Friday, April 3, 2009

Gatsby/Gypsy/seventies summer dress

Oh for those warm days of spring and the warmer days of summer. I spotted this stunning Indian paisley madras fabric cast aside in a clearance bin at a Joann's late last summer/early fall. As I continued to walk down the aisles of the sales section, I spotted the prettiest floral cotton lawn in vibrant hues of purple, rose, and red. Though the prints were different, the fabrics were kindred spirits in terms of tone and weight.

My little girl has a rich golden caramel skin tone and I looked at the mix of colors and knew that they had to be made into something for her. It was certainly not the usual soft palette chosen for a little girl but my little girl is quite diva-esque. It just felt right. I took the fabrics home, they were both in small supply so whatever I created would have to be well thought out in terms of fabric usage.

Now keep in mind, that the time that I purchased the fabric was right around the time that the seasons change here in San Diego. I ended up putting the half finished garment away. Then about a week ago, I came across it while trying to organize my stash. I suddenly decided to finish it. A little while on the sewing machine, a bit of time with the serger and....

Voila!!!! Quite chic for my little flower child.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rules 4 Rules!

This is my son modeling his new streetfighter/UFC do. He's actually had a mohawk before last spring. Back then it was just a temporary holdover before DH shaved it close for the summer. Now my little samurai has informed us that since he's waging mighty battles against bad guys, he needs a cut that fits his superhero status. He's three by the way....

Ahh... so where does one draw the line. There are parents who view their child's personal expression as a luxury option only meant to be exercised following the advent of the child's 18th birthday. Even then, once the child has reached majority, some strict parameters are often given further curbing personal expression. These parameters often involve continued familial placement ("Date that person or pierce that extremity and you're outta here!"). They may also involve threats to withhold support in some way: financially, emotionally, etc.
Then there are parents who believe their child's personal expression to be a valid need but limit the mode of that expression to parentally sanctioned forays into Crayola-ville and ballet recitals. Somehow the final result ends up being a greater indicator of the parent's own sense of self worth than a showcase of the child's unique humanity....

Then there are the parents who have confused freedom of expression with nursing the growth of a rapacious, overinflated EGO in the body of a child.

There has to be a pleasant middle ground. AHA! My eureka moment came today.

Rules for Rules:

1.) There are certain rules that must be imposed because they harm the self or increase the likelihood of harm to the self. The self is composed of three basic elements: mind, body, spirit/soul.

Ex: Drugs are not good for your mind, body, or soul. That is why you should avoid them, not just because I as your parent said "No".

2.) There are certain rules that must be imposed because they involve another's right to be.

Ex: not being allowed to play the drumset at 3am --there are neighbors/other family members who we must think about.

Ex: Cleaning the living room or other common areas because such a shared space is just that: shared.

BUT: cleaning one's room? As long as conditions are not allowed to get to the point that it affects the health and/or property of other family members due to pests/mold/ fire hazards/etc. it becomes arguably questionable as to the merit of enforcing such a rule

BUT: it could then become an issue of personal harm(which refers back to rule #1) and as such should be dealt with in the context of the individual with their input sought.

WAIT!!!-----"input?" --- I know visions of free parenting are swimming through your mind with a dirty child, house in shambles, and utter chaos not following far behind....but shouldn't you desire their input? After all, if they're smart enough to clean their own room, they're certainly smart enough to see the benefit of keeping it clean OR make a case based upon their own needs otherwise. Children are human. Children have survival instincts. Survival instincts dictate that we want the best possible circumstances around us at all times...the problem is that often we don't have any idea what the best possible circumstances are or look like. That's where parental intervention comes in: "Do you like your room this messy?" Why?" Help me to see the benefit from the way that you see it?" "What about when you want to find things?" If there are folks who talk to their dogs...surely parents can talk to their very human children.

These are 2 guidelines for rule-making which will still allow a child's unique personal gifts, personalities, and what have you to shine. They're not only simple, but they help to seperate the life sustaining parental wisdom from the arbitrary chaff. What about it? Wrong? Right?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I tried Wordpress...

and then I came back home. It just became an excuse for me to not blog...transcending the entire "something new to learn when I already have so much on my plate" excuse. Yeah. I admit it was just excuse. Perhaps I'll venture out again at some point, but for now, "I'm home you old, you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I took the Handmade Pledge

I initially began working on my shop because there's always been such a dearth of well made yet unique children's clothing.This is the 21st century but many are still approaching children's wear with antiquated concepts or a model based on inferior off shore manufacturing. Take your average streetwear label, right? They make oversized shirts for daddy so why not a few little onesies for junior. The problem is that the idea translates into let's take inferior goods manufactured in far off lands for extremely low cost in conditions that are either sweatshop-esque or only slightly better, ship them back to the US and then hike up the price by about 110% , slap our name on and call it style. Often streetwear manufacturers as well as other clothing genres believe that children's clothing really just means smaller versions of the usual junk. They aren't kid's wear manufacturers after all. Then there's the other side of the coin with the items that are incredibly well made BUT they look like they were made by the little old lady who lives alone with her 70 cats and who also makes toilet paper cozies on the side.
In other words, decidely old school....and not in the good way. Where is the happy medium? Is it possible to merge coolness, good taste, and quality into one working conglomerate for children's apparel...we'll see.

Above you see a picture of my studio work I'm just waiting for my labels. My shop on Etsy will open sometime in Spring 2009 on Etsy as well as my own site(currently under constructions). I'll be offering children's clothing infants-5 yrs initially but I plan to branch out into larger children's sizes after my initial phase. Most of the items will be limited editions and/or one offs...I like to keep it fresh.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Vintage Run DMC

I am up at 3 AM in the morning working on the line sheets of my kids clothing shop. Everyone is asleep in my home allowing me the rare peace necessary to finish a thought. I have the TV on in the background and I guess on the weekends during the morning hours, the station that I am watching broadcasts vintage shows. At 2:30 AM, what should come on? The Soooooooooul Train! Circa 1986! Serious blast from the past. I'm checking out the bubble pants, and asymetrical fades wondering if they were a bit insane. I mean how did the men dance in pants that were that tight? I'm so happy that women finally realized that vibrant slashes of burgundy blush from jawline to hairline is not flattering...well, some of us.

Let's see, I would have been about six almost seven years old at that time. I remember waiting around on Saturdays afternoons after the cartoons went off for Soul Train to come on. Before the internet, Youtube, and downloadable music; the two shows that were the epitome of coolness were Soul Train and Friday Night Videos. They provided the only mainstream venues for viewing the latest musical acts and dances.

Crazy thing: I am watching the show for a bit when suddenly I recognize this little short Boriqua really strutting her stuff on one of the Soul Train platforms: Oh My! Why it's Rosie Perez!!! Long before her Flygirls/In Living Color fame. Okay so I get it, in addition to Soul Train being a platform for listening to the music of the time and seeing the latest dance steps, for the people that danced on the show it was a way of being seen.

Finally lo and behold the main act of the evening is none other than....drum roll....RUN DMC!

Wow, blast from the past. Here are all the guys in their uber cool leather suits, major gold chains, fat laced Adidas, and Kangol caps.

So the legendary Don Cornelius asks the Rev. Run (although back then circa 1986 he was just Run), "what do you think the future of rap will be?"


Run answers, " Rap isn't a music, rap is rap, meaning I can rap over rock music, over jazz, over anything."

Don Cornelius further elaborates for Run by saying, "...So you think that the future of rap will depend upon the music itself, meaning it can go anywhere."

Fast forward 22 years later.... and rap has taken over the world, ahhhahahaha (that was my best Dr. Evil laugh)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rocking Out at the SOCO Music Experience.

Ahhh. Common. Nuff said. Actually I will say more. 8/23/08, you could catch me and the hubby soaking up the vibe at the Southern Comfort Music Experience festival here in San Diego. The top headliner was Common but we were also attracted by the promise of Saul Williams as well as the band, The Black Keys. Okay I'm jumping to the meat of the concert. Common's performance was incredible. He covered all of his big hits including some of his old school hits from back in the day when he was Common Sense. He also did a free style rap where he incorporated San Diego into the mix that really impressed the crowd. One of the segments of the performance that I enjoyed was the hip-hop medley that he did where he sampled a variety of old school hip-hop songs in a tribute fashion. As always he touched on his hit CD, Like Water for Chocolate-----

NEWSFLASH folks who pretend like they love hip-hop but really just like to nod their head in order to amass supposed "cool" points----Common has put out much more than Like Water for Chocolate! You only call attention to your poseur status when that is all that you can come up with when the name Common is mentioned. That's for all of the folks who said he just didn't live up to his Like Water for Chocolate days in their reviews of the performance...get over it. I don't know...perhaps there will always be certain social divides when it comes to the comprehension of hip-hop music...which is sad because music is music. I definitely feel that this divide lies at the root of the negative changes in the music genre, perhaps why 50 cent and others of his ilk have taken over....most of the "new" listeners just want a party record...but I digress.

Saul Williams...oh boy I am making my son some metallic silver leggings with a red stripe up the sides. He can wear them with a white tee and his Converse sneaks. In fact I'm going to put some up for the graham cracker crew in my shop.

I had never really listened to him prior to the concert but his performance was smashing. This despite a mottled sound quality due to static feedback. Evidently his music is termed "Industrial hip-hop"...who knew. If Jimi Hendrix took over a turntable is what I would label it. He did a great many political manifestos regarding race and social constructs. The one portion of his performance that left me on the fence: he did a cover of the U2 classic, "Bloody Sunday" . Now, this is one of my favorite songs in the whole wide world. I had always imagined that my first live rendition of the song would come straight from the lips of Bono himself. Perhaps Williams' version will be the closest that I will come to that dream seeing as how Bono is off saving the world. Either way... Williams' version was lacking a bit. I was definitely on the fence...

The Black Keys....good, very classic rock. This band is from the Midwest, Ohio to be exact and I could feel their homeplace in their music. I have a special place in my heart for the Midwest. I really want to check out more of their music.

I have found that rock music unless you're dealing with a single electrical guitar does not translate well in a live music venue so its better to know a good deal of a band's songs before hearing them live. That's just my take on it though...this means that I will have to delve more into both Saul Williams and the Black Keys before making a definite review of their acts. Recording cleans up the music which enables the ear to pick up the various parts of the song thereby allowing the listener to gain a better picture of the artist's specific artistic vision. Actually going to see any music live is more for the experience than to actually listen to a specific song. Again my take on it all.

All in all, this concert gets two snaps...I left sweaty from dancing, hoarse from yelling, and thoroughly exhausted.

Me and the Hubster....I made the top myself that day, a lovely kimono style in a cool Cotton voile with metallic threads.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trying to Make a Wedding out of 15 cents...

Yes, yes...I am a Mrs. As my cousin Bobby said via phone, not too many baby mamas end up marrying the baby daddy. Seriously, it has been a long hard road and I know that the success of our union depends on my constant prayer as a wife.

The ceremony was lovely. We had a small ceremony and reception on the shores of a LaJolla beach. Initially given our unique situation, we had planned to have a quiet ceremony at the courthouse in our downtown area and tell family members afterwards. Then we told our mothers and they were not having that! A conversation with his dad who suggested a simple barbecue at least convinced us that perhaps we could have a celebratory event without going overboard because after all: a wedding is a wedding and every one of them deserves a little bit of fanfare if no more than to celebrate the love between the couple and the two families joining together.

So we were able to swing a delightful outside event with a Carribean theme. Our outside venue overlooked the Pacific Ocean and had steps down to the beach. We had three gazebos/canopies with swags of tropical silk flowers hanging from them. We rented white tables and chairs from Abner, the owner of a local party rental place at They were great about setup and pickup. I made jerk chicken and jamaican rice and beans. His mom bought platters of fried plantains and lumpia(filipino eggrolls). His dad hauled over his grill and barbecue. I made my dress and the outfits for our children. My mom and I made the wedding favors which were small decorated mini bottles of bubbles. My mom also made the bouquets for myself and my Maid of Honor(which was my sister).

With all of this crafting going on, I decided to splurge and have the cake made. Thankfully I stumbled across a local baker in the San Diego area by the name of Jen Drury at She mixed up a delightful two tier cake with a tropical theme for a very reasonable cost. She really worked with me and got the final product to me in a timely manner. The DJs were my teenaged brother-in-laws-to-be who kept calming calypso and jazz melodies going throughout the event.

We had around 30 guests who had a great time...and we don't have any residual debt from the wedding to give us any regrets about the day...lovely.