Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Japan (Part 1)

Brian's brother often travels to Japan.  And he has often invited us to join him.  There is a great advantage to visiting a place with someone who is familiar with such things as public transportation and local etiquette and who has a smattering of the language. So, right before Christmas, the three of us went to Japan.

Japan at Christmas is a wonderful place.  It seems that the Japanese have embraced the concept of Christmas decorations.  Everywhere we went, we saw Christmas lights, decorated Christmas trees and Santas.  It was magical!
Christmas tree in Hida-Furakawa
We stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel near Ikebukuro station in Tokyo.  The view outside our hotel window was pretty magnificent.  
The view
Public transportation in Tokyo was amazingly convenient.  We could hop on a train, subway or trolley and end up a block or two from our destination.  The first day in Tokyo, we did a lot of the "touristy" things.  First up, a stop at the Imperial Palace.  But we were disappointed -- when we arrived, we found that police had cordoned off the Palace grounds and we couldn't get in.  Twenty minutes later we found out why:  the emperor was on the move.
The emperor's coach
We then headed to the Meiji Shrine.   Along with hundreds of other tourists, we walked around the grounds and enjoyed the crisp, clear weather.  And ogled their sake supply.
Sake barrels at the Meiji Shrine
Our second day, we boarded the shinkansen (bullet train) and headed to Hida-Furukawa.  Hida-Furukawa is a very small town way up in the mountains north of Nagoya.  The shinkansen was fun -- we zoomed through the Japanese countryside at 170 mph.  We had purchased first class rail passes, so we traveled in style.
The shinkansen moves fast -- hard to get a good picture!
The countryside was beautiful, especially near Mount Fuji.  A mix of industrial areas and fields of rice and tea.
Mt Fuji
We were traveling to Hida-Furukawa to stay the night at a Ryokan, a traditional inn.  Bruce had stayed there several times.  It was cold and snowy, and thoroughly charming.
Yatsusankan Ryokan
Our room had tatami on the floor, and a Japanese table.  Our sleeping futons were not laid out until bedtime.

 That evening, we were served a traditional meal in 8 courses.  This is the first course.  It was all beautifully presented and very tasty -- even the fugu (puffer fish).

The three of us in front of the Ryokan
Back in Tokyo that next evening, we wandered around Sunshine City.

 There were a few (thousand) people around......

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Announcing my first solo show!

I'm very proud to announce my first solo show, opening January 6th at Elm Street Studio in Keller, Texas.  The reception will be January 16 at 6 pm.  I'd love to see you all there!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Minimalist Christmas at the Pregger House

Our little tree, the one we cut in Colorado the day after Thanksgiving, is up and decorated.  Very small, but we think it's lovely....
We've decided to keep the Christmas decorations at a minimum this year.  In an attempt to keep the stress at a minimum.  In part, it's because I'm devoting all of my time to making new pieces for my upcoming solo show.  In part, because my father-in-law is not spending the holidays with us this year.  And in part because, well, I'm just too tired.  

I do miss the festive decorations a bit, I have to admit.  But there is always next year.....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Busy Day in the Studio

I had a very long and productive day in the studio yesterday.  Brian is out of town, and unfettered by the demands of making lunch, dinner or even getting fully dressed (i.e. makeup and coordinating outfit), I spent a full 10 hours sewing.  And I made these:
I had visited Elm Street Studio on Friday to check out the space.  My first solo show will open there on January 6.  I wanted to see the current show hanging, an exhibition of oil paintings by Marie Maines, and to try to decide which pieces of mine would be best for the show.

Marie Maines had some small pieces, approximately 10" x 10", hanging in stacks of three, that looked very nice.  I decided to make a few.  The 6 pieces above are approximately 12" x 12" before quilting.  The small blue piece on the right is 13" x 16".

So today I will be quilting.  The deadline is looming.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Subdivisions #9 and #10 are quilted!

Worked hard all day and finished the quilting on these pieces.  Subdivisions #9 is 21"x19":
Subdivisions #10 is 25" x 34":
In my next post, I'll tell you all why I've been working so hard!

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Work

Two new Subdivisions quilts pieced and ready to quilt.  The first is Subdivisions #9, approximately 22" x 20":
 The second is Sub #10, approximately 27" x 35":
Tomorrow, I start quilting.  Hopefully I can finish them both this week!

The Annual Christmas Tree Hunt

B and I spent Thanksgiving as we always do -- up in Evergreen, Colorado.   And as always, we had a fabulous time.

We spent a day in Denver, wandering around LoDo and visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art.  We hadn't been to the MCA before, but found an interesting exhibit of art by Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer of DEVO.  Pretty fascinating stuff!
A highlight of our Thanksgiving week is the annual hike along Buffalo Creek in the South Platte Ranger District to find the perfect Christmas tree.  In the first picture, we are trying to decide if this spruce is tall enough:
 We decided that it was, indeed, tall enough (about 17 feet), and Erik cut it down:
 B and I always bring home a tree.  Ours is a wee bit smaller:
The hike out with the big tree is always fun:
We got it in the house and into the stand.  We must have measured the tree incorrectly in the forest.  It was a teeny bit tall:
We had some gorgeous sunsets during our time in Evergreen.  Unfortunately, it was very chilly and we didn't spent much time sitting on the deck.
 Our last day there, Sunday, we took another hike.
Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!  We did!

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