Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Packing up

Only a little over a day and a half I will be taking off to visit family. Now I am on a count-down and semi-panicked about forgetting something I must do first or pack in my bag.

Monday I met with the neighbors who have offered to take care of my pets. I really want to do something to thank them and while I was there, the son's miniature dachshund was cuddling up to me and I remembered seeing a quilt Taniwa recently made for a friend with dogs in sweaters.

I hunted up her post and made a sketch in my graph notebook and decided to make a table runner using the dog in the center and putting fruit and vegetable print fabric around the border. Maybe if I have time I can make a matching mug-rug for each family member.

Today I hunted through my scraps and think what I have will work. I marked and cut the dog and still have to mark and cut the food, but this will be my take-along for the plane and down time when jet lag doesn't let me sleep.

Of course I took piecing to scout camp too but little got done ... not much "down-time" when in the woods with the boys.... even when no internet means no time on the lap-top.

Yesterday I took my phone to the shop because the battery dies within ten minutes of use. Too bad, they no longer had batteries for that old phone ... so I had to get a new one. Well, maybe it is good because I could get a small i-phone that maybe I can link up with my lap-top. The bad thing is that everything is in Japanese which I can't read. I will take it along to the states and perhaps my guru son will be able to teach me how to use it.

Sooooo, not to worry if I disappear for the better part of July. Hopefully I will have a lot to post upon my return. For now, I am off to make lists.

Friday, June 16, 2017

What it takes to become a Boy Scout

With the finish of the school year, next on the agenda is Scout camp.

All day I have been sorting through the craft stuff and packing up stuff I need to take in order to spend a week with the scouts in the craft area.

The Far East Council has a small supply of tools to use but it is never really enough. All day I have been pulling out things and carrying them downstairs, ready to load in the car. I had put the scroll -saw out by the walk and taken other heavy things there like the leather-working tools and box of dyes and finishes. There are still two big heavy baskets loaded as well as a power cord reel and a box of wood scraps.
I still have some things to dig out that are on the third floor ... like the box of  carving samples.
Yesterday on the way to choir practice, I stopped in Tokyu Hands, where they have a large supply of craft items. I bought leather and some extra wood and hooks and rings for braided lanyards. The last two summers, our paid executive bought completely useless supplies. Even after the first year when I told him what he had bought could not be used for projects, as it was already cut, stamped, and finished ... sparkling pink snake skin made of calf or goat hide? Sorry ... because he bought five times as much of the same stuff last year. Maybe we can figure out some craft for the cub camp but it sure won't work for a merit badge. Anyway, just as I got things set outside to load tomorrow morning, I began to hear thunder in the distance.

Well, I really didn't want to have all this stuff filling my entryway ... which is small as it is, but now I have moved things inside. I am listening to the thunder and smelling rain coming but so far no sound of falling raindrops. When that happens I shall have to dash upstairs and close windows on the second and third floors.

This week when I sprayed the baby quilt top for ironing, I noticed the red I had selected for one of the solid blocks had a problem. I wasn't certain which piece of red fabric I had used as many of my scraps have come from friends and fellow quilters.

I decided to wash my whole stash of reds and tossed in five color-catchers.

Well, when I went to remove the goods from the machine, look at those color-catchers! they were darker than some of the fabrics.

I still didn't know which red was the culprit so I cut strips from fabrics and took them to wash by hand. The last one was the bit on the right.

When I wet that strip, the color just ran off and it even dyed my hand that was holding it. Now I am wondering if I should re-do the quilt blocks or wash the flimsy with color-catchers pinned to the reds I have used. Using that strip, I was able to identify the problem red and pull it from the stash.

I have marked and cut some five-inch kid prints but still don't have enough for one I-Spy quilt.
Don't know if I will have time to mark and cut more as next on my list is to prepare my own camping gear and then pack up clothing and other needs for the week.
I was going to drive to camp tonight but since some troops will be setting up on Monday, I think probably from Saturday afternoon there will be enough time to set up the craft area.

I still have nature materials to round up but those are mostly in large bags because they were left sorted from another event.

Well, the leaves outside the window are dancing in the wind and the thunder has moved on. Still no sign of rain other than a greying sky. Time to get back to work.

I am going to miss a lot of blog viewing as there is no internet out in the woods. I hope you will all have a good week. I plan to.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Block for Partnership Quilt '18

Last Wednesday my cage was rattled by a post from Tanya about the"Partnership Block" for next years Tokyo Dome quilt show. After taking notes from Queenie's post, I had let the whole thing go completely out of my mind. (My mind being over-worked with choir stuff and scouting stuff and school stuff and worrying about who could take care of my menagerie while I travel)

Ooops, the deadline for submitting the blocks is the end of July so I had better not wait any longer because I will be travelling most of that month and next week is scout camp. If I move the ideas any farther out of my mind, it may never get done ... or I will be rushing to meet the deadline.

So, the theme being "tree  of life" I decided to put my Ohio Cardinal into the tree. I was going to put feet on the bird but in the end, the tree needed another leaf for balance at the place where the feet would have been. I put in the last stitches before going to bed after a very long day on Sunday. Tomorrow it can go into the post and I can scratch that item out of my cluttered brain. And I guess it would be a good idea to remove the basting thread from the last leaf now that I see the end dangling.

So ... off to find an envelope and a postcard to enclose.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Years ago, when we were living in Suginami, a small clipboard circulated through the block. This contained a list of the households in the area and the order in which it was to be passed from house to house. There is one that circulates here as well. It contains notices of what is going on in the larger neighborhood, like emergency training or meetings and the like. When one gets the notice, you would indicate you have seen it by putting your "hanko" (a stamp that often takes the place of a signature) in the space by your name. Then you deliver the board to the next house on the list.

In Suginami, the clipboard came with a one-month duty. That was to set out some small folding recycle bins on the particular day of each week... one to hold glass jars and bottles, and the other for tin cans ... or aluminum cans.
I remember taking that board to my neighbor to the northeast when my duty was finished. She looked at the next name on the list and said, "Morishita? Morishita? I don't know any Morishita!" I told her that they live just across the street to the west and she should get to know them as they are very nice people. I was rather shocked that though they had lived there much longer than I, (and even could speak Japanese a whole lot better) they dod not know who their neighbors were.

When we moved from that house back to this place where we had started out, we threw a sayonara-thank-you party for our neighbors at a local eatery. Everyone laughed and talked with people who they had only seen but never talked to before. At the end, many said they wished we had done that sooner.   I have met apartment dwellers who don't even know the names of those living on the same floor or even in the neighboring apartment.

Now I come to my own community. Last Thursday when my daughter told me the trip to the states was booked from the end of the month, I began to worry. I have a big dog. I have a bird and some little fish. I have many plants.  Norie has been looking around for a house sitter for over a month but the pressure was on to get things settled. I had mentioned this worry to a number of friends at school and church and even to my english student, and the pressure was getting more and more to the point I could not sleep at night., Wednesday I trudged sleepily off to school without even five minutes of sleep the night before.

Then Wednesday night, about dinner time, the doorbell rang. It was a neighbor... the very one who had rescued me from the anger of Mori-san in the weed lot, the mother-in-law of the english student. She had heard I would need a sitter for Nikko during the month of July. Not to worry, she and her son would take care of everything.
(This, by the way, is the same son who came to my rescue when Paul died and the internet was cut off, by letting me use his internet connection for around two months until the problem was solved.)

Last night I slept like a log but from now on I may be lying awake trying to figure out what I can do to repay these friends.

If I didn't have three baby quilts lined up, I think it would have to be a quilt. Maybe I can start with a table cloth for their small eating table.

Anyway, I think that should move up to top priority to work on during my travel time ... maybe the food prints and the zodiac animals running around like the birthday table cloth I made for my son ...

As Nikko and I were returning from a walk to the cleaners ... finally my light down comforter can be taken off "stand-by" and sent for cleaning ... As usual, I check out the gardenia by the gate. This year it is full of more buds than ever before. I have to keep checking for caterpillars because just one will do incredible damage even over night.
The suckers are small and green and look like part of the plant and I see a few spots that seem to have been tasted.
Anyway, there, among the buds, was the first bloom! I am about to have a joyous explosion of sweet-smelling beauty. The genkan window is now open and inviting the smell inside.

A deep green fabric is sitting here beside me waiting to be measured and cut for the first inner border of the alphabet quilt. Busy day tomorrow with a teacher's end-of-the-year party and a cub pack meeting.  And even as I run, tears come to my eyes when I think of the kindness of my own neighbors... a gift beyond measure.

Monday, June 5, 2017

On the run

Where do the days go?

They just seem to fly by.

Sunday, one of my former cub scouts had his Eagle Court of Honor. I tell my cubs, if they ever make it to eagle scout, let me know and I will make them a neckerchief slide.

Lately, most have had to be mailed off over the seas because few foreign families stay in Tokyo for all the student's school years.

This time, the eagle was for someone I have known from a very young age.
I do not keep a stash of these slides, but carve them one-by-one with that Scout in mind.

When his board of review was complete, I began to whittle his eagle out of a piece of hinoki, one of my favorite woods to work with.

At the start of last week, I still had the details and painting to finish up. Rushing when working with sharp tools is not very smart and I had already nicked my finger twice. I had to laugh because a long time ago, a fellow scouter made the comment that if it didn't have blood on it, it wasn't an authentic "Fukuda". Well, good thing I still had the paint to go....

Sunday I was able to present the slide to a fine young man and wish him well as he goes off to the states to college. It was a joyous occasion as there were many of my former scouting friends returning to Tokyo for the occasion.

The other big cut into my "free" time was adding rows to the next baby quilt.

Now 35" x 40", I will have to look through my stash to find something for a border. I am thinking of a one-inch inner border first. I have also found the red behind the letter Q has a problem so this will probably need a wash with some color-catchers. I had thought I had eliminated all of that red from my stash and this one was OK. Oops!

Meanwhile, the school year is nearing an end with extra activities thrown in, Scout camp is coming up and I need to gather my stuff and plan that week, and upon returning from that activity, I have a date with family in the states ... now set in dates but still without a plan for a dog, bird, and plant sitter. These things are beginning to look like "deadlines" and that is something I try to avoid at all costs (the worst being lack of sleep while I worry) ... the very reason I tend to cross my bridges before I get to them and build a few more just in case....

(Speaking of bridges, I need to find time to mark and cut enough pieces to take along on my trip for handwork as there are at least three more babies on the way at my school). I have been making baby quilts large enough to go on a bunk bed but lately I find I just can't keep up. If I make one crib sized, it may not be used very long. Looking at the quilts my mother made for her grand kids, the first one was crib sized and got a year and  half of use until the crib was taken over by #2. I made larger quilts after the first one was not big enough for a bunk bed, but I really don't know how the quilts will be used. I'm thinking an I-Spy quilt on the back of a sofa might be more useful regardless of size, to toss over a lap or a sleeping child.

OK, back to work!!!!