Friday, August 28, 2015


Little by little I am getting things back to my old-fashioned normal.

My recent goal being to sort out the picture problem.

Ta da! How is this for a picture?
I don't know what these flowers are. They bloom along the wall in the spring and again in the late summer.

They seem to have been happy that the rain brought a bit cooler weather.

There is a yellow version too ...

And I think, in the past, there were some lavender ones as well.

Thursday I met up with a few members of my new quilt group and went to a wonderful quilt show at Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro.

Of course, no pictures were allowed but there were attendants with gloves who would turn a quilt so the reverse side could be seen and lots of good close-up viewing.

The show lasted 8 days and included work by many well-known Japanese quilters and their disciples. Most were large quilts. Some were group quilts and there were some small items and framed smaller quilts. There was also a section of the show that seemed to be a collection of vintage quilts. There was no information in English, but even so, it was a very well attended and enjoyable show.

There were many booths of items for sale in the area outside the show. After a little lunch and chat with the friends, I went back to look over the shops. Some of them were connected to well known quilters and I could enjoy a bit of a chat with those I see from show to show. I saw a number of lovely packs of coordinated fabrics, but I was able to resist buying anything. After all, I will have to live to at least 200 to use up what I have.

I added a narrow outer border and have finished quilting a bit over three of the borders on the rainbow quilt.

Using my template and starting in the center of one side, I was able to make all the corners come together in a neat arrangement.

All the main part of the quilt is quilted in the ditch so I think the large cable is a good balance.

I haven't made the binding yet but am thinking of a medium purple that will fit the backing as well.  There is still a few day's worth of work until I get to that part so plenty of time to think it over.

There was sad news that the Yokohama quilt show will not take place. It seems "Quilts Tsushin", a wonderful quilt magazine, has gone out of business ... and I think they were the sponsor. The show was held at a large conference center and though it was labeled "Quilt Week" , it usually was only three or four days. I think vendors don't start turning a profit until the 4th day so that may have been a problem. Even the Tokyo Dome show was cut shorter ... I heard because of a sporting event. After all, it is really a baseball stadium. The over-seas vendors were having second thoughts on that one too.
Gossip has it that tourist companies that had booked a tour from Australia to include the show in Yokohama are now scrambling to find activities to fill their agenda. I can't imagine what effect this will have on the Dome show. A few years ago, another quilt show that regularly was held at Shibuya, also was discontinued. Certainly there is no shortage of quilts waiting to be displayed.

One more x-ray tomorrow and I am hoping to say goodbye to tape and bandages and have a lovely long-awaited soak ... and I don't mean in the rain either.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Happy Dance

I am so very grateful for my blogging friends.

I have only met a few, but every single one of those was as wonderful as I had imagined.

Last night I was in tears trying to just write an e-mail and make a post.
This morning I am in tears of gratitude for the sympathy and support I woke to find.

JoAnn ... the "revert" was found and it worked!
I still have a lot of messing around to do to get some things back, but at least now I have a better idea of where to look.

The typhoon brought rain. BUT ... I found a large pair of my husband's boots that will fit over the foot bandages. I will not have to sit in a meeting with wet feet. (and a bandaged foot will not get you a seat on the train anyway ... because all those kids sitting in the silver seats are too busy texting on their cell phones to even notice someone with crutches).

My sincerest blessings to you all!
Fondly, Julie

Jumping through new hoops

Last week I made a BIG mistake!
Being offered a free up-date to windows 10, I thought it might be better than the windows 7 I have been using,

Ever since then, my little laptop is angry with me. "What? You didn't like me the way I was? OK! Now you are going to pay BIG TIME!"

It is a Dell lap-top but Mr. Dell is gone ... there is no longer that icon I could click on to find things on the computer. Now Mr. Windows is in charge of everything. And Mr. Windows does not give pictures to blogger. (Also Mr. Windows did not just add the three new pictures from my camera, it had to download all 2090+ that were in the camera. BUT ... no access to them. Oh, I can click on the picture icon on blogger and download those three pictures to that select form but then the whole thing ... including this pace freezes up.
The result is ... no pictures can be posted.

Of course, since Mr. Windows took over, all my other files are hidden if they do still exist.

Mr. Windows  also does not like Mr. Yahoo. I can still get to my mail with some difficulty but reading it is a challenge and answering or writing even the shortest message is an exercise in patience. (why did I choose that as my focus word this year???)

That little hourglass pops up between every letter typed in. And if the hourglass actually meant to wait and the letter would appear, I might be able to hang in there, but no, left click and try again maybe 20 or 30 times before getting the next letter, then try to remember what I was trying to say.
I wrote my grandson a birthday greeting and two sentences took over half an hour!

I thought it might be easier to answer mail in my cell phone. Yes, it was a wee bit faster but very hard to touch the right letters or scroll the screen without losing the whole thing and having to start all over.

Before all this, my biggest problem was trying to fix the no-reply. My son tried to help me. After all, he was the one to set up my blog for me ... but when he logged on from Colorado, using my password, Mr. Google blocked him and bragged to me that it had caught him at it ... and ... made me change my password. Gosh, I have so many passwords they take up two pages in my notebook (and my notebook cannot be left within reach because Nikko is sure to eat it while I am sleeping.

Oh, there is more ... much more ... but I have probably ranted enough for one sitting. I have managed ... thanks to that hourglass ... to finish quilting three borders on the rainbow quilt. From tomorrow school starts with a teacher's meeting. I am looking forward to working with little kids again. Also, the coming typhoon has pushed some cooler air into our neighborhood. (though I am hoping to make the walking ends tomorrow without a wet foot as it will be another week before I can get into boots or shoes that fit, and my sandals won't be much help if we get the rain that comes with it). My flowers (which are hiding on the windows file) are celebrating the cooler weather and the gardenia is full of buds.
My greetings to all my friends whether I can reply or not, and my advice will be not to fix anything that ain't broke

Monday, August 17, 2015

Singin' in the rain....

Well, at least my garden is.

I think we have some kind of record going for the number of days with high heat and no rain.

Oh, so hot and humid, like living in a sauna.

Starting last Monday, I was engaged with Vacation Bible School at our church. The enrollment had to be closed a week before because classes were full and indeed for the space available we were pretty tight.

The whole interior was turned into a jungle with hanging vines separating work areas. I was in charge of games and basket weaving.

Creating games to fit the available space ... simple enough to understand and active but safe and easy for one person to control... as I had no assistant this year ... it was a challenge.

The basket weaving had been a big hit last year so they decided I would do that again too. It kept me running from place to place and assigned helpers had never made a basket so I was teaching new people every day.

At the last minute, I was given one more day of games and ended up staying up until after midnight preparing the game parts. My husband came the last hour of the last day and after watching said. "Now I know why you come home so exhausted".  Well, it is all over now and I got the cast off my foot on Saturday. (Of course there is still a lot of wrapping and I was told not to walk around) Hah!

Last night around midnight the rain rolled in. Good thing I don't have to wade in the puddles, but after a week away during the day, the laundry had to be done. The laundry poles and clippies were not going to work today.

So, there, among the plants in my greenhouse/ bedroom is a bit of added humidity.

Meanwhile, all the blocks in the rainbow quilt have been quilted in the ditch. I had to remove the basting around the edges and work to smooth wrinkles out of the backing.

There are a few tricky spots but I am thinking of re-basting the border before quilting it. I have begun working on a simple cable template and hope I can get it basted and marked this week.

This time of year is "Obon", a big summer holiday. Many shops are closed for a few days and travel is heavy. My car is out with my daughter from last week and I have no plan of going anywhere. Wouldn't it be nice to have  finished border to show off by next week?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Not melted yet

Oh, but it is HOT here in Tokyo!
Within the past week, 11,672 people were taken to the hospital with heat prostration.
That is up from 7,743 people the week before.
Of those, 25 have died and 312 are in serious condition requiring at least three weeks hospital stay.
Of those affected, 5,689 are age 65 or above and Tokyo had the largest number of all the prefectures with 1,095.

This morning, Nikko and I walked behind a woman carrying an umbrella for shade and wearing gloves that covered her entire arms to above the elbows. I am wearing shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt and carrying a towel to keep the perspiration from dripping onto my glasses. Though the temperatures are in the mid-30s, that is the average and the neighboring area next to us is much hotter.

Tuesday we escaped to the city, where we met one of my "old" scouting buddies. (actually, I was the oldest one there) We have been friends since the early 80's when he was in Japan with the navy. He and his lovely wife helped us celebrate our anniversary with a delicious meal and fried ice cream, while we caught up on several year's time and gossiped about our mutual scouting friends.

My friend had made a trip to the World Jamboree.

I had been half hoping to go ... I had attended the Japanese Jamboree at the same location two years before and, looking back to that week without shade and flooded campsites ... though I would have liked the experience, the lack of information about what might be different (other than thousands more people) along with the price in yen, gave me cause to reconsider.

Well, I got the first-hand report from my friend.

The next day, I also got a first-day-cover ... a real neat gift if you are a stamp collector. (my husband went over to our post office and brought back a sheet of stamps) These will go into my album of scout stamps from around the world. My friend and my husband both know how to make me happy.

This past week I have been working on an extension to the Women's Conference banner.

The end of this month, the church will have what they call a "Rally Day".

After the service, different ministries of the church have displays showing what activities are available.

In the old days, this was a good opportunity to get people involved in the activities of the church and show new members what goes on during  the year.  The last two years it has become just a day to walk around and have a look.

That day I have a scout event to attend so I added a pocket to the banner that can hold the printed brochures for those who want to know more.

I am not a fan of acronyms and this event has become WOCON.

For that reason I put those letters larger and darker fabric.

The owl fabric is the pocket.

The colored piano-key blocks are for attendees to sign their names so I added a few more around the pocket.

The park (where I borrow the fence for picture taking) was very hot in the morning sun but the Saru-suberi tree was bursting with blooms.

In Japanese this tree is called monkey-slip tree because of the very smooth bark.

Crape Myrtle is a tree I wish we saw more of in the city.
It comes in such a variety of colors and blooms throughout the summer and into the fall.
The tree takes in the pollutants which are flaked off in the bark. It can also be pruned way back to the main branches during the winter and yet come back with lots of shade and blooms in the next summer. I suppose it drops a lot of petals and flowers but both Linden and Zelkova drop sticky stuff and they are used for street trees anyway.

And one more piece of trivia ...

Sunday night ... or early Monday morning we had a "Blue Moon". Well, in Tokyo it really was rather orange and I thought I might take a picture of it dangling between the power lines outside my greenhouse windows.

For that, I needed to open the window.

Well, the camera was not keen on being awakened in the middle of the night and got confused about what I was focusing on.  I gave up.

BUT ... the mosquitoes didn't mind being awakened and took advantage of the open window,  I took a picture to show how tiny these critters are ... especially if you are used to those blood-sucking helicopters they have in Minnesota.

If they bite and you refrain from scratching, they do not itch for long. BUT, they never seem to bite me (like the nurse, they can't seem to find any blood), they just fly around singing in my ears and driving me nuts.  This one wouldn't sit down so I could swat it so I had to turn on the lights and pick it out of the air.
We do have bigger mosquitoes in the city and one park was closed part of last summer because those "Tiger Mosquitoes carry Dengue fever. These tiny ones are more common and can breed in the smallest amount of standing water.

I am still sitting with my foot up. The blocks on Ben's quilt are almost all quilted and by tomorrow I will think about how I want to do the border.  And while I am wiping my sweaty brow, I am thinking of my son, Ken, fighting fires in Washington State ... Maybe I don't really know what HOT is ... and I don't want to find out. Stay safe, big boy!