How María Fernanda Was Born

At the very last minute, I ended up joining the ISP Sketchers project for another round. Initially, I didn’t think my new life as a M.O.T. (mother of twins) would allow me any free time to make art, but my system was hungry for it and while my daughters’ were napping, I was getting creative.

J and I teamed up for this project. Our group consisted of five people. Each person receives their own sketchbook. This book gets passed around to each member of the group and the participants are given three weeks to create a piece. Some required that you work with a specific theme and others were free choice.

J and I decided that I would produce the art work and then he would create a story for the pictures. In order to keep the ideas pure and authentic, we didn’t discuss the art work or the stories together, until we both completed our parts. So as soon as the art was completed, the book fell into his hands and he plunged his ideas into the computer.

As I started tearing up pieces of paper and layering them on, the work magically began to unfold. What surprised me the most was the storyline J came up with and how María Fernanda grew to become the protagonist of our art. It was never my intention.

I am thrilled that somehow with our new lifestyle, we got the opportunity to create and share this new character.

Here are the five pieces we developed for this round:

1st piece: Our Book/No Theme

There is life happening behind the blurry window. María Fernanda can hear it. A blue bird wakes her up with the message that the queen flower of the spring, that inhabits her lower body, is starting to fade. The colors and magnetic properties of this flower will be transferred to the flowers of the senses, bringing a sort of renaissance to María Fernanda’s life. Soon she will be taking the stages again, dancing behind red, white or pink curtains in the most reputed theaters of Mexico.

2nd piece: Theme was to use the color Purple

María Fernanda grew up in a violent time. The revolution did not mean much to a kid but purple became the wallpaper of her living experiences. “Purple is the color of our men’s blood mixed with our women’s tears” Villa used to say. She closed her eyes to the suffering and continued dancing. Alone in front of the mirror, any time of the day was perfect:  8,6, 3, 5, 9, 6. Her faith and stubbornness pushed her forward. She knew that her chances were as thin as a thread, but that thread was the only way of reaching the stars and the light bulbs of 100 stages, and the only way life was worth living in this bitter world.

Third piece: Theme was patterns and poetry

Her fleeting heart like a comet that crashed into him on a sunset of reds.
Jan fleeting comet heart crash red sunset Neruda
Paul red comet fleeting heart sunset crash Verlaine
Neftalí comet crash fleeting sunset red heart Reyes

Fourth piece: Theme was to reflect back on your childhood doodling

María Fernanda got tired of the city. The park was supposed to be nature and Mulberry St. felt like Rome. “Oh gashh” she said looking through the glass at the rainy streets, ” I will eat my next portion of fettuccine in Italia. Even if I have to swim there!” She took off all her clothes and put them in a closet. Some passengers were initially surprised to see a naked lady on a luxury ship, but after some days they got used to it and were able to appreciate her for whom she really was. Italy was dark and she fell.  She got hurt. A silver pin in her stomach to carry around. María Fernanda drove south, looking for warmer lands with the orange smell of home. She knew that she had arrived to the place when she saw a skirt she loved. It had been hard spending such a long time undressed. Some people can be quite rude when you walk around naked and sincere.

Final piece for this round: Piece had to include words

It is cold again. María Fernanda reflects with her eyes lost in the depths of the arabica darkness. “Dirty water! This is no coffee!” Back in the city, the week has been exhausting and awakening. So many layers of life taking place at once.  Last night, on the train coming back from the studio, she had seen Ana,  an old friend from her hometown of  Córdoba. “Here you are now,” she had said, “dance until you forget your name, until you don’t know who you were anymore, and wake up. You are here.”

Give me Knitting or Give me Death! (Yes…very dramatic!)

Somehow amidst this new life of raising a pair of adorable infant girls, I am able to steal a few minutes a day to knit a couple of stitches here and there. I finally finished a pair of hats from the PICKLES website that I have wanted to make for some time. A pair of turbans for my girls! They match the mittens I knitted right before the girls were born.

At first I thought these would be difficult to make because of one step that required creating a knot, but I was wrong. It knits up pretty quick and easy. The perfect combination for my current hectic days.

Baby A curiously exploring her fine knit wear

Baby B modeling this Winter's collection


Here’s the link to the pattern: http://www.pickles.no/lazy-daisy-baby-jacket/

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Made

The best thing I ever made (I should also credit my loving husband here as well, he did do half of the work) arrived on the 3rd of August. After a strange summer of hazy and chilly days in Prague, the sun was shining and the skies were a bright blue the day our babies were born. Baby A entered our world at exactly 11:00 AM in a very loud and explosive manner. Her cries echoed throughout the hospital’s corridors.  A minute later, Baby B quickly followed her sister with a  calm and quiet entrance, the exact opposite to her big sister’s.

Here they are: Baby A & Baby B!

Both girls are healthy and strong. They possess ferocious appetites, sleep very well and produce many soiled diapers. According to what I have read about newborns, they are doing exactly what they should be doing. Since coming into our lives Baby A and Baby B have done nothing but make us smile and fall in love with them, even at 2 in the morning! We have quickly learned to treasure each moment whether big or small for many people have said:”Once you have kids, life goes by in a flash.”So far, it’s been ringing true.

one month later

two months later

Just knitted…

I have been warned countless times by friends who have been blessed with parenthood, that soon enough, I will have less time on my hands. Which also translates to- knitting will be something I might not see for some time. So, just in case, I did try to knit as much as I could these past few months.

My dear friend Alli B., came back from her visit to the States with two adorable knitted winter hats for the girls, one in purple and the other in fushia.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to squeeze one last project in and managed to knit these mittens to match. The pattern comes from one of my favorite knitting websites: Pickles. They also sell some wonderful yarn. http://www.pickles.no/winterbaby-kit-with-hat-and-mi/

It took me less than two days to complete the two sets. I might have been even faster, if it weren’t for the third trimester pang of exhaustion that kicked in.

While We Were Waiting…

My mom arrived a few weeks ago because my doctor thought the girls would have been born around July 20th. Well, as I write, it is July 31st and it seems that these two girls are going to go the whole 37 weeks after all!

While my mother was on the other side of the Atlantic, she was busy crocheting a pair of blankets, booties, bonnets and bags for her twin granddaughters. Fortunately, the heat has let up in Prague and we have been enjoying a cool summer, unlike the rest of my family in New York City! So, the girls may just come home from the hospital wrapped up in their grandma-made cotton blankies.

Made with Grandma's Love

I, on the other hand, prefer to knit. And I was able to make these two sweaters and another lil’ dress in these last few weeks. The sweater pattern is so simple and can be adapted to any type of yarn or needle. It’s a great project when you are scarce on time and want to whip up something fast, but still quite stylish. Here’s the link to the pattern : http://www.domesticsphere.com/freepatterns.php  

Asymetrical Easy-Peasy Sweaters

Then just scroll down to: bulky baby asymmetrical cardigan for any gauge yarn

http://www.torafrosethdesign.no/Littlesistersdress.html


What I’ve Liked About Being Pregnant

At 32 weeks, I know that I haven’t got much time left. Major stuff has been happening at home in anticipation of the girls. And soon enough, both sets of grandparents will  arrive to be present for their births. It is going to be a full house! Knowing that I might possibly have just another 5-6 weeks left (if all works out), I started thinking about all the wonderful things that I have enjoyed during my pregnancy. Sadly, it doesn’t last forever…

Here is my list, without any particular order:

Pizza with no questions asked: Since I was a wee little girl, I have always loved pizza. J can’t understand my passion for pizza, but during the whole pregnancy, he never denied my request for pizza (and nachos) when a craving came about. Mangia la pizza!

People giving up their seats on the trams and metro: I knew I was finally a bona fide pregnant woman when this started happening to me as I boarded any form of public transportation. If a tram or subway was packed and I entered the car with my bump leading the way, a kind soul stood up from their seat and offered it to me.  It was as if the people of Prague shed the layers of their cold reputation and revealed the warmth of their souls by allowing me to rest the weight I was carrying for the rest of my ride home. Thank you citizens of Prague!

The roundness of my body: Never have I felt so round: in my breasts, in my abs, my hips and I even developed a little junk in my trunk. I have never had anything to display back there, so I truly appreciate the fullness of my figure. Knowing that all that “extra” is meant to nourish my daughters makes those new squishy deposits all worth it. Keep growing girls!

The movement in my belly: It seemed like figuring out that moment took forever. I wasn’t even sure how to recognize it, but once it happens, it is true what they say,  you  know for sure. Feeling the movement of the girls inside my belly is one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.  The whole idea of being pregnant and becoming parents feels so surreal, even seeing the girls in an ultrasound doesn’t make a big difference. BUT feeling them squirm inside my body makes me realize how alive and a part of our lives they already are. Even more, I love recalling the first time J felt them. I placed his hand on the upper right side and boom, one of them kicked and J couldn’t believe how strong it was. One of the few moments that made me weepy with joy.

My community near and far: Living so many miles and kilometers away from our family and closest friends, I feel really blessed for the friendships J and I have made over the past 6 years of living in Prague. We have received so many well wishes, hand-me downs, meals, advice and love from the members of our home away from home. It’s comforting to have so many people sending their support both near and far.

Hair growth and lack of: The strands on top of my head have grown in abundance. The ones on my legs have disappeared, which is a great thing since I can’t bend down to shave’ em. I have heard that the hair on my head shall shed once the girls exit my body, but for now I am enjoying the luxury of the length and thickness that I have accumulated over the past 8 months.

What people say:  I have gotten so many compliments since becoming pregnant. I will miss hearing “You look great!”, “You’re gorgeous!”, “You look amazing for someone with twins!” Even if it is untrue, it’s appreciated. Then there is the flip side, the weird questions or comments I have received about carrying twins. Some have made me laugh and others have made me wonder about where some people come from.

Nap time: I have always been a good sleeper. So, indulging in naps because of the waves of exhaustion that the hormones of pregnancy produces has been a delight.  I have been warned countless times that sleep will become an issue in the coming years, so it seems only just to take advantage of these opportunities to fall into a deep slumber. I hope the girls will inherit this trait.

Joining the sisterhood of motherhood: Becoming a member of this club has unlocked a treasure chest of a new stage in friendships. Women who I really had nothing in common with before, have become new friends just by sharing this bond of motherhood and pregnancy. With my closer girlfriends who joined this club earlier than me, it has further deepened our friendships and brought up topics we never really explored before. I definitely learned that one can’t really discuss pregnancy and motherhood without really experiencing it. It’s just not the same.

My husband: He’s just absolutely fantastic!

I am sure there are plenty of other bits and bobs that have delighted me during this journey, but for now this is my list. I’ll be sure to update should any other ideas pop into my head.

DIY Wall Art: Lindsey Inspired

As it always seems to happen, year after year in the transient community we live in, we must say good-bye to another dear friendship made in Prague. Our pal Lindsey is off to Toronto, Canada or maybe Chicago. It’s an exciting time for her because the future is still unknown, but all the possibilities are positively thrilling. As a good-bye present, we wanted to give her something meaningful, hand-made and connected to Prague. I’m a big advocate for hand-made vs.  store-bought gifts, which at times, can be quite challenging, but also thought-provoking.

Lindsey lives in a section of town called Zizkov and from her kitchen window she had a spectacular view of the Zizkov TV Tower. If you Google it, you’ll soon find out that this example of high-tech architecture, according to various polls, has been at the top of the list of ugliest buildings in the world.  We don’t agree. My husband thinks it is a cool tower and we especially enjoy artist David Cerny’s weird looking baby sculptures crawling up the building. For Lindsey, her close vicinity to the tower became a special symbol of Prague for her and likewise, developed a deep affection for it. We wanted to find a way that she could take it with her on her next adventure. This is what we came up with:

Materials: Photo of landmark, map of the city, sheet of tracing paper, sheet of thick black paper, sheet of butcher paper, scissors, glue stick and a picture frame. Size depends on you.

Step 1: Choose a photo of a landmark.

Zizkov T.V Tower: See the babies?

Step 2: Affix a sheet of tracing paper over the photograph with tape or clips and  trace the outline of the building.

Step 4: Carefully, cut around the outline.

Step 5: Choose a place on the map for the silhouette. We found a map that featured Lindsey’s street, neighborhood and the many other playgrounds in Prague she frequently visited.

Step 6: Glue the silhouette to the map.

Step 7: Trim the map down to evenly place it on your butcher paper which will create a nice frame.

Step 8: Find a frame that you like and place your piece of art inside.                 Then give it to your dear friend without crying.

Na shledanou Linds!

We are gonna miss you Linds!