Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Memory of Bryson Ross

I was so saddened to hear that the son of a fellow mom blogger, Shellie Ross’s (@military_mom on twitter), drowned in her backyard pool. He was only 2.5 years old. That is the same age as my little Dan. I have no words except those that come from the Bible in Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit..."

Please join me in praying for this mom and her family in this time of suffering.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Sweatshirt Jackets in my Etsy Store

This is soooo long overdue! I apologize for not posting my new sweatshirt jacket pics. These are now up in my etsy store and have been getting some orders for them. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweatshirt jackets

I am so excited! Yesterday I started on my sweatshirt jacket collection. A lot of people have given me positive feedback on these and I really enjoyed making them. Last year I got a late start and only sold a couple before the warm weather arrived so when saw a great deal on sweatshirts last week, I grabbed them and ran (well, of course, I paid for them first!) . D took a long nap yesterday, so I decided to plow away. I am going to start by making multiples of one design and then go from there. Can't wait to list them on my shop. Will update you soon!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ladies and Gentleman, Introducing Leather Cuffs!

I can't believe it has been almost two months since my last post. I like blogging about my projects but the irony is that if I don't sew, I have nothing to blog about. So I don't blog as often so I can give the time to sewing. So I think that until my youngest goes to school, I will always have this dance between sewing and blogging. I actually should be sewing right now! LOL! However, I felt compelled to tell you all about my newest addition to my shop, wallet leather cuffs featuring my customary cultural icons.

These were really fun to make. I first became interested in leather cuffs when I read about Bunny Lang in the January/February issue of Belle Armoire magazine ( I filed the idea in my head for later use. Later on, I noticed my friend Shavon from church wearing leather cuffs all the time. This sweet girl was all of a sudden transformed into this tough chick. It really made any outfit mean business, she looked more serious in a rocker chic way. But again, I decided to file the idea. I didn’t have any leather and the thought of purchasing it didn't intrigue me.

It was months later, after tiring of constantly fixing the heel of my leather boots, that this idea once again popped in my head. The boots were too busted to give away so I decided to cut them up and begin on my first leather cuff.

I really liked it but how could I incorporate my passion for cultural icons on leather? This process made me realize that I really liked making cuffs and so perhaps, I thought, I could make fabric cuffs and include the icons there. I had been trying to find a craftier way to play with fabric and this was it!!! Thus, my fabric cuffs were born.

At first, these concentrated on family photos, I then incorporated the cultural icons. They were so much fun to make and I have sold quite a few. Then my friend Yesenia asked if I could make them more useful, like add a zipper, etc... I sat on this idea a while. I didn't know how the fabric would stand to yet another addition. I was already adding images, loop closures, buttons. Would they look too thick to wear? So again I simply pondered the idea while i continued to make the cuffs. Then Shavon showed me the inside of her leather cuff and I thought, "hey, with leather and snap closures, the zipper might work!" When part of my hubby' leather coat got ruined in the trunk of our car, I immediately asked him if I could keep the remaining good portion of it. he said yes (as long as i agree to make him a cuff) and I began snipping away.

Making the cuffs has been a tinkering process. I realized I had to buy thicker needles for my sewing machine as it would not sew through the leather at first. I also had to decide whether I wanted to leave the raw edges of the leather or bind them. At first I tried to bind the edges but it made some of the cuffs look bulkier. At the end I decided to leave the raw edge on most of the cuffs and sew around it. They look a bit rustic but I really like the way they came out. When using recycled materials you sometimes want the audience not to realize what it’s made of but in this instance it’s like I’m being true to where they came from. These are essentially strips of leather from a coat with snaps, a picture and a zipper. I like that. Hope you do too. Check them out at and tell me what you think. I love feedback!


Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm Back!

Wow! I have not blogged for over a month and a half! I do apologize. I have not been abducted by aliens or anything like that. I actually have been working really hard on my business, I have been printing, sewing, listing and promoting on Facebook and It does makes sense to also blog but I just couldn't keep up with it all and I do love the immediacy that Facebook offers. However, there is something so special about blogging and I don't want to let it go. I am definitely committed to posting more often.

A major change that I made the last couple of months was to hire a babysitter for my little D. I realized that I needed to give creating some importance in my life. I was continuously feeling frustrated by the lack of time to sew or print and making things piecemeal was just not cutting it for me so I decided to do something about it and hired a babysitter once a week. That day I would sew and print all day. It has been glorious and I have seen sales go up because of it. Summer sales have been slow, though, so D hasn't been at the sitter this past month. I am taking advantage of the time to think about my fall fashion line and sewing for moi.

I also started a fanpage on Facebook for Nelesc Designs where I offer promotions for just fans and share tidbits about the business. To become a fan go to http// I will be offering free shipping this month so stay tuned.

Here are some items which I posted this summer so far. Some have sold, others are still available.

This is how my summer is going so far, how about you?

Angela Davis reconstructed top. This sold to someone in England!
Julia De Burgos top.

Frida Kahlo top made from scratch from shirting material.

Frida Kahlo dress made from reconstructed t-shirts.

Billie Holiday top made from t-shirt scraps. This one sold.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I know it's been a while but I have not been sitting around idle. I joined a gym so that I could do something for YO on a regular basis and I also got babysitting once a week so that I can work on building up my etsy shop. That is precisely what I have been doing. I have a couple of new tops on there that I am excited about. This is one of my favorites. As you might know from my cuffs, I am a big fan of the repeated image so i decided to try it on a top using Angela Davis' image. What do you think? I think it makes a fashionable, powerful statement.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday's Muse

So what is inspiring me these days? I always like to join with to discuss this very question. In her blog, Heather says, "one of the biggest lessons I’m trying to learn is that just because I don’t have all the time in the world, doesn’t mean I don’t have time to do something. If I have 10 minutes, I can do 10 minutes worth of something creative." Sound familiar? I am always complaining here about my lack of time, the fact that I hate creating without long stretches of time but I think I have embraced the 10 minute dilemma. My fabric cuffs were the start of this and now I have been having fun creating t-shirt shrugs/vests with some of my left over scrap pieces. After cutting the pieces it practically takes 45 minuters to an hour to complete. they are great little shoulder toppers or add a sense of color to a black ensemble. Here are some pics of one I made. I need these short-on-time projects to help me feel productive in between the larger ones.
Heather also recommends looking at I LOVED browsing around this site. I totally recommend it if you are creative and are short on time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mirabal Sisters Cuff

Here's a new addition to my Nelesc Design's shop on etsy. It's a cuff feauturing the Mirabal sisters. The Mirabal sisters were political activists and highly visible symbols of resistance to Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. . They were repeatedly jailed, along with their husbands, for their revolutionary activities toward democracy and justice. On November 25, 1960, three of the Mirabal sisters, Minerva, Patria and Teresa were murdered, along with Rufino de la Cruz, their driver, by members of Trujillo’s secret police. The three women were being driven by Rufino to Puerto Plata to visit their imprisoned husbands. The bodies of the three sisters were found at the bottom of a precipice, broken and strangled. The news of their brutal assassinations shocked and outraged the nation and helped propel the anti-Trujillo movement. Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961 and his regime fell soon after.The Mirabal sisters have become symbols of both popular feminist resistance. In the years since their deaths, they have been commemorated in poems, songs, and films.

I really loved making this cuff. I have been an admirer of the Mirabal sisters for years and am so glad one of my clients requested it. Here, the design consists of three stenciled images, one for each sister, Maria Teresa, Minerva, and Patria. They are framed by an abstract/island like pattern in soft pastels, a bow to their femininity and Caribbean culture. The stark black and white portraits of these strong, fearless women, make this a powerful and stylish piece. Check it out at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero

Today, March 24, is the anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero. I remember learning about Archbishop Romero in one of my Latin American history classes in college. His story immediately impacted my life. As a Christian, I was always looking for role models who engaged in the world. I was raised in a very strict church that viewed the world as evil and encoraged its members to retreat inside its own comfortable walls. I was struck by this preacherman's compassion for the poor and the courageous stance he took against those that opressed them. I would like to be like him.

This is a short biography from

Oscar Romero was born in Ciudad Barrios, a town in the mountainous east of El Salvador, on August 15, 1917. He was the second of seven children. When he was thirteen he declared a vocation to the priesthood. In February 1977, Oscar Romero became archbishop of San Salvador.

As Archbishop of San Salvador, Father Romero was a source of strength and hope for the poor and for the oppressed of his country, working with and for them, taking their struggles as his own. Romero wrote and spoke passionately and publicly of the need for Christians to work for justice, frequently faced with threat and danger from those who opposed his ideas. On March 24, 1980, while celebrating the Eucharist, Archbishop Romero was shot and killed at the altar by a death squad assassin, paying the highest price for the commitment about which he spoke so often and so eloquently. Because of his courageous stand for justice, he became a martyr not only for poor Salvadorians but for all struggling to overcome oppression and poverty. Today, his sermons are read as powerful reminders of Christians' obligation to fight for a just society. Shortly before he was murdered, Romero said: "It is my hope that my blood will be the seed of freedom and the sign that hope will soon be reality." The example of Romero's courageous life and ultimately death continue to inspire those who struggle for human dignity and justice.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Faith through Art

I am once again joining with www. to talk about what is inspiring me this week. Well my son, M is. This is a collage I did two years ago in a moment of fear, doubt, and uncertainty, concerning his future. My oldest son, M, was diagnosed with autism when he was two. When I made this collage, M was about to enter Kindergarten and I was fighting with the Board of Education for an appropropriate setting for him as he is high functioning and had a lot of potential. They either wanted to put him in regular ed or in a low functioning program. Neither was acceptable to me. As I made countless calls, visited programs, prayed and cried out to God continuously, I decided to create art. I was lead to this verse in the Good Book, Jermiah 29:11, which says "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. " The text is over M's face as I am pictured praying. Somehow, creating and believing this simple image and text concoction symbolizing my giving M to God and letting Him handle the situation, let me rest.

M is now in an amazing inclusion program, talks a mile a minute, is a legos master, loves music and drama, and is quite assertive. He is an inspiration. Recently, my younger son also was diagnosed with mild autism. I immediately took this collage out in a moment of sadness. It made me feel hopeful. If God can work miracles with M, he will do it with D too. God's power and reassurance through art, never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Productive Day Today

I had such a productive day today. I have a great new customer who ordered a bunch of items which I am custom making for her and I am about done with the first item. She wants this jacket with longer sleeves, in black, and with Che Guevara on it. This is what I worked on today.

As I mentioned before, I hate working in piece meal fashion; cut the fabric one day, sew the bodice the other, the next, sew the sleeves, etc. I LOVE long stretches of creative time. Have I mentioned that before? Yes, about a zillion times on this blog. Anyway, I decided that with two kids, if I wanted to get anything done, I had to give into working this way. So I cut the pattern yesterday and would have been content today if I simply got the bodice of the jacket done. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my little D continued to be distracted by the fish tank, his toys and the Baby Einstein video I put on for him, that I just kept sewing. When he took his customery 2 hour nap, I was surprised to have finished the entire jacket save the buttons and the serging. So just when I finally gave into working piece meal, he goes and gives me time to finish the whole thing. Now I am spoiled and expect this same kind of behavior from him all the time. Aaaaaah what to do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Finding my Inner Revolutionary

It has been a while since I have written which means I have reneged on my promise to be more faithful at updating my blog this year. But here I am. I am not giving up yet. That's what revolutionaries do.

Revolutionary, me? Lately, I have not felt much like a revolutionary. The message of my clothing line is that you can strive for change just like the people on my designs did. However, recently, I have felt stuck. I remember the days when I used to march for the release of Irish and Puerto Rican political prisoners when I was in college, when my husband and I would buy canned food for the church pantry, when I used to hand out food to the homeless and pray for them. I miss my public life. I am now home with two kids with special needs and although I try really hard to perceive that as a revolutionary act, as an act that involves changing my kids' lives, I still want more. I often feel tired, burned out, and lonely. I guess revolutionaries get lonely too. Why do we make them to be out like gods? They were real people.

As I try to find my way in this motherhood thing what helps me is to read honest writing from other mothers. I have been following Dawn's blog about motherhood. She is so honest and quite irreverent. Here's a link to one of my favorite posts from her,

I also just finished watching the In the Time of the Butterflies DVD. It is a movie adapted from a book by Julia Alvarez which I read years ago about three sisters who confront the injustices of the Trujillo regime, a dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, in the 60s and 70s. A client recently requested I make her a cuff of the Mirabal sisters which was fate (I like to call it God) because I had been thinking about designing one before she made the request. Anyway, I wanted to reacquaint myself with these sisters before I made it. Reading powerful stories about women makes me feel better. It calls to my inner revolutionary. It helps me summon that spirit of hope and potential that can keep me from drowning in my feelings of quiet desperation.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Inspiration

Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.Thoreau, Henry David.
The creater of the blog,, came across this quote today and asked anyone who wanted to muse on it. To her it meant "to surround yourself with things and people who feed your inner spark." That's what it means to me too.
I am inspired by people who get me, who encourage me to be who I am. Today, I want to pay homage to M,. my bestest (that's the way I like to say it) customer, who has now become my friend. She requested I do my funnel neck cropped Pedro Albizu Campos jacket in her size. I am used to sewing for my size but I took the challenge which actually turned out to be a great experience for me, especially dealing with M, who is a dream of a customer. She is always praising my work which means a lot when you work from home when there is no one consistently there cheering you on. Here is my jacket and the one I did for her. One of my New Years resolutions was to learn how to sew for all sizes and she got me on my way. Thanks M!!!! Your an amazing person!!!

M, also has an amazing shop on etsy. Check it out at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today I had a particularly rough day. I started my day by doing three loads of laundry with D in the stroller. I am a sight to see when I do laundry. I carry one large bag on my shoulder. One in the basket underneath the stroller and one hanging from the stroller handles. I look like a crazy woman!!! Hey, it's the only way I can get in done. D had a therapy session at 12:00 and I was cutting it close so I was rushing. I had to get the laundry in the machines, feed D breakfast, go to the post office, then get the laundry and put it in the dryer, then go to Rite Aid, go home and drop off my purchases so I could have room for the laundry when I take it out of the dryer, etc. I was trying to do all of this in a rush when my neighbor stopped me, while dropping off my purchases, because she had to tell me something "pressing". She ended up telling me something that ultimately hurt my feelings. I tried very hard for that comment not to affect my mood for the rest of the day but I didn't succeed, I still felt belittled. I guess my son M caught on that I wasn't myself because he kept staring at me (he does that when he perceives something). While we were having dinner, he told me, out of the blue, "Mommy, you are very, very smart." We weren't even talking about anything in particulr when he came out and said it. I thanked him profusely. Then he said that I was beautiful and that I was never wrong. Where did that come from? I just felt grateful. In his own way he was trying to make me feel better, and he did. Lately, my kids have been a weight on my shoulders. Today, I am so glad I have them. Thank you God!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pedro Albizu Campos Fabric Cuff!

I just added this new cuff to my online shop, Pedro Albizu Campos was the most prominent Puerto Rican political figure of the 20th century, a National hero who sacrificed his life for the freedom of his country. Under his direction, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico became a major force in the fight for independence. A powerful speaker, thousands would gather to listen to his passionate discourses of freedom. He urged the Puerto Rican people to reclaim their cultural history and national symbols such as the flag and the national anthem.

I really enjoyed making it and hope to do a lot more. It's different from the initial cuffs I made mentioned in this post which were more family oriented. Here, I am going back to my revolutionary roots. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Although it is technically January 2 ( I am writing this at 1:16 am 1/2/09) I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I had a lovely January 1st. I have been under the weather so I rested a lot in the morning while my hubby took care of the kids. Then I did about 3 loads of laundry!!!! It made me feel good to bring in the new year with clean clothes. Finally, I had a short dinner with a college friend. She had to return home swiftly because she had family over for the holidays and she promised she would see them off. She forgot she made plans with me and didn't want to cancel so we just shortened our rendevous. That was fine with me because I spent a glorious two hours in Barnes and Nobles after that. There are two books that I looked at that I must have: True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling by L.K. Ludwig and Canvas Remix: Techniques For Creating Mixed-Media Accessories by Alisa Burke. When I get them, which hopefully will be soon, I'll attempt to share projects inspired by these crafty ladies. Here's to a crafty, creative, artistic 2009!