Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An Inspiring Story of One Super Special Family and Their Mission to Help Others

Quiltsmart Smart Bag
Photo Provided Courtesy of Tina at http://captainjacktastic.wordpress.com/
Recently, we were contacted by Quiltsmartie Tina regarding the Quiltsmart Smart Bag pattern.  She has been sewing the bags for special needs children and giving them away.  We quickly learned through our conversations, and reading her blog how special the work Tina is doing really is.  Tina agreed to do a Q&A for our blog, and tell us more about the amazing work she does to help special needs children, and her very own child Jack.  

Out of her own pocket, Tina purchases the fabric, patterns and notions needed to donate Smart Bags to special needs children all around the country.  The children use these for the items that make their lives more comfortable, and in many cases are brought into the creation process through picking their own fabric. 

We have been touched by Jack and his entire family, they are a great example of keeping a positive attitude and paying it forward.  Through reading about Jack on their blog, he has inspired us to count our blessings and see life for the beautiful gift it is.  Tina was amazing enough to tell us more about herself and her family.  Make sure you check out Jack's blog in the links below!

How did you get into sewing?

I always wanted to sew-- in my earliest memories. But I thought a person needed to posses some magical mystical gene to make them be able to do it.  
Middle school Home EC class soured me on sewing in a big way.  My teacher belittled me for my fabric and style choices.  I was crushed!.....but the desire to sew  never went away. When I was 27 I took a very simple quilting class with a very encouraging teacher.  I was inspired and on my way.
It was what I needed to get going!

Where do you find your sewing inspiration?
I find inspiration EVERYWHERE! I am always looking to make things and make things BETTER!  I am loathe to thrown out scraps and try to up cycle as much as I can.
Since I sew a lot for special needs children and young adults, there are often very specific items needed-- that need to be "tweaked" to fit the needs of the child.  Like bibs, bags, etc

You donate a lot of Smart Bags to special needs children, how do the bags help them/ what ways can they use them to make life easier?
A lot of children want to carry around special items, or collections.  The SMARTBAG is perfect for that!  They also attach  very easily on mobility devices.  AND are also very easy to carry.  

Tonight I made a special bag for a student to carry his emergency seizure meds .
He got to pick the fabrics for the bag....so it also made him part of the process!

ANOTHER amazing use for the smart bag is to make it a bag for the car and/or outings -- it can hold all the many things that an autism parent might need for their child ALL IN ONE PLACE! For instance....with MY son, we can never go anywhere without a slinky, fuzzballs, a few Legos, and a healthy amount of bendy straws.

How did you realize there was a need for the Smart Bags?
I realized there was a need after I donated the first set to a raffle at my husbands school (He works as a special education teacher) I made three.  And people- many people approached me after that asking for more more more!
It's awesome, because depending on the fabrics used, it becomes a very special item for the kids!
It is something made JUST FOR THEM.  

Do you have future goals for your sewing in order to help more people?

I am working on making sensory balls, aprons, drool bibs and so much more.
I sew something every single day.
While it is not very cost effective, I give away most of the things I make-- I love to sew and just how many bags and / or quilts can one person use?

Besides, I totally believe that it all comes back to me in a very positive way.
I like to spread the love.

What can other people do to help?
I recently wrote a blog post about taking my severely autistic son to the grocery store.( http://captainjacktastic.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/do-you-see-the-fan/ )
 He was very very happy because he saw a fan there .  But.....his behavior made some people uncomfortable.
And it shouldn't.
When you see us (special needs kids -- and their family members or respite workers)  SMILE.  Smile at us and I promise you we will smile back.
That helps us ALL.

You can check out Jack's FaceBook page

Jackson has a rare genetic disease called:
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.
Learn about that at


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