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Mellow Autumn

What an incredibly varied year we have had.  Autumn is proving no exception.  Mellow and glorious.

My consultant was reassuring.  Apparently I am not waiting to get worse, but making the most of not getting worse.  Mixed feelings.  I certainly am focused on living and staying as fit and healthy as I possibly can.  I am young enough and fit enough to be put forward for a bone marrow transplant when the time comes.  This can extend time for quite a while once you have got over the treatment.  Encouraging.

In the mean time I felt I just had to get away to breathe.  So down to Dorset for a day.  Wonderful.

I came back with renewed energy and positivity.  Healing.

I have been busy making these notion pouches.  Using up lots of bits and giving me a purpose and focus.  I have a Christmas Fair booked at the end of November, so I am hoping that these will make good gifts.

 

 

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Hanging The Washing out

Today is beautiful.  The best of autumn, crisp and clear with stunning displays of glorious colour everywhere you look.

 

We had a grim weekend with non stop rain for nearly 48 hours.  We also had an upsetting (and expensive) incident involving squirrels and rusty barbed wire.  Two surgeries later with a hefty bill we are now feeling better.  Mostly we are on crate rest, but under supervision while its sunny, soaking up the last of the summer warmth seems like a beneficial healing strategy.

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Wordpress Sept 24 016

With the next lot of blood results due this week I find I am restless.  The uncertainty is unsettling at best.  Time is now chopped into short fat blocks of weeks.  Learning to live with a deteriorating future is tricky at best.  I have found huge therapy in concentrating on various projects.  Making stuff by hand concentrates my mind and requires my full attention.  This especially so when my bones are loosing strength so that jobs which I have never engaged any thought in, now require methodical step by step concentration.

Here are some of my knitted panels ready to be made into my new zipped, lined pouches.  I have had so much encouragement for these I am making more.

 

I have a shaming amount of ‘stuff’.  I am doing what craft fairs I think I can manage.  This has actually been an amazing experience.  From the least expected places have come such wonderful support and kindness.  I have been humbed by a few people these last few weeks.  You know who you are, but I have to record my heartfelt thanks to Maggie, Rebecca and Sharon in particular.  Guys you are true lights.

Meanwhile I can hang my washing out – literally!

Wordpress Sept 24 005

Wordpress Sept 24 005

Next week I will know what the following few weeks will hold.  Strange, this way of thinking.  All decisions out of my control and yet somehow I keep planning my life.  Our new baby (my 4th granddaughter) is due in October (towards the end) and this event has been my ‘carrot’ since January.  This wonderful event certainly puts everything else into perspective.  What a wonderful event to focus on.

 

In the meantime, I keep making….. (going to have to use a horsebox to transport all the baby gear if shes late!!).

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Wordpress Sept 24 010

A Challenging Day

Goodbye Stitch 024Today is a huge challenge for me.  I have to behave myself with incredible self control.  Today my adorable special pup who is now 16 months old is going to live with her auntie as her new forever home.

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I love this pup beyond reason.  It is because I love her so much that I am doing the best thing for her.  This is a raw post.

My dreams now fix on my new granddaughter and making is such a salve.

My other granddaughters have on going projects with me making stuff together.  Here is the quilt of the eldest so far,  9 months in the making together.  We have chosen and stitched new (chosen by her fabrics), together with fabrics used in her mum’s quilt, new baby quilt and cousins quilt.  Some I have done (sashing) the rest she has done.  This is indeed a MEMORY CLOTH.

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These small makings give me focus and occupation.  The planning and joy of making.  It keeps lead weight weariness at the door instead of allowing it to consume me.  The biggest battle is in my head.  This is more challenging when my physical expectations of myself can not be coerced into cooperating.  But just one small project at a time.  One or two fat quaters a month, a few rows of a shawl, a couple of pages of reading at one sitting.  This and music.  I listen to music while I make and it lifts me.

Setting new goals, learning new skills, polishing skills, these things all help to bring focus and a sense of achievement to any week.  I simply refuse to open the door to ‘whats the point’ syndrome.  If it comes to it, what is the point in anything?  Because we care and learn to love and this is what is important.

The Very Big C Word

There has been way too long a gap!  No excuses and no apologies.

Life in Somerset continues alongside pretty much any other rural setting.  Seasons come and go each with its own beauty.  Our late winter saw spectacular snow drifts which towered above the lanes in beautiful arcs and waves.  An awesome introduction to proper snow for Stitch!  Spring rushed by in a flash followed by an incredible summer.  What a wonderful spell of warm, dry, long days.  I have seldom seen such a parched landscape with cracks in the clay soil which you could hide in.  And now, a mellow, soft warm autumn.

What a year its been!  My eldest grandaughter turned 13!  Despite various health issues, she is still in remission (a year now), which is wonderful.  She developed Diabetes type 1 which has seriously impeded her life, but we manage and are grateful for everyday as it comes.

My third daughter expects her first child (a girl – well, we do those so well!), in October.  When her husband was asked how heavy he thought the baby would be, he scratched his head and replied 9 stone. (???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  So we shall see!!  This is so exciting as we have not had a baby in the family for 6 years!  So much anticipated.

Unfortunately. here is the place that I will own my diagnosis of Myeloma.  This is a rare blood cancer which is incurable.  So there we go, I said it.  I think I have been ashamed to own it and in denial, trying not to say it so that it will not be true.  But it is.  The worst thing is the uncertainty, life hangs in limbo.  There are no set plans or timelines as this is a difficult and complicated cancer which affects everyone in a variety of ways.  Prognosis is one way, but there are different treatments which can stave off the inevitable.

Life.  So short, so precious, so uncertain, so fragile.

I adore my dogs.  I was training up for competition in Agility and we had put lots of work and time into this.  This is not possible.  I pulled out of competition as I can not run the dogs now.  So I am re-homing Stitch who is just over a year now.  It breaks my heart.  But I love her way too much not to give her the best life I can.  A lovely family who had her mum’s only sister in the same litter, is fostering her.  Stitch has been on a few holidays with the family and she looks so happy when she is there, and they adore her.  So I know this is the right thing to do for her.  It still breaks my heart.

These are the hard things.  Also selling stock and ‘stuff’.  Feels like selling my hopes and dreams.  But I dont want my kids to have to sort it all out.  So I have got focus now.  What I can reasonably expect to do and what is beyond me.  Making is my healing space.  Making focuses my mind and helps me have purpose.  Achievable aims.

So I think I will document as much as I feel able my walk with cancer.  My life with cancer.

Websites

Here we are at the end of summer.  We had a power cut last night and ended the beautiful day with a much needed early night.  No power of any kind.  No lights, no hot water, no phones, nothing.  This happens fairly freqently in this little corner of Somerset.  The art of success lies in remembering what was on so that it can be switched off.  This avoids rude awakenings in the small hours – which is often when the power comes back on again.

 

So, this morning was an early start.  A beautiful start.  A wander round the valley in the cut fields was a bank holiday treat.

I am intrigued by the array of stunning webs and the ingenuity of how spiders link points together.  They use what they have available and make something beautiful from it.  The dew and early sun add drama and impact.  And it all starts again the next evening.

Late swallows are chattering away and leaving with friends to mark the turning of seasons.

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Lost in Stitches

Lost in Stitches of every kind.

Knitting.  I have found my complete love of this craft again.  Not just in the mindless, habit formed repetitive actions, but the absolute joy of yarns, colours, and the slow making of stitches, one by one.  Combinations of colours or textures.  What can be achieved by two sticks and some lovely string.  Slow production made by repeating methodologies stitch by stitch.  Sensuous pleasure induced by making.  The shawl is made with my handspun and hand dyed fibre.

Sewing.  Autobiographical recordings of daily walks.  Again, the step by step repetition of a meditative action keeping pace with my steps and thoughts.  This series of textile recordings have become something of their own thing,  I simply have become the tool of their making.  I am fasinated to see the years work as a whole.  Currently I am working on number 46, so my year is almost up.  What then?

Somerset beaches?

Stitch.  Ummmmm……. Beautiful, elegant, bouncy, challenging, noisy, affectionate, and so on.  Equally driving me loopy and filling me with love.  Stitch is firing on ALL cylinders.  She is growing at a phenomenal rate.  When I bought her collar, I gave it 6 months.  Well lets just say that it possibly has just 2 weeks left.  Her age?  Oh, just 14 weeks yesterday!

We took a trip to Kilve.  Kilve is an absolute favorite place of mine.

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Tattered

My ongoing textile work is finding a direction at last.  I have done a piece a week.   I am currently about to start piece 44. The piece starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  I set myself the boundaries of between 10 and 30 mins a day.  I have become quicker and now the boundaries have changed to 3 arm length threads a day with the set up day being Sunday.  The work is about landscape and is personal and intimate to me.  It is abstract, but the content is about boundaries and walking journeys across the landscape I live in.  Daily routines of stepping across the landscape with the dogs.

 

To prepare some of the fabric I dye it with plants found in my landscape close to home.  I also bury the fabric.  Today I dug up 2 lots of fabric which I buried around Christmas time.  Here is the result of one – in tatters!!  The other fell apart as I tried to handle it.  Lesson learned?  Dont leave it too long!!

 

Stitch has moved into the house.  She has a crate to sleep in for a while as grumpy granny is a bit too grumpy at times.  Stitch decided that this was a good place to store mum, and shut her in this morning!  Not quite the idea, but creative!

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Butter wouldn’t melt?

The garden is looking great – well where we had reasonable control over the pups at least –