Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where does time go?

Well, I do know where some of it went. The weekend of the 30th was the fall cub rally. Since Nikko went along, it involved driving, and though I have driven there a number of times in the past, the roads keep changing as well as the access to the campsite which used to be part of some military housing area. The trip, even with the navigator on my i-phone, took about 4 hours.

A new Stewardship banner has to be made and I have not been happy with the theme, so getting my act together has involved some meetings and discussions and sketches. In the end, I do not have a program to design graphics on my laptop. I used to turn the plans over to my husband for that aspect.

Finally this week I am getting some help from someone who can do that part ... but it means the design is getting changed too. Hopefully Sunday we will look at all the plans and decide so I can get going on this one.

Monday was a holiday, so no school.

I still had to go out at 4:am for "rice delivery". Actually, since the church kitchen is involved in the basement renovations, the team could not meet to make the onigiri and what I delivered were packs of 5 small bean-jam buns.
After a summer break, it was interesting that on the first day of deliveries, those homeless spotted me ... that old lady with the white dog has got the goods ... and all 30 packs found welcoming hands.

We took advantage of the day off for our Halloween cookie factory.

Aunt Marie had sent some fancy sprinkles from Boston and we made good use of the variety.
We had a skype visit with daughters and cousins in Oregon.

Leia went home that evening with two boxes of fancy cookies to share with her friends.

The day went by so quickly.

I have to admit, I spent (wasted) so much time looking for things that I put somewhere two weeks ago when "tidying up" for the quilt group visit.

Some things I just have not been able to find ... mostly things that had been living on my coffee table right under my nose for the entire summer.
Even fabrics I had laid out to use on my mola have walked off.

I added a bit of fill-in design but I spent a lot of time un-sewing things I didn't like after putting them on.

This weekend is the boy scout friendship Patrol-o-ree with Japanese scouts and before running off there, I have my pack meeting.

Choir will sing at the early service Sunday and I will be very lucky to have even one back-up tenor ... and even luckier if that person comes for rehearsal before-hand.

Fall is a busy time of year with scouting starting up, school starting up, choir practice picking up, rice delivery starting up,  and meetings for planning of all kinds of things. The sweet olive that perfumes the air took clues from the spider lilies and is dropping its tiny orange flowers weeks before it usually blooms. The toad lily has buds so still something to look forward to beforeI begin sweeping up fallen leaves.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mr. Frog got some company

The light border on the dragonfly's front wings doesn't show much considering how hard it was to sew. Now I have to start thinking about the background. When I set it next to the butterfly, the balance is way off.

I am not sure where I want to go with this.

Maybe I will play around with the owl and turtle while I think it over....

Friday, September 22, 2017

Frogs like rainy days

The rain began as Nikko and I were walking home from our morning outing... and it has been raining off and on all day ... a perfect time to spend on a bit of Mola stitchery. As you may notice, I gave in to calls from my scrap box to be included in the challenge.
I have never seen a mola using prints but as long as I am making up my own designs, I may as well use some scraps from my stash. This is never going to look like a traditional mola anyway.

In the late afternoon, Nikko and I took a walk to the next station to find a few things the local shop doesn't have stocked. Since it was raining, I tied Nikko under the roofed area outside the store while I shopped. When I came out, her fan club had gathered, and as I was getting ready to untie her, a lady came running up so happy to see her saying how glad she was and how worried she had been since it had been such a long time.

As it turns out, she often met up with Paul and Nikko in that same spot and had been looking there for the last year and a half. Even more surprising, she reached in her shopping bag and pulled out a package of doggy treats she had been carrying each trip to the store, hoping to see Nikko again.
Well, Nikko was delighted to see her and performed a "lie-down-roll-over " plus a "wait" and "itadakimasu" to get one of the treats. The lady commented that Nikko is looking more slim and fit. Yes, I am not as generous with "people-food" as Paul had been.

The rain had let up a bit and I said thank you to one happy lady and returned home with one happy dog ... and the rest of the package of treats. (those I will stuff in her kong when I need to leave her alone for a while).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hopping along ...

The Mola is getting a bit of action.

Luckily, the butterfly is hiding behind the flowers over on the sofa. It might be a bit too big for the frog anyway.

I am thinking of using this leaf as a pattern since it seems to fit the area.

My nest challenge is deciding between applique and reverse-applique to decorate the frog.

And, maybe the frog needs a target like a bee ... but I would rather have him work on eliminating the swarms of mosquitoes encouraged by Sunday's rain.

Over the weekend I did a bit of piecing and it was a refreshing change. I am looking forward to the time I can add some needlework. . .

And watching Queenie's blog for possible stitches that might add to the design ... and be easy enough for me to figure out.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The joys of getting old?

Today is a holiday, but it might be hard to know it.

When I took the train to work, it was slightly less crowded than usual but that is all relative as the seats were completely occupied by the youngest and fastest as usual ... and even though the "holiday" was Respect for the Aged Day, even the silver seats ... reserved for the old and handicapped were filled with young people staring at their devices, or reading comics or sleeping with ear-buds on.
I doubt any of them would even look up to see if their might be some senior standing in front of them.

It was the same coming home, except the silver seats were being used by families with elementary school age kids spreading all over. I think I saw one elderly gentleman sitting there trying to ignore the kids bouncing up and down next to him.

It was a long day and I came in tired and thinking ... what should I have for dinner? Then the phone rang and it was my neighbor wanting to deliver red rice from the neighborhood association to celebrate those old folks in the neighborhood.

This is what came in the package.

Rather pretty with a set of festive chopsticks.

And here it is ... packed in a thin wooden box.

Red rice is made using red beans and it is sprinkled on top with toasted sesame seeds.
It is eaten on festive occasions.
There is no way I can eat this much.

Maybe I could make rice balls for tomorrow's lunch ... or maybe share some with Nikko ...
After all, 14 is rather aged for a big dog.

And, while I am thinking about getting old,

How long has it been since you have seen an infant in a playpen.

In fact, I wonder if anyone today even knows what a playpen is.

Back in the days when my kids were small, it was the thing that kept them safe until they were big enough to know it would hurt falling from the top of the piano ...
or that they might get burned pulling the oven opened.

When I was folding and putting away the laundry this past week, this is what I found on the bottom of a storage drawer.

The last kid to use this playpen pad has big kids reaching for their teens.

Appliqued and embroidered with places for the toy cars and trains to run, it is plain to see that it got a lot of use ... probably made in the mid 60s when we got the folding wooden playpen. I remember also how nicely that item kept the toys all corralled. After spending many hours last week tidying and cleaning for guests, I am thinking that now I am the one who needs a playpen to keep my sewing stuff from spreading all over the house ... well if the house had more space, it would be something  called a "sewing room".
(and if I can't find a place to sit, it will be my own fault for piling things on the chairs.) Oh well, the holiday is almost over anyway.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Time flies !!!!

After about a month of rain followed by weeks of super heat and humidity, we had about two cool days.
Now it is hot and humid again and the plants seem to be confused.

Just Monday, on my way to school, I saw the buds of the spider lilies beginning to pop up.
Tuesday they were already open and declaring it is fall.

Meanwhile, the Autumnal equinox they are known to proclaim, won't be here until the 23rd.

I walked around to the east side of the house  and those were also in bloom.

Because of "set-back" the garden here is only six inches wide and the flower pots are there to keep neighbourhood cats from using the space as a litter box.

The lilies are coming up behind.

This morning they have been joined by the red ones.
Just as spring marches in one flowering plant at a time, autumn usually proceeds in a similar way ...
The gardenias second blooming, indicating nights becoming cooler, then the Higanbana (spider lilies), then the hototogisu or toad lily, and in mid to late October, the sweet olive (Kinmokusei and Ginmokusei ) perfuming the air.

I admit I look forward to autumn weather  (not the typhoons, but the cooler nights and blue skies.
I even noticed, looking out the third floor windows at school, that the leaves on the dogwoods lining the street are beginning to turn red. Last year's Goldenrod now has a house going up on the site and the pampas grasses are still thinking it is mid summer.

The mola grew a couple of flowers to keep the butterfly busy ... if he can find them through the labyrinth.

Friday ... and my quilt group is close on the heels ... it is a very small group but if I don't get busy quickly, there won't even be a place to sit ... nothing but dust and dog hair ... and to top it off, while I was gone on Monday, Nikko chewed up a bag of something. I lock her out of the livingroom but she found something ... maybe flower seeds in a baggy, and there was torn up plastic spread all over when I went up to bed that night and she had been having bowel troubles ever since and leaving messes here and there.
Time to set handwork aside and tackle the giant spoon that has stirred up my living quarters! I wish cleaning would go as fast as the flowers this year.

Friday, September 8, 2017

More mola ?

Friday was my first Cub Pack meeting of the school year so I had to come up for a plan of a game the boys could do while the adults got organized.

I decided to make a getting-to-know-you BINGO game.
I haven't done that for many years so first I made a template for A4 paper and made six copies. Then made a list of 25 questions to learn about those in the room.

I put a place in the middle for the scout to sign his name and then arranged the questions differently on each form.

After filling in all the pages, I went to the convenience store and made ten copies of each sheet. Then I piled them up in a way that when handing them out, each had a better possibility of getting a variety of pages.

The rules were that each person could only sign once, and I told the boys to look carefully for harder questions and get those filled first. One was "someone who has climbed Mt Fuji" and I asked off hand who had done that and other than me there were three others in the room.
There were plenty of easy questions  like plays a sport or has a pet.
After going over the rules, I asked if there were any questions ... sure enough, my #1 questioner wanted to know if the scout had signed the center, could he also sign one other of the questions. Good point! If you come to the end and still don't have any bingos, sure, you can sign if the question suits you. One of the questions was someone who knows an Eagle Scout. There were adult Scouters there wearing the Eagle knot on their shirts so I was surprised that was a hard one.
In the end, one boy got 7 bongos on his sheet. There were  only a few boys who didn't get any.

Most of my day that wasn't taken up in preparation, was taken up by the meeting or travel. The long trip managed to finish up all but the body on my butterfly mola ... and that part got added this morning.
I am planning to add embroidery in the end. The more of this I do, the more I realize I am more of a patchwork kind of person.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Snack time !!!

Actually, it was the mosquitoes doing all the snacking.

Each morning, Nikko and I take a walk through the park. I carry along a plastic bag which I use to pick up Nikko's morning deposit ...

Then I fill the rest of the bag with weeds pulled along the way.

The park is way too big to cover everything but the areas that are planted with nice golf-course grass were looking very sad when I returned from my summer adventures.

When the weeds are young, it is very easy to pull them straight up from between the grass and they come roots and all. As they get bigger, it is still easy to get a good hold for pulling ... BUT ... about two weeks ago, the park people came by with weed-whackers and cut everything off at grass level.

Now there is not much to get hold of for pulling and all the mosquitoes that were hiding in the grass are desperate to find something tasty to nibble. I did manage to fill the bag on the left today with my arms flailing around like a windmill to chase off the critters.

The weeds that were cut have new sprouts and if you look closer at the five ones laid out here, they do not only spread by seed ... Long white roots shoot out in all directions. The white bag is now filled with three days worth of weeds ... and maybe a few smashed critters ... and will go out in tomorrow's trash.

The mola got a little more attention.

I have some light blue to add ... and then some area applique and some planned stitchery.

I am thinking of waiting to add those things until I have the backing decided.

I don't want to purchase any more fabric so I am hoping something in my acquired stash will work.

Time to go up and sort through my boxes ... and maybe replenish the coffee removed by the mosquitoes ... no wonder they are so hyper!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Beauty treatment

The other day, when the newspaper guy came to collect for my paper delivery, He asked me about my front "garden" which I usually take care of from season to season.

Since I had been away for a month, the Vine-leafed Maple had shot up in front of the second floor window and the plum tree was against the house.

Also the lace-leafed maple had become so thick with branches that the plants on either side were almost completely hidden. Knowing which branches to prune out is tricky with maples.

The guy knew that I usually did the trimming but he made me an offer that would have been hard to refuse ... less than what I have paid in the past for professional pruning which results were not to my liking.

This guy brought a young man around as promised this morning at 10:00 and the three of us discussed what I wished to have improved.

I wish I had "before" pictures to show. What an improvement!

All the cuttings were carefully cleaned up and taken away in his truck. (I think last time I was cleaning up cuttings in the under-brush for weeks).

Just as he finished, it began to rain.

I would say the garden will be very happy. I had him leave the gardenia nearest the gate as it had buds getting ready to bloom, and I can trim that bush when the flowers are finished

 Meanwhile the mola got a bit more attention.

This is not coming out as I had planned. I think it is rather difficult to figure out the order of cutting and turning when the technique is completely unfamiliar as it is hard to see as far ahead as needed when planning.

Maybe I should have gotten a few books with instructions before just jumping in.

The next baby quilt is still being arranged.
The I-Spy blocks are only four inches square so I am going to need to mark and cut more ...

And then, the sashing strips ... I will need to lay it all out to adjust the balance of color so I really can't begin to sew until it is all arranged and pinned in strips.

Sometime this week I am planning to go to a quilt show. As I recall, this show does not allow pictures but it is a very good show and one of my quilt group friends has a featured part.

Here's hoping the rain does more to lower the temperature than to add to the humidity. The garden will be happy and I am hoping I will be too. At least I have something pretty to look at.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Moving along at a snail's pace ...

... Or, should I say, "a turtle's pace"?

The mola has been moving very slowly if at all ... much like plans for the next baby quilt. I pulled it off the pile because this seems to be turtle weather. For the last three weeks I have been getting wet from the outside in ... but this past week, with the high heat and humidity, I am soaking from the inside out.

There has been talk in the news about the 2020 olympics and running the marathon in this kind of heat. Yes, I would think even walking the city streets in this kind of weather would be a challenge.

Speaking of challenges ... have you even made a challenge quilt? I happened to think of this as it is the quilt I am sleeping under these warm nights.

In the fall of 2000, a quilting/scouting friend, Tina Urata, returned to Tokyo on a short visit. She brought five fat quarters tied with a ribbon for each member of our quilt group. We decided to make something using those fabrics by adding one fabric of our own. This is the plan I came up with and it was finished in early September 2001.

This spent many years along the back of my sofa, so is a bit faded now by the sun ... at least the dark blue star fabric.

The backing is all made of tenugui with floral prints. This morning, when she sun began to lighten the sleeping area, I pulled the Mt. Fuji section over my eyes for a bit more sleep. Ah, rest in the shade of Mt. Fuji in my own greenhouse.

Today the quilt went into the wash and will be all fresh for tonight's rest. With this heat it took just an hour to dry (maybe less) draped double over the laundry bar.

I think I hear a turtle calling ... or is that just the drip drip of sweat from my brow?