Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finishing up and starting again

At the start of 2012 I chose "Priorities" as my focus word.

I have to admit it was a good choice and helped me through many decisions I had to make as to use of time and talents and resources.

Those who really know me, know how I hate doing anything at the last minute. I can do "plan A","plan B", and even plans C, and D, but all need to have some end in sight.

I guess that is one of the reasons I really have no UFOs. I do have something like my blue runner waiting in the wings and I do have some ideas in my sketchbook to try out. (actually quite a few things I would like to try after seeing them on other blogs)

The Woman's Conference is the last weekend in January so the gift for the speaker is finished.

The kanji reading top to bottom, right to left, is Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. I sorted through my fabric bits to find two inch blocks that represent those seasons. The outlines of the kanji are quilted with glittery thread. (I always say, when that spool is gone, I am not getting more ... it is so hard to use)!

The lettering is quilted in light blue. Those letters are just 2cm. high and I had to split the verse to fit it all in without too much crowding.

Can you read it? I didn't want it too bright.

I will add a sleeve in case the speaker wishes to use it as a wall hanging. Since our house is short of wall space, I tend to make table runners rather than hangings.

The finished size is just over 22 x 34 inches if I count the binding.

When I took it out in the sun for a photo, I saw there is a lot of dog hair yet to be removed.

And while I am finishing up the year, I am enjoying the lovely songs of our newest family member.

"Piper" is a pied canary and was a Christmas gift from my husband.

My daughter thought it a rather poor name as the pied piper lured away the children in the tale. Well, he also lured the rats and I am a rat-year person and I probably would have followed along with the children.
Then, since I play the bagpipes, I am a piper too.

What a wonderful way to end and begin a year with song!
Warmest wishes to you all in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nikko picks the Blog Hop winners!

My husband set out to buy some cheese kisses to use in the drawing. Good idea! I could write the numbers on each little wrapping ... and , I had a chance to actually read the number before it was consumed.

As I sat on the sofa, opening the packs, Nikko came and stuck her nose into the package. "Well, I'm ready when you are",she seemed to say. She takes her tasks very seriously. I saw her glancing at the screen as I wrote the numbers, taking notes on the more flattering comments.

Finally, all was ready. Aren't they pretty in their colorful wrappers?

"Let's get on with this, mom, you know dogs are color blind"!

"Hmm, this one looks like a winner"!

OK, Nikko! This was a good plan. She dropped it in my hand when I asked for it. I get the wrapper with the number and Nikko gets the cheese.

#89  (Susan) gets the Zodiac panel.

Second pick,  #53 (Jeneta) gets the bear panel.

This is just like living with two kids! Papa comes in and says he wants to pick one too. Well, I do have a Beckoning Cat panel somewhere in the stash, so go ahead and pick one. (After all, he did go out and buy the cheese)

The bonus panel goes to #47 (Nadine)

So, that's it from the rabbit hutch!

The meal has been eaten, the dishes washed and put away, the legos have had a good working over, smile for the camera and it is time to drive the guests, (Well, Obachan and Ichi behind the camera) off to the train station.

I hope you too have had a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Under the trees, a bed!

Merry Christmas!

I saw Christmas trees on a number of blogs and thought about this quilt I made long ago.

I have no digital pictures so I thought this might be a good time to get a few.

Wrong! It is very very gusty out and it would take many more strong clips to hold this quilt to the chain-link fence!

"Sunny Glade" was finished back in December of 1990.

I had seen a small hanging in a local craft store of Christmas trees and made a sketch. I drafted a seven inch block and used many scrappy fabrics. I had no plan for the blocks but I was not really interested in making something for Christmas. I had to play around with the blocks to  get them organized into a quilt. The backing is turned to the front instead of binding.

I think this quilt was the one that started me keeping a quilt diary. It was also about this time that I joined a group of quilters. I have loved that group and learned much from the members. Sadly, there are few of us left as some move away and others can't get along. The remaining five, though make the occasional gathering a joy.

Our only real bed is up in the loft but space is at a premium so no over-all view. At least the wind was not carrying it off.

The little paper-pieced quilt on the window is used to keep the sun from fading the quilts.

There are a couple of Christmas trees on the quilt. My computer allows me to turn them in my file but for some reason, won't move them standing upright.

I think that tree is tired from the blustery trip to the park and just thinking about all that needs to be done before tomorrow.

Blessings to you all throughout this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

something old and something new

This past week I have spent time sitting under the + & x quilt. About 43 of the center blocks have been quilted in the ditch.

With that quilting there is a lot of stopping and starting and I have left long threads around the outside of the hoop so I can continue as the hoop is moved.

I have been asked to make "something" as a gift for the Women's Conference speaker. Since the conference is the end of January, it was time to get going on that.

I purchased this panel for the center.

The kanji says, reading top to bottom, right to left, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.

I went through my scrappy stash and my two-inch tin and gathered together some fabrics that might suggest the seasons.

At first I thought the scraps were rather bright for the somewhat sophisticated panel colors and fabrics. After I laid everything out, though they were bright, the kanji itself is rather fun with pictures used as some of the strokes ... a bamboo shoot and cherry blossom on spring, a fish and some peppers and watermelon  on summer, eggplant and persimmons on the autumn, and a shrimp and maybe an acorn on winter. The more I mess with arranging the blocks, the more I think it will work out. I plan to use a dark blue binding.

I'm not sure how this will be used but it could be a table runner or hanging. I can add a sleeve just in case she wants to use it that way. I plan to quilt the gold lines around the kanji and the border blocks. I also plan to quilt in the words, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven".

I have not showed this to the committee. I hope it will meet with their approval but I don't think I need too much input. Sometimes it is easier to say, "Here, this is what I came up with". I am a person who hates last-minute work, so the time has come to get my show on the road. Since this is a little under 2 x 3 feet, it will make a good take-along project. My big quilt will still be in the hoop on my lap while I am home.

The blue and white runner waits in the wings  to be finished and replace the holiday runner. We can just celebrate the holidays until it is completed!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Bloggers are hopping again

I am not very good at the technical aspects of Blog Hops but I tried this before and it was fun, so I will give it another shot. Earlier in the week I went to "Fabric Town" (the fabric wholesale district of Tokyo) and picked up two panels for the give-away. The first one is a panel of the twelve animals of the oriental zodiac.

This panel is about 19" x 44" or 48cm. x 112cm.

The second panel is a child-friendly print of bears. The block pattern around the border says baby baby baby.
It might make a nice backing for a baby quilt.
The size is 44.5" x 35" ... or 113cm x 89cm.

Both panels are cotton.

So... what do you need to do to win one of these useful objects? You might try bribing my dog, Nikko. (She will do anything for cheese and she will get to pick the winners on Christmas Eve.)

Please leave a comment saying which of the panels you might like to own.......

And while you are at it, I have a problem you might help me solve......

I have assembled the blue and white blocks for my table runner.

As you can see in this picture, the runner is a wee bit narrow for my coffee table.

It would probably be OK except I have a husband who fills glasses of water, or tea, or whatever with ice, and then puts them on the table and forgets them, thus leaving white rings (like the one in the upper left). Another inch in width might save the table from further destruction.

I could add one-inch blocks along the outer edge using fabrics found in the mixed blocks.
Or, I could add a one-inch strip  of yukata fabric along each side.
Then, again, I might add a border of darker blue around the whole thing. Perhaps there is a better idea I have not considered.

Well, Nikko is watching to see what comments come our way. She is also thinking of how Mama will use cheese to reward her for picking two winners.

Have fun hopping to the other blogs I'm sure there will be plenty to see and lovely give-aways and friends to be made. Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

or here... Blog Hop Party  Having begun my third year in the blogging world, I celebrate the friendships I have made, both personal and virtual, and wish you all peace nd joy this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a present from me to me

Today I went to the fabric wholesale district in Nippori.
This area is known as "Fabric Town" and one can pretty well find anything  ... except today, I was looking for more red felt for my Scouts to make patch vests. They had every color EXCEPT red!

I also purchased some printed panels needed to make a gift runner and something for the blog-hop give-away coming up in less than a week.

The big buy ... well, not in price but in size... was this roller shopping bag. I am too often carrying heavy or bulky things to the station and on the train. This past week I made a trip to town just to carry Scout history items ... patches and photo albums, a patch blanket and a signature quilt ... for display at our anniversary gala.

The two bags were heavy and I didn't want to carry them on the Saturday hike or rent lockers while hiking.
After returning from the hike I went directly to Training for Council board members, then the Gala, and still had those two heavy bags to lug home in the late night hours. I gave away the prize plant I won rather than add one more heavy item for the trip home.

Today I found a shop selling a variety of rolling bags. I took lots of time to study them all and their assorted features and prices. I had borrowed one carrier from the church when I had heavy items to tote to a Pack meeting, but the cart itself was quite heavy and often there is the issue of stairs.

This roller bag was quite light. It has a big compartment that will fit art supplies and even my big quilt if I want to take it to a meeting of my group. It also has a zipper pocket on the back and a large compartment to hold magazines or large flat items. There is an umbrella compartment, a handle on the side for carrying when necessary,and the main bag has a drawstring opening and is waterproof. There is a hook which holds my backpack, very handy, and the wheels do not make noise when pulled down our rough pavement.
It came in yellow and red and purple and black and a few printed canvass fabrics but I thought this one would not show the dirt too much .

My husband commented on all the features and said he could just see me standing on the street weighing the pros and cons of each bag design and color choice. I don't often spend money on myself but I think this will really change my u-haul life for the better.

Meanwhile, the colder weather is just right for quilting. I can quilt about two blocks in one hour...
at 7 stitches per inch, that is about 374 stitches per block (one stitch at a time the way I do it).
15 rows of 15 blocks ... That is 225 blocks. If I were better at math, I might figure out when to expect some degree of completion. Of course that is rather silly because life is forever getting in the way.

Maybe I should offer a fabric panel to the person who figures closest to the finish date. Hmmmm...
I do hope I can make a bit of progress each day. 14 blocks have been finished as of today. 211 left to go.
I hope you are having a productive week as well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Boredom deferred

It is going to take a long time, but the quilting has begun.
Since these blocks are rather random fabrics, I decided that quilting in the ditch is probably the best way to go.

After spending half a day crawling around on the floor at my rice store friend's tatami room, I had pinned and basted and un-basted without ending up much farther than I had begun.

In the end, this was mostly basted with safety pins. There will probably be some final adjustments to make while quilting so I have found the center block and will try to work my way out to the borders, hoping any lumps and bumps will get worked out.

The layers seem to be flat and I am not expecting much trouble ... as long as I keep working from the center out. I am thinking I may add a sparkly twist-em to that pin in the center block so I can keep going evenly and not get lost in the process..

I have this on my large floor hoop now and I can pile all the edges up on top when I go to do other things. That prevents Nikko from lounging on the edges. Goodness knows, there is already a ton of dog hair in this quilt without adding more! The days are getting colder and I am looking forward to snuggling and quilting.

Meanwhile, there are a few more projects nagging for attention. I need to make a gift for the Women's Conference speaker by the end of January. I also have to do some work on the ASIJ Gala quilt ... drafting patterns from my drawings. Then there are all those signed pieces of fabric from the church's 140th anniversary gathering to figure out how to use in a hanging or banner.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I hike with the Cubs through Kamakura with the Japanese Scouts, during the day and attend a Far East Council  anniversary Gala in the evening. Then Sunday is "Choir Sunday" and we sing two services. Following that I race off to another Cub Scout activity in the afternoon. Monday will begin very early with rice ball delivery to the homeless.

I remember my twin brother always complaining, "I'm bored"! My mother would suggest things he could do, none of which had any appeal to him, and I just couldn't see HOW anyone could ever be bored ... there were never enough hours in the day to do all I wanted. Over seventy five years later, I am still scrambling to make time for all I want to do.

And there are a few things I needed to begin a bit earlier on.

This advent calendar ... well, the hanging part ... went flying off to my daughter. I didn't get the wooden decorations carved and painted but she has some older ones we made long ago that she thinks will work.

I had the pieces all cut and in a baggie with my knives, thinking I would work on whittling them during the BSA-SAJ Friendship Patrol-o-ree weekend. Little did I know that "helping" meant running one of the stations.
I really prefer to make all that mess outside but now it is getting a bit cold for whittling in the woods.

In addition, I remembered after cutting all those pieces, that I had planned to make 24 different kinds of birds to go in that tree. For another birder in the family, that might be fun but would take a whole lot more drafting and cutting. Too much procrastination causes delays.

I read on other blogs about all kinds of presents in the works so I know I am not the only one on a count-down. I hope you all have a happy and productive weekend as December rolls in... and no boredom!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall has arrived

With each rainy day, the temperatures drop little by little.

Finally, the garden strip has gotten the clues. The "dodan-tsutsuji" or Enkianthus has turned red.

The lacy cut-leaf maple is also tinged in red.

Along the street, the pink-headed knot-weed, (which I do not consider a weed at all) is in full glory.

Some of the more delicate plants have come indoors to my third floor greenhouse.

Last year, this maple turned brown during the hot late summer but this year the few remaining leaves are also tinged in red.

When this tree was planted, I was told it was a snake-bark maple. I had asked the nursery for a maple variety that would turn red in the fall and not grow too fast.

Certainly, what I got is something else. This Acer cissifolium , or vine-leafed maple grows rather tall and sparse.
It's first year it had good color in the fall and it may fill out as the top is trimmed.  I  have gotten to like it and don't intend to change it for it's more colorful cousin.

I am on a count-down on this project. It needs to be finished up and be put in the mail as soon as possible.

These one-inch numbers have been driving me nuts. Only one more to go and this will become a little pocket. With some luck, one of my Portland grand kids will be reaching into that pocket in one month to take out a decoration to place on the Advent calendar tree.

I can say now, I should have been better at counting backwards!

Today is a holiday in Japan.

Paul left the house before I even got up in the morning to attend a board meeting of the Asian Rural Institute.

He will follow that with another engagement. Thinking I was on my own for the day, I set about quilting those remaining numbers.  Then, a call from my #3 daughter, Norie, who was in town for a class with Leia, and we agreed to meet for lunch.

Well, I can stitch on the train and there is never enough time together ... so why not?       Thank You Emperor Meiji , or whoever's birthday we are enjoying on this cold and rainy Friday. With all that lunch, I won't even have to stop for dinner and I may get that present finished yet!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Early Thanksgiving

One week has passed since saying "Good-bye" to  my #1 son, Ken, and his wife, Zia.

I am so happy that in those short two weeks, we could cram in so much family time. Norie, Hiro (behind the camera), and Leia joined us to make our days more special.

We do not need a turkey on the table to give thanks for the joy this year has brought... or even wait for the "real" day to arrive.

The meal was prepared by Ken and Zia and all I had to do was make the pie. The request was for a pecan pie from a recipe given me long ago by a family friend.

For once I didn't over-cook it because I stayed in the tiny kitchen and watched it while I cleaned up sticky areas, picked up crums and dog hair, and arranged shelves.

In the week that has just passed I have tried to fit in a Christmas present I have been working on.

Meanwhile, the Bible quilt class made big progress but I forgot my camera.

There was a spectacular Art show at Jiyu Gakuen, which I had to enjoy in less time than I might have wished because I was scheduled to take off with Nikko to the BSA-SAJ friendship Patrol-o-ree Friday afternoon.

All day Saturday I ran the knot-tying challenge ... plenty of rain and wet rope ... and a campfire that didn't take place that evening, then rush home in time to get up early for Church and choir, then off to my Pack's raingutter regatta. (blowing those boats into a gusty wind on the roof of the Tokyo American Club).

No stitching to show from me. BUT... Here is some cute stitchery by Naomi, my granddaughter. Can you believe this work came from the hands of a three-year-old?

Here is some more!

A little pouch and a necklace of felt pieces.

Naomi made these at school so probably did not get lots of individual instruction. I wish I could have been a little mouse in the corner of that classroom to watch the process.

And while I am bragging about my talented granddaughter, I will show you what her mother, my #1 daughter is making as a napping quilt for Naomi.

I love those birds in the air!

I also love the fact that some of those nuts have not fallen far from the tree.

So, as others are preparing that turkey and getting ready to sit down to a feast, I will get back to my Christmas project and choir practice and give lots of thanks for the blessings of family, friends, Scouting, yes, and even dog hair.

May your Blessings be Many too!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quilt Week Yokohama 2012 part 2

Here are a few more quilts that caught my eye .

These blocks are all variations of the same pattern of stars made with pieced diamonds and triangles. I thought the joining areas very unusual.

It was made by Atsuko Akatsuka.

This tree was by Misa Kato in the Japanese quilt category.

This quilt by Yoko Otani has lots of kanji.
It reminds me of a calligraphy piece goven me many years ago of 100 ways of writing Fuku, or good fortune as many are that kanji.

If you would like to see some fine details of this quilt, check out Cynthia"s post on the .

She also has some other quilts in detail and A few I have not posted.

Flower baskets by Teruko Yamaguchi.

A lot of work went into this one!

A hanakurama or flower cart by Mami Hosotani.

Festival lanterns by Shizuko Yoshizawa.

I have seen this pattern before but this had a nice festive twist.

I think this plum tree quilt was made by Hatsue Kobayashi.

This was certainly an interesting construction of individual plates, each with a different selection of food items.

It was in the contemporary category and the name seemed to be "cherry basket"

 Also among the contemporary was this quilt that seems to be made in the style of Paula Nadelstern, who was mentioned on the tag. A number of years ago Paula was featured at a Tokyo show.

Some other displays....

The usual small exhibits and the giant banner quilts above.

There were numerous areas with classes by different groups.

 A winner made from sword shield designs  by Junko Kubo.

Another winner by Chieko Sharaishi
and another of the winners called "Lace in the Garden" by Junko Sano.

I am so glad it was not my job to pick a winner. There were so many beautiful quilts there. 
I was glad, too, that I didn't miss this show entirely. I looked around for one of my favorite vendors that usually comes from Hawaii but there didn't seem to be any foreign vendors at all this time. Luckily, I was able to leave the venue without adding to my stash. I did see some lovely Kasuri but though the shop-keeper stated his goods were cheap, 500 yen for a tiny piece about 8"x 10" seemed way out of my range.

 Only two and a half days left to enjoy my family time. I have taken some nice nature shots and am slowly figuring out how to use my new camera.
That's all for now.

International Quilt Week Yokohama 2012 Part 1

I just can't figure out why something lasting only three days is called "Quilt Week"!  I came very close to missing this one. Included in Thursday dinner guests, was a good family friend of the family who wanted to meet up with my son while he is in town. He happened to ask me if I had been to the quilt show in Yokohama. Huh? He had seen the signs advertising the show the day before.

Only two days left and both of those days with major activities.
Since all day Saturday I would be teaching Scout leaders in the nature parts of Introduction to Outdoor Leadership, there was only Friday morning left and that was tight because of a Cub pack meeting in the evening.

I rushed off to see as much as I could of the show.

I have been attending every year since the beginning and this year's exhibit seemed to be the best so far. There was much more room to walk around so that people were not crammed up against the quilts Also there were more areas where photographs were allowed.

This butterfly quilt by Kikuko Miawaki was just inside the entry.

There was a category called "memorial and pictorial message quilts"

I thought this house by Kazuko Kida was interesting.

The labels were all in Japanese but most of them had the quilter's name in Roman lettering.

I rather liked this version of azure-winged magpies attaching the ripe persimmons. Quite right for this season.
The quilter,I think, Sanae Takata.

Here is a happy quilt group made by Kazuko Suwa.

Ans another of a family group.
It could have been Suwa-san who made this one. I took notes in the border of me floor-plan map while I was walking and it is a bit hard to figure out.

thse trees in all seasons was by Kumiko Minami.

This stunning red quilt was the creation of  (again, I have two names together, but I think this was done by Yoshiko  Hozumi.), and the following detail is a section of one made by Yumi Odashima.

The handwork was very detailed and I love the kasuri background.

These pups are so cute! They are all dressed in different neckties. The title in Japanese was, Papa no necktie niyou? (meaning do I look good in Papa's neckties?)

My sweet garden by Kako Kusamoto.

All in blue and white was striking. I think those quilts against the colored walls were winners. If this one wasn't, it should have been.

This quilt was in the "traditional" catagory. It isn't what I might label as traditional. It was by Hisako Chiba.

This red and white quilt. also "traditional" was made by Tomoko Hosokawa.

Stay tuned, I still have a few more pictures stored in my files.