Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stitching Year in Review

This year I’ve completed a fair amount of projects and far more than I would have if I were still living and working in the US.  I’m very fortunate to have so much time to devote to my stitching here.

I only completed half of the six projects on My New Year’s 2013 list, but I did work on the three that I didn’t complete, so I’m not unhappy that I didn’t meet my original goal.  I may complete these three in the next year, but they are not going on the 2014 list. The fishquilt, the blackwork peacock, and the blackwork kingfisher are finished.

I completed some new Christmas ornaments (some were gifts, some for my tree). See my December 24, 2013 post for photos. I’ve never had a tree that wouldn’t hold a few more stitched ornaments!

I can’t say that I really needed more little toolie things, but I do like them, and they are little that they don’t take up much space. The bee pinkeep, ribbon & bead scissor keepSummerSampler Box accessoriesMiss Kitty's Dragons Needlebook, crazy quilt scissors case, and Pins & Needles needlebook are all complete and all have a home in my needlework accessories area.

There were other projects that I completed from kits or charts and am happy to have them completed also. Thinking about all I’ve worked on this year, I have to say my favorite projects have been the ones that jumped out of my head and into the needle.  I didn’t always know what the end would be when I was starting the project, but I really enjoyed the process. These include the yo-yo shawl, the slipper bag, and Japan Has Four Seasons. I’m also enjoying the hexagon flower quilt project and I’ve surprised myself by continuing to work on it each week.

I continue to miss my stitch groups and going to seminars and taking classes, but the little stitch groups I have here are fun. I've also enjoyed participating in Take a Stitch Tuesday with Sharon B's Pintangle blog and expect to continue learning and practicing new stitches in the year ahead.  I’ve had an excellent stitching year.  How about you – what were the favorite projects you worked on or finished?

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's Almost Over!

(Check back next Monday for a Monday Morning Star Count)

I’m not talking about the year 2013, although it is almost over, too. It's my birthday!  My birthday month is about over and I hate to see it go. The good thing is that Ted’s birthday month will be here before too long and we can start celebrating again.
I received some very generous and thoughtful birthday wishes and presents from my friends far and near.  Thank you all!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Chitose Airport

I’ve been through the New Chitose Airport several times and have been there waiting a few times, but I had no idea that it is almost a theme park. I read this article from RocketNews24, to find out all the airport has to offer. 

Shopping is huge here.  You can buy everything from Hokkaido sweets, fresh vegetables and seafood, and Sapporo beer to everything Hello Kitty has to offer. Chocolate lovers won't want to miss Royce's Chocolate World. There are play areas for children and more restaurant choices than I can count.  One surprise to me is that there is an onsen in the airport! The next time I have to wait at the airport, I'll plan to head to the onsen.

Chitose Hello Kitty shop

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Official Kanji of 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 7.07.37 AM

I recently read that every year in Japan, a single kanji character is chosen by a national vote. On December 12, the head monk at Kyoto’s famous Kiyomizu Temple announces the winner, which is meant to represent situations and events (both domestic and global) that took place that year. 

The kanji character chosen for 2013 is , pronounced rin or wa in Japanese, and means “ring” or “circle.” The main reason it was chosen was because of Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, which is also referred to as 五輪, or “five rings” in Japanese. The successful registration of Mount Fuji as a World Heritage Site as well as Japan’s entrance into the World Cup also contributed to the kanji selection because they were events in which “all of the people throughout Japan came together in a circle of great joy.”

Very interesting, don’t you think?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tohoku Grandmas

Have you heard of this group of ladies? An NHK documentary film debuted this month about them and their remarkable efforts.

Tohoku is the area hit by the earthquake and tsumani on March 11, 2011.  Many of the people who survived this disaster are still living in temporary housing and trying to recover. Kazu Huggler, a fashion designer who has Japanese and Swiss parents, donated five Bernina sewing machines to the “Tohoku Grandmas” after the disaster and an amazing collaboration began. These Grandmas lost family members, their homes, their kimonos and their sewing supplies. They began making small tote bags and eventually hundreds of sake cup pin cushions to make money to help the recover efforts of their area. Two of the Japanese Grandmas traveled to Switzerland in September of this year with Kazu to promote their handcrafts. The film is heart warming. It is amazing what a group of sixty something year old women are doing with their handcraft skill.  I hope you get the chance to see this film.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

University Christmas Concert

Before we left on our vacation, we attended the Christmas concert put on by the university music students.  It was very enjoyable and entertaining.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Christmas Ornaments 2013

I made a few new Christmas decorations this year, some as gifts and some for our tree. I posted about them as I completed them, but here they are all in one place.

Baby Snowmen Ornament

Three Black and Gold Ornaments

Reindeer Ornament

Angel Cross Stitch Ornament
Bargello Bell Ornament

Beaded Dragonfly

Mitten Ornament

No "L" Ornament

Let It Snow Ornament

Noel Ornament

Candy Cane Snow Man Ornament

Miranda's Hardanger Ornament

Ted's Reindeer Ornament

Beaded Dragonfly Ornament

 Flat Christmas Tree

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Morning Star Count -242

Before leaving on our trip, I put together three more flower clumps and made five additional flowers for a total of 242.

There will not be a count next Monday, but please check back on the first Monday of the new year and I hope to have something to show.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another Big Adventure

We're leaving this morning on a holiday trip.  I've kitted up a couple of projects to work on while we're away.  Except for stitching while waiting at the airport, I don't usually get a lot done while on vacation, but this trip may be an exception, so I have to be ready. 

The first project is one of the pears from Samplers and Santas.  I stitched several of them earlier this year and want to do all twelve, then finish them alike.  The one I've chosen has only three colors of thread and no little details, so it should be easy to work on.

The second project is a little kogin needlebook from Caro-Rose-Creations blog.  Since this is my first practice project in this technique, I've decided to use a piece of 18 count blue even weave and DMC floss from my stash.  If this goes well, I'll pull out the real kogin supplies for my next project.

The third project has several components - a little bag and matching little toolie things.  The pattern and directions were a gift from my friend Rhoda.  I've opted for a different color scheme than the pattern and prepared linen for the toolie things. It calls for beads, but I won't be bringing them along. When I get the little toolie things done, I can work on the bag at a later time.

I don’t know if I will have any kind of internet access while we are gone, so I’ve pre-written some blog posts and scheduled them to publish while I’m gone.  Hopefully it will happen like it is supposed to because I don’t know if I can check on it. You can be sure I will take a lot of photos and will be happy to tell you all about the trip when we return. 

Ja matta!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Three Baby Snowmen Ornament Finish

This little ornament (designer Catherine Reurs of In Splendid Detail) is on its way to our friends in Yokohama.  Happy Holidays to Kazu and Yoh!


2014 Smalls Stitch-A-Long
I read-a-long as several bloggers I follow participated in an ornament stitch-a-long this year. I thought it looked like fun and wished I had found out about it sooner so I could have joined in.  For 2014, there is a “smalls” SAL.  I do like little toolie things, so I plan to join in.  If you’d like details, check it out here.