Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Onward, into the New Year

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown".

And he replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better than a light and safer than a known way".

For many years, I have kept a small notebook of quotes and this one seems to fit what the year ahead has to offer. There is more unknown to face than ever before in my life and it is stuff over which I have no control.

My focus word for the year is "acceptance".

The picture is what I have begun working on as a gift for the speaker at the Women's Conference at the end of January. I had one more panel , the same as I used last year. After reading the "Who am I?" sketch by Sharon Draper, our speaker, she mentions seeing rainbows where others see rain, and tells of her love of seasons. The panel contains the kanji for the seasons and I will add one more inch of color strips to the rainbow border.

Once that is done, I will quilt the kanji and ass a bible verse. At this point, I am thinking of the same verse I used last year ... To everything there is a season.....
I think the finished piece can be used as either a table runner or a wall hanging.
I really don't like the pressure of deadlines, but I think I can get this finished by the end of the month.

Last month, when I was feeling depressed at the lookout for the future, my quilting friend shared this piece with me that she had received from another friend....

"I have come to  accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight.
And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you are going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you."           Joybell

I hope I will do better this year with acceptance than I did last year with encouragement.
My notebook will be a good reminder.
Warmest wishes for the New Year to all my blogging friends.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Last finish of the year...

This was probably the oldest UFO ever to be dug out and finished. This doll quilt was begun well over twenty years ago while I still had children playing with these dolls. Over the years it had been set aside and almost forgotten until Leia began playing with the dolls each visit.

I was reminded of my own childhood, playing with my mother's doll, Lily, each and every visit to my grandmother's house. Lily had a lovely wooden cradle and her own bedding where she could wait comfortably between visits.

With a twin brother, and another brother four years younger, I spent my hours with my dolls. They were my playmates and best friends. I sewed clothing for them and took them everywhere. My sisters were so much younger and though they may have played with dolls, certainly never to the degree that I did. We had adventures!

When I was no longer playing with my Lily, my grandmother had a visit from someone looking for antiques to buy, and talked my grandmother into selling her Lily and the bed. My mother was very upset when she found out. She had three dolls (I was named for her doll, Carol, as my middle name but never allowed to even touch that doll). Somewhere, she found a reproduction doll similar to Lily.

I was recruited to make a dress for the new Lily.

Here she sits on the new quilt. I have removed the dress and petticoats now because I see they are badly in need of a wash.

After my mother died, my father brought the three dolls to a family reunion for us three girls to pick one. My sisters got first choice and the Lily stand-in was all that was left. I have never seen or held the other two and I don't know which sister has Carol. Of course my sisters don't know either because they were not as obsessed as I was with dolls. They only know they got a real antique and I got the stand-in.

The two dolls Leia plays with, I made many years ago when my own girls were small. The head is made of paper mache. Once, one of the children bit the nose off of the girl doll, and I had to re-build her face.

When the dolls were made, their bodies were sewed of deerskin. About seven or eight years ago, the leather began to fall apart so I bought some cotton to replace the leather.

The arms and legs are carved out of wood. That wood came from old wooden sliding doors from our house as they were being repaired. The size of the pieces limited the size of the doll's feet.

I note that the ceramic feet on Lily are also small in size so I rather guess someone not knowing their history might think they are vintage too.

When I was growing up, if you wanted something, you figured out how to make it. I began sewing clothing for my dolls at age four, as they came with only what they were wearing when purchased, and needed changes for other occasions. These dolls also have many changes.

Now Annabelle and Bert will finally have their own bed cover when Leia comes to play.

I noticed they were changed into night clothing and then back into different clothing while Leia was last here.

I'm sure Bert was glad to get out of his tuxedo into something more relaxing to face the new year.

As for the "quilt", I do not recall where the fabric came from. It is just a print that was quilted along the lines in the design. The batting was very primitive, bought before the days that quilting became popular in Japan.

As the new year nears, everyone is in preparation mode. Spring cleaning cannot wait until spring. One must go into the new year with great preparation. I saw my neighbor out scrubbing his window screens today. My windows could use a bit of attention too ... but maybe I had better begin on a quilted gift for the Women's Conference speaker ... just a month away ... and unlike the doll quilt, there is a deadline.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December book club block is finished.

Considering all the trouble I had drafting this feathered star for a twelve inch block, I am satisfied... and a little surprised at how nicely all those little pieces went together. Yes, fabric is forgiving.

I considered doing some applique in the corners, but I think I like it as is.

If you read "The Christmas Quilt" by Jennifer Chiaverini, you will understand the significance of the eight-pointed star with red tips, and the feather star block. It is a fairly easy read, since I have managed to finish it within the month. My copy was sent me by my elder son and also includes "The New Year's Quilt" which I have almost finished. I am enjoying the Quilter's Book Club reads and some day may even have a reading quilt to snuggle in.

Yesterday was "mochi pounding" with the Scouts. Every year the Japanese Scouts invite our group to their Taito group 4 event.

Rice is steamed and then pounded in these "usu", mortars made from tree trunks. The sticky paste then goes into delicious soup or is eaten with an assortment of garnishes such as seaweed or bean paste.
The American scouts take Christmas cookies to share and we enjoy the cultural exchange, We even get some mochi to take home and we enjoyed some with our breakfast soup.

 There is a bit of seasonal entertainment on the temple stairs.

There was singing (I led one song ... repeat-after-me ... with lots of motions), and some presentations and speeches.

Many members of my Cub Pack travel over the holidays so we bring in other packs from the Tokyo Zone to share the festivities.

I don't remember how long ago we began this activity, but probably from the beginning of the current emperor's reign, 25 years ago, as this event is held on the emperor's birthday which is a national holiday.

The first three scouters in this picture and the lady just left of me have been my friends for all those years. The young man with arms folded is my Committee Chairman and assistant Cubmaster and the reason I still survive as a leader at all.

One benefit of the long ride there and back was time to finish the next bit of Gala quilt homework.

Too bad I only had eight blocks to complete. Other members of the group also took blocks to work on and this is all I could gather up. They look a bit washed out on the sunny floor of my greenhouse bedroom.

The turkey has flown in the door. Several church services await my singing, and tomorrow promises to be a busy day with family and friends'

Here's wishing a Blessed Christmas to my blogging friends.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Where did the week go?

I had promised my little assistant that this weekend, we would make Christmas cookies.

She arrived Friday evening and, after dinner, we mixed up the cookie dough to chill overnight and she dressed the dolls in their nightwear so they could get a good sleep and be ready to enjoy the Saturday activity.

Since my kitchen is really too tight a fit for more than one person at a time, after breakfast we cleared the dining room table to make enough room for our cookie factory.

I dug out the box of cookie cutters and Leia looked them over, deciding which ones would be good for the season.

We made "painted cookies". I mixed an egg yolk with food coloring, red, yellow, blue, and since I was all out of green, mixed blue and yellow on the forth cup.

Each color got one paintbrush and the colors were painted on the cookies once I had them cut and on the cookie sheet.

In addition to the painting, there were all kinds of sprinkles to add.

HOWEVER, these were not sprinkled but carefully placed on each cookie.

It is expected that a child can work on a project for about as many minutes as they are years old, but this is the kid who started taking the ornaments off the tree so she could keep doing the trimming.

We made a double recipe so there were cookies for Leia to take home and some for me to take to the Scout activity tomorrow... and a few to keep and eat here.

We actually spent hours decorating cookies and even the very last cookie was given attention down to the last detail.

Yes, I had to paint a few too. After all, I needed some to take tomorrow, and Norie shared some of the rolling and cutting and decorating, or we would have taken all night.

While I was cleaning up, Leia went off to the corner rice shop to take some cookies to that special neighbor.

The cookies were carefully packed for travel, after sampling a few. Leia has friends in her neighborhood to share with too.

Yes, I think there will be enough to share.  See how many she made? Yes, every expertly made cookie in that box!

I'll bet it won't take a fraction of the time it took to make them, for a bunch of Scouts to finish these off!

Today was not all that much quieter. Church choir, caroling in front of the church, and the walk to the bus stop.

This is how the street in front of our church looks during the daytime without the lighting.

The church is just the other side of Louis Vuitton.

And this is who was walking past, enjoying the singing.

Well, I doubt they came for the singing....
Perhaps it was a dog party of some kind because as I was about to put me camera away, along came another group.

 There were a few little dogs but most were huskies. I don't think a dog with so much fur needed all that fancy clothing.

Now that the activities are over until tomorrow, I had time to work on my book club block.

While reading Jennifer Chiaverini's "The Christmas Quilt" I decided to make an eight pointed star.

Then, as I was reading "An Elm Creek Quilts Companion", which was sent to me by StarwoodQuilter
our book club organizer, I found a picture of the feathered star featured in the story, and decided to make that one for my book club block.

Looking through my patterns, I found no instructions for a 12 inch feathered star. I decided I would draft my own pattern... but that is not as easy as I thought it would be... and what a lot of tiny pieces! I drew it out on a 12 inch square of paper. Then I traced the segments on to yellow plastic to make templates. Because the pattern was hand drawn, none of the segments in the drawing were the same size. Well, I figured fabric is forgiving and I would pick the most even segment and use that for a template. Well, so far, so good.

Now I need to draft the center which will be the paisley fabric. I have been thinking about this and finally I think I have a plan that will work. If I make a circle, four inches in diameter and divide it into eight sections, then cut straight from one section to the next one, it should make an octagon that will fit those points.  I am lousy at math but if it works, my block for December might actually be finished before the month is out.

I may add some applique in the corners, but then again, maybe I should stop while I am ahead.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday activities and a new book block

Our church has two services every Sunday and an afternoon "Praise" service once a month. Made up of people from different countries and different Christian traditions, other than the English language (spoken in a variety of accents), it is the center of a hodge-podge of activity.

Yesterday, our choir was scheduled to sing at the first service ... which meant catching the train to town as close to seven as possible.

Of course, after singing, I wanted to attend the second service because the children were putting on a Christmas program in place of the children's message.... and what a fine job they did too, including a drama and singing.

Then, after the second service, there was caroling on the front steps of the church. Well, I had to stay for that, of course.

Then, at four, there was a "Family Concert" put on by the embassy choir. My Cub Scouts were coming so I needed to stay for that and certainly not enough time to go home and come back.

Luckily, I had cut pieces for my next book block. They were packed in a zip-lock baggie and I could spend time doing a bit of sewing. THEN, after the pieces were almost all together, I found that the total look was just too pink looking. The more I looked, the more I thought I needed a touch of green ... so I spent some time un-sewing and finished up the wait by reading my next book club book.

By the time the concert was over, I headed home alone. Donations from the concert were to go to the church's homeless mission, which Paul is in charge of, so he had things to take care of before returning. It was dark by then and the trees along the avenue were lit for shoppers to enjoy.

This would be a wonderful place for taking pictures, BUT
there are guards everywhere keeping people from stopping in the middle of the crosswalk to take pictures.

Over the street, there are several overhead walk-overs. but standing at the bottom on both sides of the street, are guards keeping people from going up on that bridge. (A perfect place to enjoy the scene and take pictures).

I can understand that it might be dangerous to have too many people on the bridge at any given time, but certainly the guards could control numbers to only ten at a time or whatever they consider safe. I can't see much point in just sanding in front of a roped off stairs doing nothing but guarding the sign that says no passing.

It probably hinders the shopping as well because there are very few level crossings.

A family friend took this picture of me with the walk-over behind.

For a number of years, the lights were not put up. The story I heard was that there was concern for the Zelkova trees.

Of course, the lighting brings many, many people into the area and the stores were not happy to have no lights.

About two or three years ago, the lighting was resumed.

It was rather late for dinner by the time I got home and I had to wait for Paul, so I went up to my light green scrap bin to pull out fabrics that might work with my book block.

The book club book for November was "Aunt Jane of Kentucky" by Eliza Calvert Hall.

I had begun reading the book on line but was having a lot of trouble trying to read on a computer screen.

Luckily, my son sent me a paper copy and I was able to start over and enjoy the book.

The last story in the book is called "Gardens of Memory" and probably my favorite of all because I grew up in a garden. My dad was a metallurgical engineer but he had a life-long passion for roses, which he photographed and hybridized as well.

Each chapter/story in the book includes mention of Aunt Jane's garden. Also mentioned is a "garden house". There is not a description of that garden house, but we had a screened-in porch-type garden house where I grew up. As a kid, sometimes we slept out in that "house" with critters all around, as we were on the very edge of a wooded park, the Euclid Creek Reservation.

This block I found in "5,500 Quilt Block Designs" by Maggie Malone, a gift from my #2 daughter.
Called "Garden Gazebo", it seemed fitting and I could use more than two or three fabrics... my criteria, since I want to include the paisley fabric. The rejected pieces are off to the side and I included fabric from the tree quilt made very long ago. (my memories as well as Aunt Jane's)

When I looked for my pattern to cut new triangles, this is what I found...

Well, a big dog with separation anxiety must have been unhappy being left home alone from early morning to late evening.

This was the only pattern piece left!

Well, I probably won't make this block again anyway.

Decorating the table for a late dinner was this Christmas Cactus.

The pale pinkish white flowers have a thin red line in the center.

This is an interesting pot of flowers because this flower is on the green segments.

The thinner reddish sections are from a different plant and you can see a small red bud at the tip of one segment on the left.

When sections get broken off, I often stick them into the dirt in the same pot. When someone else breaks them, and I find them on the floor, I sometimes stick them in the wrong pot. I guess that is what happened here. Well, we will get an early Christmas in pink and a later one in red ... all in one pot!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Going to the "Gala"

Our group is far behind the curve in making the auction quilt for the Gala.

After a meeting last week, we decided to re-visit the Japanese fans.

The theme of the gala is the "Great Gatsby" We considered a Mondrian type pattern but that would have taken a lot more meetings to put together.

Next year is "the year of the horse" and the school team is "Mustangs" but a large black horse across the quilt would have also taken more time than we have left to work with. Our 2005 quilt was the fan design. A lot of the work can be taken home and worked on by the team members.

Last week, we met again with a bit larger group and pulled out Japanese prints and coordinated solids. These are the six that I took home to assemble. We will add the corners when we have the blue background purchased and marked.

Do you see the fish print? That came to me from one of our quilters who has left up, returning to the states. (Cynthia, we all thought longingly of you as we marked that section. You will always be a part of our worker-bees)

After many gusty days, things calmed down and I took this old quilt to the park for a photo. Maybe the sun is too bright because the green fabrics look rather grey. This quilt, "Sunny Glade" was made back in 1990, and one of my earlier quilts. I had no idea what I was doing  I had seen a tree hanging in a local store and liked the scrappy trees. I made a quick sketch (as I often do of ideas I like) and drafted the pattern in seven inch blocks.

I had been thinking of grading the background from the yellow to gradually darker greens but when it came time to put the blocks together, they came to a bigger challenge than I was ready for and I ended up adding sashing. In the end, the quilt turned out to be 6'3 x 8'3 and was too large to be used on my daughter's futon.

There are some blue fabrics that came from one of my cub scouts whose mother was a member of the International Quilters of Tokyo, a group I ended up joining (now down to only a few aging members).

This color shot is a bit closer but still not quite as green.

I didn't want to make a seasonal quilt but if you look closely, you may find a few trees in Christmas fabric.

My granddaughter, Leia, came over the weekend and helped me decorate our little tree.

After putting on one little box of pieces, she began to take them off so she could do it again. Can you guess how much she was looking forward to this activity?

She was very happy when I came up with two more boxes of ornaments.

My table has lost some of it's space but we are now feeling very festive.

Next week, my little assistant will come back to help me make and decorate cookies.

Note Leia dressed the boy doll in a tuxedo for the photo. Those dolls get lots of loving and clothes changing each time she comes, and even get to sleep in a real bed.

I hope you are all having fun making holiday preparations too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another book club block

Our Quilter's Book Club book for October was "State Fair", by Earlene Fowler. I finished to book some time ago but only had time to think about the block to represent this book in odd moments between other activities.

I am hoping eventually to assemble all these twelve-inch blocks into a quilt. I have so far been able to include at least one piece of paisley in each block. That fabric is mostly a rather dark red, and while I like it, I would like to have the end quilt a wee bit more colorful.

Looking through several books of block patterns, I find many of them are limited to just two or three colors. The block named "State Fair" had few colors and I ended up with a block named "Mystery Block". However, when I put that block together, I was not very happy with the rather bland result. I decided to substitute the center four inch piece with a four inch version of the "State Fair" block. It was rather fussy to draft in four inches and I am not a big fan of un-sewing, but I do like the end results.

The colors don't show so well in the four-patch but I am more satisfied than I was with the tan paisley center square.

November is over but I have not yet finished the book. I have been struggling to read the stories on my computer but .... Yesterday morning, things began to look up considerably. My birthday gift from my son, Ken, arrived in the mail .... and included was the paper copy of "Aunt Jane of Kentucky", November's read. I have started back at the beginning and this time am enjoying that book. I have yet to think of a block but that will come in time.

The December read? Yes, that was in the box as well. In fact, I'm all set for the winter, thanks to my son who knows how I love to read.

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's been a long time.....

I think the last time I posted a "Followers" block was back in May. Since then, the owl quilt and summer camp and travels took over. Then Scouting and the church banner were waiting my return, followed closely by the Advent deadline.

Now the pressure is off a bit. The Japanese Thanksgiving was Saturday, and the U.S. one on Thursday. I celebrated is several ways. Sunday dinner included my #3 daughter's family and my husband's sister. It has been several months since we were able to get together.I skipped my birthday this year so this was our first meal together since October. Norie made a yummy meal that was followed up with pumpkin pie ... a favorite any time.

Leia and I spent a lot of time looking for "Wally". The book had been given Leia by one of my friends who is thinning out her own shelves from books her kids have long outgrown.

Thursday, after choir practice, I was invited to that friend's home for another Thanksgiving dinner.
Yes, and another serving of pumpkin pie! Certainly I can count my blessings by the number of friends.

I have also been thinking about my blogging friends and the blocks I have begun to make to remind me of the blessings of that friendship  The next person on my list was Cassandra and I have had plenty of time to look for the fabric I wanted and draft a pattern.

Here is what I came up with. Cassandra loves pink and cherry blossoms. She is a true Christian, thus the cross, and is waiting patiently ... and maybe a bit anxiously, for an adoption to come through of a young girl in Taiwan. I added the border of kanji because of that connection. I had to include the character for good fortune. Cassandra, thank you for your friendship.

Along the street leading to the station, there are more signs of fall. These chrysanthemums are about eight feet tall!

The house next to that has two persimmon trees.

Each is a different variety.

Though many buds remain tightly closed, these pretty Camellia sasanqua have begun to open.

And right outside the entrance to the subway station, there are two red ones in full bloom.

Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn, I will be off
hiking in Kamakura. My Cub pack is invited each year
by a sister Japanese Pack.

Last year the trail went straight up a high hill. I hope we will take a different trail this year. The say is expected to be fine, cold but sunny.

This has been a busy but fun month and a very good time to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's in the mail!

OK, Jon, you can peek now. I hope it will reach you in time to enjoy it.

Finally, the little calendar decorations are packed up and headed to the post office. It usually takes me a week to get them all carved and painted and varnished, so this was speed under pressure.

The quilted hanging is 20" x 36". The pockets are about 2.5" x 2" deep. The wooden hangings are cut from Japanese Broad-leaved Magnolia. It is one of the best woods for carving and often used to make wood-block prints so can be purchased cheaply and in a variety of thicknesses and sizes. It isn't the prettiest but since I was going to paint it anyway, that didn't matter.

The hanging loops are paperclips cut in half. I drilled little holes and glued them in place.

The paint is acrylic and takes a number of coats because the first few soak into the wood. I somehow mis-placed my box of paint tubes, and after spending half a day hunting to no avail, ended up going into town and buying the colors I needed in addition to the basic ones I had in my work box. The box may show up among the camp supplies next summer. I have no idea what happened to it after camp.

The varnish is also acrylic (I like being able to wash brushes with soap and water). Each piece took maybe six or so coats. And, when you drop one of those sticky pieces on the floor,... DOG HAIR!
Then you need to wash off the piece and start all over.

It is really fun to make a gift for anyone, but especially my kids, because I know they will use it and enjoy it's uniqueness. I put lots of thought and love into what I make so they are really getting a piece of me that will probably last longer than I will.

Next year I shall remember NOT to wait until the last minute to begin my Christmas gift making.
I have seen a bit of gift-making going on on other blogs too. I wonder how many others out there are rushing to get done. Good luck! 

Friday, November 22, 2013


Don't peek yet, Jon!

All the pieces have been carved and are ready to be sanded and painted. Yes, I nicked my fingers and three or four have blood on them, Well sanding and paint will take care of that. (It is rather amazing that when the doctor tries to get blood for a test, it takes three or four jabs to find any and a tiny little nick with the point of the stencil knife causes a flood)

All my life I have had a problem with numbers. For some reason, I cannot count past ten ... then I run out of fingers. I can't make phone calls because I get the numbers all out of order. The only way I can remember my own number is by the sentence it makes in Japanese. 

When I was in school, we learned about big numbers by adding small ones. At that time, we began with the ones column on the right and added to the left. For some reason I thought all big numbers were written right to left. When the teacher dictated numbers for a math test, I had to wait to hear the whole number before writing it down, and by then she was on the next number. Well, I always flunked those math tests anyway because even two-figure numbers got all mixed up in arrangement.

As a result, I didn't take any math past junior high. When I was accepted at college, I was told that I would have to make up credits missing because of all the college courses I did not take. Thus, every semester, besides the required college courses, I was burdened with taking make-up courses for those classes I had missed in High School, paying for extra credits, and running to those extra classes. 

By the end of my Junior year, I had made up all the classes but MATH. Well, If I couldn't do high school math, how was I ever going to take a college math course and survive? Luckily, I worked each summer at a girl's camp and one of the counselors was a high school math teacher. We worked out a deal that I would do geometry, every-other-problem in the book, and at the end of the summer, I would go in and take all the year's tests. 

At the end of the summer, as I was preparing to take the tests, my father came by as I was sitting at the dining room table, looked over my shoulder and said, "Why are you writing your numbers like that"? "Like what"?, I asked. "From right to left. You should be writing them from left to right". SO, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I am going to have to straighten up and fly right!

Well, I passed the tests and, as a result, I didn't have to make up any more courses during my senior year. . .  but did I ever learn how to do anything with numbers? Not at all. I have no confidence using numbers. Every time I count something I come up with a different number, and I am always re-counting.

OK, so how did I goof up? I bought three packs of hooks, Each pack was supposed to have 12 hooks and eyes. I took two packs and picked out the hooks. Then I took the third pack and took out one hook. That should be twenty five, right? I cut 25 little felt circles and arranged them on the tree and began sewing them on, leaving enough space for the decorations. Then I got out the wooden pieces and began to carve them. At the end of each day I counted what I had done and checked the ones that were left. Yep, twenty five. 

At last, all are carved and ready for sanding and painting. Just to check for size and arrangement, I lay them out on the ironing board... but what is this? One hook left empty! I count the ornaments. Yes, there are twenty five. Then I count the hooks ... and count the hooks again, and again. OOPS! where did that extra hook come from. Then I count the ornaments one more time. Oh no, I didn't make enough. But, how can that be? I count the hooks again. Whew, I  do NOT have too many and will not have to re-sew the hooks, but where is the missing ornament? 

Panic. I can't even remember at this point which one is missing.
But ... Whew, there is is, among the chips. 

No wonder I have come to count things over and over and over again. Sometimes, if you try long enough, you get the results you want. 

On to sanding and painting!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Progress ... indoors and out.

No peeking Jon ... come back in a week!

Yes, I have actually kept myself on task. 

The advent calendar made lots of progress once I got serious. After all, it needs to reach the states by the beginning of December to be much use. 

I really should have started sooner. Have I noted that lesson? We shall see.

Last week I used time at meetings ad on the train to sew those fiddly numbers on to the pockets, line the pockets, and quilt the numbers.

I wasted a lot of time hunting for fabric I "thought" I had left from last year. It was a piney-looking print in a more yellowish green. I finally did find some but it wasn't as much as I had expected. I guess that is good because it may mean I am using up stash faster than I thought.

I went back to the green bin and found a few large pieces of green prints to try. This is the candidate I selected and it looks fine now that the hooks and yellow balls are in place.

I found a dark green star print that tends to fade in the sun but worked well for the backing. Now the binding is all sewed on and I have turned it half way. I think the train ride to choir practice will be just the right amount of time to finish it up. 

The wooden pieces are all cut and I have begun to whittle the details. That is a messy job but the floor is covered in dog hair anyway so I may as well sweep up wood chips at the same time when I clean. This weekend we will have a bit of family time. Our family blog has been filled with wonderful pictures of the west-coast gang and two east-coast siblings. Now it will be our turn for a photo op. (but sometime before then I will have to clear some space to sit) 

I love the toad lilies along my back walk.  They have somehow survived with less sun that they were getting at our last house. These were rescued one day when a house in the neighborhood was torn down. I had been enjoying them along the street for years, and when I saw the bulldozers turning the area into a parking lot, I went home and got my trowel and a bag and went back. I dug along the border where I knew those roots were, and ssure enough, was able to rescue a good bit... some of which went off to my daughter's house. I suppose even a dark garden is better than rocks and gravel.

The Biwi tree is full of promise in the bud.

Last year there were several bud clusters but this year almost every limb has a bug clump.

This tree is growing out of a very small pot tipped on its side and I have had to trim it regularly because the leaves are big and leathery and I don't want them to annoy the neighbor to the south. Some people consider this a "junk tree" . This one is only six or seven years old and I don't want it to get out of control.

 A few nights with temperatures hovering around 2 c, got the attention of the maples. Now we are getting a bit of color outside the gate.

Three kinds of maple, and all are showing color.

The Enkianthus is turning dark red as well.

The pavement is brown from dirt washing in from the construction site every time it rains.

And, up in my little greenhouse - laundry room - bedroom, the step-tansu  is decorated with a cute little yellow flower on one of the succulents and just peeking out from among the leaves in the plant behind you might be able to spot two red spiky flowers on this strange orchid... it's second year to bloom. I also notice buds on the Christmas cactus.

I have also been surprised to see that without doing anything, my picture arrangement has returned to left and right display. Maybe the computer thought it had given me enough frustration for one post. Am I happy? you bet! Happy with the progress, happy with the blooms and colors, and happy with my laptop.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another piece of the Yokohama quilt show

 Carin has done such a good job of showing the quilts at the Yokohama Quilt show. that there is not a lot for me to add.

She has mentioned both the white chains that keep the visitors behind the lines (and make photography ... where allowed ... rather difficult) and the rather generous amount of space for the viewers to wander through the exhibits.
There were very few places where passing other viewers was a problem.

Quite a few of the outer display walls were this deep red.

Here is a small detail of a contemporary quilt, made by Wang? from Taiwan.
The title is "Blue Rhapsody".

 Many of the quilts, you could have stood an looked at all day without seeing all the details. This "Message Quilt" by Hoysue Yamana, roughly translated as "our town", was only one of such quilts.

 This quilt called "With You" by Tomoko Kamata, had block after block of these little people in all kinds of poses.

There were other quilts in one-artist displays. Many of those I wish I had been allowed to photograph. Just fantastic! At a few of those exhibits, I had the opportunity to talk with the quilt artists. What a special treat that was.

Carin mentioned several times that she had seen one or another of the quilts at the Tokyo Dome show. Earlier, I went back to my older posts to fix some of the labels, and sure enough, I found she was very observant. There were quite a few.

 I was not the only one with a friend. Isn't it fun to poke through the stalls and discuss the items?

Or to have your picture taken in front of a featured quilt?  Better not miss the rest of this show.
Queenie has two more posts with wonderful pictures.

For some reason, my pictures are playing hard to arrange, and rather than raise my frustration level any more, I think I will give the computer its own way and get back to work on my project ... before the deadline is kicked all to _ _ _ _ _ _!