Thursday, 28 October 2010

My sewing project - curtains for bay windows

I love sewing.

As far as I remember, I started sewing when I was 12. Small projects for a start, like making a pencil case, simple table cloth, apron for mom and scarf. When I grew older, my interest in sewing also grew bigger. I started to fancy dress making. My sisters became 'fashion icons' when the dresses I made for them turned out to be so beautiful,  and of course one so many times they also became 'fashion victims' when something went wrong and they have to suffer wearing uncomfortable dresses because I forced them to. hahaha. Everything is made on trial and error basis. I never went to any sewing classes. They were too expensive for me. The good side of it, I have to work hard to improve my sewing skill from time to time. Mom gave encouragement all the way. She bought lovely fabrics for my new project, she let me borrow her sewing machine and the necessary accesories, she did not even interrupt me when I was concentrating with my sewing works.

After several years, mom asked me if I was ready to sew curtains. I said I don't know, because curtains seem like something so huge and heavy and time consuming. Anyhow, one day she bought a beautiful pastel colour fabric with small flower prints and lovely tassles and white tapes and told me to sew a curtain for the living room. To my surprise, the outcome was very nice, though very simple too. Alhamdulillah. Thanks, mom, for giving me a chance to prove myself.

Since then, I started to make curtains. Every year during Eid Mubarak we hanged new curtains that I made. I enjoyed it very much. With my own pocket money, I bought a second-hand sewing machine. One day, Ann, a very good, long time friend came to my house for a visit. We started talking about ourselves and I told her I am mad about sewing. I showed her my work and she was impressed. Very little did I know that Ann is also good at sewing herself. So that day, she taught me how to make scallops for the curtains. Masya-Allah, very beautiful. I will never forget her kindness in teaching me new things in sewing. May Allah grant her more knowledge and grant her happiness in life. Thank you, Ann!

Until now, I never have to buy curtains from the drapers anymore. I made them myself. I sew curtains for mom too. She is one demanding customer, though. hahaha... Must follow exactly what she desires for her curtain or she'll turn sulky! Oh mom! I love you so much!

Last year, my husband bought me a seamlock machine so that I need not go out to the regular tailor to have the edge of my fabrics sewn. That's a pleasant surprise. "For my crazy wife" he said. Well, he knows I am crazy about sewing...Thanks, dear, for understanding me. Alhamdulillah, with the new seamlock machine, my works became much, much easier and I can finish a project within one or two days only.

I attached herewith some pictures of the curtains I sewn myself.

This white and red organza are from last year's Eid Mubarak. It consumed about 40 metres of fabrics. I like the soft flower prints. I doubled it up with plain white organza. Very soft and soothing. I like it very much during windy days when the wind blew each piece of the curtains and they moved as if they were dancing.

To make it more attractive, I use crystal beaded fringe of matching colour.
At my place, if you go to a draper and ordered for something like this, you might end up paying around RM1,000 to RM3,000 (about USD285 to USD857). I spent less than RM500 (USD143) for the fabrics and accessories. Phew! That's a huge saving!
This year's curtain, I chose something retro for a change - lace fabrics
I made the scallops from satin to contrast the lace fabrics. As usual, that was a trial and error kind of thing, but I am glad they complement each other nicely.
And add up some frills to make it lively. I have to confess, making frill is really taxing, but look at the outcome... trust me, it's worth it!

The result....Taraaaa...... !
I already have another great idea for the curtains next year, but as for now, that will have to wait. I need to concentrate on my study. And I am also huffing and puffing for air all the time due to my pregnancy. So, I'll let time decide when the new project will actually take place. Insya-Allah, if God wills.... Perhaps next time I'll post on my sofa cover project. That was really a huge makeover for my living room!

p/s: Girls, this is one of the many ways you could fulfill your past time and benefit from it, Insya-Allah. You may say you don't know anything about sewing. I was like that too, but alhamdulillah, the courage I have in me and also strong supports from everyone around me make it easy for me to learn step by step. If you can't sew, then maybe you can cook! Or create some decorative art from recycled waste such as cardboard, bottles or old newspapers. Better still, you can also share your knowledge by giving tutorials or tuition classes to children at your place. All these will be rewarded handsomely by The Almighty, insya-Allah.

Show that you are a talented muslimah! For good cause, Insya-Allah.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Yet another stranger....

Written by Rand Diab

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Yusuf, five years my senior, was my example. Samya, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play ‘big brother’ and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors– Mom taught me to love Allah, and Dad taught me to how to obey Him. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening. If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it.

He knew about the past and seemed to understand the present. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I watched. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Yusuf and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several famous people.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up– while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places– go to her room, read the Qur’an.

I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house– not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm.. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home – not even for cooking.

But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back, I believe it was Allah’s Mercy that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name you ask?

We called him TV.

Masya-Allah, this is a good story to be taken as example. The influence of TV on our younger generation is HUGE. It has changed the lifestyle of millions of people. It is up to us to decide whether it brings more benefits or harm into our lives. Many thanks to Muslimah for allowing me to re-post this on my blog.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A stranger

I went out shopping for some maternity dresses with my husband yesterday at Jusco Mid Valley. It was JCard member's day where discounts were offered up to 80% of the original price. The place was terribly packed with excited shoppers who took the opportunity to get something for themselves or their loved ones.

There was a wide range of such beautiful maternity gowns and blouses and pants and skirts of various colours and the materials are so soft with floral prints and pastel colours and ribbons and laces... Oh my God! I could buy them ALL at once!!!

After two hours of searching and trying and deciding what to buy, I already felt exhausted. We hurriedly paid for the clothes and moved on to the shoes department. This is where my problem lies. I am not a BIGFOOT of course, but I have BIG FOOT... err... big feet, to be exact, because I have two foots (*nuts?*). I can't simply point at any pair of lovely shoes and say "I want that one" and give my size and 5 minutes afterwards pay for it. No, that's just not me. I can only buy 'wide fitting' shoes, and they are of very limited selection here in Malaysia, considering the fact that Malaysians on average have smaller body frame compared to the Americans or Europeans. So, another two devastating hours were spent simply to find a pair of comfortable flat shoes.

By the time we finished shopping and went out, I was huffing and puffing for air and desperately need to rest a while. My husband pointed to a bench nearby and told me to sit there and wait while he go redeem some shopping vouchers. I, together with my shopping bags, headed slowly towards the bench like a tortoise. There was a woman already occupying one side of the bench. She watched me with this sort of funny expression on her face as if thinking..."What is she? A sloth?"... Owh! I really don't care what she thought of me... I am tired I can hardly move my legs!

"Oh you poor girl! Come sit beside me." She got up, took my hand and pull me to the bench.

"Alhamdulillah. Thank you"  I smiled. It felt so good to sit down and relax a bit.

"Where are you from? This lady stranger started the conversation with a wide smile. I gave her a short reply and thought the conversation would end there immediately. I was wrong. She asked me many, many other questions about myself, where I work, how many children I have, what I shop, how many months I am pregnant, and so on. I did not see any harm in telling her everything she wanted to know as long as they are general facts. Soon afterwards I know her as Junainah, a mother of five (all girls) and lives somewhere nearby. We talked for quite a while until my husband appeared in front of us and gave a signal that we should get moving.

I thanked Junainah for accompanying me and for the nice conversation, and grabbed my things and got up on my feet. Before I left, she asked for my mobile number and without thinking twice, I happily gave it to her. My husband was curious but did not say anything until we reached home.

Kuala Lumpur - a city crowded with strangers of all kinds
"You are one straight forward kind of person" he scolded. "Anyone with evil intention could cheat you easily"

"But I don't see any harm in her. She looks like an honest person" I tried to defend myself.

"How do you know she is not a bad person?" He asked back.

"I don't know, really. But she's a mother too, just like me. How bad can she be?"

"Listen. I never say that she IS a bad person. All I am trying to say is, we can't simply trust anyone we know only after 2 or 3 minutes of conversation. You need to be more careful next time. Don't give away personal details to strangers".

I nodded softly. He is right. I was such a fool to have given away my mobile number to someone I hardly know. I promised him I will not repeat the same mistake again in future.

Later when we were having dinner, I received an sms. It was from Junainah, the stranger. She asked me what time I reached home, whether I have had my dinner, and some other things. To my surprise, she also asked for my home address, saying that she wanted to visit me one day. She was a bit pushy this time.

"See! I told you! Now we have a stalker!" My husband got heated up when I showed him the sms. He told me not to reply to the sms, so I didn't.

Early this morning, around 7.20am,  my mobile phone rang. I rushed to the bedside to fetch the phone only to find out that the caller was Junainah. Again? An eerie feeling crept in me. What did she want from me?

"Don't answer her. She may try call you again later. Don't answer her!"  My husband warned me. He sounded so angry.

"I won't. She scares me. I am sorry things turned out this way unexpectedly"

"It's okay. Take care of yourself." He kissed me and left for work.

At the moment as I write this, I kept asking myself, how did all this happen? Was it wrong to show some politeness and smile a bit to strangers? I don't simply do this to everyone. The stranger is only a lady of much smaller size than me. Can she harm me in any way? Perhaps she is lonely and sad and is in need of a friend to talk to. But then I am myself a stranger to her. It is simply not right for her to trust me easily.

Perhaps she has good intention from the beginning. Perhaps she is a salesperson. Yes, that makes sense. She tried to sell something to me, that's why she contacted me. Insurance, maybe. But even if this is true, she approached me the wrong way. She scares me off.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Something to think about...

Many thanks to Durriyah Sharifah Hasan Adli of University of Malaya for sharing this with me. Now I share this with all of you because I think this is very true, if not all, at least to most of us.

Original posting taken from:


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

After 4 minutes of playing:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment / at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty / appreciate exceptional talent?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we acknowledge it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

How many things in life are not recognized because they are not positioned in the right places?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

For the sake of fashion...

"Why are you dressed like that?"

"What? This?"

"Yeah, that!"

"What's wrong with it? Don't you like it? It's the hottest trend at the moment.  Nice, isn't it?"

The "wow" trend nowadays: volumised hijabs like the hump of a camel,
exposed neck area, thin & see-through fabrics, tight-fitting clothes
that revealed the shape of body, make-ups and heavy accessories 

I feel terribly frustrated. The world has changed a lot in the past ten years. This so-called "hottest trend" is slowly poisoning the new generation's mind and lifestyle. What are they thinking? Why are they willing to go against Allah for the sake of fashion? Is it worth it?

Women in Islam are special. They are highly ranked and respected in the society. Do not degrade and humiliate yourself by wearing inappropriate clothes. What you wear and how you behave will really tell something about you. Do you remember Julia Robert playing hooker in "Pretty Woman"? How was she treated by the retailers when she wanted to buy some 'respected' clothes with all the people surrounding her looked at her like she's one dirty bi*ch? You see, even in a society that legalise prostitution and pornography, women wearing skimpy clothes are "cheap sale".  So why would you, born as a Muslim, want to be just like them? How do you value your dignity then?

How can you claim that you are a muslim when you dress like this?
This is not fashion, this is a disgrace!

Wearing a hijab that resemble the hump (back) of a camel is strictly forbidden in Islam,
but sadly this is the trend that is spreading fast like rapid fire amongst muslimahs.

.Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said. "I will not be a witness for two types of people who are destined for the Fire: people with whips, like the tails of cows, who beat the people (ie, tyrannical rulers who are the enmies of their own people), and women who, although clothed, are yet naked, seducing and being seduced, their hair styled like the tilted humps of camels. These will not enter the Garden nor will its fragrance even reach them, although its fragrance reaches a very great distance. (Reported by Muslim).

Astaghfirullah! Dear parents, take care of your children and don't let them go astray.
How could you stay silent and just let your children drag you into the fire of hell?

O! Muslimah! We have been reminded now and then by the ayahs in the holy Quran about the importance of wearing modest clothings and covering ourselves with hijabs. We know of the consequences for disobeying Allah. Let's look ourselves again in the mirror. Are we properly covered up?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The unthinkable incident

When you see these pictures, what would you think of these monkeys?

Cute? Adorable?

Playful? Loveable?

Unless we see a huge figure with thick furs and sharp teeth and red eyes and great roar.... I suppose everyone would say monkeys are not a big threat to mankind, really. As a matter of fact, we are so used to see monkeys play some important characters in films, circuses, magic shows, or street performances. In Malaysia, especially at the East Coast, monkeys are trained by villagers to pluck coconuts from the trees. Generally, the existence of monkeys could be beneficial to men.

Because of such perception in mind, it is of course terribly shocking to read this morning’s news headline:

Macaque abducts, bites and drops baby from roof

The baby girl was only 4 days old when she was snatched from the living room and taken up to the roof of the house. The mother, V. Revathy left the baby only for a few second to use the toilet but later frantically searched all over the house for her but found only her body covered in blood lying outside the house. Her face and neck were badly bitten by the macaque, thinking that the newborn was food.

When the monkey released the baby, it fell to the ground and died.

The newspaper further cited:

The baby’s father, lorry driver V. Neru, 29, who was not at home when the incident occurred, said he could not believe that such a thing could have happened.

“I rushed to the hospital only to be told that she was gone.

“She was our bundle of joy and we were looking forward to spending many happy years with her ... I just cannot believe she’s gone,” he said.

Negri Sembilan Wildlife and National Parks, with the help from the Fire and Rescue Department and the father of the baby set off to look for the macaque. They found it in some bushes several metres from the house and shot it dead when it began to act aggressively.


So do you still think monkeys are adorable and playful?

I am not sure about this. It is unfair that I change my perception just because of one isolated case like this. I'll stick to my opinion that the species is harmless to mankind at most of the time but could pose a threat when they are into something that attracts their attention.  Perhaps it's a matter of survival that led them to behave dangerously. Yet, wild animals will still be wild animals. I don't believe in taming them to live amongst human.

To the grieving parents, I am so sorry for the lost of your baby. It's hard to accept that such incident could happen nowadays. Please be strong. I believe the baby is in good hands right now.

Images googled from the net.


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