Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No more cleaning frenzies

Today's post has nothing new. It may be a long, long, time before I have something completed to show and a picture of a few more quilted blocks on the batik quilt might not excite anyone other than the daughter getting it when finished.

The time has come for a bit of washing of the quilt that covers the smaller sofa and since I had no digital picture, I decided to take it to the park for a photo. This is a challenge quilt. One former member of our little quilt group returned to Japan for a visit and brought a gift of five fat quarters to each of the group members. These were, a dark blue star print, a blue and tan figured fabric, a red with small white dots, a red and tan check print and a green and tan check print. The members of our group decided we would add one fabric of our own and make a quilted object.

At that time I had a rather small quilt covering my smaller sofa which is quite worn. This seemed like a good opportunity to add some medium brown and make a larger quilt to take its place.

I had no particular plan in mind when I made the center blocks other than to see how this random arrangement might work out. Since I wanted the quilt to be large enough to be useful, I added a wide border and used the five fabrics in an applique. I did a fairly good job of using all the fabric as there was very little, if any, left over. The blue print with stars has faded in the bit of sun that comes through the window part of the year but it is holding up with the rough treatment that a sofa quilt gets.

The reverse side is a collection of Japanese tenugui in botanical prints.
The island with the camellia is Oshima, not far from Tokyo and famous for the large beautiful camellia trees and products made from camellia oil. Many of these represent seasons. Snow on the camellia, the seven autumn plants, pine, plum, cherry and other less familiar plants.

When I first came to live in Japan, we rented a small "apato" not far from where we live now. It had a small entryway with a kitchen sink on one side and a lavatory on the other and a tiny bit of counter to hold a one-burner stove. (no hot water in those days and no bath or shower). There were two rooms. One four and a half mat room and one six mat room. (One tatami mat is about 3'x6') There was also a closet for storing things. Life was quite simple. We had a small folding table about two feet high and five zabuton which are cushions for sitting on. At night we folded up the table and put out thin sleeping mats which had been stored in the cupboard during the day. The only other furniture I brought from the states was a cedar chest that had belonged to my Great Aunt and a bureau that had come west to Ohio in an ox pulled wagon with Great Great Grandfather when Ohio was still the "Western Region". As was the custom in Japan, and still is today, One entered the house and left one's shoes at the entry. Slippers were used in the "kitchen" and toilet but walking on tatami mats was in bare or stocking feet.

Today one finds fewer and fewer rooms with tatami and a room barely larger than that first apartment contains two sofas, two large chairs, a good sized coffee table, a corner table, a large cabinet with a TV, a dish hutch, a desk, a table with six chairs, a buffet and a bookcase. Also a dog kennel, a highchair, a foot stool, several lamps,...are you getting the picture? The problem is, walking through this house in bare feet ... especially when in a cleaning frenzy... is DANGEROUS.

After the quilt group left I went to the clinic for rehab hoping to see an end to the broken toe saga. Alas, the x-ray showed the toe not yet healed and the one next to it had been broken tripping over stuff while trying to tidy the house. This time there is a half cast and it is a lot less painful but flip-flop weather is over. The house went back to its pre-cleaned state before I returned from the clinic and today I tripped over bags of stuff just carrying the ladder through the house. At least four toes are safely covered with the cast. You may think I am a clutz but in this house.... only Nikko moves with ease.

My birthday is coming. For the last three years when asked what I wanted for my birthday, I asked for a system of putting things away (I don't count things in bags as away) so that the place would be neat and tidy and I could feel free to invite my friends over. My son-in-law made wonderful file drawers where things could be organized and I offered to make labels for the files. My daughter spent a long time over the weekend going through the piles and sorting things into labeled bags so they could be put away, but today there is so much junk piled in front of those drawers you couldn't open them if you wanted to. I fear I will always live in an obstacle course.

On the way to the park to take a picture, Nikko met a neighborhood cat that she would like to have as a friend.

As she stood, tongue lolling, tail wagging, with a eager whimper issuing forth from her smiling face, THIS is the greeting she got.

"I see you. I hear you, but don't you DARE take one step further in my direction or I'll bop you on the kisser"

Yes, Nikko, my mother warned me there would be days like this.

As a further report on the Eagle slide, during the ceremony, the "Eagle Charge" came from a former member of the troop by way of a video as that youth is now in New Zealand. Dressed in his full uniform, that Scout was also wearing an eagle slide. And this week I received notice of one of my former Scouts who is working on his project as the last requirement for the rank of Eagle. Yeaaay!


  1. You certainly paint a clear picture with your words, Julie. I see a house filled to the brim with the normal clutter acquired over decades. Mine is the same but I have cupboards to hide it all in. I don't know how I'd manage if I had the same space limits that you have.

  2. You are such a good writer - we get such a good idea of how things are. I don't envy you your clutter issues, it must frustrate you and I think you must have alot of patience. I would hate tpo be tripping over stuff all the tine too. Sadly, unless we live alone we cannot always control the environment! Poor Nikko - mean antsocial cat. Give him a scratch from me!

  3. Julie your quilt turned out just beautiful. I love the arrangement of the center blocks and the applique was a perfect way to weave in your gift fabrics. As for the clutter...isn't life just that way. We hold onto things we should let go of, whether physical or emotional things. It's so hard for me to get rid of things I've had for a long time, even if they have no real value. I want someone else to love them like I do so I can give those things to them. :) Alas, my children do not cooperate! As I get older I find I want things to be simpler, less chaotic. My brain won't process clutter. I'm working toward that but it seems to be a never ending journey. blessings, marlene

  4. I really like your sofa quilt, and your photo-in-the-park turned out great; and how nice to be able to enjoy the back as much as the front ! Also I enjoyed hearing about your first flat in Tokyo. I have to say that I no longer walk around our house without some slippers that protect my toes - having broken two of them on furniture when we were remodeling. You have my sympathies - that is very painful.

  5. Love your quilt and what you did with just 5 FQ's and one other fabric. After reading about the room sizes, it makes me feel very fortunate to have space in my house to roam around in without tripping over stuff. When things gets too much, it is time to purge and donate to a charity shop.

  6. Your quilt designs are so beautiful, love your style.
    I am always hurting my toes, so don't bother with them, figure I will rebreak them back in place, someday, lol.


  7. Julie this is another beautiful quilt! I love your style. You could probably fit a couple of your houses inside mine and I'm ashamed to say that my house is crowded too. I really must get rid of some things. But I still have a house full of people sometimes and I'd hate to not have the ability to have them all visit. Hope your toe will heal now. That's a long time for healing but then I've found since I turned 50 that it is that way - ie healing is slow.

  8. Beautiful quilt, but I would have a hard time deciding which side should be up. They would have to take turns.
    I hope your toes heal up soon
    Your first place sounded quite small. I not only trip over things, I tend to walk into walls too...funny, that wasn't there yesterday. :0)

  9. When is your birthday? Mine is 27 October so we are close!
    Ha that cat. There's one near me that is the reverse - so friendly the dogs run away from it!
    Want to link your finish up to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday? Just have to click the button at the bottom and add your link.

  10. Thanks for your description of your first apato, it sounded like a "cozy" place! I like your quilt, especially the back, it's gorgeous!

    As for that cat... that looked like one mean puppy!