The 70273 Project

with a side of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

Search results: "in our own language" (page 1 of 10)

In Our Own Language 16


Usually Nancy (my disabled sister-in-law) draws,
and I stitch her drawings,

but this time we laid the crayons down
and played with bits from my scrap bag.

Nancy placed the bits of fabric on fusible sheets,
and I took it from there


stitching in the car . . .


and under Adonis . . .


and under Mr. God (dog, in reverse) . . .


and under Dante.

It’s obviously a hit with the felines,
and Nancy seems to like it, too.

In Our Own Language 18


last Friday . . .

Jeanne: Do you want to ride in the convertible?
Nancy: Yes.
Jeanne: Do you want to spend the night with us at the hotel?
Nancy: Yes.
Jeanne: Do you want to go shopping?
Nancy: SHOPPING!!!!!!
[I took that as a yes.]
Jeanne: Do you want to walk on the beach?
Nancy: [crickets] [Nancy does not like to walk.]
Jeanne: Do you want to look at the ocean?
Nancy: It’s green!!!


We went down to visit Nancy this weekend.
She didn’t know we were coming.
There were rides in the convertible


a spend-the-night in the hotel on Saturday night




and time spent looking at the ocean
the lacy, green ocean.

There was also drawing
of course.
86 drawings made at school since our visit in late October
and 46 drawings made in the hotel room.
The two batches make up
In Our Own Language 18.
132 drawings.


Note the color choices


the use of negative space


the border


the movement.


She continues to make this shape
a vessel, I call it.
It will play a prominent role
when I begin to stitch these.

IOOL4 22

In Our Own Language 4:22

Right now,
I’m still stitching
In Our Own Language 4.
Yes, four.


Nancy, my developmentally disabled sister-in-law draws.
I, the woman who flat-out loves her, stitch her drawings.

89: In Our Own Language 17

After beginning in June 2012, Nancy continues to draw.
and I continue to stitch,
though some of her more recent drawings are too line intensive.
But not to worry
cause I have ideas.
We brought home 470 more drawings
after an all too short visit with her last week.

Nancy makes this shape in many of her drawings:


I call it a vessel.


Sometimes she arranges them
in a specific way on the page.


Sometimes they are part of the overall design.


Sometimes she fills them.


And sometimes she spills them.

Most of the time, Nancy’s drawings are non-representational,
an expression of her emotional climate,
an expression of how she’s feeling
and her response to what’s happening around her.
But sometimes
people see shapes they recognize.
I always enjoy hearing what people see
or how Nancy’s drawings make them feel
or what they think about when they gaze upon her drawings.


Usually I like her drawings for the color choices she makes


or the intensity


or the movement.

But two of her most recent drawings made me wonder


if she was drawing a palm tree


perhaps the one that’s at the front door
of the ARC where she spends her days.


And a pumpkin
an artsy pumpkin.


And, well, this one tickles me
because I see an entire story.
Or at least a vignette.
Do you see it, too?

44b: In Our Own Language 4.12

IOOL4 12

I write, I stitch. This is the twelfth drawing in Nancy’s fourth set of drawings. There are 95 drawings in this set.


Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.

12.5: In Our Own Language 4:11

IOOL4 11

In Our Own Language 4:11

Meanwhile in the background, I’m still stitching.


Nancy, my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, draws.
I, Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her, stitch.

It’s Giving Tuesday & We Need Your Help

You’ve made blocks, pieced tops, quilted quilts. You continue to commemorate, and I am so deeply grateful to you for sharing your time, talent, energy, and materials to help commemorate the 70,273 people who were murdered. Perhaps you’ll be willing to help another way? Expenses for The 70273 Project have become too great for Andy and me to shoulder alone, so I’m hoping you’ll be willing to share this post and/or the Facebook fundraiser on your timeline and encourage your friends – especially those who profess to be non-stitchers but want to join in –  to contribute.

There are many expenses, and right now, our most pressing needs are shipping and storage.

The quilts of The 70273 Project have stories to tell –  stories of what unimaginable atrocities can occur when bullies are left unchecked. They also tell stories of inherited cloth used to make blocks; stories of lives touched by special needs students who taught their teachers so much; stories of loved ones with disabilities who bring such joy to the lives they touch; stories of people using a needle and thread for the very first time. The 70273 Project tells stories of people who are different contributing to a project that’s big enough to provide space for those differences in its unity of purpose. We are proving it can be done – that people who speak different languages; enjoy different likes and dislikes; have differing abilities can come together to commemorate those who died, celebrate and champion those who live, and educate all who will listen. In a time when the world needs kindness and compassion more than ever, we need money to ship the quilts around the world to tell their stories.

a few of the quilts – and that blue you see? don’t panic. it’s just the border of a pillowcase used to protect the quilts.

And we need space to store the growing collection of The 70273 Project quilts. When all is said and done, The Engineer figures we’ll have around 1200 quilts, and I have a teeny tiny little ole’ studio. I have a vision of one of those dry cleaning conveyor racks – you know, the kind that you push a button and the clothes (in this case, the quilts) move around the track till you locate the one you’re looking for –  as a way to store and retrieve the quilts. We need money to purchase the equipment and create a space to house it.

Tuesday, 11/28/2017 is #givingtuesday, and if you’re on Facebook – or you know folks who are – there are special opportunities that apply just for this one day allowing you to double the donations through matching funds.

Here’s some background info you might be interested in:
~ The 70273 Project, Inc. is recognized by the US government as a 501(c)(3) organization and is registered with Facebook as a non-profit.
~ On Giving Tuesday, 11/28/17, donations to nonprofits made through Facebook’s charitable giving tools will be matched up to $50,000 per nonprofit or $1,000 per fundraiser or donate button, until the $2 million in matching funds run out.
~ The matching begins at 8AM EST (5AM PST).
~ On Giving Tuesday, from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., Facebook will forego the 5% fee it usually takes from donations made on Facebook, which means that 100% of all donations made through Facebook go to The 70273 Project.
~ You’ll see a banner on your fundraiser page after #GivingTuesday indicating the amount received in matched funds through your fundraiser.

Here’s how to set up a Facebook fundraiser on your timeline:
1. Visit  The 70273 Project Facebook Page.
2. At the bottom of the left sidebar, select “Fundraisers.”
3. Select the “+ Raise Money” button to the right of the word “Fundraisers.”
4. A pop-up box called “Create a Fundraiser” appears. Select “Get Started” at the bottom.
5. On the “Let’s Start With the Basics” page, make sure that “The 70273 Project, Inc.” is listed as who you’re raising money for.
6. Set the amount you wish to raise. (Note: Up to $1,000.00 USD will be matched.)
7. Assign an end date for your fundraiser. (Note: Only donations made on #GivingTuesday, 11/28/17 will be matched, and the matching continues until the $2 million allocated by the Gates Foundation has been depleted, so perhaps you’ll encourage your friends to donate early?)
8. Click “next”.
9. Title your fundraiser and tell why this matters to you.
10. Select “next.”
11. Choose a cover photo.
12. Select “create” and you’re off and running!

Peggy Thomas, Chief of Connections for The 70273 Project and creator of The 70273 Project Quilt #139 shown above,
created a fundraiser on her timeline. You’ll see it when you complete step 2. Feel free to use it as a template and make adjustments as desired.

Aaannnnddddd . . . if you don’t want to create a fundraiser for your Facebook timeline, you can tell your friends to simply visit The 70273 Project page, mash the “Donate” button, and contribute there.

Thank you for your continued support of The 70273 Project. I’ve got so much to tell y’all. There’s so much happening with The 70273 Project around the world – just wait till you hear. Tomorrow: Nancy and the rest of her Thanksgiving holiday then there are some new things coming up you’ll want to know about.


Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

Or a Middling (art quilt) or a Mini (fabric postcard).



Resources for Educators

From one teacher to others, thank you for working with your students to make blocks for The 70273 Project, introducing this chapter of history in age-appropriate ways. Perhaps you will use it as a springboard to talk about bullying or to teach your students the art of quilting and useful, basic sewing skills like threading needles and sewing two piece of fabric together – skills that will serve them well in their future. Maybe it will enter your classroom as a hands-on way to show compassion – even for people we’ll never know.

This page will be updated frequently to add information and ideas teachers and parents can use with their students. If you have information to add – books, activities, lesson plans – please send email them to me: jeanne (at) the70273project (dot) org and please be sure to let me know for which ages your suggestions are appropriate.

Let’s start at the very beginning: Launch Date for The 70273 Project – 2/14/2016


Catherine Symchych makes blocks with her 7th and 8th grade students in Laramie, Wyoming

Blanchard Valley Center – Quilt #5 – Part 1

Blanchard Valley Center – Quilt #5 – Part 2

Annie Labruyere works with many students in many different schools. Read about her experiences with students of different ages and abilities in these blog posts. (To translate to another language, look in the right sidebar, select your desired language, and mash the “submit” button.)

Annie’s first visit to work with students in the Textile Industrial Engineers and Leather class at the vocational school Armand Malaise in Charleville-Mezieres

Annie’s second visit to the Textile Industrial Engineering and Leather Class at Armand Malaise

Annie’s third visit to the Textile Industrial Engineering and Leather Class at Armand Malaise


How to Register a Quilt with The 70273 Project

Block Making Instructions and Information

Making Middlings

Making Minis

Information for Quilters
Download Now

Everyone who makes a block needs to complete and submit a Provenance Form, giving me permission to use their creations and photos in informational and promotional materials for The 70273 Project, including but not limited to books, magazine articles, and blog posts. If students are under the age of 18, they can sign the form and a parent or guardian must also sign.
The Provenance Form
Download Now


Margaret Jackson, a 70273 Project Ambassador from the U.K., created this Teacher Information Booklet that’s filled with useful information.
70273 Project Teacher’s Booklet
Download Now


Nazi Propaganda

Transporting the Disabled to Their Deaths

Death Notifications Sent to Families

Correspondence with Families

Paperwork Generated for Aktion T4

Best Selling Books and Popular Movies of the Era

59: She Haunts Me Ever Since Our First Encounter


The antique store is more like a basement of a man who bought what was left when the garage sale ended. The ancient building creaks and sings harmoniously with the occasional soft breeze. Each filthy wooden floor plank bends alarmingly like a rickety bridge strung between mountains. The slow moving ceiling fan stirs slowly, blending the odors of countless unnamed families, their trials and tribulations melded now into their celebrations.

As I dig through the plastic storage box in search of the few white doilies I want to cut up and turn into ocean froth on a Hymn of Cloth currently in progress, it whispers “Psssst” so softly I almost miss it. I stand up, turn to the back of the store, and there she is: a wedding dress decidedly past her prime. Her netting is ripped and her side seam zipper gapes open, refusing to zip herself up ever again. Whoever made this dress – and it most assuredly is homemade as evidenced by the facings tacked down by hand – clumsily added a ruffle of blue satin to the edges of the bodice. It stands awkwardly, this addition, not enough fabric to be a modesty panel, too little fabric to be a striking embellishment.

The skirt of layered netting is covered in rust stains, not from exposure to weathered metal objects, rather the rust of time and neglect. A center panel of lace takes its place down the front of the dress, culminating in a V shape. A big uncomfortable stain of blue sits off to one side of the lace panel, not the same blue as the added trim around the neckline but the blue of an unintended encounter that leaves her forever marked. Tulle forms a cap sleeve on the left. The sleeve on the right must have run off in search of a better life. And what of the woman who walked down the aisle in this below-the-knee length dress? I am already listening to the stories.

Dropping the doilies, I go immediately to the dress, climbing over piles of detritus of lives unknown to rescue this beauty from the tack on the wall. A price tag proclaims her value at $1.50, and I know we will be together forever. But when I go to pay for her, the man says the tag can’t possibly be right and he will only sell me the dress for $30. Being one who wants everybody to make enough money to pay their bills and feed their families, I expect (perhaps naively) complete strangers to give me a price that will treat us both fairly. I do not negotiate outright – that’s a language I do not speak fluently – and I do not point out what some would surely call the dress’s flaws, blemishes that diminish her value, things I call beauty marks that define her and tell her story.

I try to keep my head straight, but I feel taken advantage of by this man who refuses to honor the price on the attached price tag. I’m not ashamed to tell you that it is with tears in my eyes that I walk slowly to the back of the store and return her to the tack in the wall. That was hours ago, and I still miss her terribly. This is more than (non) buyer’s remorse. I abandoned what is quite possibly her only chance at a life with one who loves her dearly for the dress she was then and the dress she is today. And in abandoning her, I deprive myself . . . and y’all . . . of her stories.



There are some things money can’t buy, and there are some things money can’t not buy. The Dress and I are reunited. After calling the shop owner, I seal the check into the envelope with a sincere wish that the money will bring food to the table or lights to the room or maybe a pink birthday cake with a princess on top for a special granddaughter. Underneath the stamp is a hope that The Dress knows I would’ve paid more (even though it would’ve no doubt left The Engineer scrarching his head) because really, how do I attach a number to her?


Once upon a time, some belle met some beau at the altar to say “I do” and “I will” and “I promise” as directed, imagining a life that would be dreamlike in its rosy perfection, soft in its feel and touch, lasting in its tenure. It would be a fairy tale life like the one she cobbled together from stories read, movies watched. Her marriage would be embellished with dancing on weeknights, sewn with threads of laughter throughout, cut from the fabric of adoration. And never – not for a single minute – did she imagine that This Cherished Dress would ever be anything other than the Coach that would take her right on into Happily Ever After.



If you’d like to read along and throw some rice or birdseed, say “I do” by mashing the “right-this-way” button in the orange strip at the top of the screen, and follow the directions. It’s free, fast, easy, and much appreciated.

Not the Kind of Cracks That Break Your Mother’s Back


Sometimes things fall between the cracks and disappear forever.
Sometimes things fall between the cracks and leave a pattern.
Sometimes things repeatedly falling between the cracks
is a pattern that needs looking into,
needs changing.


In Our Own Language 4:6

Nancy is one of those who easily falls between the cracks.
She’s in a good home now, though
and a good day program, too.
She’s surrounded by women – Mona, Ruby, Kathy –
who see her, protect her,
make sure she doesn’t fall between any cracks.
We all need a team like that to watch out for us.
We all need to be on a team like that, watching out for others.

Sands Through the OURglass


Forty years ago, I publicly promised to spend the rest of my life with this one man named Andy – a man I’d known a scant six months at the time. I’m still married to him though we don’t look the same and neither does our marriage . . .

Then we vowed to stay with each other in sickness and in health with only some romanticized notion of what that meant based on movies we’d seen and books we’d read. Now after his stent a few years ago and my recent bout with staph infection, we have a clearer idea of what that means, the patience it requires, the commitment is demands.

Then we spent a lot of energy finding ways to be together. Now that we’re together 24/7, we find ways to build some space in our togetherness – even if it’s only agreeing to work on our separate projects for three hours then meet in the kitchen at noon for lunch.

Then we looked forward to the weekends for the romps and recess they offered. Now that the structure provided by careers and children is gone, we create our own weekends by doing something outside the normal routine, even if it’s simply dropping the dog off at the spa then taking ourselves on a walk through the local village green to look at the new art sculptures on display or taking a leisurely trip to the local museum.

Then we were high on the thrill of discovering everything we could about each other. Now we deliberately find ways to lay out the welcome mat for surprise in general, even if it’s something as simple attending an art lecture on the Spiritual Language of Paintings and practicing our new vocabulary and pondering our new perspectives over pizza afterwards.

Then we held hands everywhere we went.
We still do.

Then we laughed as often as possible.
We still do.

Then we made it a point to argue and disagree in ways that don’t require follow-up apologies.
We still do.

Then we knew we’d spend the rest of our life together.
We still do, though we now know that forever isn’t infinite, and that makes all the difference in the world.


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