365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time


Day 161/365: Quilt Top of 28-Year-Old Blocks, Done!

As you know from my last few posts, my mom has been visiting from out of town, and I’ve been putting together for her a project that she started back in 1987.

I bought a yard and a half of the yellow cotton.  I was able to cut enough rectangular strips, but then I didn’t have quite enough for the squares.  The bummer is that I would have had exactly enough fabric if only I’d been a lot more careful with my measuring before slicing away with the rotary cutter.


Arranging the placement of blocks on the sunroom floor.

Luckily, I had remnants from another yellow cotton print and was able to use that fabric to fill in for the squares.


I sewed each horizontal row into a long strip and then sewed the strips to each other.  I tried my best to match up the corners.  (When my mom started this project 28 years ago, she used scissors and not a rotary cutter to cut each blue square, so they weren’t all exactly the same size.)


You can see where I used a different yellow fabric for the squares, but I think it turned out looking nicer that way.

I finished sewing together the strips and– Ta-da!  Completed quilt top.



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Day 160/365: The 28-Year-Old Project, Continued

Yesterday I shared a couple of photos of my new project in which I am piecing together 10″ x 10″ blocks of appliquéd motifs that my mom hand-stitched starting in 1987. 6.9.2015A Originally, she just wanted me to sew the blocks together side by side, but I wanted the motifs to stand out a little more.  I went to the local independent fabric shop and selected a yellow cotton print that I thought would go well with the blocks.  I did some measuring and cutting, and the quilt top started to take shape. 6.9.2015B

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Day 159/365: New (28-Year-Old) Project!

Back in 1987, my mom started this project of blanket-stitched appliquéd motifs on 10″ x 10″ blocks.


I guess the figures are like those time-out kids that were sold at craft fairs and country stores, except these are supposed to be Asian.

Anyway, she only stuck with the project for about a year before abandoning it.  Many, many, many years later (like, last year), she came across her pile of old materials and tackled the project with renewed enthusiasm.  Especially after I told her that I would sew the blocks together for her.

Now that she’s here for her annual visit, I am being true to my word.  Initially, she just wanted me to sew the blocks side by side, but they looked too boring that way.  I told her I had another idea.  So I have been cutting fabric and sewing and piecing, and I think the completed project will look really nice.


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Day 23/365: A Moment in A Day in the Life


I don’t have any photos of a handmade project today, because by the time I remembered to take a picture, the sun was setting.  So instead I am sharing a photo that I took earlier this week, on Monday, my regular day off.  You can click the image to enlarge, and you can see a few things that I’ve written about already.  There’s the fish hat that I knitted, and the jars of iced tea instead of soda, and my first quilted placemat, and the people’s favorite, the Mexican wrestling masks placemat.  There’s a pile of fabric waiting to be made into something, maybe another patchwork block table runner.  And of course, there’s Sean, who didn’t know I took this photo, because otherwise he would have made a goofy face at the camera.  I like this photo because it captures a lot about the way we spend our time inside the house– relaxing, hanging out, engaged in leisure activity– and definitely not cleaning up.


Day 10/365: Stitched


The sock model called last night for evening check-in.  He was three hours ahead in Florida.  He said, “What are you doing?”

“Sewing.  I’m taking a break from knitting.  What are you doing?”

“Oh, not much.  We just got home a while ago.  We went out for oysters.”

“Oysters!  Damn it!  I want oysters.”  I could picture them in my mind, a platter of a dozen raw fat oysters on the half shell, served chilled on a bed of ice.  “How were they?”

“Yeah…”  By the tone of his voice, Sean didn’t sound too thrilled about his experience with these oysters.  Sometimes, you just get a bad batch.  Not bad like food-poisoning bad, but just bad like bottom-of-the-barrel, end-of-the-season, so-sad-no-more-good-oysters-until-next-year kind of bad.  He said, “Remember when sometimes we’d get them, and they’d be all small, and kinda stringy and not so good?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“Remember when they’d be really good.  Like that really fresh, fat kind of oyster.”

“Yeah…”  I remembered.  I waited to hear him tell me that these most recent oysters weren’t as good as the ones we used to have.  “And… ?”

“Oh, no, that’s all.  These were that really fresh, fat kind.”  Then he started laughing.  “They were really good.”

“Ha, ha,” I said.  “I’m going back to sewing.”

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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.”