Sunday, October 8, 2017

What can you give to life, to make life better? Edited for Gifted Gorgeous

Hi everyone, how are you all?  Apologies those of you who have read it. Technically, all the fund raising with through crafty things which have been donated so I'm using it for Gifted Gorgeous which gives me time to catch up!

Gifted Gorgeous is hosted by Serendipitous Stitching and encourages us to share things we have made for others, or have received from others.  It's a really fun idea and details can be found here;

I want to ask you a question.  What can you give to life, to make life better?

I know. Cruel, right?  Asking such a deep and meaningful question on a Sunday morning. 

I ask because I have been humbled beyond words by people who have proved to me that we should be living according to a philosophy of what we can give to life and not what life can give to us!

After a very stressful week (my grandmother passed on the day I had to travel to Dublin to give a talk on 'dying' at a Humanist conference, radio interviews, and lots of stress associated with funerals), the amazing Mayo and Roscommon Hospice Palliative Care Baby Event took place.

I am sure it has been mentioned here a few million times. 

The Mayo and Roscommon Hospice charity provide me with nurses and all sorts of things that you need when you have a terminal illness, and all of which enable me to live with cancer AND when the time comes, will enable me to die at home.  That last bit is important because neither Mayo, or my country, Roscommon, have a Hospice. Not a one. 

In fact everything to do with palliative care here in Ireland is paid for by charity.  I know this is pretty disgusting but the upside is that the care is second to none.  If it were government funded, I'm pretty sure it would be quite crappy.  If I can't die at home, I would have to die in Galway.  Two hours away.  Can you imagine my poor family having to travel four hours a day, there and back, to see me?  Knowing that I'm dying?

I digress, and in a direction I don't particularly want to travel just yet.

I popped into the Castlerea shop a few days before the event and was completely overwhelmed by the response of people from the UK, American and of course Ireland.

I was so worried that nothing would be donated. I needn't have been.  Over 800 items , all brand new and hand made had been donated, some in sets, which made it over 600 items.  So many absolutely beautiful knitted, crocheted, quilted baby clothes, toys and blankets.

 On the night of the event the weather was lashing.  It was windy, cold and of course it had to be accompanied with our unique, stinging horizontal rain. I felt sick, thinking no one would turn up. Silly me.  I got there a little after it started because I had my flu jab that morning and my temperature was spiking; this put us on A and E watch..typical.  When I got there however, I could have cried. The place was packed.  Things were flying off the shelves! As soon as more stock was put out, someone bought it!

The shop had presented it beautifully. They had a production line going with two lovely ladies working on the tills. They rang prices in and dealt with the money while the clothes were passed to packers. One wrapped each purchase in tissue paper and the next boxed it, then labels were put on them et voila. It was amazing.

These are the lovely gift boxes everything was put in.

I'll have photos to share later but I have to wait until they have gone in the newspaper first.

So many people took the time to make these beautiful garments, then the volunteers in the shop busted a gut to price and sort and display, and then the community turned out in force to support the event.  I'm so grateful to them all.

Of course, I had to buy a few things. Well, it would be rude not to!

The little hare and the double ended Princesses are for my granddaughter. They are Rose Red and Rose White from Grimm's fairy tales.

I bought a quilt, a baby blanket and two cardigan's for my son's friend, whose wife is expecting their first baby, a little girl.  

Do you want to know how much we raised?  At close of business on Saturday evening, the Baby Event raised......(drum roll please)

6034 Euros!!!

How amazing is that???

And our Hurricane appeal raised.... 540 Euros

Not too shabby hey?  

So back to my question.  What can you give to life, to make life better? 

All of the amazing people who took the time to find a pattern, pay for wool and spent their valuable time making things; all the amazing people who turned out to buy things, all the volunteers who put in the hours pricing, packing, sorting.  They have all made life so much better.  Not just for others, but for themselves as well.  They know they are doing great things.  I made sure I thanked every single one, and for those of you who don't get our local paper, THANK YOU.

Together, you are all making a difference.  Thank you.

Now, I was lucky enough to win in the raffle (which was all filmed and witnessed).  Look what I got?  A perfect little set with  two wine glasses, a bottle of red and a bottle of white wine.  And beautifully presented.

I decided to try something new, what with me being baby clothed 'out'. I used the blanket I bought to make this. My very first Nappy Cake!  I'm going to make more to donate to the hospice shop now I've got a better idea of how to make them!

Craft-wise, I've joined in with Black Sheep Wools CAL, A Spicier Life.  I chose colours that remind me of India.  So I've renamed all the colours I chose after the spices, the herbs and the wedding clothing that I associate with India.  Can't think why I keep fancying Indian food! Part one is complete!

The latest wizard is also out.  I will add him to the free chart page a little later.  

 Rudy Potts is a bit of an 'alternative' wizard.  Bless his little herbal soul.  The wizards have so far raised


I'm off to do a bit of stitching now, but as you go through this week, consider what you can offer to life.  It could be something as simple as smiling at a stranger; buying a friend a coffee or just being nice to someone.

I believe it can make a difference.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

In memory of Pumpkin

Good morning.

Today is the day we think back to a wonderful friend from stitchy community who was  lost far too soon.  Today is the day we remember Pumpkin, Cathey,  an amazing women who was a huge influence in our cross stitching world.

Pumpkin had breast cancer very young.  Once she recovered from treatment, she worked hard to raise money for breast cancer charities. To help other women who were going through what she had.

She was amazingly supportive of others as we began our similar journeys with cancer; often taking time out to send an email from the other side of the world, just to ask how we were doing.  She was a great help to me in those first days when the world seemed so black.

And then, she became pregnant and bloggers world wide rejoiced with her.  This baby was loved so much, even before he entered the world.  We were all so pleased for her.

Sadly, not long after the birth of her miracle son, 'Junior', the cancer returned and this time it was determined to win.

Every year, friends of Pumpkin, those who knew her well, and others who, like me, had emails every now and then, just asking how we are, who depended on her for support and for inspiration, we put a post up to remind the world that it has lost a truly shining star.

Junior, this post is for you. So that one day, if you google your mum and the blogs, you will see how loved your mother was and how you too, have a special place in our hearts.

I am so sorry I missed last year.  I'm afraid I was going through my second fight with this disease.  And in doing so, I realised how much more amazing your mother was.  Even when she was having full-on chemotherapy, she still messaged me to ask how I was doing.  She still cared about others even though she was having such a hard time.

I hope school is going well, and you have lots of friends.  Your mum was so proud of you and  she loved you and your dad so much. I wonder, do you still like toys that make farty noises?

You are a very special little boy, and even though your mum has been gone too long, and went far too early, I know she will be watching over you.

We still miss her.  She will never be forgotten.
Your mum, you and your dad will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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