Monday, September 14, 2015

A window on the world

Here is my living room window on the west (street or ally or front side) of our house.

In front is our set-back garden, my 1st daughter's plum tree on the right and a shag-bark maple to the left.

On the right side window you can see the "window cafe" with bird seed for the tits to enjoy.

Through the curtains I can see the new neighbor's house across the street where my friends garden used to be.

I can also see neighbors walking by ...and at night they can probably look in to my lit room and see our messy room. I do have heavy drapes I can close if need be ... someone borrowing the sofa for the night ... but basically those drapes are seldom closed. When the weather is nice, we may slide the window open and use the screen while enjoying  a breeze.

To the right of the window are two shutters that can be slid across the windows. They may be used in case of a typhoon but though we have these on almost all our windows, we have never used them in all the time we have lived here.

Many homes close these windows every night. For privacy? protection? I am not sure, but in the late afternoons and early mornings, one can hear the shutters of surrounding homes being opened and closed. Some of those homes have frosted glass for extra privacy but when we were building, I opted for clear glass. I really want to see out ... the weather, the birds. the plants, and the world passing by.

This is my neighbor to the South. Instead of a garden, she uses her set-back space for parking her car.

Behind her car is her window. This shutter has never been opened since her house was re-built.  It is a mystery to me why there is a window at all.

Of course, our house is rather short on wall space. I had no place to put a piano as all my rooms have big windows on the outside walls and all the inside walls have hallways and doors.  But, why put a big floor to ceiling window if you never intend to use it???

And, here is the new house across the street.

Believe it or not, there is someone living here but ... the three windows in the downstairs have been shuttered ever since the house was built and the guy moved in. Two of those shuttered windows are patio sized.

There may be windows to the west and south but since they are only about a foot away from the neighboring houses, it would be hard to see if those sides even have windows.

I am wondering why anyone would bother putting windows in rooms if they never intend to use them. I know opening and closing those shutters is part of a Japanese culture I have never bothered with ... actually, I like wakening to natural light and only closed the shutters in out first apartment for a typhoon .. which blew out the shutters anyway, so never bothered again.

On another topic ...
I need ideas! I have made Advent calendars for Christmas each year for five of my kids, This year it is Marie's turn, but since she has no children and little wall space, she has requested instead something to hang out to decorate her door for the season.

Her apartment is above a converted carriage house and opens into a hallway so the item does not need to face Boston winter weather. Here in Tokyo, our door gets a holiday wreath that is changed out after Christmas for a traditional Japanese New Year's hanging.

At first I was thinking of maybe an advent wreath with numbered holly leaves that could be added with round red buttons. Hmmm, that sounds like a lot of work and would she want to button on a leaf each day ... or maybe flip one over ?
Or maybe a small hanging with a wreath on one side and the new years ornaments on the back?

I am still working on the tree skirt so there will have to be two items ready to be mailed out before the end of November. The count-down has begun.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Any ideas as to how big to make something for a door would be helpful too. Have you any ideas or seen any patterns that might fit the bill?


  1. I like being able to see out my windows too, hate being closed in.
    I put my wreath outside and that one is usually 18", for inside I go with a 12" wreath.
    Swags are nice for doorways, I usually use twig vines for mine.


  2. I am a fan of silver bells during the holiday season. I like the swags as well, so would suggest something light weight maybe using a styrofoam base and some silver bells

  3. If it's for a door perhaps, instead of a wreath, something long and skinny like a short table runner size?

  4. I love to have all the windows open and the air circulating .. even now in the Autumn when the air is a bit "crisper".. I would feel like a prisoner behind those shutters x Maybe combine the idea of the table runner type hanging with a bell for each day of Advent x

  5. I like Dolores idea of something like a table runner size. I made 'bell pull' hangings for my sister-in-law one time. She collected a certain china with strawberries on. This was displayed in a small alcove in the hallway. The bell pulls then could hang near and compliment the china.
    a Google image search for 'bell pull wallhangings' brought up many images to give an idea. I am sure you could also carve a decorative hanger! (or save that for another year and send her to one of the shops like Michael's or Joanne's that they have in America.)
    Sandy in the UK

  6. I enjoyed seeing your house - I like to know what people's houses look like so I can picture them there. And I agree - no shutters. We open our curtains early and leave them open late. I have lace curtains in the living room and our window is in a little alcove so behind the lace I have heavier drapes that I can pull shut at night - or in the warm part of summer to keep the heat out - it gets pretty intense on those big windows. When we lived in the country with nothing but cow pastures around us we didn't even have any curtains - just loved it that way - but in town I do like a little privacy sometimes.

    I like the long skinny hanging for the door too - although there are lots of cute ideas for wreaths also - even calendar wreaths for counting down the days of December. How about a very long skinny snowman? That would be cute too. Can't wait to see what you come up with - I know it will be fantastic. And what a lovely idea - to carve a hanger - that would be so special.

  7. Interesting. I suppose it's a case of whether it's more important to enjoy seeing life going on outside the house or whether it's more important that nobody gets to see in. Personally I'm for open windows and pulled back curtains, as long as I'm not dancing around naked at the full moon LOL!!!! I love waking as it gets light and hearing the dawn chorus.
    I like the suggestion of a skinny hanging..., good luck.

  8. That is so interesting about the shutters. Something for Marie's door - what a nice idea. Something she doesn't need to fuss with. In Japan I hung a stocking on our apartment door. It was made from a very old "cutter" quilt. Whatever you make will be wonderful I'm sure!

  9. Interesting about the shutters on windows. Maybe your neighbours don't know they can be opened?
    Could the door hanging be a little quilt with a wreath on it, either pieced or appliqued?

  10. It is funny about those windows because the people in our area use shutters every night too. We don't have any but I doubt if we'd use them as I like to keep the curtains open (upstairs) to be able to see the morning light too. When we moved into our house there was a frosted window in the dining room but AT GREAT EXPENSE had the window changed to clear glass because I wanted to look out. I have had friends who seem to have phobias about people looking into their homes and they get paranoid thinking an innocent dog walker is trying to scout out their house.

  11. I have a Christmas tree quilt, made with log cabin blocks, that hangs on the inside of my door every year.;_ylt=A0LEVu4DavxVbGcAYQgnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?p=Christmas+Tree+Log+Cabin+Quilt+Pattern&fr=yhs-mozilla-004&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004
    lots of ideas at that link.

  12. I have noticed that more people are starting to live that way with windows and blinds closed tight even in the campgrounds. I don't know how they can live that way.

    We had rouladen blinds in Germany. We rolled them down at night to help hold in heat and to keep the street noise out but not all the way closed. I like having a little light coming through as the sun rises. Come morning, those blinds were all the way up. I cannot stand being closed up in a room with no windows. I prefer fresh breezes from an open window to central air.

    I can't wait to see what you come up with for your daughter. I'm sure it will be brilliant.