Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Over The Rail With The Quilters Of The Night!

One look at those dark skies and you know we were fighting fate with getting any over-the-rail photos taken.  But we did it!

Why Quilters of the Night?

Well - they are aptly named!  The hubster had a corn hole tournament one night this past week (Yes, that is a thing, and it's big down here!) and it was close to midnight when he drove by to see ALL lights burning brightly - especially in the Quilting Quarters.

I came to find out the next morning that folks were making their way to bed at 2:30am - 

Whenever, whatever, and however late your quilting muse inspires you to create at your best - go for it!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

All On A Memorial Day -

The rain continued through mid-morning.

Just that light, misty, barely there kind of rain -

But enough that it likely put a damper on people's plans for motorcycle rides through the winding mountain roads, camping was likely a wash-out, and hiking would have been a slog through the mud.

But hopefully - folks were able to enjoy their time together perhaps sitting around a table playing cards, eating good food and realizing that come the heat of August they will long for the kind of cool misty temps we had over Memorial Day weekend.

Did it stop the quilters at all?  Silly question!  Of course not!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day & Memorial Quilts

It hasn't stopped raining for days.  I mean - DAYS.

And it's been cold as well as wet - but when it rains outside, what do the quilters do inside?

We quilt!  And we plan more quilts, dream of quilts, pet fabric for quilts, and maybe even start another quilt!

This morning I'm starting off this post with some special quilts with a patriotic theme, especially for Memorial Day.

These photos were sent by my friend Cathy, and they are perfect for sharing, so let's get started, shall we?

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Running Out Of Time -

Evenings are purrfect for binding time.

That is when I'm not too tired to do it.

What's going on with this running out of time title to this post?

My leaving for Egypt and then on to Ireland back-to-back is closely approaching.

Because I live 2 1/2 hours from the airport - AND my driver's license is for "daylight driving only" We made the big decision to actually have me leave a day early - to drive to Greensboro on Tuesday evening and stay at a hotel close to the airport.

It only makes sense.  I can park my car at the hotel for free for 2 weeks, and then it's only $5.00 a day after that until I return home on the 26th of June. Yes, there is a shuttle.  It just works.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Scrappy As Scrappy Can Get!

It's this kind of scene that gets me scrap happy!

When retreaters come with this in tow, you know they have some amazing projects about to happen!

You know what else makes me happy?  Arriving to the sound of folks enjoying coffee in the rocking chairs on the front porch, the sound of conversation and laughter beckoning me from my parking spot behind the QPO to the front of the house.

Cheers of Good Morning! Oh, it's a wonderful sound!

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Quilting Up A Storm!

It feels so good to actually get a quilt into the long arm and get the quilting started!

That was my goal for yesterday - just get it loaded.  Just BEGIN.

Sometimes with a big job - we have to break it down into smaller achievable efforts. 

If the whole process seems insurmountable, just focus on the next step.  

And if that seems like too much, break it down into even smaller bits.

And so was the loading of my Jacob's Chain quilt yesterday -

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Over The Rail in the Afternoon!

That little bit of cloud cover you see moving in gave us the perfect opportunity to get some shadowless photos - just take a look at this full porch rail of quilts!

I love a good quilt show at the end of a productive retreat.

Many of these quilts were started at previous retreats, finished at home, and brought back for a finale photo over the rail -

They are all so wonderful!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Roastin' With The May Quiltvillians!

It's fire pit season!

And what better way to kick of the last night of retreat with the May Quiltvillians than to load up the fire forks with some marshmallows and make it a s'mores night!

However - check out Nola and her double-flamer.  LOL!

We have a rule - if your marshmallows combust into flames, NO FLINGING ALLOWED!

It's blow, baby, blow!

And of course there are differing opinions on what the actual color of a "dome" marshmallow should really be.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Hey, Batter Batter - Swing Batter!

I'm going to take you away from our regularly scheduled quilty content for a moment - I hope you'll indulge me in our fantastic break-away day down to Jonesville, NC where we got to cheer on 7 yr old Casden in his little league baseball game - our first one we've been able to make!

First off - is there anything cuter than 7-year-olds getting all serious about sports?

As a mom of boys, this took me back to all of the softball and soccer games we attended while my own boys were growing up.

The weather was perfect and we had the best time!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

The May Quiltvillians & More!

There is a lot of creative expression happening at Quiltville Inn this weekend with the May Quiltvillians in residence!

It's wonderful to see their abundant creativity taking shape in so many different projects -

Of course, there has been  some quilt shop hopping happening, and new fabrics, tools, notions and patterns to add to the mix.

I LOVE seeing what comes out of shopping bags when they return from "town." 

Now I need a trip to town, too!

Friday, May 19, 2023

Right Way Round (And Wrong Way Too!) Gift-Away!

It's MAY! 

Memorial Day is right around the corner followed by Flag Day, Independence Day, and all the way through to Labor Day -

Summer has always been a season of Red, White & Blue for me - and i love sewing in these colors.

It brings back memories of neighborhood block parties during my childhood - where we would eat too many hotdogs, consume too much watermelon (dripping down our chins and onto our shirts) and the endless magic of sparklers when it got dark.

I can still smell them burning - such happy childhood memories from the "Wonder Years" of my life!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Food, Glorious (Vietnamese) Food!

Eating always eating!

Every time we turned around it was time for another meal -

And the food was out of this world - at least for those of us who like to live life on the adventurous side and aren't afraid to try things that we weren't used to having at home.

Are you adventurous?  I hope so!  You'll never know what you are missing otherwise!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Confucius & The Temple of Literature!

The Temple of Literature was on everyone's bucket list upon our arrival in Hanoi.

Dedicated to Confucius -the temple also hosts the Imperial Academy -Vietnam's first national university. 

The temple was built in 1070 at the time of Emperor Lý Thánh Tông. It is one of several temples in Vietnam dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars.

I don't know about you, but places that are well over 1,000 years old fascinate me.

The various pavilions, halls, statues and stelae (stone monuments placed on the back of stone turtles) of doctors are places where offering ceremonies, study sessions and the strict exams of the Đại Việt took place.

Waving at my group just inside the courtyard at the pond named "The Well of Heavenly Clarity."

We came through this entry -

Note the beautiful banyan tree on the right - I love these!

The gardens were just gorgeously lush (Thanks to so much humidity!) and I found this to be a place of peace and reflection.

More courtyard and the well with koi.

I also love to look at architecture and find the rooflines fascinating - those turned up corners are sometimes decorated - the attention to detail was beautiful.

Looking back up at the gate tower we walked through -

Sometimes if you don't look back, you'll miss the best shot!

Manicured trees and beautiful stonework.

These are the stone stelea or tablets -

These tombstone-like monuments honor graduates and sit atop turtles, representing longevity and wisdom. The shape and size of the turtle changed with the passage of time.

The names on the tablets commemorate more than 1,300 students who attained doctoral ranks in the triennial royal court exams held at Quoc Tu Giam and provide details about the greatness of the monarch issuing the exam, as well as some regional history. 

Over time, the turtles’ foreheads have become burnished by the touch of thousands of hands. It was considered good luck for students to rub the heads of the statues before their exams, but now there is a fence to preserve and protect the turtles. 

On the backs of turtles!

There are several pavilions containing these monuments.

The construction of the stone stelae began in 1484 under the Emperor Lê Thánh Tông. He erected 116 steles of carved blue stone turtles with elaborate motifs to honor talent and encourage study. The Turtle  is one of the nation's four holy creatures - the others are the Dragon  the Unicorn and the Phoenix.

The doctors' steles are a valuable historical resource for the study of culture, education and sculpture in Vietnam. 82 stelae remain. They depict the names and birthplaces of 1307 graduates of 82 triennial royal exams. Between 1442 and 1779, eighty-one exams were held by the Lê dynasty and one was held by the Mạc dynasty. 

The ancient Chinese engravings on each stele praise the merits of the monarch and cite the reason for holding royal exams. They also record the mandarins who were tasked with organizing the exams. 

They are a valuable historical resource for the study of philosophy history, culture, education, society and sculpture in Vietnam. 

The stelae were inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2011.

I found the last paragraph interesting - they buried the monuments in the sand during the Vietnam war to protect them from being destroyed during bombings. 

Tablets from another angle.

Confucius wrote:
  1. "Study the past if you would define the future."

And more beautiful trees and gardens around the pond.

Check out the dragons on the roofline!

Just beautiful!

The fourth courtyard is where you’ll find the Ceremonial Hall and Dai Bai Duong, the Sanctuary of Great Success, which was once considered so sacred that even the emperor was forbidden entry. Today, anyone may enter.

Inside is an elaborately decorated altar to Confucius and his four disciples Yanhui, Mencius, Zisi and Zheng Shen. On each side stands a bronze crane atop a turtle’s back.

I guess it's also good luck to rub the crane's bellies and also the turtle heads at the bottom - look at them shine!

One of the altars for four disciples Yanhui, Mencius, Zisi and Zheng Shen.

“The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step.”

The Sanctuary of Great Success houses a shrine to Confucius.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

More flowers, fruits and offerings.

“I followed my heart without breaking any rules.”

Dragon incense burner.

Beautifully manicured bonsai tree - look at the little house!

I love these little details!

Roolines, burners, and dragons - oh my!

From the opposite side, catching the dragons on the roof.

Stone statue - are these dogs?

Another bonsai and beautiful detail

Everywhere I looked - there was something beautiful to admire.

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

Isn't this just gorgeous?

If it is a temple, there must be a gong!

This kind of roofline detail I love!

"Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart."

Sample writings of students.


Did you know it was Confucius who first said:
  1. "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”

Where there is a gong, there is also a drum!

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."

But maybe this one sums it up best: 

“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children.”

And yes there is more to share, but this got kind of long as it is so I'm going to stop here.

It's Wednesday!  The May Quiltvillians will arrive this afternoon and we'll have all things ready in time.

What are your plans for today?

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

This was a hard realization. If someone's unkindness causes you to also be unkind - they win.
It can cause a domino effect of unkindness to spread.
Resist engaging in unkindness!
That said: Sometimes being kind is the last word and action before disengaging and moving on for my own mental health.

Lots to think about today!