Sunday, 11 January 2015

What's been happening

To follow on from my previous post at the end of November, nothing has stopped. Sad to say that my father-in-law passed away on Christmas Eve at the care home, just a couple of weeks after his 97th birthday. We have to say he did jolly well and lived a pretty full life until a couple of years ago, even though his mobility was restricted.  He was as sharp witted as ever until his final decline, and we have to be grateful he is released from his suffering and rests in peace.
However as I hinted at in my previous post, all the bits have hit the fan and I have been trying to sort them out with my mother-in-law.  I have sorted through three large carrier bags full of envelopes but not managed to file them all yet. Mother-in-law cannot cope with the paperwork from a husband who loved to dabble in the stock market but had no book-keeper or accountant and also kept every scrap of paper going back for years (and years). I've no idea which accounts are current, or sold, or changed names or… you get the picture. Of course when my husband was made executor he was fully capable of managing it, but since his stroke, he has less idea about what to do than me.  We are getting some professional advice.  I am doing my best to build in a bit of time for myself, and hopefully things will slow down a bit, soon.

I am really looking forward to my long weekend break in a fortnight, at Wyboston Lakes, a stitch retreat with Hilary Beattie, it may not be restful, but it will be wonderful to have a complete break from stocks and shares. Meanwhile I had a hankering to make some sea themed bunting, I've managed a sketchbook version. Hopefully it will make it onto fabric.

When sharing my state of affairs with my hairdresser, I said I was coping by saying to myself that I only have to tackle things one step at a time, and he added to make sure some of those are dance steps, which I thought was a great bit of advice. 
So one step at a time, and a with little skip every now and again I leave you with this thought … get your paperwork up to date! (I promise to do mine when I've finished with this lot - really!)
Have a good week 
Jill

Monday, 24 November 2014

When?

When does one share personal information on the internet and what do you say?  My husband is in a long term recovery from 18 days in hospital with renal failure and pneumonia after being very sick and now recuperating before he has surgery for initial problem. My aged in-laws are in crisis and are being stubbornly independent. Although I am grateful for their rejection of help in the past, now a crisis has been reached - mum-in-law has broken collar bone and is doing much of the caring for bed bound dad-in-law - they have had no contingency plans in place.  Despite my asking for the information, I had no list of their Care Company phone numbers etc. Thanks goodness for the internet for finding out. Social services are doing what they can, but if they reject help there is nothing they can do. We are a very small family and they live over an hour's drive away and they keep saying they are coping, and I know I must leave them to it - but I worry about them. Should I have been insistent in asking for information, even though I was (usually) kindly told it was not necessary and not to pester as it was making m-i-l distressed?
So now the info is out there. I feel Blogger is a bit more personal than Facebook and haven't mentioned it there although many friends know. I know you lovely people will show lots of support too and I guess that is what I'm looking for as we are all looking for some sort of response when we blog. As a friend says, sometimes lurching from crisis to crisis seems to become the norm, and many people and families are in that situation, although that thought is not much help when you are going through it yourself!
Everyone says that I must look after myself; and I am, early nights and eating sensibly, but my jaw seems permanently clenched and I'm always listening for phone… Thank goodness for my sister and my Dad, who although a bit unwell himself has all angles covered in case of an emergency.

I have managed a bit of craft work but all larger projects are on hold.  My sis came to stay when Mr T was in hospital needless to say she is into a bit of crochet too.





Mungo likes a bit of crochet himself  which is why I'm making him a blanket from the leftovers from my ripple blanket.

I made one strip about 36x12 inches

But this week I have been stitching this Motto cushion as demonstrated by Laura Kemshall on Design Matters TV. Might just make another one when I can decide on a motto. Just enough concentration needed to keep my mind off other matters.
Thanks so much for listening, sometimes it is good to share. I would just say that if you have elderly parents do your best to get some sort of contingency plan in place it would have made life easier, even if it wouldn't have solved all their problems.  I will leave you with this picture from FB. It just makes me smile.
Jill


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Golly Gosh ..

Golly gosh two posts in one month! Just thought I'd share my finished blanket. It is about 5ft square.



My crochet isn't as neat as Lucy's of Attic24, but it is lovely and drapes beautifully, and is very snug. I did not expect to finish so quickly but I'm in need of some mindless occupation.   I've now decided to use up the left over yarn, plus some more to make a "Babette" blanket. I'd never heard of one until browsing Pinterest. They are made of different size squares. This one will be much smaller, maybe just a metre square. I've made a start.

What will be fun is deciding how to arrange them. I think I'll join them up as I go along, so I won't be left with a mammoth task at the end.  I want something less bulky. 

Mungo has begun to sit on my lap, but only if I have a blanket or a bit of fleece on it. Here he is trying to share the chair with me. So a smaller blanket would be useful. 
He looks so grumpy. However he was there first!

 I've also order some yarn to make a poncho in the style of my scarf on the previous post, but it will be a bit of an experiment. Watch this space.
Thank you for all the kind mentions about the dizziness.  Thank goodness it is not too bad at the moment.  I am limiting my time on the iPad, as the way the images swoosh past may have been triggering it.

Meanwhile I'm putting off sewing, my machine is gathering dust. I have some projects in mind and have been playing in my sketchbooks. However I'm feeling a bit rudderless. I still miss the discipline of following my one-line course. May resort to a few basics to get me going, I'll let you know!

Don't get blown away, its rather breezy here in Bedfordshire.
Jill

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The last few months I have been...

When Gina told me yesterday that a mutual contact had asked if all was well with me, I realised how long it is since I last wrote a blog. Although I mainly 'do' Facebook these days I had thought I would try to write a monthly blog but I have failed. There are several reasons for this. Despite the possible evidence to to the contrary I have been going though a protracted blank phase of not being able to motivate myself to do anything. I have had an on-going problem of dizziness since last spring. An MRI scan could find nothing wrong, which is reassuring, but also no comfort when no remedy can be found. The ENT dept put it down to vestibular migraine - dizziness instead of / as well as a headache, but I'm not convinced as dizzy spells last days, even though they're not severe enough to stop me carry on with  daily tasks, I don't feel like doing a lot else.  Having read something on FB, it could be down to the iPad. The movement of the image on the screen apparently can effect some people, but I had mine a year before the trouble started.  I'm going to try to severely ration myself for a week or two to see if it helps. I've tried a food diary and stopped drinking red wine, but can't spot a trigger. A GP said it was down got me to try to figure it out. Sometimes I think it is tension, other times sinusitus. Of course the other factor is, having nothing else to think about. I'm trying to keep busy.. but. 
Now you know why I haven't been blogging, no one wants to read about someone's symptoms.  Anyway, since June I have been doing a lot of crocheting. This is productive, repetitive, creative, mindless and soothing.

I started with a couple of scarves. (Free pattern here)



and now I'm working on a blanket, 

it will be about 5 foot square when finished. I'm about three quarters way through. It is a ripple pattern. Here is a picture from a while back when I just got going on it. (For pattern see Attic24)



In July we had a bit of a crisis when Mungo went missing. Just in the peak of the hot weather he didn't come home for five nights.  I was so worried he'd got shut in someone's shed and would die of heat exhaustion.   I put out flyers and posters and rang every possible agency short of the FBI.  We were just contemplating picking up his bowls of dry food etc. but at 3.30am Mr T got up to visit the bathroom and heard this plaintive cry from the kitchen. There he was! He was very hungry, but otherwise fine. If only they could tell you where they'd been.


Meanwhile we have had our old conservatory replaced.  We had to find homes for all this 'junk'. We did get rid of some of it.
I'd mainly acquire a lot of the 'stuff' to camouflage a rather ugly, rotting lean-to, but grown rather fond of a lot of it. Not sure how it will fit into my lovely new pristine conservatory



We now have to decide what we're going to do with the inside.

On my creative side,  I'm treading water. I'm committed to creating a piece for Spectrum next February, but it has been dragging on.  I want to get it started, but here I am on the computer, and my brain is hurting. So bye for now, hope you are well and I'll try and catch up on your news too.
Hope you enjoying this wonderful weather too,  I had lunch in the garden today. It would be Mum's birthday, can't remember doing that before on the 2nd October.
Jill

Sunday, 15 June 2014

June - so far...

I think it would be sensible for me just to aim at writing a blog post every month. My time of the weekly or fortnightly blog seems to have past. Facebook has a lot to answer to for that and I know some of you will have seen some of these photos before.
 I started this blog with the aim of recording my creative journey and every now and then I come to a lay-bye. I seem to have been at the present one for some time. My engine is still ticking over, and I'm refuelling by acquiring a lot of source material.
My visit to the V&A in April is a case in point. I was interested in the iron work and I have created lots of sketchbook pages.

I was fascinated by the pattern on this 16th C French padlock (photographed in a glass cabinet),

and this 18th C German wrought iron gate - given a bit of treatment here.

I have been exploring cut-outs in my sketchbook ably helped by my new assistant.



Last week I went on a two day workshop at Art Van Go, Creating Original Designs with Kim Thittichai. I have had her book Experimental Textiles for some time, so I thought it would be good to work with this rather well know personality of the textile world.  She did not disappoint.  I had read about her courses and we did what she had written about, however it is such a different experience when you are working in a group with a tutor and a group, rather than trying to do things on your own. 

This is part of my "journey" painting which Kim uses as a starting point to create designs and printing blocks. Below are follow-ups I have been doing at home.


Above are expanded squares and below a second print block I have created from my "journey"


We made a positive and negative blocks.



Painting over the prints with procion dye to gives another effect. Next I shall try some textile samples.

Well that's it for now. I've just had to have a 'run' round the garden to entertain Mungo. He likes to play 'chase the stick' until it's time for a quick wash! I am left whirling a stick in a circle like a demented dervish while the cat watches me from the sidelines.


Thanks for popping in.
Jill



Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A bit of a wuss

I know, I know it has been ages since I last posted a blog. I will share some creative work with you… promise.

But meanwhile here is a series of photos of  rescue cat Mungo trying to jump down from a two metre fence. Out neighbours' shed is on the other side and he happily jumps up there from the back of a garden seat. He doesn't want to jump down into the flowerbed where it is overgrown. I think he did it before when he could see bare earth to land on.  Earlier we heard him yowling from next door. He must have jumped down into their garden and I had to rescue him from the front. He cannot get to the road from our garden, but he can get through our neighbours' wrought iron gate.

It's a long way down

wobble wobble

I can do it!!

No I can't

This side?

Or this side?

I'll just hang on for a moment...

I'll head for the trees.

Was that a good idea?

I think it was!


From here he was able to make it to the compost bin…  no photos of that bit. He must have been going backwards and forwards for at least ten minutes.  How long will it be before he tries it again do you think?

I thought cats were meant to be sure footed, but he certainly isn't. We're more and more convinced he was an indoor cat before we got him.  It is great  to watch him thrive. A cat needs a bit of adventure. We still cannot get him weaned off a litter tray. He will use it outside, reluctantly, but he's obviously been 'saving up' for when we bring it in at bedtime!!

If you're still with me, thanks. I've been rather lax posting lately. Sometimes real life gets in the way. However I still love reading what everyone else has been doing, even if I don't comment. 
Have a lovely week.
Jill


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Out today

We've had our new cat Mungo for three weeks now, so he has been let out today.
 Yesterday he was remarkably grumpy!!


Today he's very happy.

I have been a bit creative. 
At the Spectrum exhibition Gina Ferrari had a bag she had made. She inspired me to make one of my own using fabric scraps. I had embroidered the paisley shapes on pink felt ages ago and knew that one day I would have a project that suited them.






I did have to buy some fabric for a lining.





'Spectrum' had a day out to the V&A.  I took my new bag. We were on a mission to do some research.


I was interested in the iron work, but a lot of the pieces in cases were difficult to photograph.


It is many years since I've been to the V&A so it was all a bit overwhelming. I'll share what I've been up to as a result of our visit next time.
What beautiful weather we've been having. We've had to water the veg. 
 I do hope you have a good week. See you soon.
Jill