Friday, March 30, 2012

Clothes shredding goes mainstream

Our newest project in the store has been making hand made muslin ribbons - to try to find something Andrew likes to do,is good at and can be turned into a product is a never ending quest.

He is absolutely fabulous at shredding - that is a well honed skill -  jeans, shirts, sweatshirts, removing hoods from sweatshirts, sleeves from same, and/or removing the toe ends of socks are all highly enjoyable "hobbies."  Perhaps the clothes are autistically restyled, retro or shabby chic?

Is he onto something the rest of the world is not?  A hoodieless sweat shirt that still bares the raw threads from its recent revision gives it a bohemian sort of look I suppose.  Toeless socks might be nice with sandals... who  makes the rules anyway, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

He has recently taken to removing belt loops from clothing, everyones clothing, we all walk around this house belt loopless - jeans, pants, anything with belt loops. When he can find a scissor the loops are neatly removed, When he cannot it is a random ripping sort of affair, and leaves jagged holes, artfully  placed around the waist band. Should you choose colorful underwear all the better for a more avant garde effect.

So do we have a budding designer? Ready for the runway? maybe not.  He'd need an agent to represent him for sure.

So it was with some tongue in cheek humor that shredding has now gone mainstream... he is now shredding 100% cotton into strips which are then dyed, ironed and turned into colorful homespun ribbons.

So I guess there is some sort of silver lining to even the most awkard and seemingly destructive behaviors.


Andrew's shredding takes on a new flair!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Andrew at work

I have seen great strides since Andrew has been working in our shop.  Our  logo is  "Creative employment for people with autism."

I would like to hope and think that our sons and daughters can do  more than put bolts in a box or some other mundane task that society deems they can or should do.  What can we do to change this perception?
I would like to hope and think that if given the opportunity our kids can do many many things, it is on our shoulders to think up those tasks that are respectful and interesting to them and then make it happen....

Maybe that should be the store's logo: MAKE IT HAPPEN  

Andrew was hard at work this day putting labels on little soap samples!  He seemed to really like it and I think on some level he knows it is something different and something more tuned in to independence and growing up.... He labeled quite a few soaps that day, and he was quite fast at it... His only reward was a bag of chips! 


Working hard

Today we tried something new, putting labels on candle jars. Shown once, Andrew was ready to do them all. Had I had 100 candles, he probably would have done them all...  He seems to enjoy new jobs and likes a little twist and challenge.

I wish I had more work for him and each day I try to dream up something new!

Keep the challenges coming, keep things diverse and at the same time consistent to their schedules and you have a happy mix.  I know this was a week where planets must have been in alignment because we had a "smiley" week.

I tried to post a picture but somehow or another I lost the pictures in cyber space. Will try again tomorrow...


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Silence is NOT golden

Recently someone said to me that it's hard to delineate and determine what  deficits or lack of progress a person with autism might have due to many individuals with autism's inability to speak.

I would fancy a guess that if you look closely at a person with autism, even the nonverbal ones, they WILL tell you how they are doing if you care to take the time and attention to observe them,  interact with them, and care about them.

For them silence is NOT golden since they become the  silent society that does not get the attention or rewards that speaking individuals can demand.

It makes me angry and it makes me determined to keep fighting to keep speaking up for people with autism who cannot. 

Don't let silence be the last "word." 


Monday, March 26, 2012

Hope & love autism hearts

For the last month I have been working on little stoneware autism puzzle  heart charms. They are hand made, and fired in a kiln, glazed and fired again. 

A labor of love truly.  Many of the hearts have love and hope inscribed on the back. 

A little necklace was created  and I hope to honor Autism awareness month in a special way.

Our candles are up and running, (albeit slowly, I  need a few more arms and definitely a second set of fingers to finish all I would like to do)...

I hope they are successful in raising some awareness and some money toward our goal of donating more IPODS and IPADS to individuals with autism...

A delicate hemp, bamboo or leather cord was added to allow them to be worn as a necklace or dangled in your car as a reminder to never let hope and love slip away... No matter what, keep those things close to your heart.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

sharing some pictures of those things that lift me up

A couple of photos of some scenes from the barn where Andrew and I work  in relative peace.  Photography is something I gave up years ago and am trying to get back into my life.  It is easy to get derailed when you have a child with a disability, but finding yourself again in something you love, whatever that is is a way to reconnect to the person you are- I often lose my way in my need to support and direct my son, and I know most of us do the same - so every once in a while I guess we need to come back to the road we left many years ago.

Looking for pictures you wish to share

Hoping as time goes on, parents may want to jump in this blog from time to time to share the upbeat moments.  We all have our very downbeat moments, and I think the autism Listservs are a way for us to connect, interface and share the good and bady. I'd like this blog to focus on our positive days since that is the mission of the blog and we all need to celebrate the good, and try to get through the tough...

So that is what I will do and hope to give parents a place to lose their worries for a few minutes and celebrate those good days... sometimes we feel we will never leave the bad behind, so when we have a good day, please share it and if you would like share pictures as well, an internet album of sorts of our children in action...


Saturday, March 24, 2012

A smile is worth 1000 words

For the past year or so we have been missing our son's smile, and joy.  Recently, it has begun to come back in spurts. Mixed in with the bad days, there are a few little rays of sun that you pray return and shine through the clouds.

I caught this brief relaxed smile a few months back as we began to set up the barn as his workshop, job, classroom area.  As you can see ( I wish I could use Photoshop to erase all the background clutter), we were stocking up on ribbons.

since then Andrew has learned to measure and cut ribbons for gift boxing and wrapping.  We used a simple method of using a Sharpie on a card table to measure our feet and yards, and with a scissor and scotch tape he measures out and snips. 

He shows a real interes in working in his little shop and if he smiling I know I am at least on the right path.

Does anyone have a picture they have of their son or daughter engaged in a crafty activity or leisure activity and smiling?  I pray for smiles these days... so many days of unhappiness and gloom, a smile can make my day. 


thinking out loud - take 2

For reasons unknown to me, if my finger slips off one singular key I find myself thrown back into a page I do not recognize, making edits that I know in my computer dysfunctionality will be deadly mistakes bound to throw me right off this blog permanently.... 

I began a post and it flew away right before my eyes... I had been thinking about how autism has changed me and many of us and I hope that on those days where I can get a focus on things, I can continue to believe that love changes things, love heals things, and love will help us endure all things.

One of the things I have learned this last year, was that experiences  I thought I could not endure  I did, I had no choice, and events  I thought I could not get through I did. You have to... love never waivers, never falters, never questions, always remains a constant.  I know that is true of all the parents that inhabit the autism listservs.  I can say the same about them.... love never falters, wanes or quits...

You bring a baby home,  you love them and you pledge your life to them, autism or not, love never quits...


What is the Dandelion Cooperative - Who are we?

At the heart of the Dandelion Cooperative is autism. We live and breathe autism on a daily basis.

The Dandelion Cooperative, LLC is a small grass roots business whose creation was initiated by the need to create an outlet and engagement for our son, Andrew, who is severely impacted by autism. Like many with autism, he needs a lot of help, direction and engagement, and those types of support are in short supply. With a weakened economy these children emerging into the teen  years  and young adult years, are being swept up in the lack of services with parents scrambling to figure it out quickly with little help.
Out of this difficult time for Andrew, a time of regression and backsliding to a very difficult and stressful place, the Dandelion Cooperative was born.
     Created specifically with the thought of fund raising and creative employment for Andrew in his own small business, I sped ahead not sure exactly how it would all work out in the end.
     What happened surprised even me. He liked it. He genuinely liked being involved, being given new tasks, being treated like he "can" versus he cannot and will not succeed.
   He reacted to new tasks initially with interest and better behaviors, so we felt we were on the right track.

We asked other craftspersons to join, we slowly built a small group of individuals willing to donate 20% of their sales toward fund raising for IPADS AND IPODS with communication software and so it started, and continues.   Products got better, Andrew became craftier and more helpful.
     The hope now is to grow and engage another individual to work in this tiny company. 
     We have talented soap makers, potters, candle makers, bee keepers, and graphic artists willing to help and we are so grateful.

Thanks to everyone on our autism listserv who made me feel anything was possible.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Our Scotty

Our Scotty from our severe list hanging out with his IPAD - Judy is a much loved member of our list and Scotty received one of the IPADS from our last fund raiser.

He is intently listening to the Beatles, and I would say he looks like a happy camper!

Love you Judy


Catching up

Coming in April soy candles - our candle makers, Colleen & Dave, created a beautiful candle just for this shop - beautiful lemon yellow ( a hopeful cheery color) and a clean scent of fresh linen.  Made exclusively for us...

It is 6.5 oz and a nice way to honor autism awareness.  50% of proceeds from this candle will be donated toward the purchase of our next communication device. 

I spent the last couple of weeks making little stoneware hearts, hand stamped with a puzzle piece in the center. They will be a nice keepsake piece long after the candle is gone. It was fun making the hearts, my first foray into stoneware, and as far as I am going to go. Pottery is a complicated and detailed art - best left to the experts, but I think they hearts will be wonderful and fun, and hope they come of the kiln in one piece. I think they will be fired this weekend, and I can post a picture.

I hope I have finally figured out the blog bugs and now have a working  blog!

One of our potters little creations - a litle butternut bird house. I sure did not make this, hope you enjoy this little touch of spring!


Dandelion Cooperative blog is up and running

After much faltering on my part and lots of stuttering getting the blog up and running with mistakes on my part I think I have finally gotten it right!  

So let me start over - I hope to explain what the Dandelion cooperative is all about. Simply put it is an on-line shop that sells hand made items on Etsy. 

Everything in the shop is hand made by myself, or other craftspersons or artisans from soaps to candles to hand thrown pottery.  

The purpose of this small grass roots company and the intent of this company was pretty simple. It was created in the darkest of times of our lives as parents of a teen with autism.  During the darkest of times, the shop brought us hope by fund raising to buy IPADS for some families with young men with autism.

With the support from some great parents on  an autism listserv, together we managed to raise enough money to buy two devices and send them out to a young man in NY and one in Washington State.

That was the seed of the Dandelion Cooperative and it continues on with hope and perserverance.

The products that are sold through the Dandelion Cooperative are supported by artisand and craftspersons who support our quest to raise money for our  extended "family."  We continue to work hard every day to produce products that are quality made, hand made and fun to use. 

Each and every aspect of the process wherever possible includes our most important shop member, Andrew.

He takes part in many of the inner workings of the shop from hole punching to stapling to glueing, mailing and ripping.

Every project, whenever possible includes his help and he seems to enjoy the part he plays in the shop. 

The shop will continue to donate money toward the purchase of IPADS AND IPODS with communication software  and every sale  contributes to this goal. Each artisan donates 20% of sales toward  the purchase of the next communication device. That is their pledge and that will always be the goal of this shop.

Onward and upward and thanks to everyone for their support!

Starting Over

Well, after much ado and many attempts I cannot seem to get my act together to get this blog completed without errors. 

Initially creating two accounts for the same person, me and now making a misspelled word and finding no way and no how to edit it! What gives, there must be an edit button right? An Easy button? Help...