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caring for carers

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.”

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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.

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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.
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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.

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    Remove the zip from a dress

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

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    Remove flowers from child’s dress

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

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    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.

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    Neaten edge of placket

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

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    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.

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    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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buildmumahouse Guide: How to make Roman blinds?

April 19, 2017

I’m taking you through a step-by-step guide to making Roman blinds with or without a kit. Roman blinds transform your windows, are surprisingly quick to make and use very little fabric compared to curtains so you can really splurge on the quality or the fabric design or work to a tight budget. They can be used on the own or with curtains for a decadent layered effect. Roman blinds can be lined or sheer, thermal or blackout. Either way they are energy efficient even with double glazing and give you instant privacy.

A pleated or Roman blind folds into soft accordion pleats when it is drawn up and hangs straight when down. Roman blinds give your window a simple classic elegance and also make the most of subtle fabric designs.

There are two ways of making a Roman blind: with or without a kit.

Without a kit the blind is held in an up position by securing the cord to a cleat. Using a kit the blind pulls up using a chain loop, which is good for heavy and wide blinds. A kit can also be safer with children as there is not a long cord hanging down when the blind is pulled up. With a kit the blind will sit in any position you pull it to and the metal headrail will only need cutting to size and adjusting.

Making a Roman Blind without a Kit.

This is the most diy and the cheapest option. Making your Roman blind the old fashioned way.

Materials for a Roman Blind without a kit:

  1. Wooden batten depth 25mm and width 50mm measured to the width of your window recess (A)
  2. Velcro tape 25mm wide the same length as the batten
  3. A staple gun
  4. 4 screw-in eyelet hooks or pulleys
  5. Cord. Calculate 3 x 4 times the drop of the blind, at least
  6. A cleat
  7. A breakaway cord connector
  8. One length of narrow a flat bottom bar: a batten about 0.5 x 1.27cm for the bottom of the blind or a flat aluminium or plastic bar 2.5cm wide from Merrick Day
  9. Narrow tape with pockets for rods – Roman blind tape
  10. Roman blind rods or dowelling to fit into Roman blind tape
  11. 12mm split brass or plastic rings for cording available from www.merrick-day.com
  12. Matching sewing thread
  13. Tailor’s chalk
  14. Sewing kit including big sharp scissors and long pins
  15. Steam iron and ironing board
  16. Sewing machine

Measuring up Roman Blinds

  1. Attach the wooden baton to the top of the window recess and measure up the inside of the window. Staple the furry half of the 25mm Velcro tape to the front face of the batten.
roman blind, how to make a roman blind, measure a roamn blind, buildmumahouse

Measure the inside of the window

2. Measure the inside of the window for the width and the drop.

Use this measurement for the lining, if you plan on using one.

 

 

 

 

 

Seam allowances

Add 2.5cm on each side of width for side hems. Add 1cm for top hem and 5cm at the bottom hem. Cut your fabric to size on the straight grain. Lay the lining on to the back of the curtain fabric covering the window area using this photo as a placement guide. Pin in place.

 

 

 

3. Cut your fabric looking out for pattern repeats, its nice to get a shape to be centred. Press the side seams in to place. The side seams are double so turn in on each side 0.5cm, press in place, then turn in 2.5cm. Press, pin in place then stitch. Now turn down the top edge and press.

Turn in side seams and top seams.

4. Press the side seams in to place. The side seams are double so turn in on each side 0.5cm, press in place then turn in 2cm. Press then stitch. Now turn down the top edge 1cm and press.

5. Sew the Velcro tape to the back of the blind, 0.5cm from the top edge covering the raw edge. Sew both edges of the Velcro tape. This is going to attach to the Velcro stapled onto the batten.

For lined blinds make sure the lining is flat and all edges are all covered into these seams and attached behind the Velcro.

Turn in side seams and top seams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make the bottom hem, turn over 1cm and press, turn it up again to make a 4cm pocket to fit your dowelling or batten.

For lined blinds make sure that your lining is lying flat, tucked in neatly and covered by this seam.

roman blinds marking out folds

 

 

 

7. Work out the width of your pleats so that they are even across the blind, 10cm is an average width or divide by 6. Mark each pleat with tailors chalk. Sew Roman Blind tape across the back of each pleat, one by one. Insert the rod or dowelling in each tape pocket.

This tape has a guide for the split rings, push a split brass curtain between the tape and the guide. Line up the rings  to the top of the blind.

 

8. Trim the rods 2cm shorter than the width of the blind. Insert the rods and the bottom batten, slip stitch by hand the ends of these “pockets”.

9. On each rod pocket mark the centre point of the blind and slip a brass ring in place through the guide in the tape. Repeat 5cm in from each side edge of the blind on each pocket.

10. Line up three of the the screw-in eyelets or pulleys on the top batten with the rings attached to the blind.
Fix the fourth eyelet or pulley to the right of the blind on the window recess. Lower down attach a cleat and an acorn near the bottom of the cord.
11. Hang the blind: Attach firmly the Velcro strip on the top of the blind to the matching Velcro strip on the batten.

12. For the cording stage I found this drawing – it explains it all really well.

c) Michael A Hill www.idealhome.com

Starting at the bottom ring with a knot, thread the cord up vertically to match the corresponding eyelet on the batten and over to the eyelet on the side of the frame, down to the cleat. Repeat this with each row.

 

 

The cleat should be positioned as high as possible so its well out of the way of children. Consider attaching a breakaway cord connector at the end of the cords and for safety don’t knot all three cords together to form a loop.

If you buy a Roman Blind Kit choose one that is fully child safe and that the control chains are adjustable length, not a continuous loop. Breakaway string controls and Parts can be purchased from www.merrick-day.com

buildmumahouse, interiors, lifestyle, windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Now?

It’s important that you do visit my Youtube channel to watch the safety film about Roman Blinds, especially if you have children or if kids visit your home.

Roman Blind supplies can be found at www.merrick-day.com

Roman Blind Kits can be bought at Merrick Day

murtra_deluxe_roman_kit_instructions

Or from Terry’s Fabric’s https://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/

Terrys_Cassette-Roman-Blind-Kit_Fitting

So now you have been introduced to Roman blinds and how to make them, go over to Buildmumahouse Pinterest for lots of inspirational fabrics and looks. If you would like to consider other window decor ideas visit Buildmumahouse guides to making curtains or my blog post about automated roller blinds.

If you have any tips, questions and would like to share your Roman blind projects leave me a message on my comments board. Love to hear from you.

 

 

Best Tip Ever: make chicken noodle soup, now!

January 18, 2016

Yes, it’s true, Polish chicken noodle soup IS Polish penicillin. Make it because it’s warming, it’s comforting, it awakens the appetite, it’s good for young fussy eaters, it’s good for anyone who is unwell and it’s delicious when you are feeling happy or like me today with a case of the Sunday Blues. We call it Rosół- that’s pronounced ro-soow.

This recipe is my version of chicken noodle soup that I make for my family or friends; my mum makes her version, my dad made his, my grandmas made theirs and my son makes his own. My dad’s golden rule was that it has to be eaten a soon as its ready and can’t be reheated. My mum’s rule was that she cooked it (with loads of sweet carrots) before  I arrived with her grandson  so that she could give it to him for his mid morning meal… after I had finally left them alone.

This recipe is my version that is perfect for taking over to a friend or relative who needs…some chicken noodle soup. Its full of vitamins, micro nutrients from the vegetables and the chicken bones and chicken liver but it just tastes light and savoury and sweet. It’s umami on a spoon. I can only get all the right ingredients for myself from the Polish Shop in Streatham. But as almost every High Street in the UK has a Polski Sklep, I will point you in the right direction so that you can get the right stuff too!

Ok here goes:

In the veg area of the Polski Sklep find a bundle of vegetables called WLOSZCZYZNA (V-WOZH-CHEEZNA)

chicken soup veg

At the meat counter let them know you are buying chicken and ingredients for RO-SOOW and you will get exactly the right ingredients. Half a large chicken: these used to be called boilers in England, chicken gizzards and chicken liver, if they have chicken necks, just take those too!

Rosol ingredients

Wloszczyzna veg bundle, chicken gizzards, onion, chicken livers, chopped carrot, peppercorns and pack of egg vermicelli noddles

for roll

Flat leaf parsley and diced carrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

Half a large chicken (bones included and don’t remove any fat)

1 small washed wloszczyzna bundle

1 large Spanish sweet onion or 2 large shallots, peeled and whole

150 grams chicken livers, washed

150 grams chicken gizzards, washed

2 Large handfuls of egg vermicelli noodles

1-2 carrots finely diced

Half teaspoon of peppercorns

Salt to taste

OR Optional: half a Knorr stock cube

Equipment:

For the soup – Large pasta saucepan with lid or a large saucepan and a slotted spoon

For the noodles – Small saucepan and a sieve

Vegetables and herbs – Sharp knife and chopping board

For taking to a friend or family:

4 small bowls

A large glass jug, or an earthenware bowl

Clingfilm

For serving at home:

Soup bowls

OK Let’s Do it:

In a large saucepan of cold water boil up the half chicken, gizzards and liver. I use my pasta saucepan for rosol as this makes it easy to lift out all of the meat and veg out of the cooked soup at the end. Take this to a rolling boil and skim off the brown foam until it all looks clear. Add the onion or shallots, peppercorns, whole carrots, parsnip and chunk of celeriac.

Use a stock pot or a spaghetti saucepan

Simmer for half an hour.

Add most of the bunch of flat leaf parsley, including the stalks. Carry on simmering for another 30-40 minutes

Add a small bundle of flat leaf parsley

Add a small bundle of flat leaf parsley

 

rosol Polish Chicken soup

Carry on simmering with the lid on

In the meantime, add 2 handfuls of egg vermicelli noddles to a small saucepan half full with boiling water. Boil for  2-4 minutes, strain and immediately cool down by running cold water over them. Drain and then set aside in a small dish.

Strain, cool down and then drain the egg noddles

Strain, cool down and then drain the egg noddles

 

Check the flavour of the soup and add salt to taste, sometimes I add half a Knorr chicken stock cube but that is optional. If you don’t have Knorr, don’t bother.

Chop the flat leaf parsley leaves and put into a small bowl.

By now the chicken soup should look clear and golden, smell and taste good. The meat should be falling off the bones and all vegetables very soft but not falling apart.

Remove all the ingredients, if you are using a pasta pan just lift the strainer out and let it drain, otherwise lift out the meat and vegetables carefully with a slotted spoon and put to one side.

Keep the remaining broth on a low heat, add the diced raw carrot and allow to cook. When the carcass has cooled,  pick off the meat and place into a small serving bowl. When cooked, strain the chopped carrot and add to a bowl. If you like extra vegetables, dice one of the cooked carrots and a parsnip for serving as well.

 

Ready for packing up...

Ready for packing up…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrange the cold ingredients: noodles, diced carrots, chicken meat pieces, raw but chopped flat leaf parsley in separate bowls and cover with cling film or lids.

Pour the cold chicken soup into a jug and cover with a lid or cling film and you’re ready to go…

Serving:

Heat the soup to almost boiling. In soup plates or bowls spoon some noodles, chicken meat and carrots. Pour the hot soup over, sprinkle with flat leaf parsley

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

YUM!

 

 

When people are in pain or unwell the thing that makes all the difference is human kindness.