Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim....

The Mujahada in Prada

Saturday, March 20, 2010

~Glowing With Creativity~

aSalaam uAlaikum and Good Evening My Fabulous Fashionistas!

Jummah Mubarak! Insh'Allah you have all had a wonderful Friday and have some fun and relaxing plans for the weekend ahead!

I have taken the last couple of days pondering how I should post about my latest trip through the SouthWest United States. Initially, I was planning to do one article covering the whole trip, discussing the beautiful Native American and Mexican inspired fashions I saw, the gorgeous silver and precious stone jewelry I admired, and the breathtaking landscapes I enjoyed.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this would truly be unfair to both you, my fashionable followers, and to the article because I would be trying to squeeze wayyyy too much beauty into one teeeeny tiny space.

So, instead, I think I will post about a couple of items at a time, starting with the most innovative, and beautiful handmade creations I saw during my trip.

When perusing a local arts and crafts fair in Las Cruces, New Mexico, I came across a small booth of lovingly hand-made oil lamps, "Shadow Dancers", and night-lights.  Ranging from classic cylinders, to beautifully styled lanterns these gorgeous accessories have been a family tradition for years, and are as environmentally green as you can get.

Every single one of these intricate pieces of art are lovingly welded from normal, everyday tin cans.  There is absolutely no better example of a diamond in the rough, for the finished products are absolutely amazing.

They range in size from petite tea-candles to chic chandeliers, and include designs from crosses to curly-cues, celtic knots to moroccan tiles.  In Las Cruces there is one Moroccan restaurant, and the owner imported everything including the cook from Morocco...everything, that is, except the lighting.  Those he chose from this amazingly talented group of people, and their line of lights called Cantastiks.

Not only are these creations available in all different sizes and shapes, but you can also buy them in a variety of colors.  I chose the patina, because I am insh'Allah going to decorate my new home in browns and greens, but the classic pewter color is just as beautiful. 

Here are a couple of my favorite styles from their website:

Custom Created Chandelier

Small Shadowdancer
(this is the style I bought)

Medium Shadowdancer

To see more of these amazing pieces of art, you can go to their website at  No matter the size or shape, every one of these lovely lights are glowing with creativity.

Ma'Salaama and Happy Shadow Dancing!

Fashionably Yours,
The (Green Art Loving) Mujahada in Prada 


Thursday, March 18, 2010

~The Fashionista Muslimah's Domain~

aSalaam uAlaikum and Good Evening My Stylish Sisters!

Please forgive me for my absence these past few days, I have been keeping myself busy with unpacking and re-organizing all of our things.  Alhamdulillah I love to clean, or I would have never made it through.

But here I am, in one piece alhamdulillah.  A little tired, a little overwhelmed, but definitely happy to be home.

Speaking of home, when I was away in New Mexico I read a wonderful little article in the local Las Cruces paper about interior decorating.  Now, this article was specifically discussing the way to decorate your home in a "Country Cowboy" theme, but the suggestions they gave could work with any theme.  Nothing against any rustlers out there, but this is just NOT my style.

The paper did, however, share some very helpful, and insightful ideas for anyone re-decorating their home in general.  Whether going for an Art Deco or Minimalist influenced or a Far East inspired living space I found their advice to be great, and I immediately wanted to share it with you amazing Muslimahs.

So, here it is...along with a few tips of my own.

Express Yourself...
Now this may seem elementary, but you would not believe how many women start with the intention of redecorating their home in a way they will love, and end up with a living room or bedroom they can't stand to be in.  Whatever you do, you MUST keep in mind that you are choosing items that you can NOT just go throw in the back of your closet like you do th\at hideous sweater you chose on your last "I feel fat" day.  Especially when it comes to furniture, these are pieces that are an investment.  You must not only love them today, but you should love them next week, next month and next year as well.  I highly suggest taking a couple of days looking around at home decor stores to get a feel for what naturally appeals to you, then taking a week away, before making a final decision.  There is nothing worse than buying a thousand dollar couch on impulse because the saleslady convinces you that green is the new grey, only to bring it home and realize that it looks like Kermit the Frog vomited all over your sofa.  Your living space should be an extension of your personal style, a statement to all those who enter.  Whether you are trying to give your home a major overhaul, or simply buying some new window treatments, be sure that if that pair of bookends were a pair of shoes, you would be willing to wear them every day for quite a while.  Do not decorate your home according to your in-laws tastes, your mom's taste, or even your husband's taste.  Yes, incorporate him in the decision-making process, but keep in mind that in most cases the home is OUR domain, and the majority of men could care less if we have taupe carpet, grey tile, or brown hardwood-as long as we have dinner ready for them when they get home from work.  If you are a gal who lives alone, then you have got a great advantage over us married sisters, as you can use all the pink and flowers you want to, so get it out of your system while you can!

Start Slowly...
Before purchasing even one item, make sure that you truly want to redecorate your house.  You can usually subdue any irrational PMS- induced designing urges by simply doing a quick re-arrangement of your current items.  But if you have decided that a total makeover of your domain is absolutley necessary, start small.  Rather than going to Pier 1 and stocking up on Teak Furniture, Tiki Torches, and Mini Umbrellas, pick one Hawaiian-inspired item and incorporate it into your current living decorations.  Whether you are trying to create a SouthWestern Abode or a Middle-Eastern Modhafa it is never a good idea to try a whole new decorating style from floor to ceiling.  The article talked about working one pair of cowboy boots into a corner of a room as a planter, and then adding piece by piece a cowboy hat hanging on the wall, a rustic rocking chair with a old fashion throw, or a wagon wheel coffee table.  I, personally, love the combination of Far East and Middle East designs.  I adore the floor style seating and heavily gilded furniture and serving amenities of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria but also admire the simple, clean lines of Chinese and Japanese accessories.  When I designed my previous apartment I started small, with a few Chinese trinkets, an antique tea pot and cups from Jordan, and one Oriental rug in my living room.  After deciding that I wanted to add more, I began adding larger pieces like oversized floor pillows with heavy Middle Eastern tapestry designs, Chinese bonzai trees, and Arabian inspired lanterns all in the traditional dark red and black of Chinese sitting rooms.  The end result was sophisticated, stylish and chic, yet very comfortable and definitely ME.

Know When To Quit...
I don't say this often, but when it comes to home decorating: Less is (usually) More.  Going back to that whole cowboy theme again, you don't need to line up 20 pairs of cowboy boots in the window as planters to get the point across.  Not only will this look excessive, but it will lose the "cute" and quickly become "cluttered".  Before putting any new items into your new home, take a day or two to quickly inventory what you already have, donate what you can live without, and store any seasonal items.  I love candles, but I have seen many houses whose mantel has gone from romantic glowing lights, to looking like a candle carousel in a Catholic church.  Nothing against Catholics at all, but as beautiful as it may look in a place of worship, it begins to look quite cheesy in a place of residence.  If you love frogs that's fine- great even! ( I am a fellow frog lover)  But unless you are still six years old, or you are a herpetologist there is no reason to have any more than four or five little figurines in your house.  For those sisters who follow the more Islamic codes of decorating, and avoid any figurines, statues, or pictures (mash'Allah!) then you can always get beautiful wall hangings of Arabic calligraphy in anything from modern computer graphics, to traditional script to decorate your walls and remind you of our duties as Muslims.  But even these don't need to overwhelm every square inch of your home, in fact having one larger hanging in a beautiful frame is much more pleasing to the eye, and won't distract your guests from the rest of your lovely house.

Luxury Can Be Affordable...
Recently there are more and more companies that offer beautiful home furnishings at reasonable prices.  Gone are the days when you had to get your whole living room set at one place, lamps and wall hangings included.  You can pick and choose your items from a huge variety of discount furniture stores, that offer name-brand pieces at almost 50% off retail prices.  Be careful to always get the measurements of the item you are interested in purchasing, as shopping online can make furniture look larger, or smaller, than it truly is.  I have had a couple of family members who were overjoyed to find the perfect item on, only to realize it was the perfect size for their grand-daughter when it arrived.  Here are a few of my favorite online discount furniture sites:

Also, you should constantly look out for sales at places like Pier1 and Bombay Company.  They don't sales too often, but when they do you can get amazing deals on some gorgeous accessories.  Here are a few nice home decor sites to get you started: (yes JCPenney! Check out their Cindy Crawford line of bedding!)

Well ladies, there you have it.  Anyone can make their home look and feel fabulous just by following a few simple guidelines.  Make sure that no matter what style you choose, every item you purchase should be no only gorgeous, but functional as well.  Because it really doesn't matter how amazing that armoire is, if you can't stand to sit in it for more than thirty seconds, what's the point?

Ma'Salaama and Happy Decorating!

Fashionably Yours,
 The (Very Exhausted) Mujahada in Prada