Mosque Hand Sewn Pillow {Tutorial} plus {Review}

ACraftyArab Mosque Pillow

Ramadan 2016 is right around the corner for millions of Muslims worldwide and we made this mosque pillow while learning more about it.

During this holy month, Muslims fast daily from sunup to sundown and use this holy month to become closer to their religion, family and community.

When I am performing my Arabic storytelling sessions at local libraries, one of my favorite books to explain this requirement of Islam is the children’s book, My First Ramadan by Karen Katz. It tells a simple story of the Muslim celebration of Ramadan through the eyes of a small child.

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The illustrations are very bright and cheerful and give details about what Muslims wear and what their practices look like.  (Well, except for the one photo of the Muslim family wearing shoes while praying inside.  If you have gone anywhere near a mosque and seen the hundreds of piles of shoes outside, you would know that Muslims don’t pray with shoes on.  But I digress.)

One of the children’s favorite images in the book is the mosque, where Muslims gather to pray together.  Their eyes light up when I get to the page that shows this beautiful place and I might hear an occasional “ohhh” and “ahhh.”

A few weeks ago, Multicultural Kid Blogs asked me to be part of it’s  second annual Ramadan for Kids blog hop.   This is where a few bloggers come together to share ideas about honoring this special month (feel free to follow our ideas – Ramadan board).

I knew I wanted to make the mosque from My Little Ramadan so that I can use it as a plush toy at my storytimes. I took photos to turn my project into a tutorial so that you can make one too.  (Feel free to use my affiliate link to buy your own copy of the book or sewing supplies. It doesn’t cost you any extra to use my links and I get a small commission that helps pay for future tutorials.)

Be sure to check out the rest of my fellow #MKBKids bloggers taking part of the Blog Hop at the end of this Mosque Pillow tutorial.

Various scraps of fabric
Various scraps of ribbon
Cotton thread
Sewing gauge
Rotary cutter
Marking pencil
Double heat bond interface
Sticky back felt
Star gem stickers
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Here’s the deal, I’m a fabric hoarder.  I have shelves and shelves.  I do go through once a year and clean out boxes to give to my local Buy Nothing group, but I still have drawers that look like this.

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I went through it all and picked out fabric in these colors to try to best match the ones in the book.

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I ended up not using that fringe and made a side trip to a fabric store for a better idea for the gold roof. Total cost for the whole project: $4 for the roof ribbon. Score.

First thing I like to do with any project is set aside some time to do the layout. I keep this by my sewing machine to help remind me what the final will look like.

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After I have the basic visual down, I pinned my main fabric in half and used my quilting pencil to draw the design.

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I then took out my gauge and added another 3/4 inch all around the entire shape. I cut from this second, larger outline and set both pieces aside.

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To make my door and windows, I folded the fabric in half, used my rotary cutter to free hand a straight along one side and added a half } shape to the top.

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I cut out two more smaller, similar shapes for the inside of the door.

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For the windows, I did the same thing, but on a much smaller scale.

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I made two larger taller windows for the side of the door and four smaller windows.  I also cut out two 3/4 inch borders for the top and bottom of the mosque and smaller 3/4 borders for under the windows.

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I placed all my pieces on the heat bond interface and carefully ironed them. I like to use a smaller iron because it allows me to place the heat where I need it.  You can use a regular iron, but be careful the exposed interface might stick to your iron.

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I cut all the pieces out and set them aside.

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To make the decorations over the front door, I cut 1/2 inch squares from adhesive felt. These were so small, honestly I just didn’t want to try to sew them and used the adhesive felt out of laziness.  If you are going to make this as a gift for a child, please use regular felt and sew these on so they don’t end up in someone’s mouth.

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Once everything is cut and ready, I took the backing off the interface fabric (but not the felt!!) and started playing around with the design.

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Once I liked the design, I ironed on my details. I then pinned down the outline ribbons and newly acquired gold roof ribbon (so worth that $4, right?) and set it aside.

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The mosque in My First Ramadan has a little cupola on top. I thought it might be fun to turn this into a tab to carry the mosque, or hang it from a hook.  To create this tab, I cut out a little extra piece of fabric in a rectangle.

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I folded it in half lengthwise, headed to the sewing machine with it and my pinned mosque.  I sewed on all the ribbon and added a few details to the boarders.

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I also sewed my tab along one side, on the long fold.

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Then I turned it inside out and ironed it flat.

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Now it was ready to be folded in half and added to the top of my mosque.  I make sure to put it’s raw edges along the same side as the raw edges of my dome.

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I placed my blank pillow frame over this decorated pillow frame, main sides facing each other, and pinned them together.  Tip – when I pin a stuffie, I use colored pins as my starting and stopping points and regular pins everywhere else.  I need to leave an opening to turn my pillow inside out and having the coloring pins there remind me.

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Sew all around the pillow, going twice over the tab for security.  When I was done, I had a 3/4 boarder all around.

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I cut out little triangles from the corners to help disperse bulges once the pillow is flipped.

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I also went around the dome and cut off any extra ribbon and added slits all the way around.  This was a good time for me to cut off all the extra string too.

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I gently turned the pillow inside out and stuffed the inside.  I hand stitched my opening closed.

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I added my blue adhesive felt squares and the gem stars too.

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And how cute is this tab turn out?

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Now my pillow is ready to give to the kids when they hear my stories. I’m worried that they’ll fight over it. It was so easy to make, I think I need more!  Time to head back to that fabric drawer…

To enjoy more mosque crafts, please visit 99 Mosque Creative Projects. To learn more about Islam, please visit 99 Muslim Children Books.
To see what my fellow bloggers are posting for the #MKBKids Ramadan for Kids series, please visit  –

ArabBaba on Multicultural Kid Blogs
A Crafty Arab
All Done Monkey
Colours of Us
Crafty Moms Share
Creative World of Varya
Global Advocate Jr.
Kid World Citizen
La Cité des Vents

Ramadan for Kids 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs



Khatam Paper Garland {Tutorial}

With Ramadan just a few weeks away, I thought it might be fun to get the girls’ help in decorating the house with khatam paper garlands.

Khatam is the Arabic word for eight point star.  It is common in Islamic designs and is easy to create with children.*

This paper garland was so easy to make and will really brighten up our kitchen in the early morning hours of suhoor.  My youngest picked out the glitter paper to add a bit of sparkle. This post contains affiliate links to help you find the supply items easier.

Solid pink color cardstock
Solid yellow color cardstock
2 Sheets decorative glitter cardstock
Sealed with a Star Fiskars punch*
Multicolored sewing thread
Sewing machine*


Start by using the Fiskars hole punch to create khatam stars out of the four types of cardstock you chose.  Place them in rows of how you’d like them to look once they are sewn together.  (I love the pattern that was created out of the white space of this picture!) After you are happy with your placement, pick up the pieces in the order you want them sewn.


Place the first khatams in the sewing machine and sew up the middle.  Once you finish, gently pull out the thread 4 inches to get ready to sew the next khatam. This give you space between the khatams.


Keep adding khatams and putting 4 inches between them until you have one garland.  I tied mine to a nice, straight stick from my pear tree that I had found earlier in the day.  You can also use a dowel or anything else you find.  Start working on your next garland.  Once they are all tied, your garland is done.


*This craft is great for kids.  It is also doable if you do not have access to a Friskars Sealed with a Kiss or a sewing machine.

  1. Simple cut out equal sized squares from your paper.
  2. Place one square down, lay the thread on it, add glue and your second square.  Make sure to place your second square off center to create your eight points.
  3. Go down 4 inches on your thread and glue on another khatam.

If you are using this method, I would recommend that the squares stay flat for at least a few hours for the glue to set.

If you enjoyed this craft, please visit my other khatam created projects here –

Khatam Gift Tag Tutorial




Arab Tabbouleh Salad {Recipe}

Tabbouleh ( تبولة‎) is an vegetarian side dish originally from the mountains of Lebanon and Syria in the Arab world.  The word from comes the Arabic word taabil, meaning seasoning.

It consists mainly of parsley, bulger and tomatoes, with mint, olive oil and lemon juice added for flavoring.

From it’s origins, variations of tabbouleh can now be found around the world, in Turkey and the Dominican Republic, traveling with the Lebanese and Syrians that migrated. It is a popular dish at American potlucks, first appearing in the 1950s.  Nowadays, you are likely to find unusual additions added in, depending on the person’s personal taste.

In the late 1990s, there was a Tabbouleh Cook Off held at a local Seattle park.  I, unfortunately, was asked to be a judge.  I say unfortunately because it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

They were all so tasty, but here’s what I learned from the Arab elder women who came to Cook Off their prized family recipe, it comes down to if you have time to make a great tabbouleh instead of an okay tabbouleh.  You have to chop your parsley very fine.  If you think it’s fine enough, chop it again.  You need time to chop and chop some more   No one should be able to pick a piece of parsley out of your salad and use it as a garnish.  It needs to be the size of the bulger to get that texture that a great tabbouleh is known for.

To start your side dish, place a cup of fine bulger in two cups water.

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You basically want the bulger to soak up the water while it sits for an hour.   After your hour is up, drain your water.  I also take fistfuls of the bulger to squeeze out extra water.

Next you’ll want to chop 3 medium tomatoes.  I like to start by cutting them into small cubes.

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Then I place them in my Tupperware Quick Chef to make them smaller. I don’t want them liquid, like Mexican salsa, just a bit more dainty.

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Set your tomatoes aside in a bowl.

Next remove the stalks from the parisly and place in the Quick Chef, but I churn it for much longer. Just when I think my arm is ready to fall off, I switch arms.  That’s the cool thing about the Quick Chef, it has a padded bottom that keeps it in place when I switch arms.

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Here’s the tip to really great tabbouleh: chop your parsley some more. Yup, I know I’ve said it till I’m blue in the face, but it’s important. I take it out of a chopper and chop it again.

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Combine  the parsley and tomatoes to the freshly squeezed bulger, with half a cup of chopped mint, half a cup olive oil,  a third of a cup of lemon juice and a pinch of salt/pepper to taste.  Place it all in the fridge for at least an hour.

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Add it as a side to any meat dish.  Or have it inside a sandwich with falafel.

Personally, I  like it best in the morning with a side of eggs and roasted red potatoes.  That’s the thing about great tabbouleh, when it’s good, it doesn’t matter when or what you eat with it.

Be sure to stop by these other recipes from the Arab world