Friday, November 11, 2011

Quilter's Quest shop hop!

First thing in the morning I'm heading out to pick up my friend Nancy so we can go make the rounds on the Quilter's Quest 2011 Shop Hop through the SF Bay Area. Not sure my stash needs any more additions, but I can't imagine not going on the hop and collecting the block kits for another fun quilt! I've had a preview of the shop hop quilt and can't wait to start the blocks!

The pile of projects that I plan (hope, pray) to finish by Christmas is mounting. An advent calendar, three table runners, finishing two quilts (one pinned & ditched, one not even pinned yet--had to buy more batting), and who knows what else... Probably some machine embroidered ornaments for the kids to make it easy on myself. Lots going and I've been really at getting going in the afternoons while Dad's snoozing in front of his daily back-to-back-to-back episodes of Bonanza.

One part of me feels slightly guilty for going on the shop hop--I should be finishing the projects already started. But the rest of me says, what the heck! Shop hops only come around once or twice a year and this one takes me to several of my favorite shops that are slightly beyond my regular shopping area.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quilting for Sanity

Living with a 95-year-old who is having short-term memory loops can be a blessing and a challenge. Dad is still pretty independent and manages well for the most part. However, spending every afternoon watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of Bonanza is enough to drive me crazy! Dad doesn't follow the stories real well with his brief snoozes every few minutes, so he's always asking what's going on. Oh, and my favorite is when the show goes to commercial and he tells me those boys sure drive nice cars! Are those made by Nash? Well, Dad, that's a commercial. The Cartright boys don't drive cars--they ride horses. And, no, I'm pretty sure Nash doesn't make cars anymore. Ahhhhh... Life.....

So, I spend most of my time in the sewing room to pass my afternoons. I have so many UFO's at this point, I really need to start sorting them out and finishing them for Christmas gifts so I can justify starting more projects! Last week I found a really cute Eleanor Burns pattern for pumpkin placemats that I'm going to turn into mini-wall hangings. I made six pretty quickly and got them all layered and stitched together in two afternoons. Now to do some fun but simple quilting on them, applique the rest of the faces, and wrap them up. Whew!

With two shop hops coming up this month, I feel compelled to start working through some of my stash. So, I found last year's bundle of Halloween fat quarters and made a great stack & slash Halloween quilt for a gift. The top is done (another fast project) and I'll have my buddies at quilting class help pin it on Tuesday, and then to do some quick and easy quilting on it too.

I have my grandson's batik dinosaur quilt all pinned, but haven't started quilting it yet. I bought some fun variegated threads to use on it and will begin that project maybe this weekend. My granddaughter's quilt is designed in EQ7, but not yet started. Geez... so many projects!

I've decided to give a shot at making something fun and creating for the Hoffman 2012 Challenge and received my package of eleven half-yard cuts of the challenge fabrics in the mail this week. Now to get my brain working on something striking and different to submit. Luckily that's not due until next summer, so I have time to design in EQ7 and/or on paper before I dive in with the rotary cutter.

Back to Dad... He loves watching my projects come to fruition. He also knows I'm making gifts from both of us to give at Christmas. He checks out the projects while I'm working and as I make progress I always take them into the family room to show him how they're coming together. Being a creative guy himself in his former active life, he appreciates the effort I put into things. Dad built our home himself and continued to work with wood as a hobby, making my children's cradle and many toys for the grandchildren, while Mom sewed countless Raggedy Anne dolls and Teddy bears, and tailored her own suits. By designing many of my own projects on the old graph paper from Dad's desk and working with fabrics to turn those designs into quilted projects, in my mind, I'm combining the best of both of their hobbies into one of my own.

Stay tuned for more snippets from  the sewing room...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jumping in

I have spent nearly 7 years living with my parents as an adult child/caregiver in the home I grew up in many years ago. In this blog I will attempt to relay some of the joys and heartbreaks of those years of caregiving, as well as offer encouragement to those who are also in the place I find myself. As an adult child, the only daughter and youngest of four, when it came time to care for my parents, the task fell to me. They had always said they wanted to remain in the home they had built themselves (literally) and I was willing to support that desire. My parents did not ask for help; however, on my visits twice a year from my home in Kansas to their home in California, I found that my mother was slowly fading into some sort of dementia and needed compassionate care that my father could not provide despite his deep love for his wife of nearly 68 years. Each trip it was harder to leave them and eventually, during my summer visit in 2004, I made the decision to return to California and help them. My father, the stubborn self-reliant person he's always been, said he didn't need my help--he had everything under control and could handle mom just fine, but if I wanted to move home I could always come back. When I drove away that final time before my move, my mother was confused, but still quite functional--walking, talking, eating meals at the table with Dad or the family, visiting on the phone with friends. Two weeks before my move I received a phone call from my eldest brother telling me that Mom was in the hospital. She had become dehydrated and Dad had called 911. Mom spent two weeks in the hospital, malnourished and morbidly dehydrated. October 1, 2004, I arrived home the day she was transferred to a convalescent/rehabilitation facility, an invalid with a feeding tube. It was here she first got her diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia; however, her doctor continued to insist she had Alzheimer's Disease, prescribing medications that worsened or accelerated her condition. My parents needed all the love and compassion I could give, working along side my father so he didn't feel like I was taking away his sense of control, while stepping up to meet Mom's needs. That was the beginning of a life-changing commitment that I continue in today. This blog will grow with current reflections of life today with Dad, now 95, and memories of those early days of my life as a 50-year-old with my mid-80s parents, one stubbornly independent and the other fading into Lewy Body dementia.