Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Star Count - 285

I basted hexagons until I used all the paper hexagons I had.  Now I’m making them into flowers.  This week I put together seven for a total of 285.  More to come.

I’m linking up with Jessica at Life Under Quilts. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brazilian Start

I’m already thinking about my April Smalls SAL project.  Each month I am making a little toolie thing using a different stitching technique for this stitch-a-long.  I pulled out a package labeled Brazilian Embroidery with some small practice stitches and various rayon threads.

There is also a handout from the Raleigh ANG, April 2007 program on Brazilian Embroidery. It looks like I tried making a few practice stitches, but didn’t do the small project, Minuet, designed by Rosalie Wakefield.  I have the idea to make this into a little toolie thing.  Here’s my start.

Check back at the end of the month to see what this turns into.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Take a Stitch Tuesday #25 - Cable Chain Stitch

Here are my samples of the cable chain stitch in regular floss (rose), perle #12 (yellow), and perle #8 (variegated blue/purple).


Check out all the "Take a Stitch Tuesday" stitches at SharonB’s Pintangle blog.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Last Classes

Jamie San has been here a year and is going back to the US.  She brought a delicious carrot cake (my favorite kind of cake) to eat after Japanese class last week. 
Chew San brought this omiyage for the rest of us. Kawaii or kowai?

The English school gave me this big box of cookies after my last day.  They all said they will miss me.

So many sweets!
Soon another school year will begin.  I’ll write more about that next week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Assisi Finish

I started the spring flowers on this dish towel last week and just finished it.

Spring hasn’t come to Hokkaido yet, but temperatures are above freezing and the mountains of snow are compacting as they begin to melt.  How long will it be before the flowers arrive?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 Smalls SAL - Strawberries and Rice

My completed small this month is the lid to a small box.  The box came with cookies and was a gift from my music English Students.  It is just the right size to hold spools of Accentuate.  I stitched the strawberry pattern with rice stitches and added a double row of cording I made with perle #5 and Impressions.

I’m linking up with Stitching Lotus’ Smalls Stitch A Long.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

University Graduation 2014

This is the third graduation ceremony I have attended in Hokkaido (you can see my posts about the first two, here and here). Even though I don’t understand the speeches, I do enjoy seeing the graduates in kimonos and suits and seeing how happy everyone is.  Near the end of the ceremony, everyone stands and sings the Japanese version of Auld Lang Syne. Hearing that song always makes me cry. Another song sung at graduation is the church song Allelujah, sung in English. I don’t know if all schools do this, but our university has the tradition of throwing the graduates up in the air.  At 20 something, I’d have said how fun.  At 50 something, I lean toward how dangerous.  I’m getting older all the time! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Morning Star Count - Still at 278 Flowers

I’ve been basting hexagons this week, but haven’t made any additional flowers yet. I’m guessing I need 50 or 60 more flowers, and a lot of individual hexagons for the backside edge.  I haven’t counted the number of hexagons I’ve made, but here is what it looks like.

I’m linking up with Jessica at Life Under Quilts. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kyoto Gift

My neighbor gave me a beautiful gift from her mother in Kyoto.

Lacquer ware is a hallmark craft of Japan and the Kyoto variety, called kyo-skikki, is very popular. Japanese lacquer ware originated in the Nara Period (710-794) and became widespread about 500 years later. Lacquer ware, urushi in Japanese, is widely used in tools and utensils in the Japanese tea ceremony. I am honored to receive such a beautiful traditional Japanese gift.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Assisi Start

Yesterday was the first day of spring according to the calendar, but it was very wintery outside.  I started a new little project – a spring flower band across a kitchen towel.

Friday, March 21, 2014

First Day of Spring

Today is a national holiday in Japan – Vernal Equinox Day.  This national holiday was established in 1948 as a day for the admiration of nature and the love of living things. Prior to 1948, the vernal equinox was an imperial ancestor worship festival called Shunki kōrei-sai.

Just because the calendar says spring, doesn’t mean it is spring.  Winter isn’t over until it’s over.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Consumption Tax in Japan

In April, sales tax in Japan goes from 5% to 8%. There may be an additional 2% added next year. The last time sales tax was raised in Japan was 1997 (from 3% to 5%), the year of the Asian currency crisis which coincided with Japan going into recession. This is a very complicated situation and I don't pretend to know what any of it is all about. The additional revenue raised by the higher sales tax is supposed to ease the debt burden. Will it make people buy less because they have to pay more?

Most of the time, I don't think about or notice the sales tax here. The tax is usually included in the price, not added at the register.  The prices you see are the prices you pay.  On the menu, the vegetable curry set is 690 yen and that's what I pay.  I like it this way.

We hadn’t been to the Big American Store in 6 or 8 weeks, so we decided to stock up before the tax increase. I expect many people are buying things now before the tax rate goes up. We didn't have any plans to buy anything big, but if we did, we'd probably try to buy it before the rate went up.

 Here are some of the things we bought at the Big American Store. Maybe we saved a few yennies.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday - in the Gardens

I didn’t spend much time with my big projects this week because I worked on the Aztec stitch bookmark and the hexagon quilt, but I did make small progress on the gardens.

I’ll try to do more for next week.  Linking up with SharonB’s WIPW.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014