Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snowman Finish

I’ve finished this little Mill Hill kit, called Smiling Snowman, into a tree ornament.  My first finished ornament of the year.

Friday, February 27, 2015

No More Romaji

Our Japanese class recently started Minna no Nihongo Book 2.


In Book 1, I wrote notes and answers to the exercises in romanji instead of Japanese because it's quicker for me to write and easier for me to read. 


I’ve decided that starting with the new book, I will only write in Japanese. Maybe I’ll get better and faster.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

WIPW - Getting Unstuck #2

One of my New Year resolutions is to finish some of the projects that I’m stuck with. Sonoko was one.  Now I’m ready to tackle the next one.

My friend Rhoda helped me get unstuck with Sonoko by suggesting background stitches.  She’s helped me on this one by sending me the Kreinik thread I needed to continue with this.

I started this little toolie set as one of my travel stitching projects when we went to Bali last year and set it aside when I ran out of the thread I needed. It really took very little time  to finish the woven cross stitches on the pin cushion and add the beads.

Now I just need to finish finish the pieces. Thanks again, Rhoda!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Smalls SAL - Blackwork Pillow

This month’s small is a blackwork pillow, stitched on 28 count evenweave fabric with one strand of DMC floss (#312).

Check out the Stitching Lotus to see what other Smalls Stitch A Long participants have completed this month.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snowman Beads

I’ve added the beads to the snowman.  Now I need to cut it out and put the three pieces together.  The cutting part makes me a little nervous.  The kit came with a pin back, but I think I will make it into an ornament instead.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Morning Star Count - Finished Coasters

Here are my finished flower coasters, front and back.  They are hand appliqued and hand quilted.

Linking up with Jessica at Life Under Quilts and Anthea at Hibiscus Stitches .

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Girl Named Nutella

There is one English newspaper in the university library here.  I don’t read it all the time, but when I am at school and have the time, I stop in to find out what the news in the world is.  Last week, I read a short article about parents in France who named their baby daughter Nutella, after the hazelnut spread.  The court took it upon itself to change the baby’s name to Ella because it was thought that other children would tease this child about her name. This isn’t the first time this happened either.  There was another case recently with a child who was given the name Fraise (“strawberry” in French) and the court changed the child’s name to Fraisine. (Here is the BBC's version of the story.)

I can’t imagine this happening in the US.  For one thing, with the crime and litigious nature of Americans, the courts are backlogged with far too many things without changing the given names of babies.  In addition to that, there are just too many names that are “different” in the US.  There aren’t enough courts or judges to deal with all of them. Personally, I think parents should be able to choose the names of their children, no matter how odd I or anyone else thinks the names are. (Please note, I have no children and the two pets I’ve had, I named Shadowcat and Monica).  What do you think – should the government change the given names of children because they might be teased about the names?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mill Hill Snowman Start

I took this little Mill Hill (cross stitch with beads on perforated paper) kit on last weekend’s trip, then worked on it some this week.  I have finished the cross stitch part and am ready to start working on the beads next. I know it doesn’t look like much now, but just wait until I add the beads!

Friday, February 20, 2015

US Port Strike Felt in Japan

This week we heard that the West Coast Port Strike is costing billions of dollars a day. What a waste! I hope this can be straightened out soon.

When we went to the Big American Store we saw this sign around the store.

Gallon size Zip Lock bags were the only thing on our list this trip that were unavailable, but other things may have been more expensive.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Biei Race Weekend

We left early Saturday morning for the about three hour ride to the “youth” hostel where we would be spending the night. This is the final activity for the cross country ski class.  Most of the students in my English class are also in this ski class. (Three years ago I went on this trip and wrote about it here and here.)

After arriving at the hostel and eating lunch, we all went out in the falling snow for a one hour ski tour.

After that, I found out we would soon be leaving for the pre-race reception with HIH Princess Akiko.

At 8 pm, the ski waxing session began.

This place has an onsen instead of individual showers. When I went to the onsen that night, there were two older Japanese women already in the bath who wanted to talk with me. I could understand and answer the “where are you from”, “when did you get here”, “why are you here” questions, but some of the things they asked me – I just had no idea. Naked strangers asking me questions I couldn’t answer!

We had to get up early so we could clean the place at 6 am, eat breakfast at 7 am and get on the bus to go to the race starting place at 7:30 am.

Ted and I were both in the 10K race that started at 9 am.

It was snowing like crazy for much of the time we were skiing and by the time we got to the finish, the wind had picked up, making it very cold! It was the same course as three years ago, but this time the uphill sections seemed to be steeper and the downhill sections faster.  I only fell down once, at the bottom of a steep downhill when I failed to make the left turn.

Ted finished in 1 hour 40 minutes and I finished in 1 hour 42 minutes (which was 8 minutes faster than my finish time three years ago!)

Many of the students were in the 38K race, but then they are only 20 years old. I went in and out of the building for the three and a half hours after we finished, but Ted stayed at the finish line cheering for the finishing students the entire time. 

There was an award ceremony that the Princess presided over.  Everyone else was sitting in folding chairs, but she was sitting in a throne-like chair!

After the race, we loaded up the bus and went home.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate in the race weekend and meet the Princess.