Friday, November 28, 2008

High Kotatsu cover

Okay here it is.  The final quilting done and the edges hemmed up too.  I always wanted a high kotatsu so I wouldn't have to sit on the floor and still get the benefit of the heater.  One problem is this is the only place in our house I can put it!  When my granddaughter and her mother come next week, they will sleep on this hideabed so where will I put the Kotatsu?  I also took the quilt off to save it so it will be completely clean for them to sleep under while they are here.  Below you can see it spread out on my bed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Steps to make a quilt

Here you can see the trouble I had getting this huge kotatsu quilt stretched out on my small frames!  The size was 7 and 1/2 feet square.  I had to cut a bamboo pole to use on two ends as my frames weren't that long.  Then the bamboo poles would twist and it was hard to get them under the clamps.  Finally after getting the base stretched and sewed on I put on the filling.  I used only a single layer which cost over 10 dollars for just the filling.
The four corners were held up all differently.  2 were put into the bookshelves and the outside 2  were put on a color box and the old empty tv case.  Then I had to get a ladder to hold up the one side that wouldn't stay in the bookcase, so it was quite a chore.
Here the top pieced layer is put on.  That needed to be pinned down first and then stitched.  In the second photo above you can see the 100 yen thread I bought for stitching it.  While stiching below, a terrible thing happened.  The one old bamboo pole broke and I had to take it out and take the two shorter frames and clamp them together to get it long enough to substitute it for the bamboo pole!  Finally it was okay and I finished.  Tomorrow I'll show you the end result.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

another cow

Wow what a cow!   

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Year of the Cow

I was looking for a good Cow cartoon photo to put on our New Years Greetings Post Card. In Japan they use the Chinese system of having an animal depict that year.  2009 will be the year of the cow.   I thought this one would be the best; however my husband had a strong veto!  So thought I'd shrare it with you here.  I may never be able to eat a chocolate soft ice cream again!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hachima Sponges

These long green veggies were nice to eat when they were the size of cukes, but the ones that get too long you just let grow and then MIL made some natural veggie sponges with them.
First you soak them in water for several days until you can peal off the skin (below)
When the skin is off  and they dry (below)then you have these natural sponge like things.  I took one in and tied a string on it to use in the bath.  It worked okay, but I prefer my synthetic soft nylon scratcher washer.  These have a tendency to leave droppings and the seeds inside come out and make kind of a mess.  I think I will pass on going green with these!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

family comes for Kaki

Jack's brother and his family came from Ibaragi Prefecture to pick some Kaki (persimmons).  This has been a fantastic year with lots of persimmons.  Above are Jack's parents with his middle brother and his wife and their younger son and his fiance who is holding the vases Jack gave her from his studio.  Below they are using bamboo poles that have been split on the small end to catch the stem or small limbs and twist--breaking the branch and then you can bring the kaki down without needing a ladder.  Kaki trees are very easy to break so we can't climb the trees except for the major branches at the bottom.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandma Joanie

Here is Grandma Joanie with Nami.  She loves taking walks in the stroller and she also loves being held.  She is also learning to use her hands in a more useful way.  Here she is taking a swipe at Grandma Joanie's face and thinking it is fun!    Not bad for a 2 month old!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back to Nami

This is how she like to sleep during the day. 
Our little Granddaughter is growing.  Now she is 2 months old and really fattening up.
Heard when she was born she was in the 25% rating, now at 2 months she is in the 75%.
3rd grandmother?  Well, yes.  Here is Nami's number 3 grandma who came down from Idaho to help with her for a month.  I'm jealous of course that I will be the last grandma to hold her, but I am also so thankful that Joan (my brother's wife) is so capable and able to do this for me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Above was what was happening to my one spot I enjoy decorating.  This lovely flowering tree was just taking over.  For several years I had given it a butch haircut but it would always grow back thicker and more difficult to trim.  Finally I decided to just get rid of it completely.  That was quite chore as I had to again cut it down and then dig out the roots.  Below is what I did with the space after the tree was gone.  The dry bush is actually a rose that will be coming out again next spring. I got it for my birthday from the Church a few years ago and the flowering tree had just about killed it.   The palms are Jack's and I hope they die.  If they don't they will be transplanted next year.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Luncheon in Yokohama

I spent the night in Kamakura with my son and then the next morning took the train into Yokohama to meet with a bunch of AFWJ long term members for lunch.  We have a set lunch in the Fall, and this year I think we had a record turn out.  Above I'm between a friend from Kansai on the left and my golf partner on the right with another Chibaite on the far right.  To join our group you have to have lived in Japan over 20 years.  Which puts most of us in the grandma age bracket.
These ladies came up front to receive our thanks for organizing this luncheon and I snapped the photo as the boss (guy who I think owns the place and is the maker of the special brewery in the basement) was leaving.  Everyone received a free drink (I had a grapefruit) but most chose the unique beer that this place is famous for.  Seconds were sold.  The food was actually pretty good.  Even the vegetarian dish was quite nice.  But I actually go for fellowship more than food and to find a place that we can just take over and not be put on display for other customers or disrupt them is quite a task.
As you can see we filled up the place!

Money Washing temple

At the end of the Riksha ride we walked through the tunnel below and came to the interesting assortment of cultural heritage.  Above Waka washes a 5,000 yen bill.  According to the tradition if you wash it in this water and then let it dry naturally it will double in value.  None of the rest of us tried it was we are such skeptics!  I was teasing Waka as she was holding it then over the incense to dry it--hey that isn't natural it won't double!
This is the entrance to the water to wash the money.  It is a huge cave inside and I guess the water is a natural spring.  Outside there were several water falls and even a weeping wall.
Below is the entrance tunnel.  Since we were alone in it I tried to yodel as the echo was great.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Here we are posed with the modern day rikasha that we put the parents in so they could get a personalized tour of Kamakura.  Below is their puller.  I can't say driver as there is no engine but him--or steering wheel!  But actually he can take them faster than a car on the narrow little roads that are so congested.  He would stop and explain the history and facts about the important places on his route.  Here they are at the place where their 8,000 yen tour ends and where we met them.  Jack, Andy and I were on bikes and met them at the parking lot so we missed the tour.  Waka put them on the tour and then parked and walked up to our meeting place.
Below you can see them coming up the hill to our meeting place.  Poor puller was pooped and sweating!

Fujisawa SDA Church

On Saturday we went to Waka's parents church in Fujisawa.  He is the pastor there and they have a nice little friendly church.  Afterwards we posed for a photo with all of our family.  We were kind of late since the road from Kamakura to Fujisawa is very crowded.

Monday, November 10, 2008

making a mummy

A fun game was taking two of the fathers and wrapping them up in toilet paper to become mommies!  First it was a compitition between the boys and girls, but some of the mothers had to help the boys.  The girls team were declared the winners.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Group of Trick or Treaters

While the kids went door to door the mothers and a few fathers watched and waited.
Below is the group posed for a group photo before they start on their trick or treat tour.

Trick or Treat!

I made arrangement with the neighbors to give each of our trick or treat children a treat.The day before I gave each neighbor a sack with 30 treats.  But I noticed several of the neighbors added their own yummies to the treats so the kids got quite a haul.   There were over 30 trick or treaters but some of the tiny ones only were carried around and didn't get a bag or treats.  All the neighbors were so happy to do this and see the cute little costumes of the kids.  The neighbor who was absent on Saturday so we didn't stop there was so sad and hopes we can do it again next year.

Enchanted Forest part 2

Here are the kids winding their way though the forest with mothers watching and protecting the enchantment from being wrecked.
This was the most favorite site, bear land where I had a sign saying "Don't feed the bears!"  The large black one was one that my father had shot in Idaho and had made into a rug for my father-in-law.  Other bears were less frightening.  One little boy came up to the bear and said, "nice Doggie" while stretching out his ands to pet him.
The blue was to be a pond with all critters that swim or float.  Below was the final spot of Doggie Den.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Enchanted Forest

 Enter our Enchanted Forest.  As you enter the sign says, ENCHANTED FOREST.  A little doll witch sits at the signpost and an orange clown swings from the branch.  I used my christmas lights to help emphasis each section, but it doesn't show as well in the photos as it did in reality.This section was the FANTASY FARM, where we had made bamboo fences and placed the beanie baby farm animals.  Below was the CHICKEN COOP with one beanie baby rooster and several door stop chickens I had made years ago.

Putting my macrame to use I made a monkey swing on one side the trail and on the other was my circular merry-go-round full of beanie babies that would belong in the Zoo, so this section was titled ZOO BABIES
Next post will finish this walk and then I'll move on ot the trick or treating.