Monday, May 31, 2010

Nashville & Graceland

My stay in Memphis was overshadowed by my recovering from food poisoning from my last evening in Nashville. The hotel we stayed in, The Peabody was a luxury for us with a beautiful room. A welcome place to rest after my awful last night in Nashville. We arrived in time to see The Parade of the Ducks. What a hoot! The hotel makes quite a productions out of their entrances and departures, with a grand master dressed in a red coat and cane to give us the patter about the ducks. At precisely 5 pm on red carpet the 5 ducks leave the fountain and march to a waiting elevator to go to their rooms. What fun to watch.The next morning somewhat recovered we packed our bags, and drove to Graceland which is not very far outside of Memphis.
A shuttle bus takes you from the parking lot to the grounds and house. The house is not large, which was a surprise. The tour though is self guided with a audio cassette and takes about an hour. The house has been preserved just as it was when Elvis lived there. Photos were allowed, and we were able to tour the ground floor, basement rooms and some out buildings.

My favorite part of the tour was have a chance to view the costumes that Elvis wore through out his career.

One disappointment was that the audio tour only gave a very brief overview and I never gave a sense of who Elvis was beyond the performer.

This photo of Elvis's Aloha Jumpsuit which includes belt & cape that could be yours for $3400.00. There was no lack of Elvis memorabilia for sale at Graceland's shops.
After our tour finished we headed north and home. The first leg of the journey we crossed the Mississippi twice and drove through 4 states Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky where we stayed the night.
It's good to be back.

Music City - Nashville

I have some very mixed feelings about our visit to Nashville. The people that we met were warm, helpful and friendly. The city had some wonderful architecture and certainly wonderful

music. So what did I not like, it was not a city to stroll around, not many shops, or caf├ęs. It seemed to empty out at night except for the tourist strip. Most of the nice shops, restaurants were in the suburbs in Malls.

Our hotel was the Union Station, a converted train station. The ceiling in the photo above was made out of stain glass and magnificent.

We also found the hotel staff to be terrific. And if you are ever in Nashville I would recommend staying there.

On our first day in the city we took a bus tour, stopping at the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a replica of the original in Athens and the statue of Athena is covered in gold! Quite a site!

I had to take a photo of the door into the Country Music Hall of Fame. I was surprise to see along with no smoking or loitering that you could not bring in your weapons !

A highlight of the stay in Nashville was a visit The Grand Ole Opry in Rymans Auditorium to see and hear a county music show. The show was delivered as a radio show along with commercials in between acts.

I spent part of another day touring The Andrew Jackson Center. Jackson was the seventh president of the United States and a controversial figure. A movie that was shown at the beginning of the tour gave a good overview of his life both the good and not so good.

The house and ground have been restore and are in excellent condition. I was impressed with the beautiful floating staircase going up to the second floor. We were given a audio guide for the grounds for self touring .

And a guided tour by volunteers inside of the house. The guides were in traditional dress of the time and were extremely knowledgeable The perennial garden was in bloom and just lovely with shaded walkways and bed with roses, peonies & iris all in bloom.

Below is a photo of where Jackson and his wife are buried in the garden . I thought it was interesting that on his gravestone it states that he was Grand Master of the Tennessee Masons before President of the United States.

There and back again

I'm home again after a very successful 10 day road trip to the southern US. Our first stop was Paducah, Kentucky. A town that the main industry seems to be Quilts and Quilters.
My first stop was Handcocks of Paducah. Wow! I don't think I've ever been in a shop that had such a huge selection of cotton fabrics. It was overwhelming to look at row upon row of bolts of fabrics.

I don't have any projects planned and only bought a few pieces of fabric. It was very tempting to buy more.

Another stop was the National Quilt Musuem. Unfortunatly they don't allow photos to be taken inside. The quilts on display were wonderful. From traditional to very modern with a lot more glitz in some of the quilts than I expected. My very favorit was a quilt that won 1st prize at this years Quilt Show in April, it was a scene from The Lord of the Ring machine and hand quilted. Just spectacular. I do wish I could have taken a photo.
Our next stop was Music City Nashville. But thats for another post.

Friday, May 7, 2010

And now another one

I decided after printing out the last layout and having a good look at it, that it did not have enough colour. So back to the drawing board and I reworked it. I think after spending another hour it does look better. Not perfect but better.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to teach myself how to use Photoshop Elements. Finally gave in and purchased a series of how to videos last week. Money well spent and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. Above are two of my attempts, the green layout I followed step by step instructions, and it took ages to complete. The pink layout I did on my own without instructions, quite pleased with myself I think it looks just fine!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring Garden

Spring has certainly arrived in southern Ontario. My garden is starting to burst into bloom at least 3 weeks earlier than usual. We have had the warmest April on record and the driest.
As you can see the garden is quite a odd shape, we like to think of it as the bow of a ship. When we arrived here 5 years ago it was a waste land of weed trees and no grass. It's changed over the years and now a pleasure to watch as the seasons unfold.

I took a introductory class yesterday for my new machine. It was well worth taking and has given me much more confidence in using it. Today I made a handbag, using the walking foot and also the stitch regulator for free motion quilting. What a joy to use both feet, I though my old Bernina was just about perfect, but this new one is even better.