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Saturday, 18 June 2016

New! Elegant Bead Embroidered Hijab Stick Pins...Handmade.

Completely handmade one of a kind hijab pins made in New Zealand by Nanette, from Hijab Sparkle. All proceeds now going to Syrian orphans.  Purchase an elegant hijab pin to wear with your favourite outfit. Only one of each available so don't miss out. $15 each, and free shipping anywhere in New Zealand.  For shipping to other countries please contact me.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Cats-Eye Cabochons and Swirls for Special Occasions.

Assalamu Alaikum!

Alhamdulilah I have finished this very swirly beaded embroidery cuff, a present for a friend in Morocco.  I hope she will enjoy wearing it to weddings and other special occasions.  It also has a lovely silver chain tassel which finishes it off rather nicely.  This is a purposely wide cuff which is meant to stand out and be noticed.  I would suggest wearing it with something elegant and simple. A similar piece can be made in a different colour scheme, if anyone is interested in ordering something like this.  It takes a few weeks to make, however I think it would be worth waiting for :)
I welcome orders from anywhere in the world.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bead Embroidered Bracelets

Dusty Pink Bead Embroidered Cuff   $110 NZD
Salam all! I am happy to say Alhamdulilah I have finished the cuff bracelet I have been busy working on. It was really worth the time it took to make and I am satisfied with the result. If you are interested in purchasing, the cuff is $110NZD, not including shipping. Please contact me if you would like to buy it, or if you have any questions. It is an original one of a kind handmade piece of jewellery, with very intricate details. It can be adjusted to fit most adult wrist sizes by simply bending the strong metal cuff inside. All beads are securely sewn on by hand with double beading thread. Features faceted glass cat's-eye cabochon as the focal, complimented by real oval pearls and round glass pearls. The cuff also has a comfortable fabric backing. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Hijab Sparkle on Etsy!


For those of you who prefer to buy handmade items though 'Etsy', I have opened an Etsy shop, and will be adding more goodies as time goes by.  To find my shop in future, just look over there to the left sidebar.  Etsy charges some fees, so that is why some items are a tad more expensive.  If you would prefer not to pay extra, you can just contact me directly and pay the price listed on my blog.  Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. You can also message me on Facebook.


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Learning Any Time, Anywhere - by Hijab Sparkle.

These articles are part of a collection
 about Muslim Home-schooling!  
For more, please go to my 

Assalamu Alaikum,

You don't have to be in a classroom to learn, and you don't have to have a set time to learn, either.  Classes are great if you want to learn something specific, but looking for learning opportunities everywhere and being open and flexible, helps you and your children catch knowledge from your immediate environment.  This way,  you don't even realise that you are 'in class'!  When you first begin homeschooling, you often wonder how your children will learn everything they 'need to know', and there is a lot of pressure to copy a mainstream, mini version school in your living room, with you as the 'teacher'.  However, if you take the opportunity to use everyday opportunities to learn, the world becomes a wide and fascinating place.  Don't worry if the children don't spend a lot of time at the lovely table you set for them with all the activity books and perfectly organised stationary, it doesn't matter.  Just be on the look out for interesting things in your everyday life, instead of on an activity worksheet (although those are handy sometimes too).

My daughter loves snails and we have
had some interesting conversations
about how Allah SWT designed them.
She has moved on to cicadas now, after
finding their discarded cases all over the trees
in the backyard.
My day might be going along the same as any other, I can be feeling stressed or bored with everyday things like housework, and it all seems a little out of control. Then all of a sudden someone will ask a question, show me a photo in a book, or find an interesting insect in the back yard, and Alhamdulilah, we are full throttle into a conversation about many different subjects...talking, scanning books from our home collection, reserving relevant books from the local library, writing down questions for any 'experts' we might know, searching for information on the internet, etc.  It can be a bit confronting when you are bombarded with questions about everything at strange moments, and of course nobody is an expert about every subject, but you can learn to direct questions in different ways.  For example, you can say 'That's a great question, write that down in your 'Ideas Book' and we will find out about it (or you can write it down yourself in a special book for younger children...ask them to dictate the question while you write it for them).  Your children might often assume that you know everything, but bit by bit they will find out that learning is their responsibility in the end, and all you need to do is introduce the tools to do it and teach them how to use those tools.

Class Room

Another advantage to the spontaneous everyday 'lesson' is that children are learning when their motivation and enthusiasm are at its highest.  It is they who have shown the interest first, it hasn't been artificially forced on them.  When they are really interested in something, their faces are bright, their eyes wide open, and their eyebrows nearly touch the ceiling.  You can almost imagine their bran cells glowing and growing with excitement.  On the other hand, my children can smell a 'lesson' a mile away, especially if I begin with the words 'I want you to learn this'...big mistake!  Straight away their body language changes, they hunch over, their eyes look sleepy, and they will politely listen but I can tell their enthusiasm has been switched off.  Then it feels like you are trying to get blood out of a stone, and it is no fun for anybody.  learning should always be fun, if you can possibly help it.


The reason for this blog post is the way today unfolded.  Something which I thought would be very annoying and disruptive actually turned out to be an advantageous learning opportunity.  On the street outside our house, there have been some roadworks happening for the past few days.  The sort where they scrape all the surface off the road and then dig down about 40cm, then refill it all and roll it all out with huge machines.  The humungous rollers and graders had begun to shake our house, and I was worried that bits of ceiling would start to fall on our heads.  Every time the roller went past, my heart would jump up into my mouth and I was on the verge of shouting 'Earthquake', really I'm not exaggerating, it was pretty loud.  It felt like there was some sort of earthquake fault line which ran through our house and connected across the street, and every time the roller went over it, our house shook as well!!

So you may be wondering where the learning part came in.  Well, as could be expected, the kids thought this was all very interesting, and I couldn't tear them away from the window.  They were fascinated by all the goings on, it was much better than the telly!  My 7 year old daughter suddenly asked 'Mama, I need some white paper' (she meant printer paper...the sort of paper they think is the best to draw has to be perfectly white or it is not good enough).  When I asked her what for, she replied that it was to 'trace the big truck outside'.  A while ago I had shown her how to trace pictures, by putting her paper on the window and copying something.  She thought (logically enough I guess) that she could do the same thing and trace the big truck if she put her nice white paper on the window...fair enough!  I explained why this might not work, and my husband said 'Go and sit on the step outside and draw it!  You can see it better that way!'.  She thought that was a great idea and grabbed her sketch book and jumped out the door.  Of course the other children (boys aged almost 6 and 3) followed, took out their little kiddy chairs and something to lean on, and within seconds we had an impromptu sketching session out on the front door step.  It really was very interesting to watch all the work going on, the dump truck which moved along the road as the trailer tilted up and let the gravel slide out in all the right places, the grader scraping the gravel and levelling it out, then the roller which
My 7 yr old daughter sketched this drawing of the
quarry we can see from our house. Alhamdulilah,
the quarry is actually not as close as this one looks, though!
sped along, spraying the water first, its many wheels compacting the gravel, getting it ready for the tar-seal (that will be another interesting lesson, I'm sure!)

As the work progressed, and the children drew the trucks, they chatted about what they saw and asked me questions about various things.  We talked about where the gravel might have come from and how was made, we looked over to the quarry which we can see from our house, and saw the diggers filling trucks with dirt, and the place where they crush all the rock into gravel for the roads and other uses.  This was better than Bob the Builder, any day!

Aztec Calendar Stone Detail
The Aztec Calendar. A stone carving we saw
at the exhibition, and which the children recognised
 in all the books we read about the subject.
The really nice thing about this sort of real-life, everyday learning, is that when my children are looking at library books and find one about trucks, for example, they can connect that with what they saw today on our street.  Because it all makes more sense to them they will be more interested in the book and, insha Allah, take the time to read the information about the illustrations.  I noticed that this happened when we went to a museum exhibition (the Aztecs...I will post about that another day, it was very interesting).  I obtained a load of books about the Aztecs before we went, hoping the children would devour them, but they didn't seem that interested.  We talked a little about it, and they would sit next to me and ask questions when I began to read one of the books, but they didn't seem that keen.  Then when we went to the exhibition, they were so surprised that the photos in the books they had seen were of real life statues and objects that were right in front of their eyes, they were so excited!  When we got home after the exhibition I couldn't pull them away from the books after that.  They wanted to stay up late reading, and take the books to bed with them. My 6 year old son has been getting up early before anyone else, so he can sit quietly in peace and read his favourite book about the Aztecs from cover to cover. He is reading every word, too, not just flicking through to the photos. I know I will have a fight on my hands when I have to take those books back to the library, but reading is the sort of thing I want them to care about, so I'm happy, Alhamdulilah!

So tomorrow when the road workers arrive and the trucks begin shaking the house, I can forget about the ceiling falling on my head, and be thankful that I have a ready made 'lesson' right outside my front door!

Happy Homeschooling!

Handmade, Homemade...and Homeschooling! by Hijab Sparkle.

These articles are part of a collection
 about Muslim Home-schooling!  
For more, please go to my 

Assalamu Alaikum.
My mini 'studio' where
I can have quiet time to myself every now
and again.   Now I have moved into
a whole room and alhamdulilah I have
more space to let my imagination
go wild!

As many of my readers may already know, I am a home-schooling Muslimah.  I have chosen to stay at home
and teach my children at home, and they have never been to mainstream 'school'.  Alhamdulilah his was a happily mutual decision my husband and I made just before I became pregnant with my first child.  We have had our homeschooling 'moments' both good and bad, and it has not always easy doing something that many people will never understand and will not be happy until you are following the crowd.  However, our positive experiences have always outweighed the negative, alhamdulilah.  Difficult times are always learning experiences and we just work out how to do things better the next time, and adjust our techniques as we go.

You may be wondering what this has to do with a person who makes Muslim dolls and hijab pins.  Well, the items I design and make by hand to share with  you here are a way to keep the creative side of my mind alive, and the little workshop that I retreat to when I have time to myself is the place where I can go to and relax (when time permits) while designing new projects, away from the hustle and bustle of our busy household.  Homeschooling is very rewarding in many ways, but like anyone, we all need quiet time to ourselves to think and get our ideas and goals back on track. Making things helps me to do that.

Can't find something
appropriate for your
children? Why not
make it yourself!
I also like the idea of 'doing it yourself', and I think many home- schoolers share the same way of thinking in their own special ways.  In teaching our own children we are 'doing it ourselves'...not relying on the 'experts' so to speak.  The Muslim dolls that I make were a result of this DIY way of thinking.  I couldn't find the sort of dolls I wanted as appropriate toys for my Muslim children to play with, so I made one myself, for my daughter.  I thought other Muslim kids might enjoy playing with them too, and it would be a good way to encourage parents to teach their children Islamic manners and stories. I made some more and added them to my blog, and people liked them, and alhamdulilah, the Hijab Sparkle Muslim Doll range expanded!

Also, when I converted to Islam over 9 years ago, I couldn't find any nice
hijab pins (you need a lot of hijab pins here in Windy Wellington!) so I found out where to buy the supplies from and I made them myself.  Other sisters were interested, and I began making hijab pins for them as well, then people started asking me if I could make other jewellery, and it all took off from there.

Now to the point of this post.  Today an interesting thing happened.  A comment someone made this afternoon about our decision to home-school really made me think, and to begin putting my thoughts down here about home-schooling.  So far my husband, children and I have heard a novel's worth of reactions to our insignificant little alternative family.  We often discuss these comments with each other and try to work out why people react to us in certain ways. We try to be understanding and patient, even though at times we feel scrutinised and wonder why we need to justify or explain what we do and why.  It is important for us to discuss these things as a family, but now I think I would enjoy discussing it with a wider audience.

Here is how the conversation started...

The owners of the house we live in came to do some redecorating outside.  They are a team of husband and wife and have a small child.  The wife works in health as a nurse, working with children. She is a friendly lady and we often have small chats about this and that, usually about the kids.  Today she asked me if my children went to school, or if they were home-schooled.  Yes, I answered.  She asked how it was all going. I answered that we had our ups and downs, but overall I am very pleased with the progress my children are making so far. She then replied, sort of out of nowhere: 'I had a positive experience at school, myself'.  I thought this was an interesting thing to say.  Would I be correct in understanding that she thought that the reason people home-school is because they have had a bad experience at school themselves, and therefore they want to protect their own children from a bad experience too?

I can understand where she is coming from, and why she might assume this.  I might have said the same thing all those years ago, before I learnt about what home-schooling (or unschooling) really is.  However, I thought for a second and then answered her: 'Yes, I had an overall positive experience at school as well, in fact I became a teacher and taught for 10 years before I had children.'

Pencils Texture

Yes, I had some bad experiences as a student at school myself, as did my husband.  The usual things that all kids encounter.  Overall, though, I had some very good memories of school, especially of the teachers that really cared and did their best, putting in extra time for students, and motivating us to love learning.  My favourite subjects were Art and English, and these subjects are still a big part of my life.  I appreciate the effort those dedicated teachers made in such a difficult and stressful environment, and I wanted to be like them, therefore I became a teacher myself.  My reasons to home-school were never based solely on any bad experiences I had at school.  I will write about why I home-school in another article, however, as I want to do the subject proper justice.

Something that I also thought was interesting about her comment was an inference which I may or may not be correct about, but possibly could be going through people's minds when they think about why people home-school their children.  Perhaps there is an idea out there that people who home-school were bullied at school or didn't' achieve very well in the school system, that they were somehow inadequate, loners, too sensitive, and so on.  Maybe there is an idea that these 'sort' of home-schoolers are in constant fear for their children and want to protect them from the smallest of difficulties, that they want to shelter and molly-coddle their children.  I have often heard comments from well-meaning people to this effect, such as 'I wouldn't home-school my kids because I want them to be able to survive in the REAL world'.  To me this is an interesting thing to say.  Isn't the family a very important part of the REAL world?  Wouldn't it be more REAL for a child to grow up and learn in a natural setting such as their own family, learning alongside their parents and siblings, and being introduced to people and situations outside the house as part of learning of the world in its context?  If you think about it, the mainstream school setting is a very unnatural, artificial and UNREAL environment.  It is a human-made, constructed environment which we have been led to believe as the way it has always been, but in reality the mainstream style of education which we know today is a relatively new invention, thought up by people who thought they knew what was best for the 'general public'...that's us.

Scubadiving-safari In The Red Sea (Egypt)
Take your chances.
I discussed this conversation afterwards with my husband, and he pointed out something that I hadn't considered.  He said that even though it may be the case that some parents had a bad time at school themselves and wanted to protect their own children from these negative experiences...then...what was wrong with this anyway?  If someone were to have an experience detrimental to their happiness and development as a human being, what sort of person would they be to send their own children into this same environment?... 'Grin and bear it, son...I had to put up with that sort of thing when I was a kid, and it didn't do me any harm. It'll make a man out of you.  How are you going to survive in the REAL world?'
Wouldn't this be like throwing your kids into a pool full of sharks and thinking 'Oh well, let's just hope for the best, shall we?'.
Why are there eyebrows raised when a parent decides that they are not going to take any chances with their children's education, and take on the whole responsibility? Why do some people see this as over-protection, to keep children safe at home with their family, insha Allah, especially when they are very small and vulnerable, at a time when their personality is being formed? I'm not saying that people who send their children to school don't care about their kids, but I'm turning the light around and shining it on another point of view.

The owner's comment today has pushed me to begin something I have been meaning to do for a while.  I'm thinking of making a special page on this blog about home-schooling Muslim children. I'm no expert by any means but my children are 3, 6 and 7 now and I have a little experience now, and feel like sharing what I have learnt so far.  It is interesting that in the whole of Wellington, at the time of writing this article, we are the only Muslim family who we know of who teach their children at home.  Perhaps there are more home-schooling families here that I don't know about...great! It would be nice to connect and share our ideas and experiences. This would be another good reason to develop this section of my blog.

I have been thinking about this ever since I started home-schooling 7 years ago (and researching over 8 years ago).  I didn't feel confident enough to begin writing about my experiences then, but now I have found there are many Muslims I speak to, who would like to home school but have too many questions.  When I talk to them about it their eyes light up with possibilities and for that moment they are keen, they think it is a great idea...but after a few weeks or months have passed, the idea of home-schooling has lost its novelty, school seems so much more convenient and organised, they worry about how they will never have any time to themselves, and no one else supports them in the idea.

Mom And Kid

Many people say to me 'Oh it's easy for you, you are a teacher'.  Well, isn't the best teacher a child's parents? Why did Allah SWT bring us into the world as part of a family with a mother and a father to teach us, and siblings to play with and learn from? Why didn't we arrive straight into a classroom full of kids all our own age and one teacher who has to learn our names?   Being a teacher (or an education 'expert') can be a hindrance in many ways, because you tend to feel more comfortable turning your home into a mini school, instead of a cosy, natural learning environment. Yes, experts know many things in their chosen field, but you are the best expert on the subject of your own children.  You know them better than anyone else, including their interests and how they prefer to learn.  An expert doesn't know how much sleep they have had the night before, what makes them laugh, what they are scared of and why, what their name means and why it was chosen for them, the other members of their family, their family's religion, and how they came into this world.  Don't let anyone tell you any different.

I can totally understand how people feel, though.  Home-schooling is a big step, and challenges a big part of the way most of us grew up.   I think sharing what I have learnt so far might help people to make a decision, and even if I give someone just the inkling of the idea that they have an alternative to the mainstream and they don't HAVE to do the same as what everyone else is doing, then writing about what I know will be a good thing.

Talk Bubbles

I know that this will open my comments section to criticism from people who are really against homeschooling.  Perhaps in the back of my mind, this is one of the reasons I have not written about home-schooling.  Believe me I have heard the whole range of reactions from people, as many home-schoolers reading this also have.  Dealing with negative comments on my blog as well, will add that little bit more stress that I really don't need.  However, I think it is worth it. Our family has well and truly begun our journey on a different path, and I feel ready to share what I have learnt, connect with other homeschoolers, encourage other families who are considering homeschooling, and help people understand why we are doing this.  There are some great homeschooling moments that keep me going and motivate me to continue.  My husband and I share these things together at the end of the day over a cup of tea, and it would be selfish not to share the good stuff with you too.  The tea part is up to you of course :)

Danger Of Death!

I'm going to bite the bullet, take the plunge, and put it all on the line...and if  I can think of any more corny sayings I will throw them in as well:)

Are you a Muslim homeschooler yourself? Do you know any homeschoolers?  Perhaps you have considered homeschooling your children but you are not sure about whether it will suit your family...let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.


Thursday, 30 January 2014


I offer free shipping for orders over $50 delivered anywhere in New Zealand (excluding Muslim dolls).

Muslim Dolls - Shipping

Here is a general idea of approximately how much it might cost to post one Muslim doll from New Zealand to various locations.  If your country is not listed here please contact me and I will let you know the cost.  Please note that these prices are only estimates and can change depending on the New Zealand postal system.

Please note that Hijab Sparkle is not responsible for any extra customs or tax charges which may be incurred when the item reaches the country of destination.

(All prices in New Zealand Dollars)*

To send to the North Island of New Zealand
$8.50 (plus $2.80 for rural delivery)

To Send to the South Island of New Zealand
$13.20 (plus $2.80 for rural delivery)

To send one doll to Australia:
*  International Economy:  $7
*  International Economy Courier:  $26
*  International Air:  $8

To send one doll to the USA:
*  International Economy:  $12
*  International Economy Courier:  $47
*  International Air:  $13

To send one doll to Canada:
*  International Economy:  $12
*  International Economy Courier:  $47
*  International Air:  $13

To send one doll to China:
*  International Economy:  $11
*  International Economy Courier:  $46
*  International Air:  $12

To send one doll to Malaysia:
*  International Economy:  $11
*  International Economy Courier:  $46
*  International Air:  $12

To send one doll to the UK:
*  International Economy:  $12
*  International Economy Courier:  $47
*  International Air:  $13

*PLEASE NOTE:  These prices are subject to change.  Please contact Hijab Sparkle to confirm the shipping price.

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