Thursday, October 26, 2023



There are many reasons why I enjoy our quilt retreats.  Our small group is scattered, some are fifty miles that way and the others are fifty miles the other way and I am in the middle.  It's a time twice a year we can be together and laugh, talk issues of the day, books we are reading, share quilt ideas and those that are wonders at the craft have over the years nurtured and taught and encouraged the youngest one of us into becoming quite the accomplished quilter herself. And I love that she refers to us as "you ladies." 

But for me, a full half of the reason I would crawl to get there is the Inn itself, the 146 peace filled acres it's situated on, and the calm that blankets my breathing lungs when I walk in the door.  But mostly it's the keepers of the Inn.  The three ladies who take care of us - me - and who have now become our friends. 

They have created a space and a level of care that brings the whole issue of thinking into a calm focus. I find myself preferring peace over noise and calm over chaos and thinking, caring, empathetic people to those who aren't.  And believe me, in today's world, a world that gets scarier and scarier every day, finding that peacefulness usually requires just staying home, away from people.  "Too much peopling" I find myself saying. 

At the end of this week I'm going to be out of commission for a bit. I don't know how long, my disposition won't let me say I can't do something, I'm more of a find-a-way-to-make-it-work person. But I wanted to leave a post that may be up for a little while.  

And so I leave you, and with their permission, the post our beloved innkeepers posted for the month of October, but really, there are no dates for these thoughts.  

Fleeting Temples
A Blog for October 2023

You may find the title of this blog somewhat curious. What is a “fleeting temple” you might ask. I first came across these words in a poem I read recently from the website which is based on the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine Monk. If you have never heard of his teachings, you could do a lot worse in terms of spending your time than taking an hour or so to explore their offerings. The poem from which these words are taken is called “Small Kindnesses” by Danusha Lameris. I share it with you here.

Small Kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down a bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here
have my seat,” “Go ahead-you first,” “I like your hat.”

The beauty of this poem lies in the premise that it’s the little things that ultimately matter and have the potential to turn the tide and help heal what divides us. It doesn’t take much- just a little more mindfulness regarding our daily interactions with one another. We look for meaning and purpose in life, but we don’t necessarily have to go to brick and mortar churches or temples or mosques to find it. We are capable of creating these “fleeting temples” by the way we treat one another. In an era of social and cultural discord, what if the building blocks of our temples, were these small acts of kindness, creating a sanctuary where we could for once trust one another. It’s refreshing to imagine how different we might be, and how different the world might be.

So, in the coming month, I invite you to lay down a foundation of small kindnesses in the world and create a fleeting temple or two on your own. I invite you to imagine a world of fleeting temples popping up everywhere and knowing that a few of them were built with small kindnesses that you extended to someone. We have hundreds of opportunities each day. It is my hope that this reality keeps you inspired.

Take care,
Marcia, Pat, Sharon, and Ryan
Keepers of the Rustic Gate



Wednesday, October 11, 2023



Not quilted but finished as for my part.  There is a lot of open space and the quilter I hope to employ to work her magic will take care of a lot of that.  Charlie chose the design and I chose the fabric.  When he was just a little tot, like 4 years old, he saw the Blue Angels fly for the first time and he's been completely enamored ever since.  He goes to see the air shows every year and it was no surprise to me when he chose this for his graduation quilt.  You would think from the simplicity of the design that I wouldn't have been in such angst over it but you know.  The more I angst the more likely I am to mess it up.  But I'm happy with it. 

Now to contact the quilter I've chose and get on her calendar.  Graduation isn't till June so there's time. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Retreat part 2

More retreat pics.  Now, I said yesterday we had a couple of over achievers but that doesn't mean the rest of the group are slackers.  Oh, no. I am very lucky to call these highly skilled perfectionists my quilt buddies - it keeps me on my toes!

We didn't have everyone participating in show and tell but we did have these

Barb and I are each working on Liberty circles.  She, who is much more prolific than me has hers finished.  It does spur me on to get with it.  
She also said this is her last visit with Minick and Simpson.  She is a red and white or a blue and white or other color combinations but not so much red, white and blue.
Jan.  This was a stunningly beautiful quilt and that gingham border speaks to my heart. Gingham is so fresh.
Now, this one got to me for sure.  For this retreat we each did an 8.5 inch (unfinished square) for each other.  According to our individual specs and using some of the fabric we each provided.  Joyce asked for fall leaves and the fabric she gave was the background of each square.  We exchanged the squares the night we arrived.  By the end of the next day she had a table runner with her leaves done. DONE!
Mine?  They are in their individual baggies.  We agreed to have them constructed into something by spring retreat.  
These are Joyce's colors.  Purple, wine, teal, blue and all batik.
Me?  I just brought the sashiko I worked on during our car ride through the Upper Peninsula in early September.  I have to have something to do when riding and found this to be the perfect car project. I came home and made them into pillows - using my new 120 year old machine - and am convinced when we take another car trip this sashiko is what I'll work.  No special equipment, not even a hoop, just my regular embroidery needle, Number 12 perle cotton and snip scissors.  Done.

So, overachievers unite!

Monday, October 2, 2023

Retreat part 1

We had our quilt retreat this past weekend.  We don't have large group retreats, we are a small group and a cohesive unit by now.  We've all been together retreating for almost 15 years at this gorgeous Inn ( and for more years at a different place ) and are treated like royalty by the innkeepers now friends. Of course it's their job, this is what they do for anyone who hires their Inn but we know, we know. (wink wink)

Again, we were blessed with gorgeous weather and Lisa and Joyce took a 2 mile walk everyday.  I am at the moment incapacitated so couldn't walk my route into the woods and fields.  
I took my new 120 year old crank machine and Sally tried it out by putting a border on the top she was working on.  
She was so impressed she teased about driving the 12 hours up north today to buy one.  Seriously, she is planning take a trip north next summer with a friend and their destination is just past the shop so I told her I DARED her to come home without one, to take her credit card and leave room in the car.  She is convinced. 

We have two high achievers. 
Sally had this pile of itty bitty pieces blocks she was working on.  Sally is the one who works in itsy bitsy blocks and loves it.  It's her thing.  
I walked by her table and took a photo and asked what she was working on.
This is the pattern.  When I looked at this I asked, "Are you CRAZY??"  There must be a hundred billion of these little blocks, they are ALL itsy bitsy blocks and I can't even imagine it.  But she will have it done by spring retreat, I'm sure and it will be stunning.

Then there's Jan. Like Sally, she is also a stickler for perfection - me? not so much.  I'm ok with a mistake, a cut off point, but not Jan and Sally.  
I walked past this table Jan was using to keep her brain and pieces organized. 
Everything was numbered, sticky noted, etc.  A very mean person would have switched some of these labels when she wasn't looking.  Thank goodness none of us is mean!  

She said she wanted a challenge and this is what she chose.  Again, I know my limitations. She worked her little fingers to the bone all weekend because she wants it done by Christmas! Done, done, like in quilted, too.  

So, that's a taste.  I'll post some show and tell next post just to break it up a bit.