Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday: Temple of Heaven

Whoever said that the sun never shines in Beijing was completely wrong. It was absolutely the most beautiful day yesterday, and what better backdrop for the colors found in the Temple of Heaven than a blue blue sky beyond!

Standing an ancient places has always had a soul centering effect on me. We tend to think the world is all about us, the here and now.  As if we are the only generation that has ever counted.

But when I stand in these places that are centuries old, I realize that we are just a micro speck on the timeline of this planet. I wish I could know these people. And see how they did things and how they lived when this Temple was built.

Everywhere you turn is a feast for the Quilters eyes!

Roof tile detail. I love the green glaze! It looks like jade.

A blue, green and gold wedding cake! The detail is amazing. I wish I could have seen this being painted and watched the artisans working on it.

There are beautiful buildings all around the temple and though we couldn't go in many of these, it was just such a beautiful sight.

But my favorite thing of all was watching the elder generation gathering around in groups and playing games of Mahjong, cards, or groups of ladies sitting and enjoying a morning of beautiful crochet and conversation.

There seem to be many of the same sweater in progress in many colors! Maybe this is their version of a crochet guild!

The ladies were happy to share their handiwork with us. The love of fiber transcends any language barriers!

As this post is being uploaded via email and I am limited to how many photos I can include in a post due to upload speeds and connectivity, if you would like to see more from yesterday's Temple of Heaven visit please check out my Instagram and Facebook pages for a video slideshow I uploaded.

Yesterday's adventures also included a visit to a wonderful Tea House, lunch at a residence house where we got to eat many dishes prepared as they would be in a home. It was fabulous!

There was a rickshaw ride through the old section of the city, and we went to the silk Factory to get some more fiber fondling in.

My biggest purchase was a beautiful silk robe perfect for lounging and absolutely gorgeous.

Of course I will share all of this when I get home and connectivity is better.

Today's visit to the Great Wall is something I have been looking forward to for what seems like all of my life. I remember seeing photos of it and history books as far back as grade school and marveling at the sheer massiveness of this wall.

Today I will set my feet upon it!

I have found the Chinese people to be absolutely warm and open and more gracious than can ever be imagined. This is a beautiful country and I am so happy to be here.

Have a wonderful day, everyone! 

It feels weird saying that. As I post this it is 4:15 a.m. and I've been up for 2 hours still unable to adjust to this new time zone but I also enjoy the quiet hours to think and reflect and to make myself ready for today's adventure.

Much love from Beijing,


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday on Tiananmen Square.

Yesterday was full of amazing sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. And don't forget the tastes!

It's hard to put into words how it felt to be standing in the center of Tiananmen Square. The first time I ever heard about Tiananmen Square I was much younger, and didn't understand things of the world. I guess I still don't in many ways.

Surreal is the only word I can come up with.

There will be much documentary watching over the next several weeks upon my return home to the land of streaming internet. I'm sure there are a lot of things that can be found on Netflix or on YouTube to fill in the quick education I'm getting while being here

This has been an incredible journey and it is just beginning.

Museum building across the square, I wish there was time to visit them all!


Giant flower basket for a recent celebration within the past couple of weeks. I can't pronounce it, I'm not sure what it was for but I am sure that this is the biggest flower basket I have ever seen! The entrance to the forbidden city is in the distance.

Everything is immaculate. Street sweepers work tirelessly, and road washers keep the streets continually shiny wet as if it had rained very recently, in an effort to keep the dust down.

It's just the most incredible place.

My group, with our tour guide Charlie at the helm with the flag! We are all getting along great, and this group of people is just so much fun to be with.

I know this post is short, and there is so much more I can't wait to share when I get home. Yesterday's tour also included the amazing Forbidden City, also documentary binge-worthy upon returning home!

We also visited the pearl market and did a bunch of shopping. I've got some carved jade balls coming home, a couple of dragons for the boys and some wooden carved chopsticks - all stuff that can travel easily in my suitcase to remind me of this fabulous journey. Those pictures also, will be posted when posting is much easier.

I shared a short video clip of Tiananmen Square yesterday to Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow me there. I am unable to embed videos into this post as I am writing it by email.

Writing it by email also means I can't upload as many photos as I'd like so this is a teaser! 

I thought it would be fun to do my Quiltville Quote of the Day against an architectural design photo I took while here:

It's 4:52 a.m. as I hit send on this post, and I'm happy to say I got a full 7 hours of sleep last night even if I was asleep by 9 p.m.! 

Night life is just not happening yet for my group!

I am getting up to start my Monday early and I will catch up with you again as soon as I can!

Much love from Beijing,


Oh, One More Thing…

Does anyone know what the little net things are in the left hand side of this photo?

in my early years, when I had one small child and a hubster in college, I worked as a floral designer at a local flower shop in Ontario, Oregon.

My favorite place was in the cooler!

I loved opening the many boxes of fresh cut flowers that were delivered daily, and they had to be unpacked, ends of stems trimmed just right and set in buckets of water in the walk in cooler to keep them fresh as we worked with them.

The aroma that came from that cooler still comes to mind any time I am hear a flower shop.

Delicate flowers like spider mums come with their blossoms protected by these little net “socks” that are ALWAYS discarded when the flowers go into arrangements, if not before – allowing the blooms to relax.

Here I have cut one of the socks in half – and have slid it over my Aurifil spool for travel purposes.  I don’t like it when my thread goes tangly at the top of the spool.  The sock helps keep it nice and neat in my bag and I can pull just enough thread off of the spool with the sock still on. 

If you’ve got unwieldy thread, give this a try!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Wee Small Hours in Beijing!

Hello from me and my friend Jill! I snapped this photo when she picked me up at my hotel which seems like days ago and a whole world away!

It was an extremely long travel day and though I have been able to connect with the VPN and the hotel WiFi on my phone, I can't seem to get the laptop to connect.

So here I am throwing up some photos by email to the blog. This may limit what I am able to share while I am on this trip, but it will give us enough connectivity so you get a glimpse of what is going on here.

Our plane! We flew Hainan Airlines, and it was a great experience. The seats were quite roomy and actually had almost 2 inched more seat space than the US Airlines have.

We also upgraded our seats for a little bit more leg room in an exit row! Jill and I are both tall girls and we're grateful for this upgrade.

The food was great! No complaints here on that front either. I love anything with sesame oil, and this was delicious!

Evidently the airline also knew that I would be working on hexies and made sure that the in-flight entertainment screen matched what I was working on!

The flight was nearly 12 hours long, and after about hour five you really are pretty much done with this flying thing.

Sleep is nearly impossible, as we chased the sun the entire way. It never got dark the entire 12-hour flight period after landing and going through customs and picking up our luggage and meeting our guide, we finally walked out into the evening Darkness as we boarded our bus for our hotel in Beijing.

This hotel room was such a welcome sight! We only had enough time to drop off our bags and get ready for our group dinner in the hotel restaurant. I've got a wonderful group and I can't wait to start exploring Beijing today.

After dinner Jill and I took a short walk to find the ATM.

We saw several different kinds of street dancing happening on our walk through the shopping district. I have shared these videos to my Facebook and to my Instagram but I can't embed them here because I am uploading this by email.

I am suggesting that you follow my Facebook and Instagram feeds so that you don't miss out on these little video clips and any other photo shares from our day in between blog posts.

Posts will be coming at crazy times as I am able.

News from the home front: the hubster is with his family in Payette, Idaho having arrived yesterday. Hospice has informed the family that my father-in-law is likely to not make it through the weekend.

He is surrounded with much love and now covered in my quilt. And all we wish for him is a gentle and peaceful passing.

At this time we are thinking that instead of me returning to North Carolina after landing back in Seattle, I will instead fly directly to Boise for the memorial service and then go home from there. It's too much to think about right now, and my heart is hurting that I am here instead of there. I feel so very torn.

However, my father-in-law knows of my trip and was excited for me to do this so I am carrying his love with me in my heart.

Thank you so much for your extended prayers and well wishes for my family while I am so far away.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Much love from Beijing, 


To Seattle and Beyond!

This is finally happening!

I’m writing this post from my hotel room near the Seattle airport – body clock still on East Coast Time, and up at the ungodly h our of 4am Pacific time.

I tried forcing myself back to sleep, but that just doesn’t fly.  So after talking to family on the East Coast, busy with their normal Friday lives, I got up, grabbed a shower, made sure everything was packed the way it should be, checked and double checked all of the documents that go with a person when traveling to way far away lands, opened up the curtains to my 6th floor room to find – dark.  It’s still dark.  Of course it is!  It’s only 7:30am here and I am much farther north than my North Carolina home.

Too early to walk up to the Denny’s for breakfast – and I feel like writing so here I am.

I should have waited to take my next round of antibiotics for the stow-away tick and its bite for when I had food for my stomach, but NOOOO…I didn’t think of that.  There was a package of almonds in my bag from yesterday’s cross-country flight.  Hopefully that will stave off the tummy upset I feel coming on.

Or is it nerves?

For those who emailed asking about the bite – it’s healing, and the antibiotics are to make sure I don’t come down with Lyme.  I’ll have it checked again and perhaps a blood test done when I get back.  I am still covered in creepy crawlies when I think I was host to that bugger for at least 3 days and brought him HOME from New York. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

October Quilty Box Gift-Away!

This little goodie box arrived on my doorstep while I was teaching up in New York last week, and I thought it would be just perfect to let it loose as a gift-away here on the blog while I’m in China!

The October Quilty Box is curated by none other than Leah Day, someone I love and admire for all of the wonderful fun she is!

If this box is full of Leah Goodies, I want one!

What is a Quilty Box?

  • Quilty Box is a monthly subscription box of fun quilting supplies. We offer plans from $44-48/mo.
  • 5% of the profits of multi-month subscriptions are donated to Quilts for Kids - a non-profit which donates quilts for children in need
  • Each month we have 4 or more products (fabric, patterns, thread, or notions)
  • Our retail value of the products in the box is always more than $60
  • Latifah  Saafir is November’s box girl!  www.latifahsaafirstudios.com.
  • We will be using the hashtags #QuiltyBox and #GetQuilty
I am all about having 5% going to Quilts for Kids while I get a bunch of quilty goodness to play with in every box!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Meet Me In Seattle! (And Digital Pattern Sale!)

These are my happy feet as I head out to the airport today!

Aren’t these just so cute?  The crazy thing is, they were ridiculously on sale, through some website that I clicked through to find.  I can’t remember the name of the site!  And when these showed up on my doorstep there was no invoice in the package.  A drop-ship from the manufacturer most likely ---in CHINA!

They not only look super quilty, but they are woven elastic so they hug your feet as you walk.  I bought two pair.  One in blue, and these in black. This pair is going back to the land of its birth for a visit. LOL.

A girl who loves her Mary Janes will never get tired of Mary Janes, even into her mid 50s!

There is no label inside to give me a brand name, nothing.  Oh, fabulous shoes – I’d love more of you but I guess the only way to go searching is to scour paypal from whence the charges were applied.

I’m on my way to Seattle.  My job today is just to GET THERE.  The flights were such that if I flew tomorrow, and there was a hiccup at ANY part of my journey from North Carolina to Seattle, that I would likely miss the flight to Beijing.  That happened on a trip to Ireland a few years back, and it is NOT going to happen again.  I’ll go a day early.

The crown is back again where it belongs – I asked the dentist for the “more than 10 day” glue.  He laughed.  I can honestly say living in a place for 10 years really does put down some roots.  And root canals.  And I feel like these people are part of my tribe.  My heart belongs here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quilt-Cam 10/17/2017

This is a quickie post this morning --

I’ve got to head out for the dentist in about 20 minutes so I am throwing this up here as quickly as I can.

Oy!  Yesterday!  It seems that Monday is still on going.

"Oh! Did you know you have a tick on your back? Looks like it's been here a while!"  It was all I could do not to go screaming out into the hall, my sheet dragging “GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!”

Truth is, I couldn’t feel a thing…and she ended up drowning the sucker in eucalyptus oil and was able to remove him (her? it?!) with the corkscrew rotation method. 

I’m still shuddering!

After the massage I went straight to the chiropractor, and the creep-out continued!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Rainy Days, Mondays–It’s All Small Stuff!

This was me last night at the end of a very long day of playing catch up.

These days never go smoothly – imagine it.  You’ve been gone for a week, mail is piled up, you find that everything on your to-do list of things you wanted to get done before the next big trip (CHINA!) have shifted to afterwards and you are trying to get the word out to those who were going to be wondering just what was up and where was their package – and it snowballs.

Not in a complaining way, just a throw your hands up in the air and keep laughing because it’s now been dubbed the DAY OF RIDICULOUSNESS!