Friday, 27 February 2015

Making a blanket for a cancer patient

There are many more squares on the back, I didn't take a picture.

If you have been wondering where I've been, I'll tell you. The day after arriving home from our island paradise, I went to work on a new project that I have been spearheading for our Desert Mountain community. The project came to me just before leaving and I embraced it as a community service project.

 A friend of mine, has a friend who is well loved in our community and was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Long story short, I decided that this was an opportunity for my quilting group to give back to our community in a way that made sense for us. 

Chemotherapy patients get chilly while under going treatment, so, I decided our group would make a personalized blanket. Before I left to Jamaica, I cut over 100 plain white squares and purchased fabric markers, gave them to my friend to disperse to family and friends of the patient. My group started putting the squares together, and when I arrived back to DM I finished up the quilt, sewing the squares all together. Last night I finished the quilt with hand sewing the binding and delivery to my friend.

During this process, I learned a lot  and will give these tips to you.

Quilt size- For adults about 44-48″ wide by 68-72″ long. You want the quilt to be large enough to tuck under their feet and go up to their neck. Chemotherapy treatments take place in a reclining chair so you do not want the quilt to be too wide or long that it touches the ground.

Patterns- Since you will likely be limited on time to get a quilt done, you will probably want to go with a simple pattern. Charm squares and layer cakes but sometimes also fat quarters are easiest. Using pre-cuts will give a nice variety of a fabric collection and will also save you lots of time cutting. Since you do not wash pre-cuts until the project is completed, you will also save time washing and ironing the fabric.

Quilt materials- Cancer patients are often very cold while going through treatment. Minky or cuddle fabrics would be a great backing to provide the patient with warmth and comfort. Use a quality batting, such as Warm & Natural. A punched cotton batting will hold up well. If you want to make a fleece or Minky blanket instead of a quilt, two layers sewn together with the binding will help retain the heat and provide extra weight.

 Fabric selection- You may ask the patient what their favorite colors are or favorite sports team before picking out the fabric. You should use quality fabrics so they withstand the washings.

Durability- The quilts will go through many washings during treatment. It needs to be able to be washed in hot water in order for it to be sanitized. Avoid using red colors, which may bleed, or dark colors such as black and dark blue which may fade after multiple washings.  you can use a color catcher or dye fixative such as Retayne to keep the colors from bleeding.

Cancer Ribbons- Some breast cancer patients want nothing to do with pink, pink ribbons, angels, or anything that is a reminder to them as to what they are going though. If you are unsure, ask the patient how they feel about it before buying the materials. There is a long list of ribbon colors on Wikipedia, just click this link for colors and their meanings.

Personalization- Sometimes there isn’t a lot of notice before someone we know starts cancer treatment. You may want to get a quilt done quickly so that it can be gifted to the patient before treatments begin. However, if you have a little bit of time before giving the gift, you may create a memory quilt and have friends and family members sign the quilt with inspiring messages.

Other ideas for chemo patient care packages- You can also make a large bag that the quilt will fit in with all the supplies for a 5-6 hour treatment. A slim expanding file folder, business card folder, notebook/journal, fun pens, iTunes gift card, extension cord (for iPad), hard candies (sugar-free Jolly Ranchers, Werther’s, mints, honey-lemon lozenges), Smart water, water flavorings (Crystal Lite packets, Mio water flavor drops), assorted hand lotions, various teas (Smooth Move, Ginger, Peppermint) crystallized ginger, lip balm or a tea kettle and pretty mug, comfy cozy lounge pants, warm hat, t-shirts or a zip front hoodie.

There is so much you can do to help. Think about your strengths and what YOU can do...everything helps! You could make a pot of vegetable soup or a pan of veggie lasagna and freeze in single servings. you can also cook some frozen fruit, then re-freeze it in ice cube tray.The frozen fruit cubes come in handy if the white blood cell counts go low, and the patient wants to make a smoothie.

Lot's of prayers,


Monday, 16 February 2015

Jamaica Inn's Chef Maurice- a trip to the local market

 When I think of Jamaica, white-sand beaches, lots of sunshine and thumping reggae first come to mind. But I also think of the delicious cuisine, the fertile soil and deep-blue Caribbean waters which provide a rich array of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish that star in dishes served here at Jamaica Inn. We stay here three weeks every February in a cottage on the sea, and today, this is where I am writing this week's blog from.

Photo credit- Jamaica Inn

 A few days ago Wee Bear and I took a trip to the Ocho Rios local Farmer's Market. It’s full of color, fresh vegetables and fruits and lot's of community spirit! Jamaica Inn set up a field trip with the Inn's Chef Maurice leading us through this interesting and beautiful market.

 Nelson our pilot drove a group of fourteen, 2 minutes away from Jamaica Inn  to the local farmers market.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Brookster's for your Valentine!!


This Valentine’s Day, skip the store-bought heart-shaped box of chocolates. Instead, make your own delicious Brookster's! What is a Brookster you ask.....well

It's not quite a cookie, not quite a brownie, but with the best elements of both. They're called Brooksters! Are you still wondering what a Brookster is right now? It’s a mini Brookie..... which is a brownie cookie.  In other words… delicious! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Mango Lassi Smoothie

I should make more smoothies. They are ready in an eye blink, full with vitamins and fruit and they can easily replace dessert or be an essential part of a healthy breakfast. We are in Jamaica on our annual holiday. I always seem to eat lighter and healthier when I'm here. Lot's of fresh vegetables and fruits, Yummy! Today I am sharing a smoothie I make with my favorite of all fruits, the mango!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Superbowl Essential menu!!

Superbowl XLIX

Five days to touchdown! With a big event like Super Bowl Sunday on the horizon, you want to make sure your snack game and half time dinner is on point. 

Wee Bear and I LOVE our SEAHAWKS!   Whether you are hosting or bringing snacks to your Super Bowl Party, I have some AMAZING noshes for you!  Warm up the couch, it's time for football and extra points for Super Food! 

Score a touchdown with my assortment of easily prepared, quick to serve yummies, and no matter who's winning, you will be a winner! Chili, sliders, cookies and more!!! Don't miss out on this TASTY MENU!!!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Pork and Black eyed pea chili!

Seahawk's and Patriots in Superbowl XLIX! The Seahawks two years in a row! We all know where my heart is!! I had season tickets since the inception of Seahawks and waited and waited and waited! Now two years in a row!! I gave up my tickets once we moved to Winter's in Scottsdale, but I never gave up hope. Wee Bear and I are so excited!!

 I have perfected the perfect meal for your Superbowl party!!! This is so easy and delicious! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

It's January.......some of you want to cut back, some of you want to keep this party going right on through Super Bowl!! I have you both covered with this recipe!! I used ground chicken to make these meatballs light, but, for the partier' won't even notice!! And for that Superbowl party, make them into meatball sub sandwiches..........oh, so yummy!!