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Monday, April 30, 2012

School Assignment

I know I haven't posted in a long time! The reason why is that I have been in school. This is an assignment for my english class. This is an essay I wrote and the assignment here is to have something published. Well I decided to publish this to my own blog. This blog is mostly about sewing and retro style, but it is also about my adventures in motherhood, and this is the story of one of the most important adventures I have had so far.

Walking Around Hurdles  

I remember hearing the words autism spectrum disorder. Then everything got fuzzy. The doctor’s words became a muffled succession of blah, blah, blah. My eight year old son sat on the doctor’s table staring at me blankly. How could he be autistic? He did not fit any of the symptoms that I had been told about. I had an image in my head of what autism was and it seemed so much more severe than this. The doctor explained that the form of autism my son had was called Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is a high functioning form of autism that involves social awkwardness and repetitive behaviors, and as the doctor continued to list the symptoms, she painted a clear picture of my beautiful boy.

            That first day I spent crying alone in my room. I took this diagnosis very hard and tried to find ways to blame it on myself. I felt guilty for having four other children. I felt selfish for taking on so much when it was now apparent that my oldest son had special needs. I had known that something was different about Noah for a long time. I couldn’t understand why no one else could see what I saw in my son. He was bright and sweet. He was considerate of others and loved me and his siblings very much, always showing us with hugs and smiles. I could no longer ignore his other behaviors though, the ones he showed mostly when around people he was uncomfortable with. He wouldn’t speak and when he did it was choppy, off topic, and monotone. He had twitches and couldn’t be without his Legos or a complete tantrum would ensue. 

            After walking around like a wounded animal for a couple of weeks, my depression began to grow. I couldn’t keep up with the demands of my busy life. I finally looked in the mirror one day at the bags under my eyes, my hair in disarray and said to myself, “what is wrong with you”! I went into my room and called all of my children to come to me. We laid down in my bed, barely big enough to fit my large clan, and cuddled. I looked around at all of their faces and was reminded of why I should be grateful instead of angry. Anger is a gateway emotion. It is only useful to help you to get to a more useful feeling. You can use the anger to inspire you to rise up and fight against the angst and make things right, or you can allow it to lead you on a path of self-pity and depression. I had a good reason to be upset but I had an even better one to rise above it. My son’s diagnosis was not my fault. This was not a result of something I did or didn’t do.

            From that day forward I decided that this was not going to take over my life and it would not rule my son’s.  People living with Asperger’s usually don’t view the world in the same way as others. After many talks with my son, I realized that he was not very aware that he was different. His way of experiencing the world was internal. Everything that happened around him had very little importance when compared to what happened inside his head. When other students were mean, he couldn’t even tell most of the time. The problem was mostly mine. I had to realize that he was fine. With some accommodations from his school, he was finally enjoying it and catching up to the other student’s level.
            As a mother, you wish that you can take on your children’s burdens so that they never have to
feel any pain, and if I could I would. But you realize that all of these burdens are just obstacles in our
paths that help to make us stronger people. My son is his own person, and he was just fine with his diagnosis and thought no less of himself. This was earth shattering only to me. My son, with only eight years of life in his pocket, showed me that life goes on. If you can’t get over the hurdles, walk around them. It has been three years since his diagnosis and we have come a long way. My son has his good days and his bad days and so do I, but we hold each other’s hand and face them together.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections On 2011 and Hopes For 2012

As 2011 draws to a close I am naturally reflecting on all the things I accomplished this year. 2011 was a great year overall but the passage of time is inevitable and we must all say goodbye to one year and welcome the next. I got a lot of sewing done this year, even though I started out the year exhausted and frustrated with my hobby. I didn't sew for about 5 months. Sometimes you start to over think things, every sewing failure is a reason why you  should just walk away from your sewing machine and never look back! I have had a rough couple of weeks recently at my sewing machine and that caused me to think back on my sewing hiatus of the beginning of the year. I realized that sometimes I am way to hard on myself!!! I have accomplished a lot at that sewing machine, and I always do my best when I don't over think things. This goes for sewing, and everything else in my life as well! I sewed 40 plus garments this year! Everyone of them still very wearable and cute! That is no small feat for a mother of 5! I made myself a small wardrobe of retro inspired clothing. I made my daughter a small wardrobe of her own! I finally made something for my boys! These are all great things that I plan to build on in 2012. At the same time I would like to make a resolution to not take everything so seriously! If I can never sew a couture garment, oh well!!!!!!! I will try to challenge myself, but will not feel guilty about making easy dresses!!!!! I will continue to only sew my own wardrobe and try to not buy RTW. It is just to hard to go back once you are on this train! But I will not feel guilty that I can not make all of my children's clothes at home. I have 5 children, 4 of which are boys and they grow very quickly and tear things up! I haven't the time or the heart for it!  I will try to make them whatever I can, but will not feel bad when I can't! I guess the ultimate lesson I am taking away from 2011 and setting for myself as a resolution for 2012 is this; Do all that you can, when you can, and cut yourself some slack when you can't. Almost like the serenity prayer.......kind of.
I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!! And remember, don't be so hard and yourself and celebrate the small things!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays!!!!!!

Happy Holidays everybody!! I know I have not been blogging as of late and I am sorry for that!!! I have been very busy getting ready for the holidays and working my day job for all it's worth to be able to afford the holidays!! We had a nice Christmas in these parts and I hope that you all had a lovely day with your families! We had two lovely dinners, one on Christmas eve and one on Christmas day. The children could not be happier with all the fun and gifts. We spent a couple of laid back days just enjoying each others company, eating, drinking, and being merry. As for the picture up above, you will notice with your keen eyes that one of the stockings is a sock, lol! at the last minute I realized that I had not made a stocking for my youngest son! My husband thought it would be funny to hang a sock up there instead. Don't fret though, I whipped one up for him quickly after I realized that the sock was hanging there, unfortunately, these pics were already taken, documenting my epic fail as a crafting Mama for all posterity to witness.

Also whipped up was this last minute green dress. I had started a couple dresses this week that were doomed to the UFO pile. I was so busy and had such a limited time and the fabrics for the other dresses were just not fabrics that could be rushed to take form. Maybe I will pick them up another time and finish them. I hate leaving unfinished business. So I made this little dress out of a simple poly cotton blend, which is great for a rush job. The hemline is shorter than what I usually do because I didn't have much of this fabric, oops! It is cute anyways but to be honest with you, the zipper came out super wonky, one of my worsts and the dress was pretty tight. I really liked the color and the style though so I may buy some more of this green fabric and make it again, in a bigger size, and with a longer skirt!

My daughter got a simple little dress in a pretty fabric, the one she is wearing above. I will have to take some better pics of it, but she was happy. She also got a new nightgown which I surprised her with on Christmas morning. I kept it completely from her sight until she unwrapped it. I had sprayed it with some cotton candy scented body spray before wrapping it as well. I think scent memory is important and I hope that when she is all grown up and smells the scent of cotton candy she will remember the pink princessy nightgown her mother sewed her for Christmas!

So that is our lovely Christmas!!!!!!! Oh, can you see the box in the corner of the last picture of my daughter? That is my new super awesome sewing machine that my hubby bought me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soooooooo excited about it!!!!!!!!! It is a Brother, because that is what I love to sew on and all of my presser feet from my old machine will still fit the new. It is a CP-7500. While it is not an innovis, it is a much better machine than the one I had before. I will do a full review on the machine once I get a chance to give it a good test run.You can check it out here. SOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's to hoping for a fun new year's celebration and a 2012 full of prosperity!!! Happy Holidays to you all!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Time Management and Christmas Cheer!!!

Happy Thursday y'all!!!! Christmas is fast approaching and time is a precious commodity when you make home made gifts! I also have this crazy tradition where I make something for myself and my daughter to wear for every holiday!! If I don't do this, I feel like I am just not getting things accomplished! The other day the subject of time management came up on one of my Burdastyle project posts. One lovely comment complimented me on my pants and blouse project and asked me how I find the time for my sewing with being such a busy mother. This got me thinking that I should write a little bit about my time management. As you all know, or maybe not, I have 5 children ages 2-11. I also work part time from home as an interpreter. As you can imagine, my day is beyond busy and everyday feels like I am running a marathon! However, sewing is very important to me so I make the time to get a little done almost everyday. I think that it is important for a mother to take time for herself and her own endeavors. Sewing makes me happy and when I am happy, the rest of the family is happy too. I wake up early in the morning, before everyone else in the house and get things done! First I make my husband his food for his work day. I know this sounds a bit archaic but I look at it as something nice I can do for him that offers some comfort while he works his long back breaking hours. Then after I send him off to work, I sew. I usually sew for about 40 minutes to an hour and you would be surprised by how much you can get done! Of course I don't get anything done in one session, my projects are a result of many small sessions. I used to try to find big blocks of time to make projects and I never got anything done! As you can imagine, I never found that big block of time. It became frustrating and I was always upset about my abandoned hobby. So I decided to take just a little time each day to do this for myself and the results have been amazing. The rest of my day is crazy! So sewing is really my only quite time. Once my children wake up I feed them breakfast and get the older ones ready for school and get them off to the bus. Then I work for 4 hrs a day from home and my sister watches my 2 younger kiddos. When I get off of work I make my kids lunch and straighten up the house a bit. I have a little extra time then to just catch up with my little ones before the big ones get home. When everyone gets home, the kids from school and hubby from work, we do homework. I have to sit with each of my kids one at a time and check work and help them with what they are having trouble with. I also do some work with my younger 2 to help them prepare for all the learning they will have to do when they start school. I then make dinner, or my sister does since she is living with us right now. After dinner I give my kids baths and get them ready for bed. We read a story and I tuck them in. After that, I relax with my hubby and watch some TV or if he is playing xbox, I will prepare a pattern or cut some fabric. That is it! I also sleep 7 hrs a night. I do alot while I work as well, I am a multitasking expert. I have a little pedal bike thingy( not a real term!) that I pedal while I work on the phone. I do squats while I brush my teeth and push ups and crunches before bed. It is a sad work out routine I know, but it is all I can manage to squeeze in. So are my days are hectic, yes, but it is a good life that I live filled with great moments and small accomplishments!
So back to Christmas gift making! Next Thursday is the last day of school before break. So I have 1 week to get the teachers gifts done! I always make gifts because in my humble price range, I don't like the store offered gifts. I also like the personal touch of something home made. This year I am using the book One Yard Wonders as my life saver!!! I will be using this book to make some gifts for my kids as well. The greatness of this book is that everything takes just one yard, as per the title of the book. So that is a pretty affordable gift wouldn't you say?  For the teachers I will be making bags. The folklore bag to be exact. It is stylish and easy to make! Will I get them done in time? I need to make a minimum of 3 but would like to get 5 done for a total cost of $30. I am armed with coupons and a free Sunday of sewing with my 2 year old on my lap and my kids playing with Lego's under foot!  Wish me luck on maneging my time!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finished- Pants and Blouse

I have been sewing!!!! Always, no matter what I have on my plate, I am sewing! What a marvelous hobby sewing is! You get to relieve all the stresses of everyday life and in the end you get a wearable work of art! This week I made a much needed pair of pants that I have been meaning to get to for 2 months now!!!!!! It is freezing over here so pants were a must! If you are going to make a new pair of pants than of course, you need a new blouse to go with it!!!!! So I made that too.

The pants were made from this Burdastyle pattern that I made some alterations to. The original pattern has a front fly closure and side seam pockets. I decided that I wanted pants with a side closure and front patch pockets, so I did that. I used the pattern almost exactly. Where the front fly was, I just traced the center front line all the way up, eliminating the fly. I sewed up all of my pieces and left the left side unsewn for a lapped zipper. With this pattern you have to draft the waistband yourself any ways so I drafted it to be closed on the side. I used 2 cute snaps for the job. My buttonholer is not working, but the snaps were cuter anyway. I drafted the patch pockets myself, and am very happy with the way they came out.

The blouse is New Look, 6937. I picked this up this weekend and even though the neckline is a bit tricky, it was really easy to make. I made a size 10, because I didn't want it to be so big! Like I said, the neckline, which is a tunic style was a bit tricky, but I vow to find an easier way to do it because I really like this top. I am on a hunt for blouses with no closures, because of laziness and because of above mentioned button whole problem.

Here are my snaps!! Please excuse this pic of my uncut threads, bad seamstress! I get my snaps through snapsource. They have an amazing selection, great prices, and excellent customer service, which is so important! They also sell their own snap setting tool, which is a good tool to have. And below is a close up of my pocket!

This outfit came together quickly and was really fun to sew. I love it when things turn out the way you wanted them too, it is so encouraging! Now I just have to figure out how to apply that to the rest of my life!

Monday, December 5, 2011

1950's Pepsi Ads

I got these pics off of the website Retronaut.co. You have to check it out, they have lots of great stuff to look at on those days when you have nothing to do but cruise the internet.

I love this one, it's totally me! I can't believe how in all of these ads, they keep repeating how slimming Pepsi is! I hope it's diet Pepsi!!

Love the sewing reference!!!!!

I love the look on her face, she's saying "not so quick buddy!!"

I will leave you with this one, stay lovely!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cuba, A Land of the Midcentury

I'm not sure, but by now I think most of you Know that I am a Latin girl. My roots are in Cuba to be exact. I am a girl who is deeply in touch with her roots and at the same time have sprouted new ones, American ones. I was Born in the United States and in fact, my mother is an all American girl from North Carolina. I grew up with what I think is the best of both worlds, in Miami. Growing up in a city like Miami, you have the Cuban culture in front of you at all times! I speak fluent spanish and my day job is as an interpreter. So you could say that the language of my forefathers has allowed me to live out my American dream. Cuba went through it's "revolution" in the 1950's, when a dictator came in to power, and froze the country in time. As a result, the island is said to be like a trip back in time to the 1950's. It was a time of elegance and the people dressed the part. I guess mostly, this post is about the inspiration that this time and place has upon me. When I sew my vintage inspired clothes, I always feel like I am sending a shout out to my grandparents. I heard many stories and saw many pictures as a girl growing up in my Abuela's house (grandmother's). The pictures were so glamorous and my Grandparents were always so poised, not like the random pictures of today, where people have shiney faces and bed hair and make silly faces in their pajamas. I always wanted to go back to that time and place some how. My Grandmother is one of my greatest style influences. I always aim to have even the tiniest amount of elegance that she has always had so much of. Today Cuba is a run down country, hanging on by a thread due to the mania of a corrupt government. I have never been there in person, but the Cuba I know is the one of the 1950's shown to me by my Grandparents in all of it's glamour and gleaming night lights.

Here are a couple of pictures of my paternal Grandparents in Cuba. these are the images I grew up with. Weren't they spectacular? I am lucky enough to still have my Abuela with me, even though she is on the other side of the country from me. She is still a phone call away, even though I must admit, I don't call her as much as I should! My Abuelo passed last year, and it was a hard blow to my family. He will always be with us though, he is a part of everything we are and everything we do. Isn't he dapper in these pictures?

It is nice to have a real life reference to your vintage style isn't it, and even nicer to have a link to all of the past that makes you who you are in the present.

Here is a bit of the past from La Reina Celia Cruz singing Guantanamera, in a fabulous dress by the way. Enjoy!!!!!!!