Jan 292013

Ayyam-i-Ha Gift Guide 2013 - Alldonemonkey.comWe are so excited to announce the publication of our first annual Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide!

Whether or not you celebrate Ayyám-i-Há, you can use this guide to find special gifts for your loved ones, including tutorials for making homemade gifts and decorations.  And since Ayyám-i-Há is also a time for charity and service to others, you can find ideas for family service projects.

Creating this guide has been a real labor of love for me, so I hope you enjoy!

To browse the gift guide, please visit the Guide’s main page

If you have a business or blog, submit your information for possible inclusion in this year’s guide.


Dec 062012

Star Stockings - Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.comLooking for something a little different this holiday?  How about one of these cute star bags instead of a stocking?

This is actually something I made for Monkey for the Bahá’í holiday of Ayyám-i-Há last year, but I thought it would also be great for other holidays, such as Christmas.

Ayyám-i-Há is celebrated by Bahá’ís around the world every year from February 26 to March 1. It is a time of charity and celebrations, just before the 19 day Fast that leads up to our New Year on March 21.  For children, of course, Ayyám-i-Há usually also means presents!

As Bahá’ís in a Christmas-saturated culture, my parents worked very hard to make our own gift-giving holiday special for us.  My mother, who became a Bahá’í as an adult, had fond memories of the Christmas stockings of her childhood.  She wanted to do something similar for us, without simply copying the idea.  Instead, she created “grab bags,” which she embroidered herself with a unique design for each of us, showing costumes and cultures of children around the world.

I knew I didn’t have her skill to make something quite as elaborate for Monkey, but I loved the idea of a treat bag that he could enjoy during Ayyám-i-Há.  So instead I decided to make a felt pouch for him in the shape of a nine-pointed star (a symbol commonly used among Bahá’ís, since nine, as the highest single number, symbolizes unity).  I was inspired in part by this beautiful advent calendar from Nurturing the Tender Years.

Each morning during Ayyám-i-Há, Monkey would awaken to find this star stocking hanging on his chair at the breakfast table.  Inside I hid small treats, such as boxes of raisins (he loves them!), a toy car, and so on.  After the first morning, he began to anticipate the gift, and it became a special, fun way to start our day.  I made them for my nieces and nephews as well, decorating each with the child’s name and a design.  (I blocked out Monkey’s name on the picture above for privacy reasons).

Here’s how I did it:

Star Stockings

What You Will Need:

2 squares of felt (I chose green, since Ayyám-i-Há celebrates the approach of spring)

Embroidery thread (I chose royal blue) – I would get several for each bag, as you go through it very quickly, and if you have to go back to buy more, it can be hard to get an exact color match, no matter what the label says!

Fabric paint ( I used blue and yellow)

1. Make Your Template

I found a simple nine-pointed star design online then resized and printed it.  I cut this out and traced it onto a piece of cardboard to make my star template.

Star Stockings for Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.com

2. Cut Out Two Stars Per Stocking

Star Stockings for Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.com

Star Stockings for Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.com

3. Have fun with fabric paint!

I decorated each bag with the child’s name and a simple design that I thought they would still like in a few years.  Whatever type of design you chose to make, leave plenty of space between it and the edges, where you will be stitching soon.Star Stockings for Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.com

A note about using fabric paint: I was determined not to use the “puffy” kind, since I thought this would look too tacky.  I soon learned, however, that the trick to using fabric paint (at least on felt) is to lay it on thick.  So in the end, the paint did look puffy, but not tacky at all!

4. Sew your edges

Use a backstitch to sew together the front and back of your star.  Be sure to leave an opening as shown in the picture below.

Star Stockings for Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.com

5. Make a loop for hanging.

I used sharp scissors to make a hole through both sides of the star.  I did this about halfway down the middle point of the opening, so it would be sturdy.  I then threaded a loop (made of the embroidery thread) through both holes.  I made the thread loop quite long, so that not only would the star hang well but it would also be easy for the child to open the stocking wide enough to easily retrieve their treats.

Star Stockings for Ayyam-i-Ha - Alldonemonkey.com

6. Fill with treats and enjoy!

How do you make holidays special for your child?

This post has been shared at the Kid’s Co-op, One Creative Mommy’s One Creative Weekend, Living Life Intentionally’s TGIF Linky Party, Bowdabra’s Saturday Showcase, Mom to 2 Posh Little Diva’s Sunday Showcase, My Life’s a Treasure’s Our Favorite Things, No Time for Flashcards’ Kids Craft Linky, and Sweet Anne’s Sweet Sharing Monday.

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