Friday, March 17, 2017

Catching up

Sometimes it seems the faster I run, the behinder I get.

It seems every weekend I have to pick and choose my priorities and something is bound to get left in the dust. Today there is a boy scout Merit Badge day, and probably the first one in years I have missed. That is also doubled up with a outdoor leader training that I have also declined to help on.

I don't know who is going to do the nature section of that training but the materials I have assembled over nearly 40 years would not work at the chosen location. In addition, the training which is supposed to include an overnight has been shortened to part of one day. How can we teach scouts to go by the rules when leaders (and the executive in charge) are cutting corners? Yes, he gets more "trained leaders" to his credit but... which comes to merit badge requirements ... where a scout is expected to "tell" or "explain", the leader does the talking and signs the kid off.

Anyway, Sunday afternoon and evening I have a pinewood derby to manage ... with a new track and inexperienced leaders. I think for one weekend, that is enough. And ... next weekend is the district pinewood derby but since the "Gate List" is closed (as it is on a military facility) none of the civilian packs will be able to attend ... they need to know the names and details of attendees (winners) 60 days out... before we even run our own pack events.

So ... besides whittling my derby car, what have I been up to?

Blue and White

At the end of each teaching day, I walk downhill to the train station at 
"the Ju-ban"

That is, as in Azabu-juban.

Along the way I often have stopped at the shop. Blue and White, 
not so much as to shop but to have a bit of a visit and look around.

This little shop with it's charmingly decorated show window has been an icon in the area for many years.

Recently, the "Peacock" grocery store on the property was taken out of the building and new shops were put in.

Amy Kato, who owns the Blue and White was told ... after all these years ... that her shop does not meet building standards and was to be torn down so she had to move. 

As I have said, that shop is an icon of the area  ... so where was she to move too? Well, the shop closed and the building was torn down ... but a sign on the fence declares it will re-open in April on the second floor of the renovated building. I do not know all the details but I hope they will get a show window and be visible still to passers by.

I have known Amy since the early 70's as her husband and mine worked at the same company. I wish I could afford a big bouquet of flowers for the opening, but when life gives you scraps, you make quilts instead. 

Thus two mug rugs ... hoping they can use them for their tea or coffee or even a glass of celebratory wine. 

For Amy, a tai, or sea bream, regarded as a celebratory fish and is often served at ceremonious occasions. In the upper corner, a birds-in-the-air block representing the new location on the second floor, and in the lower corner below the waves are a daruma wishing good fortune ... always rising from a fall ... a good luck cat, (I think those are coins it is tossing), and a mallet of good fortune. Amy's shop is known to hold lessons in sashiko but since I have never taken any, ordinary quilting will have to do.

For her assistant, I can see her jumping up from her work ... done in bits and pieces ... while greeting friends (often with a hug in my case). Over the years bits and pieces of yukata fabric from the shop have gone into ASIJ quilts and also my stash, so her little mat will get a selection. 
For some reason I had trouble making the binding behave but at least I had enough to bind two 8x11 inch mats. 

As for mola, it is now creeping along at a turtle's pace. Under the green is a lighter green ... kind of reverse of the regular molas that usually put the lighter colors on top.

I'm not at all certain where I am going with this and maybe that is why it is moving so slowly.
My original drawing crawled off to some unknown place.
In most cases when this happens, the minute I go to the trouble of doing a task over, the original reappears. BUT, this time it seems to be gone for good ... along with the color plan. This is definitely not what I had in mind at the beginning, but now I hate to start over once more.  I guess if this is a learning experience, I should be happy ... that is ...  if I really have learned how NOT to make mistakes.


  1. The mug rugs, I had tears as I read your words, these are from your heart, will last after flowers would have faded and turned to brown, truly beautiful, And the sea bream, and blocks specially chosen, what a gift to treasure.

  2. I agree with Nancy, you put a lot of thought into your gifts and they will be treasured long after any flowers would have wilted. As for the choice of colours, what could be better than blue and white for a shop called Blue and White?!'
    As I have not even started thinking about the Mola project, I have no comment other than it looks good to me. I am sure it will be a stunning bag at the show.
    Your weekends have been packed with too many tasks. I hope the rally goes well.

  3. Blue and white - beautiful mug rugs and wonderful choice of pattern/fabrics - as usual - and made with love from your humongous heart - they will be treasured forever. So sad that Amy was forced to move - I really hope that she does extraordinarily well in the new location - just to show them - LOL. And it sounds like the scout leaders/executives could learn a lot from you if they didn't already know it all. Love your mola and want to hear more about the derby car - ;))

  4. I wish I had known about Blue and White while we were in Tokyo last year but I learnt about it When I got home. Sounds like a very nice place. I love your Tai motif. Genuinely Japanese. The turtle looks good too!

  5. I wish I had known about Blue and White while we were in Tokyo last year but I learnt about it When I got home. Sounds like a very nice place. I love your Tai motif. Genuinely Japanese. The turtle looks good too!

  6. Sounds like you have too much on your plate to do it all, hope you can enjoy doing the things you love and make sure you find time for yourself. The shop sounds wonderful and I think they will love their gift mats, you put so much thought and meaning into each piece you make for others.


  7. Beautiful mats Julie, and sewn with love. Handmade gifts mean so much more than bought ones. You have been so busy, don't know how you do it all, look after yourself and take care. Some things can be left for another day.

  8. Hubby taught Wilderness First Aid this weekend. Cutting corners just doesn't work. Great mug rugs. The fish is cute. Hope they do well in the new place. Looking forward to seeing your latest Pinewood Derby car.

  9. OH what a lovely gift - I adore the fish stitching - you are so good at this. And such thoughtful inclusions to make the gift so very special. I'm adoring your turtle - I love mola work, I once did an entire Hawaiian quilt (each large block was separate Hawaiian design - and a jumping dolphin border around the entire king size quilt) in that style and enjoyed doing it so much. Quite a relaxing technique.

  10. Julie, Beautiful gifts. I love your creativity. Especially like your fish!! Keep inspiring us!!!

  11. Love the Blue and Whites and the Turtle! Keep up the Awesome Mom!