Friday, 27 February 2015

Five On Friday

Welcome everyone to the new Five On Friday!  This is the second week, and I really hope that this works again this week.  If not, please forgive me and bear with me.  Thank you so much to everyone who took part last week, I hope that some of you will join in again this week and that we will perhaps have some more new people joining us as well!

Hello to everyone who is new, you are most welcome here and welcome to join in.  Thank you for taking part.  Welcome to new followers!  It is lovely to have you on board too!



I think that most of you will be familiar with doing link ups - also called blog parties - with other blogs and it really is easy to join in.  All you have to do is write a post about Five things.  You need to do it on a Friday.  Then you need to add a link back to my Five On Friday post.  I will try and put these up at 7 am GMT each Friday.  The link up part will remain live for 24 hours, so everyone around the world should have time to join in if they wish.  If not there is always next week!

To visit other bloggers taking part, just click on the link thingy at the end of the post.  Please do go and visit their lovely posts!

If you want to grab a Five On Friday Button or get more information, see the All About Five On Friday page the link for which is at the top of my sidebar.

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This weeks post is all about a little expedition which I forced took hubby on last weekend.  It was to a yarn show!  The first that I have ever been to.  The things that I have to share are mostly from that.

1.  This kit is to make the superb little rabbit or hare that you see in the picture below.  Isn't he wonderful!


The roving - the woolly stuff used to make said rabbit - is incredibly soft and feels wonderful.  I have to admit that I am rather terrified of this though.  Not just because of the needles that you use to felt it all together which are pretty scary in themselves.  It is the thought of something totally new and that if I mess up I can't easily get more stuff to make it with.

None of that is a reason not to have a go though so I will.  When I am in the right frame of mind and less scared!  You will of course be informed of progress!


2.  Another shawl pin!  Because I use my others so often....  This one was rather gorgeous though, but it doesn't show up well in my picture - which I tried to take loads of different ways.  What it means really is that I need to crochet more shawls doesn't it.


3.  Blanket patterns.  Again, because I need more blankets right!  These two blankets were on display and were so bright and vibrant and colourful that I didn't think having the patterns would be a problem.  I am not sure that I will make either, certainly not right now, but I did think that the one on the left could perhaps be made into a shawl - see above! - so I might start with that.


4.  Not very exciting to some, but thrilling to me.  A yarn cutter pendant.  For the uninitiated you slip the yarn into one of the little grove bits on the side and there is a hidden blade which cuts your yarn.  I just need to find something to string it on so that I can actually have it about my person and stop keep poking my scissors with my elbow!


5.  I do have one last lovely thing to show you today though.  This wonderful shawl which I received as a gift - sadly not any use with the shawl pin!!  It is the finest and lightest fabric you can imagine and floats and glides so beautifully.


What really attracted me though are the embroidered flowers.  Aren't they pretty.  It gives it a very vintage feel I think, which I like.


Five things!  I hope that you don't think that I am a shopaholic or a bragger, I just wanted to share them with you because, well, you understand and don't look at me oddly when I wax lyrical about a thing to cut yarn into shorter pieces of yarn!

I do have a couple of other things to say today, you might be thinking, what was this, nothing but a shopping trip.  What about the yarn show thingy.  Tell me more.

Sadly I don't want to tell you more!  Because I don't want to be saying bad things.  It was expensive to get in, very crowded and full of lovely, but incredibly expensive yarn.  Very worthy yarn, but therefore far to expensive for me to afford to buy enough to ever make anything.

It is the first such show that I have been to, so I don't know if that is what they are all like or not.  I hope not.

There you go, that is why I am not saying more and why there is no yarn to share!

I also wanted to let you know that I have been trying to reply to comments via e-mail.  There are a couple of issues with that though.  If you are a no reply blogger though, I cannot reply.  Also, just lately it seems that I don't always get an e-mail for every comment, so again, I cannot then reply.  The third issue - well, I think it might be an issue - is that I get a lot of e-mails and it says for example Amy via blogger bounces.  I reply to those, but have no idea if you receive my replies.  I just wanted to let you know and explain why you might not get a reply.  It isn't because I don't want to talk to you, it is just that I don't have an e-mail to reply to!  If you want to change your no reply status you just add your e-mail address to your profile - there are loads of easy tutorials online to help you.  You can e-mail me , I am a replyable blogger and my e-mail address is on the About Love Made My Home page.

Oh, and for some reason I have terrified myself into thinking that this link is not going to work, so if it doesn't I am sorry!

Also, I hope that my post yesterday wasn't too much of a downer for you.  It is what we are dealing with here and I don't like to bore you with it, but it does show just how important the campaign that I have been asked to take part in is.  The campaign is the reason I shared it!

One more thing, I am still working on my need to apologise for myself all the time - sorry!

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend doing lots of fun things.  I hope too that you will join in and link up.  I look forward to reading your posts!

Amy


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Help Them Home

You know that thing with buses, nothing for ages and then they call come along at once?  Well after my first ever review post on Monday I was contacted and asked if I would post about something else.  This isn't a review and it isn't a sponsored post either.  It is just something that is really important that needs to be shared.

I was asked to share with you about the Royal Voluntary Service research called "Let's End Going Home Alone" and their campaign which has come from this called "Help Them Home".  Read more here.

I will be doing a post about what this means next week.  First though I have two stories to share with you which explain why I was so keen to take part in spreading this message.  In that famous journalistic line, names have been changed to protect privacy.  These stories are real, and the relationships are close and I don't wish to reveal too much, although you can draw your own conclusions, so please again forgive that!  If my posts and thoughts have ever seem odd or disjointed these stories are the reason why.

The Royal Voluntary Service research has looked at the hospital discharges of older people.  Apparently 40% of patients over the age of 75 are well enough to go home, but hospital delays are increasing.

One of the main reasons for these delays is the lack of suitable social care for older people.  The Royal Voluntary Services is setting up a campaign called "Home From Hospital" which involves volunteers providing practical help to older people after they leave hospital.

As I said though, I will share some more about this next week.

The stories though are these.

I have written a little about Lady over the last few months, and always called her Lady, so we shall stick with that.

Lady is in her mid 90's.  She still lives alone, but has lots of health problems, physical rather than mental.  As you do when you get that age.  She also has failing eyesight.  She does however have the unstinting support of a loving family.

Last year Lady was very sick.  Really ill and could not be at home on her own.  She had to be moved into a Nursing Home.  She stayed there from September until just a few weeks ago.  That is a long time to be away from home and your friends.  The reason that Lady was so delayed in getting home was because although she was became somewhat better in terms of health, she could not care for herself in terms of things like dressing and cooking a meal.  So she needed someone to come in and help with those things.  In England, this help should be available to you through your local Adult Social Care Services.  I will not bore you with the details, but Lady was assessed as needing and was eligible for Carers to come to her home three times a day and do what was needed.  No carers could be found for love nor money.  No matter how much money could have been offered!

That is why Lady was so long in the Nursing Home.  Without those Carers, and no matter how many lovely family members and friends she had to support her, she could not go home and be safe.

Finally though Lady has Carers coming in to see her in her own home and she is doing really well.  The Carers are lovely and Lady is settling back in really well with the support of her family too.  The Carers are great, but she would not be as well without her family doing what they have done.

Her family do all the extra things, take her out to her various clubs, ensure that her food is bought and delivered to her home, make appointments for her for doctors and so on, buy her books on tape to listen to - she cannot read any more.  All of those things.  No matter how good the Carers are, and my goodness she needed them to get home, if she was home without her family and friends support she would just be existing, not living.

The second story is about Man - see, the names are on a theme here!  I haven't written to you before about Man on my blog.  Man is a whole different case.  He is in his late 80's and again lives alone in his own home.  He was widowed some years ago, and although to outward appearances has dealt with that alright, if you look just a little more deeply he hasn't done well.

Again, Man has acknowledged physical health issues, age related and managed reasonably well.

Just under two years ago though Man started to have some other issues.  In the waterworks department.  Things had been rumbling along in an unsatisfactory manner for a couple of years before that, but Man had decided that there was nothing wrong with him, and most of his family agreed with him.  He is old, it is OK, to be expected, those kind of comments were made by Man and some family members.

However, things got worse and in the end even Man had to agree there was an issue.  Action was taken and he was finally presented to the doctor.  A lot of back and forth took place.  Hospital visits, consultations, attempts at treatment.  It was all very very difficult.  Man didn't seem to care about any of it, paid little attention to what was said or was going on, and made little effort to comply with the suggested treatments.

This went on for over 6 months and resulted in the person who was taking him to appointments and trying to manage the situation giving up their job in order to deal with everything that was going on.

The medical treatment was not at fault in any way - it was excellent in fact - it was Man's reaction to it and the way that some of those around him handled it that was difficult.

Eventually the doctors said that surgery was required and Man agreed.  Man actually agreed with great alacrity and didn't even ask any questions about it.  That was quite worrying.

The plan was for surgery to take place, Man would stay in hospital for one night and then go home the next day.  Now, I don't want to labour this, but as I said, it was a waterworks issue.  The plan was that once Man went home he would be able to do all the normal waterworks things with no aids or additional plumbing (if you get my drift).

Man duly went in for surgery, all went as well as it could and the next day rolled around.  His family - the ones actually dealing with the issue, not the ones in denial that there was even a problem - asked that they be informed of when he would be discharged as they wanted to be there and to see the doctor and make sure that all was well before he went home.  This didn't happen.

Now, I am not saying this as a poor reflection on the hospital, but this is where things started to go downhill.  Man was not discharged until about 7pm in the evening.  Yes, 7pm - night time!!!!  A man in his late 80's is expected to get himself home - he has no car at the hospital - and have food in store etc.  Also, there were still some additional plumbing features in place.  Man had no idea how to use them, care for himself or anything.  This was absolutely NOT what had been planned.

The family insisted that he stay another night as they did not think it appropriate for him to go home to a cold empty house at that time of night with no food or anything prepared.  They had made no plans or got in any food because they assumed that having not been discharged all day, he was staying another night.  They also had no idea that he would have additional care needs in terms of the plumbing.

So Man stayed another night.  Man went home the next day - with his extra pipes and so on - and the situation went steadily downhill from there.  There were all kinds of issues and problems, which went on for many months afterwards.  Thankfully, because Man had SOME family at least to help, he did not have to return to hospital.  Although without them, I cannot imagine what would have happened to him.  It is too frightening to contemplate.

Man is now reasonably OK, although is still not well, physically, and is also declining mentally.  Many of his family don't see it though and again persist with comments along the line of "he's old".

Man was eventually assessed by Adult Social Care.  By then, most, but not all, of his physical needs in terms of the plumbing items after surgery had been dealt with.  However, he did still have needs and his general physical and in the eyes of some, his mental health, is not good.  Man probably doesn't need a carer right now, but he did need one when he came out of hospital.  However, because Adult Social Care cannot afford to pay for this and because Man did a good impression over the phone of saying that he was alright he did not get any care.

Everything therefore falls to certain family members.  They are happy to do what they can, but it is a tough situation!

The summary for Man is that because he can do a good impression of being fine mentally, but because he isn't well mentally, if someone doesn't keep on top of what is happening and what he is doing, he could have ended up being very ill and having to go back into hospital.  Probably for a long time.  Without family support I don't know where Man would be right now.

Both Lady and Man were very lucky.  They both had good treatment from their various medical professionals, doctors, nurses and so on.  No argument there at all.  However, there was simply not enough social care on offer for either of them.  Lady could have been home a lot sooner than she was, and Man could have actually had some help then and now.

I will share more with you about what you can do to help people like Lady and Man next week.  In the meantime visit the Royal Voluntary Service website here.

Thank you for listening!

Amy

Disclosure.  I was asked to spread this important message to you.  I have not received any compensation for this in any way.  I am telling you about it because it is personal to me and I think that it is important.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Valentines Heart Garland - tutorial

Do you remember my mantel for February?  There is a garland of paper hearts strung across the mantel, it seems that I always have to have a garland of some sort!


When I revealed the mantel I promised to show you how to make the garland and then somehow time got away from me.  As we are just in the last few days of February, and because hearts can be enjoyed at any time of year, I thought I would share the details with you today.  Better late than never!

To remind you, this is what my February Mantel looks like.


Making the garland is really very simple.


First take a strip of paper that is 12 inches long, by 2 inches wide.


The cut down the centre lengthwise.


So that you have two strips of paper, 1 inch wide, by 12 inches long.  If you are cutting your strips from scrapbook paper, it might be easier to just cut two strips of course!


Fold in half so that one has the pattern facing inwards, and the other has the pattern facing outwards.


Nest the strips one inside the other so that you have the pattern inside and outside.  Then insert the end of the strip where the folds are into your hole punch and make a hole as near to the end of the strip as you can, making sure that it is as close to the centre as you can get it.


To make the next two holes that you need insert the strip into your hole punch as I have shown above - sorry about the slightly fuzzy picture!  Punch another hole.


You want the two holes to be just over an inch apart.  Remember, both holes need to be at the end where you have the fold.


Then staple just above the first hole that you punched - just below the fold.


Then open up the pieces and fold the two open ends back on themselves, this makes the heart shape as you can see in the picture above.


Staple this end.  Again, as close to the end as you can get.  This is the end of your strips without the fold and the holes.


You can see how the heart shape is made and how the holes line up.


Thread some decorative twine through the four holes that you now have.  I have used a contrasting colour here so that it shows up well, but for my actual garland I used some pink and white twine.


Repeat the process until you have as many hearts as you desire!  I made 10 for this garland.  I also used different papers and switched the papers that I used for the inside and outside of each heart.  But I like to fiddle around like that!


There you have it, one Valentines Heart Garland!  To fix it to the mantel I used a blob of blue tak on either end of the mantel and pushed the twine into it.  The whole thing is very light, so doesn't need much to hold it up.  I then covered the blue tak with a crocheted heart.  Normally I use some crochet circles, but you could just cut a heart shape of paper or a circle.

I hope that you will have fun making yourself a garland, either for Valentines, or just because!

Amy

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Ashmolean

This is a tale of two halves really.  One planned in detail, but sadly not so much fun, but the other totally unexpected and really interesting.  Don't you often find that is the way though.  Something that you really look forward to and have built up expectations of, doesn't meet up to what you hope it will be, but if you have no expectations, things turn out to be really good.  I guess that is why you should always have an open mind!

On Valentines Day hubby and I went to Oxford to go to an exhibition about William Morris and - strangely - Andy Warhol.  It was at Modern Art Oxford.  However, this post isn't about that at all.

I will explain why.  We did go to the exhibition and saw some lovely things by William Morris and some things by Warhol too - although they were not up my street I have to say.  On arrival we were presented with 18 pages of A4 paper, each absolutely covered in very very small typed words all about the works we were to see.

It was very dark, no natural light, very hot and there was very little to see.  No pictures were allowed - that is why I have none to share.  It was however, free to enter.

For those with a great academic interest in either Morris or Warhol and the inclination to stand up and read those 18 pages, I am sure that it was very interesting.  For us though, not so much.

The pieces by Morris were wonderful and I would have loved to have seen more of them and if I have the chance to see another exhibition in another location of just his work, I would certainly go and have a look.

So we decided to leave and went instead to the Ashmolean Museum.  We hadn't planned to go there at all.  Our visit was not a complete one by any means and there was more to see that we did not visit.  However, it was a delight to go there and somewhere that I would be willing to return to.  Photographs were allowed - or certainly not stopped - so I have lots to share with you.  This post is therefore split in two with part two coming next week.


One of the most interesting rooms was a quite small space dedicated to the Pre Raphaelite artists.  It was quite busy, so I don't have any pictures of the paintings, but I can recommend going to look at them as there were some incredible works.


I did though get some pictures of this wonderful carved statue.  The detail was incredible and exquisite in its workmanship.  Really so beautiful and finely detailed.  The piece was between 18 and 24 inches high I would guess.  Sadly I forgot to capture any details of the artist or the title of the work.  That alone though is a good reason for a return visit, to get the information!



There were also some stunning works by 19th Century Artists.  I took pictures of these two works especially because I am always telling visitors at work about one owner of the house who collected works by Constable and Turner at the time these works were actually being produced.

Above is Willy Lotts House From The Stour by John Constable.  Painted in approximately 1816-1818.  The house stood just behind the mill which featured in Constable's most famous work, The Haywain.

Below is The Devil's Bridge, St Gotthard Pass by JMW Turner.  Probably painted between 1803 and 1804.

Both works were stunning to look at up close and in person.  Hubby is a real admirer of Turner's works and always takes great interest in studying them.



We also spent some time looking at the works of the Pissarro family.  I chose these two to share with you as they were ones that I particularly liked and show two very different styles of work.

The work above is by Camille Pissarro, and was painted in 1876.  It is titled Farm at Montfoucalt : Snow Effect. 

Below is Eragny Church, painted by Lucien Pissarro, the son of Camille.  It was painted in 1886 and followed his fathers examples of work in the Pointillism style.  If you look closely you can see how the different dots of colour that are seemingly unrelated make a different colour when viewed together from a distance.



This carved wooden panel dates from between 1600 and 1650, and comes from Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire.  Originally the leaves - oak and beech - would have been painted and some paint apparently still survives.

The piece below is an Archangel, dating from approximately 1450 and comes from Ewelme Church in Oxfordshire.  Again this would have been painted originally and had between four and six wings, rather than just the two which remain today.



There was so much to see, so I am just leaving you with a couple more things today.

This is some of the Cuerdale Hoard.  It was found in 1840, but dates from about 905 - yes, 905, over a thousand years ago!  It was made up of 8500 pieces of silver, weighing about 40 kilos.  Most of it is in the British Museum, but there are a small selection of items as you can see above at the Ashmolean.  The picture below is of a picture of more of the hoard.



Just another couple of random things!  Some wonderful embroidery and a great chandelier!


Also, a close up of the frieze which goes around the top of a very grand staircase.


In part two I will have some ceramics and silver pieces to share with you.

Although I could not share William Morris, I hope that you enjoyed this visit, as we certainly did!

Amy

Monday, 23 February 2015

Tea Towels - or art!

You know may - or may not - know that we are developing a liking for "retro" things in our house.  Following the inheritance of a table and chairs and the purchase of some other items of furniture to go with them we have gradually over the last two years been styling our Living/Dining Room to have a retro feel.  Just little touches here and there.

Of course doing this makes you start to notice things that you didn't take a second glance at before.  Last week I took some things to the charity shop and had a quick look around as I was there.  On the hunt for retro things.  I didn't find anything, there was a vase, but when I looked close up I didn't think it was old and it was rather ugly.  There were also some great soup bowls, but they were only great to look at as I don't think they would have held more than a couple of spoonful's of soup.  So I left them all behind.

This meant though that retro things were on my mind, and when I returned home I had a little job to do and for some reason I was thinking retro at the same time as doing that little job.

So, what was this task, I had to choose two tea towels.  I had been contacted by Al of All Tea Towels who offered me the chance to review two tea towels from his website called, funnily enough, All Tea Towels.  You can find it here www.all-tea-towels.co.uk.  There are so many different designs to choose from it was a hard job.  I was though attracted to a number of tea towels that had retro designs and when I discovered that they were designed in Scandinavia I just had to select one of those.

Here it is!  What do you think?  I really like it and am very happy with it.  The tea towel is a lovely crisp linen and the designs remind me very much of a cookery book that my mother had many years ago.  I just had to pick this one.



I was lucky enough to be able to choose another tea towel so I thought I would go for something completely different for the second choice.  So chose this one.


I loved the saying.  I know several real dogs and bloggy dogs who are so kind and caring and loving and this reminded me of them!


So, the review bit.  Well, the choice of tea towels is great, although narrowing the choices down is hard.  There are florals, funny ones, retro ones, all kinds to choose from.  The service was great, they arrived well packaged and really quickly too.  The designs were actually better than I was hoping for and the size of the tea towels is really good too - some of the ones that I have bought from supermarkets are so tiny, they barely dry up a teacup!  I haven't laundered them - I will explain why - but I can tell that the fabrics are good quality so don't expect any problems there.  If you are in the market for a new tea towel, or a gift, these are well worth looking at.

I had every intention of using these tea towels.  I also planned to use and launder them before doing my review.  I haven't been able to bring myself to though. 

That doggie is so cute and I know just the person who would love this tea towel, so I am going to give it away and I cannot give away a used tea towel can I.  The retro one is as good as I hoped it would be, and in fact, far better. so I have a little plan - that I haven't explained to hubby yet.  I thought that it would look good framed up and hung in our kitchen.


I need to work on hubby though as it will mean that we need to jig things around a bit in the kitchen so it might be a little while, I will let you know how it goes.  If my plans to turn this tea towel into art don't work, I will perhaps make a cushion, or even, just use it as intended.  As a tea towel.  I might even use this one and then just order another one to make a cushion!

So you can see why having retro on my mind influenced my choice of tea towels and this review!  I am glad that it did though as I will hopefully have a great new piece of art of the kitchen.


Just so you know this is the first review that I have ever done.  If I was ever asked to do another review, and I thought that the products were as lovely as these are, and were something that you would be interested in, I would repeat the experience.  However, I wanted you to know that I don't plan on doing lots of sponsored posts or having advertising here.  It will remain as my little blog, and I will always disclose the truth to you, because as you know honesty is very important to me.  I hope that you don't mind this review and will stick with me!

Amy

Disclosure - I received two tea towels from www.all-tea-towels.co.uk to facilitate my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  No other compensation was provided.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sunlit Sunday

During Sunlit Sunday times I find myself looking at the way the sun shines on things in the house, the sky, both in the daytime and early evening when it is dusk, the patterns that are made as the sun shines through things.

Of course these things happen all year round and I do notice them, but for the first three months of the year when Karen hosts Sunlit Sunday I make a special effort to note and record them.

So when I saw this amazing sight out of the window this week, purely by chance, I had to quickly record it for you.  It was very quick too, because as you will see, it involved a plane and I even managed to switch from my regular lens on the camera to my zoom lens.

The whole experience didn't last for more than a couple of moments, and although it was fleeting, it was beautiful and well worth recording and I hope you will think that it was worth sharing with you all.

This is what I saw!


The sky was turning a beautiful red colour and the contrail from this plane flying overhead was turning a bright red colour too.  I have never seen this before!


I quickly switched to my zoom lens so that I could get a closer shot of it.


Isn't the contrail just the most amazing colour indeed!




You can see from this shot above where I switched back to the normal lens just how far away the plane was - it is at the end of the almost vertical streak on the right of centre.


The sun started to fall lower in the sky, making everything close up turn black of course.


But that beautiful redness remained as the darkness started to come.


I will keep looking for sunny moments all week!  I hope that you have some sunshine in your life this week, literally, or figuratively.

Amy