Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Page 2 of 94

Take Your Readers to Work Day, part 1: Receive

Today, I thought we’d take a tour of The 70273 Project  Heartquarters and see what happens around here when I’m not eating bonbons and watching tv.


Step 1: Go to the post office.
First thing after breakfast, The Engineer heads into town to make the Cashiers Circuit – grocery store, bank, library, and post office. It’s much more fun picking up the mail, he tells me, when you know that everything tucked under your arm isn’t a bill.

Cataloguing1Step 2: Open and make notes.
Once the envelopes are deposited on the project table in The Dissenter’s Chapel & Snug (my studio), I open the envelopes and check certain things. I make sure the Provenance Form is completed and legible, for example, and read the notes (if any) attached about who the block is in honor or memory of – which is always so touching.  I check the blocks to make sure there are two red X’s on a white background and that they are in one of the three required sizes. (Most are, thank goodness!) Then in the upper righthand corner of the form, I note the date the envelope was received, the number in which the envelope was received, how many blocks are in the envelope, and the block numbers.

Why do I number the envelopes, you ask? Because I’m a nut sometimes people send blocks in batches, and well, it just seems like a good idea to number the envelopes, too. And it’s another bit of information I might need somewhere along the road, so best to capture it now. (I have actually needed the envelope numbers for 2 reasons: one is for revealing and profiling in blog posts and another time I had 2 Provenance Forms and blocks I couldn’t mentally place. But I saw they were in an envelope with another Maker’s blocks, and question answered. You just never know.


I declare, many of the envelopes y’all use are pretty enough to be a quilt. And some of y’all really know how to make a girl chortle and cheer right out loud what with the little notes y’all tuck in with the blocks.

Well, that’s enough for today cause I have envelopes to open and blocks to catalogue, so our tour will continue tomorrow same time, same place. No need to buy another ticket, you’re good for the entire tour however long it takes. See y’all tomorrow . . .

A Week of Milestone Markers

Block200MichelleBanton copy

First there is Block #200
made by Michelle Tade Banton
who has also offered to piece and/or quilt
when the time comes
(and at the rate blocks are flowing in,
I don’t think it will be all that long
before I’m knocking on her door with a bundle of blocks.)


Block273MJKinman3.5x6.5 copy

Then there is Block #273
a 3.5″ x 6.5″ beauty
made by MJ Kinman,
(our little energizer bunny,
has also volunteered to help
piece and quilt and catalogue and
apply for grants and a host of other things
that will need to be done as we grow along).
Now why do we celebrate Block #273?
Because, as Sarah Meredith so beautifully says
in The 70273 Project Facebook Group:
“273 is a special number. It represents the specifics of the people we mourn and celebrate here. It represents the refusal to round out the numbers for expediency, or to leave any One out. Beautiful #273, may you rest in peace.”


Block300LeeDurbin6.5x9.5 copy

Block #300 is a 6.5 x 9.5″ beauty
made by Lee Durbin
who sends along a note
promising more blocks to come.

Block400DennieleBohannon3.5x6.5 copy

And we round out the week with Block #400
made by Denniele Bohannon.
Denniele also got her 6 year old granddaughter
involved, so stay tuned for more about that.

Thank you
Michelle, MJ, Lee, Denniele
and all the rest of you who are
making blocks
and offering to do more
to see this project through
to completion.

All these milestones –
and I was only home for two days.
I can scarce imagine what is waiting for me
when I get home and open the mail next week.

Not only has she become one of my favorite people in the world,
Kitty Sorgen has also become the official coxswain
for The 70273 Project,
and she’s set another goal for us:
1000 blocks by June 1.
And there you have it –
something to work towards.
So, as Kitty says,
Ready . . . set . . . SEW!
(or paint or stamp or draw).

Help us meet (or beat) Kitty’s goal
by continuing to make blocks, of course,
and get your friends and family involved, too . . .
If you’ve subscribed to the blog posts,
forward them to others when they land in your inbox
and encourage them to become involved.
Share photos and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.
Tell folks in your clubs and at family reunions and
at church about The 70273 Project.
The more people we get involved,
the quicker we can stand together
in the presence of these quilts,
commemorating the 70273 people we mourn
and meeting each other in person.

That’s gonna’ be One Memorable Day, y’all.

Mail Call: Envelopes 9, 10, 11, and 12

Block75SharleenJespersen copy

Sharleen Jespersen, who has a habit of making beautiful quilts
for really good causes,
makes this beautiful 9.5″ x 12.5″ block for The 70273 Project
in honor of her daughter and tucks it inside Envelope #9.

Thank you, Sharleen. I’m honored and delighted
that you’ve chosen to be a part of
The 70273 Project.

Block76KathleenLoomis copy

I met Kathleen Loomis at a fiber arts workshop
in Louisville, KY a couple of years ago,
and I was delighted to open Envelope #10
to find this 3.5 x 6.5 block from her.

Kathleen writes:
” I am working on a quilt that references the American flag,
and right now I’m alternating
between sewing on the red and white areas.
I had lots of different white fabrics in piles
on my cutting table,
so I grabbed the top one off the pile
and cut a block for you and The 70273 Project.

The red parts are being heavily stitched
and cut into ‘postage stamps’.
I assemble a large panel of quilt sandwich
and then stitch and stitch and stitch
for a while before cutting it into 1-1/2 inch squares.
Sometimes at the end of the cutting
there’s a very skinny pice left over,
which of course I would never throw away
even if it’s only 1/4 inch wide.
So I picked up a skinny bit that was sitting
on my sewing table, cut it into four parts,
and stitched them onto the white ground fabric.
I would estimate total work time at 2.7 minutes.”

Thank you, Kathleen. Look forward to seeing that quilt
that lent us some pieces for The 70273 Project.

Block84JulieTaylor copy3.5″ x 6.5″

Block85JulieTaylor copy3.5″ x 6.5″

Block86JulieTaylor copy6.5″ x 9.5″

Block87JulieTaylor copy9.5″ x 12.5″

In Envelope #11,
we find four blocks created by Julie Taylor.
Julie writes:
“Cecilie had her physical and mental challenges
and passed at too young of an age.”

Thank you, Julie.
You pay beautiful homage to Cecilie.

Block88CatherineHill copy

Hailing from the U.K., we have Envelope #12
containing this 6.5″ x 9.5″ block made by
Catherine Hill.
It makes me think of two friends
holding hands as they go willingly
– because they’re “disabled”
which means they don’t know anything but Trust –
off with the person who ultimately
shepherds them to their death.

Thank you, Catherine, for this block that tells a story.


Have you made some blocks?


Joined the Facebook group?

Liked the Facebook page?

Told three (or more) others about The 70273 Project?

And on we grow . . .
thanks to y’all.

Week 7 in Review


Another week spent out of town dealing with family stuff, but still The 70273 Project rocks and rolls.

~ I now have in my possession 246 blocks.

~ Alana Sheeren interviewed me for her podcast. I’ll post the link when it goes up.

~ I have heard from people in 55 countries.

~ Writers keep mentioning The 70273 Project (I’m compiling a list – stay tuned).

~ Readers keep subscribing.

~ Makers keep joining and making.

Thank y’all for being a part of this project and for keeping it rolling even when I’m tending to family fires.

Forward we go.

Envelopes 2, 4, and 6, Please

Block24DeborahMacKinnon copy

Envelope #2
is from Deborah L. J. Mackinnon
who hails from Washington.
Deborah writes:

I began my journey as an artist after retiring from a career in education.
My love of learning combined with a life long love of fabric.
Self-taught, I’m a member of Contemporary Quilt Arts.
My current project is a series of quilted artist’s books.
Additionally, I’m an active Rotarian and a joyful grandmother.
“Making visible the invisible” is what motivated me to create my block.
The red x’s are shadowed with black fabric pen
to symbolize the prejudice
that physically and mentally disabled individuals
still endure.

Thank you for initating this project.

Deborah L. J. Mackinnon

Thank you for participating in this project, Deborah.



Envelope #3 from Georgia contains
a block from Anonymous Maker 2
created in honor of Nancy Chambers


and a block from Anonymous Maker 3
writes “A very worthy project!”
and created this block
in honor of Nancy Chambers

Thank y’all for making these beautiful blocks
in honor of Nancy. They do her justice
in their vulnerability,
in what must surely look to some
like imperfections.
These blocks, like Nancy,
are beautiful
in their own unique way.


Block36DeniseGiardullo copy

Block37DeniseGiaroullo copy

Block38DeniseGiardullo copy

Envelope #6 contains blocks from
Denise Giardullo
who lives in New York.
Denise writes: “Thank you. I am happy to participate.”

Glad you’re a part of this, Denise. Thank you.


It’s fun to go in the post office
and come out with something besides bills.

And what of envelopes 3 and 5, you ask?
Stay tuned.

Perhaps you’d like to:
make some blocks
get blog posts delivered
join our facebook group
like our facebook page

Week 6 in Review


the 70273 project badge

In some ways it seems like I launched The 70273 Project  more than six weeks ago, in other ways, it seems like six minutes or six hours since I launched. From the very start, the response has been phenomenal. So much love has been stitched into the 83 blocks have I’ve received so far. I can feel it when I open the envelopes. I can feel it when I hold the blocks in my hands. I can scarce imagine how it will feel standing in the presence of these quilts.

Not too much to report this week because I’ve been out of pocket the entire week, staying at the side of Nancy, my disabled sister-in-law who’s been in the hospital. I can, however, tell you that I’ve added a translator to the blog – something I hadn’t thought of until a conversation with Chloe Grice who’d translated something into French to help get the word out in her neck of the world.

Terri Belford interviewed me for her Inspired Entrepreneurs series.  (Thank you for having me, Terri.)

I continue to catalogue the blocks and keep meticulous records.

Several more people have offered to piece and/or quilt. (Thank you.)

There are now 51 countries registered.

And there are all sorts of good things stirring behind the scenes.


To keep your finger on the pulse:

Make blocks.

Subscribe to the blog.

Join the Facebook group.

Like the Facebook page.

Spread the word by telling people, posting on social media, writing blog posts. Here’s a link to the introductory post, which is a good thing to include (just copy and paste) when posting about The 70273 Project:

Thank y’all for being a part of the project and helping others become a part, too.

Our Little Houdini


Hospital Room 534
Orange City, FL

Nancy is not as alert today as she was yesterday, though I think her tongue is receding in size. Tired of the catheter, she simply wiggles her way out of it, leaving it on the side of the bed. They decide to leave it out, and I am not sorry about that decision.

I  kick some serious ass today, and I feel really, really good about it. Boot one doctor, despite being told by many that it couldn’t be done. Put others on notice. Have an eyeball to eyeball with one particular nurse, and it goes so well that within 5 minutes of my little treatise about both of us being on Team Nancy, she was wheeling me in a reclining chair, pillow, and blanket. Without me asking.

Undoubtedly the best part (aside from booting the asshat doctor) . . .


Around 4 am I sit in my recliner, stitching. My feet are up and my chair is positioned about an arm’s length away, facing Nancy. In one sure and swift move that takes less than 90 seconds, our little Houdini wrestles her hands out of the protective mittens – without disturbing the velcro binding, mind you – and yanks that tube from her nose.

I fetch Nurse CeeCe who comes into the room and takes her position in one side of Nancy while I position myself on the other side.

“Did Jeanne do that?” CeeCe asks Nancy, giving a curt nod in my direction.

“Yes,” Nancy says, waiting a beat before busting out into a full body chortle. She laughs about once every 17 years, and let me tell you, the sound of her laugh spreads to those around her quicker than poison ivy on a hot day in a wrestling ring.

The three of us keep laughing, and every time we stop to catch our breath, I say “You pulled that tube out your own self, and you’re blaming it on me,” and the chortling starts all over again.

Three women, laughing their heads off at 4 o’clock in the morning. It is one of the sweetest moments of my life, one I will carry tucked into my heart forever. The sound of Nancy’s laughter is delightful in and of itself. And the cognitive connections she makes to enkindle that laughter – that astonishing element of surprise because sometimes I  don’t give her enough credit – well, wow.

Week 5 in Review

the 70273 project badge

We’re finishing our fifth week of The 70273  Project – can you believe it?

I’ve heard from 45 different countries.

I have 83 blocks in my hands, and we’ve been out of town for a week, so that number will change tomorrow when we go to the post office, and there are I don’t know how many people making 31 blocks in the 31 days of March.

We have a new Facebook Group that will serve as a campfire for The 70273 Project Tribe to gather round for show and tell, chat and cheer. And what’s to become of the Facebook Page, you ask? It will remain and serve as a bulletin board for folks who just want to drive by every now and then and see what’s happening.

I’m beginning to think about our first quilt, so if you or your quilt guild are interested in piecing the blocks into a quilt top and/or quilting, please let me know.

Last Monday I was downright tickled to tell Kimberly Brock’s Tinderbox Writers about The 70273 Project. What a dynamic group they are, and they didn’t just spout off people I need to talk to, they’re pushing up their sleeves and spreading the word.

I reserved a table for The 70273 Project at the upcoming World War II Heritage Days in Peachtree City, GA. Do you know of any other events coming up this spring and summer I should attend?

I’ve also emailed to ask if the local American Legion group would let me come tell them about The 70273 Project. Know any other groups that might be interested in hearing about The 70273 Project and making some blocks?

Case Hale had an open house block-making party scheduled for yesterday, 3/19/2016. I’ll share bits and photos as soon s I hear from her.

People continue to email and message and post good questions and ideas, and even though I can’t use every single one to them, I beg you: please don’t stop. The idea was pretty complete when it landed on my shoulder, but I’m always open.

Chloe Grice from Normandie, France, wrote me this morning that she’d translated something into French, and that’s when a lightbulb (finally) went off – the blog is in English. So I’m busy researching translation plug-ins and apps and will install something tomorrow. Why I didn’t think of that before, I can’t tell you. Thank goodness for Chloe!

She also asked where to send folks who are interested in The 70273 Project, as in what would be a good starting point. I told her to send them to the blog because that’s The Hub.

Sharon Huisingh Smith asked if it would save me some time if she sewed her blocks together before sending them to me. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Sharon, but I’d rather receive the loose blocks. Why? Because I’m cataloguing each block, one at a time, and because I want to spread the blocks out among several quilts. My plan is that when the quilts are complete, Makers can go to the web site, look up their name, find their block numbers, find what quilts their blocks are in, and see where in the world those quilts are. It’s a good thing my brain considers record keeping, documentation, and organizing as a playground. And yes, I’m busy researching and figuring out how to make that happen now so I don’t have to re-enter all the data a second time. Good idea, huh?

Speaking of spreading the blocks out among several quilts, my Good Idea of the Day (I seem to get them on Sundays, have you noticed?)  is that I’d like to have a block in each and every quilt – and since we anticipate more than 700 quilts,  my hands will be getting (and staying) busy. Soon.

That’s all I can think of right now. The Engineer and I got home this afternoon after a week away spent helping my daughter with some things, and on the way back up the mountain, we received notice that Nancy is in the hospital. No firm diagnosis yet, but they’re thinking pneumonia. That’s where my heart and head are right now, so if I’ve forgotten anything, I’ll let you know in a future post.

Have you liked the Facebook page?

Have you joined the Facebook group?

Have you followed the Pinterest board?

Have you subscribed to the blog?

Have you told 3 people about The 70273 Project?

Have I told y’all “Thank you” for being a part of The 70273 Project? I have now, and just so you know: I don’t plan to stop any time soon.

It’s a Family Affair


Laurie Dunn has been a vital and vibrant part of The 70273 Project
from the beginning – 2/14/2016.
On 2/22/2016, Laurie wrote:
“I made myself cardboard templates,
in each size so I would not have to measure each block
and they will fit in Jeanne Hewell-Chambers’ plan.
So far I have just made the 6.5 x 9.5″ size.
(And I am surprised by how many red and white tools I have.)”


One day Laurie worked on a block while visiting her dad.
He asked what she was doing, and when she told him,
he sang a little song from his WW II days,
then told her “Wait here just a minute,”
and went to fetch a red ribbon from a box of candy.”
“Use this in one of your blocks,” he told her.

Laurie’s dad, who celebrated his 90th birthday in February,
joined the Navy when he was 17 years old,
fought in World War II,
then re-enlistd for the Korean War.

Laurie writes, “My dad was quite moved by The 70273 Project.
He said, ‘That is why we fought against Hitler.'”


This is Laurie’s not quite 3 year old granddaughter, Sophia
using a needle for the very first time,
putting about 6 stitches in this 6.5 x 9.5 block.
Laurie says Sophia did pretty good for her first time with a needle.


Meet Laurie’s 3 busy grandsons, ages 3, 5, and 7.
“These active boys stitched for over an hour this afternoon,” Laurie writes,
“surprising me with their ability and interest in helping with sewing.
Even the 3 year old wanted to do it himself.
I prepared the blocks for them yesterday,
and used that iron on fusible web to hold the XXs.
I was even able to stitch a couple of blocks myself while they worked.”


And last but not least, let’s welcome Laurie’s husband
to The 70273 Project.
“I got my material out. Cut 8 blocks to start.
Thought I would try using a couple of hoops,” Laurie says.
“My husband smiled and said ‘Got your blocks cut?’
I threaded a needle and handed it to him with one of the hoops,
and here he is stitching his block.”
Then our Laurie and her husband laid down a challenge:
“How many blocks is The Engineer going to make?”
(Update to follow, Laurie!)


Would you just look at this beautiful woven block
created by Laurie.
Laurie works at Martha Lloyd Community Services.
And if you visit their web site,
the first words you’ll see are these:
“Where Families Matter”.
Poke around a bit, and you’ll see philosophies
that align with mine . . . with ours . . .
and photos of some of the happiest faces you’ve ever seen.
It’s now officially on My List:
I’m going to visit the Martha Lloyd Community Services one day soon,
if they’ll have me,
and I’m gonna’ make sure it’s a day when Laurie is there.


Have you made your block yet?

Have you like The 70273 Project Facebook page
(a.k.a. bulletin board)
to receive the occasional quick updates?

Have you joined our brand new The 70273 Project Facebook group
to gather round the campfire
and take part in the community?

Have you subscribed to the blog
to receive The 70273 Project stories?

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.

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