Friday, May 31, 2013

It's Hard to Stop Embellishing

Well, I thought I was finished last week, but Okuda San came over and wanted to add a few more stitches to hers, so I added a few more stitches to mine.  She took hers home and worked on it some more. When we got together this week, we decided we were done stitching and would make our creations into the penny purses. She chose a green dotted fabric for the lining and I chose a yellow fabric with the three little kittens who lost their mittens.  We twisted four strands of #3 perle cotton for the cording.  She put one snap on hers and I put two on mine. We only worked about an hour and a half and she went home carrying hers. There is a pale yellow area above the rick rack on hers with woven detached chain leaves and little red eyelet flowers that were inspired by the sakura trees she saw when she was taking a walk.

I thought I was finished with mine when she went home, but then I decided it needed a beaded edge on the flap.  I had an open area under the flap, so I stitched my initials and the year with a chain stitch. I think it really is finished now.

Next week we'll start a new project.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Little Girls at the Park

Ted took his Outdoor Photo class to the bridge park to practice what they are learning.

Three little girls at the park decided to join the class. One even had a camera.

In the US, children are warned against talking to strangers, especially college students with their foreign teacher.  Here, people seem to be more trusting and everything feels safer.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TAST 68 - Slipped Detached Chain Stitch

This week’s TAST stitch is the Slipped Detached Chain Stitch, also known as the Tulip Stitch.  If you want to know what TAST is all about, check out Sharon B’s Pintangle blog. It’s a great way to learn new stitches.

I really like this stitch and I think it will make a great border. Here’s my sample, using #5 perle cotton for the top row and #8 for the lower row.

I’m adding some surface stitches to my yo-yo shawl project.  So far I’ve used #8 perle cotton – chain stitch, feather stitch, and blanket stitch. I’m not planning to stitch on every yo-yo, just here and there.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sometimes You Have to Change the Rules

I have not studied child development or psychology. I have very little experience with children (emphasis on very) and it's been a long time since I was a child. As a result, what I think will happen in my children's English classes doesn't always go as planned.

The students in the older class are very shy. I've been told that this is not unusual for Japanese children of this age. One girl always has the deer in the headlights look.  I don’t call on her first, letting her hear someone else answer before she does. They recently had occupations as vocabulary so I planned a review activity that incorporated speaking and listening. I paper clipped a vocabulary card (picture and word) to the back of each student and instructed them on asking each other questions to try to guess the occupation on their own backs. I verbally gave them examples, like do I wear a uniform, do I work in an office, etc. No one spoke. We had to change the activity to individually asking the question to all the other students and my prompting on the questions. It wasn't a complete disaster but it wasn't what I planned. This week I tried the activity again with more structure. Fruit was the topic and I wrote questions on the white board, such as am I yellow, am I red, am I small, am I sweet, etc. I also paired them and told them when to switch partners. It worked better than the last time.

The five year olds have no concept of shy. Our vocabulary words last week were school supplies-ruler, pencil, glue stick, etc. Instead of sitting at the table going over the cards, they wanted to run around the table. After asking twice to sit down, I could see that wasn't going to work. I had to change the activity. I fanned the vocabulary cards and when the student ran by me, he pulled a card. If he could name the object on the card before he ran by me again, he kept the card. If he couldn't, I named it and had them repeat, then it went back in my pile to be pulled again. Sometimes you have to change the rules.

They constantly surprise me with how much they know.  One of the school supply vocabulary cards had “map”, with a picture of a world map.  I pointed out the United States and told them that’s where I’m from and one of the little boys said “That's where Obama lives”!

I finished my little bag from the Quilt Show class.  Here’s the front, back, inside, and with the draw string pulled. I like how it turned out and might make another one, maybe a little bigger.

Monday, May 27, 2013

What To Do With Too Many Point Cards

I wrote about the point card business here.  I only have a few and they fit into my regular wallet.  Ted has many point cards – too many to fit into his wallet, so I decided to make him a point card holder with some scraps from the yo-yo shawl and a piece from one of the kimonos I recently acquired.

I didn’t measure or calculate, I just worked from an idea.  I cut a bunch of one inch squares from the scraps of fabric I used for the yo-yos. I attached them in twos along the diagonal, cut off the extra, and pressed them open to make new squares.

I stitched the little squares together in a line and cut a rectangle from the sleeve of a black kimono for the body of the holder. Can you see the geometric pattern in the black fabric? Next, I made a slice down the kimono fabric, but not in the center, and inserted the strip of squares.


I lined it with some fabric from my stash and folded about a third of it up.  Next, I twisted three strands of #8 perle cotton into a thin cording and stitched it along the edges.

Two snaps will keep the point cards inside and it’s finished, all in a day. (I should say all in a day when the laundry and vacuuming didn’t get done.) The finished size is about 4 3/4 inches across and 3 inches high.  Ted likes his new point card holder and luckily for me doesn't seem to mind when I don't get the housework done.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday in the Big City

Saturday morning I left the house at 6:45 am and headed to the Big City (Sapporo). While waiting at the bus stop, I met a businesswoman who was also going to Sapporo and we “talked” a bit. She wants to take English lessons and we exchanged contact information.  We’ll see what happens.

When I got to the Big City, I found my way to the subway, then the Hokusei Girls’ High School.  The first event of my day was to attend a Kanji Calligraphy workshop at the High School. I had such a good time. The students were divided into groups of six to work with the English speakers (called guests). 

Each group worked with an English speaker for 15 minutes at a time. Here are the five groups I was able to work with.

The girls practiced their English while making up a Kanji name for the guests. Next they taught the strokes to the English speakers.

I wrote this, with instruction from the high school girls.

It was very fun.  I hope they will invite me back to their next culture event.

My next stop was the Hokkaido International School for their Flea Market fundraiser.  Most of the items for sale were children’s toys, books, and clothing items that I wasn’t interested in. I was surprised to see one of my Japanese teachers there!


I wanted to go to a museum next and got to the correct subway station, but after walking around and around, I wasn’t able to find the museum. Oh well, maybe I’ll go back another day.

I went back to Odori Park, then made my way back to the bus station and home. I had a good day.