Sunday, July 31, 2016

Not part of the plan

I was not really planning to work on quilting during the hot days of summer. In fact, I have another piece I should be working on and have yet to begin.

And ... that is the reason I have 19 of these blocks quilted .

The project I should be working on is a banner to hang in the church entryway on "Rally Day" at the end of this month. The design was sent to me about a month ago ... some stuff needing to be appliqued on a yellow background. Within a week, I had gone to the local shop and found a meter of very pretty yellow fabric, bought it, and brought it home.

THEN... I began cleaning up the house to host my quilt group.

I was very careful when moving items to sort and organize them so I would be able to find them again. The yellow fabric sat folded on the back of the sofa since it was my next project and I needed the reminder to get it started.  So, what happened to it? THAT is a mystery I have been taking weeks to solve and I am no closer now than when I began.

I have taken every room apart and put it back together again. I sit with the hoop in my lap trying to think of one more place where I haven't looked. My house is NOT that big. I have looked in or under or behind every piece of furniture, box, bin, bag, you name it, and that bright yellow fabric is nowhere to be found. So, I sit and quilt and ask myself where else it might be. I honestly can't think of any place I have not looked.

The quilt top has 16 blocks left to quilt before I have to figure out the border areas. There is no hurry to get it done. SO....
Now I must bite the bullet and get to that banner. I am not going to go out and buy more fabric! It will probably show up the minute I put the last stitch in that banner. I do have some yellow fabrics and I will just figure out how to make use of what I have. I need a sun in the center and thought I would piece one with the giant dahlia design. I used to have a pattern that I traced from a quilting friend and used for a round table cloth. After going through all my files of patterns, I have not been able to find that either.

I have tons of quilt magazines and pattern books, so I began going through them looking for that pattern. Do you think I could find one? After several more days of sitting on the floor in front of my bookcase going through every book, not one pattern for the giant dahlia. Does this banner really want to get done?

Well, I am not going to go back to quilt one more block until I have this thing in progress. I found a pattern for a mariner's compass. Maybe it could pass for a sun design and I should just go with that.
Well, today is the day. Next week will disappear with Vacation Bible School. Five days of train rides might be productive but I just have to get started the minute I close this laptop!

An Ojiisan in the neighbourhood had a number of cacti with large buds.

When Norie and I stopped to admire them, he said they would open at night and probably in a few days.

A few nights later, I took Nikko for her evening walk past his place. As he had said, he moved all the cacti out in a row in front of his former shop.

They had just begun to open. There was a light breeze but just enough to make photography difficult. Still, I got this picture without a flash.

Nikko and I went back a few hours later to admire them all in a row.

In the shadow of the lamp post they didn't make much of a picture but they sure were worth the night time jaunt.

Yesterday I passed by again and noticed there is a bud coming up on another of the plants. Hurray for the "odd-one-out". There it sits with it's friends, waiting for it's one time to shine.

And, after seeing how much I enjoyed that hosta flower from my neighbour's garden,

two more flower stalks have popped up .

Everything in it's own time....
And banner time is now

with or without yellow fabric or patterns!
No more excuses.

Not one more quilt stitch until those pieces are marked and cut!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The quilting has begun

All the while I had this quilt spread out on the floor for basting, I was troubled by all those white blocks that don't match. Well, it was a quilt made from my scrap tin and it is too late to take out the muslin blocks that are too white or too yellow.

My quilt plan ... if I had one, was just to quilt in the ditch all around with something a bit fancier for the border. However, those non-matching blocks kept bothering me. Finally, I thought I would try something different by quilting over those odd blocks using a light blue thread rather than white.

I still am quilting white in the ditch. I am afraid the blue shows off my uneven stitching but I do think it is helping to calm some of those white blocks that don't really fit.

I just folded a piece of paper and cut it to make the design. Hopefully it will last long enough to finish the top. I am marking each block as I go. Maybe I will need to secure the pattern in a folder so Nikko doesn't eat it before the quilt is done.

Our weather has gone from HOT on Monday and warm on Tuesday, to rain and cooler the last few days.
Yesterday and today I have been comfortable with long pants and no air conditioning.

Outside my gate, I am rewarded by this hosta flower.

This plant was rescued from the bulldozer when my neighbor's garden was being ripped up. I put the roots in a long planter and this year I moved it to my gate area where it could get a bit more sun.

The flowers are small but so beautiful. It has been several years now since the garden was replaced by two houses filling the entire spot and blocking most of the sun.

That neighbor was my first non-English-speaking friend and the one I owe most for daring to use my poor language skills.
She loved and cared for her garden and in later years I was glad to help her with her weeding. Her daughters live in another part of the city and, as far as I know, have never returned to the place they grew up. I wish they could see their mom's memory lives on in the bits and pieces she once cared for.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Who am I ???

Do you ever have an identity crisis? Until January this year I was just Julie Fukuda. That is what everyone called me and what I signed as my name.

Then, when Paul died, I suddenly have been swamped with papers needing my identity. I had to get my seal registered at the Ku (ward) office. BUT ... they would only take names in Kanji ... Chinese characters. Well, no problem ... My twin brother was an expert in Chinese with a Chinese wife and had given me a nice kanji name ... well, it says "Julie" in Chinese but in Japanese it is pronounced "shu lei". Anyway, I could use that to register my hanko using those two kanji and the kanji for Fukuda.

So now I own an official seal to be stamped on official documents and bank book etc. Of course we have tons of un-official seals as Fukuda is a rather common name and when my husband needed to put his seal on something, he just popped into a store and bought one.

Since then we have to get countless papers and documents to be filled out. Some have me as Julie Fukuda. Some as Julie C. Fukuda, and of course Fukuda Julie C. But wait! When I was born, I was named Julia (after my father's mother) and Carol (after my mother's favorite doll) So, the plot thickens because these can also be written in a number of different ways using katakana ( the Japanese way of writing foreign words ... that once are put into this form may or not be put back into the lettering as it once was). It gets confusing because I have never used the name, Julia. It was pronounced Yu li e as in Bohemian and spelling it with an e was closer and softer to my ears than when teachers called me JUL Yah.

But now I am stuck with many ways of writing and spelling my name and each paper to be filled out wants my name or signature but which one? Finally I just sign my name as it is on my passport and send a copy of that passport page. Why does life have to be so complicated? And, if I use my seal, anyone can get it from me and place it on the correct spot and I don't even have to be there. I guess something could be said for using a finger print ... but then, which finger?

Yesterday I put the final border on my nine-patch quilt. Now I will have to hunt around for something to use for the backing. The size is 224cm x 182cm. (or around 88" x 71"). I really have no plan in mind. For the quilting I was thinking just some in-the-ditch with maybe some feathered pattern around the one-inch nine-patches. Well, that is still a ways off.

It was fun having my quilt friends over and I am enjoying a clean-(er) house. Norie's family came Sunday and My SIL came too. Today was a national holiday and Norie and Leia stayed overnight and another friend (a daughter-on-loan) came tonight to join us all for dinner.

Now quiet has returned and order has been restored and I can contemplate who I am and where I am going ... not that it helps much!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Busy days

Friday will be the first time my quilt group members meet at my house.

I have been in a cleaning frenzy ... trying to get things sorted out and put away in a place I can find them again when needed.

First step was to finish up Marie's Christmas present ... that she has been awaiting for over half a year.

I couldn't find a box the right size so I made one of tagboard.

Marie had requested indigo and sashiko.
The horse is her year on the oriental zodiac and
the "sashiko" which is quilted in, is the Fukuda family crest.

The other side has a dragon to represent her hubby, Tim.

The quilted sashiko is the kanji for "Fuku"

(same as in Fukuda, meaning good luck or fortune).

I couldn't guess what the box opening might be so I made a drawstring top.

Hopefully it will not be too large an opening.

I terminated the string pulls with a gathered flower print from one of the scraps.

This is a view of the bottom of the box.

The covers I have made for tissue boxes at home do not have bottoms but just pull over the top of the box.

I didn't quilt the bottom but I thought if it will not work with her purchased tissue boxes, she could use it as a little bag.

Since she had waited so long for her gift, I decided to add a bit and make her a paper holder ... not an owl but using the same yukata fabrics.

This was the result.

The holder I purchased is white.

This old yellowed one is on my wall.
I just had to try it out for fit.

I finished everything Saturday evening and packed it all in a small box, ready to take to the Post Office.
Monday morning, Nikko and I walked to the PO to send it off. On the way I remembered I had not enclosed a note or even a Christmas card.
Oh well, that's how things go.

Now I have been dusting and washing and trying to
eliminate as much dog hair as possible.

I still need to find places to put things I need to work on. I fear moving things out of sight might put them out of mind. I have a pending banner due the end of summer for the church "Rally Day"

Also three Eagle neckerchief slides to carve and paint. I did get the blanks cut out but having knives and blanks on the coffee table may not be necessary.

Today I dusted the little room under the stairs, ie the washroom.

That means a LOT of dusting!

All those owls had to be moved off, have their bodies washed, and the window ledge scrubbed down, and replaced in some form of order.

This is only one part of the room.

There are two owl clocks in here, many pictures (photos, prints, etchings ), containers of all sorts, a lantern hanging in the window, bells, lots of whistles, even a kite and plate on the wall.

From the window view there are type tray shelves with more owls, an owl macrame and an owl hanging vase on the wall and little crystal owls on the sink ledge.

The stuffed toy owl in the towel rack was a gift to Nikko but it hoots when moved and scares her.

The collection includes those made of wood, pottery, metal, basketry, seeds, cones, horn, bamboo, cloth, glass, macrame, beads, enamelware, lacquerware, and plaster.

There are many containers, a bank, lots of whistles and one bell.

More tiny owls.

Trying to clean the shelves and owls without taking the shelves off the wall ... well, I hope my quilting friends are so busy with their work that they don't look too closely.

I knew I had a lot ... and they tend to multiply, as friends seem to think of me when they see an owl and think I have to have another one... But I counted them as I cleaned their little faces and there were at least 145 just in this tiny space.

Would you feel watched in this place?

And ... they are not confined to that little nesting place.

The plant holder and white owl were made by my daughter, Kimie when she was in high school.

The lacquerware owl holds "Hanko" for when a delivery person comes to the door and needs a chop.

The windowsill seems to have gathered a few critters too and all of them get along with the cats and a monkey-year figure made by my SIL.

OK, enough of this!
Now I need to get back to cleaning!

Life is a hoot!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

creative excuses

Well, a week has passed and I can't blame the internet because it has been restored.
I can't blame the camp cleanup and wash because there is still a lot to be done ... and even craft boxes sitting in my genkan.

So, where did the week go so quickly?

I finished the toilet paper holder and sent it off to my elder son, along with a Japanese covered hanger.

I was also able to put a roll of bird-print paper into the holder. It was something from long ago that I had saved and had pictures of Japanese birds with their names in English and Japanese.

So what would you think if your mom sent you such a thing for your birthday? Ken is very handy so I'm sure he will be able to install the hanger and I really like the idea of a spare at your fingertips ... thinking back to all the times in my youth that I found myself stranded.

So, the owl is flying on it's way to Oregon and will probably arrive early with plenty of time to perch in the right place before his birthday arrives. I don't think he checks my blog so the secret is safe.

Friday I spent a wonderful day with my blogging friend, Tomomi. We met in Nippori, known as "Fabric Town", and after a quick lunch, hit the shops up and down the shopping street.

I really had no fabric needs but was looking for a few alphabet subjects. If I had been looking for cat fabrics, I would have hit gold. I have never seen so many cat prints in so many stores in all my life!
I did break down and by one small piece of cat print in a color that matches my handbag. I am thinking of making a new bag for carrying my school stuff and maybe a lunch bag.

I'm not sure what was on Tomomi's list but she seemed to have found a few fabrics to buy. It is always fun to hang out with another quilter and meeting up with a blogging friend is a very special opportunity.

I have Lis to thank for friendships beyond the internet, as she was the first of my blogging friends to meet in person. What she showed me was, that every blogging friend is as wonderful in person as over the internet, had been true in every case.

After checking both sides of the road ... up one side and down the other ... we met up with her charming husband (who took this picture) and beautiful daughter over a cup of coffee (for me, anyway).

I smiled all the way home and am still smiling as I look at this picture. And, if I didn't need the friendship to make me smile, Tomomi brought me a darling reminder of her visit.

I need to find a place to display this beautiful beaded lace doily and the pretty pieced pouch.
For now they sit on the chest beside my quilting chair where I can admire them as I recall our time together.

Soon Tomomi will be winging her way back to Ireland and I'm waiting to see what she will post.

Meanwhile, life flies by.

Sunday was our choir party. Pot luck means lots of foods and lots of variety and the party was fun to talk with all those friends we are always too busy singing with for much of a visit.

Monday I was called to substitute for one of the teachers so it was a long day. The weather was very hot and humid all day but the rain started in the evening and the last two days have been cooler.
I have begun at last the cover for my daughter's tissue box ... a lot late for Christmas. I tried to find a box that size so I could be sure to make a cover that would fit. I finally gave up and made one out of tagboard.

Marie had asked for some indigo and sashiko.

I found yukata fabric with the zodiac animals on it and cut a diamond section of a horse for Marie and a dragon for Tim.

It was really too small for real sashiko ...

So I decided to just quilt in the designs.  They are "Fuku" meaning good luck or fortune and the Fukuda family crest.
My next challenge will be to join the sides and add the square bottom. Then, I am thinking of making a gathered strip at the top to be closed around the opening in the tissue box. I have no idea what the shape might be but I think that should work ... if I can just take it one step at a time and one problem to solve in each step. Hopefully Marie should not have to wait until another Christmas to get her gift.

Marie, if you see this, you will know the wait is getting shorter.

So, that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it!