Tag: storm at sea

A Cold Molasses Kind of Day

Two nights with little (last night) or no (the night before last) sleep caught up with me today. The reason for the sleepless night is that my bedtime reading was a first-person account of the Holocaust, and her stories were even more horrifying than anything I’ve seen, read, or heard to date. By the time I gave myself permission to close the book, it was too late. The images and feelings were stirred and refused to be quieted. 48 hours later, they are still with me – especially imagining how The 70273 we commemorate must have been treated. I am not one to play ostrich and bury my head in the sand, finding that a dangerous act that paves way for atrocities, but I can now understand better than ever why some people make such choices.

Though there’s much to do, I decided there was nothing to do but move slowly through today and punctuate the afternoon with a nap.


So I first ironed the red fabric that Tami Kemberling donated to The 70273 Project.
Ironing flat pieces is much easier than ironing clothes.


Then I stitched a bit on a tenured Work In Progress,
a piece in The Rinse Cycle: Pivotal Epiphanies in a Woman’s Life series,
and marveled at how much I like the wrong side of pieces
sometimes more than I like the right side.
In high school, I made my dress for the senior prom
(Yes, I had that much personality)
and I horrified my mother and her friends
by choosing to make the wrong side of the fabric
the right side.
Only Ms Johnson thought it a daring and brilliant move
on my part.
In return, I found her a daring and brilliant woman.


Then I stitched a bit on the Storm at Sea quilt
I’m making for my boy, Kipp.
It is the never-ending quilt, to be sure
because I did the Jeanne thing
and opted to hand stitch each block individually
instead of quilting straight rows across.
I tried the straight across approach and felt it disrupted the magic
of this pattern, so I ripped it all out,
took a deep breath
and started again.
It takes about 12 hours to quilt an entire block.
Every now and then I count the blocks waiting to be quilted
and formulate a plan for reaching the finish line –
1 block finished on Monday and Tuesday;
2 blocks finished on  Wednesday and Thursday;
3 blocks finished on Friday and Saturday:
and so on till I know what day I will be finished.
Then I take a day (or ten) off
and must devise a new plan.
My current targeted deadline is Christmas.
I might make that.

The Engineer, who refuses to take naps
and sometimes (thought not today, thankfully)
it seems he decides that nobody else will nap either,
busied himself rearranging the deck furniture,
bringing some furniture up from the lower deck
to find a new home on the upper deck
and presumably carting other pieces
down to the lower deck.
Both decks are rather small,
so I dread going outside tomorrow
to find (yet another) space that has that
just-moved-in look.
The Engineer doesn’t nap
and I don’t tolerate clutter well (at all).
Even after all these years, though,
we find a way to compromise
and live together with respect for
each other without completely abdicating our own selves.
We’ve become experts at choosing
which hills we’re willing to die on
and which hills to let go.
Some days that’s  easer than others.
Every day it’s at the top of the list of things love must do.

Many Faces of Joy




There’s the joy of becoming reacquainted with the sewing machine that was a gift from The Engineer on our first Christmas some 42 years ago, paid for with winnings from two radio contests. And the joy of using that sewing machine to make gifts – four long, skinny quilts to grace the holiday tables of my children, my mother, and my brother. The joy of (re)learning that while I like learning new techniques from others, I do not like following patterns. Makes me scratchy, irritable.



There’s the joy of having a roof that holds under the constant onslaught of viscous thunderstorms and torrential rains. The joy of watching the flood waters stop four steps short of coming into the house.

There’s the joy of tissues with lotion woven in. Of Mother mixing me up some of Mama Helen’s special cough syrup that uses only 3 ingredients: Maker’s Mark, lemon juice, and honey. The joy of a text that comes from my daughter while I’m in the doctor’s waiting room promising to take care of me while the antibiotics do their job.






But neither the raging weather or the raging sinus infection dampened the joy of being with family. The joy of hearing my daughter sing at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The joy of hearing how the younger generations intend to get after the future while swapping stories from the past that give roots and clues. The joy of laughter and camaraderie that become our heritage and history.



I took the Storm-at-Sea to enjoy the joy of stitching . . . but I didn’t get much joy done on that front.

Closed for the Season


This time of year is hard for me.

The expectations.
The disappointments.
The memories.
The losses.

Most years I manage to peel myself out of bed,
put one foot in front of the other,
and turn up the perkiness factor
so I don’t drag others down.
But that requires more reserves of energy
than I can muster this year.


So I’ve tucked into the studio to stitch.


Cloth and thread in my hand
comforts me
and restores my soul.

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Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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