365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time


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Day 165/365: The 28-Year-Old Block Project, Quilted and Completed!

Remember last week, when my mom was visiting from Hawaii, and I started piecing together the appliqued blocks that she began hand-sewing back in 1987?

Twenty-eight years later, it’s finished!

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If you missed the earlier posts about this quilt, here’s what we started with:

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My mom began this project back in 1987.  She cut those blue squares with scissors instead of a rotary blade.  (I don’t even know if rotary blades and self-healing cutting mats were available back in 1987.)  Then, sewing by hand, she appliqued those little sun-hat-wearing figures to the blue background, using embroidery thread and the blanket stitch.  Her original plan was to hand-sew each of the blocks together to make one large sheet to cover a bed.

I’m not sure exactly when she stopped working on this project, but she didn’t get around to seriously picking it up again until just last year.  About three months ago, she sent a photo of the blocks to me with a text message:  “Look at what I’m working on.”  She had completed a huge pile of them.

I texted back and offered to sew the blocks together on my sewing machine.  She was planning on coming out to California in June for my nephew’s high school graduation, so I figured I’d do it while she was in town for her visit.  Fast forward to last week, when she arrived in Morro Bay with her luggage and goods from Hawaii.

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When I saw the actual blocks, I realized that they’d look a lot better against a contrasting fabric, rather than sewn side by side.  So I purchased some yellow cotton and went to work.

Here is a recap of the steps:

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Cutting fabric with rulers, a rotary blade, and a self-healing mat. No using scissors here!

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This cute little guy needs a yellow frame to really stand out.

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Each one getting his own frame.

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Filling in the squares.

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Sewing strips, and then sewing the strips together.

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The finished quilt top!

I didn’t take any photos of layering the backing/batting/quilt-top sandwich or any photos of the actual quilting, but here’s what it looked like toward the end:

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So close to being done!

And there you have it…

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Ta-da! The finished quilt in all its glory.

A labor of love for my Mama.

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Day 162/365: Quilting The 28-Year-Old Blocks

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To refresh your memory: the finished quilt top.

For the backing of my current quilt project, all I had to do was go to the fabric stash.  I found three yards of a green cotton with a pretty repeating floral motif.  I had to do some measuring, cutting, and sewing to make the backing wide enough for the quilt top.  Then I taped the completed sheet of fabric backing to the carpet and proceeded with spraying quilt basting spray and sandwiching the layers of quilt backing, the batting, and the quilt top.

For the binding, I purchased half a yard of an orange cotton print from my local independent fabric shop.  After slicing the orange fabric into strips, I went through the process of folding, pressing, and sewing them together to make one long strip of binding.

Next I machine-quilted the fabric and batting sandwich.  I didn’t do anything fancy– just sewed straight lines.  The last thing I did before calling it a day was sew the binding to all four edges, leaving a gap where the two ends will have to be connected.

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Ahhh… almost done.

 


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Day 130/365: Quilted Laptop Sleeve for Sean

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Sean’s birthday is next week.  When I asked him what he wanted for a gift, he said, “Can you make me a laptop sleeve?”

So that’s what I did today, pretty much all day.

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First I found what appeared to be a fairly simple laptop sleeve pattern through Google.  Next I measured Sean’s laptop, did some math, and cut the pieces that I needed.  Then I started sewing.  Everything seemed to be coming along all right, until I got to the part where I needed to sew the lining into the sleeve.  Then it became a frustrating cycle of sewing by guessing, inevitably messing up, subsequently ripping out the seams, and then trying again only to have the same results.

There was even a dark portion of the afternoon there, when Sean recognized that I was quite frankly pissed off with him and the world, and he said, “Today’s blog entry:  I hate my husband.”

Finally, after a couple of temper tantrums that involved screaming as loud as I could, flopping on the couch and sulking, I got up, discarded the instructions, and figured out my own way of putting the whole damn thing together.

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Now that it’s finished, I’m actually a little pleased with the final product.

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And there is a part of me that’s thinking, Hmm.  Maybe I could make another one.

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

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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.


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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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