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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Overwhelmed in Every Good Way.


It was evening by the time I left Quiltville Inn.

My happy find?  The little oil lamp turned electric you see sitting on top of the old dresser in bedroom #1.  It’s got the wrong bulb for what I want in it – I envision something with a flame-like flicker, but at least I know the wiring works!

I spent the morning at the Inn arranging tables, shuffling stuff to and fro, and tackling the dreaded disgusting job of vacuuming up the flies that had found a sunny spot near a window to die.  It’s the grossest thing.  But when you aren’t there on a daily basis in the country, you will return to find dead flies on the floor.

I talked to Martha about what to do about them when she came by to pick me up and drive me to West Jefferson where we were meeting Toni for lunch at a cute little Cuban restaurant in the row of shops on the strip behind the main street.

Has anyone tried these?

There are no harmful chemicals, no smell – they stick to the window (behind the curtain) and the flies are stuck and then peeled off and disposed of.  I’m going to give them a try.  Each room.  Sunny windows especially.  Start with new ones at the beginning of each retreat, replace them for the next retreat.  I HATE FLIES!  And with life in the country, you are going to have more than most.

There are so many things that I had never considered when it comes to operating a retreat. I am learning as I go.  I know there will be many pitfalls, trials and errors.  But we will get it, with everyone’s patience.


Table rearrangement #1

In trying to give the most room around the outside for people to maneuver, and being told (By helpful others!) that folks want to be “part of a group and included” I tried putting all 6 tables in each side of the room in a “pod” so that quilters could do what quilters do best – VISIT while they stitch.

This side of the room has the bay window, so there is more room on this side than the other.

The tables are 5 ft.  While I would love to do 6 ft tables, it makes the room a bit too tight with 6 people in each half of the big room – someone would be sitting on the fireplace hearth. 5 ft should be sufficient for anyone to sew!  If it isn’t – this might not be the retreat that person needs to attend.  Maybe something with a gym would be better?


Then I flipped it around.

(Ugly chandelier is going to GO!)

If I put the top part of the T at the inside end instead of at the window – two people don’t have to crawl behind the others and work their way to have their backs against the window.  Everyone can see out. Ironing boards could easily go where you see plugs just below the chair rail on either side.

6 people in T formation is very conversational leaving no one out in the cold.


The purple things are trash bags and cup holder things.

They connect to the table to keep beverages safe meaning no trash cans on the floor to avoid knocking over. I thought they would be a great idea, but maybe they stick out too far.  If they don’t work, I may gift them as a door prize and retreaters can use them at home. LOL. 

So.  This gives you a better idea of where the fireplaces are in relationship to the table situation.  The front where the T of tables is has more floor space because of the bay window, but I can’t do that here.  I can either do a quad of 4 tables, and a separate set of 2 tables – or do them all in a donut like this:


6 quilters in the square-round!

Only one person with their back to the fireplace.
One person with their back to the window.
2 people each side.

What you see as a shelf in the mid left of the photo is the fireplace mantel. I want folks as far away from the fireplace as possible – we want to enjoy the fireplaces, not sit inside them.

If we go with this, there will be one more table in the “CENTER” to plug the hole so nothing falls through.  I am just trying table footprint here.  Nothing is set in stone. No one will have to crawl on the floor to retrieve anything.

In fact, if I like that arrangement, maybe I will do that on the front side as well, it does give more floor space and keeps folks face to face.

Thanks to all of yesterday’s Facebook comments (Many of which I simply deleted) – I am putting it out here that there will be no plugs in the ceiling for machines.  One tug on a ceiling cord and it could go flying and really hurt someone coming down from overhead. I plan on floor plugs UNDER the group of tables so there will be no tripping hazard.  There will be power strips on top of the tables so no one has to crawl under to plug anything in.

Believe me, we have given this so very much thought on what will work best.  Remember, it’s not a commercial building, it is a historic HOME and we are trying to preserve as much of the original feel as we can. 

We are replacing overhead lights with beautiful bright LED so everyone will be able to see what they are working on into the wee small hours should they wish to sew that long.

The wonderful old pocket doors can be closed to minimize noise for those who wish to retire upstairs to bed early.

I plan on design walls on every available wall above the chair rail.  There may even be a couple of “floater” design walls – full sheets of covered insulation board that can be moved around the room where folks need them.  It’s going to take BOLTS of flannel to do all of this – it will be one of the last things done before we open as we still have to paint. 

Anything you see hanging on the wall is only there because there was already an available nail to get things off of tables – but things will be moved around.

The blinds are on the tables, but they will be rehung.  They are easy up/down and are there for your privacy as the front of the house opens to the street.

When buying tables, I specifically avoided folding tables with plastic hollow-core tops that vibrate and bounce when people are machine sewing. These tables are sturdy and solid. The legs do not fold.

Folks with Sew-Ezi tables:  These rooms may not be big enough for everyone to bring their own additional sewing table.  Historic house. Limited space. 

If you bring an extra table, the main tables do not have folding legs to easily move them and store them somewhere else. 

If you bring a separate Sew-Ezi table, you are making less space for everyone else.  

Sew-Ezi tables are great for a commercial retreat space, like a gym, church camp, state park type facility – but likely not here. Thank you for understanding.

I only bring this up because of things that were spouted out when I posted some optional table arrangements yesterday.  It has to be about what is beneficial to the group as a whole within the available space.  What works best with a group sitting situation.  It can’t be about all the stuff, paraphernalia and additional furniture that any one individual MUST bring with them on a 3-day retreat.

I understand the need to perhaps bring your own comfy sewing chair - and I plan on having small tables in between folks as shared ironing or cutting space - it will take up the space I have available.

Rolling sewing task chairs have been ordered.  They are rated up to 250 lbs.  If someone needs a chair that supports more weight, I am suggesting that perhaps they consider bringing their own sufficient for their needs.

And I think that brings me current with where I am this morning!


Sunrise over the ridges from the front porch.

It’s a gorgeous day out there.  I’ll be heading back to the Inn in just a few minutes – some more furniture arranging to do – And I really NEED to break out a paint brush.  But I’ll be back here sewing in a few hours as there are some deadlines to make some progress on.  But I can’t let this beautiful April day be spent completely inside.

We spent some time this morning picking out tile for the walk-in shower work coming up quickly for the 3 bathroom remodels at the Inn.  Who could guess that even tile and faucet choosing could create such a confusion??

One Day at a Time – enjoy yours!


Quiltville Quote of the Day.

Someone else's opinion doesn't define your reality.

They don't have all the facts.

They are not you.

Go on and chase your dreams and make your decisions based on what’s good for you.

You are the one who knows why you chose what you did.

Keep your eye on that goal!



66 comments:

  1. Everything looks great! I love watching your progress.

    On a side note, I know you and many of your readers are familiar with Jo Kramer at Jo's Country Junction--her family is going through a rough patch with some health issues. Please keep them in your thoughts (and prayers, if you are a praying person).

    Thanks for all you do.

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  2. Today's quote is so appropriate for all of us. Personally, I can't wait to see your dream come true. Keep plugging along, Bonnie. You will get there!

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  3. Bonnie, it's sometimes a wonder you share anything! It's amazing what you are doing for the retreat center! People should remember that you could have just opened and they would have adapted to what is there. You shouldn't expect that everything will be to your liking. You've given everything a great deal of thought and I think it will be amazing. People should get a life, instead of living vicariously through yours. Started at the beginning of your blog and am almost through 2013. It's amazing what you share and what you've been through! Yes, this is your dream; never forget that vision! Happy Wednesday!

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    1. Thank you so very much! I do keep people's wants and needs in focus, but it is impossible to please everyone. I'm not the only retreat out there. Likely other facilities will be better for some. I can only do what I can only do - and I have invested EVERYTHING into this venue when most folks are starting to think about retirement and slowing down. Some mornings I wake up and panic wondering why I have taken on what I am taking on. Am I nuts? But the vision is there to provide a wonderful place for connecting with other like minded quilters. Relationship and friendship building. Skill building. Hurt healing. Time to breathe, relax, enjoy - to slow down the fast pace of life for just a few days at a time. I hope to find those who fit my vision instead of those who demand I fit theirs.

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    2. Bonnie, you are awesome i have followed you for years,you start my day with a smile EVERYDAY, saying that please read to the end , hearing all the whiners makes me realise i am a special needs person :0, i hoped to come someday but i am realistic; i know my knees cant go up the stairs everyday and i know my snoring lol would cause tremendous discomfort to others, i was hoping I could find a nearby rental and join a retreat short a body, or just visit one day just to see it all, and sit on that front porch and drink a lemonade or tea visit stitch relax , YOU make our dreams come true , please dont hold back we love you just the way things are, you do a wonderful job and YOU are APPRECIATED

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  4. I cracked up at, "Maybe something with a gym would be better?" You hit the nail on the head!!

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  5. It makes me sad to think of people insisting their ideas are what's best for Quiltville Inn. I get posting the progress, and explaining the conundrums you're considering, and perhaps you'll get a great idea here and there. But in the end, it's YOUR place, YOUR dream, and I delight in seeing YOUR solutions.

    So, a little (totally corny) cheer for you: 2 - 4 - 6 - 8, Who do we appreciate? Bonnie! Bonnie! Gooooo, BONNIE!

    :-)

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  6. Personally, I like the donut shape of the tables but it's your retreat center, your rules. You have been to hundreds of retreats and taught thousands of retreaters, you know what works and what doesn't. I know you have been awake at night thinking of how you are going to do things. It is not up to me, or anyone else, to question the way things are being done. Thank you for continuing to show us the progress being made. Your quote today is my favorite "Don't Let Others Steal Your Joy"!

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    1. I echo Robin's statement! Sometimes you come up with solutions that we, who don't have all the facts, just surprise the heck out of us. I brought up your mini-split heating/cooling system to my husband, as a solution to our own heating/cooling (ESPECIALLY cooling during the warm summers here in North Dakota, where an old farmhouse, when it was built, where A/C wasn't even thought of yet) situation. And HE liked the idea and asked me to check into options for here! So, there's our project for this summer!

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    2. Rhonda.....Sorry, 'bout the 'thread' interruption, but we just put in a mini-split heating/cooling unit and LUV it!! It was installed after Jan. 1st in our tiny park model winter place in south Texas. Uber economical, quiet, heats and cools fantastically!!! Super reasonable price, too! Bonnie's remodel is assisting many to make choices for their situations, I am sure.

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  7. Thank you for sharing the journey. Many of us who will never be able to come and experience Quiltville in person, you are blessing us with sharing the events along the way. I love the pictures and all the planning you share. You are amazing

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  8. Many of us love that you are sharing your journey, and it's so much fun to see the Inn come alive! Just keep on keeping on with your plans, knowing that you will never please everyone. Wait 'til you get to the food - that will be another whole can of worms!!!

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    1. This is why I am providing a retreat venue with a ready kitchen for folks to prepare their own meals. I am not providing food. :)

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  9. The retreat that I go to repeatedly has each quilter working on a table that sits independently with one short end along the wall. Each station has its own task light, small trash can and TOO bulky secretary chairs(they are very comfortable to sit in, but can only move if you are sitting on them-real annoying. Everyone still has the ability to interact(or not, if that is your choice). Just another thought.

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  10. I really like the square-round arrangement of tables, but you need to do what works best in YOUR space. Loved your Idaho Square Dance class in Pigeon Forge (I was the one that had you sign my log cabin block that I sewed wrong! I have since fixed it and it will go on the front of my quilt instead of as a label). And by all means, don’t let anyone steal your joy!

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  11. I love watching it all come together!

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  12. Regarding the flycatchers on the windows. I didn't like all the dead flies stuck to my window and then trying to get the sticky off the window after I took them off. I found, for me, that it was much easier to just vacuum them up. Of course, it is just what you want to deal with. Thank you for all you do. I appreciate following your life!

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    1. I've never used them, but if they have a peel-off backing (for window affixing), is it possible to just peel a little off each corner and stick it on that way? It seems that would make it easier to remove from the glass.

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    2. I tried these but peeling off was tricky I had to use a scraper and it left a sticky residue on the window, but they could have improved them by now this was quite a few years ago

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  13. When I go to a retreat, I’m just grateful to be able to sit and see without my every day distractions. If I’ve got my machine, my ott light, a place to cut and trim and my Diet Coke, I’m perfectly happy. The rest of the details that people seem to be freaking out about don’t matter to me, I can adapt, and if it’s not perfect, that’s okay. Anyone who needs everything “just so” should probably just stay home.

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  14. Looking great! I hate flies too. Hope the traps work. Even if I don't get to attend a Quiltville Inn Retreat, it is so fun to see your dream evolve. I can Dream of visiting...

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  15. I love the idea of the drink holder/trashcan. Once someone is sitting at the table, the drink holder/trashcan will not be sticking out too far. The chair will be out further so they are a great addition to the work tables. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  16. I think the donut layout looks great. With another table in the center, it reminds me of old-time quilting bees where the whole quilt was on a frame in the center and the hand quilters sat around the outside edge with needles in hand.

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  17. Thank you for sharing the process of building your retreat. It’s great to see all the experiments you go through to make it a wonderful space.

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  18. Thank you for sharing! I love old homes and you are doing a beautiful love filled job with Quiltville Inn!

    I can sew anywhere there is space for a machine, I even take an old mechanical machine to hunting camp so the camp cook (me) can entertain herself while the guys traipse through the woods. No deer have ever been harmed by our hunting party. LOL When my children were small I sewed on the kitchen table and pushed the machine aside for meals. Different homes have brought other sewing arrangements and I feel I have the best in my current home where I use two rooms (bless my husband for not minding). Keep on sharing your joy! I can hear your smile in your words!

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  19. I think your quote for the day says it all. Enjoy every minute of your amazing progress in this wonderful place and don't the knuckleheads get you down. I'm with Lori - send them to the gym!

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  20. Perfect quote today! Thank you for sharing your dream with us. Some of us might only get to the inn through your blog and I am loving every post. If I do get there someday, you will probably find me on the porch!

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  21. Thank you so much for all you do and sharing with your fans! A couple of cliches come to mind-- Opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one. Which leads to You Do You. You are very much appreciated.

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  22. I keep reading your posts about how people want so much from you and wonder if they would think of calling a hotel or any commercial building that holds various retreats and demand or suggest everything under the sun to accommodate their personal wants, I think not, they go with what is there. You are going way above and beyond. I like your comment that if they don't agree with what you have done they can find a different retreat center. Good Luck and stay true to yourself.

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  23. You have been on enough retreats to know what will work best in your space. We should just trust that you know what you are doing, and if you don't, you know people who operate retreat spaces, and you can ask them. Most of the rest of us don't have the expertise to advise you. Good luck with it all!

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  24. I think it is wonderful that you have this dream and you are going for it. I also like how you're trying to include everyone in the sewing circle so to speak with the table placement. So often I take a class and I end up at a table for two all alone, or with someone who doesn't want to chat. Photos create an illusion of space and depth which isn't always the reality so you will know what's best. I love your inclusive nature. Thank you for sharing your dream along the way with us. I'm really looking forward to the bathroom update info as I have two bathrooms to remodel and a third one at a vacation rental. It's just me making all the decisions but everytime I look at tile,grout colors, sinks, etc., I just see a pile of dollar signs and an interior designer I'm not.

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  25. With every new post about Quiltville Inn I am amazed and humbled by all the thought , effort, and work that you are pouring into our comfort and convenience. Hope to be a retreat participant when the doors open to us. Thank you, Bonnie!

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  26. Those nasty flies are called cluster flies. They are half zombie! They love older homes, and as you have found, windows in particular.

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  27. I took your crabapple class in slidell, Louisiana, and I think what you are doing is wonderful. I enjoyed your teaching, I learned so much I did not know, so I know your Quiltville Inn will be great for retreats. All I need is my sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat to accommodate me.

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  28. Well said Bonnie! I would could myself very fortunate to hopefully attend a retreat at Quiltville. In the meantime, continue doing what you are doing!! A million and one thank yous!!

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  29. the one who wrote before was me, beth d. from Jefferson, LA. I hope to go to one of the retreats at Quiltville inn in the near future.

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  30. Bonnie this reminds me of visiting different quilt shops. I love to see how the owner designs the space and shows us their wares. I love to see your progress and can’t wait to see it when you’re done. I’m looking forward to seeing your vision not someone else’s. You go girl ��

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  31. Bonnie, I really like both arrangements for the tables, it's nice that everyone is facing everyone else. And it seems like you have thought about all the details for the retreat from all angles. I especially like that the showers will be walk-in showers, I hate having to balance in bathtub showers! Just one suggestion for you to consider, though you have probably thought of this already. I was a retreat house in MN set up for 8 people and by each bed there was a wall hook, I assume for towels since there was not nearly enough room in the bathroom(s) for 8 damp towels to hang at the same time.

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  32. Oh, Bonnie, you are so thoughtful, and your quilt retreat experience shows! I totally love your table arrangements and I'm convinced Quiltville Inn will be extraordinarily comfortable and beautiful! Big grateful hugs and lots of LOVE! It's such fun hiw you share your thoughts and process. Bless you!

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  33. "This is not their dream." Oh, Bonnie, nail-on-head statement there. I am enjoying watching the whole process and I'm learning about so many things I hadn't considered that go into a project like this. Most of the time, we just hear about a place that is already done, read a description, maybe see pictures and decide if it will work for us or move on. If we go, we make it work and have a great time. It has cost you so much to allow us to join in the fun and frustration, and I am so sorry that has lead to extra frustration and restless nights for you along with worry how to say "Thanks for the thought, but no thanks," without alienating the world. You are certainly more patient than I would be, though I'll bet sometimes you are less so behind the scenes. For that I give big hugs to your DH and DS who lend an ear, a hand, and even more when they can. I, for one, cannot wait for my opportunity to come enjoy the fruits of your labor. {{{HUGS}}}} And I've got to say that NOT being responsible for feeding your retreaters -- smartest decision ever!! LOL!

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  34. Love your inspiration today. It so covers the bad day you had last week. It is your dream so you get to live it your way. Because I want turquoise chairs doesn't mean they should be in Quiltville Inn. Dream on and live it.

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  35. I used the trash thingees at a different retreat center and loved it so much that I bought one for home. I understand the space issue but if they will fit they are nicer than trash cans to knock over under the table. If you use them you will need to remind people not to put rotary cutter blades or needles in them as they will cut the bag portion. It looks great and remember too may cooks spoil the soup.

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  36. Regarding the flies... Something we just got for keeping the mice out of our house from Amazon is called Pest Reject ultrasonic pest repellent. Will have to wait to see how it works as we've just installed them. They just plug into an electrical outlet. It also says it is effective for insects. Might be worth checking these out, as well.

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  37. I love that you share your dreams and thoughts regarding Quiltville Inn. I hope to one day be able to attend a retreat, but it too may just be a dream. But keep on with your dreams as that is what makes life so special! Thank you again for all you share with us.

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  38. It is amazing that you let us inside your dream. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and progress photos.

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  39. Loving the layout s,what a great idea to give them a try then get your electrics sorted, nice that everyone will be able to interact. Keep going Bonnie this is going to be awesome your dreams are coming together beautifully
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

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  40. Wonderful Quote, Bonnie:
    I love today's blog, progress being made. I Love the colors on the walls now, but I am sure what ever you do will be lovely! When I built my house, my design is what I used, my wall colors, cabinets, doors, windows, etc. BUT, It is taking me a long time to get window coverings up. Finding what I want in small towns, away from the city, is not necessarily an easy task to complete. My dream home came about, and I know your retreat at Quiltville Inn is also. I can't wait to get together with a group and come for a stay! BUT, first I want to go to Ireland with you next year! I would love to do Bavaria at Christmas, too, but can't do them both in the same year.

    You are doing great, and I Love it!

    Donna
    Kasilof, AK

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  41. You always inspire me each day. Thanks for the quote of the day each day, it is always uplifting. Love that you are just you!

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  42. I certainly hope those with the negative or 'know-it-all' opinions don't plan to visit Quiltville Inn. Their attitude will ruin the experience for everyone who appreciates all the sweat and blood you are pouring into the place. I'm excited for you to be able to make your dream a reality & I'm sure it will be perfect by the time you cut the ribbon on opening day! You rock!!

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  43. Bonnie, Love following you. I also have insulation boards as my design wall. Instead of flannel, I use an old plastic flannel backed table cloth. I put a few clip clothespins on one end & throw that over the top as a weight so it doesn't all slip down. Best wishes.

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  44. OH my, soo many comments, do you read them all? I agree, it is all about the vision, only you can see what is in your minds eye. My husband, early in our marriage had an opinion about any decorating I was planning. I would tell him, don't worry you are going to love it, and he did. 35 years later he just says do your thing, it always looks great! So have fun doing your thing!!

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  45. I tend not to go to sewing retreats anymore. Some people bring so much " stuff" that I wonder why they don't just stay home!? And it gets annoying for the rest of us to have to squeeze in to accommodate them....

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  46. Please all, and you please none. You’re putting together an amazing place, and you’re graciously sharing it with quilters. If you do what you want to do, because you know it’s right, then at least you’re living your dream, and not someone else’s.

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  47. Wow. You are being incredibly thoughtful and thorough with your retreat ideas. Thank you so much for sharing. And I love today's quote.

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  48. The Inn is beautiful. I did retreats for 15 years and found the donut configuration worked the best. I love your idea of a table in the middle so things don’t fall as that was a problem. You definitely have to have rules on what can be done/brought and stick to them because as you know people will always push the boundaries. I frequently had to have people take extra tables, ironing boards etc back to their vehicle as there wasn’t room. Good Luck with an amazing plan and I hope I get to visit someday��

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  49. Wow your consideration for everyone is just amazing. I'm a "make it work" kinda person. Going to a retreat is not just about quilting it's the people and the food. 😊 The designated room looks amazing. Love it

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  50. Quiltville Inn looks wonderful! I was at a retreat with things falling into the middle of our tables, so a table in the center sounds good. It does seem like there is always one person that "needs" to bring some things that just don't fit. I would be the one looking for a seat facing away from the window, as bright light hurts my eyes. Sounds like I'm that one trouble maker in the group, but I try not to be.

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  51. You've done a wonderful job, Bonnie. The tables are situated so nicely in each room with the sun shining in. I look forward to one day being in one of those lovely rooms. I love your dream! Thanks for all you do. Loretta McGinn

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  52. I would sit on a paint bucket with a tv tray if I had to! And your quote and explantation were perfect and just for me today. It's amazing how many people think you have to live your life their way. I am loving your dream and can't wait to visit.

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  53. WOW! What a fantastic job you are doing! When I began making quilts it was suggested to use flat flannel sheets as a design wall. On sale I imagine they are MUCH less expensive than by the yard... but you are possibly wanting a design wall for each participant? Otherwise I'd (for me) buy a king size flannel flat sheet to lay then out on. Just thinkin' here.

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  54. PERFECT ending quote - do YOUR thing! hugs...

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  55. I was watching an old QuiltCam on Youtube (1/27/18)where you were webbing 16 pieces together to make a block. I had just put (100)1 1/2" half square triangles on my sewing table in an intricate pattern and was not sure how to sew them without messing up the pattern. After watching quiltcam, I followed your directions and it worked. I pressed like you said so the rows would have nesting seems. The first row I sewed came out great. Thank you for the tips and for your daily blog posts. I really look forward to them each morning. They are very inspiring.

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