Saturday, 31 May 2014

May Lamb swap

My May lambs, as I said in the last post have been rehoused with my family.  They watched me sew them as I sat with Keith and they have taken on a significance I never intended when starting to sew them.  So I will now restart the project this weekend and hopefully post them next week.  In the meantime here are the swaps I have received, my flock of woolly jumpers: -
From Alice, love the fleece embellished background, very typical of my local area too.  

Top card from Helen and the bottom one from Pauline.  I just love the humour in these cards, they made me smile - thank you ladies.

The last two are from (top) Jacquie and (bottom) Miriam.  Both have made good use of fabric.  Jacquie has created a background from prints, don't think I've every seen a print with sheep on before.  And Miriam's sheep are enhanced with stitch, another great fabric.

Friday, 30 May 2014

We've said our goodbyes

and he had a happy send off.  The little church at the crematorium was full and people seemed to enjoy the music.  My niece said she wanted to dance, Keith would have loved it if she had. The funeral tea was a happy event, lots of tale telling, laughter and general fun.  Everyone left with a smile on their faces.

Keith, my quiet man of strength, determination and courage.

Now for the start of a new chapter.  I finally got the lambs finished and all but the one for the hospice have gone to their new homes.

Now to get on with Flynn's quiet book.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Almost there

Almost there, the business side of things are mostly sorted now, just the odds and sods remain but they can wait a day or two.  It's been a difficult few days but Keith was always the optimist and didn't believe in dwelling on things too much and as a family we've tried to live up to his expectations.   The funeral is arranged for Friday and it will be as Keith wished a humanist service.  We meet with the humanist speaker tomorrow to talk about Keith.  The service will be a  celebration of his life, about how much he enjoyed life, his interests and how much he loved his family.  

Music for the service has been a bit of a nightmare as Keith's favourite songs were Snoopy and the Red Baron, Harper Valley PTA, The Israelites, Hey Jude and Rock Island Line. His leaning was very definitely towards the 60's and he liked something you could sing along to.  Keith had a terrible voice, totally tuneless and he loved to sing loudly in the car while driving and I would join in. That's a memory that will always make me smile.  

We all got together and have come up with three we knew he enjoyed and we thought suitable for the occasion.  So its going to be Bob Marley's Don't Worry,(which the boys inform me is actually called Three Little Birds), The Troggs Love is all Around You and naturally Hey Jude. 

I am almost there with the woolly jumpers too.  Got three to sew onto backgrounds and do the finishing up bits but they are beginning to come together. I must apologise for the blue colouring, the lid of the scanner wouldn't close properly as they are a bit thicker than paper so the light seeped round the sides.

Three are still in the slip form but have already been allocated to family members who, like me, don't want to let the go.
One finished and one to have eyes added.  I want to give them all slightly different expressions and may add glasses to one or two.  The one on the right, with the eyes, will belong to Alix who has named her Ermintrude.  The pink one above will belong to Julie and my sister wants one of the orange ones, one will go to St Teresa's Hospice and  I will keep what's left.  Then all I have to do is make another five for the swap but they won't be full of French knots like the five above.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I heard my name called

Just before seven this morning I was startled awake hearing Keith shout my name.  I was sure I must have dreamt it but it left me unsettled and I got up and rang my son Simon.  He took me to the hospice early but on the way their the hospice rang to see if I was coming in as Keith's breathing had taken a turn for the worse.  He became ill around 6:30 am and the staff at the hospice thought this was the end.

My lovely Keith sadly lost his battle with cancer tonight.  It was peaceful and both boys and their wives were with him at the end.  I will miss him dreadfully, as will the family but at last he is free of pain and stress.

Goodbye my love

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Not long to go

We were told yesterday that Keith has no more than a couple of weeks left with the likelihood that it will be just a few days.  I knew it was coming but it was still difficult to take and my heart is heavy.  Having said that Keith is comfortable, still wanting to go to the pub for a drink with his boys.  Yesterday we were talking to the boys about music and I said his favourite songs when we courting were The Israelites and Hey Jude.  They were in the top ten at that time and Keith would go out of his way to find a juke box and set the records to play.  Suddenly Keith started to sing Hey Jude - he didn't manage much of the song but it was recognisable and we all laughed.  This morning when I went in to see him he greeted me with another rendition, then promptly fell asleep.  I think he had been saving up for that all night.

I'm trying to get a couple of hours at home in the afternoon and will go back in to see him after tea.  If he deteriorates rapidly there is a bed-settee in his room and I will stay overnight.  I am still sewing my sheep, almost got them onto a background but still not taken a photo.  I have a feeling I may not be able to give them up, ah well that's life.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Move to Hospice

The hospital have now done all they can for the acute medical problems Keith has experience but it is now time for him to be discharged.  He is still confused, mainly when he is tired, and still trying to get out of bed but just doesn't have the strength.  Having said that the staff looked in on him the other morning to find that he had found the bed control and stood his bed up, his feet were sticking out of the bottom.  After that they locked the controls.  He was a bit disturbed because he said he didn't think it was right his going out with 18 or 19 year old girls, he just didn't have the strength for them.  The nurses were trying to get him dressed, he thought they had designs on his body - now that's wishful thinking.  And as his consultant said "a man thing".

He has been transferred to the local hospital, which is a lovely old house, a bit higgledy piggledy but homely and they even gave him a beer tonight.  Pity he was too tired to drink it but the thought was there.  He can stay here for the next two weeks in the hope of regaining some strength after that the decision has to be taken as to whether he is able to come home or remain in care for what time he has left.

I am going to stay with him over the weekend as staffing levels are low so I am hoping to get some more hand sewing done.  I really must take a photo so you can see what I am doing.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Still Difficult Times

The doctors have got Keith's confusion under control and he is now the quiet, peaceful man I have lived with for the past 44 years.  However it looks like he is nearing the end.  They are still pumping lots of antibiotics and fluids into him via tubes as he cannot swallow.  He can answer questions with simple yes/no answers and tell you when he is in pain or needs something else.  But his answers are mumbled as his tongue muscles are weak and he just doesn't have any strength left;  all that fighting seems to have taken it out of him.

Today I await the consultant and MacMillan nurses assessment but it looks quite bleak and I may not get my love back home again.  But you never know, he is still a determined man.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Difficult times

The last week has been a bit of a nightmare.  It started with Keith's second fall of the Bank Holiday weekend this one we could not manage to get him back on his feet.  We had to call the emergency number for help.  He seemed okay when they finally got him into bed and we talked late into the night putting the world to rights.  But on Tuesday morning I woke to a completely different man, one who was very weak and very confused but didn't appear to be in pain.  Keith deteriorated rapidly over the next couple of days becoming even more confused and combative, something he has never been but still not complaining of pain.  The District and MacMillan nursing teams and his GP all thought he was entering the final phase of his illness and the cancer had probably gone to his brain.  

However, at the insistence of his nursing carers, his GP finally organised blood tests (why this hadn't been done earlier nobody can understand).  It appeared that Keith's lack of appetite and reluctance to drink had resulted in severe dehydration and raised calcium levels, plus other raised results showed he had an infection somewhere.   Any, or all, of these result could be the reason for his altered behaviour.   He is in hospital where they are trying to get his calcium levels down, rehydrate him and treat his infection.  But he isn't the easiest of patients to treat as is determined to go home.  He persistently climbs out of bed (despite the rails round his bed), removes all his clothing because he is too hot and still confused. Despite being so ill he is physically a strong man when agitated.  My poor love is very distressed and I hope they manage to get to the bottom of this soon.  In spite of his treatment though all the doctors he has seen believe that his cancer is partially to blame and we have a long wait until Tuesday to see if what they can treat has worked I get my Keith back.

In the meantime I have managed to get some hand sewing in sitting by his bedside.  I will take a photo later and show you how far I have got with my "woolly jumpers".

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Steam Punk Doll

Way out of my comfort zone this one but only because I haven't done this sort of work for some time.  Soon got into the stride though and here she is - Myst Tyeke:-

She's made from pelmet vilene.;  some I had used to mop up dyes etc.  I cut a corset for her from the same piece and added laces, metal belt and lace edging.   I painted, sewed and embossed the bottom half to give it a more metallic look.  I admit I am not into steam punk, which I take to be an engineering version of punk/goth.

I am sadly lacking in cog wheels or anything else mechanical to adorn her but I found an old watch and took it to pieces in the hope I would find some cogs.  I was sadly disappointed; it was a battery operated watch and just didn't have any cogs. It should have been obvious to me that it went on electric pulse rather than mechanics duhhhh.  But I did find a die cut with cogs on in our local garden centre and now she has a cogwheel hair cut.  I'm afraid that's my only steam punk bit, just hope my partner isn't too disappointed with her.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Another Page for the Quiet Book

Finished the fire engine with lift off ladder, cone and axe and a hose pipe that sticks to the velcro patch so it can be played with.  Plus a "Buster" to drive the engine, just hope he likes it.  

Missed the Embroidery Guild meeting today which I am sure I would have enjoyed very much.  Sandra Wallace was giving a talk about colour, stitch and beads.  I'm sure it will have been a great talk but unfortunately Keith still isn't well enough to leave for more than a couple of hours.  His pain is beginning to make itself felt now and the strong pain killers make him sleepy.  He spends most of the day in bed asleep but if he wants to get up to make a bathroom trip or to come downstairs he is too unsteady to do it alone.  We've had these up/down days before and hopefully it won't be too long before we once again have a handle on his pain and he will join in the fun.  He has been enrolled in the 'Falls Clinic' and has his first meeting next Friday.  Apparently they all have a laugh together so it should be good for him to get some company other than mine and the boys.

Still it has given me some sewing time and a lovely lady from the Yahoo BQLPC group (called Pauline) sent me a pattern for a different type of Quiet Book.  I've decided to use some of those pages and have made a start on them.  More pics next time.