Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Next on the list

Last night I put the final stitches into the next "I-Spy" quilt.
This one for a little baby boy.

I took this picture in the park during Nikko's morning walk.

Then I dug through the stash and found some fabric that will work on the back, pieced it, and then pin-basted it.

Now the quilting has begun, starting in the middle and working out in all directions.

Once I got to the borders it was a bit too large for take-along work. Hopefully I will have enough home time the next few weeks to get this finished up.
The center block area is all in-the-ditch and I may put a cable in the two-inch grey border ... then maybe quilt the parking lots in the border fabric.

Last week was over-busy and Friday was spent meeting the English class of some friends. Saturday was the wake for a good Scouting friend. I was pleased to see much of the scouting community stepping up to help with many of the duties. After the main service, the scouts and leaders linked arms in the hall to sing "Scout Vespers". It was quite a moving end to the ceremony.

Sunday after church I had to gather things together for my Cub pack's pinewood derby. I did not have a car to race because we were short kits this year, but I was busy helping the scouts adjust the weight and add graphite to their cars.
Some of the track was missing and, because we had booked the activity room and set the date, we decided to make do as best as possible. With the help of duct tape and the wonderful parents and leaders, we were able to pull off the event ... even without the computerised gates. What a relief, as the date to submit the winners names to the district event was the next day.

Monday began with my usual rice delivery and school. As I was going up the very long escalator at the train station, their was a loud noise in the neighboring down escalator, and everyone looked to that side to see a huge hard case suitcase sliding down the moving steps, picking up speed as it went.
At the bottom it hit a lady from behind and wiped her off her feet. Two people waiting on the up-side rushed over to grab her up before she got caught in the stairs at the bottom. Then two guards rushed in.
The young man owner of the bag, who had been too busy on his cell phone to hang on to the bag, rode slowly down and was talking with the group as I got off at the top. It was a very scary event that has stayed with me ever since. I remember when Ken was just a little boy, he got too close to the edge of the stairs, and the escalator grabbed his shoe, pulling it off his foot (Luckily) and grinding it up in the stairs. I also remember a little boy in the hospital who had lost fingers in an escalator. That is not a place one would fall casually.
Even more scary, was on the three more sections going up, I saw two bags with young people not holding them ... one with a girl turned around talking to someone behind her, and another young man on his device. Neither was as big as the one that came careening down the steps, but still....

The days are still cold. Rain over the last week finally removed the last of the dirty snow drifts.

The plum is in no hurry but a few brave buds have defied the cold and are beginning to open.

Today is the birthday of my third daughter.
We didn't have a chance to get together other than last Saturday at the wake.

The Sweet Daphne planted for her seems to be thinking about opening ...but taking it's time in tune with the plum.

I did see a few bushes in bloom in gardens that get full days of sun.

Tomorrow begins another month.
Friday I have a quilt group meeting so my work can go with me.

The busy days help me to appreciate the down time.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I'm back ... more or less

Yesterday was my first daughter's birthday.

When she was born, we planted this plum tree in celebration, and usually we enjoy her birthday along with the blooms at the South-west corner of our house.

Not only have we had the construction during the last few years of three-story buildings blocking all the sun in the neighborhood, but this winter has brought record cold to the area.

Although no snow is seen in downtown areas, piles of dirty icy snow still remain within sight of my front gate. Yesterday I took my shovel out to chop up a number of ice patches pressed by car tires two weeks ago and still slippery for walkers.

In a few more weeks it will be my third daughter's birthday and her Sweet Daphne buds are formed and seem to be watching the plum for clues to open.

Last week, though I took a bit of time off to recover from my cold, the days got jammed with the usual activities. Choir practice went on longer than usual on Thursday night ... trying to polish up our performance for Saturday but with only half the participants there.

Friday I was to go to a quilt meeting, but I also had to prepare for my Cub Scout pack meeting so there was no time to enjoy my quilting friends. As it was, our pack meeting went on very long because we were doing a "rough-cut" day for the coming pinewood derby.  When I was down on the floor trying to replace a broken blade on the electric saw, I took off my glasses to get my face closer to the lower parts of the saw, and then smashed the frames getting back up. The blade was fixed but the saw gave up five minutes later so all cutting from then on had to be done by hand.

It was midnight by the time I got home and there was a request for the choir members to show up Saturday by 11:am ... though the program was scheduled from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. I gave up on dinner and went right to bed after walking the dog. Morning... walk the dog, grab a banana, and get out the door.

The concert went well and a great time was had by all, but I think my part was the worst I have ever done since we began practicing a few months ago. By the time of the performance I had used up most of my high notes and was getting two notes for the price of one ... neither perfect.

Sunday I was handed a sewing project for a home decorator. Oh my, very heavy canvass it was ...
I had a communications meeting that went on and on into the afternoon, and finally excused myself so I could go and find a glasses store. The one in my neighborhood had closed. I went to Ikebukuro where I had purchased the last pair and that shop had closed. I found the police box and they told me there was a shop on the other side of the station. Not easy finding places when you are too nearsighted to read the signs, but finally I found the shop. they no longer carried my old frames but could find a very expensive pair that would take my lenses. Luckily I did not have to order new lenses and wait more days. Also, luckily I had the money I had been advanced for the sewing job.

Then... rush home, grab the dog and take the car to the pet store to buy dog food ... being all out. It was wan-wan day (11) when I can get extra points on my card for purchases ... meaning a free bag of food several times a year. After waiting in the street for half an hour because the parking lot was full, I decided since I was already blocking the lane along with a long row of waiting cars, I drove up to the entrance and put on my flashers, dashed in and they knew what I wanted, grabbed the big bag of kibble and was out the door in no time.

That was it for what was left of Sunday. Monday mornings I am out the door for onigiri delivery by 4:am.
Sadly, one of the homeless I have been serving over the years had died during the weekend. Strangely, I had had a dream about him that night.
Well, then off to school.

Getting home at dinner time, I thought since I had to turn in the sewing project the next day, I had better get to it. I ended up basting the seams because that canvass was very thick and could not take pins.

Next morning I brought down my sewing machine and began setting it up. All the pieces had been basted and were ready for sewing but my machine just would not cooperate and jammed after only two or three stitches every time. Finally, the clock said it was after noon and I did not know if I could ever get the machine working. I decided if I didn't start sewing the project by hand, there would not be enough time to finish.

It was a simple curtain, long and narrow with a hanging sleeve at the top and hemmed at the bottom. Luckily I finished it all by 5:00pm, just in time to get into town and meet up with the decorator before my regular Tuesday night meeting. I still had one more drape to finish and I did that one by hand too, finishing yesterday. It will be passed off on Sunday. I still don't know how to get the machine working and I hesitate to put it back in its box in a non-working state.

My frustration level with machines has hit an all-time high. Even my computer has taken a turn for the worse, when I try to open my email, I get the message "Network connection timed out. Please try again". "Try again" has no meaning so all I can do is shut the computer off and re-start it many times a day. This began ever since I was forced to take the "New Yahoo" I sure do wish those yahoo and google guys would find something else to mess with rather than messing with things that aren't broke!

Next post will be quilt show stuff. I am hoping to collect the names of those wonderfully creative quilters whose work I photographed.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Taking a bit of "down time"

It's cold out here, Mom, could you step out and remove the ice from my drink? Pretty please?

A few years ago, our choir-room chairs were changed from folding ones to some rigid stacking ones.

At that time, the shape of the raised ridge along the front, hit my legs at a place that made it hard for me to sit longer than five or so minutes. To fix the problem, I made a cushion for my chair.

Ever since then, the choir president has been asking, "Where is my cushion?"

Finally I asked her what colors she wanted, and I have to say, fuchsia and yellow were not easy to find among music prints.

Last Wednesday I finished the assembling and embroidered her initial in the center, and passed the cushion to her during the Thursday evening practice.

As she and her husband are both string players, I thought this bit of fabric worked well for the backing.

I think she took it home rather than placed it on her choir chair, but she was happy and said she was only joking about getting one.

This sixteen inch "Swoon" block I found on several blogs long ago and made a sketch on graph paper so the pattern was easy to draft.

There are a lot of set-in seams which take time and patience and the zipper was set in by hand.

The weekend included the Women's Conference, and with snow still falling on Friday morning, we took the train instead of driving. Too bad I had not prepared handwork for the train because the ride was long. Unfortunately, my sore throat turned into a cough and my voice was rather shot.

I started my regular week with onigiri delivery and school but now I am taking some down time, hoping my voice will recover in time for the Saturday valentine concert. I tried singing along with yutube and can get all my notes but the trick will be not to break into coughing.

I have yet to post on the Tokyo Dome show but both Tanya and Carin have made a number of lovely posts. I am thinking of going to their posts and eliminating duplicate pictures from my camera to see what I might have beyond what they have shown. For me, there is still the challenge of giving credit to those creative quilters whose names were printed only in Kanji. Only the "Teacher's" quilts had Roman letters included. This year I did not bother to fill out a questionnaire, as it appears  it is never read other than to get your address for sending you advertisements.