Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reconnecting in North Carolina

We had a family reunion for my husband's side of the family - a wonderful week at a luxurious mountain retreat in North Carolina... which included some outstanding art at every turn...

A relaxing and joyous week reconnecting with extended family - about 50 in total - stories and food - holding babies - fly fishing and rafting for some, laughs and games and long talks for all - a week long celebration of Nani and Poppie's 50th wedding anniversary... a gathering we will never forget.  It was just amazing.

And it included the requisite GYOZA NIGHT:   

I really regret not taking more photos throughout the week - but I guess I was trying to be "in the moment" !

And on Friday the reconnecting continued with a visit to my brother's family, where my Dad and Denise also joined us from Colorado.  A quieter gathering but also precious time together.

North Carolina is so beautiful and it was a long but easy drive.  (It seems like yesterday that we had sleeping baby and two preschoolers in the backseat on road trips - how did they grow up so fast?)

At my brother's we marveled at the house he recently finished building.  He is a master carpenter.

Amazing craftsmanship:

Upstairs I noticed right away that the old Bernina, which was given to me by Grandma Mary Lou, and which I handed down to my niece A a few years ago, is being used and loved - such a good feeling!

She is making little drawstring bags for children at a therapeutic horse camp where she volunteers her time - she has a heart of gold!

Grandpa and Grandma D catching a photo with all their grandkids:

Grandma Mary Lou's high school graduation portrait displayed in the hallway between the girls' rooms:

Paintings by Uncle Frank, set beautifully in the dining room:

At this point most of you are thinking... where are the quilts in this post?  Ha ha... I did snap some photos of a few I've made for my nieces over the years:

Butterfly applique quilt:

"Love is Spoken Here": 

Patriotic Stars: 

A simple sweet baby quilt made by Grandma Mary Lou:
And another:

And this great old Crazy Quilt in a bar setting - I love it!

And lastly this treasure from my great-grandma "Two" - a classic nine patch:

Everything so artfully arranged by Janette:

A great vacation so focused on reconnecting with all sorts of family - just the thing we needed as we transition from Japan back to the U.S.  Soon I will post about the small sashiko project I am working on - so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Another square-in-square finished!

So today.... just in the nick of time (we travel to North Carolina tomorrow to see lots of family - yay!), I finally finished tacking back the binding on my niece's graduation quilt - yet another raw-edge applique, square-in-square quilt (by request!).  Washed and dried it, and with a little daylight left, enlisted my girls to help with a quick snapshot:

Pictures taken before I trimmed all the bits of loose thread from the raw-edge applique:

I used lots of fabrics purchased at the City Quilter in NYC in colors requested by my niece... plus scraps of Japanese linen, silk, and whatever else I had on hand.  I finished the whole thing in Japan, save tacking back the binding.  (Did I ever even live in Japan?  In many ways it seems like a faraway dream, after only one short month away.)

I think I could use this Japanese brown linen polka dot in every quilt I ever make:

And speaking of using brown... I really enjoyed a recent guest post over at Elven Garden on color theory -  here  - by Alison of Little Island Quilting -  Her colorful scrappy quilts are just wonderful and her theory really resonates with me.  Hurray for brown... for not necessarily using a whole designer line of fabric at once... for considering VALUE... in a nutshell, hurray for scrappy!

And now... it is after midnight!  How did that happen?  With an early flight tomorrow... I... must... pack (not exactly my specialty!).