Monday, 28 March 2011


I should have posted this some time ago so apologies to Tina for not trumpeting (!) her beautiful Elephant quilt from Kate North's 'another Little Quilt Swap'.  This is the 5th swap Kate has organised and this time we worked to an A4 or US equivalent sizing.  You can look at all the quilts made by clicking here.  You need to scroll through to the 1 February and earlier to see the quilts.  Kate has the unenviable task of sorting out everyone's requests and matching quilt to 'swapee'. 

I love Tina's work so I was really pleased to receive her elephant.  Tina's work is always very colourful and always involves a lot of handstitching and usually a fair scattering of sequins and embellishments.  This elephant is even more special because Tina made him and many others while undergoing chemo and this is the last of her chemo elephants. Tina is now well and fully recovered and I feel privileged to have this special elephant.  Do click on the image to see all the details and printing that Tina included in her quilt.

This is the quilt I made for the swap

The quilt was made from a piece of shibori dyed fabric that I made in a workshop a couple of years ago.  I decided to work it all by hand and it helped me get through some of the time when I was looking after my mum after her stroke. I always find hand sewing very soothing and I'm sure it lowers the blood pressure.

My quilt went off to Wil Opio Oguta who lives in the Netherlands and who is coincidentally a fellow member of the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild.  It's a small world, especially as Tina and I belong to the same quilt group too!

Saturday, 26 March 2011


                                                                      26 March 1996

Flutter like a butterfly riding on the wind
Dancing and skipping over the land
Upon Copper Hill you will rest on my hand.
You can't stay put as time moves on
But remember the good times and be on your way.
So fly little butterfly, fly on the wind
And one day we'll meet again.                      love L

Friday, 25 March 2011

My Brother

has just reminded me that it's been a while since I've had anything to say here.  Bad girl!  I've been blog hopping and commenting but just haven't got round to committing my own words to the ether.  Equally I don't have a lot to share, although I did go to the Sewing For Pleasure show yesterday and had a pleasant time wandering around instead of dashing everywhere like a headless chicken as I usually do.  It was lovely meeting up with fellow bloggers Sandra, a special friend; Lynda (lovely to meet up at last!) and quite unexpectedly, Gina, who I have known since we both started blogging.  I did take a few photos but they're still in my camera so maybe next time for those.

Belatedly I have some photos for you of the trip I made to London 2 weeks ago to attend the annual meeting of the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild.  I hadn't been to an annual meeting before but it was a very enjoyable affair made more exciting by a talk from the guest speaker Jo Budd.  

I first came across Jo's work at the Festival of Quilts in 2008 and remember being blown away by the size of her work and the painterly quality of the way she used fabrics and colours.  Unsurprisingly Jo's talk was entitled 'Painting with Cloth' and that is precisely what she has spent her textile career doing after studying painting and textiles at University.  Jo specialises in layering different weights of cloth and using stitch as marks to mould the surface.  

She spends hours getting just the right quality of stitch to achieve the effect she is seeking and will rip it all out if it is not perfect.  Jo describes stitch as being the energy in her work. She has made much use of rusted fabrics and it was fascinating to see something of her process in her Powerpoint presentation.  Some of the marks she achieves are made by monoprint and her whole talk sparked off all sorts of ideas and kept my pen busy taking notes and ideas for future projects of my own.  I just need to find the time and energy to do them!

When the meeting finished I walked back to Kings Cross and quickly captured a few photos on the way.

The BT Tower just adjacent to our venue on Hamlet Court Road.

Just a few of the ladies gathering for the day's business.

What era would you say these shop signs date from?  This is Heals department store which has been trading for 200 years.

This enormous sculpture of Sir Isaac Newton stands in the grounds of the British Library and is the work of Eduardo Paolozzi.

This imposing sign proclaims the entrance to this grand building in case you were in any doubt.

I was struck by this view of the newly renovated St Pancras Hotel towering over the modern shapes of the library and its gardens and sculptures.  I think DH and I will have to have a day trip to the capital to see this properly and the new St Pancras station too.

On Sunday it will be 3 weeks since we brought Mum up to Lincolnshire and thankfully she seems to be settling into her new home.  She is missing her friends but is much more relaxed and has a big smile on her face whenever I go in to see her.  We are going to bring her to our house on Sunday for the afternoon so I hope that doesn't unsettle her but it will be nice to spend some 'normal' time with her away from the home. 

Whatever you are doing this weekend have a good time.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Photoshop Essentials Course

I'm just nipping in here to let you know that the very talented Kim Klassen is offering her Photoshop Essentials Course again starting on Tuesday this week.  If you missed out when Kim did this course earlier this year it's well worth brushing up your skills now.  Kim is an excellent teacher and she'll soon have you using Photoshop with ease.  You can link to Kim's site from the button in my side bar or by clicking here.  You can also sign up to receive her email newsletter and benefit from her free textures.  I don't have any affiliation with Kim, I'm just delighted that I have had the chance to learn from her clear and entertaining videos otherwise my Elements 6 would still be languishing unloved and neglected on my computer.  

I'll be back soon with a catch up but I must get to bed now.  Mum is happy and settling in well in her care home.  Her forgetfulness has its funny side, I went to see her on Friday around lunchtime.  The carers brought her lunch in to the lounge and after she had eaten half of it she suddenly got up and left the room.  When she didn't come back I went to look for her and found her in the dining room eating a pudding and drinking tea!  She'd forgotten all about me and her dinner!  Pudding was much more interesting! LOL

Belton House where we had a lovely visit with some friends today because I can't do a post without a photo :-)

MY heart goes out to the poor people of Japan who are facing such a terrifying time.  So many natural disasters in recent times.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

You know you're losing it when

you can't find your mobile that you've just been using and it turns up on the landline charging dock!

Doh!!!  At least it's given us a laugh :-))

I'm pleased to say we have brought Mum safely up to Lincolnshire today.  She was a bit bewildered but still happy to be just up the road from us all now.  She arrived at her new home in the middle of a sherry party for one of the residents so there were more people than usual in the lounge but she had a little sing song with the birthday girl so that was nice.  My DH had spent part of the morning getting her room ready for her while my brother and I went to Essex to fetch her so the room looked lovely with things that she'll recognise and some flowers.  Thank you hun.  I wasn't going to go and see her till Tuesday but I think I'll have to go tomorrow just to reassure her (and myself) that we're close by.

Chocolate?  What chocolate?!  ;-))

Thursday, 3 March 2011

I thought

it was about time I got back on here and gave an update on what has been happening since my last blog.  We ended up rushing off down to Essex because my Mum was starting to not know people, including me over the phone, and I wanted to see her before she forgot us altogether.  Initially when we saw her in hospital our worst fears were well founded as she didn't know me but slowly realisation came to her.  As a result of our arriving in Essex the hospital decided Mum was fit for discharge home!!  I could not believe that a lady of 85 with almost total confusion, not recognising her sister-in-law or her daughter, who had already taken an overdose of Warfarin was going to be sent back to the same situation that was making her increasingly confused and which was putting her at risk!  Fortunately my fears were acknowledged and the doctors decided that, with a low MMSE she needed 24 hour care after all.  The upshot is that Mum is now in a care home in Essex but will shortly be coming up to a care home near us.  I dread to think what would have to happen to someone without a family to stand up for them before they receive the appropriate care.

We stayed in Essex for a few days organising things for Mum's move and then came home to find somewhere for her to be cared for here. I had no idea how complicated this whole process is.  First, you have to find somewhere suitable and as Mum has dementia our town has less options able to deal with her particular needs so homes that I would have liked to choose are not available to us.  Fortunately Lincolnshire does have a good support service to help you find a suitable care solution which comes under the umbrella of Care Choices.  The most valuable piece of advice I have been given was from the hospital social worker who told us to take things one step at a time.  Don't rush, take your time.  Also, be sure to check out the Care Quality Commission report on each home and look out for any safeguards, which, despite the name, mean there may have been a problem. 

It feels as though it has taken months but in fact Mum has been in care less than 2 weeks and we have been successful in finding somewhere for her here, I just hope she likes it.  It is a home that I have known about for years and the atmosphere when you walk in is cosy and friendly.  The residents looked happy and relaxed and the manageress had plenty of time to answer all our questions.  We just need Mum to feel at home now when she arrives.    She will be able to have some of her own furniture in her room, which is surprisingly large and which overlooks the Parish Church.  She is telling everyone that she is looking forward to living near us so I hope that holds true when she gets here.   Perhaps unsurprisingly now that she is in a safe and stable environment her confusion has lessened but she still doesn't know who her sister in law is, she just knows she's a lovely lady.  I have had a couple of telephone conversations with her and she is calling me darling so hopefully that means she will know me when my brother and I go to fetch her in a few days.  

Once Mum is safely settled here the real work starts sorting out all the finances and that is going to take time.  Again I have found several organisations that offer help and guidance, most notably Care Aware who have information bulletins to download and offer help from local advisors which I am almost certainly going to take up.  I feel I am entering a minefield and am constantly having to remind myself to take my time.  I am sure that AgeUk will also be an invaluable source of advice.

The worst of all this, apart from the loss of the beautiful personality that has always been my Mum, is that crucial decisions have to be made at a time when you feel at your absolute lowest, exhausted from caring for a parent who has suddenly changed and is struggling themselves to understand what has happened to them.  The responsibility is huge and very frightening and eventually every small effort drains what little energy you have. I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband through all this.

Tomorrow we are going back to the care home to finalise the paper work and find out the arrangements for taking over the room.  Then we start a busy weekend of getting the room ready, naming Mum's clothes so they don't get lost in the laundry, making up photo frames with photos of people special to Mum and finally fetching her up to her new home.  Fortunately, although she is very confused, she does understand what is about to happen and although she will miss her friends she does want to see more of us so please keep positive thoughts for us and her in your minds.  Spring and a new awakening is happening all around us and I hope that some small awakening will come to Mum when she sees more of me and makes some new friends here.