Sunday, November 24, 2019

A crazy busy week

Friday night I put the last coat of varnish on the advent ornaments and Saturday morning I packed them in bubble wrap and took them to the main post office. I didn't even take a picture, but used pictures of past ornaments to decide the colors.

They were pretty much the same except the present had the bow on top and I substituted a crown for the ball.

I was relieved after walking all the way to the main PO that they were open on a Saturday because our local one is closed.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the package made it to Oregon and was delivered in less than a week. Hopefully they will all fit in the numbered pockets of the calendar and will be a happy countdown to the holiday.
Since my Saturday english class was cancelled, I went into town for our church's homeless luncheon. Since my husband was responsible for making this monthly event a part of the church service, I like to go if I happen to have the day free. Another scout leader and two scouts came so we could count ten service hours for our unit.

Sunday included the usual choir practice and the anthem and was followed by rehearsal for the coming "Choir Sunday" , followed by another rehearsal for the Christmas concert. I usually do shopping for the week along the way home  from church as I have to get off the train at the main station, then ride again to my stop ... but I was so tired I decided to postpone that part of the trip until another day.

Monday was the usual 4:00 am departure for onigiri delivery and then off to school. I did the weekly shopping on the way home from school and that was a good move as the store was less crowded and the check-out lines shorter.

Tuesday I had a date with the dentist which is near the school, and went from there to school for a second day.  Wednesday I had a date with the Toyota shop to look into why my car was pulling slightly to the left. It was fixed in less time than it took to drive there and back and there was no charge ... but I need to go back this week to have the brake pads changed.

Thursday evening was another very long choir practice and Friday I went to Nishimachi school to help with the quilt. We are just about finished piecing the background and will soon begin adding cherry blossoms to the scene. I enjoy the group effort and hope I can make contributions that are worthwhile. While there, I was able to pick out some white kimono silk.
I had been asked to alter a wedding dress by a church member, She had ordered it from China on line and the fit was a bit off. The white silk was just what I needed to alter a very low neckline in the back. Friday night I set to work and Saturday morning I again went into town to buy hooks and eyes for the project. My regular sewing shop was closed and I had to waste time hunting for an alternative plan. Luckily I found something that worked and after my english class I was able to finish up the dress and get it packed up for Sunday delivery.

We have had a long run on rainy cold days but I was able to grab a short bit of sun to take a picture of the feedsack quilt so far.

At this point I am thinking of adding a small one-inch border around the applique border. I will choose something very light ... pale blue or pink or maybe green. I may have some light lavender in my stash. If I get back into town this week I will see if they have a yoyo making kit. I am also hoping for a day to lay out and cut the backing for piecing. If I am lucky I may find time to get this basted.

It might be nice to have a warm quilt to sit under while I work now that days have become rather cold.
This week is another trip to the dentist and the Toyota place, more choir rehearsals and a meeting with my old quilting group. Also on the list is figuring out where to put my fabric collection and get the place tidied up for family time. Then... there is a thanksgiving outing to fit in. Never a dull minute! AND, unless my cell phone app is lying, there is going to be another week of rainy days. That should keep me indoors some of the time!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Getting ready for Christmas

Monday was my usual 4:am onigiri delivery ... going out to the parking lot in some light rain.

By the time I returned to the parking lot after the delivery, rain was falling heavily and I returned home with one very wet dog.

With a bit of time to mop up and change clothing, I was off to school.

It was nice to be back after a long break...  My boss having taken time off after having her baby.

The rain stopped during the afternoon but by the time I got home it was dark and I was tired. It was all I could do to take care of the dog and heat up a bit of dinner before hitting the sack.

Tuesday I finished assembling the 4th border for the feedsack quilt and hand stitched it in place. I am quite happy with the results so far. It is sitting on the sofa while I consider the next step and get to work on something more urgent.

My #1 daughter had the original Advent calendar, made when my kids were small. A year or two earlier, I made a new hanging to replace the old one that had been made of felt and not outlived the moths. Then, the hanging items that had been made of home-made clay succumbed to the test of time  ... so this year I had decided to carve wooden ornaments like I had made for the other kids.

I cut the pieces from wood during the summer while I had my electric saw out at summer camp and began roughing out the figures. Half were stashed in a baggy ready to be fine tuned and half in another baggy waiting to be roughed out. Well, My daughter lives in Oregon and an Advent calendar needs to begin on December first ... so ... this is going to have to make it into the mail soon. The time for dithering is over!

Today I finished roughing out the second half and then worked on sanding and putting in the detail. Tomorrow I will begin the painting. It will take several coats of paint because it soaks into the wood. Then I will have to put in the hanging loops and coat them with about five coats of varnish. Hopefully I can have them all boxed up and ready to fly by the end of the week.

When I laid them on the tray for a picture, I noticed one was missing. Where could it have gone? Maybe it fell off the table into the wastebasket with the wood chips. I had dumped that basket into the waste bin with the garbage ... so, first thing to do was go through all that stuff and check. Yuck! Well, I didn't find it there, so I began to look under furniture and other stuff where I was working. Finally I did find it down in the sofa ... just as I was wondering if it would take less time to cut a second one.

Now all are ready to begin the painting. My fingers have a few nicks. When I teach the scouts woodcarving, I tell them what they will probably be doing if they get a cut. cutting toward themselves, being distracted, trying to cut off too much at once, working when tired, and rushing to finish. Yep. Rushing when tired is dangerous. I have made bench hooks for the scouts to use to hold their work so they don't need to cut toward themselves but I didn't bother to go and get one for myself. One bandaid later ....

If the sun comes out tomorrow, I hope to get a picture of the quilt so far,   Hopefully I can get the painting done before I have to run off to choir practice, and I am really happy to get this far with the end in sight.

Monday, November 4, 2019

A bit of sun and a bit of progress

Taking advantage of some rainy days, three borders have now been added to the feed sack quilt.

Once it is ready for quilting, I plan to add a bit of embroidery to the border.

I am considering a one-inch outer border made from strips of leftover feedsack fabrics. Not quite sure if it is needed or the fabrics would be strong enough for the wear edges get.

I have also been thinking of centers for the flowers in the borders. I had thought of vintage buttons but they might get caught on things once it is on a bed.
Then I thought of making small yoyos. They were rather popular back in the days of feed sacks.

The flowers and butterflies and vines are now pinned in place on the last border.  This can be rather addictive but I will have to take a break to finish a whittling project that needs to be in the mail within a few weeks.

Cool fall days have replaced the sauna of summer ... a sudden swing from t-shirts to a down jacket.
A few more layers above the quilt on my bed ...

The last Sunday in October, I met with my scouts at the entry tori gate to the Meiji shrine.

The plan was to cover the requirements for rank advancement in the area of "Duty to God".

Luckily my assistant had printed out the requirements for different ranks so we were able to run through them all.

The requirements are written for BSA members assuming everyone has access to materials in their own language and belong to a church. My group, being from  all different countries is not likely to find a book  in their school library to read about the pilgrims.

We had to learn a song and a prayer ... fine for those with church traditions.
My goal in choosing the Meiji shrine was the long meditative walk through beautiful nature.
There were lots of tourists and worshipers too. We could talk about respect for religions other than our own and how both Shinto traditions and Buddhist traditions and holidays are part of the local culture.

We observed at least three wedding processions.

We saw children dressed in Kimono to celebrate an early "Shichi-go-san"... the 7, 5, 3, age celebration for children...

Another procession coming through the gate...

                                      A display of chrysanthemums.

                                 Another display of bonsai and mini garden layouts....

                                            Cases of Japanese sake, donated to the shrine ...

And, across from the sake,  a display of casks of wine donated by winemakers.  I guess there will be plenty to serve all those wedding guests.

It was a very long walk to the inner area and back and the kids still had plenty of energy at the end. I was glad to sign off their books after covering their remarks. (and glad to get a seat part of the way home). With so many days of rain, we were lucky to have a dry day for the outing.

Then rain set in again until Saturday when we had a weed-a-thon. Three bags of weeds now waiting for tomorrow's trash collection and multiple service hours for our unit...

Somewhere in between I fit in a birthday with a big multiple skype with my kids. I think I needed a bigger screen to get everyone in view. What a joy!

The cookie fairy showed up and put in a day of hard work ... and a few got left for me to share with friends.

And, if I needed to feel even more loved,

... look at all the flowers that joined the party...

Not much room left for meals on that table...

Well, time to wind my clock and get back to the tasks at hand.