Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fidget Quilts #3 and #4

Alzheimer's patients often exhibit repetitive behavior and and fidgeting.
  • Fidgeting - Someone with dementia may fidget constantly. As with pacing, try to distract their attention and offer reassurance. Try giving the person something to occupy their hands, such as a soft toy or worry beads, or provide a 'rummage' box containing interesting objects.  (source:  The Alzheimer's Society)
Fidget quilts provide a way to occupy the hands.

I've finished two more quilts to be donated.  Mary plans to donate hers for Easter, which is a nice idea.  I may wait until I have 8 or 10 ready.

Number 3 is complete, I pretty much tossed it in the flower bed for the picture.  I need a way to hang things outside.


I mentioned in an earlier post that I might use some of Bryce Eleanor's drawings for a quilt, and I still would like to do that, but we didn't get around to doing any drawing on her last visit.  

Somewhere I saw some applique animals with arms and legs loose and decided that a person with AD or dementia might enjoy the "face" aspect as well as the various textural items. I've looked and looked for the site (thought I'd pinned it, but no such luck), and there was so much colorful inspiration there.  I'll share it when I find it again.

Anyway, I drew a silly dog on paper and made the applique elements for f.q. #4.   The result is my favorite so far.  Skipped the binding on this.  I meant to include some tags before turning the quilt, but forgot.  

Both quilts went through 
the washing machine before I took the pics.
They survived in tact.

I have an idea for #6 that I'm going to try,
then I'm making more silly animal quilts
with floppy ears and arms and legs.

Happy  Mid-Week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fidget Quilt #3

My biggest problem is too many ideas.  Next is that I'm so slow.  

The embroidery is time consuming, but one of my simple pleasures.
  The binding is another time consumer, but another process I enjoy. 
 Need to make some without binding--it would be much faster, 
but don't think I would enjoy making these
 without some of the other time consuming details.  

Also, these little quilts give me the opportunity to experiment.
 I benefit from the pleasure, the learning, the practice, 
knowing that my mistakes don't matter, 
and the hope 
that the patients who receive the fidget quilts will enjoy them.

Details of #3.  
Flannel, minky, and fleece with a block with a pocket on top. 
 I stuck a bit of overgrown ornamental cabbage in the pocket.

Love the way the soft fabrics feel,
but I don't really know much about sewing them.
They are a royal, stretchy pain to work with.

 I knew I'd find a purpose for all of the fabric cord
I made a while back!

Lenten Rose

Finished #3.
Working on #4!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Workshop Love

I love posts about workshops. 
 Love seeing the messy creation part
 and the lovingly crafted products. 

Mrs. Bertimus posted about a workshop at Daisy Moon that looked like such fun!

Hen's Teeth is always giving workshops. 

 Hope & Elvis is hosting one of Hen's Teeth workshop on March 14. 

They learn, have fun, and come away with a handmade piece.

"Oh, to be in England..." for one of these workshops!

Yes, I am envious.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fidget Quilt #2

I went to buy some new quilting gloves and blades for my rotary cutter, and despite my intentions to get nothing but what I actually needed, I couldn't resist a few cute buttons.  Seeing all of the fabric, I felt myself weaken, but resisted. No more fabric.  Must use what I have!  That one requirement for these little quilts, I am determined to keep.  At least for a while.

 I've washed this because I like the wrinkly effect of washed quilts
and because I wanted to see how everything held up.

It has been several years since I made even a tiny art quilt,
and it shows, but it shouldn't matter to the recipient.

 The fabric flowers were just in my left-over odd bits.

 The buttons can be buttoned
and unbuttoned
through the loops.
If the beads are a problem, they can easily be cut off.
I took the pics outside
and needed something to illustrate the little pocket.

Hoping the rain and clouds will take a break.
We've had way too much lately,
and I'm tired of rain and overcast skies.

Almost finished with f.q. #3!
And planning #4.

Thanks again, Michelle, for sharing
the idea of these little quilts that
should soothe AD patients and
their restless hands.

Monday, March 16, 2015

First Fidget

I finished my first fidget quilt.  Here it is before being blocked.  The loops and prairie points should provide some places for fingers to fidget.  For my fingers, however, I've always had a bit of a French knot compulsion.  Brushing over the raised knots as if reading braille.  

 Bryce Eleanor liked the butterfly.
I inserted the clothespin to show that the strip can be lifted.
I cut out a bunch of 2 1/2" blocks for the next quilt.  This took awhile as I was using any scrap large enough for the blocks, so often only two or three at a time.  Finally, got enough cut out to piece the top, using extra blocks for making the prairie points and loops.
A few prairie points scheduled for this edge, a lacy flower from a piece of vintage linen, buttons sewed on and pulled through loops.  These can be buttoned and unbuttoned.  Still need to add the fabric flowers from last year and some more buttons, but it is coming along.

The goal is to use only things I have on hand.  The only things I will concede to buying will be thread, if needed,  a new pair of quilting gloves, and new blades for my rotary cutter.
Bryce Eleanor visited this weekend, bringing Freddy.  Freddy is a stuffed frog that each of the kids in her class gets to take home for a weekend.  They take pictures of Freddy and write about it in Freddy's book.

Freddy visited with Stinker and Lucy, and I made him a little quilt with left over blue and white patches.  B.E. is holding it with the back facing out, but the front looks like the above, just much smaller.  Fee suggested I make Freddy a hair piece, so in the pic below, you can see the green yarn sticking up on his head.

OK--it's Monday.  I'm going back to quilt on the new little quilt.

 What are you working on this week?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Left Over Binding

I made my quilt sandwich and did the quilting yesterday.  Then I started wondering about what I'd use to make the binding and discovered that I had made binding for  another  small quilt out of the same fabric as the backing (!) and never used it.  There is more than enough for this little quilt, which was such a pleasant surprise.  

I guess everyone saves left over binding, and fortunately, I didn't use this binding on the quilt it was intended for.  Now, all I have to do is apply the binding, and my first fidget quilt will be complete. Maybe tonight, I'll get the binding on, finishing it by hand because I like the process.

Of course, my mind is already on possibilities for my next effort, and while putting away some of my black and white scraps, I found a bag of blue scraps.  Hmmmm.....
These are some of the scraps from when I made my boro jacket a couple of years ago.  In fact, thinking about the jacket has made me think about another way of making a fidget quilt by applying scrap patches over muslin.
All the patches on the jacket were sewn by hand, which took forever, but suited me at the time.  For a fidget quilt, though, the machine will be fine.  Leaving large margins for fraying when washed to give added texture.  

The biggest problem I have right now is too many ideas and too many possible projects that interest me.  I never did anything with all of Bryce Eleanor's drawings.  Amelia took some, but I have a bunch and can have her make more.  

After my long fallow spell, I finally have a creative interest again.  Well, too many possible projects, but right now, I'm going to concentrate on the first fidget quilt.

Monday, March 09, 2015

A Small Quilt in Progress

It has been several years since I've done any quilting, but a post by Michelle a while back on "fidget quilts" for AD patients intrigued me, and I found myself thinking about making one.  Finally, I got out all my black and white, scraps and the remnants of a charm pack, and started stitching.  So much fun!  I had some left over white prairie points and made some more from black and white prints and made some loops for textural embellishments.

 A little butterfly that I made last year for something else and didn't use.
 Prairie points and variegated embroidery using Sassa Lynn's threads.
 I can entertain myself for hours this way.
               The embroidery is all on the quilt top, 
and I'm going to keep going
because it is such a pleasant process.
The stitching (especially French knots)
 adds another textural element.
I love running my fingers over the embroidered areas.

A couple of weeks ago, we had all three grands for a visit, while they were out of school for Mardi Gras.  I expected to be worn out trying to entertain them, but they entertained each other for hours and hours.  Then Amelia had them all for a parade and overnight.  The kids didn't really care about anyone else as long as they were together.  

They let me play some games with them, and I assure you that playing Clue with kids ranging from 7-11 is an experience not to be missed.  We played the kid version of Monopoly, but I think I need to buy the adult version for them.

What a crew!  

Of course, I've been reading, too.  My favorite from last month was Asylum by Jeannette de Beauvoir (reviewed here) because of the fascinating information about the DuPlessis orphans.  

I love reading fiction that gives me insight into real events. Even as I read the novel, I was Googling information about the actual situation.  Feeding my love of mystery novels and my interest in history is always satisfying.

I have chores to do, but I'm in a rainy day mood and think I'll embroider instead.  :)

Have a great week!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

What's Up

I am still not in the creative mood, only going up to the studio to watch Netflix or DramaFever and embroider--because my hands have to busy while I watch.  

The above was supposed to be a headpiece for one of my Eccentric figures, but didn't work out so well for that purpose.  I'm sure it will be useful somewhere, sometime, and it served its purpose of "something to do with my hands" while I watched episodes of Grimm and Healer (a Korean Drama).

Of course, I've been reading and reviewing books over at A Garden Carried in the Pocket.  I loved two more of Jane Casey's police procedurals,  Lamentation by C.J. Sansom, and a biography of Alan Turing.  I put aside a biography of Lewis Carroll that I started in December and then kind of forgot about.  It was interesting, and I need to get back to it, but right now I have a que of books that I'm eager to read.

Today is a grey day, overcast and wintery-looking, even if it isn't that cold, the high humidity makes me colder than a clear, dry day with lower temperatures.  It suits my mood this morning, as I just started a book titled Asylum, set in Montreal.

The Triad are doing well, fat and lazy most of the time, but occasionally setting on each other for entertainment.  It's funny to watch them all curled up together, sleeping peacefully, then later, to hear a screeching meow as Edgar chases one of the girls around the room.  Cats!  Fee got me a Roomba for Christmas, and I love the way it blindly moves about, bumping into a wall or chair, redirecting, and setting off again--keeping the floors and rugs clean of furry stuff.  If the Triad would stay off the furniture, I wouldn't be troubled at all by their shedding.  No technology for that yet, but I live in hope.

I was doing a great job of keeping up with an hour or more of a yoga each day for the last couple of weeks, but skipped yesterday, and have not gotten around to it yet today.  Guess I should get busy, if I want to keep the routine.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm Back

After all of the hectic Christmas Season, I ended up sick for nearly two weeks in the first couple of weeks in January.  Not deathly ill, but problems with my thyroid and a sinus infection.  

I did a lot of reading over Christmas and while I wasn't feeling well, but working in the studio just didn't happen.  Now that I'm feeling just fine, I am still unable to generate interest in the Eccentrics, and I have several heads sitting around waiting for more work.

My reading had high and low points, as usual, but here are some of the books I really enjoyed:

All three of these were good and have been reviewed on my book blog.

Also, I read several more of Tami Hoag's Kovac and Liska series that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I have about 8 drafts in progress and several reviews that have been scheduled for quite a while.  

On my TBR list, I have Tami Hoag's Oak Knoll series, several nonfiction books, my library books, and several ebooks from NetGalley.

My desire to get back in the studio is beginning to build, but the garage needs cleaning out, I have house hold de-cluttering in progress, I have books to read, and I'm watching Grimm on my Kindle.  First things first--I think I'll get back to Grimm, I'm only on season one.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


 Don't like the body pattern even though it is a third incarnation, 
and yet, I like Nimble with all his flaws. 

 I've made further adjustments to body pattern, 
but have other ideas for body for next one.  
Still thinking, but may make limbs of clay and real hands.  
I actually have a pair of clay hands 
that I made a while back and didn't use, 
may check and see if size fits.
If so, could use them for the next Eccentric doll.

Monday, December 15, 2014


In the Studio

Finally decided on hair for the first of the smiling doll heads. 

The decisions about hair and costume 
take such a long and frustrating time. 
The floor of my studio is awash with fabric and miscellaneous items 
I've dragged out for auditioning.
Anything that might give me a hint of where this fellow
might want to go
who he might want to be.

Because I have several heads in progress,
I made three clay head pieces,
and chose a couple of others as possibilities.

Until I have chosen hair and/or hat,
I'm in despair.
Once I know who I'm working with,
things get a little easier.

I'm happy now about where this fellow is going,
but prepared for more frustration along the way.  :)


I've taken a long break from the Lewis Carroll biography, but have read several mysteries that I need to review.  Also finished This Shattered World, a YA science fiction novel that I enjoyed.  Since I've been so busy with working on Eccentric dolls, I've not been keeping up with writing my book reviews over at my book blog.  It is on my "to do" list for today.


Do you receive pleas for donations all year, but especially during the Christmas Season?  If you plan to make a donation to a charity, it is a good idea to check it out and see how much of your donation goes to fund raising and how much to the actual cause.

Charity Navigator offers information about charities that overpay their for-profit fund raisers, as well as some of the charities that have consecutively good ratings or that are worth watching.

Charity Watch also provides ratings for a wide variety of causes that I'm interested.  I like this one because of the number of charities they rate.

When I get a donation request in the mail, I go to the computer and Google, "how is _____ charity rated?"   Like everyone else, I have several favorite charities on my list, many of them local, but when I get a request from a new one, I check it out.  The ones I hate are those with phone calls; many charities that make those persistent phone calls (although good causes) are those that spend too much on paying fundraising groups and too little on services.

I want to contribute to good causes, but I want to know that the money goes to research and services.  Charity watchdogs give me that sense of security.  

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

'Tis the Season

Around the House:  
I finally got around to doing a little Christmas decorating.  The tree is done, the Santas are out.  More to do, of course, but an improvement over last week's bare-nekkid tree.

In the Studio:  
I've finished working on the first head for the Facial Expressions online class.  Shaping and re-shaping, adding and subtracting, sculpting and blending as best I could.  I'm pleased with it, although I used the wrong size styrofoam ball for the head and a mixture of clays because I didn't have enough of one kind.   Because I used a mixture of clays, the color varied in spots, and I used a watered down acrylic paint to help it blend together.  

The use of acrylic paint  is another example of not following directions--because Marlaine Verhelst paints directly on the air-dried clay with water colors. Watered down acrylic makes a big difference when painting over it, resisting the water colors that the raw clay would eagerly drink in.

 I call this experimenting, and it is, but it is also a case of not having all of the necessary supplies and just jumping in anyway.  I made the bonnet several years ago for another doll (who did not want it, emphatically, did not want it), but it does a good job of covering the bald head until something better comes up.

Now, I have some styrofoam eggs, a new package of Paper Clay, and an order of Darwi clay on the way.  Darwi is the brand Marlaine uses; Michael's doesn't carry this brand, so I ordered it from Clay Alley.  Hope to follow the second lesson more closely, but I learned a lot from this first lesson in spite of all the ways I didn't follow the plan.

In the Mail: 
 Debra at Monnie Bean recommended Vintage Gypsy Girl for sari ribbon, and I ordered some.  Wow, very fast turn around.  I wish, now, that I had ordered the mixed brights as well.  Aren't the little brass horses neat?  Love 'em.

Last two gnomes.  
I've looked at several gnomes on Pinterest and in those lovely catalogs that arrive daily in the mail.  You know the kind-- the ones with perfect houses and gorgeous vignettes and wonderful Christmas decorations and ornaments.   The atmosphere you imagine, but at least in my case, the atmosphere that remains in the imagination.

Anyway, I looked at bunches of gnomes and tomtens 
and made three different versions for myself.  

They are tiny things, just a few inches tall, and I experimented with different shapes and methods.   These fellows have been done for about a week--with the exception of noses. 

Nothing I tried was what I wanted.  Yesterday I snipped artificial berries from some greenery, and these two got red noses.  The red noses could be a result of cold or alcoholic beverages, perhaps both; we all need a little Christmas cheer now and then.

The one I showed you in my last post has a brown bead for a nose, but the red noses have a certain spirit that I like, so I may replace his brown bead with the red berry.  The three of them can go wassailing together.

Finished Reading: 

Life or Death by Michael Robotham.  A stand alone novel, not a part of the O'Loughlin/Ruiz series, it kept me turning pages until late at night.  

Book Description (partial):  Why would a man serving a long prison sentence escape the day before he's due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent ten years in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. During that time he has suffered repeated beatings, stabbings and threats by inmates and guards, all desperate to answer the same question: where's the money?

Broadchurch by Erin Kelly and Chris Chibnall.  

Book Description (partial):   In the sleepy British seaside town of Broadchurch, Detective Ellie Miller has just returned from vacation, only to learn that she’s been passed over for a promotion at work in favor of outsider Alec Hardy. He, escaping the spectacular failure of his last case, is having trouble finding his way into this tight-knit community wary of new faces. But professional rivalry aside, both detectives are about to receive some terrible news: 11-year-old Danny Latimer has been found murdered on the beach.

I have not reviewed these on my book blog yet, but both of these are intense and kept me engrossed from start to finish!