Feb 7, 2016

Fidget Quilts and Busy Heart and Hands

It's such fun designing, sewing, and quilting creative but simple little Alzheimer's Fidget, Busy, Tactile, or Sensory Quilts!

A quilt by any name for any good cause is a lovely one. And the best part of these is that they not only do not need to be perfectly sewn, with lovely full bindings, but it's much better if they're lumpy and bumpy, and the colors want to jump out at you from every which way!

That's their purpose here on earth. To bring joy and happiness and keep both heart and hands busy!

Each one is different and unique in its own way, just like each of us! Different textures, different colors, different strings and ribbons, and bobbles and rick rack and buttons. Bits of embroidery or applique, leftover bits of quilt blocks and patchwork patches of any bit or kind! A wooden belt buckle above to slide along the yellow rickrack.

A bit of lime green velcro with lace on one end to draw the eye to the fact that it lifts up and away and can be ripped and zipped and flattened back down again! Buttons tied on with crochet cotton, some ends knotted and left to dangle, just inviting a fidget or fiddle or two.

Old curtain rings to slide up and own with bits of lace to catch them here and there to add further interest. Even a hankie on the one below, sewn down a bit to hold the petal like folds but still welcoming exploration and ruffling.

I start with my hands and my heart. I'd mention my head as well, but not a whole lot of thinking was required and that was such a good thing.

I'm on my 6th week of almost non stop headaches, many of the severe migraine variety...and doctors and emergency room shots have not helped and those only sought after my own special mind over matter abilities for balancing and healing.

So, I knew then, that I had to deal with this, I had to find my own way to distract and easy the incessant pain that fills up every bit of the head and all of its cavities to imploding. So, I thought about my sweet mama with Alzheimer's for 8 going into 9 years and all I'd done with and for her as I traveled back and forth from Oregon to Alaska to help my father care for her..year after year, many visits in a row. 

For long before Alzheimer's Disease claimed her life, it claimed her memory, her mind and her body. She became the sweetest and dearest little lady in spite of all of this. In spite of being blind, and bedridden and barely able to lift her right hand much less use it to feed herself. But she was free of the pain that had plagued her, as it has plagued me for most of her life. Free of pain, free of emotional and mental confines she began to soar free on the inside before she soared free on the outside.

But in the beginning, she described the disease that was taking over her mind, as a big block. Like a headache only bigger and it wouldn't move and it wouldn't go away. So, for all of these weeks, with my own real headaches, ones that doctors have not helped, I felt myself merging even more than I normally can with my mother and her experiences and the energies moved me to work on keeping my own heart and my own hands busy. Very busy. Just like an A.D. person can be kept busy with little things to touch, and do, and fiddle and fidget and be kept busy with.

So, back to creating more fidget quilts! My own mother may be gone now, but more than 5 million people battle this disease and all of their loved ones with them. And nothing better to do than feeling like you have something to do!

Not just writing about Alzheimer's as I have, nor teaching and educating others with my sharing as I have, nor making all of my 75 little Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative small format art quilts and having them donating off for research funding, as I have...but now ...continuing to create these little lap sized charmers of good will and love.

Some to keep as examples, the ten or twelve that I have already given away, these three I am showing her, and three more in progress on my floor..yes, the headache and the heartache both can be eased by distraction, by the drive and the distraction of mind over matter, and by my own soul's purpose to make a difference.

Fiddle and fidget, tactile and sensory. Busy and fidgeting..I'm all of that and more and so are they!

Making Fidget Quilts for Alzheimer's Patients: Free Tutorials and Ideas


Alzheimer's Fidgeting and Mojo Uprising


AAQI Sprints to a Grand $1M Retirement Finale!

 (now if we could only retire Alzheimer's Disease!!!!)

  My old blog footnote read:

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska and all of her AAQI Quilting. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time! 

And I feel we all made a difference. The best we all could and if love could heal..and it does..then someday it will find the cure to heal and prevent this disease! But for now, each of us, in his or her own ways continues to battle this disease! By being there for our loved ones with A.D. or Dementia or by donating to research and education or by making fidget or lap quilts! Don't know where to donate them..send them here and I'll find them wonderful homes. The demand now is HUGE!   

My new blog footnote reads:

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.


Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

Michele, I am so sorry about the headaches. How horrible that the doctors can't help. These quilts are gorgeous and it does look like a lot of brainpower that goes into them. Your blog banner is gorgeous too.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh, Shasta Matova! Thank you. That makes me feel better all ready!I come over to visit you every time you post but my cell phone doesn't always let me comment. Look for my cookie crumbs, I love to snack as I read ;-)

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Michele. My Terry has been suffering from severe headaches for about 10 years. A trip to two neurologists brought no results. We began to think brain tumor and the expense of testing. He took a chance and went to our local VA Clinic who referred him to THEIR neurologist in Ft. Wayne. Terry's headaches seemed to be of three varieties. The doc address what he thought one cause would be...short term pain relievers that Terry had been taking over the counter. Terry had to totally eliminate them. Also, he began following a food elimination diet which is used to treat migraines. Finally he recently tried a nerve block which was a shot in his skull. His RA still causes small headaches but not the debilitating variety. Hope you can find help...keep trying. (A friend gets botox)
xx, Carol