Making Unexpected Memories

Making Unexpected Memories

For this article, I’m going to take you on an adventure, using your imagination. Sounds mysterious…possibly exciting! However, in reality it was poor planning on my part, and I had to figure out something on the fly. That’s real life for many of us, so let’s move on, and it will all work out.

My mother recently moved to a Senior Living residence, in the Memory Care unit. It’s a difficult transition for anyone, and it was especially tough on my mother. I wanted to do something that would help her, get to know those around her better. A monthly tea party, presented a good opportunity. My mother has always been a lady that loves her tea…the English way, with milk. When Prince William and Kate got married, I bought my mother a fascinator to wear to tea. I went early the day of the tea, and grabbed the fascinator, from my closet.

Marsha dressed up for tea

We arrived for tea, and everyone stopped what they were doing. The residence photographer took her picture, and she was awarded the “best dressed” prize for the day. Everyone was buzzing about the need for hats. I mentioned to the craft coordinator, Cindi, that I could help the Memory Care residents make felt flowers for fascinators! We started discussing our plans immediately.

Needle felting wasn’t a good fit, for the residents, even though I had the protective gear. The coordinator said they let residents put projects together, take a photo, and behind the scenes secure items in place. That would totally work for flowers, cut out from felt, they made themselves. Last Friday was the day we set aside to make the felt. I knew my article was coming due, and thought, this would work out perfectly, but I neglected to think about privacy issues. So this is where your adventure comes in…(I know, you were hoping for a trip, to some far away destination…and maybe an umbrella drink.🍹) This is a recreation, of how we handled this for a group, in a Memory Care setting. I have a photo, with no faces, to show results the residents achieved.

I have to say, this activity was a huge success. I’m hoping by sharing the story, others will volunteer to do a similar activity, in their own communities. We had 8 ladies decide to join us, and I was prepared, if gentlemen decided to join us. I really thought this out ahead of time and had everything ready to go: bamboo placemats, cut bubble wrap, small pieces of clear plastic sheets, 2 water containers, 2 ball brausers, and liquid dish soap. I used my electric drum carder to make, very thin individual batts, for each person. I can’t tell you how pleased I was at that decision: it made everything flow along beautifully. I was told the residents love anything that sparkles, so I knew Angelina and Stelina would be present in each batts composition.

Merino, and Blended, Rovings … with Sparkles!
I made a thin sandwich of Merino, the Sparkly blend, and Merino on top. That keeps my drum carder lickerin cleaner, and requires less stopping. I repeated this process until my batt was as thick as needed.
Thin batt ready to remove from the carder. I’m hoping this blending of colors will resemble a sparkling rose petal, when it’s felted.
Just before finishing, I carefully add additional blended fiber directly to the drum for added interest to top of the felt.
This is the batt, once removed from the carder. Pretty petals on the ready!

The beauty of using my drum carder, is no need to lay out, and layer the fiber. A definite plus for working with groups. We covered the tables with clean hospital blankets instead of using towels…when in Rome, use what’s convenient. We set up each place with the following (bottom up) 1. bamboo mat, 2. bubble wrap – bubble side up, 3. thin fiber batt, 4. piece of clear plastic off to the side.

Starting from bottom left (moving clockwise) photo shows thinness of batt about 1/2 inch – batt laid out, ready to go – covered with plastic, wet down, air pressed out, and light circular rubbing.

The residents did each step the best they could. We had to help a few with rubbing, after a while, but by that point a few aides dropped by. They were curious, when they saw all the people, crowded in the crafting area. Their help allowed us to move on to rolling. Everyone rolled at least a little: good movement exercises. After rolling was finished, we took everything away, except their bamboo placemat. We told them to “wash their windows” and they rubbed a bit on the placemat. The best part came next: after rinsing the first piece out I demonstrated “whopping” the piece on the floor. Big smiles came out of hiding! Many couldn’t manage that, but the aides sure had fun, obliging in the process. There were good times had at the the craft table last Friday. The best part was my Mom beaming, with pride, and telling everyone I was “a pretty good girl,” when someone asked a question. Mom was having a good day, and knew who I was. I will take that memory with me forever…as I break away from typing to shed a couple tears.

These are the real photos of felt made by the residents. We will begin making flowers tomorrow, after this article is published.
This is the felt I made for this article. It’s absolutely gorgeous in person.

I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers, we make with our felt. But mostly, I hope to see a glimpse of the happy faces, that watched me throw that felt at the floor.

23 thoughts on “Making Unexpected Memories

  1. What a great idea, Capi! It’s wonderful that during a stressful time for you and your mom, you took the time to teach others how to felt and to give your mom’s new friends a great activity. I bet they will really be excited by the flowers and the resulting hats/fascinators. Your mom is gorgeous with her fascinator and definitely looks ready for tea time.

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I’m so glad I discussed this idea with you. The article almost wrote itself. I’m hoping that I will be able to get photos of the results, but if not I will have my little prototype I’m working on right now.

  2. It made me shed a few tears too. What a wonderful day you must have had, as well as your mum and the other ladies.
    Those bats are beautiful and I hope you will show us the flower/fascinators when they are all finished.
    Thank you also for showing us that we can make felt without the long and quite often tedious job of laying out.

  3. This post is just so lovely Capi. I have to admit I have a tear in my eye too – memories of those early days in Senior Living for my beloved mother in law. How such an activity would really have broken the ice for her and her group.

    It is fabulous.

    I love how you made all the steps ‘doable’ for both the residents and the staff and I can only imagine the positive and fun atmosphere created by the whole activity. The little bit of bling added to the fibre was really thoughtful (and very cool).

    Your Mom is a beautiful lady and I love her fascinator.

    You are so right, this could be repeated in so many Senior Residences. I hope you can post the results of the next phase in the making process.

    1. Helene, I hope this idea takes flight! There are so many beneficial things that could be done: to give our loved ones a feeling of worth. The biggest obstacle was convincing the staff it could be done! Thanks for your positive thoughts. 😘

  4. Great post and great job Capi. the batts with sparkle are lovely. A great way for your mom to make new friends and something fun and different for everyone. You may have more customers once everyone sees the flower fascinators.

    1. Ann, thanks for your support. I have to admit feeling a bit positive, about making some thin batts. I think they could be useful for all sorts of ideas. And, they could ship easily too. ❤️

  5. I so enjoyed reading your lovely post. So lucky to have a carder and make such delicious looking bats. You and the residents must have had a wonderful day, and I imagine they will all be thrilled with their flowers. I look forward to seeing them too. Thanks Capi.

  6. Oh Capi – what a wonderful post and so emotional. That’s a lovely photo of your mum!
    You selflessly gave your time to enrich the lives of others and what a success it was!
    I hope you can post photos of the finished flowers later on.

    1. Thanks, Lyn. I’m sitting here with some sparkly scraps of felt, and feel blessed knowing all of you. You make me feel so good! Hugs, and tell Annie, I say hi!

  7. I loved this post. Sharing the joy of creating something is very special. And it was clearly your planning, thoughtfulness and hard work that meant everyone could join in the making at whatever level they were able and feel included. You definitely created a lot of happiness. Can’t wait to see part 2.

    1. Thanks, Lindsay. I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I have an update on the flowers: they turned out beautifully, but timing required me to make them. I really wanted to involve the residents in the flower making, but the coordinator had other ideas, and time constraints…etc. They will each have a lovely headband for tea, and that’s what is most important!

  8. This made me so happy, Capi. I love that there are people like you to help share the joy of crafting with those who probably didn’t think they’d get to do it again. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the finished items!

    On a more personal note, this also made me very emotional. My maternal grandmother is in a care home. She had a stroke and unfortunately can’t do much anymore, but she was a very talented and wonderful crafter. My knitting journey started with her. I so wish I could see her embroider, knit or draw once again. Thanks for the memories.

    1. I feel your sadness, Leonor, and understand your feelings. My mother’s talent was making beaded jewelry pieces. Her last works, were beaded stitch markers, made for my shop. I show her the beautiful things, she’s made, but the memories aren’t present anymore. It’s so very sad. Hugs to you and gratitude, for the presence of these important women, in our lives.

  9. I went through a similar journey with my mother, who passed away just a few months ago. She always loved everything I made and proudly told anyone who would listen about the purses I made for her. I wish I could have done an activity like this with her. Thank you for sharing the preparation you did that made this a successful event for the folks where your mom lives. I’m so happy it went well and that you have more happy memories with your mother.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Renee. I need to keep in mind, some touched by my writings, have lost their precious loved ones. My heart is joyful, that this article, has touched so many. ❤️ Hugs to you.

  10. Capi what a lovely idea, planned to perfection to enable everyone to take part no matter their level of ability.

    Your mum looks radiant in her fascinator. How wonderful that afternoon tea could be extended in crafting & creating friendships.

    It is an emotional story for so many of us, the more so because, as this post went live, my mum (still with a very sharp mind) has just gone into respite care with little realistic hope that she will live independently at home again.

    Looking forward to seeing the flowers & finished hats….keep up the great work Capi. X

    1. Antje, I am sending love your way, as the coming days, were difficult for me. Doing the best thing for your Mum, isn’t easy: it requires strength and resolve that you’ve done what’s necessary. My mother asks, to come home with me, every time I see her.

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Antje. I’m most grateful! ❤️

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