Monday, March 17, 2014
A finish and a start and in between
This is what I finished last week. It is now protecting my coffee table from every-day spills.
Te center is just a printed panel. The gold print was quilted with gold thread, an inch of assorted leaf prints was added and then another inch of navy print.
The leaves were traced from some I picked up in places I have been beginning with a few at the Women's Conference where I began the quilting.
The owl is my guardian and one wouldn't have to look far to see one around my house. This one will be the guardian of the table too.
Saturday we were off early to attend the graduation ceremony of my Granddaughter, Leya. I was so tired that I had gone to bed without preparing well, and left the house without my camera.
There were wonderful photo ops ... all of which I missed. We had a lovely celebratory lunch up on Mt Takao, where snow still covered the forest floor.
An evening engagement followed and made for another late night. Sunday the choir sang for the first service so one more early morning departure, and , since I was attending an Eagle ceremony in the afternoon, I decided not to hang around for "coffee-hour" or the St, Patrick's Day Parade to follow.
As I was walking down to the bus stop, I was stopped by a young man who asked me (in English) if I would mind being interviewed for a minute. Well, OK, I guess I can spare a minute.
I was surprised when he led me off to the side where there was another young man with a big camera and another with a big microphone. The first guy then said they were from NHK, and pulled out a big poster, explaining that a survey showed that Japanese men spent almost the least amount of time on housework.
I didn't remember which countries on that chart were at the top but Japan was second from the bottom. The interviewer asked where I was from and how much time my husband spent on housework per day. I had to explain that my husband is Japanese and he spends probably three hours or so per day ... walking the dog, feeding the bird, shopping, and preparing meals. Even if we only eat one meal, I'd still say at least three hours. (however picking up his things and tidying up is a whole other story).
I was asked what I liked to do. Of course I turned the table over to the men, asking them how many hours they spent. I also told them that my two sons are neat and tidy and great cooks that also help with the kids.
They told me that NHK has a program at 10:PM Thursday night when that program will be aired.
That short interlude has given me much cause for thought and I asked the women in my Monday English class, how many hours their husbands spend. Yes, their answers verified the statistics on the poster.
Well, I can't go back and fix my husband, nor can they, but certainly we can do much in the raising of our children. My older son learned to cook by the age of three. In truth, I had to teach him how to use the stove safely when I found him making a cheese omelet at five in the morning. Years later, when the mother of one of his friends asked me for the recipe for an after-school-snack, saying she had tried to make it but her sons kept saying it wasn't like the one at Ken's house, I told her she would have to ask Ken. My rule was don't use anything that is intended for dinner and clean up everything when you finish. I do know it involved the oven, but other than that .... it met my standard.
We had a house rule that before you invited your friend over, the house had to be clean because it reflected on me. I could always tell of an impending visit because of the cleaning frenzy taking place. When the TV room was messy, I locked the door and posted a note that the room was off limits until it was cleaned and I would give the key to whomever intended to clean it. They could find who made the mess and get them to clean it or work together or do it alone but only when the room was clean, could it be used.
Over many years of Scouting, there are advancement requirements involving cooking and meal preparation and home duties, and I recall those boys with Japanese mothers had the biggest problem meeting basics. Now cooking merit badge is an Eagle-required badge.
The traditional Japanese kitchen is a dark hole on the North side of the house. Storage space is poorly thought out, and the architects and designers are all men who have probably never spent any time in those places because they had mothers who waited on them. 10:pm is my bedtime but I might have to stay up and see what the program has to say. I told those guys it was a mind-set that needed to be changed.
My next project is to make a baby quilt for a new little boy. His dad sings in the choir (often helping the tenors when we are desperate) and his mom is a long-time friend. They will be leaving Japan in the summer so I don't have loads of time to spend.
I just happened upon a nice one-patch baby quilt on my friend Cynthia's blog,
aquilterbynight.blogspot.com . It looks great and even by hand, is not hard to do. Last night I dug through my box of conversation prints and cut some fabrics for five-inch blocks.
This is what I have put together so far. My plan is to quilt ABCs in the solid color blocks and an inch inside the picture blocks. A five inch border would make a 45" x 50" quilt. I am wondering if that is big enough. I suppose it would be crib size or small enough to be dragged around the house.
What do you think? More borders?
It is a beautiful sunny day with a gusty Southern wind. The little cactus hanging in the greenhouse window may seem either very late for Christmas or early for Easter. Truly, six years ago when Leya was born, March 23rd, it was an early Easter and this cactus was blooming then, so an Easter cactus, it must be. Her mother's Sweet Daphne is also perfuming the air. Can spring be far behind?