Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2020 Tokyo Dome quilt show (1)

Back again for another year ... A great place to meet old friends and make new ones, get in lots of walking, and even more inspiration...

First, we were off to the partnership quilts.

This year, both mine and Queenie's blocks were in the earlier sections.

My owl and his two cardinal buddies are in the center of the bottom row.

I thought this arrangement a rather strange mixture of owls and rabbits. A few of the rabbits have hopped down among the owls, but other than that, there doesn't seem to be much organization between style or color.

Each year the project of assembling the blocks is taken on by a group connected to a well known teacher. A few years ago, the size of the blocks was made smaller, possibly to lower the total number of quilts to be made.

I would think having more blocks to work with would provide more options for arrangement...

Queenie's cat is resting on a sofa. If I was trying to find her block by looking for her flag, I would have had to look at each quilt much more closely.

The theme being a favorite animal meant lots of pets, either dogs or cats seemed to take over many of the quilts.

Tanya's block found its way into a quilt of mostly cats and dogs.

Not a very good picture but it seems this quilt tried to feature lighter blocks in the center with a bit darker border.

Though there are lots of repeat design blocks, the arrangement gives the feeling of much more variety.

Cynthia's block is toward the center of the top row.

This quilt, too seems to have at least begun with a plan to put blue backgrounds in the center surrounded by orange tints and then moving out to white, pink and brown.

Mostly dogs and cats in this one.

This quilt has a lot of pandas and seems to have featured green backgrounds,

I think the path of footprint blocks gives the quilt more interest.

On the other hand, these rows of owls seem to get lost in the monotony of the repetition.

All in all, though the theme seemed to offer many possibilities, there were quite a few looking like this one.

I also noticed that, unlike in the past, there were blocks with three-dimensional features. Some were stuffed to stick up or had moving ears or hanging tails. Quite a few embroideries included beads or bowties.

Part of the exhibit included special displays. There were some British museum quilts and those had detailed information in both English and Japanese.

I was looking for a quilt by Yoko Saito to post for my blogging friend, Isa, when I came across an exhibit of "Mary Poppins" quilts.

Only the main work on display was by Saito-sensei.

The rest were the work of her students.

Of course there was plenty of Japanese "taupe" but the fancy detail I enjoyed a few years ago in a Peter Rabbit theme, was missing.

This is a little village at the foot of the hanging.

                                                      Student's work...

I may have to go back and read Mary Poppins again to see how all these picture quilts fit the story...

I hope to post more later once I get my pictures sorted.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The rat race has begun

My last stitching of 2019 was a little holiday runner for my geta bako (shoe cupboard) in the entryway.

A few of these blocks were made on the train into the city and back from the huge amount of rescue fabric I was sorting.
My youngest daughter went through the pack of finished blocks and arranged some into a small table runner ... not finished yet but packed as take-along work and the first stitches of the new year.

The feedsack quilt waits patiently for the dust to settle.

Kimie and her daughter Irene were the first to arrive.

We enjoyed part of one day at Toshimaen, an amusement park near our home. Of course Irene had to try out a few of the rides.

There were a lot of displays that were lit up in the evening just as we were leaving.

When my first daughter arrived just after Christmas with her daughter, they made another trip to the park for more of the exciting rides and displays.

Just outside the back entrance is a ToysR us, and of course that had to be checked out too.

The holiday seemed to race by. Kimie and Irene went off to meet up with long-time friends.
Julie Jr. and Naomi planned a date with an uncle and his family, and I got so distracted that I forgot I had to return for my english class... Oops!

Sunday after church, members gathered to prepare the special New Years food for the New Years homeless meal.

Daughter Norie brought flowers and greens from her garden and I made an arrangement in memory of my husband who had begun the homeless meals long ago.

There was a good turnout of helping hands, and besides 8 members of my family, many of my scouts came to help.
With the count of 19 people, we got service hours for my cub pack.

The scouts can count these hours toward advancement requirements. It was a great way to end the year.

Here we are together....

from left to right, Julie, Kimie, me, Norie, and my "daughter-on-loan", Renske.

Granddaughters were busy working in the kitchen.

Here is the group who showed up early on the first to serve the homeless. Nine of my scout group and my family included (six in the front row plus me in the second and Norie and Hiro at the back.
Church family, Scout family and my family ... a great way to begin the year!

 Raising kids who share my love of nature, nearly every day included a trip through parks and garden to enjoy the nature.

My daughter was interested in all these pine trees with belly bands made of straw.
Years ago, red pines began dying off because of pine blight carried by the pne-bark beetle.

These bands are tied loosely at the top and tightly at the base. The insects come down as the weather cools and get caught in the straw band. In the spring, these bands will be removed and burned.
It was refreshing to see so many large red pines in good health.

Another interesting custom is the way pines with wide heavy branches are protected from heavy snow with strings.

These techniques have made this old garden a wonderful place to enjoy lots of mature trees.

A display at the park gate set a new year mood.

Note a small Mt. Fujii and the olympic rings on display.

Another New Years outing was to the Hakone Open Air Museum.
We enjoyed a meal and a walk through to hills,

Lots of new sculptures ...

A hot foot bath ...

The newly renovated Picasso museum ...

and ... of course an interactive sculpture of nets for the girls to play on and in..

Of course, knowing my granddaughters, they all headed for the top.

Naomi tried out swinging on those hanging balls.

It was a fun adventure and at the end, we stopped at the Tenzan Onsen in Hakone Yumoto where we had dinner and a wonderful dunk in the bath.

I'm sure the girls will have a lot to share with friends upon their return.

Kimie and Irene lefton the weekend and Julie and Naomi left Monday after getting up at 4:am to deliver Onigiri with me ... the first delivery of the new year.

The house has become suddenly quiet.

I spent the day taking down the tree, packing up the ornaments, and hunting for things that have been moved in the busyness of these days.

The genkan now has a few mice on display to celebrate the year and the boar was packed up to rest for the next 12 years.

The mouse on the left, sitting among some cats, was made by my sister-in-law. She made an animal for display for each of the 12 zodiac years. The brown mouse is a bell and the little mouse is sitting on rice cakes among traditional new year's items. The brown owl holds my hankos as they are often needed to sigh delivery slips and the like.

The mouse or rat (same word in Japanese) is the first in line of the 12 zodiac animals. According to ancient Chinese lore, the rat had only a slim chance in the race to determine the zodiac order, Yet it's intelligence, agility, and quick thinking enabled it to win, as it hitched a ride on the ox to cross a fast flowing river and then jumped off over its head to cross the finish line first.

Those born in the rat year, (1924,36,48,60,72,84,96, or 2008 are in for a lucky 12 months. The rat is associated with family and fertility so expect a year of hanging out with parents, siblings, or kids)
Well, it sure did start that way!
The rat, as a highly perceptive animal, can sense its environment and know when to act. I will be looking forward to a very productive and successful year ahead.

And ... on my door is the first quilt I made after coming to Japan years ago. It is a simple New Years decoration with items used to celebrate the new year. Games children play, a mallet of good fortune, pine, plum and bamboo, and maybe a sip of sake in that gourd.

Here's wishing all my wonderful blogging friends a very happy new year!