Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sew This is My Story

My grandma attempted to teach me how to sew while I was in middle school. I don't recall much about it, except her machine always seemed to have an issue of some sort which made a tomboy like myself lose interest REAL quick. I never completed a project, never had one in mind to even work on. I wasn't interested. I just wanted to get done so I could go play outside.

Junior year of high school I moved back in with my mom. She was excited and wanted to fix my living quarters up. She was GIRLY and I was not. You pick one of her obviously girly traits and I was the opposite. She had a ceramic business for awhile and did great work. I liked her stuff but never volunteered to help her in the shop. I preferred to help my stepfather build things in his workshop. Anyway, she had the grand idea of me making a comforter, pillow cases, curtains, etc. Aside from the fact that me moving there was a prison sentence in itself (in my mind) this was not my thing and in no way shape or form was I excited. With FORCE  she made me complete a really summer blanket with her doing the rest of the stuff. The room turned out nice but I can't say it had me wanting to sew. Not in the least bit.
One of my favs. This was a peach linen fabric. 

Fast Forward to 2006.  I registered in the NOI, where it is stated that all women should know how to sew. No biggie. I'll get to that, but who knows when. I purchased a few items for myself from a sister that was (is) a really good seamstress but that still did not make me want to learn how to sew. Then I purchased outfits for my daughters. I began to do the math... and the spark was there. Emphasis on the word spark.

What caused a raging wild fire was when I went to Sears, yes Sears, to purchase a few things for my eldest daughter who was 7 at the time. I looked at the clothes. Disappointed but what else is new? So I went to the underclothes section and what I saw floored me. They had SEXY underclothes being sold for children. I was in disbelief. For some, you may think so what, what else is new. Well I am not a shopper, never was. I can probably count on one hand how many times I have been in a mall in the past 3 years.  Oh, I forgot to mention that prior to joining the NOI I dressed fairly modest anyway so the average stores never appealed to me. Going to the mall was futile. Nonetheless I hightailed it out the mall while calling my husband to let him know I don't care how but he had to tweak his schedule so that I could take a sewing class. I realized at that moment that if I wanted to dress my daughters modestly I was going to have to do it myself.

Peace skating at the Phoenix, Az zoo
I enrolled in a sewing class at an adult school. I purchased a machine. A good machine. The machine itself was an adventure. Although I had basically never sewn before and didn't know if I would like it I refused to buy a cheap machine. I began to have flashbacks of sitting in front of my grandma's machine trying to figure out what was wrong now. I looked at a few machines, tried a few, read reviews, talked to a bunch of folks and made my decision. The price was a little unsettling to me. My husband said to go for it but I just couldn't. Then I did the math. If instead of buying my girls clothes from others and made them myself I would have to make this many outfits to at least break even. I forget the number but I recall thinking,  "Oh, that's it. I can commit to that." And like that, I purchased the machine with no regrets. I have well exceeded the minimum requirements.  I have yet to use all the great features on the machine but I plan to, soon.  I finally think I am at a point where the girls wardrobes are stable enough which will allow time for a little more creativity.  Instead of being in a sewing for a need mode. I am also pleased to say that almost 5 years later to the date I have never had any problems from the machine.
This fabric is from when I went to Ghana in 97. Pre-children.  Faith loved this garment.
So here I am 5 years later still sewing a good portion of my girls clothes. I wouldn't say that I am a seamstress or that I even enjoy the process, but I like the outcome so I continue. I love to see sisters that are all into it and creative. I recently joined a FB group and it is refreshing to see many of the sisters trying to master this skill. I think this is my favorite fb group even though I am not an avid sewer. Maybe one day I will have that drive and passion. As for now, I must admit, it is a means to an end. And if I say so myself, I am not too bad at it either. (Praise God) The girls make their request and I try to fill them. My girls and I recently read a book, The Power of Modesty by Kevin Muhammd. While discussing the book I asked them if they ever experienced wearing something that was inappropriate and the different energy that surrounded them. One of my daughters looked at me with a blank stare and said, "I don't have any inappropriate clothing. So i do not know." I cocked my head back to ponder and said, "Praise be to Allah! You don't!" That was one of those proud Muslim momma moments. I pray that I and they keep this trend going. So with that I plan to get my chores done so that I can sew to keep us dressing modestly in a manner to please God. In case you are wondering, YES I plan to teach them how to sew.
Faith really liked this garment too. She would wear Amber earrings that her father gave me with it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Learning to Appreciate the Differences

As a mother, a homeschooling mother, I realize the ups and downs, pros and cons of this awesome task I have embarked on. To be the main educator/facilitator for my children. To be responsible basically for what, when, where, and how they learn. With that stated, it is not surprising that I am ofttimes hard on myself and always feel the need to do more, especially with my son. He is the third child, a boy, and just a unique individual so different in every way. I sometimes feel guilty that I didn't read him 50+ books a day (like with his sisters), live in museums (like with his sisters), take neighborhood walks almost daily to do our lessons (tally charts, bar graphs, probability, etc etc (like with his sisters), and the list can go on and on.
Though his education has been different he still has learned to read and is an avid reader. He enjoys visiting museums and still compares them even though he has not seen all the exhibits (several times), he still knows how to do all those math concepts (though I do not think it is as embedded just yet). Long story short he is not behind and probably a little "advanced" in most areas. And he has had meaningful experiences that I wish they had.
At his age I wish the girls were able to educate me on:
The Boy's first hive. This is is from a small swarm that he caught himself.
  • bees (a great deal about them, including catching a swarm and monitoring a hive). The girls still can't do this.
  • chickens (he mastered this before the age of 5, although we have not had any major difficulties. Praise God.)
  • healthy eating... Although he doesn't love veggies. He can tell you a great deal about them. The other day he realized it is the broody chicken whose eggshells are not thick anymore like the others and told me he thinks she needs more protein. lol! I do not necessarily agree with the specific diagnosis but he clearly knows that her diet is the cause of her issue. And went about trying to rectify the problem. Or when I went to a new grocery store and he said, "I hope they at least sell pesticide-free fruit."
The Boy and I harvested this from our yard.

I could go on and on with great stories about him and his skill set but,  this post is also very much about me. Their journeys are different and speak to where I was and am in my personal development. I am overjoyed to say that one is not better than the other, tho I do wonder at times. And it takes great moments like the one I had today, to help me appreciate where we are in our collective journey.
As I was in the kitchen hurriedly preparing dinner with food from our yard that he and I harvested together the previous day, while he talked nonstop, I peered out the window to find my son, third child, collecting eggs and tallying what he collected on the chalkboard. My heart melted with joy. For me it was reassurance that I apparently needed.

I pray the good times continue.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Slow Start

Today got off to a slow start in my neck of the woods. It was an odd day. Productive but odd. I did not rush around and get a bunch of things done in a short amount of time, but the few things I did I enjoyed. I enjoyed the slowness of taking my time working in the yard. I got a good amount done out there and a lot of observing. I also listened to a few lectures and did some mental planning on the next academic year although we are not finished with this one. I also cooked a decent meal around which we laughed and talked as a family. Now I am sitting on the couch, procrastinating(blogging) before I tend to the kitchen.
I didn't take many pictures, wasn't in that type of mood.

Garden accomplishments in the yard today:

  • Faith started to plant in her plot. And put in a request for a few transplants.
  • Bees, in both hives, seem to be doing their thing. We didn't inspect from the inside. Just observing from the outside. I really enjoy being in their space. It smells so good. And it also shows how far I have come. I never would have pictured myself in a short sleeve shirt weeding near not one, but two, beehives with no fear.
  • Noticed we have a few cucumbers growing, which was a total surprise.
  • Inshallah we will have tomatoes soon. I also pruned a few plants. First time ever. Oh and I put cages around others, way late but I guess better late than never. When I planted all these tomatoes I had the grand idea of pruning and training them all magnificently like I had read in a few articles. That didn't happen.
  • Planted a few more seeds (sunflower and green bean).
  • Noticed we have a few zucchinis grow on a plant.Also another surprise. Earlier this week I saw the flowers but I have never had them pollinated so quickly. But then again I never had them next to a beehive.
  • Observed that our pole beans are in such desperate need of poles to climb some of them have resorted to wrapping around onions. Hopefully I will resolve this issue this week. 
  • WEEDING. WEEDING. and more WEEDING! The area behind the fence... finished half of it. Still does not look as neat and polished as I would like, but much better. Also weeded the veggie beds for the most part and along the walkways and by the beehives. 
  • and watered the sod I installed in an area that took forever to weed earlier this week. I had no intention of putting sod there but after that small space took forever to weed I literally stopped everything to install sod. Inshallah it will take.
  • Watched the chickens and chicks and had some good laughs and more stories with children.
As I reflect, a lot of the yard work I accomplished this week was not intentional nor planned. I just had to put other things on hold and make it happen. Earlier this week, was interesting (that was the sod episode). I went out there to create a space for the chicks in the coop because THEY HAD TO GET OUT OF MY GARAGE. But then those weeds. Completely through me off track. But I am glad because in the long run it will save me time and energy if the sod works out. And yes, many hours later, I was able to complete the task I went out there for.

As I look at my yard and think on my life I can't help but to think how green my grass is (figuratively and literally). I thank Allah for that.