Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Special Finish

Sometimes when I am asked to make something for someone I like to make it special by putting something personal in the project.  That is what I did for my mother-in-law, Connie, when she asked me to make a decorative pillow for her. 
Connie is a war bride and was in London, England during the war.  She is 93 years old and still is active in her community and still travels, mostly on her own, to see her children that live out of the area. Her oldest daughter found this pillow top in an antique shop in the city where she lives.  The shop owner told her that during the Second World War that wounded soldiers would paint these as therapy while they recuperated from their injuries.  She purchased it for her mother. 
My mother-in-law has been cleaning out some of her closets and things and she found this dress that her mother, Lucy,  had worn in 1968 for their 60th wedding anniversary celebration.
Lucy and Charles King--60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Connie didn't think anyone would want the dress since it was so old so I asked if I could bring it home and did she mind if I cut into it.  She said I could take it.  I thought it would make the perfect backing for the pillow especially since the poem on the front was about mothers. I purposely didn't tell her what I wanted to do with the dress.  I used some iron on interfacing to make the fabric stronger and easier to work with. 

I was able to surprise her with the finished pillow last Saturday when we when to visit with her.  She was pleased to have a piece of her family history on display in her living room. 


Friday, March 7, 2014

A Gift for My Mom

My Mom has had some on going health problems for the past ten years or so.  She is in the later stages of dementia.  She hasn't known me for quite awhile now but I still know her and that is what is important.  I was looking around the internet the other day and found the idea of a Touch Quilt  for dementia patients from the Waterloo County Quilt Guild.  I decided to make one for my mom.

The quilt top has quite a few different types of fabrics in it.  I have included silk, faux suede, terry cloth, cotton, denim, flannelette, seersucker, quilter's cotton, velveteen, fun fur and corduroy.  The blue floral corduroy in the top corner were scraps my mom gave to me a long time ago from a project she made.  The denim and plaid flannelette block, bottom center, are pieces left over from the memory quilt I made from my late brothers clothes. The satin blanket ribbon binding I found in a box of things mom gave me that I rediscovered when I cleaned up the laundry room.  Most of the fabrics in this quilt have been gifted to me by one person or another over the years. 
The backing is a piece of fun fur that I picked up from a remnants bin a few years ago.  It is quite soft and cozy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning to communicate

So as I have written before my youngest son, Sean, is totally non-verbal.  He communicates using gestures, sign language and picture cards.  Sean's receptive language skills are very good.  He understands most of what is said to him but he can get frustrated when he can't express what he wants or needs.  This frustration can often lead to behaviours that can be harmful to himself and/or others.  Over the years he has only used a few signs consistently and picture cards when he is working with his support worker.  Over the last few weeks my husband and I along with Sean's support worker have been taking sign language lessons.  It is our hope that if we use/model the signs with him he will repeat them back to us.  Sean has always learned new skills through observing others. 

Because of this new initiative I have had to come up with some new ways of presenting Sean's communication system.  Since Sean goes to a day program two days a week with his support worker this system also had to be portable. 

I was able to buy a 7x5 inch plastic frame from the dollar store.  I put two stripes of Velcro across the frame.  Then I found the sign illustrations that matched the picture on the picture card, placing them side by side and then printed it out on a business size card.  Once I cut out the card I covered the card with contact paper and attached a small piece of Velcro on the back of the card. 

After I made the picture/sign cards I needed something to store and transport the cards in.  I found this tutorial for this credit card wallet and thought it would be ideal.  The only thing I changed was I made the outside squares 10" and the inside squares 9".  It will hold 38 picture cards which will be more than enough for my purposes.

For ease of transport and use I attached a piece of Velcro to the back of the frame and the back of the wallet so they are together and easily accessible. 

Christmas Crafting--alittle early

Shortly before last Christmas I saw this video on how to make a Swedish Heart Craft. 
I had a great idea to make 24 hearts and hang them on a small Christmas tree for an advent calendar.  With the business of the holidays I didn't get out to get the felt to make them.  While sorting through the stuff and junk in the basement laundry room I found some felt squares that I bought for another craft about 15 years ago when I was doing child care for a bible study group.  There was enough left over felt that I was able to make the 24 Swedish Hearts for this coming Christmas.  I even found some silver craft thread that I can use for the hangers. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to my boy!

Today my youngest son turns 23 already.  I know we all say it but where has the time gone! 

I have mentioned in previous posts that he is autistic with a severe global developmental delay.  He is also non-verbal and mentally operates at about 3-5 years old.  Yes, I know life hasn't been easy for our family since we had Sean. Now before anyone says anything about how difficult is must be to raise him or oh, that poor thing, or calls him the "r" word, (retarded), a word I despise, I have to say how much I have learned from him. 

His name is Sean and he is totally non-verbal.  Before Sean was born he had a stroke and he had breathing problems when he was first born.  Having Sean in my life has made me more grateful for what we have, to appreciate the small things around me and not to take for granted the things we just assume we will have. He has taught me to look for the positive in every situation.   He has taught me to break down everyday tasks into steps so I can teach him the routines and he has taught me that there is nothing that a smile and a hug from him can't fix.  The unconditional love he shares with us makes caring for him easier and I would not want to think of what my life would be like without him.  He makes me a better person.

For years now Sean has had a favourite stuffed Tiger. He has needed a lot of repairs over the years but for now it is still being well loved.

"Tiger" goes everywhere with Sean.

That is why I decided to make him a tiger cake for his birthday!


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tea Anyone?

Our clothes dryer broke down in August so I have been making do by washing a load of clothes in the evening and hanging it on a clothing rack to dry. Then earlier in January the washer stopped working as well.  I could make do without the dryer but I refused to try to make do without a washer.  My husband and I went out and bought a new washer and dryer set and arranged to have it delivered.  Should be no problem except one little detail.  In order to take out the old set and bring in the new you have to be able to get to them and have space to get them out. 
I will admit that I have a difficult time throwing things away so the laundry room became a dumping ground for all the stuff that I am sure I may need again even if it could be twenty years from now. I had a walkway from the laundry room  door to the machines, not big enough to get the machines in or out.  Also all the lights except one were burnt out and I couldn't reach them to replace them because of all the stuff in the way. 

I have spent the last couple of weeks sorting through the stuff, throwing out a lot of the old papers and broken toys, donating the things that are still useable etc.  I still have all the toys my children have ever been given. (My oldest boy is now 26.)  While sorting through all the stuff I found The Tea For Two machine that my sister gave me a long time ago. So I cleaned it up and plugged it in and it still WORKS. 

I found this video on Youtube that shows how it works.


Friday, December 27, 2013

A Tale of Two Slippers

Here it is the end of another year and I can't believe how quickly this year has gone.  I haven't posted very much this year.  I haven't even taken photos of every project I have made this year!

My mom is 84 and has most everything she needs so I had no idea what to give her for Christmas this year so when my sister bought Mom a new winter coat I said I would make her some mittens and a scarf to match.  You guessed it I forgot to take a picture.  I also have finally started on a quilt repair job that I have been asked to do and again no pictures yet.

When my Mom was healthier she used to knit slippers for us. The pattern she used was the stripped slippers using Phentex Slipper and Craft yarn.  I loved those type of slippers.  I wore out the last pair she made for me and since my feet are a bit over sized it is difficult to find a pair of slippers to fit me that I like. 

My mom knitting a pair of slippers back in the late 1980's with our cat, Harry, supervising.
I was taught to knit when I was young and I can knit fairly well, with regular yarn.  I do not enjoy knitting with the Phentex yarn my mom used for these slippers.  When I was exploring a few thrift stores back in November I found a couple of balls of that yarn for only $1.49 a piece and I decided to try to make the same slippers that my mom used to make after all I have made them before and it only took me a year to finish them, eek.  So early December, this year, I pulled out my knitting needles and the yarn from the thrift store, cast on the stitches and starting knitting.  The reason I don't like working with this particular yarn is I find it splits so easily and I have to be very careful that I don't add stitches while I am knitting.  It is now the end of December and shockingly I finished my new slippers last night!  Only took me a couple of weeks to make this pair.  Maybe cold feet were my incentive, lol.