A few photos

from our 4 hour drive to the village where my husbands sister lives. I pretty much took pictures the whole way there and back. It was kind of a luxurious drive, just me and the dh, the two youngest and my 11 year old. 

She lives in a village in the mountains around the region of  ‘Sour al ghozlane’ , her you will find most of the men, wearing North african turbans and through the winter months the heavy, rough wool, ‘kashabiya’. The people are much more traditional then the in the capitol. Old values and hospitality stay strong with them. In the surrounding villages you will still find families that don’t send their daughters to high school, after primary that’s it! They are kept home, along with their traditional manners and innocence. You will find a whole different personality. Though of course, these girls have a right to be educated. there is also something special and timeless about them. Without the corruption of modernity traditional morals are kept alive. An arguement for home schooling maybe?

Of course mixed in with this tradition there is also plenty of signs of change, the girls are breaking out the dreaded skinny jeans, the head scarves getting smaller and the make up, that a girl would never once dreamed of applying outside of a womens party are now common sights.

We enjoy the odd, few days taken out to visit this region. The kids roam freely around the village, fish in the river in spring, ride donkeys in winter and chase chicken around anytime of the year. In summer it is oppresively hot, flies try to take over and with no air conditioning its not much of a pleasure. In winter it is the opposite, extremely cold, snow is common , strong cold winds that remind me of home. And spring is the best. Good temperatures, the country side turns to a beautiful green instead of a burnt brown yellow and wild flowers are every where. Wild spinach grows everywhere as does ‘gurnina’ with just looks like a prickly weed from the surface, but provides a tasty root which is actually pretty delicious!

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Today is

The last day for my teenage boys taking their end of secondary school exams. The BEM as its known here in Algeria.
It’s pretty intensive 2 1/2 days back to back exams. Two subjects in the morning and two in the afternoon. Results will be out sometime before Ramadan…
Did you really think we had a date? This is dz after all! Fortunately for us we can see the school from our window, so we will see tell tale activity when the results are in!
All being well I will have three kids out of compulsory education, though they plan on doing the BAC. None the less it’s quite a milestone. And a bit of a shock! Where has the time gone? My babies grown up. I want to mark the event. Do something fun. But I haven’t figured out what yet. We are tied down with by our shop!
I have stragglers still at school. Ds8 and dd10, they finish thursday insha’allah as does ds4 at the mosque nursery. I’d love to surprise them with a trip to the beach or something similar. It’s time to celebrate. The school year is done. And Ramadan is just around the corner. I think some time for unwinding is called for!

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It feels like

ages since I sat at the computer and wrote a proper post! I have had to lose my morning routine of coming and blogging because the house work was lagging behind and that is always bad, as I then lose my afternoons to it. I never really understood the house work until I moved here. Coming on holidays I could see it was harder, but you never really understand that relentless dust in the summer, the winds that blow it in, in the spring, the mud in the winter. Its not even something you can begin to rationalise, they way it clings to the walls. I mean who would dream of the days you lose washing walls in this place. Especially as the house is considerably larger then my terrace in London was….

Anyway I didn’t really intend for this to be about house work. But seen as though this blog is supposed to be about motherhood in Algeria, its highly relevant!!!

In an effort to spend more time being creative I have been trying to be more efficient with the chores. I am blessed that dd(almost)17, is here all the time to help out, so while i still do the bulk, she is definately taking the edge off things and saves me plenty of time masha’allah. So what have I been working on?

I made these shorts inspired by shorts floating around the sewing community. they are made with Yelow gingham that used to be curtains under my work tops in the old kitchen. Waste not want not!

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They have these cute gathered pockets which are gathered at the top with elastic and attached before sewing the centre seams.

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I don’t have any photos of my princess wearing them, but they fit great masha’allah 🙂 Happy mummy and an outraged dd10, who couldn’t believe they are above the knee!!!

I also made this dress for dd10

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I copied this, from a dress owned by a good friend. And i am also really pleased with the way it turned it, it has panels on teh bodice and elastic on the back of the waist, and also along the front neckline with lots of gathers and pleats, it was a little time consuming, but I came togethor nicely masha’allah. Dd10 likes it, but she much prefers this little number that I made also!

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A strappy little summer top, made in a nice cotton/linen type fabric, found here in dz!!! She loves trousers, so anything to go on top of trousers is a winner for her! I also made her 3 pairs of 3/4 length trouser for summer, which I have no pictures of. But I have been pretty productive over the last week, mostly thanks to dh being away from early morning until evening so I haven’t had to worry about cooking him lunch and not using the sewing machine while he has his afternoon nap!

I have also made a few new blog discoveries, this one gives away FREE digital patterns, always good to know! And I will try to update my blog list again insha’allah.

So whats next? I’m currently working on summer p.j’s for my youngest 2. And eid is on my mind, Ramadan is just around the corner, and I have a few plans towards handmade outfits for all but my teens insha’allah. Of course this depends on my finding suitable fabrics!

 

Over the past

couple of weeks I have had two sewing projects. One took a few days, the curtains for the sitting room, and the other was mostly finished in a day thanks to my sister in law taking care of daily stuff and letting me sew.

I got my inspiration from some satin dresses, I had pinned on pintrest. The bigger one was a combination of a few dresses, the bow was inspired by this. And I had wanted to try making a bubble hem. So they were a combination of these features.

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The dresses had to be lined to create, the bubble hem, which involves making a shorter much less gathered skirt underneath and attatching the outer skirt hem to it which then gathers it and lifts up the hem to create this ‘bubble’ effect. It was a little fiddly and I should have made the under skirt a little shorter then i did, but all in all I was quite pleased with my attempt,  masha’allah.

I actually had more trouble with the bodice, which came out too big. It meant pulling the sleeves off and getting the scissors out to adjust the shoulders and the waist. the belt also helped to pull it in! I didn’t want a really close fit because it would have been too hot, and hopefully the cotton lined bodice will help with that too! I’m planning to re-service these at eid, and we have a couple of weddings in the summer insha’allah. DD10 loved the dress, despite her misgivings at me sewing for her (she has reached that age already!). So that made me really happy 🙂

The dress for my almost 3 year old was a much simpler deal! Simple basic bodice like the other one and alhamdulileh it was a great fit so it sewed up really quickly. It has a simple belt attached at the side seams and tied into a big bow at the back. I wanted them similar, but not exactly the same. And she being much easier to please, loved it too!SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a view of the back. I don’t have a photo of her in the dress without the bride, which of course,  I can’t post here due to Hijab restrictions! But she of course, of course, looked absolutely beautiful in her blue kaftan, Masha’allah.

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This is it in the shop.

The other projects were the curtains in the salon. We bought one set of curtains which were on display in the shop. It was the last one. Dh loved the fabric and I figured we could get that and split it into two for our sitting room windows as it was pretty wide and doubled up in two tones.

I literally had to unpick the whole thing, scale it down and split it into two. But i was pretty pleased with the results masha’allah. Here they are.

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They are a little dark , I should have took the photos at night, they would have shown much better. But you get the idea!!! We bought the new covers and cushions for the arab style seating. Not really my taste though I love the blue!

And finally I made new covers for all the cushions after having our sofa’s refurbished in our family sitting room, and edged the remaining fabric to cover the ‘canopy’ to match.

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And after all of that, I would have thought I would be sick of the sight of the sewing machine, but no, I have a few new projects in mind! Watch this space (though I have to get my house back in order first!).

I haven’t had

time to blog this week. And if truth be told I haven’t got time to blog now….But here I am just to say a quick hello. I am in a whirl wind of soap, bleach, curtain and cushion fabric and still the main event to go. The dress!!!!! Or whatever it is we will get the ‘bride’ to wear.

We have our first guest arriving today ahead of time. Dh begged her to come and help, though to be honest we are about done with the hard slog. but it means we can move out and about to the shops and my sister in law will be here for the children arriving from school.

The stress and nerves are mounting and to be honest I am absolutely dreading Thursday when all of my husbands  family start to arrive for the weekend sleep over, we are expecting around 30 adults and various children. My brain cannot comprehend where everyone is going to sleep and what we are going to eat etc……

Welcome to Algeria!

Oh by the way this isn’t the actual wedding. Its the ‘fatha’ or ‘fiancee’ or the ‘nikkah’. I personally prefer the last name but hey they all work here or even the ‘Aqad al shariah’ . Maybe the bride herself will stop by the comments and correct my names for the event. well whatever…….

Pray for me My nerves are going to need it!

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We are having

plenty of April showers this month masha’allah, with more rain forcast for the days ahead they could evn go into May showers. But I am not complaining the heat will be upon us all to soon i dont mind if it takes its time getting here. After Ramadan would be perfect actually!

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So I have big plans for my day and no better way to set up for it then a good breakfast. Alhamdulileh. Dd16 has already expressed her concern at scrambled eggs with croissant but what is the problem?

I have lots of sewing to do these days. We are having a little Algerian party in May (when was an Algerian party ever small?) and dh has been cajoled into smartening up the ‘salon’, so we went out shopping yesterday and we bought fabric for curtains that I will have to ‘whip up’ we wanted to buy ready made ones but the prices were outrageous!!! We ended up buying a display curtain because dh loved it so much and it being the last one, we got it for a good discount. It had various swathes of fabric overlapping and what not ‘ala arab curtains’ and i have to unswathe the double layers to pretty it up for two windows, I am in the unpicking stages.

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Not really my taste, but when a husband wants his arab salon, and I have my more european living area up stairs I am not going to fight it. I only clean it and serve guests in there anyway! I just hope it turns out good, insha’allah i will do before and after pictures. But still more wall washing and window cleaning to be done first!

Onto the skirt I posted last time. Actually the post was just a trial run for the wordpress application from my phone.

The elastic is too big as i made it from her belly measurements instead of just stretching it around her as I usually do(go back to low tech method!).  She has a rather generous toddler tummy masha’allah. The skirt, of course,  just drops below it . The top of the skirt is made from a thin polyester type fabric, which is great for drapey projects, but I lined it with a piece of white cotton, one because its great for the summer,  two to attach the frill too and three because the polyester type stuff is see through. And though the cotton was very light weight and thin it wasn’t light weight enough to let the gathers drop as I would have wished, so it looks a little bulky. Lesson learned!

So I will leave you all with some weekend pictures, have a great day where ever you are!

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I’m here again

with my tea and toast!

Back in from my morning walk to the masjid. Where i came along this lonely flower struggling to survive in a crack beneath a wall and the tarmac. So I snapped a picture. It looked so gorgeous there among the grey. It should have been a sign to me as i turned around to walk away Hafsa picked it and the beauty was gone 😦 I should have realised because we were looking for dandelions for the tortoise as usual.

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The colour is gorgeous masha’allah, well was……

Anyway, as i was saying, this should have been a sign, because when i got home this happened in my kitchen.

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the glass display cabinet arrived late on Sunday night (from our shop) and as you can see it has already accumulated a layer of junk. And the fridge, complete with a leaked pool of water arrives at the same time I arrived back from my peaceful morning walk!

So scrub plans for the day, as I rearrange the kitchen to make a home for the unwanted fridge.  I guess todays’ spring cleaning can just happen in the kitchen ahead of schedule.

I should have named todays post ‘moaning Tuesday’ or maybe ‘traumatic Tuesday’ because after i told dd16 what awaits us, she is attempting to bury her head in the proverbial sand(ie bedcovers).

While it can be really convenient having a food shop situated behind a door next to the kitchen. Today it’s showing its drawbacks!

On a positive note, I cut out a polka dot skirt for dd3(ish) last night, gathered up the skirt by hand and pinned it all togethor. So its ready to sew! I may get there this evening insha’allah. Hope so. I love spots and stripes 🙂