Wednesday, May 27, 2020


For weeks now, I have been seeing a notice saying "Try the new blogger". It has taken me forever to keep up with the changes blogger keeps making and so I have ignored that click spot.

Yesterday, when I logged on, there was a message saying the "new blogger" was going to take over in the coming month, so I decided to at least check it out. Well, that got me distracted and I wasted time looking for things that I might need for writing a post. In the end, I reverted back to the "Old" blogger and shut the computer.

Well, I really don't have a lot to post as I am slowly quilting my feedsack quilt ... mostly in the ditch where it is not going to show much.
Other time is spent tending silkworms and hunting for mulberry leaves to feed them, when I am not zooming and skypeing, and facetiming, and attending gotomeetings. I really needed a bit of handwork to do while at these meetings, and my bags of scraps came out because while checking what my blogging friends are up to, I came across the perfect bit of inspiration on Teresa's "Stitchin' Friends" blog... a corona village with a house representing each day of shutdown.

These little 4"x 3" houses might make a nice table runner or a border for a runner depending on how many days of shutdown they represent.

Or laid out in this topsy turvy way, and adding a one inch square in the middle or sashing, there are more possibilities.  They sure don't take as long to sew by hand as it does to mark and cut the scraps.

Of course I might be spending my time tidying up my messy room ... but then, it just gets messy right away again. With a bit of sewing instead, I have something to show for the time and a reminder of where I have been since mid February.

Thanks, Teresa, for your inspiration. (and an excuse not to do cleaning). Did you find the haunted house? Hopefully I will not celebrate my Halloween birthday still on lockdown.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A finish at last

Over the weekend, I finished the last stitches in the binding, and Monday Norie took this picture of the quilt on the park fence. My plan is to give this to the church to raffle or auction off to raise money for the library ... what may be needed to get it back up and running ... and the rest to the homeless mission.

The last quilts with this block were quilted with big stitch - light on dark and dark on light with sashiko thread. Because the backing of this one was all white, I decided to quilt butterflies in the block side pieces. I used dark thread on the very light blocks and light on the darker areas. I liked the idea of butterflies in the garden of floral prints and it is the symbol for the "hidden Christians".  I made a stencil for the small vine in the inner border and used linked hearts for the outer border with the idea we are all tied together by the love of God.

I picked blue for the binding, as it matched the blue in the border print. Maybe I should have chosen a darker rose, but I didn't want the quilt to look too "girly". Anyway, It is ready to go to the church once the new normal arrives.

Speaking of church, we were asked to take a picture of out communion table and send it to the church website. An assortment of pictures were showed this past Sunday during the organ piece.

As one might notice,  I enjoyed some red wine ... and the bread here was made by my daughter. Norie.
The lovely runner on my coffee table was made for me by Tanya Watanabe. It makes me happy everytime I sit beside it
You may notice my guests in the background ... plenty of silkworms. They have all moved up to larger containers over this past week.

Days go by with slight changes in schedule. Monday homeless is the same except what I am delivering now is crackers rather than onigiri. Tuesday Sermon Lab is on Zoom. I can do that without leaving home. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, there is a community meeting. We have been joined by people in the states who were once members and a lady who has never been to the church in person but has been attending since services became live streamed.

Last night was training to join the virtual choir ... not sure I can do it but if I can get earphones at the 100 yen shop, I will try. Tonight, My cub scouts will have a campout. They have been preparing for the last few weeks for campfire entertainment. It should be fun. Maybe more so than the Scout Board training coming up on Sunday ... as a result of the training team meeting last Saturday. Honestly, I am beginning to feel rather zoomed out!

Every day I sweep our street from one end to the other. We have a number of very messy trees dropping leaves, flowers, and seeds parts. Between sweeping and pulling weeds in the park, I contribute several large bags to the trash collection. I did notice that, with people wearing masks, the number of cigarette butts I sweep up has lessened lately.

On the other hand, Thursday is collection day for glass bottles, cans, and pet bottles.

Normally, that square blue folding net container is set out in the morning. The neighborhood members are to remove the lids (those go into the "pura" that is collected on Fridays), and squash the bottle, putting it in the net container.

I did notice the squashing rule is less met these days, but....

Looking up the street, even if those bottles were crushed, there are now way too many .

It is interesting that the numbers have increased to so much.

Of course people are staying home and drinking there.
I don't even remember when I last bought a drink in a pet bottle. I get drinks like milk or yoghurt or juice in paper cartons that can be washed, flattened and recycled.

I carry my own nylon shopping bag. I use the bags left from onigiri delivery for "Pura" plastic from all kinds of wrappers, the fastest to fill up maybe twice a month to the pick-up-site.
Paper, cardboard, and milk cartons are recycled on Fridays. (for me, once a month or less). and burnable trash and garbage on Wednesday and Saturday. I put the bag of weeds out then but a lot are composted and the wastepaper basket small stuff like sewing scraps fills the slowest of all along with unburnable maybe once every two months if that much.

I wonder if the change in trash has changed in other places as well. I wonder if people stuck at home are drinking more. I do notice my coffee is going faster now that I am home more.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Almost there..

I have turned the last corner while quilting the border on the floral quilt. Today I walked into town to the next station hoping to do some shopping for dinner items. Sadly the store was out of anything I needed.
I took a quick trip around the corner to the little sewing shop and was glad to see it opened. I went to the bias tape section. I found some nice blue that matches the blue in the outer border print. I will be all ready to take the next step this weekend when the border is finished.

It is that time of year for tending silkworms. There are many more than I have ever had in years before, and I have managed to locate a few more mulberry trees in the area.

They can turn leaves to lace in no time.

I have been experimenting with putting five critters out on a young tree in the garden. I just wanted to see how long they can survive in nature. One of the five dropped down by a silk thread to a lower plant. It was a Kerria bush ... not edible material, and after three days, expired. The others remained on the leaves at the end of the branch and went through another instar. There was a big lot of rain and the four made it through, but now another one has left the group.

As my paper diary has filled to the last page, I have begun a second book with photographs and descriptions.  I happened to notice that my finished mandala never got photographed with the binding added. That was way back in September of last year. Today, with a bit of sun, I took a photo on the fence in the park so I could add the record to my diary.

Here is how it came out. Whether walking a real labyrinth or following the winding trail with one's finger, we are led to the center. As in life, patiently putting one foot in front of the other, and trusting in a deeper process that takes us home. Centered and secure.

The buttons are points on the native American Medicine Wheel. The points are different for different people and tribes, but following each path to the center is a way to look at any situation from different angles and points of view. In this time of lockdown, it is nice to have an alternative to worry and frustration.

Zoom and Skype and go to meetings seem to grab my days. It is fun getting together with the kids. Tonight was an Eagle Scout board of review. There is a virtual birthday party coming up soon and some scout training plus a community gathering.  All this virtual stuff makes me appreciate the real person to person contacts all the more.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

One down, one more to go

The inner border is done, and today I began working on the outer border.
This is a template I drafted in two sizes. The thing I like about these linked hearts is that, while cables need to be gone over with six or more threads, this will fill the space with only two.

I was able to layer this quilt nicely so that it only needed pin basting. After quilting all the blocks in the ditch, I thread-basted the outer border and removed the last of the pins. I can do this border quilting without using a hoop. I can use a long thread without it getting caught on things.

The silkworms are still hatching out. Norie sent a supply of mulberry leaves from her area. This morning I walked to the supermarket one stop over, looking for some food items before they were all sold out and the crowds arrived. The shelves were still being stocked but shoppers were very few. Now I know why.. The stuff I was looking for was still not there. Not sure how to get the timing right. At least I could find more milk and a coffee refill... And taking a different route home, I found a few mulberry trees in the gardens along the way home.

Mulberries are considered "junk trees" here in Japan. I am not sure why, as they are not so big as to take up much space. They attract small birds and the berries are delicious. Of course they don't all ripen at the same time so wouldn't be good for harvesting. They might be considered messy, but there are lots of persimmon trees that drop their fruit making a much bigger mess.

The park where I do most of my weeding has one young mulberry tree hidden behind a row of evergreens. The leaves are a nice size and shape for harvesting during silkworm season. From the fall, construction of two new houses began in the north side of the park fence, making that one tree a bit more visible.

I asked Leia to make me a sign to hang on the tree, saying the leaves were feeding silkworms, so please don't cut it down.

I am hoping if the tree is discovered by the gardeners, they will leave it alone.

It is strange to me that those hired as "gardeners" really don't seem to have any skills of tending a garden.
Mostly, they rake the leaves up into a pile, and when the weeds get knee-high, come out with a weedwacker and cut everything off ... spreading the weed seeds all over.

I have never seen them bend over and pull a weed. In fact, I have come to doubt they know which items are weeds.

These beautiful flowers are getting ready to put on a show.

Maybe the gardeners will be taking a stay-home break and we will actually get to see the blooms, but this is about the time each year they all get whacked off about two inches above the ground.

See why this rescue looks so happy?

They don't really ask for a big plot with tender loving care, just a place to hold their bulbs and greet the spring.

This week, as I go through fabrics looking for certain colors or designs among the gifted stuff,
I come up with all kinds of scraps, cut in weird shapes and bunched up in a heep of other bits and pieces.

I often pick out some to iron out and trim.

This scrap had a lot of useless bits, but I cut it up into as many squares as would fit, and tossed the rest out. I think one 4 inch, one three inch, two twos and 2 ones.

Those all went into the scrap tins and I have been seeing a number of scrappy quilt patterns that might inspire their use.

I have been having trouble lately with the comment section getting a bunch of spam.
I talked with my guru son, who was going to help fix it, but things I had removed earlier in the week, came back again.
I wish there was just some way to block those spam comments. I wonder if the "new" blogger would do that. I hesitate to go there and get myself in an even bigger mess. Ah, well, nothing is for sure, but change!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Moving on...

The last of the blocks have been quilted. Now I am moving on to the borders.

Usually I put just a one inch inner border and only quilt in the ditch on both sides. This time I used an inch and a half strip and thought it needed a bit more quilting.

Since the blocks are eight inches, I decided to draft a simple pattern I could quilt in a single line all the way around, divided in two inch segments. This is what I came up with. I had planned to melt the plastic template with my soldering iron but I have no idea where it has gone, and while I was lookin for my wood burning tool, I spied my proxon router. I can't say it worked perfectly, as some areas of the stencil are a bit rough and hard on my lead pencil, but it works well enough.

Now one long border is done. Turning the corner with three to go.

The silkworms are a bit of a distraction. about 60 more have hatched out today. I think last year I ended up with about 80 or so and now the number is over 200. These are going to be a challenge to feed if they all survive. The biggest task is moving them one-by-one to fresh leaves with a paintbrush. It is going to be a few weeks before they can manage on their own, and several instars before they are big enough to find and move by hand. I remember once I ordered 100 eggs from a breeder and they sent some kind of food that resembled hot dogs. The instructions said that once they switch to real leaves, they will not go back. I imagine that places that raise them for the silk must use that kind of food, because I can't imagine feeding thousands of silkworms in such a labor intensive way. Just think back to the days of the "silk road"! To think people back then could raise enough for making fabric! Must have kept them safe inside without the threat of a virus.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Gifts and rewards

The scaffolding has come down and sunlight has returned to my greenhouse/bedroom.
My plants are happy and even a few blooms here and there. The poinsettia is still putting on a show ... not like the big gaudy flowers found in a florists shop but maybe seven flowers of part green and part red petals greeting me each morning.

Along the wall on the east side of the house, I am enjoying the reward of a second year of blooms from these bulbs rescued from the weed lot on the park.

Though this end of the bed is only about six inches between the house and the wall, the plant has increased in size and numbers of blooms. I think it is happy that the guys with the weed whackers won't be showing up here and I don't mind if it takes over the whole space.

How is that for a flower just beginning to open? And there are a lot of promises in the bud too.

I am still going to the park on nice days to pull weeds.
It's not quite the same without my canine helper, but I prefer this exercise to radio gymnastics.

We are working on getting a new dog, but even the rescue places won't give dogs to old people. There is some kind of ban now on letting the elderly have dogs. It seems rather stupid to me because it gets those owners out for a walk at least twice a day,  and they also connect with the rest of the community on those walks.

Over the past number of years, my readers have heard about the "Weed Lot" on the corner of our street. A number of years ago it was knee-high weeds and collected lots of dog poop ... I suppose the dog owners thought no one would be walking there anyway so didn't pick it up. The feral cat population used it as a litter box too, and the wind blew plastic or people tossed trash and all that collected standing water for a mosquito farm.

After years of complaints, I decided to just pull the weeds, day by day, a little at a time, until the lot was pretty well under control.  What had been an eyesore for the whole neighborhood became very positive as I planted flowers along the borders each spring.

There was some negative, though, as the renter in the adjoining apartment didn't like me pulling weeds and would shout at me to go back to my own country and I was a "dorobo" burglar? For stealing weeds??? But basically, what had been negative, became positive.

Then, last year, the apartment was sold ... the guy moved out ... and the building was torn down.
Then, months of building began. The new house got bigger and bigger ... which means taller and taller because the space was really not that large. In the end, what stood on that weedlot was a house ... thankfully not another apartment ... but cutting off most of the sun coming from the south and west to my garden. I was a little sad last year to see only one flower on my row of azalea bushes, no flowers at all on the enkianthus, and even fewer on the hostas that don't seem to need a lot of sun.

So here in my small neighborhood was a plot of land swinging back and forth from good to bad.

Then, last fall, the property was finally sold. The neighborhood waited with curiosity. The flower box by the door got several rose bushes. There seemed to be a young couple coming and going.

Finally, I got some treats and took them one evening, after seeing lights on in the house, and rang the doorbell.  I introduced myself and told them I hoped they would feel welcome here.

Since then their little garden has continued to grow with planters and trellis added. The other evening, my doorbell rang and I went to the door to find the couple  bringing me these darling cookies they had made. I think it was the husband who did the decorating. Oh they are so cute I'm not sure I want to eat them.  Both the couple speak English. The husband went to school a year in Ohio, my home state.

I will see how my garden does with a bit less sun, and maybe plant some things that like shady spots, but in the balance, I will be enjoying the weed lot, now with the promise of rose blooms. And the nasty renter, having been replaced by a lovely young couple.
Things are changing all around us. The new "normal" will never be the old normal. I am hoping this experience is a sign to look for something better yet to come.

I hope you all are keeping safe and well. Nothing lasts forever. The floral quilt has only 8 blocks left to quilt and then it will be on to the borders.  I wil keep trying to see these days as a gift of time.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

More of the same

This has been a hard week with the stink of paint coming from the house to the south.

When the weather was nice, I escaped to the park and filled a few bags with weeds.

Two of the areas I have been working on for a little over a year are looking quite nice with weeds well under control.

The "good grass" does not increase by flower and seed, but by runners. In those two areas, the weeds were so thick they had overcome the grass, so I selected runners from places where grass was creeping over cement and rocks and re-purposed them in the bare spaces. Without competition, those spaces are looking much better. One problem is the "gardeners" who come to rake the leaves and often dislodge the new runners. The trick is to get there before they do and remove the leaves from those spots.

My other outdoor activity is sweeping the street.
(if my narrow ally could be called that).

I start at my gate, all the way south to the park corner, on the left side, then back up on the right side, past my house to the small side street and back.
I clean the drains as I go, as the flower petals from the Illicium clog the drains causing a lake in the middle of the road each time it rains.

Narita-san to the north has a great big garden that always provides plenty of fallout in every season. Now that his plum is leafing out, the camellias are falling. Lots of petals blowing in the wind, and what I don't sweep up by his wall today, I will be sweeping up in front of my gate tomorrow. I like to get them before they are pounded into the pavement by walking feet.  I guess if you look at the bag you can see the color ... two of these trees and one white one that is yet to begin falling.

Yesterday my morning coffee was drunk to the tune of banging and clanging of more scaffolding being set up.

I had hoped the sound was it being taken down and went out to look. Nope. And why, with the curb space empty across the street, did they have to pile all those heavy metal poles on my flowers?

I was able to lift the smaller ones off but those long ones were just too heavy. Both the house to the south of mine and the one across the street belong to the same family. They carefully
covered the owners car each day ... and a good thing because they are not the neatest painters in the world ... paint splatters on the street where the tarp doesn't reach.

And, today, my kerria bush had one flower.

I guess it is following orders from the governor to keep apart from all others.

I think I heard other buds whispering to let them know when it was finished so that they could have their turn in the sun.

So... what do I do with the rest of my days?

The weight of Sunday's snow Pulled my planter off the wall, hooks and all. I put the plants back in the planter and set it up on top of my fish tank while waiting for the wall to dry so I could replace the hooks with cement glue.

Then, before I had a chance, the big wind came and blew the planter back to the ground. Oh my, what a mess.

Monday mornings as usual I will drive into town to deliver onigiri to my homeless friends.
During the week I will struggle with Mr. Zoom, trying to get into meetings if I can ... and sometimes give up when he doesn't like my password or name ... wondering why I bothered to record it all in my computer notebook if it only worked once...
After a few sunny days, the planter returned to it's space on the wall. The plants got rearranged and some went to the upstairs balcony that is a bit more sheltered and has more sun.

And, of course, a lot of quilting.

The last ones I made, I used big stitch, black on the light fabrics and white on the dark. Since the backing ended up being all white, it was not going to hide the stitches on the back, so I decided after quilting it all in the ditch that I would just use regular quilting.

I drafted a butterfly to fit the large areas and used colored thread on the light segments and white on the dark. It really does not show up very well.

So far I have 12 blocks quilted and still a lot to go. I am getting a bit faster with practice and I hope as I near the edges it will be a bit easier without so much bulk on my lap.

If I get tired, there is a lot of tidying up for me to do. And... a bit of mending ... wondering why the left knee of every pair of pants have holes or almost holes... Tomorrow looks like it will be sunny. Will the painters be back? I asked their schedule but they only said "soon".  It won't be too soon for me ... but the weeds are still growing and the quilt is waiting ... so ... we shall see

Hope you are all safe and keeping well.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

When life gives you scraps...

The flimsy got its last border two weeks ago and I could take a picture in the park on Sunday. At first I thought maybe that dark paisley border was a bit heavy and maybe needed to be trimmed a bit narrower, but I had selected five inches because it will be good for the celtic heart stencil I made for the last baby quilt.

I wanted to back the quilt with a non-directional busy floral print but I just didn't have enough of anything and the idea of hand-piecing something with all that measuring and then having a bunch of seams on the back side was discouraging. Instead I found a large length of plain white fabric and after cutting it one seam was enough.

I had planned to take the quilt to church for basting but could clear enough space on the floor of the empty apartment, and though I had to crawl around on top, it worked perfectly for pin-basting. Not having enough of the #60 or #80 weight thinsulate, I put on two layers of #40. The white backing is a bit hard to quilt through so my stitches are only five or six to the inch.

I am quilting this all in the ditch and then I will decide about the large spaces. I quilted others with big-stitch but with this backing, I'm not sure how the reverse side will look.

I had planned to give this to the women's society to sell or raffle at their flea market, but that has been called off. Now I am not sure where it will go but I plan to pass it on to the church as my tithe to raise money for the homeless mission or the library renovation.

Church now on livestream only. School closed. Scouts not allowed to meet . choir not meeting and cut to 4 members from this week. Neighbor's house undergoing renovation ... banging and clanging of setting up scaffolding last Friday, then the roaring of a motor all day Saturday and the smell of some chemical that gave me a headache. Being super-sensitive to noise and smells, I had to get away from the house, so went to the park to pull weeds ... three big bags full for Wednesday's collection and three more out today. Once the mosquitoes come out in full I won't be able to spend that much time in the park. I am wondering how much longer the work will go on.

Since the work is in the house to the south, (18 inches between my window and their wall) the scaffolding blocks off all my sun on the third floor. I had been working up there to save electricity on heat and light. A tall apartment on the east side and a three-story building a few yards to the west means very little sun coming in. Wearing a down jacket and sweater inside, I was surprised when I stepped outside today to see how much warmer it was than my livingroom.

Weeks ago, thinking of what I would give up for Lent, little  did I realize the choice that would be made for me. Many thanks to my blogging friends for a taste of normalcy.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Making use of down-time

A friend is starting up an NPO for teaching English to orphans, with the expectation that when they age out of the facility, that English ability might give them a leg up getting jobs.

In February, she asked me to make a banner for her to use in promoting her venture. I have no picture of that ... just a colorful strip of fabric with the letters JOEE and an embroidered kangaroo.
After that, I began to think an I-Spy quilt might add a bit of fun to the learning, so dug out my tin of 4-inch kid-friendly prints. I had 80 already marked and cut ... perfect for a quilt.

I added alphabet cornerstones along the border sashings and JOEE along the top border.
As I was putting this together, all kinds of ideas kept coming to mind of games to play other than I-Spy. I made two small beanbags thinking of maybe tossing them onto the quilt and making a sentence using the picture. If the bag lands on a letter, maybe coming up with a noun, verb, and adverb or adjective in a short sentence with that letter. 

I used some of my 2x2" scraps for the beanbags and put a pocket on the back corner to hold them.

I was told by the Children's Ministry director at church that this friend will be coming next week to give the children's message and promote her NPO with church members.

I think that will be a perfect time to pass this to her.
Oh, by the way, can you see the button on the pocket? It is a leftover from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

So many activities have been cancelled. School is off. The quilt group is not meeting. The Tokyo American Club has cancelled our Scout meetings. Choir practice is now done from home by computer. Luckily church goes on, though many weekly meetings are off.
I was somewhat glad for the extra time to put the quilt together. Since it will be carried from place to place, I used a light thinsulate #40 for batting. I will have a week longer to think about a carrying bag.

I had to make several trips into town during the week.

My watch died and I needed to take it to have the battery replaced.

Then, I had to go to the small sewing shop to get enough bias tape for the border of the quilt.

Along the way were signs of spring. These little daffodils are in a neighbor's bed which the rest of the year is full of weeds.
I have one of these in a pot that is blooming too.

The local day-care children and adults are enjoying the sun in the parks nearby.

White jonquils were blooming along the fence of the local school ...

Now closed until April when the new school year begins.

Some early magnolias have begun to bloom.

This one near the base of the tree seems to be communicating with the violets.

The big purple magnolias along the road to the station have just begun to open but because of winter pruning, there are few buds left to open.

The flagpole at the empty school had a Japanese flag flying at half-staff in memory of the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami.
There were a few older children kicking balls and running around in one of the parks along the way.

The most striking display is along the fence of a neighbor's yard.

This Orchid Vine is just stunning.
Actually, there are two vines, one purple and one white, but they are twisted together making it seem the flowers are varied.

I had been watching a huge cymbidium orchid outside the school entry getting ready to bloom.

Every year it has large flower spikes that bloom a very long time. It is one plant that seems to thrive on neglect.
With school closed, I am missing  being greeted by those flowers.

I wish I could say my house is cleaner now that I have had time on my hands. Tidying up doesn't seem to have the same voice as the call to quilt.

Hope all are staying well....
and you can get a wee taste of seasonal flowers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Time flies while standing still

Two weeks ago, when I showed up for work, the director dropped into the art room to tell me that "old people" are more likely to get the virus so I should stay home so as not to infect the school. (actually, I think young people are more likely to carry the germs without symptoms and spread them around).

The art teacher was shocked as she relies heavily on my help both in class and in the library. After a lot of ins and outs, it was finally decided I could remain. Well, that was Thursday...

Friday I went to help the quilting group at Nishimachi. One of the quilt members is a doctor and there was a lot of discussion about the virus. Yes, she agreed that those masks we were required to wear were useless other than to prevent spreading germs if the person wearing the mask was sick. I dislike them because they make my glasses fog up and with everyone muttering into masks, one cannot understand what people are saying. Hand sanitizer is not as good as soap and water, but people today do not know how to wash their hands properly.

Saturday evening, my cub scouts had their pinewood derby race.

We don't have a very big group but I was pleased to see how everyone chipped in and helped. The scouts from the troop came and assembled the track and parents helped with weight adjustment and getting the cars ready to run, a dad on the starting gate and two moms with cameras at the finish line ... taking videos and running them over to see who finished in what order. I especially liked the way the boys cheered each other on.

My car this year was not very fancy ... a two-day production. The boy scouts brought their former cars and tried to beat mine. Hah.. hotter than a dog? We did have a fun event.

Sunday I had a call from my daughter telling me the school director had called her trying to get her to convince me not to go to work any more.  Then, Monday I had a message from the art teacher telling me that all the after school programs had been cancelled for now and all the teachers who take trains to work had to be out of the school by 3:30. So... no school for me. I was hoping the after school activities weren't cut just to get me away, but by the end of the week it was announced that school will be closed from Monday.  The Friday quilt group was cancelled too.

Friday was my daughter Norie's birthday and the sweet daphne planted all those years ago when she was born was perfuming the air by the front gate.

Saturday I was part of the choir for a memorial service for a former member. It was a lovely service but rather poorly attended.

Sunday I noticed the first service was rather sparse in attendance but the second service was pretty full and two choirs participated. The communications ministry meeting went on as planned and so far our Tuesday evening Sermon Lab is going on as usual.
I did notice the trains are a bit less crowded.

Today is quite windy and the plum tree is decorating the walkway with pink polkadots.

Tonight's choir practice will be held at home on our computers. I wonder how many will actually practice.

So it goes....
My wristwatch died and luckily, after a trip into town, I could get it back to working.
With so much of the regular schedule on hold, I will need that to remind me what day it is.

A small reminder that spring is around the corner popped up in my flower box.

I remember the wooded hillsides of my youth covered with a carpet of daffodils.

Like the puple spiderlily that bloomed in December and January, the confusion has continued.

This poinsettia had tiny flowers set by Christmas but is enjoying the last few weeks of January with 15 flowers still putting out red petals.
Slow and steady wins the race...

And ... at this time of year ... no competition with what the flower shops are selling...

So ... with things cancelled ... what am I doing?
Well, Onigiri delivery still goes on Monday mornings.

A friend asked me to make a banner to use in promoting an NPO she is starting up, a program to teach english to orphans.
When those youth reach a certain age, they are put out on their own and hopefully good english skills will help them to find jobs.
I took the banner to her in early February at the Women's Conference but did not take a picture.

I began thinking that an I-Spy quilt might be a fun way to work on language skills and went through my 4" squares of kid-friendly prints. With the 80 I picked out, I began putting together a quilt for her to use. Last night I added the outer borders and today I will see what might work for the backing.

I have heard she is coming to our church later this month to do the children's message and introduce her NPO. With lots of "free" time, I hope to get this together and quilted by then.

Meanwhile, the feedsack quilt sits on the sofa, all basted and ready for quilting to begin ... and a second floral quilt waits for a border. I had thought of donating that one to the woman's society to raffle off but the flea market has been cancelled and the women's society is struggling to overcome challenges of leadership.
So.... off to my fabric bin... While some things in the future are unknown ... a quilt with a purpose has a lot of power to motivate.