365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

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Day 79/365: A Record-Breaking Day for Urgent Referrals

I don’t drink because I’m allergic to alcohol, and I don’t smoke because I never liked the smell of it.  After the day I had at work, though, I’d be drinking and smoking right now if I could.  Today was a record-breaking day for me.  On top of my regular line of patients to see, I received four different urgent referrals from various staff telling me that I needed to see the inmate today.  Even worse, none of those four inmates lived on the yard where I worked, so I had to call different tier officers on the other yards to arrange for the inmate to come to my office.

In the middle of all this madness, our yard was suddenly recalled because custody received an anonymous note threatening to kill three of our correctional officers.  If the note had specifically mentioned “mental health staff,” I might have been a little more concerned, but what with all the work that suddenly got dumped in my lap, I was more worried about getting everything done by the end of the day so that I wouldn’t be working beyond ten hours.

I would tell you all about those urgent referrals, except I’m tired, it’s finally the start of my weekend, and I have no alcohol or smokes around the house.  I do, however, have a Cadbury Crème Egg and an afghan that I started last night, so I think I am going to get comfortable on the deck and watch the sunset.



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Day 78/365: The Day Luchador Mascot #2 Arrived


The luchadors measure three inches tall, which should give you an idea of how much of this yarn I have left.


“Sean,” I said.  “You know my luchador mascot for the blog?  I ordered another one.  So he’s going to have a brother.”

“Yeah,” Sean said, in all seriousness.  “He looked like he was getting lonely.”


Hanging out happily on a large crocheted granny square. I also want to point out that the new addition to the family came with an outie bellybutton.


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Day 77/365: The Beginning of Another Stash-Busting Project

So I looked at all the yarn in the stash and pulled out these three little orphan balls that looked like they could go together, somewhat.  Naturally they didn’t have their labels anymore (why? why didn’t I save the labels and stick them in the middle of the ball, like thinking people do?), but it was pretty clear that they were three different brands and dye lots.  I figured they had the potential to be transformed into something cute.


I started with the multi-colored pastel ball and crocheted a few row of shells.  Then it became pretty clear to me that I would end up with another small rectangle, like my most recent pink and yellow baby blankie.  I decided I wanted to make something different this time, where I would start the piece at the center and work my way out.  I could either crochet essentially what would be a round lace doily or a large granny square.  I went with the granny square.


Here is my little Luchador mascot, who you will recognize from my blog header.  We’re both trying to decide if we like how this granny square project is turning out.


Day 76/365: Crocheted Baby Blankie of Pink and Yellow Shells

Here it is, the completed project:


Ta da!

As you know, lately I’ve been on a stash-busting kick and working on crocheted blankets to give away.  Truthfully, it’s because I got bored with knitting, and crochet gives me the satisfaction of finishing a project in just a few days.  You’ll notice that I’ve been sticking to flat pieces and not things like hats or baby sweaters, which would be just as useful and good to give away to charity.  It’s because I’m being lazy and I don’t want to think about increases and decreases and shaping and counting stitches.


For this particular little afghan, I used two orphan balls of sport weight yarn from the stash.  They were made by two different companies, but were similar in color, weight, and fiber content (100% acrylic).  I’d thrown away their labels a long time ago, which is actually a good thing, because the perfectionist part of me knew that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to make an adult-sized afghan and I was tempted to go on eBay and find more skeins– which would have defeated the original purpose of using up yarn from the stash.  So I gave myself a little talk and made my peace with the fact that the finished blanket would be a small one– 17.5″ by 27″, to be precise.


Yup, there it is in all its entirety. About the size of a baby doll blankie.

I had fun making this little afghan.  The pattern was a repeating shell stitch that I found in one of my crochet books.  I’m very into the shell stitch right now.  I’ve already started a third afghan, and yes, it is another shell stitch, but who knows.  I might decide to rip it out and go with pineapple lace, instead.



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Day 75/365: Pink Shell Border Completed

Remember the pink and yellow baby blankie that I was crocheting?  I had run out of the pink and yellow self-striping yarn, so I’d added another yarn in a similar weight and completely different brand.  My plan was to crochet a border around the existing rectangle and hope for the best.

Here’s what it looked like after I completed a round:


Yeah, this is going to be a little baby blankie.

I kept going and had to fudge a little bit at the corners, adding extra shells to make sure that the edges didn’t bunch up or curl.


Those are some improvised corners.

I was able to crochet a few rounds before I ran out of yarn.


Approximately 2.25″ wide of pink shell edging. Not bad for a small ball of scrap yarn.

I used the same shell stitch pattern for the edging as I did for the body of the afghan.  I’m pretty happy with the way the shells naturally made a scalloped edging.

The completed piece isn’t very large (17.5″ by 27″), but it was very satisfying to use up yarn from the stash and transform it into something neat and pretty.  It actually turned out to be a cute mini-afghan.  I could imagine a little girl using it as a baby doll blankie.

More photos tomorrow!

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Day 74/365: The “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” Exhibition

Even though Sean loves to tease me (prime example:  see yesterday’s post), he really is a good husband and I think I will keep him.  Especially since he did procure those tickets to the Hello Kitty Exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

We went to the exhibition after lunch yesterday.  I was so excited to be there that I let my inner grade-school self just take over and squeal and exclaim in delight at the awesome display of everything Hello Kitty.  To his credit, Sean was a good sport through it all.  He indulged my fanatic picture-taking and cries of “Sean!  Look at this!” every time I took a step to the next display case.  He even let me take his picture a couple of times.


Sean says, “Hello, readers of my wife’s blog.”


Um, eighteen?

There were so many collections of Hello Kitty things.  Stationery, office supplies, kitchen stuff (including dishes, a toaster, microwave, rice cooker, waffle maker, soda maker, pots, and pans), a sewing machine (by Janome!), shoes (including a white faux-fur-covered platform pair with six-inch heels), clothes, jewelry, motor oil, toilet paper, braces (yes!  for your teeth!), a skateboard, roller skates, dollhouse miniatures, and so, so much more.  Like Sean said, “If you could think to put Hello Kitty on something, it’s already been done.”

After the collections, we turned a corner and walked into a gallery displaying various artists’ contributions of Hello Kitty-inspired pieces.  We were allowed to take photographs as long as we didn’t use any flash.  You can bet I took a ton of photos to share, since not everyone would have the opportunity to see the exhibition in person.

Here are a few of the many dozens of photos that I took:


A whole wall was devoted to Hello Kitty backpacks. The one with the mustache was my favorite.


Hello Kitty bento boxes and food molds. I am all about the food.



Hello Kitty KISS dolls! Note the Gene Simmons one, complete with tongue sticking out.


Hello Kitty Gummy Candies! The bag was encrusted with little crystals, and the gummy candies really looked good enough to eat.  I would have loved to own this.


This was a really interesting painting. I am still trying to figure it out.


Hello Kitty as fashion model?


Hello Kitty and friends painted on glass (the one on the right) and Hello Kitty underwater, wearing what appears to be an upside-down fishbowl helmet (to the left).


Now this one was really cool. The photo doesn’t do it justice. The artist made this out of a collage of pieces cut from t-shirts and other fabrics. Up close it was very impressive. I also liked the spider-web quilting design.


Uh-oh, it’s Hello Kitty Godzilla!


This appeared to be made out of pieces of meticulously arranged vintage buttons and brooches.


Hello Kitty by Junko Mizuno.


Hello Kitty Lincoln.


Hello Kitty Power Ranger? Robot? Action Figure? I have no idea.



In addition to the Hello Kitty Gummy Candies, this is the other piece that I would have loved to own in my home. I guess I really have a thing for sugar and sweets.

I get that not everybody is a fan of Hello Kitty, and I am aware of the political arguments against what Hello Kitty represents, and blah, blah, blah.  But you know what?  Sometimes it’s just nice to feel like a kid again in the best possible sense:  happy, and full of wonder, joy, and awe at the things that other people have thought to create.


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Day 73/365: Filipinos in The News, or A Typical Saturday Morning with My Husband


The glamorous life of writing a blog entry about being in Los Angeles and knitting a sock.  And P.S. I finally figured out how to make my photos appear bigger on the blog.

Sean and I are here in L.A. at the Best Western Monterey Park Inn. The conference where he’ll be presenting is just a couple of miles down the road, and it seemed silly for us to get in the car and drive around looking for a place to eat when there was a free continental breakfast in the lobby. We decided to go with the free food.

As it is with all major chain hotel lobbies that I’ve ever encountered, a large TV screen was mounted on the wall in the dining area, and it was showing the local morning news. And of course the dining tables and chairs were all strategically positioned in front of the television.

Sean and I generally don’t watch TV. We don’t even have cable. Unless we’re in places like bars and Best Western Inn lobbies where we absolutely cannot avoid being in the presence of an actively playing television, we never even see commercials.

We got our food and sat down at one of the tables, directly in front of the television screen. The news anchor was talking about the upcoming Los Angeles Marathon, but I was more interested in looking at his face.

“Sean,” I said, “Look. I bet you he’s Filipino!”

See, here’s the thing: Ever since I moved to the mainland from Hawaii, I’ve lived in places that are not very ethnically diverse and where I hardly ever see any other Filipinos. So I get really excited when I see somebody who I think could possibly share my ethnic heritage. If you have any Filipino friends who originally came from the Philippines like me, you understand what I’m talking about.

“Hmm,” Sean said. He’s known me for over twenty-one years now and has been exposed to my crazy family and extended relatives for almost as long. So he’s familiar with Filipinos. “Could be. Maybe.”

“What do you mean, maybe? He is Filipino. Look at him. I’m sure of it. I bet you.”

The morning news story changed from the L.A. marathon to a feature about an unidentified man on a motorcycle who rode down the escalator at a shopping center in British Columbia, rode through the automatic sliding glass doors of some store, and eventually got away. Sean and I watched the security footage clips of the guy coasting down the escalator on his motorcycle and him being comically and futilely chased by a security guard. We laughed and cheered for the getaway, and I promptly forgot what I was willing to bet.

After breakfast, there wasn’t a whole lot more to do except head back to our room. Sean had to get ready to leave for his conference. I’d brought along my laptop and a new sock that I’d started knitting. I figured I would stay in our room and do some writing and a little bit of knitting while Sean gave his presentation. (Yes, I had absolutely zero interest in going to see it, and he had absolutely zero interest in making me come along.  That’s what our marriage is like after twenty-one years of being a couple.) He planned to return before the noon check-out, and then we’d go grab some lunch.

I was logging on for internet access when Sean came out of the bathroom. He saw me on the computer and said, “So, did you find out?”

“Find out what?”

“If that news anchor is Filipino.”

“Oh, I already forgot about that. But now that you remind me.” I went to Google and started typing in some key words for a search. I found him. “His name is Adrian Arambulo. It says he was born and raised in Chicago.”

“There are no Filipinos in Chicago,” Sean said.

If you didn’t know Sean, you’d think he was being a jerk. If you do know him, then you can totally see him saying this in a deadpan manner and trying not to laugh.

“There are, too, Filipinos in Chicago!” I said. “My mom’s side of the family came out from the Philippines and went to Ohio and Missouri!”

“Ohio and Missouri are not Chicago,” Sean said.

He sang in his worst best Ilokano accent, just to tease me. “A-drree-ahn Ah-rrrum-booo-lowA-drree-ahn Ah-rrrum-booo-low.

I ignored him and did a little more searching. “Ha! See, I was right! He’s half Filipino! I win!”

I realized then that I was sitting in a Best Western Inn at 8 AM on a Saturday morning, shouting that last part about some random guy being half Filipino and me winning. I lowered my voice. “I told you.  I was right.”

“What?” Sean said innocently. “I never said you were wrong.”

“Ha, ha,” I said. “I’m putting this in the blog.”


Day 72/365: Pink Shell Border

As you know, I’m trying to use up yarn from the stash by making little afghans to give away.  And you also know (from previous photos) that I picked out a pretty yellow and pink self-striping yarn.  However, I don’t think I mentioned that I only had one small skein of that particular brand.  I knew that would give me just enough yarn for half a baby-sized blankie, and sadly, I was right.  I got to the end of the yarn today, and what I’ve crocheted so far measures 13 inches x 22.5 inches, or roughly the size of a dining table placemat.

So.  I scrounged through the stash and came up with a second ball of yarn that’s similar in weight and type (100% acrylic).  I knew it would look unbalanced if I just attached the new yarn and crocheted more rows to extend the rectangle.  It would obviously appear to be a half-and-half afghan made out of two different yarn brands with two different dye lots.  I decided to incorporate the new yarn as a border, instead.


In other news, Sean and I are driving to L.A. this afternoon with plans for a full day tomorrow.  I’ll try to remember to take lots of photos, especially of the Hello Kitty exhibition (yay!  Sean came through with tickets!), if the Japanese American National Museum lets me.



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Day 71/365: Shell Stitches Close-Up


Today was my Friday at work.  I’m taking tomorrow off because I’ll be driving down to Ventura, and then Sean and I will head into Los Angeles.  He’s giving a presentation at a conference on Saturday.  After that, we have plans to do a bunch of fun stuff in L.A., including eating at a couple of really good restaurants, checking out some cool Japanese shops in Little Tokyo, and going to the Japanese American National Museum to see an exhibition called Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty.  (Doesn’t the name alone just make you want to see it?)  Sean is in charge of getting the tickets, and if he actually pulls it off and takes me there, he is going to win my Husband of The Year award.  He knows my love for all things kawaii.

I told my buddy the lieutenant (who was a key character in this post and this one) that I would be taking tomorrow off.

“Didn’t you just take the day off?” he asked.

I thought about it.  “You’re right,” I said.  Three weeks ago, I did take a couple of days off.  And the nice thing about having written a daily entry since January is that I can go back in the archives to see what I did on those days.  Turns out it was this and this.

“I had a seminar that time,” I said.  “And I’m going to a conference this time.  My license is up for renewal this year.  I have to earn 36 continuing education units.  Don’t worry.  I get some paid education leave.”

“I knew it,” he said.  “I shoulda stayed in school.”




Day 70/365: Crocheted Afghan Still in Progress


Every Wednesday morning, my colleagues and I meet for IDTT:  Interdisciplinary Treatment Team.  An IDTT generally consists of a psychiatrist, a couple of psychologists, a social worker, and a correctional counselor.  It’s basically a weekly committee where we review different patients’ treatment plans and meet with the inmate and discuss his treatment plan with him, including progress and goals.

Today one of the scheduled patients was a 23-year-old African American inmate with tattoos all over his face and the slouch and demeanor of a juvenile delinquent.  He was assigned to my colleague Dr. Y’s caseload, and during our meeting with him, he sat with an air of indifference toward the whole process.

Upon the conclusion of our little conference, the kid got up to leave and started heading for the door.  Dr. Y said (as he said to each and all of the inmates who came to IDTT), “Have a good day.”

The kid passed through the doorway and, to our surprise (and immense amusement), he casually tossed back, in a manner that he might reserve for wrapping up a phone call with his granny, “Love you, too.”