Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The banner is done

Last night I finished turning the binding.  Looking at other banners over the years, I had made too many with white and blue so I decided to go with lavender. I think it shows off the blank person where we should view ourselves.

Today I added the sleeves and found that I had purchased extra dowels some time before. Great! I won't have to go shopping in the heat of day. The last part will be to saw off the extra length of dowel and add eye screws to the one on top. I figure ten minutes at the most including clean-up time.

Rally Day is a week from next Sunday so the deadline has been met with time to spare.

Next ... Here is a blogging issue that challenges my patience.

A while back when Google added Google plus to the blog, things began to happen that I neither like or understand. I am not now or ever will be a computer guru. I often get help from fellow bloggers and when that doesn't work, cry on the shoulder of my guru son.

The first thing that happened was that suddenly I came off as a no-reply blogger. I noticed that the same happened to many of my fellow blogging friends. It was not a huge problem because I had contacts for them. It only has consequences when I want to reply to comments of those whose e-mail address I do not know. 
Friends sent links for advice on how to fix it but the site pictures telling where to click did not match my screen. Finally, I gave in and went to Google plus. (magically fixed) At that time I began to notice that many of the no-reply were non-google addresses. Maybe a coincidence? 

Well, the next problem soon arrived. Every comment I sent off came back to my in-box saying Delivery failure as they could not accept my yahoo address. I did go back to check and indeed, the comments had gone through. Some of my blogging friends did tell me that the comment had come but not to their in-box. Looking this over again, I noticed there was a direct relationship to my yahoo e-mail address.

Well, my son looked at this a number of times and since I have a g-mail address too (juliefukudasenior@gmail.com) which was set up for our family blog to avoid confusion with my daughter who shares the name. I really didn't want to give in and change my e-mail address but my son gave that a try. Magic? Suddenly, the delivery failure notices stopped coming.

BUT ... now, my blogging friends are getting a message saying their comments had delivery failure because my in-box is full. That is also a bunch of baloney because when I went to check the comment section of that post, all the messages were there ... and all had arrived in my in-box.

I don't like to make judgements but it does look to me like Mr. Google is trying to undo his competition in a nasty way. All the comments who got those messages were non-google addresses. 
At first it seemed a war between yahoo and google but now it seems to be attacking other correspondence addresses. 
Some of my blogging friends have switched from blogger to other sites such as word press. It might make a bit of confusion for followers but I don't know how these things work.

I am wondering if I am the only one with these problems and it is something I am doing wrong.
I know change happens ... whether we want it or not ... but why keep fixing things that ain't broke?
I might even have more time for quilting without these frustrations!

Monday, August 15, 2016

One day's work

12 hours have passed since I set my goal for the day.

Actually, my goal was just to make progress on the quilting of the banner but at this point, I think I am done.

My major concern was that the pieced center section might not lie flat. I was thinking of quilting all the pieced segments in the ditch, but just quilting the rays from the center out, seems to have done the job.

I quilted around the figures but not inside other than the arms, and around the letters. Looking at it hanging from my curtain rod, I think that much quilting is balanced and enough. Now I have to just add the binding and the hanging sleeves at top and bottom.

As it turns out, though I measured the fabric many times, I didn't add properly and the piece is a few inches longer than I intended. That means I don't need to add a border. I am thinking of binding it with a light turquoise or pale purple. Tomorrow Nikko and I will walk to the shop near the next station and try a few colors to see what looks best.

These days, local flower shops are selling little pots with one miniature sunflower. They are so pretty but I do like the real thing a lot better.

These are growing along the fence at the kindergarten along the car street.

There must have been 15 or 20 of them growing and maybe nine or ten feet tall.
They do have some of a smaller variety too but these are the real thing.
Good thing we haven't had a typhoon go through as yet.

The day was off and on sun with a few sprinkles thrown in.

We really could use a bit of real rain.
Maybe tomorrow will deliver a bit.

Several varieties of hostas are now competing with each other, and the crape myrtle in the park is putting on a grand show.

Hibiscus flowers are in bloom around the neighbourhood...
more noticeable for their droppings. The most dramatic ones are sitting in the local flower shop, begging to be bought.

The salvias in the weed lot are wanting rain ... or I will have to carry a bucket of water to them tomorrow.

As a person who hates working to deadlines, I am feeling pretty happy to see the banner so far along and may just reward myself with a few stitches in the nine-patch before I hit the sack.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

on to the next step.

The applique is done and maybe tomorrow I will begin embroidering the details.

I can't say I am particularly fond of these characters representing members of the church.

I'm not sure what the blank one is doing but maybe the idea is to insert oneself into the circle.

Should I put a question mark there or some kind of an arrow???

The plan I was given had "Shine Together" written across the center and the various ministries listed on the outer edge.

I will put the words above and below and wondering if I should use proper alphabet or do something rather large and wonky.

I thought it might be interesting to outline the letters and then fill them in with large stitches going randomly back and forth. Then again, that may turn out to be rather time consuming

I am also thinking of adding a row of one-inch scraps in the fabrics used, at the top and bottom to make the size right and frame the hanging.

At this point my inclination is to finish it as simply as possible and quilt it with rays of the sun coming out from the middle to the border. Since someone else came up with the design, I have tried to stick to that plan as much as possible.

This is the one I made back in the fall of 2013.

That was my own design and is often hung in the entryway.

I am afraid they are going to look too much alike ... though I have to admit I like the hands better than those characters.

This one will have dark lettering and the yellow is brighter than this one that I tie-dyed.
If I had better computer skills, I could take the picture and play around with in until I found something I liked.

But, then again, I'm not all that sure I will like the results regardless.

Only two more days of VBS to go. Tomorrow's game is going to be a quieter memory game. (at least, I hope it will be quieter. Two of the five groups are really wild) I'm glad they liked the games so far but they come with no "off" button. Once they get going, the biggest job is to keep it safe and get them to stop at the end.

The news is full of commentary about the Emperor wishing to quit his job. He is only a few years older than I am and though I do not have major health problems, I am happy to have jobs to do.
At least he doesn't have to ride the mobile sardine can to get places. I am wondering if he will get any sympathy because of being "old". Certainly, though each train car has eight priority seats at each end, the only people in those seats are young ... teens ... 20s... maybe a few in their 30s. Today it was so crowded that I kept getting pushed as the train moved and the young girl next to me kept shoving me back every time my bag touched her side. Finally, with three stops left, I was able to grab a seat but then an old guy got on and of course no one stood up so I gave him my seat. The young riders were just busy sleeping or playing video games or texting . I doubt if the emperor got on, they would even notice. At least he can travel by car and doesn't even have to do the driving.
I think it will be a shock to all those entitled youth that some day they will also get old.

OK, enough complaining! I will now reward my progress with a few stitches in my nine-patch.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pictures to make me smile

The yellow material is still in hiding but plan B is in motion.

A few years ago I made a banner with hands joined in a circle and white fabric that I had tie-dyed to keep the center white while dying the rest yellow.

I thought this time with the circle representing the sun, I would piece the center with gradated shades of white and white-on-white prints.

Yesterday I added the circle of  arms and from today I will begin making applique heads.

I have traced the sketch I made on to paper for patterns.

One head is to be left plane ... maybe wanting the observer to put themselves into the picture.

Once these are done, I will figure out where to put the lettering. The sketch I was given had the lettering in the center and a lot of the listed activities around the edges.

The words are "Shine Together" and I plan to put the lettering above and below. Then, quilt from the center in rays out to the edges.

I am not sure the due date but sometime around the end of the month. I should be able to do it all from what is in my stash.

The fabric I am using is a bit shorter than the former banners and I am thinking of piecing blocks of the body colors mixed with the remaining yellow to add to the top and bottom. Often former banners are hanging in the entry and I think if they are all the same size, it makes them easier to hang and move.

Sunday I stayed later at church to set up my game area for this week's Vacation Bible School. Since I missed my usual bus, I went another way and came upon this display at Takashimaya Department store. I didn't have a camera along so after VBS today, I went back to take a few pictures.

Sometimes we do "junk-art" at school so I am often saving spools and objects I think the kids would have fun using.

This display takes "Junk-art" to a whole new level.

Tin cans, buckets, garden rakes, cell phones, bottle caps ... you name it! I even saw some tins like the ones I use to store my fabrics in.

A mother pig with her babies ....

And a rhino!

All these are life size.

Note the water tap eye and the frying pan along the side.

Here is another view of that big rhino.

You can see the contents of his tummy...
He takes his tea, kettle and all.

And here is a tortoise ...

Watches and a bicycle chain among his scales...

looks like a drain in case he gets too wet.

And how about those camel feet?

A plunger and a funnel and two light fixtures.

There were three or four monkey-type figures hanging from the wall

and a lizard climbing up a tree.

Forks seem to make nice hands and feet and the tail looked like a bottle brush.

 This is the sign above with the artist's name.

The exhibit is about to end so I am glad I made it back with my camera.

The area is a passage way between the up and down escalators.

The curtains behind add to the artistic effect.

And one more picture that made me smile ... this one sent by my daughters in Portland Oregon.

Over the weekend they were celebrating "Obon".
It is the time when the spirits of the dead return... actually a time of celebration with festivals and dancing.

My daughters had one of the lanterns dedicated to their father.

You can notice those lanterns hanging all around the festival area ... and at night they would be lit.
Last week would have been our 53rd wedding anniversary so this festival is very timely.

I think I see Paul smiling down on those below and wishing them a fine festival.

(with some yummy treats).

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Not part of the plan

I was not really planning to work on quilting during the hot days of summer. In fact, I have another piece I should be working on and have yet to begin.

And ... that is the reason I have 19 of these blocks quilted .

The project I should be working on is a banner to hang in the church entryway on "Rally Day" at the end of this month. The design was sent to me about a month ago ... some stuff needing to be appliqued on a yellow background. Within a week, I had gone to the local shop and found a meter of very pretty yellow fabric, bought it, and brought it home.

THEN... I began cleaning up the house to host my quilt group.

I was very careful when moving items to sort and organize them so I would be able to find them again. The yellow fabric sat folded on the back of the sofa since it was my next project and I needed the reminder to get it started.  So, what happened to it? THAT is a mystery I have been taking weeks to solve and I am no closer now than when I began.

I have taken every room apart and put it back together again. I sit with the hoop in my lap trying to think of one more place where I haven't looked. My house is NOT that big. I have looked in or under or behind every piece of furniture, box, bin, bag, you name it, and that bright yellow fabric is nowhere to be found. So, I sit and quilt and ask myself where else it might be. I honestly can't think of any place I have not looked.

The quilt top has 16 blocks left to quilt before I have to figure out the border areas. There is no hurry to get it done. SO....
Now I must bite the bullet and get to that banner. I am not going to go out and buy more fabric! It will probably show up the minute I put the last stitch in that banner. I do have some yellow fabrics and I will just figure out how to make use of what I have. I need a sun in the center and thought I would piece one with the giant dahlia design. I used to have a pattern that I traced from a quilting friend and used for a round table cloth. After going through all my files of patterns, I have not been able to find that either.

I have tons of quilt magazines and pattern books, so I began going through them looking for that pattern. Do you think I could find one? After several more days of sitting on the floor in front of my bookcase going through every book, not one pattern for the giant dahlia. Does this banner really want to get done?

Well, I am not going to go back to quilt one more block until I have this thing in progress. I found a pattern for a mariner's compass. Maybe it could pass for a sun design and I should just go with that.
Well, today is the day. Next week will disappear with Vacation Bible School. Five days of train rides might be productive but I just have to get started the minute I close this laptop!

An Ojiisan in the neighbourhood had a number of cacti with large buds.

When Norie and I stopped to admire them, he said they would open at night and probably in a few days.

A few nights later, I took Nikko for her evening walk past his place. As he had said, he moved all the cacti out in a row in front of his former shop.

They had just begun to open. There was a light breeze but just enough to make photography difficult. Still, I got this picture without a flash.

Nikko and I went back a few hours later to admire them all in a row.

In the shadow of the lamp post they didn't make much of a picture but they sure were worth the night time jaunt.

Yesterday I passed by again and noticed there is a bud coming up on another of the plants. Hurray for the "odd-one-out". There it sits with it's friends, waiting for it's one time to shine.

And, after seeing how much I enjoyed that hosta flower from my neighbour's garden,

two more flower stalks have popped up .

Everything in it's own time....
And banner time is now

with or without yellow fabric or patterns!
No more excuses.

Not one more quilt stitch until those pieces are marked and cut!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The quilting has begun

All the while I had this quilt spread out on the floor for basting, I was troubled by all those white blocks that don't match. Well, it was a quilt made from my scrap tin and it is too late to take out the muslin blocks that are too white or too yellow.

My quilt plan ... if I had one, was just to quilt in the ditch all around with something a bit fancier for the border. However, those non-matching blocks kept bothering me. Finally, I thought I would try something different by quilting over those odd blocks using a light blue thread rather than white.

I still am quilting white in the ditch. I am afraid the blue shows off my uneven stitching but I do think it is helping to calm some of those white blocks that don't really fit.

I just folded a piece of paper and cut it to make the design. Hopefully it will last long enough to finish the top. I am marking each block as I go. Maybe I will need to secure the pattern in a folder so Nikko doesn't eat it before the quilt is done.

Our weather has gone from HOT on Monday and warm on Tuesday, to rain and cooler the last few days.
Yesterday and today I have been comfortable with long pants and no air conditioning.

Outside my gate, I am rewarded by this hosta flower.

This plant was rescued from the bulldozer when my neighbor's garden was being ripped up. I put the roots in a long planter and this year I moved it to my gate area where it could get a bit more sun.

The flowers are small but so beautiful. It has been several years now since the garden was replaced by two houses filling the entire spot and blocking most of the sun.

That neighbor was my first non-English-speaking friend and the one I owe most for daring to use my poor language skills.
She loved and cared for her garden and in later years I was glad to help her with her weeding. Her daughters live in another part of the city and, as far as I know, have never returned to the place they grew up. I wish they could see their mom's memory lives on in the bits and pieces she once cared for.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Who am I ???

Do you ever have an identity crisis? Until January this year I was just Julie Fukuda. That is what everyone called me and what I signed as my name.

Then, when Paul died, I suddenly have been swamped with papers needing my identity. I had to get my seal registered at the Ku (ward) office. BUT ... they would only take names in Kanji ... Chinese characters. Well, no problem ... My twin brother was an expert in Chinese with a Chinese wife and had given me a nice kanji name ... well, it says "Julie" in Chinese but in Japanese it is pronounced "shu lei". Anyway, I could use that to register my hanko using those two kanji and the kanji for Fukuda.

So now I own an official seal to be stamped on official documents and bank book etc. Of course we have tons of un-official seals as Fukuda is a rather common name and when my husband needed to put his seal on something, he just popped into a store and bought one.

Since then we have to get countless papers and documents to be filled out. Some have me as Julie Fukuda. Some as Julie C. Fukuda, and of course Fukuda Julie C. But wait! When I was born, I was named Julia (after my father's mother) and Carol (after my mother's favorite doll) So, the plot thickens because these can also be written in a number of different ways using katakana ( the Japanese way of writing foreign words ... that once are put into this form may or not be put back into the lettering as it once was). It gets confusing because I have never used the name, Julia. It was pronounced Yu li e as in Bohemian and spelling it with an e was closer and softer to my ears than when teachers called me JUL Yah.

But now I am stuck with many ways of writing and spelling my name and each paper to be filled out wants my name or signature but which one? Finally I just sign my name as it is on my passport and send a copy of that passport page. Why does life have to be so complicated? And, if I use my seal, anyone can get it from me and place it on the correct spot and I don't even have to be there. I guess something could be said for using a finger print ... but then, which finger?

Yesterday I put the final border on my nine-patch quilt. Now I will have to hunt around for something to use for the backing. The size is 224cm x 182cm. (or around 88" x 71"). I really have no plan in mind. For the quilting I was thinking just some in-the-ditch with maybe some feathered pattern around the one-inch nine-patches. Well, that is still a ways off.

It was fun having my quilt friends over and I am enjoying a clean-(er) house. Norie's family came Sunday and My SIL came too. Today was a national holiday and Norie and Leia stayed overnight and another friend (a daughter-on-loan) came tonight to join us all for dinner.

Now quiet has returned and order has been restored and I can contemplate who I am and where I am going ... not that it helps much!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Busy days

Friday will be the first time my quilt group members meet at my house.

I have been in a cleaning frenzy ... trying to get things sorted out and put away in a place I can find them again when needed.

First step was to finish up Marie's Christmas present ... that she has been awaiting for over half a year.

I couldn't find a box the right size so I made one of tagboard.

Marie had requested indigo and sashiko.
The horse is her year on the oriental zodiac and
the "sashiko" which is quilted in, is the Fukuda family crest.

The other side has a dragon to represent her hubby, Tim.

The quilted sashiko is the kanji for "Fuku"

(same as in Fukuda, meaning good luck or fortune).

I couldn't guess what the box opening might be so I made a drawstring top.

Hopefully it will not be too large an opening.

I terminated the string pulls with a gathered flower print from one of the scraps.

This is a view of the bottom of the box.

The covers I have made for tissue boxes at home do not have bottoms but just pull over the top of the box.

I didn't quilt the bottom but I thought if it will not work with her purchased tissue boxes, she could use it as a little bag.

Since she had waited so long for her gift, I decided to add a bit and make her a paper holder ... not an owl but using the same yukata fabrics.

This was the result.

The holder I purchased is white.

This old yellowed one is on my wall.
I just had to try it out for fit.

I finished everything Saturday evening and packed it all in a small box, ready to take to the Post Office.
Monday morning, Nikko and I walked to the PO to send it off. On the way I remembered I had not enclosed a note or even a Christmas card.
Oh well, that's how things go.

Now I have been dusting and washing and trying to
eliminate as much dog hair as possible.

I still need to find places to put things I need to work on. I fear moving things out of sight might put them out of mind. I have a pending banner due the end of summer for the church "Rally Day"

Also three Eagle neckerchief slides to carve and paint. I did get the blanks cut out but having knives and blanks on the coffee table may not be necessary.

Today I dusted the little room under the stairs, ie the washroom.

That means a LOT of dusting!

All those owls had to be moved off, have their bodies washed, and the window ledge scrubbed down, and replaced in some form of order.

This is only one part of the room.

There are two owl clocks in here, many pictures (photos, prints, etchings ), containers of all sorts, a lantern hanging in the window, bells, lots of whistles, even a kite and plate on the wall.

From the window view there are type tray shelves with more owls, an owl macrame and an owl hanging vase on the wall and little crystal owls on the sink ledge.

The stuffed toy owl in the towel rack was a gift to Nikko but it hoots when moved and scares her.

The collection includes those made of wood, pottery, metal, basketry, seeds, cones, horn, bamboo, cloth, glass, macrame, beads, enamelware, lacquerware, and plaster.

There are many containers, a bank, lots of whistles and one bell.

More tiny owls.

Trying to clean the shelves and owls without taking the shelves off the wall ... well, I hope my quilting friends are so busy with their work that they don't look too closely.

I knew I had a lot ... and they tend to multiply, as friends seem to think of me when they see an owl and think I have to have another one... But I counted them as I cleaned their little faces and there were at least 145 just in this tiny space.

Would you feel watched in this place?

And ... they are not confined to that little nesting place.

The plant holder and white owl were made by my daughter, Kimie when she was in high school.

The lacquerware owl holds "Hanko" for when a delivery person comes to the door and needs a chop.

The windowsill seems to have gathered a few critters too and all of them get along with the cats and a monkey-year figure made by my SIL.

OK, enough of this!
Now I need to get back to cleaning!

Life is a hoot!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

creative excuses

Well, a week has passed and I can't blame the internet because it has been restored.
I can't blame the camp cleanup and wash because there is still a lot to be done ... and even craft boxes sitting in my genkan.

So, where did the week go so quickly?

I finished the toilet paper holder and sent it off to my elder son, along with a Japanese covered hanger.

I was also able to put a roll of bird-print paper into the holder. It was something from long ago that I had saved and had pictures of Japanese birds with their names in English and Japanese.

So what would you think if your mom sent you such a thing for your birthday? Ken is very handy so I'm sure he will be able to install the hanger and I really like the idea of a spare at your fingertips ... thinking back to all the times in my youth that I found myself stranded.

So, the owl is flying on it's way to Oregon and will probably arrive early with plenty of time to perch in the right place before his birthday arrives. I don't think he checks my blog so the secret is safe.

Friday I spent a wonderful day with my blogging friend, Tomomi. We met in Nippori, known as "Fabric Town", and after a quick lunch, hit the shops up and down the shopping street.

I really had no fabric needs but was looking for a few alphabet subjects. If I had been looking for cat fabrics, I would have hit gold. I have never seen so many cat prints in so many stores in all my life!
I did break down and by one small piece of cat print in a color that matches my handbag. I am thinking of making a new bag for carrying my school stuff and maybe a lunch bag.

I'm not sure what was on Tomomi's list but she seemed to have found a few fabrics to buy. It is always fun to hang out with another quilter and meeting up with a blogging friend is a very special opportunity.

I have Lis to thank for friendships beyond the internet, as she was the first of my blogging friends to meet in person. What she showed me was, that every blogging friend is as wonderful in person as over the internet, had been true in every case.

After checking both sides of the road ... up one side and down the other ... we met up with her charming husband (who took this picture) and beautiful daughter over a cup of coffee (for me, anyway).

I smiled all the way home and am still smiling as I look at this picture. And, if I didn't need the friendship to make me smile, Tomomi brought me a darling reminder of her visit.

I need to find a place to display this beautiful beaded lace doily and the pretty pieced pouch.
For now they sit on the chest beside my quilting chair where I can admire them as I recall our time together.

Soon Tomomi will be winging her way back to Ireland and I'm waiting to see what she will post.

Meanwhile, life flies by.

Sunday was our choir party. Pot luck means lots of foods and lots of variety and the party was fun to talk with all those friends we are always too busy singing with for much of a visit.

Monday I was called to substitute for one of the teachers so it was a long day. The weather was very hot and humid all day but the rain started in the evening and the last two days have been cooler.
I have begun at last the cover for my daughter's tissue box ... a lot late for Christmas. I tried to find a box that size so I could be sure to make a cover that would fit. I finally gave up and made one out of tagboard.

Marie had asked for some indigo and sashiko.

I found yukata fabric with the zodiac animals on it and cut a diamond section of a horse for Marie and a dragon for Tim.

It was really too small for real sashiko ...

So I decided to just quilt in the designs.  They are "Fuku" meaning good luck or fortune and the Fukuda family crest.
My next challenge will be to join the sides and add the square bottom. Then, I am thinking of making a gathered strip at the top to be closed around the opening in the tissue box. I have no idea what the shape might be but I think that should work ... if I can just take it one step at a time and one problem to solve in each step. Hopefully Marie should not have to wait until another Christmas to get her gift.

Marie, if you see this, you will know the wait is getting shorter.

So, that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Return of the camper and the internet

The alphabet quilt was finished just before leaving for camp but because of darkness and rain, there was no opportunity to grab a photograph. 
The size is about 135 cm x 150 cm  or roughly 48 x 53inches. I left the lower corner square blank for writing the baby's name if they wish.

So far this year that makes three baby quilts ... one counting quilt, one I-Spy quilt, and one alphabet quilt. for three Monkey-year babies.

I left many of my cacti bearing flower buds but, as the flowers last but one day, I really did not expect to see them in bloom.

I remember one summer putting them on a tray and bringing them downstairs to the table for my husband to enjoy while I was in the woods with the guys. As I recall, he took some pretty impressive photos of the floral outburst.

In the front right corner of the small square pot are two round green flowers of one of my new cacti that travelled from South Africa. I was gifted a number of unfamiliar cacti by a friend whose wife had died leaving an impressive collection.
As he had no idea what to do with them, they were divided among a number of church friends.
Many of these I have never seen before and my books tend to contain mostly cacti from the North and South American continent so I have yet to learn what they are or what to expect in the way of blooms. So far they seem to like my little greenhouse and are doing their own thing without my help.

When I came home, the prickly pear, which most often blooms while I am away, had two flowers and a bud yet to open.

This plant sits outside all year around in a place hard to reach, so it is pretty well on its own. The wet winter snow piled on top and bent the plant down to the pot in a large loop so I didn't expect it to bloom at all.
This was a cutting given me by a neighbour who had a very tall plant on his front porch so it must be eight or nine years old. I have a few other cuttings made from broken pieces of this one but they are yet to bloom.

The planter of Hostas inside my front gate greeted me with blooms upon my return. These were snatched from the path of the bulldozer that levelled my neighbour's house and garden a few year ago.

There were several varieties and they are all doing well in small planters. These are the first to bloom with two flower stalks.

And, outside my living room window to the west, a hanging pot of Agapanthus has put on a great show

This picture really doesn't  do it justice.

I brought one bulb from my last house's garden and stuck it in that small pot.

Now a few plants have escaped to the azalea hedge and are peeking up through,

Don't you just live plants that thrive on neglect?!!

I arrived home from camp late Saturday night, very tired and with literally tons of gear and craft supplies to unload and put away. I am still sorting and organizing  the craft supplies and figuring out what I can use again next year and what needs to be replaced or tossed.

The supplies purchased by the camp director were completely useless. The leather was soft and already dyed and finished so could not be tooled. Luckily I had taken some of my own as the only "tooling" leather was just suited to making saddles.
Most of the wood for carving also came from my stash and the tools that had been bought, though still in their wrapping, were no use at all. I luckily had brought Japanese craft knives made by Olfa that can be repeatedly sharpened, and every night I re-sharpened the knives for the next class.

After arriving, I was also asked to run a class on the insect study merit badge. All that was given me was the merit badge pamphlet, and being written for use in the States, it was not much use as far as identifying bugs.

I found the scouts so enthusiastic and eager in the gathering of samples, that I decided to drive home one night and pull out my books on Japanese bugs. I was also lucky to negotiate for a scout assistant who could read and translate the information for the gang. With so much rain, there was a lot of running water but not much standing water and we needed to raise a bug from larvae to adult. In such a short time, the only choice was mosquitoes. The puddles could only supply water-striders (and a couple of red-bellied newts) so I raided the bird bath while home. Ah, what we leaders go through!

Evenings found me prepping for the next day's classes, doing Boards of Review for Eagle rank and other advancing scouts, filling out "blue-cards", and running around doing OA (Order of the Arrow) stuff ... Brotherhood walk and ceremony, etc.
I did manage, during a meeting, to mark the border for my nine-patch quilt ... though I have yet to cut it and get it pinned for sewing.

Sunday began earlier than usual as we have gone to just one service during the summer schedule. That meant choir had to meet an hour earlier so counting backwards to include the commute and walking the dog, it meant an early start.
In the late afternoon, the guy came to connect my internet. Yes, from now on, I can do computer stuff at my own pace. Norie, Leia, and Hiro came to help with the setup and we had dinner together at an Indian Restaurant in Toshimaen where we can sit outside and Nikko can come with us.

 Now it is Wednesday. We have had rain and cool days ... but I know the heat will arrive soon.
I am still sorting and organizing craft stuff and working on a birthday present for my eldest son, who's name I have been assigned this year. (#2 daughter is still awaiting last year's tissue box cover)
On Friday I will meet up with a blogging friend. I am SO EXCITED! I LOVE my blogging friends!
We are going to do "fabric town" together. Did I say I am excited? Wish I could see you all as well some day!