Thursday, 24 September 2015

Red letter day

Long term readers of this blog will know that I've had some long term health issues. About 15 years ago I was "diagnosed" with an Idiopathic Brain-stem Disorder (a fancy way of saying we don't know what's wrong with your brain-stem). Following my recent neck/shoulder issues I had another MRI(I've had about 7 over the years), this time the MRI report contained an incidental finding of "low-lying cerebellar tonsils".  Me being me, I hopped on to google and came across The Ann Conroy Trust website and found a page which described pretty much the entirety of the past 16 years of my medical history. I went to my GP and requested (read: demanded!) a referral out of area, to a Neurosurgeon called Mr Flint. I'm so glad I did! Today I travelled to Birmingham to visit Mr Flint (he was lovely!), and he confirmed a suspicion that I had held since receiving the MRI report. I have a Chiari Malformation! Essentially, my brain is too big for my skull and part of the Cerebellum (the cerebellar tonsils) hangs down in to my neck. It explains why I've always been so ill after operations; my poor brain-stem and cerebellum were being squished when I was undergoing anaesthetic! Look away now if you're squeamish. The bit that the arrow is pointing to is the cerebellar tonsils. They should be neatly tucked up inside my skull not hanging down and squishing the brain-stem. Apparently the front of my neck is an issue too, the angle at the front is quite sharp, which accounts for my choking episodes, and puts more pressure on the back of my head/neck. The horrendous vertigo I suffer from is probably related to disrupted flow of the cerebro-spinal fluid!

Fortunately I don't need surgery at this point although that may be a possibility in the future. I don't fancy major brain surgery any time soon! Although nothing has actually changed, my symptoms still remain and I still require medication to get through each day, I feel so relieved to finally have a diagnosis that makes sense! It's a shame it took 16 years and a passing comment in an MRI report to get to this point. Anyway, I'm just delighted to be able to give up looking for answers to this particular problem. Mr Flint left me with a funny thought..."for all the specialists who thought it was all in my head the problem was, it wasn't all in my head, it was in my neck too!"
Catch you soon x

Friday, 11 September 2015

Month 8 - Trellis block

I'm late again with this month's installment of the Nellie's Niceties Mystery BOM. This month is a foundation pieced block that I've called Trellis for fairly obvious reasons.
Trellis is a 12" block and even though it is foundation pieced it still goes together very quickly. As usual it looks pretty in a multi-block setting.
Here's one I made earlier ;)
If you fancy having a go yourself you'll find the info sheet, colouring block and templates here.
If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom #trellisblock. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) 
Catch you soon x 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


I've designed another EPP block! Rosette is free to download on the Quilt Now website.
 Just so that you know, it looks pretty fab in a multi-block setting too :)
Catch you soon x

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Wow... has it been almost a month since I last blogged here? I'd like to say I've been so busy sewing that I haven't had time to blog but the truth is I've been exhausted so not a lot of anything has been going on. Fortunately I was busy earlier this year so I've still got things that I can share here until my energy levels rise again. Issue 14 of Quilt Now heralds the start of the new mystery BOM designed by yours truly. This time around I'm using Kona solids from the Emily Cier bundle for the magazine quilt. There is only one block to make each month so I'm hoping that it will be easier for some of you to quilt along with me, The first block is a simple Quarter log-cabin. Here's the solids version...
...and a mini-quilt using some prints from Gardenvale by Jen Kingwell.
I'm going to quilt along too this time so I'll have a different version of the finished quilt for myself at the end of it. Each of the blocks would look equally fabulous in multiples so I'll share a couple of ideas with you each month.

If you decide to join in I'd love you to use the hashtag #quiltnowbom on Instagram or Twitter so that Quilt Now and I can find your blocks. There are a few blocks on there already which makes me a happy bunny :) 
Hoping all is good in your corner of blogland. Catch you soon x