365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

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Day 220/365: Vintage Campers Pink Cocktail Napkins

I spent most of today cleaning the house and running errands, and then Sean and I drove down from Morro Bay to Ventura this afternoon.  I did make some time to whip up three cocktail napkins, though.


This was a fairly quick project and a very satisfying way to use up a fabric remnant.


It’s also a fun way to enjoy a plain old glass of unsweetened iced tea.



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Day 216/365: The Start of a Fabric Napkin Phase

This past Christmas, Sean gave me a gift card to spend at Superbuzzy, my favorite local independent fabric shop in Ventura.  Unfortunately, for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to get to the store to spend my gift card, and it was burning a hole in my wallet.  So finally, while we were down in Ventura this weekend, I made time to go to the store.  I spent an hour browsing while Sean read a book in the Husband Waiting Area, where there is a sofa and coffee table for that reason.  I chose two yards of cute Japanese fabric and a handful of remnant rolls.  Since I’ve been on a sewing kick lately, I thought I would turn those remnants into assorted sizes of napkins (cocktail, luncheon, and dinner).

After washing, drying, and pressing the fabric, I got to measuring and slicing with my trusty blue Olfa rotary cutter.  Now I’ve got a pile of squares ready to be transformed into the best reusable napkins you could have on your dining table.




Day 192/365: Kawaii Dessert Print Napkins

A few months ago, I bought this Japanese printed cotton at my favorite local independent fabric shop in Ventura.  I thought it would be perfect for luncheon napkins.


Last Saturday, I finally got around to making those napkins.

After washing, drying, and pressing the fabric, I used my rotary blade to cut squares.


I pressed the edges to make neat hemlines, and then I marked off the corners to miter them.




Right after I took the above photo, I realized that I made a mistake.  I would have to rip out a few stitches so that I could fold the hems under.

Other than that, I didn’t have any more problems.


The napkins turned out pretty cute, I think.


I almost hate to get them dirty… even though that is kind of the point of having napkins, right?



Day 20/365: Dismissed!


I returned to the courtroom this morning for jury duty, just as the judge ordered last week Friday.  He informed us that both parties had decided to settle out of court.  So he was dismissing the case, and we were free to go.  Hooray!

On the way home, I stopped at Picking Daisies to check out their fabric sale.  I saw this pre-cut fabric and immediately thought of this fabulous placemat I recently made.  Of course I had to bring these bad boys home with me.  They’re the perfect size for napkins and will make for the most badass dining companions.

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Day 9/365: Putting the Pieces Together


Remember earlier this week when I told you about the missing key? It showed up.

So today that same woman was telling a third co-worker about the incident.  She said, “Usually, when I’m not using the key, I put it in here.”  She opened her desk drawer to show where she usually kept the key (which, again, tells you just how much common sense she has about working in a prison).  Well, lo and behold. There was the key.  Whoever took it the first time had brought it back.

I’d doubted before that any inmate stole the key, and now I was definitely sure that the culprit hadn’t been one of the inmates.  I was sitting at my desk when this all played out, and she turned to me with her mouth open.

“You know what happened,” I told her.  “Someone was teaching you a lesson.”  I’d heard of this sort of thing happening before.  People would leave their keys or alarms just laying around on a desk unattended, and then someone else would notice and take it or hide it, just to make a point.

“The inmates were strip searched for that,” I said.

By this time she’d recovered from her surprise and was already pushing the desk drawer closed.  “Oh well.”  She shrugged.  “At least now I don’t have to write that memo reporting a missing key.”


Day 8/365: On a Happier Note



I’d just started reading through the morning’s collection of emails when my office phone rang.  It was one of my colleagues, a social worker who had some information to pass on.

“Your patient Mr. X spoke with his attorney yesterday and found out he’s been resentenced by the court.  Looks like he’ll be going home in about five days.  Just wanted to give you a heads up.”

I knew that Mr. X was a third-strike lifer who qualified for resentencing after California passed Prop 36 a couple years ago.  I couldn’t remember the circumstances of his case, though.  I pulled up his file and refreshed my memory.  According to reports, the officers on patrol saw him sitting on a curb with his head slumped down, so they stopped to “check on his welfare” and found .08 net grams of cocaine and a glass pipe in his possession.  It was July of 1997.  He was arrested, hauled off to county jail, and charged with possession of a controlled substance.  He’d had a long history of theft-related offenses and already served five previous terms.  Apparently, he was deemed a danger to society after this last arrest.  The court sentenced him to 27 years to life.  I am not exaggerating.  That is a fact.  He started the state prison term in April of 1998, and today is January 8, 2015.  Keep in mind, too, that he’d been locked up since July of 1997, when he first went to county jail.

I picked up the phone and called Mr. X’s tier officer, who knew me and had no problem with my request that he locate Mr. X, write him a special pass, and send him over to Psych Services to see me.

Mr. X showed up within minutes.  We went over some paperwork and I had him sign some forms, including a release of information authorizing the state to provide his health care information to county mental health for continuity of care after his release into the community.  When we were done, I sat back and said, “Eighteen years is a long time to be in prison for getting caught slumped over on a curb with drugs in your pocket.”

“Aw, that’s not what really happened,” he said.  “That’s what they put in the report.”

“So what really happened?” I said.  “How’d you get arrested in the first place?”

“I was jaywalking,” he said.  “And then when I saw them, I tried to backtrack, but it was too late.  They got me.”


Day 4/365: Mexican Wrestling Mask Quilted Placemat

What's this?  They made a fabric with pictures of my family on it?

What’s this? They made a fabric with pictures of my family on it?

When Sean and I ran the Ventura Half Marathon back in September, we saw a guy running in bare feet and a Mexican wrestling mask.  We had about half a mile left in the race, and I was tired.  Seeing this guy effortlessly skim by in bare feet and wrestling mask, I was impressed.  And inspired.  We’d been running for two hours and thirty-five minutes at that point, and it was the half marathon.  This guy’s race bib indicated that he was finishing up the marathon.  That’s 26.2 miles, people.  In bare feet and a Mexican wrestling mask.  Finishing in under two hours and forty minutes.  Sean and I looked at each other, and we were like, There goes a badass motherfucker.  And then we started sprinting like crazy.

For part of my Christmas gift, Sean surprised me by choosing assorted yards of fabric from one of my favorite local independent shops.  This Mexican wrestling mask print is one of those fabrics.  I knew I had to make something that we’d use and see all the time.  A dining table placemat made sense.  Doesn’t everybody want to eat a meal with a badass motherfucker?

The easy part:  You sew your blocks together and quilt them the fast and lazy way.

The easy part: You sew your blocks together and quilt them the fast and lazy way.

The harder part:  Preparing the binding and then sewing it on.

The harder part: Preparing the binding and then sewing it on.

Ta-da!  Finished quilted placemat.

Ta-da! Finished quilted placemat.

This guy says, "I like it."

This guy says, “I like it.”