Finishing Frenzy and Travel Updates

Whew, those Japan posts took a lot to put together. I’m so glad I did though as now I have a great reminder of what a great trip it was.

So, what’s been going on around here since I finally finished up the trip. Well, as I think I mentioned in my last blog post-Mom and I headed back to Seattle for my cousin’s wife’s funeral. Since we had driven down last time, we decided to take the Seattle/Victoria clipper this trip. It takes just under 3 hours one way. The seas were calm, and it was a great trip both ways.

Funerals are never fun, the best thing about them is catching up with family afterwards and there was a lot of that happening. My sister and her husband picked Mom and me up at the Seattle Clipper terminal and we headed down to Renton where my cousin lives.

There were two services, one Friday night and one Saturday morning. On Sunday we headed back home.

Otter Family Victoria Clipper Dock

Mom and I enjoying the Clipper Ride home

Toronto Bound

The next weekend I was off to Toronto for a business conference with my online digital marketing group where I met up with some great friends. Needless to say, that was a fabulous weekend. I had so much fun and learned a lot as well.

The conference was held in downtown Toronto so there was 5 of us that shared an Airbnb condo in the heart of Toronto. It was really convenient from the airport, one train from the airport and then less than a 5-minute walk to the condo. Perfect!

We had a great view of the CN tower and glimpses of the lake, couldn’t really ask for much more! This was my first time ever in Toronto so I found it fascinating. The conference was held in the Globe and Mail Centre on the top floor. Wow, what a view of the city you get from there. Too bad the winters are so cold there. Maybe next time I will get to Niagara Falls.

On the Quilting Front

On the quilting front, I have been finishing up projects some that have been sitting around for years.

Judy Niemeyer Wedding Ring Star Quilt that has been a top for almost 5 years

I Spy Quilt that I started at least 7 years ago

A little Victoria Golf Course wall hanging designed by Susan Teece

And last but not least Blended Beauty which was a kit that myself and two of my long-time quilting buddies purchased together. Heather finished hers years ago. Kelli used the fabric from the kit for other projects and I finally finished mine. It looks like I forgot to take a picture of the back of the quilt before I handed it to the church as their raffle quilt. It turns out there was so much fabric leftover in those fat quarters from the kit I was able to piece together all of the remnants and just use two smaller pieces from my stash to make the quilt back. The quilt back is almost as pretty as the front.

So that brings us somewhat up to date. I still have two quilts to quilt and 5 or 6 more kits left to complete. Not sure if I will get them all done before the end of 2019 but I will try.

Final Days of the Trip Disney Sea

This was to be a travel day to our last destination. Karen had been fighting a cold the last couple of days and this morning I woke up not feeling so well. Since travelling on the trains in Japan wearing a mask is more the norm than not, both Karen and I decided to travel like locals and wore masks. Anywhere else I would have felt totally out of place.

We arrived at our destination just afternoon and found a taxi to take us to our hotel. After checking in we decided to scope the place out and see where exactly Disney Sea was. I was feeling a little better by this time. When we found Disney Sea we discovered no lines at all. Karen had already purchased her ticket online for the next day however I still hadn’t purchased mine yet and was debating doing that but decided against it in case I wasn’t well. That proved to be a good move on my part.

However, as mentioned there were no lines this afternoon and I was feeling not bad and the park was open until 10:00 pm so I decided to go into the park and see it while it wasn’t that busy. Karen joined me at 6:00 pm as she could get into the park for half price then.

We had a great time touring the park and seeing the sights until almost closing time. The next morning Karen went by herself as I wasn’t feeling all that great and we were flying home the next day.

(remember to click on the red arrow to see all of the pictures)

Farewell to Japan and a Fantastic Trip

So that was our trip, it was a fantastic trip and I loved Japan the first time I went and I fell in love with Japan even more on this trip. It is on my list to go back and visit some different areas that we didn’t get to see and maybe spend even more time in Kyoto.

I hope you enjoyed travelling virtually with me as much as I enjoyed looking back over my time there. Having these blogs will be a great reminder of a very special trip.

Mom and I are heading back to Seattle this weekend for Beth’s funeral. I think I mentioned in a much earlier post that family only seems to gather during weddings and funerals.

Finally, The Japan Trip!

So, the next few blog posts won’t be focused a lot on quilting although there is some of that happening these days as well.  I have been asked by many people now when I am going to post about my travel to Japan so here it is. This is going to be good for me as well as it will bring a lot of the trip’s memories back.

Why Japan

I have been asked why Japan! A few years back now, I visited Japan for the first time with my then husband Doug as his daughter was teaching English there and my ex wanted to go and visit her. At first, I wasn’t that excited at the prospect, I had never really travelled outside of North America except to Hawaii and that is part of the United States so can’t really be counted even though it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I did a lot of research on Japan at the time and in so doing I started looking forward to the trip. We were gone just over 2 weeks. Well, it turns out that I fell in love with Japan and have always wanted to go back.

The Opportunity

About 3 years ago, Mom and I went on a cruise through the Panama Canal, (see posts here) and on that cruise, we had quite a group of people at our dinner table. Two of those people were a woman and her brother. Well, the three of us hit it off and we ended up spending a lot of time together on that cruise with Mom participating when she could.

Karen came to visit me here in Victoria that year and I happened to mention that I really wanted to go back to Japan someday but Kevin (my current husband) didn’t like to travel. Next thing I knew we were booked to go, and the rest is history.

Trip Planning

So first off, Karen does a lot of travels with a company called Overseas Adventure Travel (I highly recommend them BTW, the service was excellent). This company specializes in small group travel which I agreed to because of the small size (I am really not a fan of group travel under normal circumstances, travelling with a busload of 40 strangers and being told we only have 1 hour in a place just doesn’t interest me at all). Karen assured me that OAT was different, and she thought I would enjoy it. She was right and because the group was small, we got to do and see many different things we wouldn’t have done or seen on our own, but I will get into more of that as we go along. For this trip, we did some with OAT and some on our own and it was wonderful!

 Start of the Journey

Karen lives in Newport News Virginia, so to make this trip together we both had to meet up in Seattle Washington. She decided to fly into Seattle on Thursday, March 21, 2019, and overnight in Seattle for our flight out Friday morning. Since for me, it is a short 35-minute flight from Victoria to Seattle I could easily have flown Friday morning and met up with her at the airport. However, I decided to fly to Seattle on Thursday as well and was invited to stay overnight with my cousin in Seattle. This was awesome as I hadn’t seen them in a while (so close yet so far type of thing).

First Leg Seattle

So, I arrived in Seattle at around lunchtime on Thursday and Beth my cousin’s wife picked me up at the airport. It was a beautiful sunny day and the two of us had a wonderful walk around their neighbourhood all the while catching up with everything that had been going on in our lives. They have a beautiful house that is overlooking Lake Union (I think but could be wrong) and a view looking up to Seattle from their living room window.

It was a lovely afternoon with my cousin joining us when he finished work for the day. The next morning, Mark was able to swing by Karen’s hotel and pick her up and then drop the two of us off at the airport.

A Sad Note

I am so glad I made the decision to visit Mark and Beth even for so short a time as I hadn’t been home from Japan for long when I got the news from Mark that Beth was in hospital fighting an inoperable brain tumour. That was now over 40 days ago, and she is still in hospital as I write this. Beth is only a year older than I am. It just brings home the fact that life is short, don’t wait to do the things you want to do. She had just retired and was looking forward to travelling to Italy and making plans for downsizing in the next few months.

The Flight

Our flight left before 1:00 pm on Friday, March 22, 2019, and arrived in Narita Airport which is about a 40-minute train ride outside of Tokyo.  It was 3:40 pm on Saturday, March 23, 2019, when we arrived. Neither of us slept on the plane so we had been up over 24 hours by that time and we still had a train to catch.

Getting through customs was really easy, Japan has so many people around waiting to help you and direct you in the right direction (unlike many other countries) and before we knew it we had our bags and ready for the next step.

Next Steps

Once we landed at the airport we had two tasks, one find the post office (yes Japan has post offices located at all of their airports and even at all of the different terminals at the airports!) Japan Wireless had mailed me the wireless device we were to use so all I had to do was show my passport and pick the parcel up at the post office! Yup talk about efficient!

We asked directions, got to the post office, picked up the parcel all in record time. Next we needed to find the train into Tokyo. We had already purchased vouchers for the Keisei Skyliner so we just needed to exchange them for tickets and get into the city. This cost roughly $20.00 per person. We could have done this cheaper by taking a local train but that would have been over an hour and the Skyliner was a lot more comfortable and only had a few stops so was much faster. Comfort and speed overruled the few dollars we would have saved at that point.

More to Tell

So, there is obviously much more to tell as this is only the start, however, I am going to leave the trip here for now and pick it up again, from this point. I will try to post more often so this doesn’t draw out to weeks and weeks of Japan blog posts!!

Stay tuned

Playing Catch Up

Well it seems like it has been forever since I did a blog post. I finally got a newsletter out but even that was 6 weeks ago now. Time just flies by these days. So, what have I been doing these past weeks?

Well as some of you know I went to Japan for 4 weeks in March and April. I came back with a cold so between that and jetlag I wasn’t very productive until the beginning of May.  

Quilt Finishes

My goal this year is to finish all of my UFO (unfinished objects) quilts that I have sitting around. This would include tops that are pieced ready to be quilted and parts of projects that still need to become tops. Many of these projects are at least 5 years old and one hand applique project, well it’s getting on to 15 years old lol! I will finish it, but I will never again do hand applique.

I had made two “Gravity” quilts, one from the original kit that was all in solids and one that I made from my stash. The one I made from my stash I quilted back in January and it is now on my Mom’s bed and the other one I finished in May! I love it! I loved it when I saw the picture and bought the kit 5 years ago but now that it is on my bed in living colour, it brings a smile to my face every day! 

I finally have the Judy Niemeyer Wedding quilt on the frame. I can’t wait to start quilting this one. Ok so I still need to get the batting in there but hey, it’s at least pinned on the frame.

Last but not least my “I spy” quilt that I started, oh, 10 years ago now, is just waiting for borders. Yeah! I have no idea what I am going to do with this quilt as my two great nieces already have quilts and I don’t have any other children in my life to give it to. Any suggestions?

Website Refresh

Kevin and his son Andrew have started up a new company where they are making products (small tables etc) from all the burls Kevin brings home from the log sort where he is working. Between the two of us, we now have 3 or 4 small businesses going. I figured it was about time I learned more about web design so I could keep up with the websites so for the last few weeks I have been head down in learning mode and I used the Victoria Sunshine Studio website as my trial site. I had set it up simply 3 years ago just to get it going. I have learned a lot since then, so it was great to take the time to revamp it a little. I didn’t want something super fancy, but I like how it turned out and I learned a lot so it’s all good! It did take longer to update than I thought though, but doesn’t everything?

 

Finally

So that brings things somewhat up to date, at least quilting wise. I still have last weeks wedding to document (my nephews not mine) and of course the Japan trip itself. I have had several people ask when I will be posting that trip so stay tuned. Warning it will be picture and info overload, but it will be a good chance for me to revisit and document the trip myself.

To close here is a pic of the critters, they are usually close by one another but not normally this close, so it was picture worthy.

Remember to enjoy each day and be happy in the moment!

Baby Chevron Quilt

One of my latest projects is a chevron quilt made for my newest great niece. The above picture is my Mom holding her youngest great-grandchild soon after she was born. This was taken in November however I don’t have any recent pictures so this will have to do.

 

When I make a quilt for a baby I have yet to make a baby sized quilt. I usually make a quilt 50 x 55 inches or so. I nice size for a child to grow into. Small baby quilts seem so limited to me as babies aren’t even supposed to use blankets until they are older.

I selected a nice flannel for the back. The colour is actually a little more purple than what shows in the picture. I like how the quilting shows up so nicely.

The Quilting Info

This is a chevron quilt that I designed myself using EQ8. It makes up really fast, the hardest part being what designs to quilt on it. Since the bands are wider I choose some of Angela Walter’s dot to dot designs. I wasn’t sure how it would look using them in the chevron however I watched a video with Angela using similar designs on a much smaller chevron. I don’t think I should have worried, I think it worked out great!

I used Superior threads Sew Fine 50 in colours to match the bands. I thought about using all one colour but to be honest I am not really a fan of that look. I much prefer my thread colour to match the fabric.

Other Projects

I just finished quilting some client quilts. One of the quilts was a wonderful little flannel quilt that although was really pretty it was rather plain. This is where I don’t actually follow the above rule. This quilt really needed to have the quilting show. We picked a really nice floral pantograph and used Superior Threads King Tut 40 wt variegated thread. I then used Sew Fine 50 in a matching thread for the bobbin.

The thicker weight thread made the quilting stand out a little more. If we had used the thinner thread (see picture on the right of the back of the quilt) it would have disappered too much. As it is the quilting brought that little quilt to life.

I am hoping to get around to creating a pattern for the chevron quilt before I leave for Japan in 2 weeks. If I do I will post it in the free pattern tab on the website.

Have a great day everyone!

One Gravity Quilt Finally Finished

A few years ago I fell in love with Jaybird Quilts (Julie Herman) block of the month quilt. This was her Gravity Quilt all done in solids. I loved it so much I actually bought the kit (something I rarely do). When I got the kit I had this brilliant idea of trying to make the centre of the quilt all from fabrics in my stash. I surprised myself by actually being able to achieve it apart from some yellow-greens which I didn’t have too many of. I did have to purchase the black and the grey outside fabrics but it was a successful venture.

I finished the two queen sized quilt tops and there they sat on my shelf waiting to be quilted. While I still have the solid original gravity left to quilt, I did finally get my version quilted. I am really pleased with the way it turned out.

I quilted this quilt using Superior Sew Fine 50 thread which LOTS of colour changes. I didn’t count the thread changes, I thought that might get too depressing. So onto the next project. I am determined to finish all my unfinished projects this year. Wish me luck!