Monday, October 22, 2012

The Alzeheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Good day to everyone.  I have a new link on my blog:  The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.  This is a very worthy non-profit organization.  While I may not be qualified to make an art quilt, I'm going to donate a quilt to raise funds.  The reason I'm interested in helping The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is that I saw my grandfather slowly deteriorate and become lost in his fog. 

My Grandpa Patterson was a vital man interested in everything from farming, to stocks, to politics, aircraft, community planning, machinery and education.  Grandpa performed community service via the Lions Club in his area, and at times was the head of his club.  Grandpa was one of those guys that if he ever retired he would be lost without something to do!

Grandpa was a great kidder.  He tried to get us grandchildren to say Mississaslopy instead of Mississippi.  And he was forever asking if we could spell it.  The twinkle in his eye was always the dead give away you were about to be had.  You never wanted to get too close to Grandpa when he was in a kidding mood or you might end up with the arm hairs on your arm twisted into tight little tornado knots. 

Grandpa started his days with a shot of whiskey with his coffee, way before breakfast.  Whoa betide the grandchild who thought they could sleep until 8:00 or 9:00 when Grandpa was about.  Mostly because by then he had been outside working for an hour or two and was back for breakfast.  If you missed breakfast you were out of luck until lunch.  And everyone worked at Grandpa's even if only for a few hours.

Grandpa fought giving in to Alzheimer's with every breathe he had.  He did not give up easily on driving, no matter how lost he got.  He did not give up on going into town and heading to the hardware store, even if in the wrong direction.  And he constantly asked Grandma why she sent him someplace that wasn't there.  He lost track of how to handle money, and he was as scotch as they come.  Then how to dress himself and feed himself.  Grandma hired a caretaker to come in a couple days per week, so she could grocery shop, go to the bank or get her hair done.  It was the only times she could get out of the house and ensure that Grandpa was safe.

When Grandpa forgot how to shower and shave, Grandma remodeled the bathroom so it had a floor drain and a shower chair for him.  She tried to bathe him and help him to the bathroom.  The toll that this took on Grandma put her into heart palpitations and we almost lost her.  My uncle and Grandma had to find an adult foster care home for him, close enough for her to visit.  Grandma just wasn't strong enough to continue to provide his 24/7 care.

The adult foster care home was okay.  Not spacious like Grandma's place.  And they sometimes restrained Grandpa so he didn't wander outside at night trying to find Grandma and home.  I was in Florida visiting about three weeks before Grandpa died, and visited him at the adult foster home.  I remember thinking how frail this big man had become.  Then Grandpa chastised me for being out late and not getting along with my mother. 

Now Grandpa was thinking he was talking to his daughter Kathleen, who was my mother.  That's when I finally realized how closely I must have resembled my mother.  She died when I was seven years old or about 30 years before Grandpa was having a conversation with me.

Alzheimer's or as some call it dementia is a cruel disease.  It's a mental one that robs a person of memories, learned behaviors and control.  I'll do whatever it takes on my part to ensure that I, my husband, my children and grandchildren don't get the disease.  If you've lived through the experience on a day to day basis, God bless you for your strength. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Arthritis suffers normally experience one or more types of arthritis. It's rarely a sudden onset disease and usually something that creeps in slowly like fog.  Each person reacts differently to how the disease treats them.  Most people are familiar with osteoarthritis (OA) that happens as we have accidents, strain on joints or as we age.  I started with OA after having an auto accident as a teen. 

Many elderly people has OA or rheumatism, as it used to be called.  You can see it in enlarged joints in the hands and fingers.  Excercise can alleviate some of the stiffness and pain. Play the piano, use a keyboard, write a blog etc.  all exercise the hands and keep them limber as possible.  Most days I can "beat" the arthritis and have a normal life, other days are challenge days and make me wish that life was easier.

Fall has arrived!

Looking out my sewing room window, I am reminded that fall has arrived in the Midwest.  Leaves are flying in the air looking for someplace to rest.  Flower beds have died down.  Farmers are picking the corn from the fields.  The dogs have shed once again to grow their winter coats.  It's windy and about 40 degrees.  I blanched the last of the tomatoes for the chili simmering in the crock pot. 

I realize that as a quilter, it's okay to have fabric on every shelf, in every drawer and in tubs in the closet of the sewing room.  I'll have to corral them another day.  Unfinished Objects (UFO) are giving me pause at the moment. I've become a follower of Leah Day's posts at  She has a weekly UFO link up that keeps in the fore front of my mind that I have things to finish that have been set aside for something else.   I have been practicing her designs on smaller pieces of quilting and need to get the courage to try one on the crib and twin size quilts I have ready. Her tutorials are awesome and I want to purchase her book, 365 Days of free motion designs, or put it on my Christmas list.

I made a list of ten (10) projects that have been dropped/stopped for some reason.  I opened each bag/box to figure out where I was in the process and what still needed to be done.  Did I ever share that I was OCD?  If not, don't be surprised when I say that I made a list of the things not done for each of the 10 projects.

I looked at my holiday giving list (yep another list) to see if any of the UFOs were on that list too.  The ones that matched moved to a higher priority in the 1-10 numbering.  The second round of prioritization required deciding if/when finished, the quilt would have to go out for long arm services.  If yes, then they moved again to the top of the list. 

Here's the list that I have and commit to working on until finished at least once per week:
  1. Finish chevron quilt and write blog (needs backing, quilting and binding)
  2. Labyrinth flannel quilt for Angela (rows need to be sewn together, quilting, backing and binding)
  3. Summer TX sampler & BOM  (finish two blocks and sew together)
  4. Quilt tree skirt for Alexis
  5. Quilt & bind twin quilt
  6. Quilt bag and add straps
  7. Finish cactus tree blocks (paper piecing)
  8. Finish binding on Christmas braid
  9. Quilt crazy quilt baby quilt
  10. Finish lone star with quilting, backing & binding.
What are you doing about your UFO's?  And yes, I could have more than 10 if I pressed myself.  I just find 10 is an easy note card placed in several spots to remind me what needs to be done.  Happy sewing, enjoy fall!