Monday, January 4, 2016

Jet Lag Post

Hello everyone.  We are back in Japan after spending two weeks in Kansas City with our family.  The 3:00 am wake up this morning is getting to me and it's only 9:00 am!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  We enjoyed being with our girls and parents.

One thing we ended up doing was going through my MIL's collections and splitting them up between the sons and their families.  She's been gone almost a year, which is so hard to believe.  She loved beautiful things and I thought I'd show you some of them.  None of these photos were taken with the blog in mind, so they are not the best, but they will give you an idea.
I really wanted this lovely portrait of her when she was four.  It is rather large and since we are not living in our home right now, my BIL took it.  He didn't know that the doll in the basket was still in her possession so we found it and he took it with him.  This was hanging on a large wall above the stairs, it is almost full size.  
I did however leave with this beautiful painting.  I believe it was painted by a cousin or Aunt. My daughter is willingly storing it while we are in Japan. It's such a sacrifice.

My MIL had a lovely collection of dolls and some half dolls.  I came home with the half dolls.  These photos are not inclusive.  I brought some of the little ones without their pincushions to Japan with me.
My MIL also had a lot of beautiful jewelry, mostly costume. This ring however, was promised to my husband from his Grandmother. My MIL wore it all the time. I believe she had it reset at some point, but the diamonds were her mother's wedding setting. We ended up with other jewelry, but I haven't taken more photos.  

Lesson learned, document everything!  Write names on photos.  Maybe I should say, print off the photos AND then write the names. Write down your stories. Tell your children where things came from and who gets them. Be specific. It was difficult not knowing what was real and what was costume jewelry.  Fortunately, we had no arguments between siblings regarding who wanted what.  Probably because it was all brothers. I didn't put up a stink about the portrait. Aren't you proud of me?

* Sorry, Melinda that I didn't get a chance to meet up with you.  Between the weather and a health scare, the time ran out.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Since mailing Christmas cards this year is a little more expensive and complicated than in recent years, I decided to make a Christmas video to send to everyone.  Many of these photos you have seen throughout the year, but if you want to see a quick review of 2015, please enjoy a video Christmas card.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.  We are so grateful for the Lord's guidance and presence us with us in this past year of change.  He never fails to be our guide and comfort.  We pray that the unsurpassable gift of his Son, Jesus to a world that is hurting will be a reality in your life this next year.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Just a Touch of Christmas

This year we will be traveling to visit family for Christmas.  Yay!  In the mean time, I'm trying to make our little apartment a little bit Christmasy.  Another expat that was going home gave us her little 4 foot Christmas tree.  We didn't pack any Christmas decorations when we came.  So I decided to make a few things.  I thought stars would be perfect for Christmas and origami appropriate for Japan. I found the tutorial for these 5-point stars on Pinterest.  
I also found this fun bobble garland crochet pattern that I thought would be cute.  

I found this Cavallini poster that I thought would be fun too.  We aren't suppose to hang anything on the walls.  Washi tape doesn't hurt them, its not very sticky sort of like blue painters tape.  It's also fallen once already. Oops.  
I also found a free Christmas printable.  This one looked like it would add a little fun.  
It looks a little lonely though.  

 I pulled out some pictures from last Christmas to decorate with.

I bought some Christmas lights not realizing that our free tree was pre-lit.  We used them as a swag on the pictures hooks.  I wish I would've bought the white wired type.  My last project was to make a new cover for that butterfly pillow on the sofa.  So, this was my plan.  All I had to buy was a black magic marker.
I found the font on  It's called Candlescript.  Blowing it up and printing it out onto multiple pieces of paper took awhile to figure out.  I'm actually not sure I can explain how I was successful.  I know I read some instructions on Google that ended up working.  You could also take it to Kinko's or a printer and get it blown up.  I taped it to the window and then taped up the fabric, tracing the design with a black marker.  

Don't look too closely, but I like how it turned out.  
I may have one more Christmas decor project to work on.  "Project wreath" to come.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's a Big Deal

Fall in Japan is a big deal.  Just like many American's flock to the New England area to see the maples turn in October, the Japanese have their spots for Fall foliage viewing.  I think the consensus this year is that the colors aren't that vibrant.  It's been warm here for a lot longer than "normal", whatever that is any more.  I'll take the warmth, myself.  They definitely celebrate the turning of the leaves.  There are festivals and "illuminations" of the trees at night.  I haven't been able to see that yet, but I'm sure it's beautiful.  I have been back to Tokugawaen Garden recently and took some more photos.  

It was very tricky to get pictures without people in them.  The garden had a lot of activity that day. This mom was trying to get photos of her little girl in her kimono for a special occasion.  Last time I was there, a professional photographer was taking pictures of a beautiful young woman in her kimono, too.  I think it's a beautiful place for photographs. All the beautiful trees in this garden were Japanese Maples which are also a favorite in American gardens.  They are typically small trees with delicate, lacey leaves. If you do a Google search for Japanese maple you will see how many beautiful colors they come in and also find this wikipedia information.  They are wonderful in the typically sized American yard and provide a lot of unique interest. They are probably not happy in my Southern California area, however.  

Yesterday I went on a tour to see ginkgo trees in all their Fall glory.  A few dahlias and camellias joined in.  

These dahlias got a little help from editing to really shine. It was a gloomy day. Did you know that ginkgo trees have edible nuts? I had one and it seemed a cross between a nut and fruit to me. It had a pistachio nut type shell, but the actual nut was softer. If you've heard about the smell of ginkgo trees, you would have heard correctly. The area we went to was obviously an area where they "farm" the nuts as there were fields of trees. The smell was pretty awful. Evidently it is from the nuts. 

I found a couple of articles on ginkgo nuts, here and here.  From what I read, you need to handle them with gloves and eat them sparingly.  I hope you've enjoyed a little Fall color, especially if you already have snow on the ground!!


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