Monday, April 29, 2013

Special Needs Super Mom Spotlight #3

I am happy to introduce you to my third installment of Special Needs Super Mom Spotlight where I shine the light on some incredible, creative moms of special needs children. It seemed only fitting that, on Autism Awareness month, I would feature a mom whose child has autism so...I give you Miz Kp from Sailing Autistic Seas. I found Miz Kp on Facebook and have been a follower of her blog and facebook page ever since.  Her blog is very informative and she gives us an authentic look at her life with a child on the spectrum through her fb posts; the good, the bad , and the funny! Read on...

Tell us a bit about yourself: Name, home state, occupation

Hi. I am Miz Kp and I live in the Bronx, NY. I am an editor at an educational publishing vendor but my passion is autism advocacy.

Describe your creative journey pre-kids to post kids. How have you been transformed? 

Before I had my son, my life was all about me and making myself better through my career and personal goals. When I had Angel that changed. I finally realized what it is like to love someone unconditionally. My true transformation came when he was diagnosed with autism. When Angel was diagnosed, I thought that creating my Web site and writing about our experiences would be therapeutic for me. I am still in the process of being transformed because I am still on my journey. There is still so much more to be done.
Specifically, what kind of crafting do you do, crocheting? jewelry making, what materials do you use and why? 

I have to admit, I do not do any crafting as far as sewing etc but I do consider writing to be my craft.  

What is your schedule like? How and when do you find the time to work? What is your process? Do you craft full time or do you have another job? 

When I first started my web site, my goal was to post twice a week. I admit that I started feel like I was in a pressure cooker when other obligations (home, work, etc) started to pile up. Then I decided to cut myself some slack. Now, I write when I have something to say.

Tell us a little bit about your child.

Angel is a joy to have. He is very friendly (sometimes too friendly), empathetic, and affectionate. He can be mischievous and certainly keeps us on our toes. He loves to play outdoors and he is very active. He loves his iPad and watching Yo Gabba Gabba and Super Why! He also loves fruits and vegetables.

What is your child’s diagnosis and how does it affect him? How does it affect you? How does it affect your marriage? 

Angel was diagnosed with autism when he was four years old and he attends a special education school in NYC. He has limited communication skills. He has made me realize that a large percentage of communication is non verbal. I admit it can be hard sometimes because I do not always know what he is trying to tell me and he gets frustrated. His hyperactivity can also impede his ability to stay engaged and focused on activities.
His diagnosis has made me a stronger person. It has made me a more empathetic person. It has made me more passionate about advocating for him and for others. As far as my marriage goes, at first it was tough. My husband and I coped in different ways. Now we freely discuss Angel’s diagnosis and his needs. We are trying our best to work together as a team. Yes, we have challenges but we try our best to work it out. Frankly, we have no choice but to work it out. Angel is depending on us.

Where do you go for support? local groups, blogs, family, network of friends, religious community, etc...

I find support from my family, friends, social media, blogs, and wherever I can find it. It can be hard at times but I try my best because the alternative would be feeling alone.

Besides crafting, what else do you do to relax, unwind, cope, self care? 

I try to take a trip at least once a year. I love to read, go to the spa, listen to live music, and steal time to nap when I can.

Can you mention a particular stressful incident with your child that gave you the opportunity to employ said coping strategies?  

I can’t and that is only because I tend to employ these strategies way after the fact and not right when the incident happens. I need to work on that.

What tip(s) would you give moms caring for special needs children? What have you learned? Marriage tips are welcome too (only if you want to share)
I would tell them to take time for themselves when they can. I would also tell them to find a support system because it can be depressing to feel that no one understands what you are going through. I would tell them to seek out as many resources as they can to make their lives easier. I have learned so much and I am always learning new things. I am always seeking new information. It could be through social media, web sites, seminars, workshops, and of course other parents. One marriage tip and I need to remember this is to try to not let your child’s diagnosis consume your life 100%. Try to remember that you have to take steps to maintain your marriage. I know it can be hard when trying to juggle so much with our kids but all we can do is try and hope our spouses get it. A tip to the spouses would be to realize that there are no senior and junior parents when parenting a child with special needs. At least there should not be. A partnership is best.
do you have a blog? facebook, twitter, where can 
people follow you?   
Check out my Web site:
Like my page on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter @AutisticSeas
Check out my boards on Pinterest:
Follow me on Instagram:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Autism Acceptance/Awareness Starts With Me

The other day I looked at my To Do list and thought to myself, "look at my world's blending so nicely."  A little sewing, a little fashion, a little autism, a little working on my shop. I like this list.

In the past, I felt like I used to compartmentalize my life. Especially with this blog where, for a while, I decided I will only talk about my sewing/fashion endeavors. Now, not so much. I enjoy giving people a glimpse into my life as a mother of a special needs kids who also runs a blog, an online shop, who likes fashion, etc. Sometimes my worlds collide and sometimes they blend nicely. This is Autism Acceptance and Awareness. As I accept my life and what it has become (the good and the bad),  I can make others aware.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sew and Tell: Variation on Vogue 1315

I rarely sew with woven fabrics. I totally prefer jersey knits as they drape well and I love the comfort of stretchy material. However, I received this wonderful donation of fabric from my friend's mom, Gloria Fuentes. She worked as a sample maker for various designers for over 50 years and has amassed a bountiful collection of beautiful fabric with gorgeous prints. She is now 88 years old and was ready to part with them.  I feel like I won the lottery! I am so grateful she thought of me. I am going to write more about Gloria as I use her fabric for projects. She is a really interesting lady and there is so much more to say about her. 

So, now to the dress I made. I immediately got to thinking of ideas as to how to use my new found fabric and decided to use my pattern collection as a resource. First up is Vogue 1315 which I purchased recently. This pattern calls for jersey fabric but, do I always do what the pattern tells me? NO! I thought the design would be fine with this woven print material.

Here's a close up of the print. It's really pretty. 

This pattern also called for a blouson long sleeve top. But again, do I listen to the pattern? NO! I am what you call a sewing rebel. I rarely do what the pattern tells me. I use it as a guide and do my own thing. Anyway, I decided to use the usual crisscross top with ruched shoulders design which I love so much. I also added two inches to the hem as the original design was too short for me.
What I love most about this pattern are the pockets and the draped middle. I, however, draped it more than the pattern called for. I liked the effect. The pocket design was a bit difficult to understand from the pattern instructions but I finally got it. I wore my new dress to church yesterday and everyone liked it, including Gloria (she goes to my church).

One of my other friend's even told me that it looked like I bought it from a store. Well, that's the idea my friends!

As always, I welcome comments! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial: Denim Sewing Machine Cover from Jeans

One thing I learned about spring break, or any break for that matter, is that my stuff needs protection! This sewing machine cover was long overdue. I am not sure why I  didn't do this earlier. I guess Dan unraveling my thread for the upteenth time during break caused a crafty craze that had me searching for the nearest fabric and whip up armor for my defenseless machine.

The closest fabric was in the form of these jeans. Thank God they were in a pile to be reconstructed anyway. Otherwise, I would be showing you some flowery machine cover made from a dress or a plastic one made from a shower curtain. Lol!  These were given to my older son by his cousin. They were too small and he has trouble with button closures anyway so it was a perfect fit.

After I measured my machine, I ascertained that I can cut the pant legs right here.

I cut through the inseam of each leg and this is what I am left with. These will be the front and back of the cover.

Then I cut the waist band off of the top

Then I cut the back part of the pants starting with the middle seam and continuing down the inseam of each side. I was left with this. These will form the sides of the cover.

This is what is left of the front, I did not use this part.

I then stitched the two pieces together.

I also cut the seam bulk from the bottom of the pants for easier sewing. This then goes draped over the machine.  I simply sewed the edge of the top and bottom parts of the pants around the edges of the back pockets to make the sides.

Here you have it! My new denim sewing machine cover.

Here's a side view to show you where the pockets went. 

Mission accomplished: PROTECTED!

Now Dan doesn't have a chance against my third child, my sewing machine! Lol.

As always, tell me what you think. I appreciate your feedback.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Big Pants to Smaller Pants Refashion

Hello! The kids went back to school on Wednesday and I am still playing catch up. So happy to be back after a week of not posting. you have a pants refashion! 

This looks like a weightloss ad! lol
I am a lazy seamstress. There, I admit it. I don't particularly love putting in zippers, buttons, or pockets. That requires a lot of time and it's just plain tedious to me. This is the main reason why I don't make pants. The thought of sewing in the zipper, well it just makes me not want to even start the project. 

Mind you, I have made pants from scratch in the past, but when there are so many other things I rather do, like dresses, hats and tops, pants are always last on my list. 

Anyway, when I saw larged-sized pants on sale for $1.00 in my local thrift shop, a light bulb went off.   "Why don't I just re-size these big pants", I thought. I wouldn't have to put in the zipper or pockets!  I bought three of them with this idea and off I went to execute it. 

This was how big the pants were on me. 

This a full view, they were also very long. 

I decided that the only way to resize these pants was to remove the waist, cut between the pocket and the zipper, and then sew it back together, creating a middle seam on each side, front and back. Then I had to sew the waist band back on. 

This is how it looks when you turn it inside out. 

Here's the back view turned inside out. I lost the back pocket and I didn't do anything to make the insides pretty. I could've serged the unfinished seams but I was just experimenting at this stage. 

Everything was going okay until I had to re-attach the waistband to the pants. I don't know if I had the wrong needle, or if i didn't leave enough room between the waist band and bottom, but I did have a difficult time re-attaching the two. I finally got it done but it does not look pretty. I definitoley have to wear a long shirt to cover the top.
They also became capri pants when I realized I cut too much off. I am a bit impulsive and need to learn to wait and measure before I start chopping fabric off. But I don't mind it since Spring is here. 

A view from the back 

Sorry for the messy hair, lol.

All in all, I like the way it looks, I got a new pair of pants that fit me without having to put in a zipper or pockets. Was it worth all the hassle? I'm not sure yet.

What do you think?