Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Birthday Month

I love my birthday and celebrate for the entire month of December!  It's almost over.   I know many people who are my age don't like celebrating their birthday, but I think it beats not having a birthday!  

I have such wonderful friends who have sent me email greetings, cards, and gifts to help me celebrate.  I am so very thankful.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

17 in 2017 - December Report

This month I finished my Smalls Stitch A Long.

I also worked on my Kogin Bag project.

I completed four and worked on 13 of the 17.  To see all of my 17 in 2017 projects, check out this page.  To see the progress other participants have made, check it out here.  

Next year I plan to participate in the 6 & 6 in 2018.  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Smalls Stitch A Long - December

This year I planned to stitch the calendar cats for the Smalls Stitch A Long (free charts at Happiness is Cross Stitching).  This month is December and the project finish. Originally I planned to make individual ornaments, but as the months went by, I decided I like how they looked together.  The backing, sleeve, and binding are all the same cat fabric.  I had three Mill Hill black cat buttons, so I added those and a few hexagon cats.  I like it.

I'm linking up with Heather, at Stitching Lotus, the hostess of this stitch a long.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

O-souji and Swedish Death Cleaning

There is a Japanese tradition to clean everything in your home and workplace at the end of the year.  There is even a name for this cleaning - O-souji (大掃除).  It symbolizes a new beginning and fresh start.  

I saw this photo on Japan Today, showing people, including Ground Self-Defense Force rangers, engaging in the annual end-of-year cleaning at Himeji Castle.

As I begin to do my end of the year cleaning, I have been reading/hearing a lot about a book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

It has been featured on a number of sites I read, like Unclutterer and Treehugger.  If you google it, you can find many references to this book, written by an elderly woman named Margaretta Magnusson.  Queenie might be able to explain it better, but I think the basic premise is to start thinning out your possessions when you get to be about 50-ish, so that your family or whoever doesn't have a big job to get rid of things when you die.  

When we moved to Japan, we had to get rid of most of what we owned.  I did a lot of this in preparation for the move, but being in my 50's, I can see it served the same purpose as Swedish Death Cleaning.  As I do my O-souji this year, I'm thinking about how much stuff I have and what I have that no longer brings me joy.  

Do you do end of the year cleaning or spring cleaning?  What do you think about Swedish Death Cleaning? Are you concerned about what another person will have to do with your stuff after your gone?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Best of 2017 Linky Party

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting the Best of Linky Party again this year. 

Here are the rules:

To take part in the link party, simply write a new blog post highlighting your "best" 5 posts from 2017 and linkup.  There is no set way or rules to pick your best, you can pick and highlight your posts anyway you would like.  Some examples include:
  • Posts with the most views
  • Posts with the most comments
  • Posts that provoked the best discussions
  • Posts showing your favorite 2017 finishes
  • Posts of your best tutorials
  • Posts that are simply your favorites

My favorites on my blog: (click on the title and the link will take you to the post)

Crazy Quilt Bag Finish  

Color Crazy Wall Hanging Finish  

Plum Panache Shawl Finish  

Pandas at the Ueno Zoo

Karigane Festival  

How about you?  Join in with the five favorites on your blog!  

I also participated in 2015  and 2016.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The English Teacher's Bag Finish

English teachers have to carry text books and notebooks and many other things, like pens and markers and cards and other items.  This bag with a drawstring top is a gift for an English teacher.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday Morning Star Count - Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas! Here are a couple of Santas in my town:

It's been a long time since I last worked on this one, but I plan to work on it again in the new year.

The temperature quilt through Week 33

Week 34 of the temperature quilt
December 17 - 23 
46, 46, 54, 48, 50, 52, 57

Sarah at Sarah Did It!  is hosting a link up on Wednesdays for those making a temperature hexagon quilt.  Check it out and think about joining in.  You can start at any time.  

This is my temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme: 

100 + Brown 

90-99 Red  

80-89 Orange 

70-79 Yellow  

60-69 Green  

50-59 Blue 

40-49 Purple 

30-39 Pink 

20-29 White 

10-19 Black

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Birthday to the Emperor!

Today is the birthday of HIH Emperor Akihito and a national holiday in Japan.  He is 84 years old. 

The date has been set for his abdication from the throne, April 30, 2019.  His son, Crown Prince Naruhito will become Emperor of Japan on May 1, 2019. I think the two of them look so much alike. 

Crown Princess Masako had her birthday on December 9th and turned 54 years old. 

Their only daughter turned 16 on December 1st.  She attends high school. 

I hope the Emperor enjoys the happiest of birthdays today!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Giraffe Market Bag

In Japan, you have to pay extra to get a plastic grocery bag at the store, so people use their own market bags to carry their groceries home.  I made this one as a gift.