Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who reacted to my last post about the loss of our daughter Bryony last Christmas.

Whether you commented or didn’t have the words but let me know you’d visited with the ‘like’ button, some for the very first time, I really appreciated your kind thoughts and the fact that some of you shared some personal stories of your own with me.  Most especially, I am glad to have passed on some information about SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy)  – especially to a few of you who have more cause to be aware of it –  in the hope that lives will be saved in the future.

Christmas is fast approaching and, obviously, will be a very difficult time for our family.  We are not going to hide from it though – we do have another daughter to think about after all.  Bryony absolutely loved everything to do with Christmas and we will continue to celebrate it as I’m sure she would have wanted us to.  There will of course be more tears but also some smiles and, hopefully, even a bit of laughter as we share memories of our funny, brave, loving daughter and sister.

I will hopefully return more fully to blogging in the new year but, in the meantime, I hope you will all enjoy a healthy and peaceful festive season.

If you would like more information about this little known risk associated with epilepsy you can find it here.

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Slowly Resurfacing

Today is SUDEP Action Day – an annual awareness day to shine a light on SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) and other causes of epilepsy-related deaths.

Resources - SUDEP Action Day

So, hard as I’ve found it to write, it seemed like a good day to explain the reason for my prolonged absence from blogging to those of my readers who don’t know the circumstances and also show my support for the work of SUDEP in the hope it will help somebody else by acknowledging the risks of epilepsy and thus taking informed decisions in managing the condition.

Our youngest daughter – known to some of you as Miss Tialys the Younger – was due to come over last Christmas Eve with her sister to spend Christmas and New Year with us.

Her habit was to phone us every evening around 7 and, when she didn’t phone on the evening of December 23rd I thought it strange as she was excited about Christmas and I expected her to be asking what time we’d arrive to collect her the next day so, when I couldn’t get her to answer the phone, I became so worried I decided to drive over to her flat which is an hour and a half away.

When I arrived and could get no answer by knocking on the door, I let myself in with our spare key and found her collapsed on the floor where she must have been since the morning.  I called the paramedics but it was too late.  The police came, I gave a statement, they drove me home. She was 26.

The post mortem was inconclusive but, as there were no suspicious circumstances, an interim death certificate was issued so we could go ahead with her cremation.  However, they needed to do further investigations on her brain and, after six months, we had an official cause of death which is ‘sudden unexplained death in epilepsy’ also known as SUDEP.

She was on medication after she had a seizure in 2020, while her father and I were still in France (on lockdown) and her sister had taken her to hospital in the UK where they kept her in for almost a week and prescribed the anti seizure meds on her release.  So, in a way, the post mortem result was a relief because it was sort of what we anticipated and not something more sinister but also because we take comfort from thinking she wouldn’t have known much about it.  However, it’s also a bit surprising because although she was on anti-seizure medication, she wasn’t what I think of as being ‘properly’ epileptic – whatever that is.

She was on the autistic spectrum and I worry that, on certain occasions where she told us she’d felt ‘weird’ or had episodes where she couldn’t speak, these might well have been petit mal seizures rather than the autistic ‘meltdowns’ we put them down to.

None of this speculation changes the fact that she has gone from our lives at the age of 26 and that we are still coming to terms with it and nothing will ever be the same again.

I registered her death with SUDEP Action and filled in their questionnaire to help with their research into this fairly uncommon cause of death and, hopefully, it will help people in the future.

I would like to start blogging again but forgive me if, although I do try to read your blogs, I don’t always feel like commenting and sometimes might just press the ‘like’ button.

The urge to sew/crochet/knit etc. has only fairly recently come back again – strangely those things were of no help at all to me during the darkest days.  My only salvation was reading – I read so many books that I’ve lost count – but it was the only way I could escape and, still now, when I wake up in the night or early morning and my thoughts won’t let me rest, I reach for a book.

She hated having her photo taken as she got older but I can’t resist putting one of her on here from when she was little and didn’t care.

Bryony Kate 24th February 1995 – 23rd December 2021

 

Please don’t feel as if you have to comment – I know it’s difficult to know what to say.  A ‘like’ will do and will let me know you’ve read it.

 

 

 

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Dear Reader

I just wanted to let my regular readers know that I will not be blogging for the foreseeable future.

We have suffered a family tragedy this Christmas and I cannot turn my mind to anything else at present.

I hope to come back to blogging eventually but it is very low on my list of priorities at the moment – I’m sure you will understand my absence.

 

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The Greatest Story

I’ve been a bit sparing with my posts this year what with one thing and another but, as I sign off for the festivities, I thought I’d try to bring a smile to your face before I go.

Knowing how difficult it is to get a dog into a Christmas costume – believe me I try every year (and cats are even worse) – I had to share this special nativity play with you made by members of a chapel in Swansea, Wales.

Just click on the image below, wait for the video to load, put on full screen and don’t worry, it’s not all in Welsh although the Welsh accent is lovely.

 

I hope you enjoyed that little bit of fun.

I wish you a very merry Christmas wherever you are and whoever you’re with.

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Sraphappy December 2021

I had to scurry around for this month’s scrap utilising day but, if my contribution is unexciting, at least it’s seasonal.

I had a kit to make a 2D needle felted picture and there was some roving and yarny bits left over.  When I thought about making a gnome or two, some of the curly pieces came to mind.

I needle felted a ball for the head/body, a little nose and a pointy bit for the hat then added the curls for a very unkempt beard – but that’s gnomes for you.

It took quite a long time so I had a go at doing the same thing with some scrap double knitting yarn but it took just as long and his hat isn’t as neat,

So, a new addition to the bauble box and some curly bits used up – I told you it wasn’t that exciting.

However, it is Christmassy and I wish you all a good one in case I don’t get chance to post again before the new year.

They will have company later just got to get last year’s baubles out of the garage.

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose

 

 

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Making An Impression

As you probably know if you come here often, I do love a workshop and learning something new so I signed up for a metal stamping class.

It was only ‘down the road’ and not too expensive and it was promised you’d go home with three small projects.

The class was small – just five of us excluding the teacher – and it was held in a rather lovely café in the nearby town which doesn’t open to the public on a Saturday so we had it all to ourselves.

Before I start on the class, I have to give a shout out to this wallpaper in the café’s loo.

These were the tools provided for our class of complete beginners – all laid out on lovely tablecloths.

The thin square of aluminium was to practise our first faltering steps into metal stamping.  The blue box contained all the letters of the alphabet and the white box a sturdy metal block to absorb the hammer blows.

First we practised with the ‘I’ and the ‘Q’ and then our name.

It was at this point I realised I’d forgotten my reading glasses 🙄

Still, although I did briefly consider running across to the grocery shop to see if they had any ‘off the peg’ cheapo specs, I tried to manage without.

Using the masking tape helps to keep the letters in a straight line.  Or at least that’s the theory.

Our first project was a small heart.  My mind went blank – it doesn’t take long – and the only thing I could think of to stamp was the first three letters of Miss Tialys the Elder’s name.  I would say I didn’t hammer hard enough on the ‘M’ but I think I had a deformed punch as it came out weird each time I used it.

Still, Laura, our lovely teacher, gave us a jump ring, a chain and a little organza bag to put the heart in and I will be putting it inside the home made Christmas cracker destined to be pulled by Miss T. the Elder on Christmas day.

Next up, a Christmas tree bauble.  I chose a snowflake shape and decided on a family ‘in joke’ for the words.  Every year we watch ‘The Muppets’ Christmas Carol’ – it’s become a family tradition and we are all word perfect with both script and songs.  One of the songs sung by the (Muppet) Ghost of Christmas Present is called ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ and one of the little muppet mice sings the lines

‘It’s in the giving of a gift to another
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother’

so, for Miss Tialys the Younger’s Christmas tree…

You can emphasise the stamped letters by using a Sharpie over the letters then rubbing off the excess with a cloth moistened with a little nail polish remover.

The third project was to be a bookmark and, by this time, we’d had a lovely lunch and a chat and all felt more relaxed and confident so were hammering away with gay abandon on the long strip of metal provided.

That’s my favourite one and, although the odd letter is a bit skewiff, I don’t think it really matters in this font.

To get the slightly different finish seen here, you use one of those double sided, spongy nail files to gently sand the surface and then buff it up a bit with the smooth side.

Although I’m definitely not going to get into jewellery making, Mr. Tialys reminded me that we do have a set of letter punches lurking in the garage somewhere so, now I vaguely know what I’m doing, there might be the odd occasion when I might wield the chunky little hammer again.  Aluminium plant tags come to mind for instance.

Anyway, a really enjoyable day with a nice bunch of people, a patient teacher and a lovely lunch.  Plus three passable little gifts to take away at the end.  Who could ask for more?

 

 

And if you’ve never watched the Muppets’ Christmas Carol I highly recommend it and here’s a taster to get you in the festive mood.

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The Cat’s Pyjamas

As I mentioned in my Scraphappy Day post, since discovering (finally) the joys of the famous felt rabbit and her (mostly) woodland friends, I’ve been hand stitching felt, stuffing heads and limbs and making miniature clothes like a woman possessed.

Hand stitching? Toy stuffing? Fiddly sewing? Me? Well, you know I always say ‘never say never’ and the results are so cute I am enjoying myself against all expectations.

I’m especially enjoying the clothes making part. I made the badger some dungarees in case he has some heavy work to do on the sett before winter does its worst.

A crushed velvet dress for the fawn in case there’s a Christmas party in the forest coming up.

(note to self – never sew with crushed velvet again, it slips and frays and misbehaves in all sorts of ways)

In an attempt to bring myself back to reality I laid out some fabric the other day to make myself a dress and there was so much fabric and such large pattern pieces that I thought ‘nah, let’s get back to the small stuff’.

So I did

Then, I added a cat to the mix.  I gave her some unruly whiskers – horsehair I had previously begged from my horsey friend back in France which actually made the move with me unlike much of my craft stash  – and felted her eyes partly because I thought they would look good but partly (mostly) because I have run out of small black buttons.

Then I made her some pyjamas.

Which gave me a good title for this well overdue blog post that I only got round to as my workroom is, once again, stuffed full of furniture from the other room while we wait for the carpet fitter to do his stuff this afternoon.  Otherwise, that’s where I’d be.

 

Apologies for the variations in quality, lighting, etc. of the photos as they were all taken at different times, on different days and in different rooms.  Still – at least I’ve shown you what I’ve been up to and proved I’m still here – in case you were wondering.

 

 

Designs for animals and clothes are by CoolCrafting– in case you fancy having a go!

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Scraphappy Day November

A ‘real life’ friend of mine contacted me the other day as she had noticed I hadn’t been blogging recently and she was worried about me – thank you Mo 😘 – but I am here, safe and sound though seemingly missing my blogging mojo.  I’ve been reading and commenting on others’ blogs (for the most part) and, by the time I’ve done that, checked my Facebook groups, checked the BBC news headlines and my emails, I’ve sort of had enough of the screen and got bored of listening to Mr. Tialys and his meetings as his work station is right next to mine.

Anyway, I haven’t been idle in the workroom which is still a mess I’m afraid as the carpet fitter has gone sick and so there is still stuff stored in there which will eventually go back in the bedroom once he’s recovered enough to lay the carpet in there.  I have come very late to the Luna Lapin (felt rabbit) party and have been making her, her woodland friends and some of the miniature sized dresses, nighties, etc. that make up her wardrobe.  More of that another day – if I get round to a proper post but, for the moment, it’s Scraphappy Day and I was determined to get an entry in this time round.

So, after that little lot (and a fox partly completed), I had some spare felt.

So I made the peachy coloured rabbit a little baby.  Well you know what rabbits are like.

Those of you with kids, remember that weird way of standing with one hip stuck out with a baby or tot planted on the edge of it?

Wrong hip lady! That baby will slide right off.

Anyway, please note the scraps of Liberty fabric too.

So, in by the skin of my teeth again for November and, as it was Remembrance Sunday in the UK yesterday (today as I’m typing this), I’ll end with this which I made from scrap yarn and a vintage button.

Bad flash photo, sorry, but it gets dark here in the U.K. at some ridiculously early hour at the moment so needs must.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

 

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

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Scraphappy Day October

We have had the plasterers in for the ceilings in two of our bedrooms which we are now painting and the carpet fitter arrives this afternoon.  Some of the furniture and all of the ‘stuff’ possible has been crammed into the third bedroom aka my workroom.

Which is why I haven’t got a Scraphappy post this month.

Spot the mattress but not a sewing machine in sight although it is there somewhere.

However, the following people might well do so have a browse through some of their blogs and maybe I’ll have something to show next time.

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.

 

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

 

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Who Do You Think You Are Flo?

Miss Tialys the Elder bought our Mum & Dad a DNA test for Christmas because she said it would be interesting to find out where (and who) I came from.  What does this mean?  It seems they think I might not be theirs!

Anyway, one day a few weeks ago they stuck a little brush thingy into my mouth which, of course, I tried to chew on as I thought it must be a doggy treat.  Instead, it was taken back out again and put somewhere to dry and then, some minutes later they taunted me with another pretend doggy treat. I did wonder what was going on but then they gave me a real treat and I forgot all about it.  Until a little while ago.

As you know, I’m a beautiful black and white dog with some spotted bits on my chest and legs and, although I can’t remember a time before living with these humans, they didn’t believe the papers from the rescue centre which say I’m a collie cross because they reckon they say that about all black and white dogs.

All they had to tell the laboratory when sending off the swabs was that I am a female and what I weigh which, of course, I usually lie about but the humans told the truth which is O.K. because I am beautifully sleek and slim and not at all ashamed of weighing 22kg.

With this information they discovered the following and there’s not a collie in sight.

So, even though we now live in England and that’s where the test was done, it seems I really am French – well, mostly – which the humans say is no surprise as that’s where they found me.

This is what a pure Brittany looks like so you can see some definite similarities although brown and white colouring is more common,

Close up portrait of black and white brittany spaniel

Apparently, one set of my great grandparents were ‘full’ Brittanys but the rest must have allowed standards to slip and there were a few little minxes and some love rats who managed to mix up the family tree a bit.

Mum said she’s not surprised to see Labrador Retrievers are in the mix because they are on a mission to become as fat as possible by eating almost anything they can get their paws and jaws on and she says that’s exactly what I am like.  Cheek!  I am very discerning and never eat any sheep/fox/cat poo that’s more than a day or two old.

She laughed like a drain for some reason when she said that the other French breed in my DNA – the Beauceron – is described as ‘brilliant and fearless’.  After some shameless showing off by me including opening doors to let myself into the garden and deliberately making a lot of noise by banging my bottom against the drop leaf table, she had to concede that I’m brilliant but, frankly, I have to say that more than one vet has threatened to eject us when I wail loudly and uncontrollably if they come anywhere near my bottom with a thermometer.  Well, wouldn’t you?

So, there you go, I now know who I am and where I come from which I think is probably of more interest to the humans than to me because I just know I’m gorgeous, fun-loving, full of energy and with a great sense of humour and that I live in a lovely place with humans who appreciate me which is more than enough for this rescue dog.

Still, I’m quite pleased there’s a Weimeramer or two in the mix as they are so handsome and I think my blogging friend Mouse will be pleased to know I’m also related to the sighthound group and, if I lived in Australia, would probably be invited to join him at the Happy Greys Social Club for a puppuccino,

If you have a dog and its origins are ‘unclear’ would you be interested in doing a DNA test or are you happy guessing?

 

love Flo 🐾❤

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