Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pintando en Guatemla

These photos are the length of the parque central in El Estor, Guatemala, where I lived for 9 months working for Save The Children International.  I was assigned there through a program called ArtCorps, which is similar to the Peace Corps but with the idea of sending artists to help non-profits further their message through creative means.  
I worked in the town of El Estor, on the edge of Lago Izabal, putting together a monthly magazine about human rights with teens and also got them involved in this mural, which the mayor approved in the town's center.   I went to the school and we talked about what they wanted to see.  The ideas incorporated human rights and cultural appreciation.  I took all their drawings and composed them into one long cohesive design and then we got to work.  Many people came to watch the process, of all ages, and I often asked them to join in.  If they were hesitant I would outline an area and ask, "Can you paint this area green for me?"  A defined job gave them the confidence to say yes.  

Monday, March 5, 2018

Art by Sara


In August I had the pleasure of organizing a community project at my local Natural Foods Co-op, just down the street from my house. The project had all the elements I love: a business I used to work at years ago, my neighborhood market close to home, a local business I believe in, and complete freedom to organize it as I wanted.   The store put out an announcement for children to participate, and I gathered some neighborhood kids and we made it happen! 

Deje mi corazon en Chiapas
My mother's heart is full

Self portraits from different times in my life.  Mexico, Ireland and back on the Central Coast.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

creative thinking exercises

In my Friday art class my main goal is to get the students thinking outside the box as far as materials go. We are making figure sculptures, the base of which is cardboard and wood. I was inspired by a book I saw recently by Keri Smith with a lot of art experiments, Wreck this Journal or something like that it was called.

So first we had 2 minutes to attach pieces of colored paper together using traditional techniques- glue, tape, etc- and the challenge to find something non-traditional.

Then, we talked about homes which have junk drawers and I piled a bunch of stuff from mine on the table and they had 2 minutes to create a person out of them.

Now, that class was 5 of 8. I wish I had been doing this since day one!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nesting, organizing, sewing

The house is finally looking organized, some (just some) of the clutter gone. Newborn clothes are washed and folded. Co-sleeper borrowed from neighbor (thank you!). Pregnancy photos taken (you are amazing Robyn!). I have done what I can to prepare mentally, physically, spiritually for my VBAC birth.

And I am trying to balance REST and CREATIVITY, i.e. the nesting urge is having me applique every blank onesie I own!

It has been fun doing the onesies, and making them gender neutral. And sewing on the changing table sheet. And I want to learn to make little baby booties. I feel so HAPPY that I have learned to sew in the last few years!

I am also quite proud of tonight's creation: an accessory bag for the stroller made from oilcloth. I saw the idea in the manual for the new Sit and Stand stroller we got, and I winged it from there! There is a spot for phone, water, sunscreen, and more!

Ok baby, we're ready for you!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nursing in public

So yesterday I was at the dentist and picked up a People magazine in the waiting room. On one of the first pages was a summary of reader reactions to a picture of actress Miranda Kerr breastfeeding her baby.
If you can believe it, there were some negative comments about this photo. Look at it! How innocent can it get? Let's just say I am a breastfeeding advocate. I won't go on about it, if you agree with me you know all the arguments alrady. I just think it is mind boggling how backwards this country is that it isn't more common to see moms nursing in public. We should plan a Nurse-in!

So, this post is dedicated to a friend of mine in Tucson having her first baby. She has no family in the area but I believe she has a good community of friends and I hope she has all the support she needs. I want to share some of what I have learned about breastfeeding from my own experience and my last two years as a breasfeeding peer counselor for WIC talking to moms about breastfeeding.
What can you do to prepare for breastfeeding (BF)? Mostly, educate yourself. Read, talk to other moms, maybe see a Lactation Consultant.
What will the first few days be like? Breastfeeding is a natural thing, babies are born to do it, and that's what our breasts are for. That being said, it is a learning process. I can't emphasize this enough. Neither you nor baby has ever done it before. Imagine, little baby has had a perfect life for nine months, not having to work for her food, always the perfect temperature. It is a bit of a shock to come out into this world and learn how to actively work for the things you need. Some moms will have an easy time of it and some will not.
Often times the biggest issue is the baby's latch. They may move their head around, even touch the nipple, but they just don't get it. Have patience ( I know it'e easier said than done). You need to practice practice practice.
Many moms start to get worried and frustrated and may even have a nurse confound their anxiety. The baby's hungry, I have to give her something! Worst case scenario is you have to use a breast pump. The baby needs to eat, but just as importantly, your breasts need to be stimulated. They need to be latched onto to help send those little signals to the brain saying, baby's here, let's get started, make milk! BUt here's the important thing. What you pump out is just a spoonful or so, it's colostrum, and it has all the important antibodies the baby needs in those first days. (We'll get to worries about milk supply in a minute). DO NOT give a bottle.

This can create what is called nipple confusion. There are two aspects to this. #1 is the baby sucks on a rubber nipple very differently than they do on the breast. #2 is the milk comes out faster from a bottle and the baby gets used to this.
So here's what you can do: give that pumped milk to baby with a spoon, cup or medicine dropper. That way baby gets the milk without getting used to sucking on the bottle. And maybe after a few times of eating this way she will have a stronger urge to be at the breast. Remember, BF is about filling the tummy and comfort.

Milk Supply: Remember that baby's tummy is really really small. If you get a spoonful of coloctrum, you don't need to add formula. Just do it al over again in another hour! Nurse, nurse, nurse!! The first week is crucial in establishing your supply, and babies will eat every hour or so, 24 hours a day! This is why it is so important to avoid the bottle if possible. The baby needs to learn how to nurse from you.
Every woman's body is different. My Lupe didn't latch, and thus I had a low milk supply, even with pumping (the thing is, pumps are awesome, but baby is created for this purpose and will get more milk out of you than a pump once she learns how). It took us maybe 3 months before I felt like I could leave the house without a "just-in-case" bottle, and this long to get my supply up. I don't say this to scare you thinking about how hard it is, this is only my experience. But persistance can pay off. (That being said, I know for some mom's it simply doesn't work out for a combination of reasons- congratulate yourself for giving it your best effort!).
So, I hope this may help someone out there! Connect with other moms. Go to a Leche League meeting. It's important to find a community of women to support you an dyour efforts. You can do it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Make great presents

Help me with my Doula fund! I am making these.... silverware pockets (still haven't found the perfect name). They are great for camping, picnics, or being super-eco-cool when you take your lunch to work. Cloth napkin included!

I can even customize them- tell me your favorite colors, etc.

I could add hearts and make them a Valentine gift!


Do you all wonder about the constant stream of phonebooks being left on your doorstep? I oculd have easily just recycled them, but being the crafty type, nothing goes to the recyle without spending a good amount of time in the house as a "possible art project".
For a while I had been thinking about painting in them and we finally did it. This first time I just let all the pages stick together, but imagine..... tear them out once painted and you have a great collection of wrapping paper. Paint one side and make butterfly images. Learn about symmetry!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recent gifts

I am rather proud of a few things I have made recently so I wanted to share them.
The first was a Christmas Eve inspiration for my husband. When he cooks or does dishes he puts on his headphones and listens to his ipod, so.... I used a black pillowcase and made him an apron. The colors and map of Africa refer to his reggae obsession. The pocket has a side perfect for the ipod to go in.
The second is a thank you to a friend who loaned me her sewing machine for an entire year! She is a wonderful artist, and I tend to get quite inspired making customized pot holders (who knew, this could very well be my niche!)
Fun fun fun! My New Years goal is to make more things for my own house (no more craft sales for a while), but there seems to always be a birthday or thank you present to make. But it pleases me immensely to be able to make people things. And customize them to their interests. Which gives me an idea: any creative people want to do some bartering?
I am making small attempts to have Lupe not grow up in a consumeristic way. I hope that she will grow up remembering her mom announcing an upcoming party and heading to the sewing machine. Not that there always needs to be presents, but making them is a good thing. I have spoken to a lot of moms recently who are all on different points of the scale between fullout buy buy gift giving, to none at all. I think the best is to feel comfortable with where you are at personally and to have small goals if you want.
I got a Barbie Dream House as a kid and I turned out all right!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rainy Day Crafts

For almost a month now lupe has been playing with her tiniest animals in a Leggo house. They are there for a fiesta, and have been waiting for their pizza for a LONG time, alas, it is always too hot to eat.
So that inspired a craft today, while we watch the rain that never seems to stop!
Materials: Tin can lids, construction paper, scissors, hole punch and glue.
The hole punch makes easy and tiny tomatoes and olives, shredded paper for the cheese. They were really tasty!

Grandpa has promised to make a kitchen for Lupe, but xmas is too soon, so it'll probably be a birthday gift in May. Meanwhile, I saw a cool kitchen on the web (I think it was Family Fun mag), made from cardboard boxes and plastic lids.
If I can find a dry box, that's our next project!