Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Back to the usual

 Well, I arrived home to a dead AC and lots of dead plants. Luckily the first week back was filled with Vacation Bible School. The church was plenty cool and I actually had to take something warm to keep from freezing in the AC. Then ... return home in the packed sardine can they call a subway, and find the coolest spot to recover from excessive jet-lag.

I had a broken tooth to deal with and also trying to recover as many of the plants as possible. That effort is still going on daily. The jet lag took several weeks to recover and a new AC has been installed, The potted maple tree with brown leaves, has just begun to put out new green leaves at the tips of most branches. I poured water at it's base every morning since returning.

Friday, school began. It's nice to be back with the kids, though the long walk to and from the stations is rather miserable in this heat.

I have finished a pile of blocks that are waiting for a cool space large enough to arrange them around the center block. I'm thinking of adding four flowers to the corner area once that the layout is decided. The blocks are all floral prints and I want to coordinate those flowers with the block arrangement. I may be able to use the church fellowship hall floor if I can some good timing. My cub pack has our first meeting this Friday. I might be able to use some space there, as I will not have time to go home between school and the meeting. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a bit of progress. I bought batting while in Boston.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Flapping my wings

 At the end of June, I took off on an adventure to visit my kiddos in the states.

First stop was in Oregon, though I took a short trip up to Washington, to visit Vashon Island, where I had worked one summer as a college student.

The rest of the time was divided between Portland and Grant's Pass with Oregon kids and grandkids. All the Oregon crew posed for a photo before leaving. 

Next stop was in Colorado, where we took in lots of mountain scenery and a quilt show that included a talk by the featured artist.

There was also an exhibit of log cabin quilts, arranged in a wide variety of styles.

The frosting on the cake was a family dinner at a Japanese restaurant with yummy eels in a bento box.

The next morning, was out early to catch a plane to Boston. 

Now I am enjoying being pampered on the last leg of the trip.

This trip has been full of adventure ... with a few still to go ... and friends along the way.

In the end, my granddaughter will get her "big girl" quilt created on a trip around the world. The take-along work could be done on the plane and in trips by car.

More than 40 of the 52 blocks are together, and I am trying to save a few for the plane ride home. 

Meanwhile, there adventures still lined up for the week ahead.

(How can anything be more fun than I have already had!) I'll have to wait and see what in to follow.....

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Zoom finish

Monday morning, after onigiri delivery, and during the morning zoom meeting,  I finished turning the binding on this quilt. I had thought on Saturday to walk into town and buy some bias binding, but then, this being a scrappy project, why not use leftover bits of binding saved for smaller projects. I was not too sure how it would come out, but in the end, with the variety of squares, it is hardly noticeable.
The day was clear and sunny so I took it to the park fence for a photo. It was my first chance to see how the diagonal quilting turned out. I think it looks OK and a bit less boring than if I had gone all in one direction. With the 80 loft, this will be more of a winter quilt.

Because of the "Golden week" holiday, I have had a few days off school, and not as much time for planning my next project, as I had been expecting a visitor ... well, not a person staying over, but a bit of dog sitting for my daughter's friend.  I was a bit worried, as I had not met the dog before, but as it turned out, Ricola, an elderly Jack Russell Terrier, has been a fine guest. She loves walks so we have put in some nice long strolls and the rest of the day she is content to zone out in her kennel or on the sofa. 

This evening she chose my comfy chair seat, placed on the sofa.

Attention is also shifted to a dozen young silkworms. There might have been thousands, but I was late finding the bag of eggs, many not having survived without being fed.

It is just as well, because almost all the mulberry trees in the area have been cut down, and leaves will be hard to find.

Tomorrow I will have a buddy for onigiri delivery, and her owner will pick her up in the late morning, Heavy rain is predicted so I'm thinking of giving her breakfast in the parking area under the train line and thus roofed over and big enough for a long walk.

That's about it for now. Thanks for all the nice comments. I really have to get my blogging mojo back and see what the rest of my friends are up to. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

A small finish

My zoom quilt is still on the inner border with about halfway left to go. What is needed to finish is more time on my sofa. It is not something to be carried around, and my past week had little sitting time.

Son Jon, and his son, Kai, came for a short visit. We had some mornings together before I had to run  off to work, and some evening wrap ups before hitting the sack. Some mornings were extra short to fit in visits to the clinic, some zoom gatherings got lost in the shuffle, and church activities snatched up extra time as well. Though the back treatment is painful, the results are getting better and I am not tossing and turning all night anymore trying to find a pain-free position to sleep in.

Jon had three day events with his high school class reunion, but our time together was all quality time, even being rather short. They left the 6th while I was at school. It was just as well, because I had choir practice both Thursday and Friday followed by worship services. There was no time to go home after school, but a bit of spare time for a small quilt to piece and finish off. I made this one for some very kind neighbors who had invited me to their house for coffee and cake and a nice visit. Their home stands on what used to be the "weed lot" and now is decorated with many climbing roses and other flowers. The couple both speak English fluently and are a fine addition to the neighborhood. 

With my pending schedule, it will most likely be 5 days more before I can get back to working  on the Zoom quilt border. I was reminded when working on this small piece, how much easier it is to baste and quilt without a hoop. The stitches are much more even and smaller and turning curved lines, not a wrestling match.

The Easter bunny will be enjoying his year of the rabbit tomorrow, and I hope my quilting friends will have a hoppy day too.


Monday, March 13, 2023

Time flies when you're having fun...

Well, that is the way the saying goes...

In my case, fun or work, time seems to take off on its own. I keep thinking, that one of these days, I'll be going out the door, and meet myself coming in, and not be able to tell which is the real me!

 My "ZOOM" quilt is still getting a bit of attention.
At this point, I am working on quilting the blue inner border.
I used thinsulate #80, which is rather puffy and a bit difficult to get small stitches. though I usually would quilt this in the ditch, I decided to try quilting it on the diagonal, thinking I might go in both directions, but after doing a few rows, decided I would rather have it puffy, and probably that much quilting is enough to hold it together. It is quite cozy to sit under while working, and I ended up changing the direction of the lines in a few places, so all the quilting wouldn't be pointing in just one direction.

The border quilting is taking some time, and I probably should have done something simpler, as it really doesn't show up on the floral print.

Looking through all the "gifted" fabric for making a backing,  I was amazed to see so many large amounts ... I'm talking meters of fabrics ... with maybe one ten-inch corner cut out, and the rest just jumbled up in a pile. At the speed I work, it will take several lifetimes to use half of it! Yet, throwing it out does not seem an option ... which is probably why I was "gifted" it in the first place.

I thought as I got older, I would have more time for sitting around and quilting, but somehow that is not the case.  Four days a week, I am at the preschool, helping the art teacher (preparing for and cleaning up after) her after-school classes ... as well as working with the kids and her classroom activities. I usually don't get home until after 5pm, and turn in early. (can't sit on the train in rush hour

Monday mornings I still deliver onigiri to the homeless in Shibuya, but for a few weeks without my car, I began bringing the bags home by train, and then delivering them, taking the first train out in the morning. That was a lot of walking, and the bags are heavy. Since I am back singing in the church choir, I also had an extra bag with my music to carry, and wished to shop on the way home from the station, rather than walk there and back another time. 

Even when my car returned home, I thought it might save time and gas to bring those onigiri home on Sundays. For the last few weeks, my back has begun to protest, and a pinched nerve in my right hip is getting more attention than I would wish for. The only place to find any relief is on the heated toilet seat, not the place to do quilting...

Meanwhile, the zoom quilt gets attention while zooming three times a week for morning meetups,  noon  and evening sessions plus women's conference workshops, gatherings with kids, scout stuff beyond our monthly pack meeting, to the point I have to post stickers on my laptop for reminders ... hoping I can remember what day it is, and keep my grandfather clock wound up so the bonging will remind me of the time. (It just now reminded me that it is time to get going)

Maybe tonight, after my zooming, I can get a bit caught up on what my blogging friends are up to!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Starting a new year

This year started with a lot of zooming. On the first, I hurried home from church for a zoom gathering with my kids ... spread from the east coast to the west coast of the states, and across the pond to Japan.

On Monday the zooming was with church friends, spread from Malaysia to the eastern US, and Tuesday it was with cousins and nieces and nephews living in the states. While viewing the screens of squares and faces, I was reminded  of a nine-patch. I had been marking and cutting squares of a number of scraps, and sitting right at my right side were two tins of two-inch squares, so full of pieces that the lids wouldn't go on. I think Mr. Zoom was calling out for me to fix the problem,  so I began arranging and sewing blocks while zooming. Wednesday and Friday added more finishes.

I think usually, nine-patches have the darker squares in the center and corners. I began with the alternate setting, and when I laid them  out, I liked the results. making contrasting blocks would give a checkerboard effect, but I like the way this looks,

I have hardly made a dent in the number of blocks, still in those tins. I do have a few that probably would not work in a 9-patch, but might be nice set with solids in a border. I think that I will wait before sewing these all together in order to balance the colors.

Years ago, I gave up on new year's resolutions, and began picking a focus year for the year. Last year was "purpose", and I was wondering what to choose for this year, when the word chose me instead. Jan1st, as I headed off to church, a neighbor shouted out "Happy new year" in english, and as I was rushing home for the zoom date, another neighbor stopped while passing by on his bike, to give me a high-five and wishes in english. The overflowing of love from family and friends calls out for gratitude, which will be a fine focus for this year.

Cleaning out the dust bunnies from under the eves at the head of my futon, I made room for the bunnies and a few owls to enjoy the new year and the reminder they bring of friends past and present and happy events.

I hope my blogging friends will also enjoy a year full of happiness and gratitude.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Time for an update

My Ohio Star Log Cabin was finished November 13th and went directly to my futon. Though this time of year, I am usually sleeping in a military "extreme cold" sleeping bag, this quilt over a fleece blanket that came from my Portland family, and a light down throw on top to protect the quilt from excess sun, makes a nice toasty sleeping nest.

This month, I have added two small Christmas pieces.
These both went to church friends,
This one to a member who has given me money to pay for gas as I drive to town for onigiri delivery.

The second one to a fellow onigiri deliverer who came in the early morning to rescue me when my car battery died and I had to travel to town by train. She caught up with me and showed me how to find the right exit in the maze of Shibuya station.

 These two are my angels, thus the center block.
I figured this might make a small table center or even a warm lap rug.
Just a small thank you for their kindness.

Tuesday was the last day of school for me, so hopefully a bit of time to tidy up my messy livingroom and get my sewing things organized before beginning a new project.There will be two Christmas eve services to sing with the choir. I don't enjoy riding the crowded trains at that time of night, but singing together after such a long break is such a joy. 
Warmest holiday wishes to you all.




Sunday, November 6, 2022

October was a busy month!!

October began with the celebration of our church's 150th anniversary. Ten years ago, I had collected signatures from those attending that anniversary, and decided to combine them into a banner. Some were on 1x4inch strips, and some on 2x4inch pieces. I used my vast collection of floral scraps to make setting blocks, and added the blue strip between them, and blank strips around the border.  During some of the anniversary events, I collected signatures of newer members to add in the border and to vine leaves and petals. Today I finally got a picture of the banner hanging in the entry lounge.


The week following those events began our three week stewardship emphasis time. The stewardship banner was hung at the corner of the stairway, choir activities picked up, I was asked to give a talk ... not my favorite kind of activity... Toss in scout meeting and school activities, and October zoomed by in no time.

As the end of the month neared, I began to worry about my Monday morning onigiri delivery. Last year, because of all the Halloween gatherings, the police had blocked off the parking along the main streets and when I arrived, I was unable to pull over and park. I kept going along the one-way streets crammed with crowds of costumed drunken young people, moving slowly a foot or so at a time until I came back to the parking space. Then, one of the homeless brothers ran out and moved the cones so I could pull over to park.  Remembering that, the week before, the same homeless man who meets me at my car, asked if I would be coming. When I told him I was worried it might be like last year, he told me not to worry, that he would be there for me.

Well, Sunday afternoon, as I was leaving church, there was loud noise and music and a huge group of young people on the street.

The crowd of costumed celebrants were walking up the left side of the hill in front of the church. When they got to the light, they turned back down, and soon the street was filled with people dancing along.
Here they come back past the church on our side of the street.

Watching them pass with no end in sight, I began to worry about what the morning delivery might be like.

The evening had more things to consider, A huge bouquet came from all my children. Then my Tokyo family arrived in bits and pieces as we had a date planned for dinner together.

here is a partial picture with Norie and all those flowers.

Well, we went out to a neighborhood restaurant for the planned dinner, and what a shocking surprise that was!

When we came in the door, there were two of my church friends that I worked with at Vacation Bible school,  a girl who has become my "daughter on loan" and a good Scouting friend. We hadn't settled in long, when my "Son on loan" and his darling wife showed up. It ended up a birthday party ... with even a little cake and candle.

That night, Norie stayed over and went with me to Shibuya for the onigiri delivery. There were cones around the station area and the scramble crossing was full of young people, but my homeless friend was waiting and the parking space was clear. It may have been the disaster in Korea turned the Tokyo gang into a better controlled outing.  Other than my family and friends, that was the best birthday gift of all.

Now we are into November. I can't believe how suddenly we went from the sauna weather into warm and wooly clothing. Sitting at my computer in a winter jacket while all the fall clothing hangs untouched in the closet. Friday I was lucky to have the day off work and could meet friends for a quilt show. That will be my next post later this week.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Another Banner

Today I added the hanging sleeve and took this banner to the park for a photo opp. Not too easy getting a good picture in the wind blowing through the fence.

 This is the 13th banner over the years, and I am finding it harder each year to work with a committee, especially a committee that wants some "feel good" sentiment. We have added lots of new people to our congregation, and feeling welcome is important, but getting involved is much more what I would like to see. Most of the suggestions were themes we have done over and  over. Why bother making a new banner?

"Where will you fit? was rejected because it might hurt someone's feelings. Really?

After spending a good part of what might have been my dinner time, and with the help of my daughter, I got the EMS postal form filled out and printed up to send the labyrinth to Boston.Today I walked all the way to the big PO and waited in line, only to have my form rejected. It was in a B4 brown envelope, but not paper, as the computer choice expected. A complete waste of an hour and a half, not to mention getting the form filled out and printed. There is no choice for "quilted fabric or wall hanging"

The anniversary banner went to church last Friday, and was hung on Sunday, gathering a few more signatures. I added vines with leaves that could be signed in the empty spaces, but have no idea how many more signatures it might collect. October 1st and 2nd are the "big" days, so I will know soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Finally finished

 Finished after a long day yesterday, and posed for a picture this morning...

My friend from church brought me printouts of the kanji. I decided to just embroider them, doubling a single strand of floss. The photo doesn't show the autumn one well. Red on purple isn't much of a contrast, but it is actually clearly legible in person. I just put small  quilted images in the corners... cherry blossom, sunflower, colorful leaf, and snowflake. 

Next challenge will be getting it mailed to Boston.

Meanwhile, a stewardship banner needs to move from graph paper to fabric, and a hanging sleeve needs to be added to the church anniversary banner. Both of those have about half a month to get finished. No more time for dithering....