Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

Poverty as Creative Catalyst: Creative Parenting Part Two

This is the second in the series of posts I wrote for a  blog two years ago on creative parenting. Insh’Allaah after I have reposted these older posts, I will continue the series with brand new posts!

Every time I go on the internet, I am bombarded with images of things I “need” to have to enhance my creativity, to find the artist within…exotic yarns, expensive fabrics, little doo-dads and widgets and what-not that are necessary in order to make every project perfect. Quilt patterns calling for specific fabric from specific companies. Crochet patterns that rely on $20.00 a skein yarn. Crafts for children that require all sorts of specific paints and materials.

I couldn’t afford these things in the States, and I can’t afford them here in Yemen- even if they were available.

So what do people who don’t have stellar craft budgets do?

Here’s an example. A few days ago the children decided to make some paper chains to decorate the house. You know, the ones you made in school out of construction paper and white glue. Thing is, I have yet to even see construction paper in Yemen, and if I did find it, I doubt if such a luxury item would fit into our budget. Sukhailah told me what they wanted to do, and why they couldn’t do it.

“Why not make your own colored paper?” I asked. She immediately understood, and the children spent an hour or so on the floor with old waxy crayons, coloring both sides of white printer paper. They even mixed colors and made “variegated” as Mu’aadh said. Then they cut out their strips, and made their beautiful multi-colored paper chains to hang up in every room.

Another example. A friend left us a bunch of quilting magazines when she moved to Egypt. At first, paging through them, the girls became disheartened, as they saw the intricate patterns calling for very specific cloth and colors to make them work. All we have is a motley collection of fabrics given to us over the last few years- certainly nothing that was meant to go together like the patterns in these magazines called for.

Quilt  blocks for Suhayb's Quilt
Quilt blocks for Suhayb’s Quilt

I hauled the bag out, though, and told them to pick out a pattern that they liked. I picked one out as well. Then we sorted through the different sizes and colors of cloth, until we came up with our own color schemes. Then we altered the patterns to fit what we had on hand.

Sukhailah Quilt
Asmaa’s Quilt from Sukhailah



The results are very satisfying, thank you. As we did it, I told them that this was the heart of quilting before it became an “art” form- and in a way, it took a lot more work doing it our way than just getting a pattern and heading off to the fabric store.


And so it goes on. We make gifts for each other out of whatever we have on hand–dolls for the girls, a cardboard box dresser for doll clothes, brightly colored rayon fabric for draw string bags, an old drink jar decorated to make a pencil holder, coloring books drawn by hand and photocopied…the list is practically endless. Rosie and Foo Foo



And, as with their multi-hued paper chains, the end results are incredibly, undeniably, totally without compromise, ours. And that’s what makes it all worth it!

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