Thursday, October 28, 2010

More on Gillian

It's been a few weeks since we got the official diagnosis on Gillian, and already, she's made great improvements in class with visual cues, social stories, and break time.

Gillian was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome a few weeks ago, through a series of tests that her school did with her (with our blessing). Even though she was only recently diagnosed, the school was aware of it being a possibility since last year, and while they could never officially put the social stories, visual cues, and break times into effect, they were able to do a few things that didn't require the help of the OT.

Right now, Gillian has a card on her desk that just describes behavior that is good, not good, and really not good (I can't recall what they call it, but they are divided by a Green, Yellow, Red system for good, slow down, stop). It describes different things, like raising her hand is good, while blurting out is not good. Hitting or shoving are really the only two things I recall in the Red section.

If something happens in the Yellow section, she is reminded to look over her card. If it happens more than once, she gets points taken away. If she does something in the red, then the school recognizes that she needs a break to regroup, and she goes to the break room, which has a lot of sensory items in it, such as a trampoline, a soft squishy "people squisher" (kids kind of roll through it, and are light squished, which is great for sensory), plus other items. She's allowed to request a break if she's feeling flustered, but what I noticed on Wed, is that she was requesting it just to go. I think right now, she's just loving it, and wants to go as much as possible.

In class, she also has a ruler she keeps on her desk, or carries around. On the back, there are numbers 1-25 on it in marker, then they have a laminated 'slide' with a window that is wrapped around it with her name. Every day, the ruler starts out on number 10. If she does something in the yellow or red, she gets a point taken away. However, if she does something good, she gets to add a point.

The traditional method in class is useful with the regular students, but does not work good with kids who have outside problems like Autism or Aspergers. For the other kids, they have a popsicle stick. They start off in box 1, and it gets moved down if they misbehave (usually after a warning or two) from Green, to Yellow, to Red.

With that system, there are no rewards for positive behaviour. A lot of what Asperger's kids struggle with, is social interaction. They may not know how to react, so they just react however they want, where as other kids learn early one that it's maybe not all right to brag about winning, or to scream if someone looks at them wrong, or what not. With the slide ruler point system, Gillian gets rewarded with points for good behavior while also getting points taken away for bad behavior. She has room to make up for having an outburst, where as before, she would just go down hill, because while bad behavior was recognized, good was not.

She has been doing a lot better in class, and has a great group of support at the school to help her. She loves her break times, and she'll tell anyone who asks all about her "Ashburger Syndrum".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Frankly, I'm being optimistic here, because I'm coming at you live... from November, 2009. I have no idea if my little blog made it, or if it will be active, or if anyone will even still be visiting with me. I have to say, I really hope that it does.

Because this is a blog being sent to the future, so to speak, or being plucked from the past, I'll write down some of the things I hope to accomplish by October 2010, and I suppose when the time comes, we'll see just how close to the mark I make it.

  1. I hope to have built up a following of at least 50 people. Currently, I'm at 15.
  2. I hope to start & finish a quilt.
  3. I hope to take several sewing classes, so I can have more than a basic knowledge of how to sew.
  4. I hope to be happy, and loved, as I currently am.
  5. I hope for a good year, above all else, for myself, my family, my friends, and anyone who stops by to read my blog.
  6. I hope to have an epiphany along the way, and actually start writing a book- any book, so long as it's written by me.
  7. I hope... a lot, I suppose.
So, if the blog is still here, and people are still reading it... Happy 1 year anniversary, a bit premature from my current time frame. Let's hope the year was a good one!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gillian, my Baby

Gillian is my youngest child. She's my little baby, though don't tell her that! At almost 9, she would screech if she heard herself referred to as a baby.

Last Spring, Gillian's teacher approached me about some things she had seen in the classroom with Gilly that she felt looked a lot like Asperger's Syndrome. Her school used to be where the Autistic children in the district went- it was a mainstream school, but they have a Autistic Spectrum Teacher on staff, a special class room for helping them, and a lot of other resources.

We agreed to have Gillian tested when school started back up this fall, because we've always know something was different about Gillian. She's... special, for a lack of a different word. Gillian is just different, and quirky, and loving, and wonderful, but definitely different.

We just got the final word on the testing today- the school found that after extensive testing, which included Speech Therapy testing, physical therapy, observation periods, and much more, that Gillian does shows enough signs of Asperger's Syndrome to qualify for a diagnosis.

On Friday, we go in and sign her IEP, and go over what support will be put into place to help Gillian be as successful as she can be in school.

Gillian has know from the first moment why they were testing her, and what Asperger's is. I told her today what the school decided, and she asked if that was a bad thing. I told her it wasn't bad, that it just makes her special, and that it means that she'll have more help in school, and let other people help understand her better.

These two photos are two of my absolute favorite pictures of Gillian, because they show who she is. Gillian is just quirky, and isn't scared to be different, or march to the beat of her own drum.

It helps having a diagnosis. It doesn't change who Gillian is, but it can help other people understand her more.

Talented Tuesday

I've come to realize I am just not in the habit of posting anymore, hence the two week break again in Talented Tuesday. I am hoping to get back in the habit. Now that Fall is here, my photography is almost done for the year- I have this one last weekend of photos, and a few sessions to finish out, and that's it- I'm done until Spring.

I've also been crafting a lot- just not posting it. I do hair bows to sell, so that's been keeping me hopping. My friend and I are planning to do at least 1, if not 2, craft shows this year to earn some money before Christmas, so that's been keeping me busy as well.

Crafters- do you do craft shows? We're new to it- I've done shows in the past, but we're talking like 9 years ago. Here's my questions:

Both shows are smaller- $30 tables at one and $15 tables at the other. How much stock should we have on hand? What prices are good for craft shows? Both of us keep our prices pretty low for online sales, compared to many other shops that sell comparable items.

 We have a few additional items planned, besides our hair items. C is going to paint some glass blocks and add lights to them. I'm going to make Christmas ornaments. We're both making hair bow holders. I want to have a small tree on the table for ornaments, too.

Our first show is the weekend before Thanksgiving, so it should afford us some Black Friday spending money ;)

Anyway- on to the real reason why ya'll stopped by- Talented Tuesday.

The Rules

1) Post a blog about something you've made- a refurnish, recipes, a craft project, a sewing project, room decoration, anything you've done!

2) Add a link to your blog post- not to the blog itself, but to the individual posts! You can post more than one project, just add more links! The links should look something like:

and NOT like this:

3) Add the code above to each post you link to the Link Party, so that others can post their projects here as well! The list will accept new links through Saturday, so if you make something new, come back and post it! Don't forget to look at the links on the list, and let people know where you found their post at!

4) No selling things through the Link Party- do not hook up your Etsy shop, or Facebook shop, or eBay account. This is not the forum for that.

This Linky will remain open and accepting links through Wed night, so feel free to come back and add more links if you post new things!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Easy Tutu Tutorial

This week, I am making tutu's for Halloween. The first is a Lady Bug tutu for my 3 year old niece to wear, and the second is a lime green Tinkerbell tutu dress for my 8 year old, Gillian. There are lots of costume ideas at the bottom of this post for using Tutu's for Halloween.

In addition, these make great birthday & holiday gifts for girls who love dressing up and just having fun.

These are only the 2nd & 3rd Tutu's I've made, and I just finished the Lady Bug one this morning. The first one I made was for my oldest daughter to wear to school on Spirit day. For that one, I took elastic, sewed it to the right size, then looped the tulle over it.

I found, though, that the stretchy, crochet style headbands work great as waistbands, and make it so that your tulle is evenly spaced.

Easy Tutu - You'll Need:

1 Pre-made Crochet Headband (You can find them online for as little as $.50 each, or at places like Hobby Lobby for $.99 each, or by the yard in the fabric department).  This will stretch to fit anywhere from about 12 months to around a size 8 in girls.

1-3 rolls of 25 yard, 6" tulle- the more you use, the fluffier and more full the tutu is. It took me 25 yards to make a knee length tutu for a 3 year old. It's not as full as I would like, but it isn't bad.


A hard cover book to stretch the headband over. It should stretch it, without it being stretched to it's limits- it should be able to move easily.

Total Cost Estimate: The cost will depend on the length, amount of tulle used, and the cost of the supplies you purchase. I was able to make my niece's Lady Bug tutu for just over $2.00. If I had had more red on hand, I would have made it more full, though.

Time Spent: It took me maybe 45 minutes to cut and put together the lady bug tutu. The longer the tulle, the longer it takes, because you spend more time keeping the tulle already added out of the way.

  1. First, you want to decide on the length of the tutu. I find it's easiest to hold the tulle up to the child, from either the waist or the chest, and measure down from there. You'll need to fold it in half before cutting it, to double the length. Cut your tulle to that length until you have a good stash. For dresses, or anything longer than about 8-10" in length, you will require at least two rolls of tulle. The longer the tulle, the more you will need.
  2. Stretch your head band over the book and adjust it so it's stretched evenly.
  3. Fold a length of tulle in half, and pinch the folded side. From there, push it through one of the holes from behind so the loop is poking out the top, visible side of the headband. Using your fingers, spread the loop open so there is a hole. Take the ends of the tulle length, and push them through the loop. Once they are through, carefully tug the length until it 'ties' into a tight knot on the headband. Smooth it down, and move on to the next loop. Continue until you have filled that row of holes.
  4. Once it's filled out, lay it on a flat surface so that it forms a circle with all the tulle spread out nice and straight. You will want to give it a 'hair cut' to even the strands out, and this is the easiest way to do that.
  5. Add a bow to the front if you would like!


  • When looping the tulle through the checkerboard style holes on the headband, I opted to use the second row of holes from the edge, not the first row. The tulle cinches tightly, and I thought this gave it a bit more material to grab onto.
  • For a more full tutu, fill every hole on two rows. You can use the same hole for two different ties on different layers. 
  • Cut the top later just a bit shorter than the layer under it, so it stands outward more.
  • Experiment with looping ribbon lengths through the holes as well, or strands of sequins.
  • To make your tutu frugally, order your tulle, or buy it on sale. I have never worked with full width tulle bought by the yard from a bolt, but it typically is cheaper than the rolls. It goes on sale for $.77/yard from Hobby Lobby from time to time. You'll want to cut it into strips to use it.
  • Use small dabs of hot glue to affix gems to the tulle for sparkle. Make sure it's pressed firmly to just the strand you want it on, and lift it away from the tutu while it dries. The glue will stick to everything if it's still warm.
  • To keep your tutu fluffy, when storing it, hang it inside out. The tulle will settle as it hangs, and when you flip it back over, it will fluff right back up.
I found my Tulle online at Gifts International. The cost is $1.25 for a 25 yard roll of 6" wide tulle. At Hobby Lobby, it runs $2.99 for a 6", 25 yard roll, so the savings a pretty good. They also have rolls of 3", 12", and 18" tulle, and have 34 colors in stock.

They also have shimmer tulle, which has just a bit of a glimmer to it- it is NOT glitter tulle. The Shimmer tulle is $1.50 for a 6" 25 yard roll. At hobby lobby, this type of tulle is $4.99 a roll. There are fewer color choices in Shimmer, but they do still have 14 colors available.


If you need plain white, and don't want to wait to order, or pay shipping, Dollar Tree does carry white & ivory. They are only 8 yard rolls, though, so they are still more expensive than getting it from anywhere else, including Hobby Lobby. It would cost $3 to get 24 yards, as opposed to $2.99 for 25 yards at HobLob.

Costume ideas for Tutu's at Halloween-

Tinkerbell- Lime Green (or Citrus Green) and Kelly Green

Witch- Black, or Black with Purple, Citrus Green, Orange, and Shocking Pink

Lady Bug- Red with black puff ball spots

Rock Star- Any bright colors mixed with black, and worn with leggings, a cute shirt, and a jean jacket

Princess- Pink, Purple, White, or a Mix- you can make a dress out of it, or a skirt.

Bumble Bee- Yellow & Black- create vivid stripes by doing 2-3 of black, followed by 2-3 of yellow. Alternating every other one will create a less vivid striped pattern.

Zebra- White & Black striped the same as the Bumble Bee.

Tiger- Orange & Black striped the same as the bumble bee.

Pirate Princess - Red & Black striped the same as the bumble bee- add a striped shirt, striped tights, and a bandana.

Pumpkin- Orange & Green- make a dress, and use the green to create a short, spikey fringe of tulle for the top layer. Use felt to add a mouth, nose, and eyes to the middle of the dress.

Peacock- Aqua, Green, and Royal Blue Tulle- add a pair of wings, and embellish with peacock feathers.

Ballerina- Pink Tulle, paired with a leotard, decorated with gems. Add ballet flats for shoes.

Angel- White Tulle paired with a white leotard. You can add white marabou trim to the tutu and wings to make them more Angel like.

Flower Fairy- Bright Colors of Tulle with a green or brown leotard or shirt under. Add fake flowers for embellishment, and a wand & wings