A rabbit was running around, making tracks. A hawk or owl (I think a merlin is too small) swooped out of the evergreens and picked up the rabbit, who was screaming its tiny rabbit scream by now, and took off in the early morning light.
I drew a picture to help you. I love scanners.
If I had any skills in MS Paint, I could have made this much more believable, but you just have to use your imagination. If that is limited, then I can't help you. Sorry. I have never held myself out as a drawing artist. Note the absence of tracks to the right of the miniature snow angel. For a long ways. At least going in the correct direction. You can draw your own conclusions if you like. I'm sticking with the raptor story.
23 December 2008
16 December 2008
We went to Chicago for a short weekend away. Stayed in the honeymoon suite (Saturday night) at the...Lombard Hampton Inn! It was sooooo cheesy. Greek columns in formica and sad pink bunting hanging from the mirrored bed canopy. But it was fun to be cheesy. Then we moved to a real room for the next night.
After visiting Lombard Gospel Chapel on Sunday we drove downtown. Jerry had to drive down Lower Wacker Drive just because it's cool. We walked the Magnificent Mile. Michigan Avenue. Only 2 wrong ways on one-way streets before finding a parking spot. Sweet. There was a Kristkindlmart at the Daley Plaza where they had all sorts of German crafts and artwork for sale, as well as the ubiquitous brats and beer. I went into Filene's Basement just to see what the hubbub was about. Reminded me of the stores we were in while I was in Japan. Sort of. Only American. Hmmm. The thing is, I only barely got in the door, because of the aforementioned hero hubby and his prediliction for staying out of stores he doesn't want to go into.
And, for the pièce de resistance, I introduced hero hubby to Bao, or Nikkoman as they are called in Japan. There is a "fast food" place called WOWBao, and they have amazing tasting ones. And homemade gingerale that really packs a punch. Pun sort of intended. I was soooo excited.
Monday we visited a customer just to make the trip legit, and had a long scary trip home in the ice. I think over the weekend everyone in the country got hit by ice. Now it's snowing today. Yee haw.
14 December 2008
13 December 2008
This side is the Arrow Feather pattern. Don't be hypercritical. I have in no way perfected sashiko but I'm workin' on it!
This is the Diamond Blue Wave side.
12 December 2008
This is a strip quilted log cabin-ish messenger bag that I made out of new fabrics. This is one item that did sell. This is the front.
11 December 2008
This purse is made from obi fabric given to me by a lady in Japan. I can't remember if it was Takenaka-san or Makata-san. The strap is removable. I used black/gold cotton fabric for the lining.
Remember the orange wedge monstrosity? Under the advisement of my muse, I changed it into this
Remember the strip quilt block I did that I couldn't figure out what to do with? I just mangled that English all over. But I'm stickin' by it.
19 October 2008
This is "Ishi Guruma" or stone wheel. The pattern was created for quilters by Sheila DeRose. If you are crazy about Japanese inspired quilting, these are great to have. Difficult as well - challenging and fun! Anyway, this was a practice piece. The quilt block itself is 100% antique Japanese silk fabric, recycled. The border and binding are new cotton fabric.
I scaled the size waayyy down, just did one block, and did an extremely simple border. Now I know how I want to choose my fabrics for the next one. And I will, young Skywalker, I will...
This is based on the Seven Treasures motif, and is one block in the quilt designed by Sheila DeRose. The only new fabric in this one is the black surrounding the quilt block itself. The rest is recycled Japanese silks. The solids are kind of a brocade. I did a very amateurish job trying to mimic the brocade pattern (kind of a greek key thing) in the black in machine quilting. I'm still learning. Be gentle with me!
This is a take off on the thistle quilt block pattern. I call it "water lily". The only new fabric in this block is the blue background. I did the "waves" and the "clouds" quilting before I got the book on motifs, or I would have been more true to Japanese motifs on it. Oh, well.
I got on a grandma's fan kick one day and made a whole bunch of just the fan portions. I started playing around with those, and thought it was kind of like a Rising Sun to put two together. Couldn't really come up with something that I like for a background, so I made a purse out of two of them. Looks like an orange rather than Rising Sun. This may have to go back to the drawing board...
Anyway, the orange and the peacock feathers are chirimen, and from the same piece of fabric. The green wheel fabric is a very fine silk - almost lighter than handkerchief linen.
Then, I got on a strip quilt kick, which I am still presently on. This is 100% recycled Japanese fabrics. I will probably devise a clever border for this and quilt it as it is. Strip quilting is really great for "odd" quilting fabrics like silk because if you are a little off line-wise, just put another piece on there to compensate! Love it.
One day, all these "kicks" I get on will pan out into something stupendous. At nearing the big 5-0, I would hope that would pan out soon.
14 October 2008
I have been a busy little beaver. It all started with me getting a book (on a whim) by Janet Haigh called Japanese Inspirations, 18 Quilted Projects. Wellllll, I actually read the thing before trying out the techniques in there. What a good girl am I! She explains different motifs that are commonly used, and some ways to achieve the look of Japanese made fabric by using applique, quilting, painting, stencilling and embroidery.
So, she has a section on crazy quilting, and explained it in a way that I could finally say "I could do that!" So, I took some of my Japanese antique fabric, and made a crazy quilt purse. My first. This is the front. The handle is not antique Japanese fabric, but it IS silk and it worked.
This is my second try, using leftover toile fabrics with coordinating fabrics. It's based on what the pattern company had for instructions for doing crazy quilting. Not crazy enough for me, actually, but it did go quickly using all squares.
This is the lining. My daughter asked me what I used for lining. So I had to take a picture of that as well. That's a "patch" pocket inside.
I even made a cell phone purse to go with it. Can you feel the simpering through cyberspace?
I call this my "2 Seasons Purse" as I was only able to get 3 medallions on this particular purse pattern. I will have to do a "4 Seasons Purse" at some point, I expect.
02 October 2008
There were almost 100 people there. About that many more couldn't come long distance.
Mom, on the right, got to reune with a number of "old" friends.
My two boys.
I just loved this picture.
Went to Indiana to find my daughter an apartment (after the birthday party, before the wedding); moved her to Indiana after the wedding. Came home for about 10 days during which I pulled up the carpeting on the stairs to the basement and the family room; got new carpet laid in same. Hero hubby's aunt died and we went to the funeral Labor Day weekend; had houseguests for that. Went BACK to Indiana on Labor Day, alone; moved my daughter OUT of the apartment she was originally put in, and to a different apartment in the same complex. Long story. Collapsed for two weeks when I got home. Literally. And figuratively. Bounced back for two weeks during which I created some amazing items from my antique Japanese fabrics; finished up some projects; collapsed again for about a week; bounced back again. Started learning how to do sashiko embroidery; started learning how to do more creative applique work (which I used to disdain, sorry applique lovers); started learning how to do crazy quilting, all leading up to something wonderful which will coalesce out of all this learning, incorporating all of these arts. I will devote another blog entirely to what I have created. And now, for something
05 August 2008
Motoko-chan was born in 1930 (so she is 78, not 60-something as I originally thought). She lived in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. All she had to say about that was "it was terrible". I'll bet. Then they shipped her off to the countryside in the Kansai province.
Piecing that together with some other things, like the fact that she has only been in the States for 14 years, and was in England before that in "a sanitarium" (at some point), I would gather that living through the bombing of Hiroshima was rather horrible and life changing. Yet, here she is. In love with America and Americans. Go figure.
That would explain Motoko-chan's (if it is acceptable for me to be so familiar with her) poor English. My gosh, she came here when she was 64. If I had to speak in a new language and learn it well at the age of 64 -- well! Should I be so spry.
What humbles me is that she chose me to connect with after all these years. Thirteen hours on a plane. That's all. And she decided I was one she could connect with. Am I the only "young" one who would take the time to listen to and speak with her? I know she has friends, or at least acquaintances, at the Senior Center in the town in which she lives.
I'm scared of the responsibility. Each time I "collect" a person, I seem to let the ball drop and I know it disappoints them. It disappoints me.
So, what do I do with the responsibility she's passed on to me? What about the futon and the other items? Why does this haunt me? (Okay, I know why -- rhetorical question.)
I still have a honking big box in my [now dry] basement and I just don't know what to do with it!
04 August 2008
Hammering out relationship with one's adult offspring is like walking a mine field blindfolded. Once a mother, always a mother. It just won't go away, no matter how hard one tries. On the one hand, a certain amount of mothering is expected, if not required. On the other hand, a certain amount of restraint is required, if not expected.
We are expecting our daughter to be in country from her two year stint in Japan. Countdown is down to hours, not days, now. Except, we can't pick her up for a couple more days. (!) Okay. Time to tell the mother to chill. She's an adult. She has adult relationships. Good thing she's independent. Has a life outside Mom and Dad. WAH. WAH WAH. WAAAAAHHH.
I know that we will drive her crazy within 3 days of her living in our house. She will drive us crazy within 10 days. (The parent factor extends the crazy factor by 66%, evidently. Look it up.) The only one who won't drive her crazy will be the dog. And he will, eventually. Drive her crazy. He's just so NEEDY. Cute, but needy.
As the countdown continues, and my fingernails dwindle, all I can do is wait. And wonder - will that parent factor actually extend the crazy factor by 66% or is it much, much lower?
We'll see, won't we?
25 July 2008
I received yet another package FedEx yesterday. This was in a FedEx letter sized envelope. The contents are described below:
- One souvenir shop book on Higashi Honganji (Shinsu Honbyo). This is in English, has a treatise on Shin Buddhism and Buddhism. It is a seven minute walk from Kyoto Station, and we totally missed it. Hmmm.
- A tablet of Utamaro stationery that is beautiful. (The cover is pictured below). It says 20 sheets. I suspected that a few have been used. And I was right - as usual. There are 9 sheets left.
- Some sort of flat pocketbook, with some paper in it. The fabric is beautiful and it's in its original package, which is old.
- A furoshiki - looks fairly new and definitely unused.
- A handkerchief in a package. It is wrapped like it has a napkin holder on the top and has chickens on the motif. And sakura.
- Another thing of stationery - this with the modern stylized kimono wearing girl. I wonder if she is the Japanese version of Holly Hobby? This has 4 sheets of cloud shaped paper (with sakura water stain as well) and 4 envelopes.
- Two pieces of finished cloth in a package. They are new (possibly 21st century) and of a size that could be tea towels, or placemats.
That is it. Now the questions are coming: in light of what comments I could understand from Motoko-chan, is she planning hari kiri and giving away her Japanese life's gatherings to someone who would (possibly) appreciate them? Am I too nice to strangers? Or just too nice to strange people? Was conversing with someone on a plane being too nice? What could I possibly send her that would not clutter up her life further, causing her to send it on to someone else that was kind to her? (I would love her to send it to her English teacher. Hmm, there's an idea. If I had a beard, I would stroke it now.)
So, I have two big futon, a collection of stationery and fabric things and a book about a shrine I didn't know existed.
My daughter can have the futon when I'm done scalping them.
23 July 2008
- Motoko-chan goes to the Senior Center once a week for English class and TaiChi. (I personally think the English teacher should be fired. If you know this person, tell them to look into some other program, please.)
- When asked if she misses her homeland (near Hiroshima) she informed me that, no, people where she lives in the U.S. are very nice and friendly. People there smile a lot, and people smile at her. According to her - remember she is well over 60 years old - women who smiled too much when she was growing up were "loose women". NOT my opinion. Do NOT shoot the messenger. It just cracked me up. Especially since things have changed a lot, I think.
- She is going to die sometime soon, and has no one to inherit her *something-something* that her mother made (I know it involves siruku or silk - she says siruku) and she wants me and my daughter to have it because we like Japan and things Japanese.
- The above item was made before WWII. 1938 I think she said. or 1948. Which would be AFTER the war. Just in case you have trouble figuring that out.
- I have forgotten all of the rudimentary Japanese I learned in two weeks. Unless I think about it for a few days. Sad. Very sad.
I received a package tonight. From Motoko-chan. It is a huge package and I thought she sent me her life's belongings in one go. Not so. Just the futon that her mother made. From silk (at least on the front sides). I could not believe she sent 2 futon. I didn't see the silk, the way they were folded and just laughed out loud. The way the Japanese say futon it sounds like spitting. Almost. Which is what I wanted to do after sleeping on 2 of them for 2 weeks.
The silk is very beautiful, though. Very beautiful. Hmmm.
Toad and Vole are GONE. Sad as well.
Something mysterious is breaking off the tops of our tomato plants and dill weed and even sunflowers and peppers. These are TALL plants. Hero-hubby has the idea that it is revenge plucking by angry grackles, frustrated that he changed to safflower seeds in order to discourage them from coming around. So he changed the seed back to what he calls "real bird seed" to appease any and all bird creatures that might have revenge as a motive for breaking off the tops of plants. The actual truth may lie in a number of STORMS that we have been having, but these things are GONE and not just green-stick fractured and hanging. So...
I think it's punk squirrels, up to mischief.
My nephew (37) thinks my son (27) is his nephew. He is the oldest grandchild of either set of grandparents. Logically, he is the oldest offspring of my sister. He could not possibly have a nephew 10 years his junior. I am seriously concerned for him. Seriously. Could have just been a Freudian typo, but it will still be fun to razz him for the rest of his life about it.
Speaking of water, my hero-hubby once again used his superpowers and not only figured out (during one of the above mentioned blinding rain storms) how the water was getting into the basement, but fixed it temporarily so that water has not been gushing in every time it rains. AND got another superhero set up to fix the problem permanently.
And now for something completely different...
15 July 2008
Lupines. In the wild. Very thick up there this time of year, and beautiful. Everything was blooming, it seemed.
Lupines, gallardia, all sorts of different white flowers that are hard to distinguish in the photo (cow parsley, yarrow, wintergreen, pearly everlasting and bear grass were all abloom) and mallows are in there as well. And crane's bill geranium, let's don't forget them. And yellow columbine.
These are glacier lilies. They are nodding together with the common European dandelions, which are not to be confused with Japanese dandelions, which grow only in Japan and are white/yellow. Anyway, glacier lilies only bloom just after the snow melts away from the plant that has been growing under the snow. Like croci, only up higher. We were up high. Oh, yeah.
I thought this was orange agoseris, but I'm not so sure now. I did see orange agoseris, but I believe I took this pic to identify the flower, and can't find it! HELP. If I don't name this flower, I will probably die trying, and that wouldn't be pretty, now would it?
And last, but definitely NOT least, bear grass. It's actually a lily. Blooms once every 3-7 years and is fragrant only when there are a lot of them. One on its own doesn't do much for the olfactors. There was a lot of bear grass blooming this year, much more than we've ever seen. It was just beautiful.