Masako's second and third Nantucket baskets from Ruth

As mentioned before, we missed an opportunity to visit the Nantucket Basket Museum.
Instead we visited one of Irene's friends, Ruth, who lives up the street from Irene's house.

Ruth makes beautiful Nantucket Lightship Baskets.
Actually, we visited her two years ago and bought a basket from her then.

Here is the link of the story.

We went upstairs to see her studio. 

A basket in progress on its mold

another basket in progress, so tiny!

The baskets are made from reed.

The bottoms of the baskets are made from various types of wood.

This is her special equipment with which she can weave more easily.

We cannot imagine how much time, energy and expertise are required to make one basket.

Ruth's basket mold collection

Masako and Ruth. You see a big smile on Masako's face.
Have you noticed a tiny basket which both Masako and Ruth are holding?
That was absolutely adorable.



Show and Tell

In Japan we don't have anything similar to "Show and Tell" where American quilters bring and share their projects including interesting information about each item.

Irene asked some of her friends to come and ten ladies got together for the gathering!

The ladies who attended and showed their quilts, paintings, dolls and counted cross stitch, accompanied by Irene's Golden Retriever, called Keely

It was fun to see many kinds of quilts and to listen to the stories of the ladies.

Eileen with her appliqued quilts

Rose and Masako holding Rose's green quilt that she does not like! The rest of us liked it very much.

Ruth, a Nantucket basket maker, with her Holly Hobby quilt

Maureen, wearing her quilted jacket and holding her quilted table runner

Lorrie with her black and white quilt which everyone loved!

Lorraine with her "Goose that ate the Golden Egg"

It didn't have to be quilts. One lady brought paintings and another brought dolls and still another bought counted cross stitch wall hangings.

Ronnie with one of her paintings

Irene with two of her counted cross stitch wall hangings

A nice surprise was waiting for us. Irene asked everyone to make a quilt square for Masako using blue in it but otherwise they were free to do whatever design, size and medium that they desired.
I really liked the sandal blocks. They actually come in a set and make a flying geese pattern spreading four pieces in all directions. As Masako often travels, a goose turns to be a sandal!

Masako with her blocks, the sandal one in the foreground.

The collection of blocks given to Masako

What are you doing to make with these, Masako? We are all curious to see the finished product.



Apple Man

We arrived home very late at night from Nantucket on October 24th.
The following day Irene was having a "Show and Tell" for Masako in the afternoon so we did some errands in the morning.

What a lovely barn!

Autumn is the season of harvest.

Peter Hayward in front of his barn

There were many baskets filled with apples. Even a clock was in the shape of an apple!

baskets of apples on shelves in the barn

Mr. Hayward gave us two apples as gifts which were the Japanese varieties of "Fuji" and "Mutsu".
His son likes Japan and actually lives in Tokyo now. 




The Anchor Inn was a lovely historic Bed and Breakfast Inn located a few minutes walk from Nantucket's main street.

Breakfast was served from 8:00 to 10:30 AM.
We particularly enjoyed muffins which were made fresh daily. 
My favorite was the blueberry one.

We were able to make hot drinks whenever we wanted, which made us so happy because we are serious tea drinkers. Roger often said "Are we having tea again?!"

tea kettle!

We think Irene had already decided which room to give us.
Everything was in blue (Masako's favorite colour, needless to say) and looked so romantic!

Masako's blue room

Irene, Dennis, Masako and Roger

Dennis was so hospitable and friendly and made us feel at home.



Sock lectures

When Irene stayed in our house last January, she was knitting socks. It inspired Masako and since then she has been into knitting socks.

But she had been wondering how Irene knitted the gusset which may be the most difficult part. Sock lectures were often held in different places during our trip to Nantucket.

In Roger's car heading to the port in Hyannis, Cape Cod, MA

Here the gusset part came. Irene was a great teacher and always patient with Masako and taught it step by step very kindly!

Masako and Irene at our B&B in Nantucket, MA

After leaving  New Hartford, we went to Houston to place orders for fabrics.
The photo below was taken at a hotel in Houston, TX as our visit was about to come to an end.

showing completed gusset of sock

Finally the sock was finished at the airport in Atlanta on the way back to Tokyo!
It looks lovely, doesn't it?


Hitting the road to Nantucket!

Masako has wanted to visit Nantucket Island because she has an interest in Nantucket Lightship Baskets. Our friends, Irene and Roger who live in New Hartford, Connecticut  were kind enough to suggest going there to spend some time together!

It takes almost a whole day to get to Nantucket. A four hour car drive from New Hartford to the ferry dock at Hyannis, Cape Cod and an hour ferry ride brought us to the island. 


We are all set, Roger!

Roger wearing double glasses  ... cool!

Hyannis, Cape Cod harbor.

Summer is the best time of year to visit Nantucket and the end of October was definitely the very end of the season. But the town was so beautiful with the fall colored leaves and the pumpkin decorations.
Many of the houses were build in a particular style called "Saltbox".

It was right before Halloween so there were many pumpkins decorating the shops and homes in the village.

It is the custom on Nantucket to name your home and everybody calls it by the name. Do you see the signboard over the front door?

The Bed and Breakfast Inn that we stayed in was next door to this lovely old church which is another historic site on the island.  And the Bed and Breakfast was called "Anchor Inn".

One morning we joined a tour taking us to must see sites on the island. 

The Jethro Coffin House, known as the 
"Oldest House", was built as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin and Mary Gardner in 1686.  It was abandoned by a later owner during the Civil War years.  The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) acquired the property in 1923.  In 1987 the house was struck by lightning and nearly cut in half.  It was carefully restored and is the sole surviving structure from the island's original 17th century English settlement.

Masako in front of Sankaty lighthouse which is located on the eastern shore of Nantucket.
As the tour was about to end, the sky looked gray and gloomy and it began raining. Masako looks chilly! 

We had been looking forward to visiting the Nantucket Basket Museum but it was not to be.  The Basket Museum had closed for the season two weeks before our visit.  Needless to say, we were disappointed.  But at least we can enjoy its website, here !



Shop windows in the Hankyu department store in Osaka

Sara Hanamura is a wonderful Japanese flower arrangement artist .
She used to have a studio and gave classes in Nara prefecture but chose to close it some years ago.
Masako has great respect for her and looks up to her.

The Hankyu department store is one of the most popular department stores in that area and the building finished its renovation last year.
For its renewal Sara was asked to decorate the shop windows with flowers. 
Unfortunately, we missed the first exhibition at the renewal and the second one in March. But, finally, we were able to visit the third exhibit.

The theme was "Flower Fantasy in Autumn ~ a flow of breeze and stream~ " and there was an actual stream with flowing water.

Seven windows, measuring four by seven meters each, were her canvas.
We cannot even imagine coming up with these different designs!
These windows, with living flowers, were seen by many people passing by every day. 
They were breathtakingly beautiful.

These mushrooms were made especially for the windows to suit the depth of one meter. It is narrower than the actual shape considering it is seen from the front. 
That's why every piece will be discarded when the three week exhibition is over. 
I wish I had a huge house to keep them all.

Now you can see the actual size of the window.

It is surprising and interesting to hear that the flowers need less care because of the LED lights. They continue to grow well!

My smart phone was not good enough to take these pictures because the lights on the windows are reflected in my pictures.

The next morning we decided to visit the exhibit again.
To our surprise, there were about twenty people, divided into seven groups, taking care of the flowers. Sara told us that she and her staff go every single day before its opening until the final day.

They water, pick up fallen petals and leaves and switch old plants for new ones. The man in the above photo was barefoot! 

Masako and Sara

We had dinner with Sara and she talked about great stories of behind the scenes activities.