Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School

     As some children head out to school for the first time and more and more pictures of them come up on my Facebook wall, I stop and wonder what this milestone must be like for parents of a typical child. 
     I only have one child (God knows what he does, I could not have handled more than that) and my experience, although life changing, was not typical. GP was non verbal, and there was no excitement. There was only dread. There was the thought that while other children his age stayed home and played blissfully, he would be in school struggling to communicate with strangers. He wasn't even potty trained. It was such a sad time. I remember sitting in my car and sobbing uncontrollably after leaving him at school. Then, I remember deciding that I would not leave him, and staying in school with him until I weaned myself off the drop off. It took a long time...
Again, it was a heart wrenching experience. There were no pictures, no smiling faces or Disney lunch boxes. It was such a horrible, horrible time. 
My FB wall has smiling faces, excited children, happy parents and once again I stop and think, "What if???" I will never know. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's Not About Falling, It's About Getting UP!

I read an article this morning on Autism Speak's website about a local shop that had custom built a bike for a child with autism and it made me think of GP's biking journey.

When GP was a little boy and he was of "biking age" he already had a diagnosis. He was still nonverbal and had more tantrums than I would like to relive, but we bought him his first bike anyway. Not knowing that his sensory system was not only affecting his learning, but his gross motor skills as well, we went about facing this milestone without much forethought. We bought him a bike with training wheels, a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and everything but a tushy pad to keep him injury free, and off we went to the culdesac behind our house. Turns out all the pads in the world couldn't keep him on the seat. Seemed like the seat was too hard;  he cried and wanted off... we tried a few times, and gave up. A few years later we bought him a mountain bike (with training wheels of course), and by this time he WAS verbal and he told us in no uncertain terms that he couldn't do it. The training wheels were too small, the handlers (Gino and I) too inexperienced to help him navigate the training wheeled bike with him on it, and he was having none of it. He wanted off... and he was done with it. Discouraged and thinking it was just one more thing he would never do, I was saddened but had bigger fish to fry (like multiplication, division and fractions), I was done too. 

A couple of years later I found a website for children with special needs and I found out that GP wasn't the only child with special needs who could not master the bike BUT that there was a solution... a tricycle. WooHOO! I was totally psyched. I had never even considered a tricycle. I thought they were for old people and for some reason it just never crossed my mind, duh. So I told my then-husband that I wanted to buy him a trike (not an inexpensive suggestion, mind you)
Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that a tricycle would cause so much arguing in a home. I had no idea that a riding a tricycle would  "make him (GP) look like a weirdo". I thought it was all about the kid and enabling him to do something FUN... ugh. I was so angry. I relented and kept the peace by not making my son "look like a weirdo". For years (and I do mean that literally) I thought about the trike and how much fun he might have zooming around with the wind in his hair....

A few years ago I got divorced (after eighteen years of marriage) and not having anyone to answer to, I bought GP his first tricycle. Hoping he wouldn't be self-conscious (now that he was almost a young adult), I took him to Walmart and after a short test drive in the store, I bought him a tricycle. 
It sat in the garage for a day or two but he eventually decided he'd give it a go.

*Here he's thinking about getting on.*
*Now he's struggling to get up the hill without Mom pushing him.*

It was very challenging at first, even with the large wheels and the years of working out to build his gross motor skills, but he now zooms around like Sonic the Hedgehog...
Words cannot express the joy I feel when I see him with his hair stuck to his face and his shirt drenched in sweat from peddling away. It's something I never though he would do.  I wish that I hadn't been discouraged by someone else's opinion and more importantly, that I wouldn't have given up without trying;  because that's what I did, and that's something I work really hard to forgive myself for, and probably will work at, for the rest of my life. Oh but life's lessons are usually hard and it's just one of many... 

But back to the point of the story. GP took his first real "spill" a few months ago when he discovered that his tricycle has a "speed limit". He was banged up real good with scrapes all the way up his arm, and leg. Not a pretty sight. The worst part was he said he "couldn't ride again". And I told him that he had to go riding again because, "Everybody falls down, Gene Paul. It's not about falling, it's about getting up.  When you get up, you are the winner. If you don't get up, you lose.  So get on the bike and peddle slowly if you want, but you HAVE to get back on." All bandaged up he got back on his trike the next day, and said he would only go "very slowly"... yeah, that lasted about thirty minutes. After that it was WOOHOO, all the way down the hills at the Edgewood Cemetery. 
*Flying down the hills at the Edgewood Cemetery in Nashua, NH. 
He's but a little spec in the distance*

I truly believe that riding a tricycle is a lot like living a full life. You have to work hard to learn how to stay on, then you ride along, then you think you know it all, then you fall down, and then you learn that you didn't know it all, and you learn to proceed with caution... but still have fun. I am so glad that he fell, and he got up. A painful lesson for sure, but proof positive that it's not about falling, it's about getting up. 
May you always get up, because as sure as day turns into night, we all fall...we just have to remember that to win, you must get up! =)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Baby Steps...

After two years in my new house I am just now starting to think of "living" in this new space. Seems as if I have done nothing but put out fires since I moved in and I am now at a point where the fire is burning slow and steady. The fires are still there because there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done, but it's nice when it doesn't need to be done "yesterday".  Last month I actually found my dinning room table. TADAAAA!
I even cleared the mantle of "things to be put away" and put some of my treasures on it too. That was a long time coming, to put it nicely. This is what it looked like when I was done. 
I've done some "tweaking" since then and things have changed up a little but for the most part. 
I think I can live with it as it stands... for now.
Turning a house into a home takes time. I think I am working my way there... 
but I think that although I figured it might take small steps to get there, it will actually be more like baby steps... slow and steady I go.
Now if I could only put up that darn wallpaper in my kitchen....
June project???

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hexies for the Hexagonally Challenged!

I love me a Hexie project as much as the next guy but man, the thought of making those templates, sewing them in and ripping them out, over, and over, and over again, is just a little more tediousness than I can or will subject myself to. Oh no, thanyouveryverymuch!
So when I found these fusible hexies at quilt market last year I thought, "HEL-LO!"
Yeah, I was smitten by the hexie bug immediately. Unfortunately, I knew that I had to see it to "get it", and because I know that some folks out there still haven't grasped the fusible hexie "thing", I thought I'd share my hexie process here. Be warned, this post may have one too many pictures, LOL
Hexies for the Hexagonally Challenged:
Step 1. 
Gather your supplies. I used precut 2.5" fabric squares, because they work, 
and I like the scrappy look. I also used 1" fusible hexies, and my iron.
Before I lay out the hexies on my fabric squares I like to verify that I am putting the fusible side down. The fusible side is easily identified by the sheen, see it there?? You do not want that adhesive on your iron so be sure to put that side face down on the wrong side of your fabric square.
Once you've centered the hexie on your fabric square (fusible side down on the wrong side of your fabric), you press it with a hot iron. Don't move the iron around. It won't do anything to it, but it will just take longer... I "suspect", because you know I didn't do that, right? LOL OK, so maybe I did...
 and no, it did not speed things up, JIC you were wondering.
Once you get the hang of it you can go crazy and do a few at a time. The most I did was two at a time but I laid them out as shown below, and I just moved the iron onto the next row as I went along. This helped speed things up, and I was done in no time flat.
Next, I trimmed the fabric around the edges of the hexie to about a quarter of an inch, 
I did say "about", right???  
Then, I used my handi-dandi washable glue stick and glued the edges down. 
Don't worry, the glue will wash off so it won't be stiff.
Here's how I glued it. I put glue on the sides first...
then, when I got to the corners where I had to start with the next section, I added a "dab" of glue onto the folded part so the next piece would stick to the hexie AND the piece of fabric that was already folded. Oh, I'm slow so the glue kept drying one me (it goes on purple but dries clear). SO, I would suggest not applying all the glue at the beginning until you get good at it or put the camera down, LOL
The finished hexie will look like this. The template is washable and will not need to be removed. It's thin and will feel more like interfacing than anything else. It won't feel stiff after washing, I promise.
These little hexies are the bomb, really.
Iron on the whole pack of fabric squares and set them in a basket by your favorite chair... you will have them done, a little at a time, in no time at all.
Once completed, it will look, oh so stinkin' cute!!!
Once you have more than one you can start piecing them together. To start piecing them you will have to align the hexies you want to sew together. 
 When you are sure that you like the way your hexies look side by side, 
stack them, right sides together.
 Now, starting at the corner, stitch them together by "pinching" a little bit from each side as you whip stitch your way from one side to the next. Now remember, just a little pinch goes a long way. You want your stitches to be teenie weenie so you can wash this baby a hundred times and never worry about it coming apart...
 This is what your stitched side will look like when it's done. 
It kinda-sorta looked like a tent to me...
 but then I pressed it down with the hot iron and baby, 
it was looking pretty fancy!
 After that I was on a roll, so I added a few more stitches and whala... 
 WooHOO! I'm so good....
See? Nothing to it. You can do it too. 
Trust me, no one was more Hexagonally challenged than I was... 
if I can do it, so can you. 
You're going to need some fusible hexies, so here's a link:
http://www.pumpkinpatchprimitives.com/catalog.php?category=153
They come in two sizes, I used the 1" size... I suggest you start with the larger size and go smaller as you become more confident.
You are going to love making these! They're fast, and fun...and they look so cute!!!
Note:
If you do not have an email registered with Blogger I cannot answer your questions and/or comments directly.  If you have a question and /or comment (but do not have an email registered with Blogger), and would like  reply, please email me@ pumpkinpatchprimitives@yahoo.com. I would be happy to send you a reply. Brenda

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Case Of The Missing Mojo

Instagram
Today marks the first day of what I shall call the Thirty Days Of Inspiration Project.
It's a thirty day quest to find inspiration and creativity. I seem to have lost these somewhere between Christmas and New Year's. Twenty days into 2014 I have yet to find anything that inspires me enough to pick up a paintbrush or a needle. I need inspiration!
I think this could be a case of Winter Blues, or a case of SAD;  but it could simply be a case of Missing Mojo. Who knows? I certainly don't, and it is for this reason that I have decided to take to Instagram to post pictures of things that inspire me.
I know I don't have the time or energy to blog for thirty days straight, and I already Facebook daily, or almost daily.... so I needed something out of my routine. I needed something that would document a conscious effort to find my inspiration. Following my dear friend, Joanna's lead (you can follow her here), I decided that I shall take to Instagram for a quick picture. 
One picture a day, for thirty days... I can handle that.
So if you are feeling like  you're in a slump, like you need a little inspiration... like you have a case of the Missing Mojo... follow me on Instagram and hopefully, we'll find it together. 
Not sure how to follow me? here's a great tutorial:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's a Regifting Giveaway!

'Tis the season for regifting. Fa La La La La
Oh, you know there is a that one gift that you wish had never been under the tree. That gift that you cannot bring your self to throw away because you know it was given with so much love... but man, where are you supposed to put that thing? Or why did she think you were two sizes larger than you really are? Do you seriously look that fat? Ouch!
I believe that regifting can be the relief to your troubles. You can regift a heartfelt gift and never feel guilty about not appreciating the gift because you know that someone else will enjoy it. It might not be your color, but you know someone who would absolutely croon over it... ah, the joy of giving. 
It never stops. 
While unpacking one of my sister's moving boxes we came across this cutie. It's a hand painted box I gifted her many years ago. It was one of the first pieces I painted and it is far from perfect but wicked cute. However, she has had it and loved it for many years and doesn't have a place for it in her new home. My idea was to purge it and she agreed, but then SHE came up with the idea that it should go to a new home, so here it is up for grabs. Let the regifting begin!
This little box has a black over red distressed body and its compartments are lined in red wool. 
The top is painted mustard and has a gentleman carrying a pumpkin. It's painted in the Peter Ompir style. I have no idea whose pattern I used (It was a long time ago) but it is not my original design.
 I just painted it. It has been used and loved, and looks just like it did the day she received it.
It's so cute. 
To enter the giveaway just leave a comment and tell me what you could not bare to purge and decided to regift. Can't wait to read it. I will choose a random winner tomorrow. See  you then! Brenda

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Love Handmade Gifts

As I was helping my sister finish trimming her tree before the big day, I spotted this little cutie already tucked in and hanging on it. I had to stop and touch it. It's so soft. It reminded me of the hours I spent making it (along with a few others because it's actually part of a set) that I made for her a few years ago. I remember having to ask my other sister how to make french knots for the eyes and berries because, at the time, I just could not make a knot for the life of me... In the end they all turned out well but it was a labor of love. 
I love gifting handmade. It requires A LOT of forethought, a lot of planning and discipline. You have to be sure your keeping the recipient in mind and you have to hope they'll love it enough not to regift it, and you have to be sure that once you make it you'll let it go. I can't believe that some people actually gift with a disclaimer,  "when you die be sure to leave it to XYZ". It makes me think the person who gifted it is actually "lending it". Either it is gifted, or not. I thought my friend's relative was weird but then someone else told me a similar story so I guess the practice is rampant, LOL. What is up with that? That's crazy!
Anyway, I truly believe that if you gift you need not lay claim to it after the recipient has died. That's just me and my thought on that matter...I always assume my "collections" will end up in a yard sale anyway so I am enjoying them now. 
I hope that next year my life will have settled down enough to make some lovely new treasures to gift at Christmas. I love handmade gifts, don't you???