Saturday, July 31, 2010


It's not like you haven't seen this quilt now two other times this week but I have now put the all important label on my Orange and Cherry Jubilee quilt. I had to go back and look at my blog posts to see when I started this quilt (documenting my quilts was the main reason I started blogging in the first place) and I see that I bought the fabric during my summer California visit in 2008 and I started sewing on July 13th of that year. The quilt was made into a flimsy on August 9th and it has sat in a closet until July of this year.

The quilt has crossed the Pacific and then crossed the Continental USA and luxuriated under June's care for about a week (she is such a fast quilter!) and then made its way back to California. And finally I have put the binding on, made a quilt label and SLEPT UNDER IT! (Yes, I'm on the floor in my mother's living room. I usually sleep on the floor anyway in Japan.)

My quilt has only to travel back to Japan with me to spend some time on the sofa with Tetsu under it (and cats on top) before it is really settled into the Watanabe family home. A LONG process but SOOOOOO worth it!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A day in LA

Yesterday Leiya had to go to the Japanese Consulate to apply for a new Japanese passport. Living in Ohio she was supposed to go either to Washington DC, New York or Detroit but since she doesn't have any way to get to any of those places she tried the Consulate in Los Angeles.

It takes 10 days to process a passport so that's why we were doing this on Leiya's second day here and Marcy drove us down (though she doesn't much like driving in LA.) A lot of security to get into the building but I suppose that's true almost anyplace nowadays. Not many people in the building though.

We decided to make a day of it and stopped at some famous sandwich place and then wandered along Olvera Street (Mexico town) for a couple of hours. Lots to look at, nothing necessary to buy.

Every year I make it my job to keep the humming bird feeder filled with sugar water and the hummingbirds provide much joy for my mother watching them flit and dive bomb and argue with their fellow hummingbirds. Sometimes 5 or 6 are vying for a place at the feeder and they twitter and make a lot of noise. A very simple pleasure that is easy to maintain. The hummingbirds are happy too!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Leiya has arrived!

Leiya flew in last night around 9:00 at the local airport and came off the plane looking happy and grown up. I love Leiya's smile.

So though not too many hours have passed since she arrived (and most of that sleep) here are pictures for Tetsu to enjoy of his daughter whom he hasn't seen in two years. (I saw her last summer.)

That suitcase is almost empty. I asked her to bring it because hers is larger than mine and already I am going to need a bigger suitcase to get all my things back to Japan.

Grandma was overjoyed to see Leiya.

And this morning, Colin, Kiana and Leiya joined me on the neighborhood walk.

We've got a lot of talking to cram into the next two weeks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Orange and Cherry Jubilee QUILT

I came home an hour ago from a little shopping and look what was sitting on the front walk. A box with my Orange and Cherry Jubilee quilt!!! (And it really is a quilt now!)

June, a blogger friend offered to help me with my problem of not knowing how to get this very large quilt, quilted, so I brought the flimsy with me to California, and sent it off to North Carolina the first week that I was here.

Today the quilted quilt arrived. June has enhanced the triangles and squares with hundreds of magical swirls! It is SOOOO beautiful!!! My mother is sitting here with the quilt just tracing her finger over the swirls and asking over and over,

"How did your friend do that?" "Who made this quilt?"

June also sent some kitty fabrics from her collection and my mother has just been laughing over all the colors and patterns and poses of the kitties.

"Where did you get all these kitties?" "Who collects kitty fabrics?"

"Kitty lovers, Mother. Like me."

I will start immediately on making binding and maybe will get this all bound and ready to adorn my mother's bed for the two more weeks that I will be here. But then it is coming back to Japan with me!!!

Thank you, June. The quilting is just beautiful.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family dogs

Hmmm. Not much going on today. I made another Alabama Beauty block. This is the first year I've ever brought along a Work In Progress (though it didn't start out that way) and I'm getting a lot more done on it than I thought I would.

So, how about some dog pictures? I like dogs. My brother has 3 dogs, 4 counting Maxine's dog that spends a lot of time here now though he actually lives with Marcy's brother. They are all quiet, very obedient dogs which is amazing to me. All the dogs that I've ever owned have been "run-for-the-hills-as-soon-as-you-escape-and-don't-come-back-on-your-own-accord" dogs. You know my headaches with Choco!

Cassie is my brother's oldest dog and is a "store-bought" dog. She waddles and snores and grunts and wants to be left alone. We all call her "Piggy". She will not walk anywhere... has to be carried. She does not like the great outdoors like the front yard. Give her a spot by the TV and she isn't heard of for the rest of the day. Cassie did not like the dip in the pool.

Scrappy is a rescued dog but has turned out to be the smartest, most loving dog I've ever met. I can't take credit for this picture. Kiana snapped this when she got down on the floor with Marcy's big expensive camera. Scrappy's one bad habit is biting his nails.

And here is Sadie. Marcy rescued this doggie too when she saw the big black eyes peering at her from a carrier.

"May I see that dog please?" (Marcy was NOT out shopping for a dog that day... She just wanted a look.) "Oh my gosh! This doggie just keeps coming!"

Sadie has a normal sized head but is lonnngggg~~ And she has a terrific overbite which makes her look very goofy. She also has, what the family calls, Tyrannosaurus Rex front legs.

"Only a mother could love this ugly dog!"

says Marcy and she went home and convinced my brother that they needed a third dog. Sadie is devoted to her family and especially to Marcy.

And nowadays we have Mogley, Maxine's dog. Mogley was even allowed to visit Maxine at the hospital in her last days which says a lot about the compassion of Maxine's doctor who realized how much she loved her dog.

Mogley is hot under all that fur so Marcy's brother decided to try a trimming job. Not too professional but a lot cooler for Mogley.

You know, my brother is a big, grumpy looking guy that shrugs off emotion and displays of affection. (but has a reservoir inside his heart.) It makes me smile whenever I see him down on the floor with the dogs talking baby talk to them.

"You is just a little bother~~~ Now, don't go licking me~~~ Oohh~~!! You baddy doggie! You lick me again~~~ Oohh. Doggie Woggie.~~~"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Long Beach Quilt Festival

I had a fun day at the Long Beach quilt show yesterday! I have told Marcy that quilting is really a very economical hobby but it sure doesn't look that way when there are so many treasures to be found at each booth you turn to! In the ol' days when I only did hand piecing and hand quilting then sure, a quilt might cost a hundred dollars in materials but I would spend 6 months to a year on it and buy little else. Nowadays with the sewing machine, roller cutters, speedy patterns and the like, my output is a little faster but I still think that rather than being a fashion queen or a tennis club member that I'm getting a lot for my money!

This is what the Long Beach Convention Center looks like! Marcy and I picked up Takumi and Bianca a little before 10:00 and drove a short way to the center (good place to live Takumi!) We bought our tickets and went in the main entrance when I hear,

"Tanya? Tanya!"

Who? What? Is some one calling me? It was Tanya D. whom I only know through blogging but she had given me her cell phone number and told me to call her while I was at the show since she would be there with friends. We were just walking in the door at the same time! I didn't know her, but she recognized me and we had a quick chat and promised to browse the booths together later.

Booths, booths, booths! Since I didn't really know what I wanted to buy I just poured over the shops with Marcy occasionally asking

"Aren't you going to buy anything?"

First I had to buy an official Long Beach shopping bag which is beautiful and will be a great reminder of my day when I use it to carry quilting supplies back in Japan. THEN I started adding things to my bag.

I found an applique pressing sheet which was on my "to buy" list. I picked up some one dollar fat quarters that will find their way into my Alabama Beauty project. I bought some Magic Bobbin Washers which I've seen during my website browsing.

At one of the aisle intersections someone said to me,

"Are you Tanya? I read your blog and I recognize your picture. Oh, hi Takumi. I recognize you and your girlfriend. Oh, and here's your sister-in-law."

Wow! What a surprise that was!!! With all the fantastic things to look at I'm surprised that Gigi would be taking in anything else but the booths but it was so nice of her to stop and chat, and let me know she visits my blog.

At a time out period in our day I called up another blogger, Annie O. and she came over to have a quick chat and to give each other the promised High 5.

Pretty soon Tanya D. joined us again and introduced us to people and favorite booths and her guild's quilt raffle. When I decided to buy 5 batik fat quarters she and Marcy somehow encouraged me to buy 15. Tanya D. spent quite a lot of her time telling Marcy about what was good to buy or what would be cheaper elsewhere but since Marcy doesn't quilt she felt Tanya D's expertise was being wasted on her.

At some point during the day Takumi guided me back to the vendors and said,

"I am buying you a birthday present. You can pick out whatever you want."

Well, that puts me on freeze.

"Oh no. I can't spend my poor son's hard earned money. What a wonderful son! There's so much I want! No, no. I don't NEED anything. Fat quarters? A kit? A pattern? A couple yards of fabric? Tools?"

I think what I enjoyed most about the quilt show was watching people demonstrate techniques and tools. I was tempted by kits but once it is made, it is made. I finally asked Takumi to buy me a rotary circle cutter because I can see me using that in some applique projects.

A little while later I watched someone doing applique and found out why my applique doesn't look like hers! Oh dear. Do I want to buy this wonderful set of applique tools? Tanya D. and Marcy kept saying yes.

"It's a good price! If you bought everything separately you'd be spending a lot more."

And Takumi solved my dilemma by buying THAT for me too. Poor boy. He spent more money at the quilt show than I did!

So this is what I came away with yesterday. I think I was very good. I came home thinking...

"I should have bought that. I'll never find those again. I shouldn't have been so cautious."

But there are still quilt stores in the area that I may get to in the next two weeks. And I am sure other new and wonderful quilt things are waiting for me right around the corner. A quilter can never be at a loss for something to buy!

Oh, and did we see quilts? Oh yes, we did! Too many to photograph, too many to choose which is my favorite. Some photographed well, some didn't. Here are a couple. A silk antique. A whimsical LA Rose parade float quilt. Tanya D's guild's raffle quilt.

I think Marcy and Bianca had a good time yesterday. They are both non-quilters but they seemed to enjoy the hub-bub and enthusiasm of the people around them. I know I had a FANTASTIC time and consider this the highlight of my summer (so far! You never know!!!)

Takumi? Well, nothing too enlightening for him and he was good to spend 6 hours following the females around. He was still smiling at the end!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Leiya's birthday!


The trouble with birthdays coming so close together or coming right around holidays is that everyone has or is or is going to celebrate. Tetsu's birthday was the day before yesterday. Leiya's is today. Last year I wrote about how we celebrated Tetsu's and though I sent Leiya an e-mail message (and had bought her a present earlier in the summer) she was quite disappointed that I didn't mention her birthday on my blog. THIS YEAR I'M MENTIONING IT, LEIYA!

Actually my blog seems to say that yesterday was Saturday the 24th but that's because my computer is still on Japanese time. Leiya's birthday is the 24th and she is, oh my gosh, 21 this year!!!

No really current pictures and none in my computer of Leiya before 2001. Ah well, some glimpses of how she has changed through the years.

This was a New Year picture of Leiya dressing up in a winter kimono. She started out being very Japanese, didn't she?

This is from Leiya' elementary school graduation. I just thought it was interesting to show how formal all the ceremonies are in Japan. She's in her jr high school uniform and formally accepting her diploma.

In 2002, Leiya joined the jr. high kendo team and she was big, bad and scary! In her third year of kendo (Japanese bamboo sword fighting) she held the anchor position on her team and was EXCELLENT!

Leiya as an American high school student in Ohio.

And the most recent (though still from a few months ago) picture of Leiya as a college student. The all American girl (but no tattoos as far as I can see. Multiple ear piercings... grrr.)

Happy Birthday Leiya! See you in a few days!!!


I'm going to the Long Beach quilt festival! I'm going to the Long Beach quilt festival! ~~~ la~ la~ la~!

Marcy is taking me! We're going to meet up with my Takumi and his girl friend (all these non quilters! What will they do?) and we'll spend the day browsing around.

I have been a quilter for nearly 25 years. I fell in love with quilts when I was a college student and won a bed size quilt at a quilt raffle. I dabbled in piecing on my own until Takumi was born. I joined a 4 person quilting class for 6 months before Leiya entered the world. I started making raffle quilts for the kindergarten when Takumi was four. I have visited local quilt shows in my mother's neighborhood twice during the summers when I was back in California (won another quilt raffle!) and I took a quick whirl around the Tokyo quilt festival 10 years ago with a couple of non-quilting friends but I consider this the first real quilt show I'll ever have attended. I'm so excited!

So. What would you suggest I see or look for? What should I buy? Remember limited cash, limited luggage space. Someone mentioned an applique pressing sheet. What is that? Are there any absolutely fantastic quilting tools that you use that might not be found at JoAnn's?

I hope to meet up with a couple blogging friends who are making it a day at the quilt show too.

In the meantime, I have been making more Alabama Beauty blocks. Yes, I did tell you that I hadn't brought the templates with me. Well, I went on the Internet and found the pattern again and made new templates. I had picked up two batik pieces and had some scraps from the backing project and I even bought some black to make a couple black cats in a quilt someday. I've exhausted the combinations of those fabrics though so I'll be looking for some new colors to add tomorrow.

Speaking of colors. Look at the beautiful peacock feather Kiana and I found on one of our morning walks. And we found the peacock too! Occasionally peacocks will perch in the neighboring trees on their way to somewhere... I know one home that has quite a few peacocks strutting around their yard and I think the peacocks that visit us must be theirs. They call out from the highest trees "Help! Help!" which jolts visiting friends to think that something must be very wrong nearby.

Anyway,we went close up to take this picture and the very tame peacock posed and then went on his way... leaving behind a peacock feather!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Tetsu and Leiya don't like it when I just babble on this blog. They want pictures. I'm babbling today.

Yesterday the telephone rang.

"Hello? Is this Grace? (my mother.)"

"No. This is Tani, her daughter."

"Hi Tani! This is Mary." (mother's good friend who is in a retirement center now.) "I called a couple of weeks ago and made arrangements to have lunch with your mother." (Oh no. I never heard about that. I hope we didn't miss a luncheon date.) "But for the life of me I can't remember when we arranged the date." (Ah... Sounds familiar. Mary and my mother are around the same age...) "And also, I thought about inviting your mother's friend from church who lives here but I can't remember her name. I don't remember names so well anymore. The lady is disabled I think..."

"Oh yes! The sight impaired lady. She had a seeing-eye dog named Digger. Doris somebody? I don't remember her last name. Mother~! Do you remember the last name of Doris somebody with the seeing-eye dog?"

"Doris? Doris? Hmmm... I don't remember..."

"Sorry Mary. She doesn't remember."

"Well I don't either... I'll see if I can find out another way. And then I'll try to get us all together for lunch. Let's see... I don't remember your name either..."

"I'm Tani, Mary. I hope you figure out who Doris is and I hope we get to see you."

So Mary and mother are in the same boat and nobody remembers names. Including me... I've met Doris a number of times but I don't remember her last name either. Doesn't it figure that the dog's name who's been gone for years, popped into my head right away.

We ARE a bunch aren't we.