Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Still Alive!

My oh my, you probably think I've died after my last post back in November 2014 and no update since! I'm very sorry about that.

So in 2014 I had had 2 sessions of chemotherapy — half doses were all my new kidney would tolerate so in total I had effectively one dose. At that point they decided not to stress the kidney (or me) with more chemo. In February 2015 I had a fairly short session of radiotherapy, 17 sessions, one each weekday.

And that was that! I was very tired and a bit down having gone through all that, but by July 2015, a year since I fell down the house stairs, I was ready for the follow-up brain MRI scan. It showed no residual signs of the lymphoma, yay!

I know the doctors don't use words like "cured" until you've been 3 to 6 years without any relapse, but at the moment I am feeling a lot more positive again, and to all intents and purposes I am back to as normal as a blind diabetic with a kidney transplant tends to be :)

Afraid to say I still haven't quilted anything to report of. What I have been focusing on, second half of 2015 onwards, is my poetry writing. I've written poetry for 25 years now, since my later teens, and I've occasionally talked about it on this blog. With the encouragement of poets and editors that I know I've had a website designer set me up a new website, Giles Turnbull Poet. It became active about 6 weeks ago, but I am aiming to do a blog post on the site once per week. I have to be careful about adding poems that have the potential to find homes in magazines and competitions, so only extracts of 1 longer poem appears on the site at the moment; I will figure out some other extracts that could go on the site, plus there have been a couple of publications alrady during 2016 — I reached the shortlist of Cinnamon Press single poem competition, and publication in Rockland Magazine and Fair Acre Press' Maligned Species project with a poem about stinging nettles. This week I have been writing articles on blindness and poetry for Corncrake Magazine in Ireland, and for the forthcoming summer issue of Poetry Wales.

You can still find me on Twitter and I'm still on Facebook.

I hope all is going well in all your personal and quilting lives, and I'll keep popping by to see what you are up to on your blogs :)

Giles xx

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Long-overdue update!

Sorry for the lengthy lack of an update, though since my kidney transplant

I'm afraid I haven't done any quilting! I still have a Rainy Days theme quilt to finish so maybe I'll give that another go :)<\P> Some of you may know from Twitter and possibly Facebook posts that I've been been going through the mill a bit lately ...First week of July I fell down the stairs and the next thing I'm aware of it was September! I was in hospital and eventually diagnosed with a cancer related to my transplant (I think that sentence is only the second time I've used the C word lol ... I just feel in better health if I don't) ... anyway I've had 2 doses of chemotherapy and am now waiting for an MRI scan to see how the treatment is going. I think they expect to do another dose (possibly more) but you never know, the MRI may show things looking ok. Apart from feeling a bit exhausted at times I am feeling well though maybe a little at a loss as to what the future holds!<\P>

In some sad news, I had to say goodbye to my cat Bix last week. He was nearly 19 so lived a good long life, but he needed an anaesthetic to have a cyst removed, and he didn't recover from it well ... he came home but 2 days later we took him back to the vets and she didn't like the look of how he was. They kept him overnight but he died peacefully. I'll miss him greatly. There are a few photos on the pages of this blog so I won't struggle with getting Blogger to let me upload a new one!<\P>

So, sorry for only having miserable news to report at the moment, but hopefully things will be looking up by Christmas :) ... speeking for myself I could really fancy a short holiday somewhere soon :)<\P>

Sunday, October 6, 2013

back on my pins

My goodness, it's been a long time! I can't remember how much I said earlier in the year, but in March I went on the transplant list for a pancreas and kidney, and since I was the only person in the UK with my blood group waiting for both organs, in the first week of June I made it into the operating theatre! ... and to cut a long story short, that's been the story of the last 3 months!

... well mostly. The op took about 19 hours, so a pretty long ordeal and I was a bit zonked for a few days after. It turned out the pancreas wasn't working very well so a couple of days later they opened me up a second time to investigate. All seemed OK so they didn't do much and that was that. ... until a few more days went by and I got really ill. They said it had become life-threatening and rushed me back into theatre to remove the pancreas. In all honesty I was so not-with-it that most of those days are a hazy mix of events and weird immaginations!

But the really good news is that despite a slow start, the kidney seems to have settled in and be working well. I certainly feel significantly better than I have for what must be the last 20 years. ... That's not quite the end of the tale though, because after I was discharged I was home for maybe 5 weeks and then got pretty ill again. I lost all my appetite and my weight plummeted, so the doctors put me right back in hospital for another 2 weeks!

But I've been home again for a month and have regained almost all the weight I lost (nearly 2 stones or 30lb) and with the help of weekly physio I've regained much of my strength ... I still have a wheelchair for anything more than short walking distances but I can walk further every week :) ... and my appetite is now enormous compared to how it has always been!

As for quilting, well I haven't been near a needle (well not a quilting one anyway) or thread, but I am rather thrilled that for my 40th birthday (which fell exactly a week after the surgery!) I got one of those die-cutting machines, like the Baby Go-cutter but a different make as recommended by The Littlest Thistle ... I'm yet to try it out but the time is fast approaching! ... Just before the transplant I had dug out the top for a Rainy Day quilt that I started, oooh must be 2 years ago now! and I had begun to start hand stitching all the rows together, so I'll crack on with that very soon now :)

I'm not quite back up to full speed online yet, but am getting better at reading blogs, and hopefully I'll have updates on not one but two quilt projects that I hope to at least begin before the end of the year! :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

putting the quilting hat back on

After what must be a good 18 months of no quilting (if you don't count buying fabric!) I have finally assembled my weapons and am ready to wield the needle and thread once again! I have a WIP that is a rainy day theme and it's about a quarter pieced so far ... with the help of mum the pieces were all laid out and assessed, namely that I need to cut 3 more pieces but there's fabric for that ... I need to pop to the quilt shop in Monmouth to buy some white fabric (which forms part of the top) but there shouldn't be too much work ahead to get the top hand-stitching finished :)

Unfortunately we paired up the pieces for my immediate sewing tasks before I thought to take a photo ... but I promise next time the pieces are laid out I will snap them for another post ... this will probably be mid-next week once the white fabric shopping expedition has taken place :)

... for now I'll just say that it's good to be back in the quilting sphere with needles threaded and fabric waiting!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Mountain Grows ...

It was one of those Cash n Carry days ... take as much cash as you have to the quilt show and go home with as much fabric as you can carry! OK, it was a bit more than that, being a lovely chance to meet up with Lorraine from Monkey Business and Quilts and Amy from Magpie Mimi

First things first, let's talk fabric ... and I even have a photo for you! :) First of all Amy gave me my Christmas Present (what can I say, it's tricky catching up with me since I'm not very mobile and keep popping in and out of hospital!) and it comprised a big bag of Liquorice Allsorts (no photo of those but I can assure you they've been opened and are rapidly vanishing!), a absolutely gorgeous piece of velour fabric, and an equally lovely pack of fabrics with colours and contrasts that I have a chance of being able to see :)

Photo of fabrics. In the middle is a Yorkshire Tea tea towel, above it is a Japanese print that is white dragonflies on a dark background. Below the towel are from left to right, a piece of red felt, a pack of liberty print fabrics, a pack of fabrics from Amy, and at the bottom is a piece of purple velour.
... and although I certainly am not in urgent need of buying more fabric, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do so .... especially when there was a beautiful selection of Liberty print fabrics ... so I bought a pack of "very fat eighths" ... I'm hoping each piece might be large enough to make a cushion from, maybe using a different fabric for the backs.

The sharp-eyed amongst you will have spied a couple more fabricky-looking things in the photo ... yes, there's a piece of thick red felt that still feels really wooly in texture - it's fab and the plan is to make a tapot to applique onto my Yorkshire Tea quilt (more on that in a mo!) ... and right at the top of the pic there's a Japanese fabric that I could see since it has good contrast between the dragonfly motifs and the dark background ... no plans for this yet but it may work with a half yard of Japanese prints I bought in a shop sale about a year ago!

And finally, in the centre of the photo is the Yorkshire Tea towel that is the theme for a quilt ... The Yorkshire Tea folk on the Orient Express trip liked hearing about my quilting so sent me 5 tea towels to turn into a quilt. Now this is where the questions start! I'm open for suggestions about how to make this quilt ... please bear in mind my low level technical skill though!

Question 1: Pattern suggestions:
The tea towel could form a centre panel with other as-yet-to-be-acquired tea-themed fabrics around it ... or it could be chopped up and used as smaller blocks as part of a traditional or modern style pattern ... What do you think might work? Bear in mind I can use anything from 1 to 5 of these tea towels! ... Plus on ebay there are other tea towels with scenes from Yorkshire villages that I thought might add nicely to the quilt.

... actually that's the only question at this stage, I kind-of combined two questions into one - how many tea towels to use and then pattern suggestions. Any and all ideas gratefully received!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Assuming the rain stops...

Malvern is definitely on! I'm going on Saturday ... Of course if it continues to rain the way it is right now then I may be canoeing to get there ...but hopefully by Saturday all will be dry and sunny and soft clouds of batting will be floating in the air ...

I'm delighted that Lorraine from Monkey Business and Quilts and Amy from Magpie Mimi are confirmed attendees so lots of crafty gossip will be had along with cups of tea while feet get a rest from wandering around the rather large quilt show!

If anybody else is thinking about going to Malvern but isn't quite sure just yet (maybe you're waiting to see if the floods will subside before you leave your house uncertain whether it'll be 20ft under water by the time you return?) ... then do keep your eyes pealed for a quilter wielding a white cane ... there probably won't be too many of us in one spot at the same time! Do say hello ... and if you know in advance that you're going do leave a comment or email me and I'll let you know my mobile number so rendez-vous can be planned at the watering hole! :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

quilt plans

It had totally slipped my mind, but it's Malvern Quilt Show this week! Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th ... is anybody planning to go? I met up with Lorraine from Monkey Business and Quilts last year, and I think Magpie Mimi is going with her sewing class one of the days ... leave me a comment if you too plan on going, or drop me an email and maybe we can meet up for a coffee there!

In other news - and I apologise for this being a little slow in appearing! - the Orient Express trip was absolutely fantastic! A really perfect day! Here's an annotated photoboard page ... it was so much fun to dress up 1930s style!

... and the Yorkshire Tea folk enjoyed hearing about my quilt-making and have sent me 5 of their tea towels to make into a quilt! Unfortunately they're all the same design, but I plan on adding a tea towel with some Yorkshire village scenes plus some tea cup and teapot fabrics ... I will post pics later and consult you all for advice on making a from cotton tea towels ... I'm assuming it'll be like using t-shirts for quilts but having never done that either I don't know what precautions to take etc! ... The aim is for the end of the year I think, and hopefully Yorkshire Tea can find a suitable event to auction it for charity ...

No updates on the transplant ... had I had the false alarm middle-of-the-night phone call to go in for surgery in my last update? Well that came just a week before the Orient Express trip, but I got a reprieve when the organs didn't make it to the hospital in good enough condition to use, so I got sent home again! There have been no phone calls since then, but I suspect there'll be one before too long - one per month seems about what to expect with my blood group!

Hope this post hasn't been rendered too unintelligible ... Internet Explorer and my screen reader don't seem to be the best of friends this afternoon! ... I blame the weather which is hammering down and according to quilters around the country is likely to bear hail at some point!