 months in Tulsa and lived in an apartment until we were able to find a house. My mobile school started for a little longer period of time. During our time in Tulsa, we had taken a few road trips to Nebraska to visit friends there. We loved the area and found a house we wanted. We were at the end of July and we moved all of our things with the idea we would close on our home in a few days. We went to our friends house. The closing of the house was not going as planned and we ended up staying three weeks with our friends. We had to put all of our things into their garage. Well, I only had a week left to finish our curriculum. I could not let the kids not finish soon. I searched through the garage for my tubs, and I found them after much difficulty. Alhamdolilah after a week we did it! My advice to parents who always need perfect conditions for homeschooling is that you really do not. You just have to have a great deal of patience and for me I needed determination to keep going and finish. Parents need to ask Allah for patience and determination because I believe under any conditions and circumstances you can make it with these two attributes. May Allah give us the patience, strength and determination to educate our children to please Him. AMEEN

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Vintage Embroidery

A finely done crewel embroidery from 1965

Embroidery can take on many different styles. There is crewel embroidery which is usually done in yarn that can be wool or acrylic. Embroidery can even be done on sweaters using this method. There is embroidery that is done with fine cotton floss or even silk. This is usually more delicate in nature and can be found on linen, cotton or even silk. There is long stitch embroidery too. This is usually done with yarn that is similar to crewel embroidery. Creating a picture that is a work of art is very rewarding. All of the pictures shown here are items that I have picked up and sold through Ebay. Some are just exceptionally beautiful.

This is a stunning sweater from the 1950's. I gave it to my daughter and she loves it!

This is a cute folk
art style using crewel

Another fine example of crewel embroidery in a folk art style

This one is done in a cotton floss and is machine embroidered on a napkin.

The next two are antique table runners that have a beautiful crocheted lace.

This one is another example of cotton floss with a folk art look.

This is an old pillowcase doll that I picked for my daughters. It combines embroidery with crochet. The detail is just fabulous!

A nice sachet that is done on linen and uses silk floss.

This one as an Asian design. It is done in a wool embroidery yarn.

Beautiful 3D flowers in crewel embroidery.

This my only example of long stitch embroidery. A Very nice picture and done in a stunning frame!

I apologize if this was a little hard to read. Blogger does not always cooperate with me when I try to put alot of pictures with the text. I hope you enjoy these works of art!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vintage Needlepoint

Assalm Alykom:

I have been selling on Ebay for about 1 year now. I read in a book once that you should sell what you like. Anyone who knows me knows I love all types of crafting. My first items that I sold on Ebay were old vintage buttons and a couple of needlepoint pillows. After that I was hooked on searching for those items. I search estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores for old vintage handmade items. Here are some photos of some of my favorites. This little trinket box is so cute and has all needlepoint on the top. I listed it once and it did not sell, but I will try again.

This one was a beauty. I think that it sold for around $20. I just love the colors. It was a huge picture. It must have taken the person so long to do.

I purchased this one at a yard sale. I wanted to keep it, but I did not like the way the purse does not close. That is the style and just was not mine. It sold for $20.

This one is a chair cover. I purchased it with a bunch of other stuff, super cheap. It sold for around $20.

This one is so cute because it is a clock. It sold for around $10

This has alot of detail and sold for around $8.

I love the retro design of this one. It never sold, but I will try again.

This little guy really surprised me. He went for $122 to a buyer in Canada.

This was another shocker she is so simple, but she went for $79.00 to a buyer in Canada.

This one has such fine needlework. It never sold. I am surprised because it is in with the retro look.

I love this little picture and decided to keep it.

This was a beauty that was done in a stylish chrome 70"s frame. It went for around $50.

This is a sweet little pillow and sold for around $10.

I just love the old handmade items. I cannot resist not to keep some of the ones that I buy. I hope you enjoy looking at some of these art pieces!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oak Meadow Sixth Grade

Assalm Alykom:
The sixth grade is the best of all of the grades I taught this year. It is very organized and the material is interesting to my son. It starts out by having them make an outline map of the area of time that covers the Ancient Times up to the Renaissance. We are adding countries until the end of all the lessons. I love this integration of geography. The curriculum basically integrates the history with the grammar, vocabulary and spelling. I did not get the reading books because it was Greek Myths and another book about the middle Ages and the Renaissance. I really do not like those books for reading. So we just substituted reading other books from the library. There are definitely things that I needed to skip and substitute. However, overall the projects and papers had many choices. This way, we picked things that suited us from an Islamic view. There is a great deal of written Islamic History during this time. Therefore ,many of the written reports my son did was related to our history. The Science is good too. It is studying animal and plants. Each weekly lesson has many questions to answer and a project or two. In the end, they take a five question test that usually requires a little bit of writing. I really love the way the math is taught. Most traditional school text books teach a math concept, and then there is a test after a few concepts. They may never return to that concept the rest of the year. This math teaches a new concept each week. Every other week there is a "review" of all the concepts. Also every other week there is a test and this test has many old concepts from before. Therefore, every week there is either a review or a test. Overall, I like the sixth grade. There is a great deal of writing and research. My son does complain about this, but after all the whining, he is able to do it. He says that he cannot do it because it is to hard. My motto these days is "It may be hard, but it is not impossible, and you can do it". He does do it and does a great job!

Vintage and Violets

Assalam Alykom:

This is an introduction to a new category on my blog. The new category will be "VINTAGE" I have been selling on Ebay for about one year now. During this time, I have cased garage sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. During this most exciting search, I have bought many wonderful vintage items. Some I have kept and some I have sold. Many of them are handmade beauties. Some of the things are neat and interesting books and some of the things are beautiful pieces of costume jewelry. I am introducing this category with violets. My Irish grandmother always loved violets. Her house was filled with them, and I loved them. I love how their leaves look like a piece of delicate green velvet. I adore the delicate flowers that bloom continuously for my pleasure. Therefore, I like to keep violets in my home. A few weeks ago, I was at a garage sale and picked up an old book about violets. In this book, I found a lovely newspaper clipping with a wonderful poem. Here is the poem:


Why turn so fast those pages of time,

Thinking happiness lies in some other clime-

When so much can happen within four walls,

Just making a home and meeting its calls.

For life's great happiness comes from within,

Not the number of countries we've been in;

It's simple contentment that makes life shine,

I'm thankful Lord, for this home of mine!

Author: Mildred Lee Klan

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Walking Stick

Assalam alykom:

My children wanted to make walking sticks. We collected some sticks from outside and went to work. I decided that I wanted to try one too. My son started his first. He was working so long and hard to whittle the bark off, then sand it all down. He then varnished it, and it looked pretty good in the end. My stick was much taller than his. I started trying to take the bark off, and I really did not have the patience. So, I decide that I would just leave the bark on and decoupage it with Mod Podge and tissue paper. I started by tearing small pieces of tissue paper. I applied each piece over another with the Mod Podge until I achieved to color and look that I wanted. Finally, I just put several coats of the Mod Podge until it was very shiny. After it all dried, I wrapped gold jewelry wire at the top an glued a few beads and accent pieces. It turned out better than I expected. It was much easier than taking all that bark off and varnishing it too!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Clothes Pin Dolls

Assalam alykom:

A few years ago, I bought a huge bag of craft sticks at a yard sale. Well, we dug them out to make a covered wagon for my daughters 4th grade project. In the bag we found a whole bunch of wooden clothes pins. I had seen some projects about how to make dolls from them so, my daughters and I attempted to make some of our own. Here is how we did it:

We took the clothes pin and wrapped a pipe cleaner around the middle to form the hands. We used a hot glue to make it stay. Then, we picked our clothes from scraps of fabric and trimmings. We also glued them with the gun. We glued beads to the ends of the arms. I thought this made them safer. we glued yarn to the head for hair. The last thing we did was paint the face and paint shoes on some of them. The Praying ones, I did not put any hair or arms.

This first doll in blue, I used an old piece of linen that had some nice embroidery on it. My 9 year old daughter picked out the outfit.

My 3 year old daughter picked this wild hair!

This is my favorite. She is made with vintage fabric and an old piece of embroidered linen.

Another wild hair by my youngest daughter.

This one is made from an old vintage pillow case that had the trim that was unusable. Part of the trim was still good and made a lovely skirt for her.

My 5 year old picked this one's outfit. I love it she looks so elegant.