Friday, August 31, 2012


This seems to be the season of the tombo (dragonfly).  They are everywhere, swarms of them.  I saw our little neighbor standing still in the grass in front of the apartment building with his finger out.  His mom whispered that he was waiting for a tombo to stop on his finger.

Here are some close-up photos Ted took of the local tombo.

Ted and I both like dragonflies. I think dragonflies are the new butterflies. I’ve done several needlework versions.

This was a class with Lynn Payette at the Carolinas Needlepoint Guild fall meeting several years ago.  I’m quite pleased with this.

These are two dragonflies from kits.  I didn’t date either of them, which is unusual for me, so I don’t know when they were stitched.  Both have glass which made them hard to photograph.

This was Ted’s Christmas ornament in 2008.  I’ve done a few of these stumpwork kind of dragonflies on different things.

It’s amazing to see so many dragonflies in Hokkaido after such a cold and snowy winter here.  The balance of nature is so delicate.

This makes me think of an article I recently read about how radioactive fallout has caused abnormalties in butterflies in Japan after the disaster last year. ( ) This article was about the pale grass blue butterfly and how the butterflies had abnormalities such as small wings, in 12 percent of first generation, 18 percent of second generation, and 34 percent of third generation caught two months after the disaster.  The butterflies caught last September had even higher percentage of abnormalities. The researchers in this study recommended research be conducted on other animals.  Does anyone else think this is very scary?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Election Year

I’m not talking about the US presidential election.  This year is the mayoral election where we live.  Cars with speakers on top drive slowly up and down the streets, sometimes annoyingly loud and early.  I don’t know what the speakers are saying.  We also get these campaign flyers in our mailbox. I don’t know what they say either. I should find out about elections in Hokkaido. I’ll report back at a later date.

New stitching project
This is what I’ve pulled out to work on now that the teacups are done. It’s from Janice Love’s Hardanger Basics and Beyond book, Petite Square Pillow, page 45.

 After cutting and pulling out the threads, I’m ready to start working on the woven bars, picots, and spider webs.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Green Floral Teacup and....Afghan finish!

Here it is – the last of the tiny teacups.

After the teacups are done, the afghan still needs to be finished.  I spent another day removing threads and tying them together in groups of eight to make the fringe.

This is the finished afghan for Ted’s mom.  I hope she’ll use it and not "save" it. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stitching Like Crazy

Okuda San and I finished our biscornu last time, so it was time to start something new.  I realized everything we had done so far was counted: Christmas tree ornament, blackwork tissue holder, cross stitch bookmark, cross stitch little toolie set, eyelet and Rhodes stitch coin purse, cross stitch kitchen towels, and cross stitch biscornu.  We needed to do something different, so I thought a little crazy quilt project would be good. I had these items and my “Living in a Crazy World” birdhouse as examples.

I also had this little four step panel I made up for something else to show her.

 We spent the afternoon practicing some basic stitches, then combining them in different patterns.

Her homework for the week is to continue working on some combinations. Next week we will start the patchwork part of making a penny purse.

I finished my butterfly towels and after washing them, they are ready for use in my kitchen.

Neko report
We haven’t seen our neko in a few days and I’m very sad about it.  I’m hoping some nice family adopted the cute kitty, but I’m afraid something bad has happened. I keep looking out at the neko house, ready to take out the next meal, but there’s no one waiting.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My First Cross-Stitch Project

My first adventures in stitching were stamped dresser scarves and pillowcases. As far as I know none of those items still exist.  JP Coates embroidery thread cost five cents a skein and I bought it at the dime store with my allowance.  I didn’t know about counted cross stitch until much later.

This dress was my first cross stitch project.

I’d had no instruction in dress designing or making, or in proper cross stitch technique. This was a semester project for a high school art class and I designed both the dress and the cross stitch pattern.  From what I remember, the other students in my class did drawings and paintings for their semester projects in Mr. Brown's class.  The fabric is tightly woven and nearly even weave. The dress has a front, a back, two short sleeves and two shoulder pieces.  I hemmed each piece, then stitched it to the other pieces. I didn’t know the crosses should cross the same direction or that I shouldn’t tie knots in the thread. 

Inside shoulder and sleeve
 I was quite proud of my creation and wore this dress all through college and after.  I wish I were still small enough to wear it now!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Castle Teacup

I’ve finished the castle tiny teacup and have one more teacup to stitch!  You are probably just as glad about that as I am.

Date Night Saturday
Instead of going out this week, we had a cookout. We did it the Japanese way, cooking and eating a little at a time, pulling things off the grill as they were ready and adding more.  We had music from the iPad and a delicious dinner.  It’s getting dark way too early these days!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A New Roof

The big excitement in our neighborhood is the house across the street from our apartment is getting a new roof. A lot of buildings were damaged last winter by the weight of all the snow we had and that was probably what happened to this one.

First the workers put scaffolding and netting all around the house. 

Next this giant crane thing started pulling off the pieces of the existing roof.

I don’t know how long it takes to put the new roof on, but I hope they get it done before it rains.  If they had known about the Neko-chan’s house, they probably would have consulted with Ted before beginning to work on that house’s roof.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cloud Teacup

Another teacup finished.  Two more to go. Whew.
Outside the world of teacups – We bought the Neko a brush yesterday.  All cats like to be pretty and ours is no different.  I saw brushes at the pet store for 1200 yen, but I bought one at the Hyaku yen store for 100 yen.  The Neko doesn’t mind.
We harvested three ears of corn yesterday – Ted is very happy about that. We are getting lots of ripe tomatoes and I could almost eat them and nothing else.  We love getting food from our garden!