Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friends make friends make friends

Leiya and I seem to be doing more looking and not much doing. What I mean is that we buy stuff to make things but don't spend any time making anything...

Saturday, on the spur of the moment, Marcy said,

"Let's go to M&Ls."

So off we went.

Marcy wants to get started on the photo transfer quilt. (We bought the pattern at the Long Beach Quilt Festival). And she is so enthusiastic that she bought enough fabric for 5 quilts (albeit small quilts.)

"Whoa! Hold on there! Let's do ONE first and see if it can be done!"

But no holding her back. As a true fabric lover, Marcy bought yards and yards of fabric.

While I was browsing through the aisles I turned around and nearly bumped into a lady.

"...I know you... You are Ann!"

I actually met Ann at the very same place last summer. She recognized me from my blog last year.

"Ann, do you LIVE here?"

Ann introduced me to a couple of her friends. And I introduced Leiya, blah, blah, blah...

We all had a good laugh at the connections made.

Later Leiya says to me,

"Ann's friend, Pat invited us to go to a bead show with her tomorrow. Well, actually I was telling her about a bead show that I heard about and she said she'd like to go."

So one thing led to another and yesterday Pat, Leiya and I went to a bead show. Wow! What a bead show! Unfortunately the wholesalers weren't very pleased about being photographed especially since we were just looking and not doing a whole lot of buying. Leiya did take ONE photo before she noticed the seller frowning at her...

I felt like I was walking through a treasure chest what with all the gold and silver chains and bobbles and glass beads and semi-precious stones and sparkles and spangles. Alas, I am not a jewelry maker but I can see how fun it would be to become one.

"No, no, no Tanya! You are a quilter! Go back to your fabric and sew!"

Today I've got to get Marcy started on her quiltS!

Thank you Pat for taking us yesterday! Thank you Ann for introducing us!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Spaw!

My brother has three dogs. Cassy, a Maltese who is pretty old; Scrappy, a wonderful mutt who exudes adoration; and Sadie, of unknown origin who was so ugly that Marcy couldn't bear to not adopt her. Cassy and Sadie need regular grooming. Scrappy gets by with an occasional bath.

Cassy was looking pretty raggedy when we arrived this summer. So much so that Takumi and Bianca took the scissors to her and tried to cut out some of the matted fur. Let's say they did a less than professional job but Cassy got a brighter view of her world.

Sadie was pretty bushy too.

"Do you have eyes in there Sadie?"

But yesterday morning, the mobile pet salon showed up and Cassy and Sadie got beautified!

Oooh, The Spaw.

Sorry, the driveway is on a slight incline. A mobile pet salon is nice for the dogs so that they can just walk out to their front yard.

"Hello. Your bangs got pretty chopped up, didn't they?" (But nice try Takumi.)

Grandma parked herself on the hillside too and watched the proceedings.

"Oh dear... All that matting. I'm not going to be able to save Sadie's beard."

"Whack it all off. She needs to be cool and clean rather than beautiful."

Um... Who is that dog? She sort of looks like an alien invader. Beauty points... no, but as sweet hearted as ever.

Well, that was fun. Scrappy wants to know why he didn't get invited to the party.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Long Beach International Quilt Festival 2012

Well, I made it to the quilt show and back without going bankrupt.

Marcy, Leiya, Kiana and I got a late start but finally arrived at Takumi's place and he and Bianca made the short jaunt with us to the Long Beach Convention Center. After buying tickets, my first stop was to buy the quilt show tote bag. Not that I need another bag but I have the bags from the last two years and when I use them they bring back memories of the day.

"Okay gang! Let me loose in here~!"

We each took an aisle and started wandering through the vendor booths. It seemed like there were more people this year than last year though that may be because we were there on opening day. Bianca and I crossed paths early on and we stuck together for most of the show. We made one sweep through the stalls and then went back and wandered through again spending great amounts of time contemplating patterns, fabrics gadgets.

Marcy and Kiana showed up with a jewelry purchase as did Leiya. Leiya also became entranced with a Toothbrush rug demonstration and bought a couple of needles for that. Both Takumi and Leiya took interest in a stuffed frog pattern and they bought that as well as froggy fabric...

At one point, Kiana contemplated a wonderful pattern for a queen size quilt (gulp) but what with the fabric and all, it would run a hundred dollars... for a quilt that she would only be able to make while I'm around. We could foresee what the next four summers were going to be like so we by-passed that dream. (But Auntie Tani bought the pattern just in case...oh well, and while I'm here buy another pattern and a couple of gadgets too.)

Bianca vacillated between a quilt kit and a bag pattern and finally settled on the bag pattern... She can probably do her sewing on her own. She gets things done when she sets her mind to it.

And Marcy fell in love with a photo transfer pattern so she and I both bought the papers for photo transfer and we'll get double use out of the pattern. Now to figure out how to transfer our photos... Do we even have some good photos?

We were petering out in the late afternoon (especially the non-quilters... Me? I could have spent the night there) and still hadn't even seen the quilt exhibit. It makes me wonder where my real passions lie. Do I love quilts or do I just love buying things to make quilts?

Everybody sat and waited while I raced through the exhibit and then bought raffle tickets for an absolute beauty of a quilt. I think this was called Texas Rose or something. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! The quilting was so amazing!

Attending a quilt show is really very humbling. Even the quilts on display for selling products were so beautiful that I felt that my measly attempts at machine quilting are still kindergarten level. But everyone is so friendly and complete strangers give advice and joke about projects half made and overflowing sewing rooms. I pointed out a long arm machine and asked Takumi to buy it for me someday when he becomes a millionaire. (He has to pay a student loan back first...)

So... Now I have a couple more sewing projects for the summer and two someday projects to take home with me to Japan. But first, I have to get caught up:

  • helping crocheters (Leiya and Bianca) get their projects of last week finished
  • quilting Bianca's giraffe quilt from the quilt show two years ago
  • giving advice on frog construction (Takumi and Leiya's projects)
Promises and Borders gets put on the back burner again!

Friday, July 27, 2012

California Days

Yesterday turned into a long shopping spree with Leiya. She said she had some schoolwork to do and wanted to go to Panera to use their Internet service as well as have an early lunch so we headed over there.


And then we ran over to Michael's for crafting goods. For some reason Leiya has got the crochet bug... but in the evening when I was helping her work out a pattern for a towel topper, she claimed she was tired after the third row. I may end up doing the crochet... (True... the three rows took us over an hour because I'm not so good myself at deciphering crochet patterns).

Here is Leiya crocheting in the evening. Grandma was trying to unravel the clump of yarn that had gotten pulled out of the skein.

"This is all tangled... Do you think I should just cut it?"


(It wasn't really tangled and Grandma's making a nice double ended ball of yarn in the middle of the strand didn't really help much. But it kept her busy!)

I bought some jeans... I now can toss my recycle shop men's jeans, the only size I can fit into in Japan.

And once home we took turns playing Blokus the game of the summer. Takumi brought this over one night and we have become addicted to it. I'll probably have to buy this and take it back with me to Japan. Lots of fun and I LOVE games!

Sorry, I'm showing my ugly feet. The girls went out to get our nails done (only toenails for me) after taking Tetsu to the airport the other night. Had to get some smiles back on our faces. I opted for stars so that I could be supportive during the Olympic games.

And have I been doing any needlework? Well, I'm still plugging away at the Promises and Borders embroidery but it is not going very quickly. I did take it along with me when we attended an evening concert at the park but what with crochet lessons and now a quilt show in front of me I may end up taking all my good embroidery intentions back with me to Japan...

Saying good-bye

We said our good-byes to Tetsu at the airport yesterday. Oh dear, tears a plenty.

Considering that Tetsu only gets here once every four years... my mother's comment,

"I guess I'll see you next time..." broke down the dam.

In the last couple of days we squeezed in a couple things that Tetsu had especially wanted to do...

Tetsu and Leiya and I visited an assisted living center and took a tour of the facilities. Tetsu went home with hundreds of photos and a few ideas that he might be able to incorporate in the convalescent home where he works.

We were impressed by the colorful murals along the walls,

and all the center's animals that seem to wander freely. So many little (and huge) differences in the concept of convalescent care...

All together this summer, Tetsu got to spend 10 days with Takumi and Leiya and all my family. I wonder if Tetsu will be relieved to get back to Japan where he doesn't have to depend on everyone and doesn't have to feel left out when he is the only one not understanding the hilarity.

I think he is happy to see Takumi and Leiya content and adjusted to American life. In one way it is so satisfying to see how they think and interact and cope; in another way, it probably makes Tetsu feel that there is really very little fatherly advice or help that he can give them.

Hopefully the kids will plan a visit back to Japan in the not so distant future...

Now, I'm staying in California for another two weeks... and we have a plan to go to the Long Beach International Quilt Festival tomorrow!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family pictures... and more family pictures... and more...

Thank you for all the comments yesterday. I can see how I am really closed minded on the issue of guns and I just assumed most people are against them! Very thought provoking.
Yesterday our family celebrated Leiya's birthday. And since Tetsu had been sick two days earlier on his, we celebrated for him also.

First, Tetsu and Leiya and I went out shopping for Leiya and made a breakfast stop at the donut place. Yes, that is a box of a "dozen" donuts. A "dozen" in Yum Yum Donut language is 14 donuts for $7.99, As donuts cost about $1.50 per donut in Japan, we were surprised and almost went back in the shop to see if the clerk had made a mistake.

Leiya wanted Jamba Juice too so we made a stop there and passed around our frappes tasting each flavor.

Tetsu got the usual t-shirts, sandals and shorts for his birthday but his nicest present was MADE by Bianca. A beaded key fob! And it says "TETSU" on it! Wasn't that especially sweet of her?

In the evening we gathered in the front yard and took family pictures much to most of the young people's chagrin.

First let's get a family picture with Grandma.

"Okay, bring in some more people!"

This is Grandma's immediate family.

"Can't forget Bianca! Go grab some dogs too!"

Cassy, Scrappy and Sadie; my brother's dogs got included and Bianca is cuddling Pearl. Pearl and Grandma vie for the position of most elderly in this picture.

"Are we free?"

"Yes.  No, wait!! Let's get a picture of you and Leiya."

Leiya had already changed clothes.

And Takumi wanted Grandma to be "Japanese" and pose with a V-sign.

And here is beautiful Grandma at age 90. Ooh! Doesn't she pose nicely with her sexy legs!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shooting range

I'm still back on last week, but another day out was planned by my brother for us.

Warning. I do not like this activity! But my brother does, he wanted to show my family a good time, and he was very happy to be able to take his children as well. I will try not to be judgemental writing this post. Please consider my brother's feelings when commenting.

Many, many years ago Keion worked in a shooting range. He manned the counter, taught shooting to people who felt it necessary to have a weapon in their house. He was licensed to teach and shoot and carry a gun.

Now you can probably get no farther on the other end of the spectrum about guns as I am. The idea of one in the house (albeit locked up in a safe) distresses me. I have absolutely no desire to handle one or watch people shooting one. But my brother sees differently and he does enjoy target practicing and taking friends to the shooting range. Years and years and years ago I think he wanted to take Takumi but I put my foot down that time. This time everyone but me was excited about going... Takumi, Leiya, Toni and Tetsu.

"Fine. You all go and I'll stay home and read a book."

But no, Tetsu wanted me there for support and he asked me a number of times to join the group. I think he had the idea that spectators would be lounging around on benches around the shooting range. No can do! For everyone's safety, security is tight. I went but Marcy and Bianca and I stayed out in the lobby where we couldn't even see the shooting going on. It was a good thing that I took my Kindle. Eventually I went out and sat under a tree because I didn't even like the sounds reverberating through the building.

So. I did NOT take any of these pictures. Tetsu had the little Sony Cyber Shot again and he and Leiya traded off with the camera... Not great but I'm sure Tetsu will be happy to have a record of his shooting experience (gun laws are much too strict to have anything like shooting ranges in Japan.)

Keion giving professional instruction.

Are the students fast learners? Not really. Tetsu said he got scolded (by Keion) for not following proper aiming procedures.

Takumi, trying to look cool.

Tetsu and Toni took out their enemy.

I guess the whole experience was a little heart stopping for Tetsu.

Thank you Keion for showing Tetsu another side of America. I'm glad that's done with.