Monday, January 6, 2014

storage challenges

When we were building this house, I think I drove the carpenters a bit nuts trying to make use of every tiny space. There is storage under the stairs, accessible to both sides and drawers in the stairs that are too low to put things under.

There is a porch on the third floor roof where clothes are hung to dry and that has been turned into a greenhouse... or maybe solarium sounds a bit more fancy.

That is where I sleep. It is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter but sunny and pleasant on a sunny winter day like today. I decided it would be a good time to put away the Christmas decorations while it is light and warm.

Well, see those doors? As wonderful as the storage space is, the two doors will try the patience of a saint ... and I am no saint! First, my futon has to be folded up and moved out of the way. Then the section on the left is removed by lifting it by the two handles and pulling the bottom toward the room and out of the groove at the top. That takes no time at all.

The things I store in this space are holiday items/decorations. Christmas, New Years, Girl's day, boy's day, Halloween, Thanksgiving,   etc. This is NOT an everyday closet. The reason is, getting those two doors back in the grooves and standing straight is the most frustrating, time consuming project one could imagine! The door to the right keeps rocking over to block fitting the left door in place. holding the door by those handles and trying to aim it into the groove at the top is hard enough but kicking the bottom into the lower groove without getting the top out of place takes a few hundred tries and more luck than I can muster. I also manage to leave several knuckles worth of skin on the door frame. I think if the back part of the upper groove came lower it would be easier to find a position and probably my very talented son-in-law could fix it for me. The thing is, taking it open to show him the problem means picking up my bedding so that there is a place to stand and then putting the whole thing back in place.

Well, the stuff got put back ... I thought ...   and I put my semi-single futon back. My sleeping bag enjoyed an airing in the brisk winter wind.

Now I have come back down as the sun is setting and the room is getting darker and colder, and what do I find???
Two wreaths forgotten on the front gate and garden door.

Well, Hina matsuri is about two months off. Maybe I should wait until then. I have had enough of the storage challenge for today!

The other day I finished the rainbow border on the gift I am making. 

Saturday I bought a roll of 40 weight thinsulate and pieced some yukata fabric for the backing. 

I had plenty of fabric I could have used but I thought a speaker coming all the way to Japan might like something that will remind her of her visit.

I am now quilting the last Kanji (spring) with gold thread. Every time I use this, I say it is the last because it is hard to quilt with even the best metallic thread. I am using Coats, which is better than some others I have tried, but it is not easy, especially if, like me, you like to use a rather long length of thread. I don't think I would choose this other than the panel is printed with gold outlines on the pictures. I will quilt the border in the ditch with white thread. I have a choice of navy or gray for the binding.

Next I need to put a bible verse. Last year's I put "To everything there is a season...." I really have to check with the committee. Trouble is, when Yahoo made the most recent non-asked-for changes, my contact list went bye-bye. Well, all the e-mail addresses are there but how many people use their names as e-mail addresses. It used to be, all I had to do was type in the name of the person and the address went to the out-box. 

Who was it that said, "some kind of help is the kind of help that helping's all about, and some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without"? Thanks but no thanks, Mr. Yahoo!

And someone else said, "Never do today, what you can put off 'till tomorrow". Guess I'll quilt things now and worry about the rest tomorrow.


  1. Ah Japanese houses... We are very blessed to have almost 100 square metres, which is tiny compared to our old house in Australia, but good for city living. And while we're squeezed in for living space, we certainly do not lack for storage, thank goodness!

  2. Julie, I can see how organised you need to be, and the quilting with gold thread, have you tried a needle specially for that? We have them here in NZ, The border colours go so well with the shades of blue. Greetings from Jean

  3. I have had such a laugh at your expense .. I do appologise ..BUT the picture in my head of you balencing and kicking th e door was just too funny .. esp as the air was a bit blue in my picture as well!! Never mind putting the wreaths away .. Im sure there is a space somewhere that they can live in!! Goos luck with the gold thread ,.. but you really do need to use SMALL lenghths to stop it twisting and spliting xx

  4. Gosh darn have had quite a day

  5. I am always complaining that I don't have enough space, lol, you do put things in perspective.
    I just need to get organized. Love your new piece, you do such beautiful hand work.


  6. Your storage solution is clever - but I too might get annoyed at the door. We put bi-fold doors on our closet - though not as cramped as yours - it allows us to open the doors with only minimal intrusion into the room - and then push them back flat - I love them.

    Your quilt project is coming along nicely - I like the "idea" of quilting with gold thread - I've done it before - and probably won't again.

  7. Oh, Julie - your quilt is coming along VERY nicely!! I think that NancyJ might be right - I know that there are sewing machine needles made especially for metallic thread - maybe there are special hand-sewing needles available. But if not - from what I have read - most suggestions are to use a needle with a larger eye - and shorter lengths of thread - 12-18" max. Longer lengths are more likely to fray/twist/tangle and frustrate you - so the shorter lengths actually do save time in the long run - ;))

    The wreaths - could they be hung from or attached to the ceiling - or would you hit your head on them? And have you thought of replacing the doors with curtains - something easily pushed aside? Maybe the bottoms of the curtain panels could have large "buttonholes" and could "button" onto some sort of knob fastened to the bottom board with the "groove". Just thinking out loud - haha - ;))

  8. Oh, don't get me started on storage! LOL! Great idea to have and enclosed area that usually becomes wasted space in most homes. Your quilt is beautiful and so rich with colors. Very nice. Ugh, I'm still trying to get use to the way Yahoo re-formatted our emails. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out who I answered or not.

  9. Everyone else is commenting on your storage and quilting (challenging and beautiful, in that order!). But what caught me was the quote you directed at Mr. Yahoo! I immediately started singing the song (in my head, of course; I'm at work at a public library right now) from the "Free to Be You and Me" album that ends with that quote. It pops up in my head every once in a while. And yes, often, the big tech companies keep saying they are making improvements, and I keep wanting to ask them if anyone other than an engineer or software programmer is involved in designing these "improvements"???

    1. or did anyone really ASK for those improvements???

  10. Taking down all those Christmas decorations is always a chore, right Julie? I always manage to leave a couple or more out. I guess we get so used to seeing the all month, that we don't really see them anymore and overlook them when it comes time to put them away. I think storage is always a problem but your storage door sounds like a real challenge, haha. Can't wait to see your finished project. You always do such a terrific job.

  11. You should keep your crown jewels in that cupboard, and they will be safe from a burglar's sticky fingers! One way of solving the lack of storage space problem is to have fewer things to store! A friend in Sweden is spending a year removing all unnecessary items from the home; that might have to be my new year resolution, too! Never mind keeping the wreaths out a bit longer, it is soon time for Setsubun, Valentine and Hina matsuri and you will have to wrestle with the door anyway. How about asking your son-in-law to fix the doors for your Mother's Day present?
    The new quilt is coming along beautifully. Don't talk to me about metallic thread!!! Of all the brands there are Coats is still one of the easiest to tame.

  12. Julie, I admire your clever organizing and storing skills but man, it must be frustrating rassling with that door! I like your quilt, I've never used metallic thread so I don't have a tip or hint. Maybe some of that lubricant they make for sewing machine threads??

  13. You are very clever with all your storage skills but that door would drive me mad! I tried to use metallic thread on the machine and it kept breaking. Never again. Your kanji wallhanging is gorgeous. I wish I would have purchased some fabric when I was living there but I never did.

  14. Julie I have a closet door (they're sliding doors) that has now fallen off six times in the last two weeks! I can't get it back on and my husband has to do it. He's the most wonderful husband in the world but not exactly "handy". I'm so frustrated I'm threatening to go buy new doors and have them installed by a professional! I won't because that's far too expensive for me but I sure wish I could. blessings, marlene

  15. Too bad a curtain couldn't go there instead of the door, but, I guess you'd get caught up in the curtain when you rolled over at night. Oh well.