Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to ingest more glitter than humanly possible and impress your child all at once!

First of all! Sorry for the lack of posting! With the holidays and the massive amount of traveling I haven't been able to post.

Little Miss is now being homeschooled and I have returned to on-line college. Which has been a bit of a challenge with the lack of space and time for my studies. With Little Miss health issues and our constant traveling between Michigan and New York, this was the best option for us. We also had to conquer the lack of space issues we have going on here in NYC. We've managed to set aside most of the bedroom for Little Miss for play, sleep and learning. It's a work in progress and I hope to have it finished by this weekend, InshaAllah (God willing).

But to make a big impact and to make homeschooling a little more fun I decided to personalize Little Miss area of the room and what little girl does not like glitter?!
Here is the finished project!

I would not suggest this project if you do not mind getting glitter over everything and even on you. Not to mention in your GI tract either. I swear right now I have some major Edward Cullen poos going on.
Here's what you will need:
  • A photo editing software, like photoshop or a word program ( I am a big fan of Open Office, it's free!)
  • White glue ( I squirted some on a piece of scrap paper)
  • Craft brushes
  • Fine glitter
  • Card stock (8" x 11") in the same family of colors that you are using for glitter.
  • A printer
  • Scissors
  • Double sided tape
  • Fonts ( I used "Starburst" & "Easyopenface" &"Mellowfonts1" from Dafont.com)

Here is how you change your font size:
You just click in the font size and manually enter a font size that you would like to use. I used 600pt at 300 DPI on the US paper option when you open a new file within Photoshop to get these letter sizes which where about 5"-6" tall.
Here is how to install fonts: Installing FONTS
How too:
  1. Once you've picked a font you liked, you need to make it the size you would like. Honestly Photoshop is the best I am sure you could use a word program as well to do this. It's very important to pick LIGHT shades when printing onto cardstock so that the printers color does not show through the glitter, it's just a guideline for the glue. Make sure you save every letter just in case you mess one up or your daughter thinks if funny to stick a wet glued letter to your tush. (Oh the irony)
  2. Then print that letter out on your card stock. Use light matte colors for lighter glitters and medium hues for darker glitters.
  3. For me I learned (the hard way) it was better to do the main color first and then fill in with the accent color (silver) last. Using a paint brush I evenly and QUICKLY painted the glue on the printed colors. Then quickly tap the main color glitter over the glue, tapping off the excess. Until all the printed areas are covered. The empty spaces are painted with the glue and covered with the sliver accent glitter just like the main colors to the edges of the letter.

4. Allow your letter to dry FLAT for up to six hours before you cut them out.
5. Once dry, cut. There where be glitter EVERY WHERE when you do this.
6. Use your double sided sticky tape to tape these letters where ever your glitter covered heart desires!
7. For Hello Kitty, I used the Mellowfont1 and it comes with a TON of Hello Kitty dingbats!

A not so quick way to jazz up a space for a too-spoiled-for-her-own-good-princess! She totally gets fresh flowers to put on her desk every week too!

I will post more things as the days go by and her space comes together!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Anxiety aftermath, The BIG 5 and Bucket List Disappointment.

I want to touch lightly on the subject of the spitting incident. The thoughts are swirling about my brain and I haven't totally made sense of everything yet. The one side effect is that my anxiety is now much higher than it was before the spitting incident. I haven't gone back to that street corner since it happened and have been avoiding the area if I can. My hijab is still dirty, in the dirty laundry pile but not forgotten. It is like having a pretty foul piece of laundry that you know you have to wash but the thought of doing so makes your tummy churn and you much rather toss it but you cannot. It is bad enough having terrible things happen to you but it is awful walking around knowing that you have the potential to experience even worse examples of hate. And that is what I am afraid of the most. I know some have expected a bigger follow up but I am chipping away at this fear. With enough time and once I digest all the emotions, factors and anxiety, I am sure I will produce something that will be more of a read and thought provoker then this little blip. I've been a little preoccupied with life but you know what they say...

“Life happens.”

In my case it happens all at once. Then I will have a “nothing is happening in my life” drought. My phone was stolen and we've been dealing with the lovely viruses that are going around, yes not one but two.

Little Miss turned the BIG 5 last Monday and we celebrated in a big way for the Little Miss. I had a theme and as much as the tutorials made it look very easy, my OCD made it nearly impossible. I gave up on most of it and stuck to the usual balloons, flower pom poms and streamers. But it was still very pretty and got Little Misses seal of approval! We received a ton of rave reviews on her decorations but her streamers got the most attention! They were so simple to make! 

I would have more pictures but yeah, my phone was stolen and they never synced with my backup storage.

I used the large tissue pack from Micheal’s for $7.99. I placed all the layers on top of each other and cut a section of the tissue paper the length of the tissue paper at a width of 3 inches. When I started cutting the lines, I kept the layers together as it made it much easier and less time consuming. Then to make it reach the table, I glued with a glue stick the end pieces together. I then alternated the colors and taped balloons up top to finish off the look. I think the tissue added a softer and fluffier look then normal color paper would of.

You can find the tutorial on how I made the light lavender and dark purple streamers behind the gift table here: Zig Zag Accordion Streamers

Overall it was great experience and I am glad we did it. 

I have always had this dream of watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person and now that I am in New York, I thought I could mark that off my list. WRONG! It's just not going to happen. In order to get spots in the “public viewing” area, I would have to be there by 5am! That would mean I would have to leave my house to take the subway by 330am. I shudder at the fact of waking Little Miss at 3am! Little Miss would morph into Little Hell On Wheels for the rest of the day! Not to mention we have a possible Nor-Easter heading our way and neither Little Miss or I need to be out in that kind of weather. Oh and by the time the parade would reach the public viewing area it would be NOON. The subway ride home would be another hour and I would be forced to run around in the kitchen to cook Thanksgiving dinner in less then three hours! Ain't happening. You couldn't supply me with enough Starbucks to make THAT happen. Sorry Little Miss you'll just have to sit on the couch with momma eating pie and watching it on TV.

Mmmmm pie.

But depending on the weather we may go watch them blow the balloons up the day before during their Inflation Celebration if we are feeling better! That should be an interesting adventure! I am sure my inner child and my actual child will be in awe watching that!

(Maybe next year Spidey!)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To the women who spit on me today.

You may not know that I moved from a small town with roughly two thousand people to a city with millions of people. I assumed that doing so would grant me the safety to openly practice my belief system without fear of attack, bullying and hate towards my family and myself. This allowed me to wear hijab and feel secure knowing that I am finally doing what my heart tells me to do. I wore it proudly and happily. It was my beacon of my testament to my faith.

But today, that hijab became a beacon of hate for you. I do not know your background nor do I know your heart. What I do know, is that your actions were inhumane. I was simply out running errands for my soon to be five year old's birthday party this weekend. You may not of noticed her in the bright pink stroller that I was clearly pushing in front of me. Today you also made her a witness to your careless hate. What did she do to you? What did I do to you? Was I some how violating the principles that our great country was founded on? I will never have your answers to these questions. Some how the group of you thought it would be funny to pick on the Muslim in front of you. So as we waited for the crossing signal to turn you made the awful decision to take away my personal religious security.

You see hearing someone “hack a loogie” makes my stomach instantly churn, I can't handle the sound. I became acutely aware that some one behind me was hacking and spitting. I then felt the nasty warm wet sensation on the back of my leg. I assumed at first that maybe it was an accident, it was a crowded sidewalk after all. But the instant uproar of laughter sent my heart to the bottom of my stomach. Then again, I heard you spit. And again. And again. You uttered these words with your heavy Jamaican accent “God hates Muslims, all them terrorists.” And if that was not enough, you spit on me one more time. God only knows what you said after that because it was as if God sealed my own ears from your hate. To prevent you causing any more pain with your degrading actions and words.

I said nothing to you. I held my head up high and walked numbly on down to my next destination, unaware of the sounds of the traffic or of the hustle and bustle of people walking next to us. I did not want to let my child know what happened or that I was upset, so I pretended as if nothing was wrong. As I watched her eat her dinner, I poked at mine. Reeling at how disgusting and second class you made me feel. I spent the rest of that time finishing my errands, completely numb and wanting to get home. I wanted to tear off my hijab and change out of my clothes as soon as I stepped through the door. I had been violated. Every thing I took for granted, you ripped away in less then two minutes. It took me years to admit that I reverted to Islam, it took even longer to wear hijab in public. And you, you took that away in an instant. You replaced my security with fear. You took something so important away from me and you had not one clue of the damage you carelessly caused.

I do not know your religion or lack of religion, but I assume by the wrong usage of “God” in your racial slur that you follow some sort of Christianity. As a revert I am not a stranger to Christianity, in fact the Bible does not excuse any hate towards your fellow humans. There are indeed several examples in the bible.(1 John 4:20, John 13:34-35, 1 John 2:11) I wanted to clarify that my God, is also your God. Our God does not want me to hate you. So I wont. But that does not mean that your actions were acceptable behaviors. Decent humans do not do that. They do not reduce people down to nothing with their phlegm and their saliva.

So after I returned to the only remaining sanctuary I have now and removed my hijab, I saw your phlegm on the back of my hijab scarf. That did it and because of you, my daughter watched me crumble in front of her because of your actions. I was no longer the only victim of a hate crime, my daughter is now and when my husband returns home from work tonight, he too will become another victim of your hate. Out of your own ignorance, inhumanity, fear and lack of knowledge you have changed our lives. For that one random moment you interacted with me, you made a decision to do something evil. Something God would never consider permissible. But God tells me to pray and forgive you and I will. I will have the patience to rebuild my sanctuary and increase my knowledge of God and his message of peace.

I will forgive you, I will forgive you. I will after the pain you caused ebbs and the anger subsides. After I place my forehead on the ground and allow the tears to fall freely, I will forgive you. Because you do not need my anger to change your heart, you need my forgiveness. I am Sama, I am stronger then your spit and my forgiveness is stronger than your hate.

This is how I practice Islam.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Indian Avocado Chutney!

This yummy side dish packs a mixture of flavors that meld wonderfully with the avocados. It's a favorite in our household now. I love it with a fried egg with a paratha in the morning and hubby loves it in rice with tomato pickle. It was so simple to make that I am no longer sure why it seemed so daunting to make!
Here's what you will need:
2 avocados if they are Hass, or one large Florida avocado, almost ripe. You still want a bit of firmness but still a little soft. Pitted and chopped into medium sizes pieces.
One medium onion chopped
3 to 4 chilies
5 curry leaves
.5 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste
.5-1 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves to taste
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2-3 table spoons of oil
Salt to taste

Here's what you do:
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add in the curry leaves, allow them to soften some.
  2. Add in avocado, onion, chillis, ginger garlic paste and cook until onions are translucent and just being to brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool down some
  4. In blender add in cilantro starting with a .5 cup and lemon juice, then blend
  5. Add in half of the avocado mixture blend on low adding water as needed to make a smooth thick paste, continue adding avocado and water until you have a smooth mixture, add salt to taste.

This is best if made a few hours in advance or even over night so that the flavors meld and deepen. My husband prefers it with more chilies and less cilantro and I like it better with more cilantro. This is a definite must have side dish in any South Asian household and very simple to change to your liking!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Pretty white for a Muslim."

I had only a few things in my basket when I allowed the man behind me go ahead and cut in front of me. He had three items to my ten. I knew he was Muslim by his mannerisms. His smile was warm and his eyes never made contact with mine as he thanked me for my kindness. Hey, I am not going to let NYC drain my patience and kindness out of me. There is a certain harshness and even within the Muslim community on the streets of NYC. A simple act of letting someone go ahead of me makes their day… But sometimes it opens a segway to a dialogue I was not expecting.

The man in his dingy yellowed kurta pajamas had waited outside of the store for me and to be honest, I was a bit frightened! It was my first shopping experience on my own, so my anxiety was on high alert. But then this man opened his mouth, my anxiety subsided into disbelief and then morphed into a pitiful anger for this poor soul.

He was an older man with just a tuff of a long white beard on his chin and when he talked it waved in the breeze as if it was a flag to his testament of being a Muslim this long. His eyes were kind but shallow and he began to quickly quiz me.  “Are you Muslim?” He asked quizzically as he spied the brightly patterned hijab that I was wearing. “Of course I am.” I replied as I felt my jaw clench shut. Mentally reminding myself that it is unkind to put people in their places. “Oh because you are pretty white for a Muslim.” He replied as he searched the layers of my skin for any possible pigmentation I could be hiding. Thankful for the “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” banter that was reamed into my head in elementary school I firmly uttered “That’s because I am WHITE.” And as I walked away that was the end of that conversation.

I still try to make sense of this issue I am plagued with. I do not fit in with my white non-muslim counter parts very well nor do I fit in with my Muslim community. Where do the square pegs go when they do not fit into the hole meant for the round pegs? Some argue that unless you were born a Muslim then you are not a true Muslim. But I am Muslim because I believe in Islam and I submit my will to Allah. I have no other intentions but to be a better Muslim and the color of my skin has no place within Islam because only my heart and my soul does. As much as I reaffirm myself of that, I find myself still rattled by the ignorance of others. Even more so when it comes from a member of my own Muslim community.

This square peg is still trying to force herself into the hole meant for the round pegs. One day I will find my place within both communities.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On The Train To Michigan. Poetry.

I wrote this on the train ride back to Michigan to pack up my tiny apartment to start my life with the Mr. I dabble here and there with poetry. I am trying to return to my roots. Let me know if you could see what I saw as I wrote it.
I see our love growing in the mountains
Our little house atop the palatial slate cliff
The cliff drops down to greet the effulgent river below
Our little house built with walls so stiff
To keep the cold crisp October air out
A robust fire and hearty meal keep our family near
Our love growing like the splattering of fall foliage throughout the hills
Not an intruding sound from the hustle and bustle could one hear
Love allowed to grow like the ferns that take shelter in the woods below
Sheltered from the outside curiosity and ignorance to a love like ours
Or maybe amongst tall ears of golden fall corn our love will grow
Where the only sound can be heard is the wind rustling through the lanky maize towers
Perfection found in the yellows and reds of Indian corn, the deep hues of pumpkins and gourds
With the crunching of earthen brown leaves beneath our feet
Remind us of the tenacity that we have to allow our love to grow organically
Where negativity is mixed with manure and peat
Freshly folded and turned into the fields for next year’s harvest
So that a bountiful vibrant love may flourish

Or maybe we will renovate a dilapidated house
In a city where dreams came to perish
Next to rusty skeletons of a once bountiful economy
We will find our love growing beneath the peeling wall paper
Finding shelter behind replaced window panes
Under the patched roof our love grows while the criticisms begin to taper
We will rock the years away in our chairs under the shade of our front porch
But maybe we will never find shelter in any of these places
No refuge from the outside world’s hostilities
The only thing is that is written in the hard lines upon our faces
Is the love we have for each other
No matter where we find ourselves in the harsh environment
Our love will thrive
Protected by the fortitude of our faith
It can only but survive

Sama Plunkett-Rizwan ©2013


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kabayare “Milk Silk Maxi Dress” Review.



(Please excuse the poor cell phone pics, Miss L couldn't handle my Nikon very well.)

As a Muslim woman it is insane to fine reasonably priced modest dresses. When I saw on Kabayare’s website that they had these new Maxi dresses in stock for $32.50 usd, I thought it was worth trying. I was even more moved to buy from them because they are a Michigan company and somewhat local. Which makes it a super huge plus for me.

That being said the ordering process was fairly streamlined and I found no issues with any technical difficulties. Shipping was a flat rate box for $4.85 usd and came exactly two days after I ordered it. They offer free shipping in the United States for orders over $75 usd and flat rate shipping for international orders for $20 usd. And they have a special code when you like their Facebook page.

When I opened the box, I found that it was as pictured on the website. What it comes with is a thin brown somewhat inflexible like thin belt. It’s not really a silky material. I would say it has polyester in it. So It may be pushing it on the sweating factor in the summer but would be perfect for cooler months. It comes in nine different colors, so you do have a nice range of colors.

But that being said… There are some cons to this maxi dress.

  1) It is extremely see through.

  2) It stunk like the chemicals still from the factory and happens to screw with my sinuses. (Which could mean it will shrink if it was not pre-washed before sewing. Cold water only and low heat ladies!)

  3) The bottom hem of the dress was poorly stitched almost through out the whole bottom hem and I will have to repair.

  4) The top of the dress is pretty tight in the bust area even for a “Large.” I am in the medium B cup range and it’s tight. It does have a “stretch” to it but becomes VERY transparent when stretched.

That being said I do not think the dress should be priced for $32.50 usd, I think the quality is more of a dress priced at a range of $20 usd at the very highest price.

Does that mean I will not order these same dresses again?

Honestly, I would. It’s fairly cheap for what normal Muslimahs in the States are accustomed too.

These are my tips:

1) If you can fit the top, a correctly fitting nude color bra or coordinating bra color of your dress would be your best bet.
2) I would also go as far as too wear a sports bra in a coordinating bra color of the dress, so that your bra out line isn’t visible.
3) It's a clingy fabric, so some shape ware would be a plus.

So if you weigh under 150 pounds and your height is 5’6” and under and you can work with the transparent fabric, then you may find these are a decent addition to your wardrobe. I do wish I had bought some other colors too, I am still eyeing the Burgandy, Apple Cider and Candy Coral colors as well.

I will end up wearing leggings with this dress and when I move I will sew in a lining in the top to reduce the transparency and reduce bra visibility. This dress has good bones IF you fit within the height and weight restrictions and are handy with a sewing machine. It has a nice and high neckline so modesty will be easy to obtain!

But I don't regret buying it, I do wish it was a bit better like I expected.

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