Friday, January 29, 2016

Placemats of the Month Club -- January

For Christmas, I enrolled my mother in the "Placemats of the Month" club.  Here was her January set.


I played with the quilting:


I used Mellow Yellows and Cloudy Skies FabuLus threads and quilted overlapping wiggles.  It was quick and easy and I love it!

These placemats were made with the leftovers from my Bull's Eye Cutie pattern sample:


And leftovers from a quilt I made for my uncle:


I still have a few leftovers.  What shall I make from them?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Touring Tokyo

I planned Monday as a tour day in Tokyo.  Touring a new city is always a wonderful thing, but it's even more wonderful because if I tried to fly home Monday I would fly right into the messy cleanup after the blizzard that hit the east coast of the United States.  Better to stay here and play than get stuck in an airport somewhere!

I visited the Senso-ji Temple:



We found a noodle place for lunch and had front-row seats:


Mmmmm.....


Yes it's western food, but Max Brenner's Hot Dark Chocolate:


No words needed.

This is the place where Masumi (?) kept me from cutting off my feet this afternoon:


After that lovely rest, it was time to eat again -- Tonkotsu!

First I was served a bowl of toasted sesame seeds and given instructions to crush them:


Then I mixed a sauce into my crushed seeds:


This dipping sauce was for the breaded fried pork:


This was so delicious!  I don't eat cabbage and yet I ate their cabbage and was happy about it!

After dinner we explored some more:


We found a store called Don Quijote.  It has EVERYTHING and it is all smooshed together inside.  If you are claustrophobic at all, avoid Don Quijote.  If you are not, enter and have fun looking at everything piled high and sold cheap.

After walking our feet off all day, an escalator up from the subway instead of stairs was a welcome sight!


If you don't believe that I walked my feet off today, my watch tracks my daily activity:


What an amazingly fun day!  I will roam around a bit tomorrow before I head to the airport for my long trip home.   I'm so sad to leave Tokyo!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Goodbye, Tokyo Quilters

Today was my last day at the Tokyo quilt show.  It has been AMAZING!

I did some quilting demonstrations:



I shared the Handi Quilter love with this man from Okinawa:


I also had a few minutes to see the quilts.  There was a special exhibit of Peter Rabbit quilts:


I was surprised to see how these were attached to the wall:


These quilts were all over-the-top amazing:


But I think this was my favorite:


 The traditional Japanese quilts always give me goose-bumps:


I had a few minutes to shop.  I found some interesting stands:


So very pink!

I also found this book stand:


Going to the Tokyo Quilt Festival was a dream come true.  I'm going to be selfish here and hope I get to return some day!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

There's No Place Like ... Tokyo?

Today was my third day at the Tokyo Quilt Festival.  I've received many notes asking about how different Tokyo is from being back home.

Well, I walked by this on my way to breakfast:


And I walked by these on my way to the Tokyo Dome this morning:




When I travel abroad, I normally don't eat at American-type restaurants; instead, I try to eat food from the region I'm visiting.  While I do go to Starbucks at home occasionally, I haven't eaten at a Sizzler since 1985 or so and I only eat at TGI Friday's if I'm traveling for work and it is the only restaurant around.

Today's local food included amazing pastries for breakfast:


This bakery is way too close to my hotel and the reason while I will absolutely gain weight on this trip.

For lunch, I bought a bento box from the baseball food vendors:


This was mostly yummy.  Mostly.

The view from the baseball stands during lunch, however, was fascinating:

video

For dinner, we traveled to a gyoza restaurant and... Oh.  My.  Heck.


I watched this fella make dozens and dozens and dozens of gyoza while I ate some of his yummy food.  Mmmmmmm.

Walking back to the subway tonight, though, I failed as a tourist and ate some western food:


Chocolate Fudge Brownie.  Yeah, that happened.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Take Me Out to the... Quilt Show?

The Tokyo Quilt Festival is held inside the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium. The baseball game food vendors are hard at work here feeding the quilters:


I was tickled to meet Silke from Australia here at the show.  She and I have a common friend who told her she had to look for me here:


Silke has a quilt in the quilt show and it won a third place ribbon!  I am so excited for her!  She quilted her quilt on her Handi Quilter Avante!

I haven't seen her quilt yet because there were over 40,000 quilters here today and it was very difficult to walk anywhere in the aisles of the show:


After the quilt show, my friend and I headed to Shibuya (think Times Square) and walked around until we found a tempura restaurant.  One of us is better at ordering food; I'll let you decide which one.

His food had eyeballs:


My meal included tempura ice cream:


After walking our feet off tonight, we found this notice in our hotel:


I'm not sure I've ever been somewhere that had earthquake drills before.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Squared Away

My schoolteacher niece asked me for a quilt, but it had to be queen sized and it had to match her bedroom.  I only have two nieces so she's totally allowed to make demands like this on me.  Here's her quilt:


I used my Squared Away pattern (my fave!), used Dear Stella fabric, and quilted it using a ribbon candy pattern (my fave!).  I hope this quilt is her fave, too!

For symmetry, my other niece also received a Squared Away quilt from me.  Remember?

So, what pattern shall I make for the nephews?  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tokyo + Quilters = A Dream FulfilledI

I have always, ALWAYS wanted to attend the Tokyo Quilt Show.  My dream has come true!


This sign, I'm told, says that I am teaching quilting workshops:


I'm here at the show telling people about the Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen.  This is the first of these machines in Japan:


 I didn't get to see much of the show today, but I did notice that there was wine tasting at the booth across the hall from me:


I don't drink wine, but I think I might know a few quilters who would like a glass of wine (or two!) at a quilt show.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Some Day Are Longer Than Others

I woke up Monday at 2am to start my travel to the Tokyo Quilt Festival.  I made it to my hotel on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.  I always have trouble counting hours ahead or behind, but I never mind seeing new places.

Here's my first view of Tokyo:


This afraid-of-heights quilter is staying on the 34th floor of her hotel!  I can't wait to set up for the quilt show tomorrow!

Splendid News!

I am honored and thrilled to be a part of The Splendid Sampler, a  a year long 100 block ‘Epic Adventure’ of quilt making.

I will be adding some machine quilting posts throughout the year.


Are you ready to play along?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Packed and Ready

Today I am beginning my journey that will end at the Tokyo Quilt Festival!!!!  Wait, I didn't use enough exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am, to say the least, excited.

As I was packing, I tucked in a few gifties for my Japanese quilting friends:



It took me a while to decide what to bring as presents.  Fortunately, I was speaking with the fabulous Teri Lucas and she told me that City Quilter designed a line of New York City themed fabrics.  Problem Solved!  And they are cuter than cute!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Why Ask Why?

My word of the year for 2016 is WHY?  I plan to question everything and make decisions that make sense for me.  Some of them will be big and important decisions and some will be little ones.  Here is a little one.

I have a dodgy phone charging cord that I keep on my desk.  It works when it feels like it and it never feels like working when I need to import photos and such to my computer.  I asked "Why am I living with a dodgy phone charging cord?"  I had no answer, so I shopped for a new cord.

Another question I often ask about my charging cords (yes, cords.  I keep one on my desk, one on my nightstand, one in my car, and one in my travel bag) is "Why are iPhone cords so ridiculously short?"  Have you ever had to manipulate yourself to accommodate a short charging cord?  Aren't you glad no one took photos of this?

Well, I answered both questions by buying new charging cords.  Long ones:


The charging cord at the bottom is my broken, too short cord.  The one at the top is my new and twice as long cord.  I'm happy to report that I uploaded this photo without having to jiggle the cord and make promises "C'mon baby.  If you just upload this one time I promise to to say nasty things to you ever again."

Did you know that you can get 2m charging cords for your iPhone?  Why didn't I know this sooner?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Guess What Day It Is?

Guess.  Go ahead, Guess!  It's not hump day.  If it were, I'd be sharing this photo:


Instead of hump day, today I'm celebrating "It's Time To Ship My Boxes To AQS Quilt Week in Phoenix" day!


It's also known as "We Can Use The Dining Room Again" day and it's even bigger than Shark Week in our house.

I'm lovingly packing each and every kit, looking forward to meeting all of my students in Phoenix.  I'm teaching seven classes.


Will I see you there?

_____
*camel photo taken at Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami.  Seriously, it was one of the best days of my life!