Heart Pillow Project

I have found a project that is very close to my heart (or should I say left breast?): The Heart Pillow Project.

I stumbled upon it when my sister gave me a German craft magazine the day before I left Switzerland. The magazine was looking for women who would be willing to sew and donate heart pillows for breast cancer patients. Many operation wounds are in or around the arm pit and the pillow helps to relieve the pressure from the arm on the wound.  I went on the internet to read a bit more about the Heart Pillow Project and discovered it was brought to Europe from America by a Danish nurse, Nancy Friis-Jensen. There are many groups in Denmark who are sewing Heart Pillows for patients and you can see some of the pictures on the Heart Pillow Project website.

Cancer is scary and changes your life completely. I know as I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. Doctors and treatments take over your life, decisions have to be made. I was in a bit of pain after my first operation but I can’t say that it was too bad. The fact that I can’t lie on back to sleep was more of a problem. Lying on my side was painful until I found a millet cushion I could lay under my breast to give it some support. It was good but quite heavy and awkward. In hindsight I wish I had had a Heart Pillow.

Maureen, the wonderful wife of our friend David, was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months ago and has had two operations in the last two weeks. After reading the article and wishing I had had one, I decided to make her a Heart Pillow. I hope that it will be useful to her and relieve whatever discomfort she might feel.

I used some IKEA fabric for Maureen’s pillow which you will see again soon as it’s the lining for my sister’s bag which is going to be made later this week. I love blue and white together and adore this flowery fabric. It looks feminine without being to saccharine.

This pillow was very quick to make. I will make another one and contact the oncology department in our local hospital to see if they would be interested in giving them to their breast cancer patients. If they accept I will get our crafty chatters to make Heart Pillows on Monday evenings. I can’t imagine a better project for us while we have a chat.

If you are interested in making a Heart Pillow here is the pattern and ‘how to’. The only thing I would like to note is that my fibrefill seems to be lighter than theirs. I weighed out 150g but couldn’t get it all into the cushion. The cushion shouldn’t be too squishy but also not too hard. Put it under your arm and check what is comfortable for you, I ended up taking some of the filling out again because I thought my pillow was too hard.

My Bag

I made myself a new bag! I’ve been lugging round a ginormous bag for the last year which was filled with wet wipes, nappies, changes of clothes, snacks and drinks and everything else one needs when looking after a small child. Master called the bag “the bag from hell” and I suppose he was right. Everything ended up somewhere on the bottom of it or ended up in the big black hole never to be seen again. As Little Miss Bossy-Boots is now out of nappies and I don’t really need to bring spare clothes anymore I decided that a smaller bag was called for. Add to this the fact that I was going home to Switzerland for eight days (hence the non-blogging) and didn’t want to carry the monster bag around arouanymore and you get a very strong incentive to make a new, smaller bag. As I didn’t have much time before travelling, I decided to go for a really simple design I have sewn lots of times. The fabric, however, is a little bit special and very, very practical: rucksack fabric. It’s waterproof, very light and, best of all, comes in lots of fun colours. I chose a lovely turquoise for my bag and I love it.

As you can see I added a big pocket to the front of the bag with a flap to keep things in there a bit safer and drier. It’s fully lined in the same IKEA fabric I used to line the bag. I love this fabric as it’s so summery.

Now in hind sight I wish I had put a flap on the top of my bag as well. I didn’t because I thought that it is a summer bag which doesn’t end up in the rain too often (how wrong was I?) and therefore simply inserted a zip at the top.

I decided to have pockets galore in this bag in the hope that it would be more organised and less “hellish” for Master if he ever has to find something in it. There’s palace for everything now: wallet, pen, mobile phone, plasters and antiseptic, camera and snacks. The wet wipes go in the bottom with a pair of knickers and leggings for Little Miss Bossy-Boots (just in case). The key is attached to a key fob and can easily be found and used while still attached to the fob which means I’m not hunting for my key anymore as I know it’s in bag.

I’ve used it for a bit over a week now and I can say that I absolutely love it. The size is great as I can still get a few things in there when I go shopping but without them disappearing without a trace. I also don’t have to take everything out to find smaller items that have buried themselves at the bottom of the bag.

However, there are two things I don’t like. First, as mentioned before, I wish I had put a flap over the top opening. Nothing has gotten wet yet but with the miserable weather we have had this summer it would prolong this bag’s season into autumn. Now I will have to make another bag for autumn, winter. Oh, that is terrible… Second, I re-used the black strap from my old bag for this one but I feel it’s just too harsh. I bought some red webbing in Switzerland but have to get the right hardware before I can change the strap. The black strap will simply be re-cycled when I finish my autumn/winter bag later this year.

My sister loved the look of my bag and ordered a similar one. I will, however, put a flap on hers so that she can use it all year round.

Wet Wipes

Ever since Little Miss Bossy-Boots was born we have been lugging wet wipes around. First in combination with nappies of course but now just on their own. They are so handy for wiping mouths, hands and noses. Somehow the wipes always end up at the bottom of my bag (“The Bag from Hell” according to Master). As I was reading Kleine Fluchten, one of the German blogs I follow, I saw a really handy bag for wet wipes with a handle so that you can take it with you, hang it off the buggy handle or anywhere else you need it. Yesterday I decided to make one for our wipes. So quick and easy. I love it!

I had to make the bag bigger as our wet wipes are a little bit bigger. Furthermore, you might notice that I put the handle on the wrong side of the zip. That was not done on purpose but simply happened because I did not follow the tutorial but made the bag from memory. It would be easier to open the zip if I had the handle to hold on to but it isn’t a huge problem. Just a little oversight that I will remedy when I’m making the next one. Because I’m fairly sure that I will be making a few more. One for the car, one for the kitchen, one for…..