Monday, 3 December 2012

Its been ages!!!! Wow

Hi , well I have had a few issues with my laptop mainly ... it broke down for the final time and I could not get it up and running again. Then the net went down. And finally I had a two month trip to the UK to see my parents with my lovely son Zak who incidentally has grown a lot and is a full blown toddler now. They grow so fast, gone are the days of him sleeping most of the time and here are the days of his first educational experiences with words and learning. I am afraid for the moment my blog posts will not feature any pictures though I am dying to put some on as my memory card is not reading in my husbands laptop. As soon the technicalities get sorted out will get some on straight away.
see you all soon for some winter warmers to cheer your spirits!!!!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Arabian PIckWick News

The most unfortunate event!

Unfortunately just as I was preparing to start up my blog a fresh my laptop broke and so I have not been able to write. That coupled with the fact that I will be going to visit family in the UK for a couple of months soon has meant I have been really busy , not to mention Ramadan which has been in the middle of it.Lots of cooking and praying and wonderful memories but not much time to rest let alone think about my redundant laptop.
We are now in the last week of Ramadan and are getting ready for Eid, which is a little like Christmas day for Christians. We all put on our new party clothes we have bought in the last week of Ramadaan and have a lovely meal together and an afternoon of just simply enjoying each others company. One of the best parts of this day is that due to the fact that the women are given a rest from all the Ramadan cooking we usually buy a feast from am outside restaurant which means less time over the stove and less washing up phew!!!!!!!. Family's play music and their small children, dressed in their new attire jump onto the nearest table to show  how good they are at Arabic traditional dance. There is a lot of whooping and dancing and laughter and nobody thinks about anything seriously. Then the men retire to a corner to discuss politics and family issues whilst the women and children continue the family disco. The euphoria is quite amazing . Thankful that the days of fasting are over, thankful that the days of being sleep deprived are over and thankful that life can get back to normal. But also sadness that such a time in which all people are united by a common goal is over for another year. A time in which strangers invite those on the streets with less than them to come into their homes to break their fasts. A time when people forget their differences and patch their arguments of the past year up, A time in which those in need are freely helped without the need for  anything in return.
It reminds me of the reason I became Muslim in the first place. I spent my whole life wishing that one religion or belief structure was not enough to unite all the worlds cultures. There had to be some hidden link between all of them which meant that the whole world was right in their beliefs just didn't necessarily have the full picture. And for me Islam connected them all. Which is why being Muslim I am not therefore forgetting Christ or Moses or Abraham but remembering all the religious leaders of the world in unison. It just so happens the Islamic focus is on Muhammad and Christ. It doesn't forget the others by a long shot!!!!It makes me happy to think that I can still remember Christ , maybe with a different title but still with importance, just as I remember Moses. This life makes me feel as though I am more connected to the rest of the world.

Anyway that's my religious manifesto of sorts lol!!!!! News wise my fantastic sister in law is engaged to a lovely local man so that means more celebrations towards Christmas. As I said before I am going to the UK for a couple of months so lots of family parties then. As soon as I manage to get a laptop sorted I will write my blog again. I may get a chance in the UK. And post some traditional English recipes I have been literally waiting a year for my mother to cook. Nobody cooks like your mum anywhere in the world. I may also put some pictures of the breathtaking countryside where I live so keep posted.
So ciao for now ( I have to go clean up quick and go help my family in law clean theirr huge house ready for Eid tomorrow)
Bye!!!!! :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Wedding festivities were very lonng !!!!lol













Well..... not actually  the festivities, but many family members who had  come from Palestine for the nuptials stayed on and made a holiday of it. I have had a fantastic few weeks as my father in law has finished constructing  a small enclosed swimming pool and kiddies pool so we have been out at that most days so that my son and his cousins can have a splash in the small pool. This week the larger pool has finally been filled so soon all the women in the family will have a swim too yay!!!!!!. Another perk is our pool has painted out perimeters for privacy but is open air so you get both sun, shade and a draught guard. I can't  wait to get swimming !!!!!

In the mean time!!!!

My list of things I really want to do but never seem to have the time is being put aside for the list of things I thought would be amazing to do on the spur and excitement of the moment but didn't really consider how much time they would consume and the list of everyday jobs I would possibly manage to finish if someone slipped me a few extra caffeine pills, not to mention a supper power or two ( I am sure Mary Poppins and wonder woman can spare a few!!!) lol.
Between making gifts for my husbands aunts who have not visited their sister in over ten years to helping make table mats for my new sister in law's bedside tables (means a lot less dusting- less dusting more fun!!!!) I have been staying up all hours at my sewing machine. Not that I am complaining I like the feeling of having a deadline and a goal to work towards,not to mention the smiles on the faces of my family when they see what I made for them. For me the cheesy anecdote 'Giving is better than recieving' actually is a contradiction. When you give someone something big or small (though the best gift is from the heart) the joy you feel when you see how happy they are is one of the most amazing experiences in life. So I would argue when you give a gift you receive so much more emotionally than what you have given out, but maybe this is what this clever under-rated saying was touching upon. That the joy of seeing others happiness is greater than actually winning the prise personally. And using this formula can we not live our lives in a more cherished manner. The heated debate at work we can step away from with dignity knowing the self respect we have gained  through giving someone the benefit of the doubt in every way  is greater than the reward we could have earned by unhinging a colleague in front of their piers. Or taking time out to help an elderly person who is carrying heavy bags home rather than pushing by on our way to where ever we are going. Is this ideal of giving rather than receiving more of a way of life and in itself a truly great principle by which to live our lives.This DOESN'T mean be a DOORMAT to everyone we meet!!!!!! NO!!!!! living an empathetic life does not mean loosing your self respect. The gift of giving is only within your personal reason It doesn't have to be a great big gift- it could be as simple as saying 'Thankyou' or opening the door for someone. But you just watch it will make your day all the more brighter not to mention theirs!!!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Whats new in my world!!!!!!!

hi everyone from sweltering hot Jordan !!!!!!!!
I have been crazy busy recently as we are all getting ready for the wedding celebration of my brother in law Yeusuf to his sweetheart Sheemah which means our homes here will be crammed to bursting point with well wishing family members from Palestine. And over the next couple of days the final preparations will be made for the wedding and for the newly weds new home to be finished as well. So everyone is working hard at the moment. As well as all the arranging and organising my creative brain has been working overtime trying to make my living space mine before the in-laws descend. I didn't have a large budget as always and was making the majority of my new decor from recycled and re-purposed materials. Here's the results so I hope you like them. These ideas are very versatile and easy to replicate as well as the fact that you can really make them yours very easily. Just let the creative child within win over your adult rational  this time and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

The Sun room

It is so easy to create a new look for patio furniture simply by sewing new covers for the cushions. No zips required!!!!!!!! Sew an envelope cover which in turn enables you to remove the cover and wash it when it gets dirty. So in theory you could make several sets and interchange them for a continuously fresh look. Similarly new cushion covers can add a bit of individuality to your room. I decorated my cushions with a variety of sewn and crocheted flowers in contrasting colours to add depth to my setting. I am a big believer in mixed textiles in the home as it really makes the environment cosy.




Add a garland and or decorations

Another idea is to make a bunting or decoration to change the look of your space. Its amazing how a simple seasonal garland or decoration can change the appearance  or your home in an instant and it can be as complex or as simple as you like.

Go GREEN!!!!!!

Lots of people overlook their porches but they are really useful spaces to have a small herb garden in as well as the first place guests pause in when visiting your home .I added some window awnings  a couple of chairs with bright cushions on, a couple of pieces of recycled art and a matching bunting as well as a wooden block with a peaceful quote on to help create a feeling of calm. I am also growing a herb pot garden on the window ledge which is great also as I have fresh herbs to hand as well as being a relaxing past time.

So...

FINALLY reinventing your space doesn't need to break the bank !!!! especially as the majority of the time the wonderful decor photoed in glossy mags can be easily recreated at home with your handy sewing machine for less than half the cost!!!! Express yourself through your decor as individuality and originality could never exist if everyone had the same decor!!!!!!!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Long time no see!!!!!!!

Yes it has been ages and ages since I last wrote. I took a break from blogging as I have had a lot of things happening from the positives of preparing for a family wedding next month to the sadness of a loss of life also in our family. The great strength of all my family here pulling together like a tightly woven blanket. Here I have to praise the culture here for how family oriented it is. Each child in the family has got their parents and the addition of all their aunts and uncles who regard them with the same importance as their own children. And so in essence my son has many parents who would do anything to protect him which makes me feel safe that he has so many people who love him.
I am a great advocate of close families especially when they are all working together for a common aim.
Its one of the most amazing things to pop over the drive to my sister in law for a coffee and chat in her kitchen or sit outside on a sunny afternoon with an Arabic coffee and a hubbly bubbly filling the air with a delicious fruity smoke. My mother in law is the matriarch of the family and has a great amount of  love and wisdom for everyone. I especially love her softness and the protective urgency with which she watches over us- her brood. My father in law who's continuous need to create change and reinvent his environment not only have been driven by his desire to provide his family with a better life but has also motivated me to do more DIY in my own home. Each brother and sister in law has wonderful little characteristics I love them for- Sousou for her insight fullness, Razan for her sacrifice and humility and Tamara for her strength through adversity. Raed for his unquenchable interest in everything English from Rock and classical music through contemporary movies to comedy, Eyhab for his integrity and gentility, Rami for his healing and intelligence and Yeusuf for his innocence. But I couldn't forget my husband who has been a solid rock for me in my life here and who has helped me to take my first steps into life in a new culture as a British ex-pat. And I cannot express how much I love and appreciate him in my life.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Our breakfast at the dead sea


This morning my hubby and I got together with my brother in laws family and decided to do something different for a change and eat our breakfast in what is globally known as the lowest point on the map. It is around 417m (1,368ft) bellow sea level which is pretty low so it was also a lot warmer than the rest of Jordan at this time of year. The ocean which meets Jordan here is the dead sea, a body of water which has no animal or plant life due to the high content of salt in the water. Though it is also fort his very reason people come here to use the age old spar treatments which utilise the mineral rich mud and waters.
We got all our things in the car summer clothes, towels sun hats etc and set off. At Madaba, a small spa town down the road from our home we bought our breakfast feast of sandwiches, pop, crunchy veggies and bananas and continued on our way. Spirits were high as we travelled with the radio on and I kept my camera out the whole time so that I could get some snaps of any nice views we came by.



We had a short water and photo break at Mount Nebo - Which is where Musa (Moses) is meant to have lived the final years of his life. Here is a christian pilgrimage site as there is a monastery on the mount said to contain the tomb of Musa. It is a tourist spot but its not difficult to see why people come if not for the historical or religious sights the views are breathtaking. Especially at his time of year when the ground is fertile and green and the heat hasn't gotten too much.



Snaking down towards the dead sea we passed Bedouin homes and small farms which reminded me of how you can see so many different ways of life here in one country. From the Arab tribes men who still to this day live in tents out in all weathers with their livestock secured by the doorstep to the opulent stylish homes of the business connected with their flawless white stone villas and lush gardens. From the small above-shop familys who hang their long lines of washing across their streets sky lines to the wealthy Saudis with their taste for everything expensive. My clever other half bought some chewing gum for us before we started the decent towards the dead sea. This is something I recommend for anyone who visits as the change in air pressure can cause a little discomfort and so chewing gum helps to make the transition to  a higher pressure environment easier. At this point it seemed to be way too much excitement for my poor son Zaki boo and he fell asleep in the careful arms of his cousin.


The charge for fort he beach was relatively low and although we quickly realised it would have been better to come earlier (this trip was a kind of spur oft he moment thing lol!) we did manage to get a reasonably good sun shade  with table and chairs provided and ate a really quite hearty breakfast watching the other families arriving in droves. Some coming with drums  so they could have a sing along chorusing and beating their instruments as the went past us down the beach. There were small kiosks on the beach selling everything from hats and souvenirs to BBQ meats, cans of drink and hubbly bubblys ( fruit flavoured tobacco smoked in a bong-nothing illegal lol). At the public beach there was soo much to see. all the youngsters put their bathing suits on,I got my camera ready and we all went down to the waters edge to paddle. Iyad (my husband) took bb Zak into the water and let him stand up to his chest in the sea which he seemed to like a lot. The salt was very good for his skin so I was glad he took to it well. After about 10-15 minutes when the charm was starting to wear off a little we turned back to the sun shade, washed  some of the salt from our infants legs and packed our things to go home. We got a call from my parents in law who had been out and bought a take away BBQ dinner from one of the restaurants in Madabar (local spa town) so what a lovely continuation to the day. My sister in law had also made one of her creations which this time was a layered cake with cream and fruit running through the middle and raspberry jelly (jello) on top. Sounds strange but I assure you it was delicious!!!!!. After dinner bb Zak zonked out, clearly the sea air was like a sleeping pill for him and he slept the majority of the afternoon. awwww!!!!!!! What a lovely day!!!!!!

A day in the life!!! - My Jordan home

8:30ish breakfast

I have taken to getting my son ready for the day and heading over to our tiny sun room to eat breakfast. That way I can spot my sister in law leaving home to go and see my parents in law and say good morning to her. During the warmer months this room is going to be a haven of relaxation for me.I can already see myself with a cuppa, milling over some new posts on my favourite blogs or reading a book. I usually get my son's car seat out and use it as a feeding chair for him. I 'bib him' and present him with some culinary delight I have made that morning. Sometimes bread and jam, sometimes halalwi, sometimes the same as my own breakfast usually washed down with some warm milk in his baby bottle.




Peeling, cutting and freezing carrots for Mahlubah

9:30ish Daily visit to in laws

I usually go and say good morning to my parents in law and take their grandson to see them. This is a good time to help out a bit with the jobs there as they have a large house. Its also a fantastic opportunity to see what my mum in laws plans for the day are as well as what she wants to cook for the main meal. At this point I usually decide if I would like to cook with her or not as well. I really love making dinner at my mum in laws home as it serves as a lesson in Arabic cuisine as well as a good excuse for a chat over the kitchen table. As our family here is Rather large the fruit, veg and meat are all bought in bulk. This means that in order to reduce the amount of wastage we all congregate together and share it all out evenly and then freeze everything in pre-portioned batches. I find this extremely useful as when I want to cook a quick dinner and am not in the mood for peeling carrots its all ready prepared in the freezer.


Lunch time

Bb Zak and me usually have a small lunch which comprises of something light like a sandwich or some salad. I try to make sure my little man gets some fruit for pudding and plenty of liquids (water, juice). Then depending on how sleepy he is after his mornings exertions he has a nap or has some play time in his bedroom.

Afternoon Jobs

The afternoon is reserved for tidying up and getting as many jobs done as I can (washing, hoovering, cleaning etc) I usually put the daytime MBC sitcoms on in the background as a bit f comedy. The American sitcoms vary from The Vampire diaries and The ringer to the totally cringe worthy acting of Days of our lives (And although I am quite horrified by the fact the last shows plot line however unrealistic has kinda got me at the moment - I know). Sometimes I put on an Arabic and western music channel called FM- First Music and bb Zak and I dance around the living room. I am starting to give my son more space to move about in our home to encourage him to walk more. This new stage of his development has its rewards in the million which thankfully overshadow the fact that I have had to re-arrange most of the breakables on display so his tiny hand don't get into contact with them (safety first!) 


Early evening workout

As most of my day is filled I find this time period between housework and my husband coming home is a great time to get my fitness sorted for the day. Its a special time for me as I find it de-stresses me and gives me an energy boost fort he end of the day as usually I still have a few more things to do before I can finally don my pjs and snuggle up on the sofa with a hot drink and my family before bed.

 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Wristlet bag



This project is extremely easy and fast to make and you can make it your own with buttons and ribbons, different yarns and different lining materials. In fact you could make this into a recycled materials project if you use re-purposed clothes from a charity shop.

 Materials

Yarn
Appropriate knitting needles for the wool
Press studs
Lining material
Thread and needle
Tape measure

How to-

  1. Knit a rectangle approx 22 inches long and 9 inches wide. This rectangle can be straight forwards garter stitch for beginners, stocking stitch, rib or even cabled. Once you know the stitches you can let your imagination run free a bit. Cast off at the end and weave in the ends.
  2. Knit an i-cord for the handle. This part again is up to you as to how long you would like it to be.
  3. Lay your lining fabric on a flat surface and place the knitted piece on top. Cut around the fabric leaving a seam allowance.
  4. Fold the lining material over, pin to the knitted piece and sew with complementary thread.
  5. Have a quick practise run folding the lined knitting as you will eventually sew it so you can decide where the wrist band will go. Again this is all down to preference as you could have a deep purse and a small closing flap or visa- versa.
  6. Sew i-cord into the appropriate place and then the sides of the bag.
  7. Add a couple of press studs and decorate the closing flap as desired with buttons/ribbons etc.
  8. Wallah!!!! a cute wristlet bag which is totally unique to you !!!!!

Feeling positive about my fitness future



At the mid point of my first week of work outs I feel a lot better. Although having 48 hours off is making me a little impatient to exercise again (well its fun !!!). My new eating is doing well as well. I have committed to smaller portions, more raw veg and fruit and drinking more water. This feel a to be an extremely do-able target as well as working out 4-5 days a week and having one treat day. One of my biggest vices is sugar in tea- especially large mugs of milky tea with sugar is heaven but I had to cut down the amount I drank a day as they were a bit addictive.
I think the most important thing in maintaining a good weight for myself is balance. A little bit of the fun foods which aren't so healthy and a whole lot of the super fun healthy ones. I have only just started trying to finally get myself to a place where I am consistently a weight I am happy with that is healthy. All my life I have had problems at one extreme or the other. Eating nothing and becoming very thin or eating more than I need to and getting a little over weight. And both polarities caused just as much anguish for me till I decided I had to love myself enough to give my body just enough of what it needed.
So here I am feeling as though I will get stronger and fitter with my plan and looking forwards to the journey just as much as the result. I will hopefully be going to see my parents in the UK in August so that's a good first target date to get really fit for. Especially as I will have to be really strong- my mum's cooking is seriously to die for so will have to be strict or else I may put on a stone during my visit loll.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Wonderful evening considering the possibilities


 I have snuggled up with my laptop and a jug of water ( yup am trying to be more health aware :)) and had an inspiration surf of the net to give me ideas for this years projects based on what I am attracted to design wise. I like to take some inspiration from the fashion trends of 2012 but the main influences are my own changing tastes as I think style comes from our own imaginations. A close friend once told me I have a problem with authority lol and I think for me it extends to how society trys to dictate the styles we wear and the way we decorate our homes. I love the idea of having a bit of my charactor imprinted in my home decor and clothes. So remember don't be a cut out !!!!! Express yourself and stand out!!!!!!!After all there is only one person like you on the planet !!!!!!!!!


Fitness update ( a bit late) oopse!!!!



I was unable to really give an update as exercise wise I didn't do much last week. I was very careful to eat healthily most of the time. However my good intentions were a little blighted by my stomach bug I got. As soon as I am fully recouped I am going to get totally focused. One positive was I did go out for an evening run which was quite successful so I will be doing more of that.
If anyone has any fitness tips and hints please post them in the comments box bellow.



Easy canvases



This is a really good recycling tip as well as a way of getting some of those fabulous material scraps you bought from the bargain bin in your favourite interior design shop. The recycling bit involves you saving any polystyrene produce boxes. In my case my parents in law bought some large punnets of strawberries and I kept the boxes. Alternately you could use old tissue boxes as I did in a previous post. However when making a material canvas piece its better to use polystyrene as the finish is better. So simply measure your material and make sure that the material covers the sides of your canvas as well as the front. Then get your stapler out and folding the material over the canvas almost as though you are wrapping a present secure all the sides with staples. For a more polished finish you could find a piece of ribbon in a contrasting colour and attach it around the sides and hang. Positioning several together can create a really artistic effect and complement your existing decor. Easy, quick and thrifty and if you get bored you can unpick the staples and you have a completely clean canvas to re-invent again GREAT!!!!!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Looking at the positives !!!!!


Feeling totally under the weather AGAIN today. But on the positive It gave me time to stop and  reflect upon my busy life for a moment. What things I want to make for my home this year, my England trip and of course use this horrible bug as an excuse to stay in bed and watch my slumbering baby son. Before I was a mother it was impossible for me to know or understand how much love and emotion I would feel towards this tiny vulnerable bundle which came to me. He is so full of life and so curious about everything about him that it is fascinating to watch. Being able to take time out of all the jobs of life to simply be has allowed me a priceless moment or two with him I will remember when I am an old lady.
Today's post is about making the most of every situation that life throws at us. Generally nobody can predict every challenge which comes their way. But we can change the way we react to it all and so influence the outcome more favourably. Like for example my feeling like an extra from on off the Alien movies ( the ones with things coming out their stomachs ew!!!!) but still realising this is my body's way of telling me to slow down for a couple of days so that it can re-cooperate. I think there is always a positive way of looking at every storm and tempest in life especially as it makes us stronger mentally as well as physically.
So welcome the challenges as without them we would not evolve as human beings and learn to be more resilient and aware.
At this point I am going to collect my huge glass of water and my mobile go cocoon myself in duvet and sleep , heaven. Sweet dreams all !!!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

An Ikky tummy


I am staying home today as I have an ikky tummy and also am wanting to stay near my laptop to talk to my parents about my forthcoming trip to the UK to see my parents. We are arranging dates and I am sending some new snaps of BB Zak and the Jordanian countryside. My parents love to receive new photos of their grandson and have made quite a display as well as handing copies on to their elderly  neighbour who coos adoringly over every addition to her collection. My dad is going to use the scenic shots as proof that the 4th driest country in the world is green and flourishing at one part of the year. He was ever so excited to get a picture of snow in the middle east as his friends wouldn't believe it until they saw it with their own eyes.
As I write this blog post I am sat in my sun room with a cup of green tea (as we have run out of powdered milk) in my pyjamas. The plates from my sandwich lunch are next to my pander-slippered feet as is the baby car seat with a dreaming BB Zak in. He ate some of his baby mixture (homemade courgette and rice) but seemed to prefer my choice of food so after eating close to half he closed his big sky blue eyes and fell asleep before I could de-apron him. So there he is now with my socks on as all his are in the weekly wash with a half eaten piece of cheese sandwich under his chin. It is the most beautiful sight to me as I tidy him up and drape a warm blanket over his practically edible little feet. This is one of the mum melting times when the hard work of pregnancy and waking in the night all seems to have been worth it. AWWWWWW!!!!!

A spring bird on my porch


Technical issues lol

I have been having a few issues signing into and then posting pictures on my blog over this week which is why I have not posted much. I was dying to post some of my new photos of the countryside around my house as at this time of year. At the moment the land is covered with a blanket of small white and yellow flowers, not to mention the green. For this brief period the flat lands around my home, which are the majority of the year a parched yellowy plain turn into a lush Vally full of wonderful smells and sights. With the flat topped homes and red roved villas its not that hard to imagine I am in Italy or France and that makes me feel closer to England . At this time of year I turn in to a happy child filling my home with the rich scented flowers and opening my windows every day to let the springtime breeze run through the house. At the beginning of springtime the birdsong seems to get louder and more melodic here and I love eating breakfast in the mornings with my son in my small sun room upstairs and pausing to hear it all in stereo.
I have happily FINALLY started to feel my home is the way I would like it to be. There are still lots of things I would like to make for it but I can see the end result is getting closer to me. I always dreamt of having an evolving living space that had concrete aspects but that had constantly changing features, like the cushion covers and the furnishings. I like to keep my environment fresh and different. I love using the seasons as an inspiration, for example having knitted cushion covers and throws in winter and foliage displays and rubbing tiny drops of frankincense essential oil into my light bulbs for a burst of woody scent.

This spring I am bringing my environment inside and filling my home with the wildflowers as well as making lots of floral decor for my living room. I am planning to make some new covers for my sun room chairs and adding some new pictures as well and will be posting my photos sooooo watch this space!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 26 March 2012

A thrifty cushion cover with class!!!!

I have been really very busy over the last few days with more birthdays and continued reorganising my living space. But I caught a moment to blog my latest decor idea which by coincidence is also extremely thrifty too. These are my cushion covers which I whipped up very quickly with the help of my nifty new sewing machine. The thrifty bit is in the fabric I used. I visited a really expensive interior decor shop in the British countryside and as most of us who are on a budget I walked around the exquisitely decked rooms and gazed at the wonderful fabrics and felt my ticky ticker as I read the prices normally. But I have found a light at the end of the tunnel as most shops like this have a bin with cut offs and odd pieces of the designer material. I bought some pieces of really good quality fabric brought it back to Jordan and made a couple of easy covers with it and finished them off with  some brown lace from my haberdashery stash.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Palestiniane home remedies!!!!!


Since I came to live here in Jordan I have come to know various home remedies my family in law use when they get the coughs and colds etc of the winter months using things they already had in their kitchen cupboards. So I thought I'd share a few!!!! I especially advocate these as they are all natural.

Black tea and Marjoram for an upset stomach

I am not totally sure why this one works but the marjoram seems to have a soothing effect on the stomach.

Chamomile tea for colds

In this case my family drink the tea made from dried chamomile flower heads and also make a steam inhalation with it. And from experience the steam and chamomile is really good.

Chicken soup

This is a big one for colds and flu. Although it seems to be a globally shared remedy a bit of warm chicken soup whilst cocooned in a duvet in front of the TV is the best way, it seems to get yourself better!!!!!

Aniseed for the winter

Here in Jordan my mum in law and sister in law both make a drink from aniseed  which  they have informed me is really good for cleaning the blood and improving general health. On another personal level find this is really quite refreshing on a cold day when I have been out of the house.

A quick crafty moment


For this crafty moment I am posting 3 projects which are really easy to make and all of them are made from recycled materials.These ideas are the foundations for you use your artistic interpretation and make them yours which is the beauty of them!!!. So lets get crafting!!!!!
The project pictured above is incredibly easy to make. And it is very child friendly so you could make some as a family (just make sure any plastic bag fusing is left to the adults!!!!).

Recycled cardboard Art

Materials
Some old cardboard - from a box you no longer need or some packaging etc
Plastic bags with interesting colours
Material with interesting motifs- as you can see I took two appliques from some worn out t-shirts
The plastic net bags which contain citrus fruits in the supermarket - this is optional
Masking tape
Greaseproof paper
Iron
scissors

How to-
  1. First you cut out your basic canvas shape.
  2. Then cut an extra piece for the back. Work out where the middle of the piece is and mark it with a pen. cut a small hole  out of the card on the mark. This is going to be how you hang it on the wall.
  3.  Alternately you could get a small piece of string and staple it on to the back.
  4. Now at this point you can let your creative juices flow. You could use the greaseproof paper and iron to fuse some plastic bags together and cover your canvas that way. Or you could add an applique. I didn't do this but you could even put glitter on and add a bit of glammer!!!!!!

Buntings

Buntings are incredibly easy to make and also great for making use of scarps of material. Especially if you have some fabric in your stash which is gorgeous but you don't have enough to make anything big and impressive for your home. All you need is a triangle template you can make in 2 minutes from some scrap card and your away!!!!!!



The plarn wallet/ purse

Again this is soo simple to make, its unique and would be great as a gift for an Eco conscious  friend.

Materials

Plarn (very easy to make and in fact really quite therapeutic)
A wool needle
Some adhesive Velcro
Large knitting needles - possibly a UK size 9 or 10

How to -

  1. Knit along piece of plarn. Now how many stitches wide you have it and how long is down to your preferences. If you want a deep pocket to fit more that's great or if you want a small purse for change too. The beauty of this pattern is that its mostly up to you to decide how you want it to be. But bear in mind in the next step you will be folding your piece of knitted plarn over and sewing it together to make sure the folded length is as you would like before casting off. When casting off leave a long piece of plarn at the end as it makes the next stage easier.
  2. Thread the long tail piece of plarn and use it to sew one side of your wallet. use a spare piece of plarn to do the same with the other side and weave in the ends
  3.  The final stage is simply attach your sticky back Velcro and wala!!! you have a wallet/ purse





Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fitness update

Well.... urm..... last week was really difficult as it was 5 people in our family's birthday including me and my son and wait for it ... my husband so steering clear of the home made ice cream cake, birthday cake creme caramel and easy cake was not easy at all. I had a few treats but didn't go overboard. I did get going with the training side and am feeling a lot better as a result. This week I am going to up my game though and will be swapping my white rice for Bulgar wheat as well as giving up sugar in my tea ( this second one is really hard as I love sweet tea). I am also committing to drinking more water.
I think that being a mum has put a new perspective on my fitness levels as I want to be stronger for my son now. So I can keep up with him when he starts walking and play football and badminton with him when he gets older. Plus If I put in the ground work now it will help me have a healthier life when I am older.

This is a bowl of homemade red pepper and tomato soup BB Zak n me shared yesterday yummy!!!!!
 I am currently 61kg, 9st.6 or about 134lbs. I am aiming to loose a couple of pounds only, my real goal is to get fit as well as stay the same weight after weening BB Zak. I am hoping to write a post on my fitness progress every week to motivate myself to keep going soo watch this space!!!!!!

Yeasterday's material sort out!!!


Today I decided to sort out the mother-load of fabrics I have been collecting but not using very fast as my hand sewing is incredibly slow. But for my birthday my lovely husband bought me a brand spanking new Singer sewing machine with all the trimmings!!!!! So I can now get on with all the things I wanted to do before but were taking ages. And believe me I will!!!!! So all the materials I hadn't planned to use were categorised into piles and the projects I wanted to do before but was daunted by the prospects of hours of back stitch. It was such a nice experience sitting amidst the heaps of different materials letting my imagination go wild creating new decor and art for my home. First things first! I am going to do some decorating in Zak's soon to be bedroom. I have turned an old cot into a small sofa by taking away one of the sides and am planning to make several covers for the mattress . My idea is to make a play area in the corner using the sofa, a play mat and the play cupboard I am making. And as BB Zak grows he will be able to evolve the area to become a reading corner later.
I have posted a large picture as the letters I have sewn on don't stand out on camera as well as I'd hoped. This was my first attempt at creating my own appliques and I have to say the prospect was more terrifying than the actual making of them. Armed with my faithful interfacing and some scraps of fabric I set to work making a curtain for my sons toy cupboard. This project was fantastic for recycling old materials, I even used a modified wire coat hanger as a curtain rod. It's not completely finished yet as I still have to finish the mural I am painting on the back. The back of the cupboard will be facing Zak's bed so I am painting a sunset . And to inspire peace in his dreams I am painting him on a tree swing watching the day turn to night.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The weather can't make its mind up lol!!!!

Some days this spring have been warm and sunny and have suggested that the cold of winter has ceased to be. But then without warning the next day it rains all the day and is so cold that the heat  of summer seems a long way  away. On these days the only thing to do it seems is don my largest most comfy jumper and make myself as busy as I can during the day to keep warm. And in the evening wrap myself up in my winter duvet and snuggle up in front of my blog.
Life here in  the springtime is wonderful as the countryside turns a beautiful green colour when the grass grows after the rains of December-February. Patches of glorious white wild flowers creep across my front garden and the line of rose bushes standing proudly along our drive burst into life  with a vibrant show of crimsons, yellows, pinks and white. There are more days of sunshine and all three houses are frequently adorned with sunbathing washing all drowsing trying to get dry. The food we cook started to become lighter and more refreshing. And the Eskimo togs of winter get packed away and out come the cooler clothes.
Unfortunately It seems we are not quite into spring yet this year but a few more days of warming stews and cosy socks can't be THAT BAD can it? lol But to bring the spirit of the impending spring I am adding a couple of spring recycling ideas to get you in the mood!

Cardigan revamp
Why not brighten up an old cardigan by sewing on a couple of pretty crochet flowers. You can find many lovely free flower patterns  online and it takes less than 15 minutes to make. Its a fantastic quick way to revamp your spring wardrobe without spending much cash.


Cute handbags
This handbag was totally made from recycled materials. The body of the bag was made from knitted t-shirt yarn, the lining was made from some lovely charity shop bought Peter rabbit curtains and the applique  was left over from another project. And who says that all things cute are reserved for all those aged under 10 lol.
Why not use these as inspiration for your own springtime creations! And please feel free to post your pictures of projects in the comments below !!!!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Our Family Birthday party!!!!!

And what a lovely party we had!!! My sister in law ( a artist in cake making) created this amazing birthday cake incorporating all five ages. It was also in the theme of an all round love of ours -  sweets!!! There were also little touches to symbolise each person the cake was for example mt brother in law is a dentist so there was a fondant tooth on the cake and for my son there was a pair of blue booties and a number 1 candle. The dinning room was decorated with multi-coloured balloons with stars on. We ate very well and laughed a lot. Afterwards everyone moved into the living room to drink tea and watch the grandchildren dance to Arabic pop tunes and chew over the family cud (sos to speak lol)
I really love the fact that everyone helped prepare the food and tidy up after. It was a family day. I took plenty of pictures and small films with my jiffy camera. The weather which was not as bright and perky as we all were didn't have any effect. It was nice to see, from the comfort of our snug warm kitchen as was the whistling wind.
 So Happy birthday to everyone who has added a year to their life number this week!!!!Welcome to a new chapter and a new opportunity for you to explore your potential NOW!!!!!
My sister in law also made ice cream cake which was totally decedent. But a little bit of something sweet is OK on special occasions !!!!!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Recycling jumpers for wool


I have continued  taking the huge pile of jumpers my dad in law has given me apart. But it's not for the faint hearted or those with a short attention span. Especially for me as the majority of jumpers I am being donated are machine made so the unravelling is all the more complex. I do think its worth it though for the end product as well as the satisfaction that all that work gave a good result as well as the fact that its a great way to recycle. As I now live in the forth driest country in the world being conscious of my water consumption in this case means unravelling rather than felting. I really loved the colour of this wool above and have already decided to make a crochet cardigan with it for the summer :)

March projects!!!!


I have been really busy this week with  my BIG family Birthday party, and my continuing the spring cleaning fun lol, not to mention I am starting to get Zak's new bedroom/playroom ready. This is a small set of shelves I am making more fun by painting. I wanted to have a peaceful image on it to hopefully inspire my son to relax ready for sleep lol. Which is the reason I chose to paint a sunset on the back. I am thinking about painting the door too so watch this space for photos. I took A-level art when I was younger and I think this project was a good excuse to get painting again.Notice  I have painted my son in the picture (he is sat on a swing). I will post the result when I finish it.
 Today was a blur of cooking and baking all the birthday party goodies. We are making creme caramel, jelly (jello), easy cake, and a huge birthday cake not to mention tabbouleh. My mum in law's kitchen has been a frenzy of activity. With bb Zak sat at my feet playing with a random plastic spoon and having a gurgle-speak conversation with his cousin. It all looks really very delicious although I think tomorrow will have to be a treat day on the new healthy regime. After all a little bit of something sweet occasionally is good for you!!!

My sister in law (the virtuoso of cake making- I lie NOT!!!!!!!!) is modelling Zak's cake on this idea!!!!


Monday, 12 March 2012

Kitchen spring clean!


I rolled up my sleeves and got to work reorganising my kitchen space today. Deciding where to put plates and cups and glasses and wiping all the shelves before replacing everything. I love the satisfying feeling as I watched everything get organised and, for once actually look like the home of someone who knew how to tidy. I really like housework fort this reason. You experience happiness because you are making your home space a nicer place to live in. I am a big advocate of clutter clearing as its psychologically good as well as being an excuse to reinvent my interior through crafting, sewing and knitting and crochet. I usually put some music with a good dance beat on when I tidy up as the work always seems to finish faster, I move faster and I have a lot of fun. not to mention my moving quicker is great exercise!!!!! 
I have been really good on my first day of my regime. I am eating more fruits and veg, cutting fats and my big weakness which is large cups of milky tea with sugar. And I did a bit of cardio this pm so fingers crossed I will continue and be successful.If you have any tips or ideas for my new post-baby lifestyle please write them in the comments box bellow.:)

My spring resolution to get fit!!!!!!


This month I am starting a new healthy regime. After having bb Zak I really want to get fitter in time for when he starts  running about so I can keep up with him. I  think posting this as an ongoing story is a good way of motivating me to keep going. Finally bb Zak and me will be  going to the UK  to visit my parents during the summer so this is another reason to get toned up.I am starting my new workout and diet today so wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Our new sharks!!!!!

We have replaced our goldfish with these small sharks and two fish my husband has told me are related to alligators. I am very happy for two reasons. Firstly the goldfish had started eating each other and its quite disgusting to watch the Hannibal style antics whilst trying to eat my dinner. And two I always dreamt of having a miniature shark. Sharks are one of my favourite animals.  They are so graceful and agile, through the water but also deadly. I think they are beautiful to  watch.

Happy Birthday to me!!!!!





Yes!!!! Today is my birthday!!!! 11th of March. And yes I had a lovely day. My extended family and I will be celebrating all 5 birthdays  this month on a huge Friday party. I can't wait !!!! it's going to be great!!! I am hopefully going to have a new sewing machine this year so I will be able to carry out all my new years resolutions I made concerning adding a few new design features to my home ( new pillow cases,buntings, table clothes and runners etc). I didn't make as much before because my time slots are few and far between and hand sewing large items takes an age to complete. Plus the fact that sewing is not the only crafting I want to do more of this year. Sooooo as today is a special day for me I am encouraging everyone who reads this to use this as an excuse to make something special for yourself. A nice cup of hot chocolate perhaps? or as in my case some toffee popcorn mmmmmm am addicted to popcorn!!!!!!!! You could have a movie night, I know it's a week day but it doesn't have to mean  a late night!!!!Or you could have a long bath with some relaxing music, a cup of tea and a good novel (careful not to drop it in the water).


I think that birthdays are a good time to evaluate our lives, look back at the last year and think about what we want for the future. I also think we consider this more and more the older we get. I certainly am! Life goals and aspirations are being lined up like toy soldiers in the field of my imagination. just waiting for the right time to fire into action and be realised in the 'real world'. And I have every faith that everything I dream of will happen with a little perseverance and time!!!!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

It almost feels like the winter is over!!!!

A ride my father in law bought for his grandchildren
Yesterday we had amazing weather for the Arabic weekend and decided to have a special seafood barbeque. We cooked about 5kg of king prawns in the oven which were gorgeous and a whole salmon on the barbeque. It was one of those memorable types of days when you are amidst good company, have a great setting and delicious food. What could be better!!!!!!Really good seafood is quite expensive here in Jordan. But as there are five birthdays this week including mine we splashed out a bit as  family. Yay!!!!!!

A large patio table was set up outside and we all sat around it to eat the feast. And what a feast!!!!! The air was filled with the most beautiful smells I couldn't wait to try it all. I looked around the table during the meal and was filled with satisfaction to see the smiles mirrored by my own. Everyone helped to clear away the huge amount of pots. And later we all sat outside over a cup of tea watching the children play in the late afternoon shadows. What a lovely end to the day chatting with those dear to me over a hubbly bubbly.