Friday, January 29, 2016

Shakshuka In the Country of Men

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

My book clue met last night to discuss Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men.

This book is about a young boy growing up in Tripoli, Libya with a father who may or may not be involved in anti government conducts and a mother who may or may not be visiting the baker for smuggled alcohol to hide her depression. With no structure at home, our protagonist relays on those around him as he witnesses the horrors of growing up with a murderous dictator.

For me the writing fell short of other Arab novels I've read, however as a debut novel it does an excellent job of describing Tripoli under the terrors of the Gaddafi rule. It was even shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Matar went on to write Anatomy of a Disappearance, and in my opinion that is a much better read.

I had a personal connection to this book since I distinctly remember my father telling me the story of Hisham Mater's father's real life disappearance in 1990.

At the time, Libyans abroad thought that Egypt was safe to travel and met family there that they were not able to see otherwise. They soon learned that Gaddafi had a detrimental reach over the border.

Everyone always assumed Matar's father was killed in the 1996 Abu Salim prison massacre. I was happy to recently read that may not have been the case. The true story of what happened may someday be told.

In our book club the host provides the main dish and everyone else brings the sides. Since our book was about my birth country, I decided to try my hand at making a common dish in Libyan cuisine: shashouka.

To be honest, I had forgotten about shashuka, since I hadn't eaten it in years and years. It's not a common dish here in America because it's made with Libyan gedeed, قديد ليبي, which is hard to find.  If you do decide to try your hand at it, it takes a very long time to make

Gedeed is dried lamb (or mutton) that is made and preserving in a unique way. The meat is cut into strips and salted and dried, with spices added to prevent bacteria. Then it is hung to cure. Anyone visiting Libya during Eid Al Adha, will see thin strips of meat hanging from lines all over town.

Last week I was trying to decide what to make for book club on a day that I knew was going to be full of parent teacher conferences and multiple auto car repair shop visits. I needed something fast and well, Libyan food is not known for being fast. Someone in one of the blooger groups I belong to mentioned shakshouka and posted a recipe. Soon others mentioned that they ate it in Tunisia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Israel.

When I looked into the history of shakshuka, I found out that it originated in North Africa, with wiki saying it is part of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisine.

Upon future research, I found that there are several Israeli who make direct ties to bringing shashuka from Libya:
"A Greek? Making shakshuka?” said Tzachi, a short and temperamental man with warm brown eyes and a hairy chest. “Please, that’s Moroccan food, leave it to us.” “Moroccan?” came a voice from the other end of the tent. “How dare you, punk?” It was Danny, and he wasn’t happy. Shakshuka, he said, originated from Tripoli, and was brought to Israel by Libyan Jews. Greeks and Moroccans, he said, have no right to claim it. - Liel Leibovitz, All Shakshuka Up, The Jewish Week
Also, if you are to eat Doktor Shakshuka, in old Jaffa, you are eating at an establishment owned by a large Libyan family, who most likely migrated to Israel from 1948 to 1951.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab
A quick call to my mom (remember that yummy Libyan Mubatan she made us?) confirmed that it was indeed North African, as there is no word for it in Hebrew.  Shakshouka was actually an Amazigh word that means "all mixed up."

She gave me her recipe for Libyan shakshouka and I decided to make it last night for book club.

We spent our evening talking about the history of Libya and we answering questions together about the book. Since I had no way of getting access to gedeed, she said I could use beef jerky instead. It actually tasted quite yummy and the pan was empty by the end of the evening.

Saha'a (to your health!) if you would like to try it.

olive oil
tomato paste
Libyan spices
beef jerky

In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil, garlic, onions and jalapenos. I put them in whole because I didn't have time to seed them. It gives the dish the flavor, but let my guests be in charge of how spicy.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

While the stuff is happening on the stove, I used kitchen scissors to cut the beef jerky into small bite size pieces and soaked them in water. This helped soften the jerky as gedeed is not "tough" in the original Libyan dish. While that is soaking, I pureed the tomatoes in a blender.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

At this point the onions should be soft so I added the tomatoes to the pan and turn it on high. I removed the jerky from the water and added that also. (Discard the water.)
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab
I'm lucky in that I have an Arab mom that stocks my kitchen with jars that simply say Libyan spices. It's our country's version of allspice, but way better. If you don't have a Libyan mom stocking your spice rack, simply mix 1 tbs turmeric, 1 tbs ground cinnamon in your pan.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab

I also added a 1/2 Tbsp of paprika.  I cooked this for about 5 minutes on high, then turned low to simmer and mixed in one heaping Tbsp on tomato paste. Be generous, it's okay.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab
I let this simmer for 20 minutes and came back with four eggs. I cracked them on top, making sure to break the yoke. I put a lid over the eggs and set the timer.  5 minutes for runny centers and 10 minutes for hard centers.

I left the lid on untill you got to the table and then add a handful of parsley for color immediately before serving.  Shakshuka is not eaten with utensils, rather warm bread is used to soak up the sauce, eggs and meat.

We also enjoyed sides of couscous and vegetables.
Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab
Along with taboulah, kibbeh and sfiha from the local Lebanese market in town.

Shakshuka In the Country of Men by A Crafty Arab
After dinner we went to the living room for tea, halwa and yummy homemade fruit cake and cookies.  It was a lovely night and I can't wait till we meet again next month.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Happy Multicultural Book Day 2016

Multicultural Book Day Artwork by Robert Liu-Trujillo
Today is Multicultural Book Day and there are over 200 bloggers participating worldwide.

The mission of today is to not only bring raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Check out the hashtage #ReadYourWorld on Instagram and Twitter to read some fantastic reviews of diverse children's books.

I only heard about this day last week while researching an upcoming book list so I was not able to participate. But next year you should expect to see a review of some of these Arab books I got in the mail this week added to the mix!
Happy Multicultural Book Day 2016 by A Crafty Arab

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Algeria Geometric Painting

Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab

My daughter has parent teacher conferences, so she gets out of school for three days early this week. Since there are short days for a lot of schoolwork, her teacher and I decided to put our birch tree art project on hold.

However, not having art at school doesn't mean that we can't have art at home! I pulled out the watercolors and we spent our afternoon learning how to make a geometric painting of Algeria.

From wiki -

Algeria (Arabic: الجزائر‎ al-Jazā'ir; Berber: ⵍⵣⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ Dzayer), officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the country's far north. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and the Arab world.  Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes. Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been President since 1999. 

I'm sharing our tutorial so you can try to make an Algerian geometric watercolor painting also.

Outline map of Algeria
Watercolor paper
Watercolor paint
Cutting mat
Water containter

Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab
Start by cuting out the outline of the Algerian map but don't worry about the little coastal details.
Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab

Place your cutting mat under your watercolor paper. Add the map on top and use your pin to mark out the outline.  Add a few more random holes in the middle of the country also.
Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab

Start connecting the holes to each other, forming triangles as you go.
Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab

Keep connecting the dots, adding more as needed. Turn your paper around to see different holes or add dots with your paintbrush as you paint.
Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab

Keep going until your Algeria is connected. Lay flat to dry and it should be ready to frame in just a few hours. We have decided to keep going and see what other countries we can find on the internet to print out!
Algeria Geometric Painting by A Crafty Arab

To see more crafts from the Arab world, visit A Crafty Arab's Arab League Crafts and Tutorials Pinterest board.

Friday, January 22, 2016

8 Books about Remarkable Muslims

8 Books about Remarkable Muslims by A Crafty Arab
For hundreds of years, books have been a wonderful resource to bring to light new views.

So it's no surprise that if you want to expose children to Islam, it's best to turn to books at an early age.

The following eight children books do a great job of introducing remarkable Muslims from times past and modern society.  I would recommend them as a must for any children's library, not just ones in Muslim homes, to expose children to the rich, vast civilization of Islam.

The Muslims in these books were pioneers that greatly impacted the world.  I took some books from an old list I created back in 2010 of Children’s Books about/for Arab Children, but have expanded on it to include newly published books.

I am an Amazon affiliate member and you can find my list of books here. Feel free to buy any of these books there and shukran (Arabic for thank you) for continuing to support my research.


Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Leggett Abouraya
The inspiring, true story of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who stands up and speaks out for every child’s right to education. Though she and two of her schoolmates were targeted by a Taliban gunman, a life-threatening injury only strengthened her resolve. Malala spoke at the U.N. on her 16th birthday in 2013, nine months after she was shot. Author and journalist Karen Leggett Abouraya, author of Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books, brings Malala’s story to life for young readers. Malala’s story is more than a biography of a brave and outspoken teenager. It is a testament to the power of education to change the world for boys and girls everywhere. "Winner of the California Reading Association's 2015 EUREKA! Honor Award"

Al-Ghazali By Demi
The importance of al-Ghazali in the intellectual and spiritual history of both the Western and Islamic world cannot be too highly estimated. He is considered to be the savior of Islam because in his 40-volume opus magnum, The Revival of the Religion Sciences, he clarifies the spiritual meanings and inner purposes of every aspect of the Islamic faith. This book, an illustrated biography for both parents and children—with adjacent text for both—presents this inspiring life with exquisite miniatures in the Persian style. The biography covers his humble birth and education, rise to fame, spiritual crisis, and subsequent journeying to find the Truth in Syria, Palestine, and Mecca before returning home, having purified his heart. The text is distilled from his own autobiography, Deliverance from Error, written in the 11th century CE and from other scholarly biographies.

Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World By Natalie Maydell
Multi-award winning picture book chronicling the lives of 13 Muslim women in history who have lived extraordinary lives and influenced their communities in a positive way, often overcoming extreme hardship and inaccurate stereotypes that have been placed on the role of women in Islam. The following women are profiled in the book: 1) Khadija bint Khuwaylid - Arabia - First Wife of the Prophet (pbuh); 2) Aisha bint Abi Bakr - Arabia - Wife of the Prophet (pbuh); 3) Al-Khansa - Arabia - Poet; 4) Rabi a al-Adawiyya - Iraq - Woman Saint; 5) Arwa bint Ahmed al-Sulayhiyya - Yemen - Queen of Yemen; 6) Sultan Razia - India - Warrior Queen of Delhi; 7) Nana Asmau - Nigeria - Scholar and Poet; 8) Tjut Njak Dien - Indonesia - Guerrilla Leader; 9) Halide Edib Adivar Turkey - Novelist and Activist; 10) Umm Kulthum - Egypt - Singer; 11) Sabiha Gokcen - Turkey - Military Pilot; 12) Chaibia Tallal - Morocco - Painter; and 13) Shirin Ebadi - Iran - Nobel Peace

My Prophet Muhammad (S) By Yasmin Mussa
My Prophet Muhammad (S) encapsulates the timeless story of the life of the best and final Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S). Designed for early childhood, this rendering of the Seerah serves as an ideal first acquaintance with the miraculous story of Allah s finest creation. With its vivid illustrations and appropriately rendered authorship, this book is designed to increase your child s knowledge, appreciation and love for the Prophet Muhammad (S). My Prophet Muhammad (S) is a picture board book, containing 24 pages, a soft sponge cover with special glitter, varnish and metallic shine effects.

1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization By National Geographic
We often think that people from a thousand years ago were living in the Dark Ages. But from the 7th century onward in Muslim civilization there were amazing advances and inventions that still influence our everyday lives. People living in the Muslim world saw what the Egyptians, Chinese, Indians, Greek, and Romans had discovered and spent the next one thousand years adding new developments and ideas. Inventors created marvels like the elephant water clock, explorers drew detailed maps of the world, women made scientific breakthroughs and founded universities, architects built huge domes larger than anywhere else on earth, astronomers mapped the stars and so much more! This book takes the wining formula of facts, photos, and fun, and applies it to this companion book to the 1001 Inventions exhibit from the Foundation for Science, Technology, and Civilization. Each page is packed with information on this little-known history, but also shows how it still applies to our world today.

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X By Ilyasah Shabazz
Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.

Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance.

Together with acclaimed illustrator AG Ford, Ilyasah Shabazz gives us a unique glimpse into the childhood of her father, Malcolm X, with a lyrical story that carries a message that resonates still today—that we must all strive to live to our highest potential.

The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina By Fatima Sharafeddine
Born in Persia more than a thousand years ago, Ibn Sina was one of the greatest thinkers of his time — a philosopher, scientist and physician who made significant discoveries, especially in the field of medicine, and wrote more than one hundred books. As a child, Ibn Sina was extremely bright, a voracious reader who loved to learn and was fortunate to have the best teachers. He memorized the Qur’an by the age of ten and completed his medical studies at sixteen. He spent his life traveling, treating the sick, seeking knowledge through research, and writing about his discoveries. He came up with new theories in the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy and education. His most famous work is The Canon of Medicine, a collection of books that were used for teaching in universities across the Islamic world and Europe for centuries. Ibn Sina’s story, told in the first person and beautifully illustrated, provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the great intellects of the past.

Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam By Diane Stanley
Forty years before the boy was born, a horde of bloodthirsty barbarians thundered out of the west and conquered his native land. They had succeeded because his people, ever at war with one another, had not fought together to defend their cities. In time the boy was destined to become the very leader that was needed, a man with the courage and vision to unite his people and face the most fearsome and brilliant warrior of the age.

The time was the twelfth century; the barbarian horde was the armies of the First Crusade; the great warrior was Richard the Lionhearted; and the leader was Saladin. This is more than the other side of a familiar Western story, the Crusades. It is the tale of an extraordinary man, remarkable for his generous and chivalrous ways, a warrior who longed for peace. Courageous in battle and merciful in victory, he would be revered even by his enemies as the "marvel of his time."

In her vibrant narrative and magnificently detailed illustrations inspired by the Islamic art of the time, Diane Stanley presents a hero whose compassion, piety, tolerance, and wisdom made him a model for his time -- and for ours.


To view more Islamic resources for children, visit these Pinterest boards:
A Crafty Arab Free Printables 
Crafty Arab 99 Creative Projects
Crafty Arab Eid
Crafty Arab Ramadan Challenge

Friday, January 15, 2016

Quilled Decagram

Since I've started selling at the Handmade Showroom, I've enjoyed coming up with different quilled art designs. I just finished gluing down the final circles in this Quilled Decagram.

In October, I made a eight pointed star, do I thought I would tackle a ten pointed star, a decagram.

I started with an outside. Each bend of the star was outlined with a dark blue quilled strip that was measured and hand cut to size.
Once that dried and set, I made the filling. I made 33 red loose coils, 33 tight red coils, 33 loose orange coils, 33 tight orange coils, 33 yellow loose coils, and you guessed it, 33 yellow tight coils.  This gaves the piece a total of 99 tight coils and 99 loose coils*.

Here they are pictured in a fun designed I placed them in while I was making them on my desk. And it has given me an idea for the next quilled project!

Originally I made green triangles for the center, but my family (and the online community) was so so on the idea. That is why there are green triangles in the heart above. Here is the original design. (Bonus tip - the dark blue circles were made by wrapping a strip around my quilling tool and then gluing down.) Here is everything before anything is glued in.

Since then I've decided to remove the green and add a flower to the center for a warmer feeling. The body of the flower is 3 dimensional, which makes it look really exceptional in the shadow box. To make the flower, I started with a small strip of red and a precut strip of pink.

I quilled my red into a tight coil and keep it on my tool, then added the pink, gluing down at the joint. I then coiled the pink, and taking off both from my tool before the final gluing. I took the circle you can see in the middle of the photo above and glued the flower inside that to give it stability. (Bonus tip - I created that solid blue circle originally by wrapping my paper around my glue bottle.)

I've set up another informal online poll on my Instagram account to see if people like the pink flower. Some have suggested leaving it off.

I have a few days to decide before I take it into Seattle for sale. I've finally found a perfect white frame for it and have taught myself how to mat cut so I can do my own framing at home.

*99 is a significant number in Islam as it's the number of names that God posses.  I've been doing a number of 99 projects lately that you should check out.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alif Mabrouk to 2016 Oscar nominated Theeb and Ave Maria

Worldwide, there are a number of people who are disappointed that the Academy Awards in 2016 will yet again be a sea of white faces with no minorities in any of the major categories. However, despite the lack of diversity at the top, there is some exciting news in other nominations.

I was thrilled to find out that movies Theeb ذيب and Ave Maria السلام عليك يا مريم have been nominated to represent Arab film at this year's Hollywood award ceremony.

Theeb is a 2014 Jordanian Arabic-language film written and directed by Naji Abu Nowar and is nominated for a Best Foreign Film. It is the first time a movie from Jordan has been nominated.

Ave Maria is a short film out of Palestine, France and Germany and has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

Alif Mabrouk (1,000 Congratulations in Arabic) and good luck to them both on February 28th in bringing home their Oscars!

Theeb (ذيب)

While war rages in the Ottoman Empire, Hussein raises his younger brother Theeb (“Wolf”) in a traditional, yet isolated, Bedouin community. The brothers’ quiet existence is interrupted when a British officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a water well.  Theeb secretly chases, but the group soon find themselves trapped amidst threatening terrain riddled with mercenaries, revolutionaries, and outcast raiders. Naji Abu Nowar’s powerful and assured directorial debut is a wondrous “Bedouin Western” about a boy who, in order to survive, must become a man and live up to the name his father gave him.

Ave Maria (السلام عليك يا مريم)

The silent routine of 5 Palestinian nuns in the middle of the West Bank wilderness is disrupted when a family of Israeli settlers come knocking at their door for help after crashing into the convent’s wall. The Israelis can’t operate a phone to call for assistance due to the Sabbath laws, and the Nuns have taken a vow of silence. Together they have to come up with an unorthodox plan to help them get home.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy Yennayer 2966 (2016)

I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy Yennayer!
Happy Yennayer 2966 (2016) by A Crafty Arab - Amazigh flag

Today marks the beginning of the year 2966 to the Amazigh.

Amazigh are a group of people, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Berber by others, that live in the countries of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Western Sahara.

Yennayer is the first month of the Amazigh calendar.  There are some academics that are still trying to figure out the origins of today's celebration.

The Amazigh lived the land before the Arabs arrived and still cultivate a vibrant culture, calendar, language, cuisine and even a flag.

Each color corresponds to an aspect of Tamazgha, the territory inhabited by Amazigh in North Africa:
  • blue represents the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean;
  • green represents nature and the green mountains;
  • yellow represents the sands of the Sahara Desert.
The yaz symbolizes the "free man", which is the meaning of the word amazigh. It is in red, the color of life, and also the color of resistance.

There are 36 million Amazigh people in the world. Morocco has the highest population at 20 million. Unfortunately their language is disappearing.

Although Libya boasts a population of 600K Amazigh, my first memory with an Amazigh was in America when I was a small child.

My parents were getting their Master's degrees in Oklahoma and they had heard a new Libyan couple had moved into our town. What I remember most about our first visit (of many) was how stunning the language was when the mother spoke it.

The first time I heard it, I was mesmerized by how her mouth used every muscle to make those sensational sounds.

I remembered leaning over to my mom and asking what she was saying to her kids.  I thought that maybe being away from Libya for a few years had made me forget some Arabic words.

My mom said she had no idea.

I was shocked because I had been told we were visiting Libyans. How can a Libyan not be able to speak to another Libyan?

Once I learned more about this family and the Amazigh that we had in Libya, I tried to spend as much time at their house as was possible, just listening to the mom and that beautiful language.

While Berberism is a political discussion that I'm not ready to have with my kids quite yet. I can still share with them that I think it's fantastic that in 2008, Libya officially celebrated the Amazigh new year.  Now, Morocco just needs to follow suit.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Oil Pastel Resist Crescent Moon and Star Banner

Yesterday my husband took my older two daughters to a movie that they have been begging to see.

I'm not exactly sure what it was about as my movie tastes tend to be more independent, but it had something to do with a war in space. Or a trek in space. Oh wait, I'm not suppose to say those two together. As you can see, I'm hopeless.

On a break from cutting pillows for an upcoming event, my youngest and I cleared off the studio table to make this oil pastel resist crescent moon and star banner. She was feeling a little sad she didn't get to go to the movie, but with a PG13 rating, she still had a few years to go. We had a blast thinking of other shapes too so stayed tuned to see what else we can make.

We used watercolor cards to make our banner double sided. If you are using watercolor paper, just fold it in half.

Moon and star templates
Double sided tape
Oil pastels
Cup for water
Watercolor cards

Start by folding your card in half and placing the moon and star wood templates on the fold. Trace around each, making sure you trace wide around the shapes. Leave extra room at the top around the fold.

Take your white oil pastel and draw different lines all over each side of the card. We stayed inside the pencil lines on the traced side but drew all over the other side.

Use your watercolor paints to paint all over the card.

We chose red and yellow on our blank side and blue and green on the side with the shapes.

Let your paint dry. Fold the card over and cut out the shapes. Stay inside the pencil lines.

Add your twine to the inside of the cards.  We looped it around the stars twice on each end to help them from not slipping.

Add double sided tape to the inside of all the cards and your banner is done.

The intro photo is our banner on one side, here it is on the other side. The nice thing about this banner is that if you hang it in a window, you can enjoy it from outside and inside!

To see more moon crafts, visit our 99 Creative Moon Projects.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees

No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

I work with a local organization, Salaam Cultural Museum, that sends volunteers to Greece to meet the boats of Syrian refugees landing on the island of Lesvos.

These volunteers are the first contact the refugees have with people after being in the sea for days.

SCM is run solely on volunteers/donations and also runs a hospital at a refugee camp in Jordan.

I have been helping collect clothes and medical supplies for SCM for over a year now and recently received a donation bag of small stuffed animals. At first I was excited about this gift for the kids, then I realized that through the generosity of so many, the children also received hats and wonderful goodies.

Wouldn't it be nice for them to have something to carry all this stuff in?
  • Something that might also be used as an extra pillow at night?
  • Something that helps keep little hands busy tying and untying knots on long upcoming trips in cars and vans and buses and planes?
  • Something that was bright and fun, colorful and warm?
So I had the idea to make no sew pillows from the fleece that is on sale right now at Joann. I'm including a tutorial here in hopes others can join me in making them.

If you are local, contact me for drop off of your completed donations. If you need a shipping address for mailing, check here.

Fleece - 2 pieces
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

Cut two pieces of fleece 18x18. Do not choose the thickest fleece or it may be hard to work with. Use a sharp pair of fabric scissors to ensure you cut in a straight line. The great thing about fleece is that it is a synthetic fabric that doesn't fray.
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

Most craft/fabric stores have fleece that comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and it’s a fun idea to do one piece that is patterned and one piece in a solid color.
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

Cut out the small 4 inch square out of each corner of the fleece. This will take out extra fabric and makes your pillow form tight.
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

Lay the 2 pieces of fleece on top of each other, aligning them as closely as possible. Start at 1 end and mark the fabric every inch (2.5 cm) starting from the end.
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

4.  Cut the fabric to create the fringe.
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab

Start tying the fleece together by taking a piece of fringe from each side and double knot it together tightly.
No Sew Pillows for Syrian Refugees by A Crafty Arab
Continue to knot the sides together until you have completed 3 sides. When you arrive at the last side, leave it open so that children can add their items once they receive their no sew pillows.

*If you would like to make an extra pillow for yourself, you can use fiberfill or a pillow form for the stuffing before you close the forth side.

If you would like to make other traveling items for the Syrian children, check out this Crescent Moon and Star Traveling Tic-Tac-Toe or use an old Altoids tin, ribbon, buttons to make this Button TicTacToe game.
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