Monthly Archives

June 2017

Authors for Grenfell Tower: An Online Auction Raising money for the British Red Cross to go to residents affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

June 24, 2017
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST, PASTPOSTCARD, PAST POSTCARD, BUILDMUMAHOUSE, AUCTION GRENFELL TOWER, AUTHORS FOR GRENFELL TOWER

I want to tell you about this online auction raising money for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, for residents affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

AUTHORS FOR GRENFELL TOWER, PASTPOSTCARD, PAST POSTCARD, BUILDMUMAHOUSE, POSTCARD FROM THE PAST,

Around 1:00 a.m. on 14 June 2017, a fire in this residential tower block in west London spread to engulf the entire building. Despite the heroic efforts of the fire service, all 120 flats in the building have been destroyed. The death toll stands at 58 and is expected to rise. Survivors have lost their homes, lost everything, and gone through unimaginable trauma.

Winning auction bids will be paid directly to the British Red Cross’s relief fund for Grenfell Tower residents and neighbours:

“The charity has been asked by Kensington and Chelsea council to help co-ordinate fundraising in an appeal to support the residents and neighbours of the Grenfell Tower.

Money will be given to people affected by the fire, including those who have lost everything, to buy the things they need to give themselves and their families as much normality as they can get at this extraordinarily difficult time. 

By donating to the London Fire Relief Fund people will be able to help those who have been injured, bereaved, left destitute or traumatised by this tragedy.”

There are many brilliant lots that have donated by authors for this auction, some of them from world famous authors or photographers such as Rankin, others such as the Twitter famous first time author Tom Jackson whose Twitter account @PastPostcard is my favourite account and whose first book was issued just a few weeks ago. Everyone who has donated wants to help and I want to help raise the profile of the auction, so I thought this was a good place to start:

ITEM: Signed copy of Postcard From The Past by Tom Jackson, plus 5 random blank vintage postcards

DETAILS: The winner will receive a copy of the recently-published Postcard From The Past book, personally signed and dedicated by Tom Jackson. Also included in the package will be 5 blank randomly chosen vintage postcards from Tom’s collection. 

BIO: Tom Jackson started posting old postcards on Twitter as Postcard From The Past in 2016. The book, which gathers the best of those cards and messages plus many never seen on Twitter, was described by Joanna Cannon as “A beautiful collection of tiny windows into the story of other people’s lives.” and by Danny Wallace as “Hilarious, haunting, silly, poetic and profound.”. Twitter: @pastpostcard

WHO CAN BID: Worldwide.

This book is only one of many lots, please go have a look at the auction site and support by bidding or by spreading the word.

Read more: Grenfell Tower Fire – how you can help

If you need help after the Grenfell Tower fire or are concerned about a loved one, please call the casualty bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.

If you are a resident displaced by the fire, call 020 7361 3008.

If you are distressed by the situation and need someone to talk to, call the Red Cross support line to talk to a trained volunteer on 0800 458 9472.

Read more: Grenfell Tower Fire – how you can help

Make a Parkinson’s Fidget Cushion by Juliet Bawden, My Guest Blogger from creativecolour.org

June 18, 2017
creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

“My aunt has Parkinson’s disease, a complex condition that affects different people in different ways. The symptoms most often associated with Parkinson’s affect movement. My aunt often needs to do something with her hands and so I decided to make a Fidget and sensory cushion for her. When my children were very young I designed an activity cushion complete with buttons, laces, Velcro for them, so this is a similar idea but for an elderly person.”

creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

Juliet Bawden Fidget Cushion – back

I’ve invited Juliet Bawden from https://creativecolour.org/ to write about her fidget and sensory cushion, and share step-by-step instructions how she made this brilliant gift for her aunt on my blog. This fidget cushion has proved to be a simple and well designed item for her aunt, and it would be good for anyone with Parkinsons. Juliet’s Fidget Cushion can also be personalised to make a sensory cushion for reducing anxiety and agitation for someone living with Alzheimers, it can be adapted to be an activity cushion, an aid to stimulate communication between family, carers and a person living with dementia, Alzheimers or even Autism.

When Juliet was developing and then making this Fidget Cushion I would look forward to catching up with her. I learnt so much about how she was addressing her aunt’s needs with the design and how Juliet worked to improved the cushion’s functionality. I was as delighted as she was when it was finished…it proved to be a big hit not only with her aunt but with her aunts’ friends too.

creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

Juliet Bawden Fidget Cushion – both sides are full of interest and stimulation.

 

 

Fidget Cushion by Juliet Bawden from creativecolour.org

“This is my prototype, and as I write it is about to be road tested by my aunt. I became so excited by all the materials that I gathered together that this cushion has a back and a front to it. This maybe overkill so I suggest you only make a front to the cushion so that there is a flat surface to lay on the recipient’s lap.

My aunt’s symptoms include memory loss, so I felt that as well as giving her something to do with her hands It was important to engage all the senses. Sounds, smell, touch, sounds all help to plug in to their memories.

I read a report by someone on the internet, who makes these cushions for different clients. Her wise advice is to use textured fabrics and embellishments to occupy restless hands plus a clear pocket to add a photo, memo or reminiscence item.

The cushion is made from recycled materials so hopefully the planet, the charity shops, my bank account and my aunt will all benefit – not forgetting me, who enjoyed making it.

I bought a cushion that did up at the front with buttons. I chose garments and haberdashery made from contrasting fabrics and materials. The instructions given below are to make the Fidget Cushion shown here, however yours will be different from mine depending on what materials you can find.

You will need

Cushion with a cushion pad

Stitch ripper

Scissors

Sewing machine

Pins

Needle

Threads

 

Some or all of the below :

Shirt with pockets and placket

Garments or old cushions with applique or other decorative details

Pieces of ribbons and lace

Shiny buttons

Zip

Long silky scarf

2 x Small square silky scarves

Small furry teddy or letter or number

Lavender bag

Bells

Materials – look out for a variety of textures and colours

Instructions

These instructions are specific to the cushion I made and yours will be different depending on the bits and pieces you find.

 

 

Everything is based on this embroidered cushion with a button opening.

  • Step 1 Cut two pockets from a shirt leaving a 1 cm seam allowance so you can sew the pockets into place. Cut down the side seams of the cushion so that the front is separate from the back and you don’t inadvertently sew through two layers at once. Sew the pockets into place on the front as in the photograph.
creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

Cut pockets and backing off shirt

  • Step 2 Remove a zip from a dress. Insert it between two pieces of contrast cloth to make a zipped pocket. Sew this on the back of the cushion.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Remove the zip from a dress

  • Step 3 Remove flowers from a child’s dress and sew these onto the cushion front.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Remove flowers from child’s dress

  • Step 4 Cut away flat flowers from a child’s dress sew these onto the cushion back.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Cut away the flowers

  • Step 5 Adding a 1cm seam allowance, cut the placket from the front of the shirt and neaten. Cut 10 cm pieces of ribbon and fold in half, pin them onto the cushion front with the base of the placket on top. Sew the placket and ribbon loops onto the cushion front and popper on the other piece.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Neaten edge of placket

  • Step 6 Applique hearts cut from a different cushion, onto your cushion.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Applique hearts onto cushion cover

  • Step 7 Make a small lavender bag and sew that onto one of the pieces of ribbon and place it in a pocket. Attach other items, like the soft number 8 in our picture, by pieces of ribbon so that they can be taken out but not lost.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, www.Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for care

    Sew a lavender bag onto the ribbon

  • Step 8 We attached 2 scarves in the side seams. So that they could be knotted together or tied in a bow.

    creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

    Attach two silken scarves

  • Step 9 Turn the cushion cover inside out and sew the side seams together catching the edges of the placket and the scarves in the seams. As the cushion has a flap turn it through this to the right side out.

creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

Since writing this. The fiddle or fidget cushion has been road tested by my aunt and many others in her care home and it is very popular.

 

creative colour, Juliet Bawden, how to make a fidget cushion, Buildmumahouse, Alzheimers aids, Alzheimers, Autism communciation aid, sensory cushion, how to make a sensory cushion, what is a sensory cushion, Parkinsons aid, aging in place, caring for carers

Juliet Bawden Fidget and Sensory Cushion

Juliet Bawden is a designer, maker, author and journalist has written over 70 craft books either exploring and making the things herself. 
Recently designing, making and writing for magazines including : Coast, Simply Sewing and Reloved as well as for the web site of both Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley. Juliet has run workshops at the Fashion and Textile Museum for Heals, King makers of Candy Crush and many others.
Juliet is also a colour consultant and explores and writes about colour and craft on her blog: Creative Colour a UK design, craft and interiors blog.

Some of the techniques and others can be found in Juliet’s latest book, read my review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electronic surveillance systems. Are you spying on your parents or just keeping an eye out for them?

June 12, 2017
Panasonic, iPhone apps, Canary, Jola Piesakowska, Buildmumahouse

A friend’s mum fell in her garden and couldn’t get up, she lay there for hours before anyone knew of her situation.

A workman cleaning a 95 year old’s gutters asked for a glass of water, followed my relative to the kitchen. His accomplice ran upstairs and ransacked the bedrooms.

A family friend collapsed in the shower and couldn’t call for help, her newly renovated home was flooded and ruined. She had to move out.

Very real and frightening stories for anyone who has a relative who wants to stay living independently, at home. And you have a full time job. And you don’t live with your parents.

How can we keep an eye out for someone without being there? How can elderly people keep their independence safe in the knowledge that if something happens their carers can be alerted? I have recently been thinking about this.

Do you remember those baby monitors that you could buy in Mothercare to listen to your baby asleep upstairs? Battery powered, with walkie talkie aerials (and just as crackly). In the 90’s they were the height of techno sophistication, showed off at family gatherings, placed pride of place on the dining table. We would all be suddenly shushed during the meal because sister-in-law thought she had heard a gurgle on the airwaves.

Playskool 1987 baby monitor

We’ve grown up, our kids have grown up and now we’re considering parent monitoring.

In the USA there are service providers of round the clock interactive telecaregiver monitoring

At its offices in Lafayette, Ind., telecaregiver Cady sits before two large computer screens. On one, you can see the Fitzgeralds in Savannah, eating their dinner as Cady chats with them.

There are also thumbnail video images of two-dozen other homes, which Cady will check in with over the course of her shift. If one client signals for help, that image pops up larger. Children of her clients can log into the same video Cady watches and monitor their parents themselves.

Telecaregiver can remind people to take their medication at a certain time. They can alert a relative if someone appears confused or in distress. They can help with the simple tasks of daily life, like the time a client was about to sit down to breakfast.

The telecaregiver zoomed in on the frying pan and said, ‘Maybe you ought to cook the sausage and the eggs a little longer. The eggs look kind of runny and the sausage is pink,’

Fast forward to the High Street of 2017.

I popped into Maplins last weekend and on display there’s so much more than baby monitoring. Just as we had easy-to-use baby monitors, the high street shops are offering home DIY video and sensor monitoring for your home and pets. The new generation home monitoring systems don’t rely on a specialized installer or a contract monitoring alarm system. This is plug and play. Easy to set up technology with audio and video capability is now available at a realistic price.

Home monitoring systems are being sold as a way of protecting your property, keeping an eye on the postman, capturing burglars, seeing what your pets get up to during the day. They are triggered by motion sensors and can even be used to turn on lights or even your heating.

There’s now a vast array of home monitoring systems, linking high definition indoor and outdoor cameras to you mobile phone, computer or tablet. With or without an app. Via wifi or dect. Wired or wireless. Day and night vision.

Video and audio monitoring is now standard, a siren can be activated remotely from your device and some allow a two way conversation between you remotely and the subject of the camera.

Huffington Post summed up how these diy home monitoring systems can be used as  parent monitors keeping tabs on an elderly parent …”

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-t-miller/how-to-keep-tabs-on-an-el_b_8954044.html

…if your mom didn’t pick up her pillbox to get her medicine or didn’t open the refrigerator door to make breakfast like she usually does, or if she left the house at a peculiar time you would be notified and could check on her. You can also check up on her anytime you want online or through a mobile app…

Looking at the range on display on the High Street what caught my eye is the Panasonic Home Safety range of monitors. Right there in Streatham High Road was everything for carers to keep an eye on parents and allow them to stay living independently at home.

The Panasonic Home Monitoring Display in my High Street

Panasonic Home safety range, like many others on the market has a monitor for windows and doors that alerts you when they are opened or closed. You can use this to check on your parents’ daily routine without feeling that you are invading their privacy. Or you can monitor their house for burglars. All from your smartphone.

There are indoor or outdoor monitors that not only transmit video images and audio to you but this range will allow you to speak to the person in the room or at the outside door that you are monitoring. Panasonic videos suggest you use this feature to tell the postman to deliver your parcel to the neighbours when you are out. With an elderly parent you can install this feature to keep an eye on whose at the front door and what they are up to.

Watch your Pets from Work

There are motion detectors that switch on lights when activated, this doesn’t need selling hard as everyone can do with lights coming on automatically to light the stairs or the path to the bathroom at night.

But for me the key differentiator is the water monitor. This is such a great idea for passively keeping an eye on someone’s home where there is the potential of a flooding risk, perhaps someone with early onset dementia symptoms, or prone to forgetfulness when running a bath or sink or shower. Catching a bathroom flood can save damage to a home or could indicate a fall or someone who has been taken unwell in the shower room. It allows you to act in time.

 

Using home monitoring systems as a parent monitor will transform how we can remotely care for an elderly or unwell person. As the carer you could feel that you have set up a care plan that involves you, is relatively low cost and gives 24 hour coverage.

I haven’t actually tested this system, so I can’t comment on how effective any of this is. None of the home monitoring systems seem to have considered the needs of caregivers in their advertising so for now its all about being creative with making these home systems work for your needs.

HOWEVER,

The video cameras are always switched on and walking around your home you can be viewed remotely, without knowing, at any time night or day.

On-line discussion forums have heated debates about how much we should intrude on parents’ privacy. Certainly all of this should be done with your parents’ consent. I’ve read discussions about carer’s personal experiences about where cameras and motion detectors have been put up. The most popular and the locations that are the least contentious seem to be

  • Rogue callers: by the front door pointing to the opening with a clear view to check on callers
  • To check on falls: low level motion activated cameras in the living spaces, the bedroom or bathroom. Motion activated lighting: to turn lights on to prevent falls in low light- walk past a motion sensor and a light is switched on. Monitoring the garden, looking out of a window to check on falls outdoors in the garden as well as keeping an eye on security.
  • Flooding: Water monitors placed in the bathroom by the bath or shower.

 

5 Points to Consider

 

  1. You need to have wi-fi up and running. Some systems use wifi to relay the data you will have to consider putting your parent on a wi-fi plan if they don’t have one already. This may be a cost that you will need to cover.
  2. Always update to the latest firmware and change the password. “This is to announce that firmware has updated for improvement of the cybersecurity vulnerability. To provide the highest levels of security, we recommend you to upgrade the firmware for your products.”
  3. Respect your parent’s privacy and think and a discussion about where you will position cameras. Alternatively there are some very good systems that only rely on motion sensors and give you a feel for changes to a routine.
  4. Storage. Check out costs of storing the footage. Some systems use a cloud storage for the video and charge for the service, some systems have a memory card in the hub and there will be no extra costs.
  5. Plan and agree on network of people who can help when you need to raise the alarm.

 

But is this amount of monitoring, snooping on your parents, is this an invasion of their privacy? What do you think?

An amazing spa bathroom for any age

June 7, 2017
Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

I was at a location house a few weeks ago, owned by interiors stylist Catherine Woram and architectural designer Michael Bains. I was captivated how beautiful the entire house was. Every room. But it was the bathrooms that did it for me – I need one of these! Each bathroom was full of beautiful, clever details all in perfect harmony. A perfect retreat from the stresses and strains of the world, your own private spa.

small moroccan bathroom

The flat whiteness of the walls and painted floor are fresh and uplifting. The huge over mantel mirror bounces light all around and by painting the ornate frame white it looks perfect over the basins. The sense of light in this room is perfect for anyone with weakened eyesight: details are crisp and defined.

Catherine Woram has used an shabby and ornate console table as a basin stand. Its fun and its chic. Complementing the shabby paintwork and wooden top is a rustic copper basin.. and a very modern chrome u bend. It looks fantastic and this basin stand is in fact ideal for anyone who needs to pull up a stool when using the sink. Wouldn’t it be perfect if an ornate basin stand like this was wheelchair friendly too!

The basin and tap styling is Moroccan French rustic chateau meets modern, sleek chrome. These levered taps are easy to use for anyone with reduced mobility, the narrow console table/basin stand also means that you wouldn’t need to stretch forward to reach them. This is exactly what Build Mum a House is all about. You shouldn’t need to compromise the look of your home for ease of use.

TAPS AND MIXER

White floor boards, pale flat greys shades, chandeliers, copper basins. I took some photos on my phone to try and capture the magic… and then as I turned to leave the room I noticed the bathroom door lock. Absolutely beautiful, inspired, on theme AND completely up my street.

In 1970 I was 8. I got stuck in a Hayling Island beach car park toilet. As I had gone to leave, the catch on the big brass mechanism was so fiddly, the old penny dropped down inside the brass mechanism.  I was left behind in the locked cubicle. I wailed. Finally, a very kind lady heard me and put another penny in the lock. Released, I ungraciously ran out, humiliated, in tears, to join my sister who had already got back into our parents’ car!

That’s why I like a nice and easy privacy lock on a bathroom door.

It’s not about lack of mobility and everything with being a bit clumsy. I am not alone on this one. I know I’m not.

And do you know what this bathroom features as a door lock? It’s light and easy to use, large handle that is good for a weak grip and very pretty. The lock on the door is a Moroccan Aldrop and latch. No, I didn’t know they were called that either. This is a very nice decorated version of a metal sliding bolt, that you can see when you wander round the souks and admire the ancient Moorish buildings and their intricate front doors.

bathroom lock

Buildmumahouse is all about finding chic interiors that are perfect for age proof living, for aging at home, for anyone with mobility issues, young or old. This beautiful bathroom is perfect, it’s a visual feast and it addresses many practical issues. Proof that a beautiful interior can be ageproof.

If you would like to see more of my photos fof inspirational interiors then follow me and go to my Buildmumahouse Instagram account, click here  And for more well designed and easy to use bathroom locks go to my bathroom Pinterest boards at Buildmumahouse.