Sunday, March 31, 2013

Penny Mat Progress

Now that I’ve given up trying to make the pennies perfect and round, I’m liking this even more.  I finished stitching the top pennies to the bottom pennies and have laid them out, trying to be random with the colors, while not letting two of the same color be next to each other. (How’s that for being random?)  The next step is to stitch the pennies to the scallops.


Now, I need to figure out what I will use to back the mat……

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Scrap Penny Candle Mat Start

This was a guild project at my former guild in North Carolina.  My friend Rhoda thought I’d like the project too, so she sent me a kit with the wool felt and instructions, plus her notes from the class. (She sent it a long time ago, but I just started working on it.)


I do like it! The only stitch involved is the blanket stitch, which isn’t so difficult (except for the part about getting all the stitch lengths the same).  The hardest thing for me is cutting out the parts! I haven’t taken the pattern off the black mat part because I still need to trim the scallops a bit.  I’m not trimming the “pennies” any more because they will be too small to stitch if I do.  I’ve decided they will look more primitive and authentic if they aren’t so perfectly round. So far I have three little pennies stitched to their big pennies, using two strands of DMC floss in color 422.

Friday, March 29, 2013

TAST 59 Breton Stitch

This week's stitch on Sharon B's pintangle blog is the Breton Stitch, which is also known as the Widow's Stitch.
This is my first attempt at this stitch.

Here are a couple of variations with stitch length and direction.
Maybe I need to start a crazy quilt project so I can make use of the new stitches I'm learning.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

And the Winner is.....Ted!

Ted is a wonderful photographer, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Ted won a photography competition of winter photos in Hokkaido! Yesterday we went to Sapporo for the awards ceremony.

Here is Ted with his winning photo of his university students on an ice fishing trip. (Yes, this is what he gets to do for a living - and he likes doing it!)

Here are all of the winning photos.

Several of the “officials” and judges spoke, then the awards were given out. It was very Japanese, with lots of bowing and handing the plaques and prizes with two hands.

Not only did Ted win the plaque, he also won a 10,000 yen travel voucher.


Maybe we’ll travel somewhere new in Hokkaido, so he can take more pictures!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Surprise from Margaret

Look what came in the mail for me today from Margaret in NZ and Margaret’s Blog.  I love it!

The magazine is from the New Zealand Embroiderer’s Guild.  The DMC thread and pattern are for a sampler pear from the Sampler and Santa blog. There’s also a card for stitching and a wooden owl for stitching, plus a nice note. Can you think of a better thing to come in the mail on a snowy day? Thank you Margaret!


The Japan Post office opened the package and resealed with their special tape and attached this note to the package. Too bad I’m illiterate!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mystery Bag Progress

Remember that first pattern in the Ikebana sampler? This is the diagonal part of it.  When I do as many rows as I feel like doing, I’ll add the four sided stitch.  There will be other stitches on each side of this diagonal pattern, but this is what I have done so far. It may not look like much to you yet, but I have an idea what it will look like.  Stay tuned.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Asahiyama Zoo

We left the house at 7:30 am and took the train, then a bus, to get to the Asahiyama Zoo, which is Japan’s northern most zoo.
Ted on the train - having a snack - riced covered with sea weed

The Asahiyama Zoo is only open 10:30 am – 3:30 pm in the winter. We arrived at the entrance about 10:20 am and there was already a line to get in.
Most of the signs were in English as well as Japanese, so we were able to find our way around easily.

Our first stop was the penguin area. Throughout the zoo there are areas where visitors can go into the animal habits and see them close up.  One of those areas is this tunnel through the penguin pool.

There are four types of penguins at this zoo. I should have taken a picture of the sign, so I could tell you what they are.

We were able to get amazingly close to the penguins. We could reach out and touch the Emperor Penguins during the Penguin March (but we didn’t).

There is also an underground area to see the seals.

Outside we saw them in the water and in the snow.

Polar bears can be seen from many angles, including glass domes that are in the bear area. 

We were surprised to see this bear sleeping right next to an observation window.

The Tanuki, also known as raccoon dogs, are depicted in cartoons and statues everywhere around Hokkaido.
The wolves don’t seem to mind the cold and snow.

These cranes are endangered, with the majority of those in existence in Hokkaido.
Giraffes come from Africa, so it was surprising to see them in the snow!
I think the giraffes were my favorite animals on this trip.


We were so close to the “Fierce Animals”, I could almost reach the fence.

After a long day in the snow and cold and traveling, we opted for eating at our favorite restaurant, Bombay Blue before going home. We had a delightful day!