Friday, June 27, 2014

one more picture

Okay, this is what I will send in.

I have added the forgotten feet.

I wanted to try a picture with my canon to see if the color would be better and have spent the last few days hunting that camera ... the last two days very seriously.

I know I used it Monday night to transfer pictures of my 4-inch squares to my laptop. I did that sitting in my usual spot on the sofa and when finished, returned the little cable to the drawstring bag where it lives along with the spare battery and battery charger. I set the camera with the bag on the coffee table, made my post, and went up to bed ... since it had been a very early morning rise for rice delivery. The rest of the week until I began hunting that camera, I was not out of the house much except for choir practice Thursday night. My husband has begun sitting in my spot at both the dining room table and sofa, perhaps because all other places  (including his chairs) are piled to overflowing with his stuff.

Thursday even I began moving some of the stuff off the table and hunting my camera. Well, it was not on the table ... or under it, or behind the sofa, or beside the sofa, or moved to another horizontal surface or buried under fabric piles. All day Friday I took the house apart and it is nowhere that I can think of.

That made me recall things that disappeared while I was away travelling or at camp ... like the wooden tray on the trash bin counter. Now I am thinking it may have been pushed off the table into the wastebasket and tossed out with Wednesday's trash. (I went through today's collection material in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep and it was not there.) I am wondering if I will ever know what happened to it. Meanwhile during last night, Nikko went into my bag and dragged out my music for Sunday's anthem and ate more than half of it ... and she can't even sing!
I doubt that a camera would be on her menu but one never knows in this house.

Anyway, I tried another picture on my little canon IXY (that is the one that was purchased once before when my husband borrowed my regular camera and lost it.) The colors are a bit closer to those in the block.

I went back to Queenie's post and followed it to the NHK website information. It is all in Japanese and was too small on my screen for my husband to read so I tried the "translation". For anyone out there who translates for a living, your job is safe ... the English that appeared on my screen was just as confusing and meaningless as the Japanese and only good for a laugh. There is something about sending a pre-paid postcard along with a note. As I recall this year we were sent a printed card with a notation of which number quilt to locate one's block. All that was asked was for a note with name, address, telephone number, and email address. OK... I still have a bit over a month to get this out ... just don't leave it sitting on the coffee table or trash bin counter! Ah, life at the Fukuda household ... never a dull moment!
(Now you know what I loved most about working in a library... a place for everything and everything in it's place!

Done ... I think

Maybe I should have ironed this block before taking a picture. I was just trying to get a shot before the sun went down. As it is, the greens are not true. The leaves look gray and the back and upper wings look yellow. Maybe I should try again.

As it turned out, I didn't have room for all the feathers I cut and had to leave three out. Oh well, with so many blocks in one quilt, I doubt anyone will get too critical.

If you are interested in the details concerning the partnership quilt blocks, take a visit to Queenie.
She has been making blocks for years. Or, have a peek at the block made by Tanya.

It may just be that when you become friends with Queenie, you too will end up making a block. Now, wouldn't it be fun if our blocks all ended up in the same quilt?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Well, it seems I was not the only person giving negative feedback. Blogger has returned my list if blogs. It all makes me wonder what was going on. Was the change an accident or on purpose, and if on purpose... what was the purpose?

I think if they want to make improvements they could start with a feature to rotate photographs.

The last time I made a complaint, I was getting lots of pornographic videos in my blog feed. Believe me, that is something I would never follow and in fact, didn't know existed. It took about three days to get those removed. At the end of cyber-space there may be a human being.

Anyway, I'm glad it wasn't just me and enough complaints went out to get their attention.

With that frustration over, I have added another.

I have begun working on the block for the "partnership" quilt.

Last year Queeniepatch encouraged me to make one. This year she managed to talk Tanya into making one and both of them have finished already.

The subject of the blocks for this year is "Sweet".

Well, I was thinking of maybe gingerbread cookie people or maybe a taiyaki ... those bean-jam-filled fish-shaped things like waffles.

While I was still trying to decide, my husband suggested a hummingbird.

I am still not sure how I am going to do this. Maybe I should use Japanese fabrics and make a Japanese hummer. We have lots of flowers here that they would love and it is just a bit sad to see all those flowers without the birds.

So... this is how far I have done. If it doesn't come out... I can always go back to plan B or plan C.
I have until August to pull it off.

The latest edition of "Birds and Blooms"had lots of information on hummingbirds and even a picture of a pillow appliqued with two hummingbirds.... granted, a bit larger than this little guy on a 22 cm. block and all those tiny feathers waiting for needle-turning.

What do you think? Will it be sweet enough to meet the criteria?

Monday, June 23, 2014

While I was away......

Now What!!!

I returned home from camp Saturday and spent remainder of the day unloading the car and doing wash and putting things away.
I am happy to say there were 52 merit badge completions to file so I must have been some use while I was at camp.
The house was still standing and the plants were still alive. All horizontal surfaces were piled high with papers and clothing and who knows what as it is all in Japanese, dirty dishes waiting in the sink and the vacuum cleaner untouched.

Now some remedy has been made and there is at least a place to sit.

I thought I would take a cleaning break and check out the blogs I like to read and have missed the past week. WRONG!!!
When I go to my blog list, there is only one blog posted ... seemingly the most recent one.
Underneath there is a place to click on saying something like read more but when I click on that I get a very tiny message saying "loading" (which disappears when I release the key) and no matter how long I wait... no other posts appear.

Having a reading list I could scroll down was something that didn't need any "fixing"!

Anyone else out there having this problem or a solution? Today I have only been able to look at two blogs. (one each time I try). Bloglovin does come to my e-mail but I am unable to comment on many of those posts.
Why? I have no idea.

The only sewing that has been done is adding a few more blocks of one inch pieces.

I don't even know what I am going to make with them... maybe turn them into eight inch stars in some kind of arrangement.

Meanwhile I am thinking about my "partnership" block.
I asked my husband what he thought the word sweet might bring to mind and he said, "how about a hummingbird and a flower?"

This morning when I came downstairs, there was a pile of print-outs he had pulled from the computer. Nothing much that I could use, but then I opened my "Birds and Blooms" magazine that  my cousin sends me, and it is full of hummingbird information and pictures. Certainly that is something sweet that I have long missed living in Japan.
A plan is slowly forming in my brain. (and I will have lots of time if I can only read one blog a day!)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Quilting on the back burner

I am off today for a week in the woods with the Scouts.

Very few electrical connections and no internet.
Even cell phone connections are poor.

Nikko and I will share a tent and I hope to leave a ton of dog hair behind for nesting birds.

The bird and the plants will be taking pot-luck and the neighbors will be surprised to see how many leaves and trash litters the street on a daily basis (or weekly as the case will be).

Other than sorting fabric, nothing is done in the quilting department other than set aside some one-inch pieces for four x four blocks.

The picture was taken on my roof in a space behind the heating unit. This prickly pear cactus was given me by a neighbor when we lived in Suginami. He has a tall one on his front porch. This cutting  began blooming about three years ago and I usually miss the blooms because they open while I am at Scout camp.

Last winter was hard on all the outside plants but the Easter cactus came back several weeks ago and, though battered and bent, the prickly pear is joining in the celebration of spring.

Somehow this seems like the way my life is going, so is a good reminder to not give up, no matter where the chips fall.

Even from it's little corner ...

it seems to have it's arms and face turned upward ...

A plea?

A prayer of thanks?

Maybe a smile of encouragement?

I will carry it in my heart ... along with my blogging friends.
I hope you all have a fine week and there will be fun stuff to view upon my return.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gift for a neighbor

At the end of last October, I posted this picture of a plant growing in my neighbor's garden.

Having a daughter with as much curiosity and more computer skills than I, it was soon identified as Euphorbia marginata ...  Common  English name of "Snow-on-the-mountain".

A week or so ago, as I was passing this garden on my way to the train station, the neighbor looked up from where she was working in her garden and called to me saying they had made me a pot of this plant and I would find it sitting outside their gate upon my return.

Sure enough, now it is sitting outside my gate and I am looking forward to watching the progress from green leaves in the spring to this autumn beauty.

I only know this couple in passing but wanted to make something as a thank you gift. Only problem, what might be useful? I don't even know if they have western style furniture. Well, probably they have a geta bako in their genkan. ( a place in their entryway for storing shoes). I checked the size of ours and made this little quilted runner, hoping it will do.

The pattern is "birds in the air" and makes me think of flying over their gate as I pass each day and enjoying all the flowers on display. Most of those are in pots and set out along their path to be enjoyed. (At present, a hibiscus with huge yellow flowers).

The size is about 12.5 x 21.5 inches. Hopefully a useful size.

Yesterday's English class included a quote from a newspaper article, "One small flower in a room changes the atmosphere. It sits there looking pretty and peaceful and creates beauty for people. Imagine the difference a person can make."

It brought to mind something that happened much earlier in the day. My husband Paul, dog Nikko, and I go out at 4:am each Monday to deliver rice balls to the homeless in Shibuya. The onigiri are made each day by our church as part of our "Mission to Our Homeless Neighbors". I seldom help with the production but I have been delivering the packs to the station area for about 21 years. A number of times I have had one of the homeless press a one-yen coin in my hand but yesterday was a "first" to me. We had a few extra packs left after the delivery and rather than take them home, passed them to one of the homeless men still lingering in the area. Imagine the surprise when that man came after us, and offered this rose. wrapped up and tied with a red ribbon.

Each time I see it sitting quietly there in my great-aunt's crystal vase I have to smile.
The quote was right.

A gift of a plant ... a gift of a rose ... the gift of friendship

imagine the difference a person can make!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

... and a time for every purpose under heaven.....

Or, I might entitle this....

 "Who's in charge here?"

More than once in my relatively short blogging history, I have found coincidences that seem to be orchestrated by a higher being ... the meeting of friends that were, until then, names with e-mail addresses ... on-line friends that share backgrounds, passions, histories and even other friends. Each time it becomes harder to look at these happenings as just a coincidence.

During times when I have a lot to worry about and even sleep becomes a problem, even a small diversion is a real blessing and not to be taken lightly.

With that in mind, out of the blue comes an e-mail from an unknown person by the name of Glenn Okamoto. As one who is a bit more savvy of the internet than I, he has found a picture of the fan quilt made for the ASIJ Gala auction. He has been charged with contributing a block ... or two ... to a quilt being assembled for his future Grandson, and looking for advice ... or help ... or both.

Well, how could I not help? Each of my grandchildren has been met with a quilt. I can only think of how that little one will feel, coming into a world of love and care and welcome bits of fabric messages from those around him.

We began an exchange of messages back and forth. It was determined by me that the quilt will be made by another relative and that the fabric pieces handed out will actually finish at two inches square. OH MY! That is not very big! No way I could piece a fan block that tiny. It would be all seams. He is allowed more than one square. Could his squares be combined to a larger block? Well, maybe ... No one knows the vision of the finished piece in the mind of the quilter.

So, once my Cub camp was over, I returned to our discussion and we came up with the fan, a Japanese kite, and the Okamoto family crest.

Here are the pieces I was able to come up with and post to Glenn, hoping they would satisfy the requirements for the quilt. Today he notified me that they had arrived in the mail and gave me permission to share the story. He also promised me a picture of the quilt when assembled and ... I hope ... there will be a family picture with the baby and the proud Grandpa.

The diversion has given me a bit of creative challenge, knowledge of wood sorrel as a family crest, and a new friend across the pond in California. During these few weeks, a few wrinkles in the road of life have been somewhat smoothed and I was able to get a bit more sleep. Was there a bigger "purpose" here? Maybe so. Who am I to judge? But I know who I will be thanking in my prayers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My May read is now a block

The May read for the Quilter's Book Club was "These is My Words" ... the Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine. 1881 - 1901.

Written by Nancy E. Turner.

When I was a kid, I hated history. To me it was nothing more than memorizing dates and spelling strange and impossible names of people and places.

I do remember the 4th grade teacher reading us "Johnny Tremain" which, though I hated the teacher, loved the story and could hardly wait for the next chapter. I was ever so careful not to do anything that might cause me to be sent to the cloak-room during that time of day. It took many years for me to realize that the stories I loved were history made real.

This book is a dose of history that takes you there. Our book for this month is continuation of the story. Mine is somewhere in the post and I am very much looking forward to it.

I made a couple of drawings of possible blocks but in the end, I decided on this block I found in Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders, picked partly because the name was "The House that Jack Built". I had thought of something with a log cabin feeling and though it is rather more simple than other blocks, I was able to use my feature fabrics and add the heart fabric at the center. This is my 16th twelve-inch block and as soon as I find enough space, I want to lay them all out and see how they look together.

If you like the challenge of thinking up a quilt block each month to go with a good read, you should check out Susan's blog. (Even if you don't care to make a block, the suggestions to read are outstanding).

I have had another challenge over the past week through a request coming from someone who found a picture on one of my old posts. If he agrees, I would love to share the story here.

My cacti have been putting on a wonderful show.

Some of them are blooming for the very first time and some are regulars.

These only last a few days but there are buds coming up for later enjoyment.

My step tansu has flowers on every level.

The big red flower was a first bloom.

The white flowers are the second group to open and last a long time. The tall cacti on the left of that one has a halo of tiny red flowers earlier at the end of winter and the spiky cacti on the right is in full bloom now with a promise of more buds to open.

The Easter cactus missed Easter but I am happy it survived the heavy snows of the past winter ...

As it lives all year round out on top of the air conditioning unit on the balcony.

The prickly pear next to it had a rough time and I don't know if it will bloom this year. Usually it blooms nearer the end of the month.

Last fall, I admired a beautiful shrubby plant with white flowers and variegated leaves in a neighborhood garden. This past week, that neighbor called to me as I was passing on my way to the station saying there was a pot of that plant waiting for me to take home and enjoy.

Sure enough, as I returned home later in the day, the pot was sitting just outside their gate in a plastic bag. I am thinking of making a table runner for that couple. I have no idea what their home is like but they must have a table for eating and may even have a geta box in their genkan. I am wondering what size runner would be useful. If anyone has a suggestion, please share with me. I am thinking of something bigger than a place mat but not so big that it might not fit the table. I suppose a small quilt for on a sofa would work but I don't even know if they have a sofa or if their home is more traditional Japanese style.

I think it will be fun to come up with a thank you gift.  That is one aspect of quilting I really enjoy.