Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Finish - Pencil Roll

I found the tutorial for this pencil roll on Elm Street Quilts. I made it as a gift, so there aren't any pencils in it yet, but it will hold ten.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Golden Week - Showa Day

Today is the first day of the Golden Week holidays, Showa no Hi or Showa Day. It is the birthday of the former Emperor Hirohito (grandfather of the current Emperor). During his lifetime, his birthday was celebrated as a national holiday, as are the birthdays of all Emperors during their reign. When he died in 1989, April 29th became the Greenery Day holiday.  In 2005, Greenery Day was moved to May 4th and April 29th was changed back to the day remembering the Showa Emperor.

Emperor Hirohito was the reigning Emperor from 1926 - 1989, before, during, and after World War II. The purpose of the holiday is to reflect on Japan's Showa period when the nation recovered after turbulent times and to think about the country's future. You can read about his life on Wikipedia here.

I don't know how much people really reflect and think. In normal years, it is a time to travel. This year, because of the ongoing pandemic, there is a lot of pressure to stay home over the holiday week. Very few people have been vaccinated so far and the new variants are making the news as being more contagious. I won't be traveling anywhere, but I might be walking around my neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Work In Progress Wednesday

 This fabric is blue, so I call it the blue hardanger. I worked on it a little.

The afghan continues.

I also started this little ornament, a freebie from this site.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday Tutorial - Self Lining Little Bags

I've been making little bags to give as gifts and also to put gifts in. Some I made from handkerchiefs, others from square pieces of fabric. Recipients have asked me how I make them and maybe someone who reads this blog is also wondering the same thing. 

First, you need a handkerchief or square.  This one is 16 inches square, but some are smaller or bigger.

You can add a decorative bit, but you don't have to.

Fold the square in half, with right sides together and stitch along the long side. I did this one on the sewing machine, but have done others by hand.

Next, put the seam in the middle, and sew along the short sides, leaving a small unstitched part for turning the bag right sides out (upper left corner in this photo).

It looks like this when turned. Give it a quick press if you want.  This pink handkerchief was rather wrinkly.

Next, poke the top half to the inside to form the lining of the bag.

The inside/lining looks like this.

I recently made one with a zipper to close, but usually I do a little draw string. I stitched around the top, about 3/4 of an inch, to make the draw string space.

After unstitching the seam at the back, I use a pin to pull the string around. The handkerchief has finished edges, but if I used a cut square of fabric, I would turn under the fabric at the seam to prevent it from unraveling.

Here is the finished bag. It's a quick finish.

Here are two more I made from handkerchiefs, front and back.  They really do finish up quickly.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Tuesday's Project and Week 51

This hexagon block will be featured in tomorrow's post. Check back to see what I do with it.

Year four of the temperature quilt 

Week 51

April 11 - 17  

70, 63, 55, 64, 66, 61, 59

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, April 25, 2021

Tongue Twisters

 She sells sea shells by the sea shore

I have students who have difficulty pronouncing "s" and "sh". This tongue twister is the perfect practice. After practicing this one, I couldn't resist having them try a few more. 

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.  Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.  Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?

Do you have a favorite tongue twister? If you are interested, here is a website with 50 Tongue Twisters to improve English Pronunciation. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021


I read an interesting article on the New York Times this week, titled "There's a Name for the Blah You are Feeling: It's called Languishing" by Adam Grant. 

I've read it several times and it makes so much sense. We are languishing. The article says:

"It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless."


"In psychology, we think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. Flourishing is the peak of well-being: You have a strong sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others. Depression is the valley of ill-being: You feel despondent, drained and worthless.

Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity."

What do you think of that? Are you functioning at full capacity these days? 

It's not that I'm unhappy staying home, stitching and watching YouTube. I feel like I'm doing the safe thing that I need to do for now.  But, I'm also thinking, maybe dreaming, about the time when we get back to normal, knowing that might not ever happen. Oh, and don't tell me about the "new normal".  If it's new, it can't be normal. I want to think that what we are living through now is temporary, but come on, this temporary has been over a year, with no end in sight. 

Two years ago, I bought an expensive 2020 Olympic ticket, knowing this is the closest I will ever be to any Olympic Games. Last summer they were postponed for a year.  This year the pandemic is worse than it was last year, yet the Olympic Committee insists the Games will be held this summer. Yesterday I read one of the Police Officers directing traffic for the Olympic Torch Relay tested positive for COVID. I want the Olympic excitement of two years ago when I was able to buy this ticket in the lottery of millions of people who were trying to get tickets. Mostly though, I want to be safe.

So far less than 1% of people in Japan have received their first dose of the vaccine. Do you think it is possible that all of Japan will be fully vaccinated before the start of the Games on July 23rd? I say the odds are against it.  

My students talk with me about what they are dealing with because the economy is bad, and the difficulties they have in their jobs because of supply chain issues and other things, and they have children who don't understand why they can't go to Disneyland and festivals like they used to over holidays. My students continue to work hard at their jobs and take care of their families, but something is missing.

I think, we are languishing. We are just waiting to find out what happens. Maybe this is the Twilight Zone. Maybe we are languishing in the Twilight Zone. 

One more thing - Yesterday, there was another small earthquake where I live.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Small Friday Finish - Bookmark

I backed this with some tan fabric and sent it off to an elderly friend, who no longer stitches, but is still a stitcher at heart.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Shizuoka Prefecture Board of Education Bans Teachers from Social Media Contact With Students

Starting with the new school year this month, the Shizuoka Prefecture Board of Education is prohibiting teachers from any kind of social media contact with students. (I live in Shizuoka Precfeture, but have nothing to do with the school system). Previously the conduct code simply forbade "inappropriate speech and actions". The new policy says communication with students on social media will be considered inappropriate and will be the cause for disciplinary action against the teacher. Teachers will be allowed to send non-personal announcements for things such as school events and activities where the teachers serve as coaches or advisors. In Japan, I'm assuming that means by Line, not by Facebook. Facebook sin't as popular with Japanese as Americans.

Technology has changed things for us in so many ways. The only way I remember my teachers having any kind of communication outside of the classroom was a paper note, and that was probably to the parent, not the student. Maybe there was some type of inappropriate communication by landline telephone between students and teachers, but I wasn't aware of it. With so many students using smart phones and social media, it is probably much easier for predators to reach out to students, but it would also be pretty easy to be caught, wouldn't you think?

What is the policy where you live? Do you think there needs to be a policy in place? Have you heard of teachers contacting students inappropriately by social media?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Work In Progress Wednesday - A Bit of This and That

Here is the little skiers cross stitch I started last week. It comes from the Danish Handcraft Guild Book, Counted Cross-Stitch Designs for Christmas. I think I will finish it into a flat ornament.

I found a small strip of fabric and stitched what will later be finished into a bookmark.

Another little piece of fabric became this.

I put a few more white cross stitches into this afghan block.

And the Mola.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Stitch Group Mola Start

 The Stitch Group met on Sunday, and as always, I was happy to get together with them! First we had some show and tell.

Then we started a new project - the mola. (I've been working on mine for a few weeks.) They had to come up with the design idea and choose the fabric colors before getting started.

We didn't have time to do all the basting, but enough was done to get a little start on the reverse applique.  I don't know what happened to the colors in these next pictures.  The blue looks black.

The tea time is always wonderful.

Next time we will continue with this project.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Monday Morning Star Count - Week 50

Year four of the temperature quilt 

Week 50

April 4 - 10 

70, 63, 55, 64, 66, 61, 59

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.