Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Crumbs

Have you heard of "Crumb Quilting"?  I hadn't until a few days ago.  I came across a YouTube video about it and since then have watched a couple more. It's about joining small scraps of fabric (called crumbs in these videos) and making a bigger piece that eventually becomes of quilt. 

I save leftover bits of fabric. First I cut any piece big enough into 2 1/2 inch squares for the hexagon projects.  Then, I put the smaller pieces or strips into a bag. My thought was that I might use them if I did some kind of applique. Here are the contents of my bag. 

It looked very easy when the woman on the video was putting odd things together, so I thought I could give it a try. I decided not to mix fabric types and am only using the cotton fabrics.

First I pressed some of the pieces and joined sets of two together with no plan, just joined sets of two in a string.  

After that I cut them apart and joined sets or added a new piece to a set.  I decided that was enough for one day.  

I will probably work on it a little more today. I might end up hating how it looks. What really attracts me to this project is using my "crumbs".  

What about you? Do you save the left over bits?  How small is too small? What do you do with your crumbs?

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Umeboshi Flavored Popcorn


Seasonal, limited edition products are very popular in Japan.  I like popcorn and on a whim bought this umeboshi popcorn, even though I'm not crazy about these sour plum things (umeboshi). I have to say it wasn't bad.  It was almost good.  It was okay to try it, but I don't think I will buy it again.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday Finish - Matching Set

These are made from Japanese yukata fabrics. A drawstring bag with hexagon flower and Japanese beads on the drawstrings, a tissue box, and two chop stick holders.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Japan's Oldest Fitness Instructor - Takishima Mika


Takishima Mika started exercising at age 65, after her husband made a comment about her weight.  She says she was more than a little plump at the time, and decided to join a gym after her husband's comment. After losing 15 kilograms in the next five years, she continued to take exercise classes. At age 79, she engaged a personal trainer to help her tone her core. Before she knew it she was teaching classes at Power Aging, the gym where she trains. Now she is 90, and teaching online due to the pandemic. She says you are never too old to start something. In addition to exercise, she also takes classes to better her English skills.  How amazing is she?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Work In Progress Wednesday - Kogin and Afghan

After unstitching the mistake, I started again on the kogin piece.

Most of the week, I worked on this cross stitch afghan.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Bags: Inside Out

Although currently closed due to the pandemic, there is a gorgeous exhibit at the V&A until September 21, 2021, called Bags: Inside Out. You can see some of the exhibition highlights at that link.  One of my favorites is this French handbag from about 1910. I love all the little sections, with places for everything.

I've never been one to carry a purse, but in Japan, I always carry a little backpack.  I walk everywhere, so I have to carry things for work and groceries and other stuff. 

I like to make bags and I make a lot of them. Here are a few of my favorites.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Three Skinny Bags and Week 38

I made these three skinny bags. I think they will be for a toothbrush and other toiletry type things for an emergency kit.

Year four of the temperature quilt 

Week 38 

January 10 - 16 

45, 43, 41, 54, 59, 46, 61

I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Four temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme remains the same: 

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  

You can see my finished Year One Quilt here.  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Dr. Jill Biden's Inauguration Party Outfit

Did you see the fabulous outfit worn by the First Lady to the evening inauguration event? It was a silk organza and silk wool dress, with a matching cashmere double breasted coat by Gabriela Hearst.

The dress and coat have the state flowers of all 50 states to express unity. The Delaware flower was placed on the heart of the dress, as the Bidens have been Delaware residents since 1996.  According to Gabriela Hearst, each flower took two to four hours to make. Inside the coat there is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that reads, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn." The quote pays homage to Dr. Biden's life as an instructor in the education system.  The entire ensemble was created using pre-existing fabrics.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Sapporo Beer Makes English Spelling Mistake, Customers Don't Care


Sapporo Breweries were set to launch a new beer called Kaitakushi Beer Tailored, which used the same traditional manufacturing methods as Japan's first beer factory, Kaitakushi Brewery, founded in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in 1897. Four days before the exclusive Family Mart release on January 12th, Sapporo Breweries announced the beer would not be sold. The beer was not being canceled due to any problem with the beer itself.  The problem was spelling mistake on the label.  The cans had "Lagar" instead of "Lager" printed on them. 

The company decided to cancel the release, and issued this statement: “Due to incorrect spelling found in a section of the Kaitakushi Beer Tailored product design, we have decided to discontinue sales. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to customers.”

Sapporo Breweries' customers responded by social media to say they didn't care about the spelling error, they wanted the beer.  Some expressed concern about the wastage of the product. Sapporo Breweries listened their customers and sent out this message in response: “On Jan 13, we cancelled the decision to suspend sales and would like to inform you that the product will now go on sale on Feb 2. We would like to thank you for your warm opinions and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to so many customers due to the policy change. We announced on Jan 8 that we would cancel sales due to a spelling error in a part of the design on this product. However, following the announcement, people voiced concerns about what would happen to the product and a large number of people expressed their desire for it to go on sale. Therefore, after careful consideration by both companies [Sapporo and FamilyMart] we took the opinions of our customers seriously and decided to revoke the decision to cancel sales.”

Customers were thrilled.  You can find this limited edition release at Family Mart stores beginning February 2nd, selling for 219 yen for the 350 ml can and 286 yen for the 500 ml can.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday Finish - Blackwork Band Sampler Bag

I turned this blackwork band sampler into a bag with some kimono fabric and some handles from Daiso.  When I am ready to shop again, I'll look for some longer handles, but these will do for now.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

First Cherry Blossom Prediction Map for 2021 Released


The pandemic cannot stop the cherry trees from blooming. Weathernews has released the map above, and according to their predictions, it will be warm start to the spring season, meaning early cherry blossoms.  Here are the predicted start dates for capital cities:

  • Kagoshima: 23 March
  • Fukuoka: 20 March
  • Kochi: 20 March
  • Hiroshima: 23 March
  • Osaka: 24 March
  • Nagoya: 21 March
  • Kanazawa: 29 March
  • Tokyo: 18 March
  • Nagano: 5 April
  • Niigata: 2 April
  • Sendai: 1 April
  • Akita: 14 April
  • Aomori: 17 April
  • Sapporo: 23 April
  • Kushiro: 9 May

Here are the start dates for tourist sites around the country:

  • Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto Prefecture): 22 March
  • Maizaru Park (Fukuoka Prefecture): 20 March
  • Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima Prefecture): 24 March
  • Kochi Park (Kochi Prefecture): 20 March
  • Arashiyama (Kyoto Prefecture): 1 April
  • Tsuruma Park (Aichi Prefecture): 22 March
  • Sunpu Castle Park (Shizuoka Prefecture): 23 March (my area of Japan)
  • Takato Joshi Park (Nagano Prefecture: 1 April
  • Ueno Onshi Park (Tokyo Prefecture): 19 March
  • Shiraishi Riverbank Thousand Trees at a Glance (Miyagi Prefecture): 2 April
  • Hirosaki Park (Aomori Prefecture): 18 April
  • Goryokaku Park (Hokkaido Prefecture): 22 April

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday

I worked on my counting mistakes and was able to unstich the mistakes of some (but not all) the projects I posted on Saturday

Kogin - I had to take out a good number of rows, but it wasn't difficult.  The threads taken out were straight across so it moved along quickly. I think it is ready to start stitching again.

White Hardanger - The center section appears to be correct, but the two medallions didn't line up.  I couldn't figure out if one was correct or both wrong, so I ended up unstitching both.

I worked some on the Sneek Sampler but haven't unstitched all that needs to be unstitched yet.

I continued working on the afghan and it's coming along.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sumo and English Idioms


Photo from 2015 Sapporo Sumo experience

My upper level English students study English idioms.The students often laugh about how silly they sound and are confused about when to use them. Now that I am teaching the use of idioms, I am much more aware of when I hear them.  

I was watching the Tokyo New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on NHK World and I heard the English language commentator say that the rikishi (wrestler) would be back to square one after this match. "Back to Square One" was one of last week's idioms!  

Here is the background and the situation - - - The top division in Sumo consists of Yokozuna, Ozeki, Sekiwake, Komusubi, and Maegashira levels.  Yokozuna is the highest. The rankings change according to the rikishi's performance in the previous tournament. Except for Yokozuna, if the rikishi does not win 8 or more matches in a tournament, they fall back to the next lower rank at the next tournament. 

One of the Ozeki lost the match and would not be able to win 8 or more in this tournament.  The announcer said he would be back to square one at the sekiwake level in the next tournament. What a great example of this idiom!  

The two Yokozuma ranked rikishi are not competing in this tournament, one due to a back injury and one due to covid.  I think there are 65, including 16 in the top two levels who are not competing at this tournament due to being infected or being in close contact with someone who is infected. The audience is limited to 5000 spectators, all wearing masks, due to the pandemic.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 37

Year four of the temperature quilt 

Week 37 

January 3 - 9 

45, 52, 49, 43, 55, 43, 48

I am reporting the high temperature each day.  My Year Four temperature/color (Fahrenheit) scheme remains the same: 

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  

You can see my finished Year One Quilt here.