Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New beginnings and continuing challenges

Spring is arriving slowly ... two steps forward and one step back.

These Nanohana (rape flowers) are one of the traditional signs of spring. Though usually seen in fields, these are in planters outside the rice store.

This week, the rice store lady added two planters of beautiful tulips. Those she has to hide inside her gate each evening because of the resident tulip vandal.
I see a few of the bulbs I planted in the weed lot have come up this year but I doubt there will be blooms as they were ripped out last year.

And another new beginning, just across the street from the rice store, is a home going up.

There was a ceremony on the lot that had been cleared with shinto priests and family.

Then the foundation was laid and the posts set in place.
At this point the roof will be put on and another ceremony took place.

A table was set in the north-east corner room and the family all gathered in chairs around the table.

At this point they are passing the saki and making a toast.

The following day, the curtains were drawn around the construction site and the roof was put in place. The shingles are now on and work is progressing.

The side street on the way to the station has about 12 young magnolia trees along the sidewalk.

Every year they begin to bloom first at the east end of the street.

It is something like watching spring walk closer and closer to my house as each tree finds it's time to open the buds into huge blooms.

This picture is just to give you an idea of the size of those blooms.

There are several varieties of magnolia in the area. The others have somewhat smaller flowers  This is the darkest and largest variety.
By the time leaves begin to fall at the end of summer, they are as large and round as dinner plates.

In the park there is a larger tree with smaller white flowers and I think I have seen a star magnolia in some garden nearby.

These sure do look pretty against the blue sky ...

Yes, we did have a bit of blue between the blustery rainy days.

And ... my little orchid ... given me by the man down the street has rewarded my patience with two pretty flowers.

I think it is about ready to be re-potted.

And ...

On my design door you can see the first border added to my nine-patch.

Now the size is 64" x 46".
Bigger but not big enough yet.

I am thinking the next border will have something set on point. I have not done the math so I am not sure what will fit.
Usually I just make the blocks and do the measuring later. Maybe I can set them with some colored sashing to add a few more inches.

I did add one more challenge because last night while going out with my daughter and my husband's cousin for a treat in an unknown shop, I miss-stepped on some pie-shaped steps and almost fell a few meters to the bottom. Luckily, I caught myself on the handrail before crashing into the line of people waiting at the entrance ... but ... I broke my index finger on my right hand in the process. A waiter at the restaurant gave me some ice to put on it ... which the doctor said was a good move ... but the x-rays today showed the joint was broken and it had to be set. Now I have to figure out how to go about my regular routine with one hand. Luckily, I am left-handed but practically everything I do takes more than one hand. (and Nikko is not helping at all) I know they make rubber gloves but I probably won't be able to find rubber mittens. This is going to be another challenge added to my already challenging month of April!


  1. I hope your hand heals quickly. It sounds really painful. The magnolias are beautiful. I like the idea of seeing them bloom closer and closer to your house and seeing spring move closer. We have magnolias here in my neighborhood in Ohio too, but I haven't notice which ones bloom first.

  2. So sorry about your finger. I had surgery on mine, several years ago. Not fun (I am right handed). I couldn't even cut my food. Good luck.

  3. Ouch ..... you will find ways to get around .... you are so creative.

  4. I hope you can splint the finger so you can still use it, I have broken a few and I still use them. Maybe that is why they never heal right, lol. I love the longer days and the hints of spring, can't wait for the blooms to appear, but here it is a bit cold still.


  5. The flowers are pretty - especially the magnolias and the orchid - and your nine-patch is looking good - but your finger!! I feel your pain - even though I am Left-Handed, I do a lot with my right hand - not to mention all of the things that require both hands. It's another challenge - but it's a temporary one - so some stuff will just have to wait until you can get to it - unless Nikko volunteers to help - LOL - ;))

  6. Ah no Julie, you poor thing. Hope you get better soon. As a child, blessing of new building was a hight of excitement. In countryside they throw mochi, manjuu and sweets from the top. We all went there to catch some treats ;)

  7. Thank you for the view down the street, with the gorgeous trees. It makes it fun to imagine your world In blooming color!! Sorry about the finger. It will take time to heal. You will figure out what you can do rather quickly, ask me how I know!! Thank goodness, you caught yourself, before larger body parts could be hurt.

  8. Oh so sorry you broke your finger - hate it when things like that happen. Your quilt is coming along nicely - I like the new border - and on point sounds good - it always adds interest to a quilt. Glad nothing more got broken - a finger is plenty to deal with.

  9. Do you just need larger rubber gloves to accomodate the bandage or what? Put a plastic bag over your hand and an elastic band at the wrist? Anything I might be able to bring you?

  10. Hi Julie. Firstly, thank you for the beautiful photos (I do love flowers). Secondly, I hope your finger heals soon. You will find ways of doing things, I know as my husband is an amputee, he lost his right arm when he was 21. He was right handed so had to learn to write with his left. There are only a few things he cant do (he drives lorries, he fixes anything that breaks on the farm including welding, does clay pixgeon shooting) a few tips are find shoes that dont need to be tied, have someone hold any papers you have to sign, tops and jackets without zips are easier and dont be afraid to ask for help.

  11. Dear Julie,
    I am so sorry to hear about your fracture, but I must admit I am relieved that you did not break your NECK! What a nasty fall that could have been!
    You have overcome so many challenges before, and you will eventually get through April, too.
    There are always beutiful flowers in your blog posts. Today I saw some YELLOW magnolias next to a blossoming cherry tree. I have never seen them in flower at the same time before!
    Your quilt is looking good!

  12. It is lovely to see Spring arriving in your neighborhood. The magnolias are beautiful.
    Great to see the progress with your quilt borders but I am sorry to know that you have broke your finger! That will make things difficult for a while. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  13. It is good to hear from you. Isn't it always the case that a new challenge pops up out of nowhere! I for one am grateful for the broken finger which saved you from a worse fate. I know you will be able to meet this challenge. I love the flowers and your progress on your quilt!

  14. Oh so sorry about your broken finger - for the pain of it and the inconvenience - but, sounds like that break might have prevented a much worse break. The magnolia - so pretty. Send some of that Japanese spring beauty our way!

  15. I am so sorry to hear about your hand - I am particularly sympathetic since I'm almost unable to use my right hand because of severe arthritis. I'm scheduled to see a hand specialist in May but until then my normal routine is severely compromised! Beautiful flowers....they've been particularly gorgeous here this year because of all the spring rain we had. blessings, marlene

  16. Hope the finger mends as good as new!

  17. Oh no, dear Julie, we are so sorry about your broken finger! That can be so painful. We are sending warm wishes and blessings for a fast recovery. Those pie shaped steps are tricky to navigate.

    The flowers are totally gorgeous, and we love the border on your quilt! It's just perfect ! Please get better soon, as it is truly difficult to sew with one hand.
    Prayers and positive thoughts to you, from Marina and Daryl

  18. WHAT!!!!! You broke your finger?! It is a good thing that you are left handed but even so. .. I hope time has healed you and that your life is back to normal.