365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time


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Day 186/365: The Day of the 2015 Women’s World Cup

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Sean is a huge soccer fan and right now we are waiting for the 2015 Women’s World Cup game between the USA and Japan to start.

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Earlier for lunch, I made sushi rice and we ate fresh vegetarian hand rolls.

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Both Sean and I love sushi and Japanese food, but today Sean is a USA fan, through and through.

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P.S. The table runner is the reverse side of this table runner from this post, and the quilted placemat is this one.

 


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Day 115/365: Being Married This Long Means Having Your Own Damn Box of Chocolates

This week the old speaker dock for my iPod died, which bummed me out because I like having music playing around the house.  So today Sean and I drove down to San Luis Obispo for lunch and a trip to Best Buy for new speakers.

After we made our purchase and headed out to the car, I told Sean, “I’m going to See’s Candies.”  Which was conveniently located right across the parking lot in the same shopping center.  I am a huge fan of the See’s box of Nuts and Chews.  I could eat a whole one-pound box of Nuts and Chews over a weekend, but I have to pace myself to make the candy last at least four days.  It’s a good exercise in restraint.

“I’ll come with you,” Sean said.

“I’m going to buy one box of Nuts and Chews,” I said.  “I can buy you a lollipop, or a box of lollipops, or your own box of chocolates.  Anything you want in the store.”

“No, thanks,” Sean said.  “You don’t have to buy me any candy.  I’ll just have some of yours.”

“No,” I told him.  “There’s not going to be any sharing.  If you want some chocolates, I will buy you your own box of Nuts and Chews, but you can’t have any of mine.”

“Wow,” Sean said.  “I guess we’ve been married that long.  That was a reverse scenario.  That’s something you picked up from me, isn’t it?”

Because yes, in the past I was the one saying, “I’ll just have some of your fries,” (or cake, or frozen yogurt, or any of a million things) and Sean going, “No.  I will buy you your own, but you can’t have some of mine.”

I guess we have been married that long.

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His and hers boxes of chocolate.  You can guess which one I’ll be eating.  And not sharing.

 


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Day 18/365: What Happiness Tastes Like

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Last year, I quit drinking soda.  Even though I love me some cold Coca-Cola, I made a conscious decision to stop drinking all carbonated beverages.  People have said to me, “Just drink diet Coke!”  But it’s not the same.  First of all, diet Coke doesn’t taste half as good as the real stuff.  It is a poor substitute.  And second, we all know that soda is bad for you.  So if I am going to consume something that will rot my teeth, make me fat, and leach out the calcium in my bones, then I might as well go all the way.  If I’m gonna have a soda, it’s gonna be Coca-Cola, and if I’m gonna eat bacon, it ain’t gonna be soy or turkey.  None of that low-fat, non-fat, lite, sugar-free, calorie-free nonsense for me.

So anyway, yes, I made a conscious decision to quit drinking soda.  It was a smart decision, because I can’t drink a Coca-Cola without wanting some Cheetos or kettle cooked potato chips or a hamburger and fries to go with it.  Coca-Cola is my gateway drug.

I switched to iced tea, which wasn’t so hard because Sean grew up in the South and he makes the best pitchers of fresh-brewed tea.  We drank gallons of the stuff, cold and unsweetened, and so much of it that I started buying different brands and flavors of tea bags for variety.  Then I discovered Lupicia.  If you have never tried fresh-brewed Lupicia loose leaf tea on ice, you are missing out.  Come over to my house, and I will pour you a glass.  Seriously.  This stuff is so good that it is worth the significant portion of my grocery budget that I pay for it.

Since I am such a regular customer, Lupicia sends me their newsletter every month with a Fresh Tea Sample.  Our pantry shelf of assorted teas includes several of these tea samples.  Sean was washing dishes this morning as I surveyed the shelf, trying to decide what flavor tea to drink next.  There were a lot of choices.  Then the tea sample packets caught my eye.  Among them were Muscat Decaf, Matcha Kirara Rice Tea, and January’s Tea of the Month, Happiness.

I picked up the packet and looked at the label.  “Sean, what do you think Happiness tastes like?” I asked.

He didn’t bother to look up from the bowl he was rinsing.  In his typical dry, deadpan manner, he replied, “I think there’s your answer right there.”

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Day 11/365: Quilted Berry Print and Green Blocks Patchwork Table Runner

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I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.  Reading about Laura and her sister Mary sewing on their quilts is what first got me interested in quilt-making.  Of course I had no clue how to make a quilt, let alone how to start the process.  This was in the early eighties, and I lived in a traditional Filipino household in rural Hawaii.  All I knew was that I wanted to be sewing on a quilt, too.

(It would have to be a nine-patch one, though, like Mary’s.  Because at least I could figure out what nine-patch blocks were.  Laura’s quilt was called Dove in the Window, and what the hell was Dove in the Window?  Google wasn’t around when I was growing up, and even if it had been– our family wouldn’t have owned a computer.  And even if we did have a computer, my brothers would have been hogging it, and then my dad would have come along and he would have yanked out the plug and maybe even broken the whole damn thing, just to shut everyone up.)

Anyway, then I read Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die.  I must have been about eleven or twelve at the time. (Another aside– when I think about it now, that is really heavy subject matter for a kids’ book.  I mean, a story about your fifteen-year-old sister’s final stages of life– a summer to die— Really?)  So while it was a very stressful time for everyone in the family in the book, the mother of the narrator started a patchwork quilt, using fabric from her daughters’ outgrown childhood clothing.  And the idea of that quilt stayed with me.

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I moved on to other books and other interests.  I taught myself how to crochet from a library book when I was in the seventh grade.  I went on to high school, undergrad, and then graduate school.  I got a master’s in creative writing.  I went out into the job market and landed in teaching.  Time passed.  I didn’t even recognize it, but looking back now– I was unhappy and depressed.  I wasn’t doing the things I loved.  It finally took some prodding from Sean and a move across the country for me to admit that I needed to make drastic changes.  Or else I would be dying the slow painful life of a central Florida middle school teacher bitterly counting the years to retirement.

In 2003, I went back to graduate school in a completely different discipline.  To deal with the stress of being a broke, thirty-something-year-old grad student, I learned how to knit.  I knitted and crocheted through years of three-hour-long classes, eight-hour-day seminars, multiple unpaid traineeships, a dissertation,  pre- and post-doc internships, four separate licensing exams, and finally, finally, I got to the point where I was securely established in a full-time permanent state job with benefits and a pension.  I was a long way away from the little girl who liked to read all the time and write stories and daydream about making a patchwork quilt out of old faded gingham dresses.

 

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Then it happened just a little over three months ago.  Back in September, when my colleague and I should have been watching a webinar but were reading the newspaper instead, I noticed a small ad for a local fabric shop, Picking Daisies.  They were offering a beginner’s quilting class, and the featured project was a patchwork quilt made out of blocks.  After all these years, it came at just the right time.  I was in the right place.

 

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