As many of you know last year Tess had a horrible year with her belly. She missed over 40 days of school, that number doesn’t even take into consideration the days she arrived at school late or when I was called to pick her up from the nurses’ office which was pretty much all the time. I think about it now and it sounds crazy but the poor thing just really had a rough time of it. So the end of the year was fast approaching and I was dragging my feet signing her up for camp. She needs to do SOMETHING part of me thought, the distraction will help her get through this phase. Of course other parts of me were saying I also don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a camp just to get a call that her belly hurt and she needed to be picked up. Total dilemma. What to do? I looked around a few offerings in WNY. There is the acting camps ** she’s not into theater** there are science camps ** unless it is slime I don’t think she’d be into it ** there are sports camps ** if her belly hurts at all she’s going to be sitting on the sideline feeling miserable**. My decision making skills were halted. I started thumbing through Martha Stewart Magazine thinking if it is going to be Tessa and me all summer together I’d better get started pulling some projects together. I love spending time with Tess but I also love when she finds inspiration and joy when spending time with other kids and adults. I was a little depressed about the whole thing. Tess came home from school that day and I asked what was on her summer bucket list hoping she’d have some ideas that I could piggyback off of. She said, I think I want to sew something. ( Eli had given her a sewing machine as a birthday present a few years ago and we really never explored using it other than the stray pillow here and there.) I was off, it was a perfect idea! She’d be doing something ‘crafty’, she’d be focused and probably not notice her belly pain, and she’d be indoors so she could take a break if she needed it. I went to the world wide web and googled my brains out until I found a children’s sewing class in Buffalo. It is called Fashion Lab NY. Little did I know that this was going to be the greatest camp of all time for Tessa.
I was a little hesitant to sign her up for a full day for a full week of camp at first. I mean, it is longer than her school day and she really hadn’t been in school for a full week since September. Day one, dropped Tessa off fully expecting a phone call around noon. I waited. No call. Picked her up and the end of the day and she was so giddy! She couldn’t stop chattering about her inspiration board, types of fabric, and the long list of things she planned to make by the end of the week long camp. Day two, dropped Tessa off fully expecting a call at noon. No call. I picked her up at the end of the day and she was wearing a gigantic smile and a new headband she had made that day in class. Fashion Lab continued all week and each day the sewing project got more and more advanced. Tess kept everything a secret though because on the final day of camp there was a fashion show planned. I could only imagine what an 8 year old child with little to no interest in what she wore to school would produce for a ‘fashion show’. The final day came and we invited the whole family to the show. IT WAS AMAZING! The girls produced some of the cutest outfits, I couldn’t believe they had done it in only a few short days! They each walked out on the catwalk a few times with different items and accessories they had created. You could see the pride in all of their faces as they turned to the crowd and flaunted their new clothing. I was sold. It was the best thing I could’ve done for Tessa last June. She gained confidence and and new life skill (she is a better seamstress than I am these days!).
Since then Tess has taken a number of classes from Arlene at Fashion Lab and she LOVES them, by the way Eli has gone to FLNY as well and he had a great time making an emoji pillow. It is my #1 ‘carrot’ for Tess these days. Arlene offers a number of sewing camps for different ages and levels and it took me a while searching on the internet to find the classes so I figured I’d save y’all a few hours and give you the link right here. Also, Arlene gave us a discount code to use: FLNYCAMP25Erinsfriends – to be used when you register for a Full Day/Full Week of any FLNY Fashion Camp. You must put the code in when you register for it to be activated. It will give them $25 off a Full week of camp. It cannot be used toward Half-day Camps. It expires on Saturday, 6/23 at 5:00pm.