Friday, March 27, 2020

March mini...

I finished this little mini from extra 1.5 inch logs from Kaela's baby girl log cabin quilt.  The borders are... log cabin variation.  This could be a doll quilt or hung on the nursery wall!



And that's the only photo I have!  I was FaceTiming with Kaela as I added a few more lines of stitching, and I packaged it up with the baby quilt, etc. while we were still talking.  The best kind of distraction!  Will link up with Wendy when she posts our minis on her blog The Constant Quilter.  Thanks Wendy for inspiring us all;). 

The governor of Tokyo has asked everyone to stay indoors Saturday and Sunday.  Naturally this request sent people into panic buying mode.


We have plenty of food in the apartment.  Planning for a quiet weekend truly staying inside the apartment the whole time.  Ohhhhhh you can bet I miss my past houses with their yards and trees all around. 

On the topic of stress relief, taking home baths in Japan is so nice.  The whole shower/bath room functions like one big shower, with a bathtub to the side. 


The tub fills automatically with the press of a button, either from near the bathtub, or, naturally, from the kitchen (!). 


The bath fills on its own and then maintains the temperature for four hours.  When the water is ready, we hear a little announcement and classical tune. 

You either shower next to the tub or sit on a low stool and use water from the spigot (and from the tub), to get completely clean.  There's a low shelf for soap, shampoo etc. 

Typical items for bathing and rinsing before getting into the tub:

カラリと乾いてお手入れ簡単 湯桶 カラリHG N(スモークブラウン)通販 ...

So, the bath water is just for soaking and considered clean enough for family members to share the same bath water, in turns.  I know that sounds weird, but here it's normal!

These bath salts are very popular.  The colors are kind of wild, ha ha.  I read that you are supposed to soak for 20 minutes. 


Sometimes I add a scoop of epsom salts too:




Honestly this seems so trivial, in light of COVID-19 and all the stress around that. We are bracing for a longer social-isolation/shelter-in-place period, but nothing like that has been announced yet. 

xo
Cynthia

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Baby girl log cabin finished! and coping


Cherry blossoms are out, so David and I walked to "our" park,  Hinokicho-koen, Saturday in the sunshine, and Sunday in the shade.   Perfect place to photograph baby girl's quilt.


We stuck to the periphery of the park away from the crowds - the hanami parties (cherry blossom viewing parties - with picnics, tents, drinking, food, etc.).  Aren't we still supposed to be social distancing in Japan?  Mmm. 



I didn't care about the directionality of the doggies in this quilt;). 


Simplest possible quilting:



Sending it on to Kaela and Joe in Austin soon.  Can't wait to label it in July, when I can include baby girl's name and "with love from Gramma."  The PLAN and HOPE is that I will visit shortly after she's born in late June.



Sunday morning we had a good leisurely casual "get together" with all our kids on Facetime.  Kaela and Joe in Austin, Noelle and Keenan in NC, Tommy in UT in off campus housing.  Tommy reassured us by showing us ALL the contents of his fridge, cupboards, etc. and made us laugh, sort of, sort of nervously I guess. 


Love my kids so much and want them all to stay safe, smart, healthy!  Ditto our parents in CO, aunts and uncles in VA, UT, CO, OH, Ireland!  Siblings in NC, TN, UT.  Friends in MA, NH, and all over.  Everyone!  It's such an anxious time for everyone.  In the wee hours, my mind races and takes worry to extremes. 

How are you coping?  Are you social distancing?  On full lockdown?  Are you OK?

For me, having a routine and rhythm to the day is helpful, especially when activities were curtailed and David started working from home most days, a few weeks ago.  It was an adjustment.

1.  A consistent at-the-kitchen-table morning routine (to- do list, scripture, neck/back stretches,  breakfast, genealogy work).  A little reaching out - Facetime, texting, emails, calls, notes. 

What else helps me cope?

2.  Audible books, podcasts, Spotify (Happy Folk is a great playlist - I dare you to listen to Mumford & Sons' song Fool You've Landed, sitting down and sad!  You can't!) 

4.  A little fresh air outdoors. 

5.  Quilting... obviously, but not necessarily.  So distracted...

6.  Popcorn and TV with David in the evenings (yes lately that has included watching and processing some news)

7.  And finally, to end the day, nothing beats Japanese bath culture.  I will talk about that in another post!




Sincerely hope all of you are coping well in your circumstances... whether or not that includes quilting projects.  I don't think anyone should feel pressure to be super productive during this stressful time or meet imaginary expectations!

xo
Cynthia

p.s. if you need three minutes of random DELIGHTFULNESS right now, look up "Stella's best leaf jumps of all time" on Youtube and watch til the end.  You're welcome.  I'm not sure where Stella lives but I'm thinking it has to be Massachusetts! 


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sashiko bag complete




I finally finished this sashiko tote yesterday.  I'm glad to have it finished and I learned a lot.  I showed it to Kaela and will send it to her along with the baby quilt (which I've finished, but I'm waiting for the cherry blossoms to take a good photo!).



The pattern is in this lovely book of projects by various designers.  The bag happens to be by sashiko sensei Yoshiura's daughter.



I won't show the instruction pages (copyright) but..... suffice to say.... it was rough going for this non Japanese reader!  And my mind just has trouble with anything 3-D.  I just had to finally dig in, wing it, and get it done.

The lining is a luscious Liberty - and the bottom is improvised with cardboard because.... no taking trains to fabric stores right now to get a proper plastic piece.


A few process shots to jog my memory if I ever make another one:



I ironed this panel to some kind of two-sided iron on fleecy interfacing, then backed it with muslin - and because now it was quite thick, I quilted those lines on the machine rather than adding more sashiko lines, through all three layers, as the pattern required -


(Making the handles.... a long and boring story... forget it! ... live and learn)


Put bag into inside-out lining: 


(Next time, make the lining such that the open seam will be on the bottom, not the side)


Sew all around, then pull everything out of the gap in the lining.  Top stitch all around the top of the bag.

Cover plastic (or in this case cardboard) with lining fabric fitted to the bottom of the bag.



In other news... well, what other news, besides COVID19?  Every single morning, and sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up and check the news and it seems every time, there's some big change or announcement or worry in the U.S.  We are glued to FaceTime, talking with our kids and extended family.  I know that we all have loved ones we are concerned about.  I really think it's so important to be serious about social distancing.

In Tokyo, things are quiet, getting a little more relaxed.  It's hard to say, because there hasn't been a lot of testing, but it seems that the curve is flattening out here?

This woman and her dog are social distancing together, eating lunch outside -


This week David and I have decided no more restaurants, but that we will get takeaway now and then.  Definitely no trains (it's been weeks since we've been on a train).

It seems *everything* is canceled.  No audience for the sumo championship matches:


Cloud gazing is free, and safe.  Have you ever seen this TED talk about clouds?  It's sweet.


xo
Cynthia