To infinity and beyond: Kennedy Space Center

Entrance to Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Entrance to Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

If you’ve ever wanted to tap into your inner astronaut, strap on a jet pack and head to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Orlando in Central Florida.  There’s nothing second-rate about this hands-on (and sometimes full-body) experience with big-time, big- size exhibits and right-there-with-you 3D movies.  Float with an astronaut, experience weightlessness, or stand in awe as you count down to lift-off. To say the least, it’s a blast!

At entrance to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Start with a Tour!

Good advice from the ticket-taker-upper:  Do the tour first.  Ride in air-conditioned comfort, look out your window at launch pads and construction sites, and listen as a down-to-earth expert tells you what happened where.  No need to be a rocket scientist to understand — it’s all in plain English, and right-on for history buffs (like us) who remember names like John Glenn, Gus Grissom, and Walter Schirra as well as the nail-biting Apollo experiences.

Get the experience!

No matter what you choose, you’ll wish you had more time.  Go early so you can stand close, really close, to Space Shuttle Atlantis.  Or get in line for a Shuttle Launch Experience — you can feel weightlessness and hear sounds of lift-off (and/or the person next to you screaming in real time!)

It’s all part of the Atlantis experience that begins with a jaw-dropping reveal of the full-size shuttle suspended from the rafters and spanning two floors.

Bert takes control at the Atlantis exhibit

Bert takes control at the Atlantis exhibit

Other experiences available at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:

  • IMAX Theatre with images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Lunch with an astronaut and photo session, too
  • Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted with multimedia experiences, giant simulators, and talk of our next space frontier: Mars.  Really.
On exhibit at Space Shuttle Atlantis

On exhibit at Space Shuttle Atlantis

With all that touring, you’ll want to take time for lunch at Apollo/Saturn V Center where you can stand and gaze upward at the mechanics of space travel by looking at the featured 363-foot moon rocket.

Food court and exhibit space: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Food court and exhibit space: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

 

Or wander around to check out artifacts like space suits that have evolved over time for better protection and greater ease for travel. Or parts of rockets left open for inspection — and awesome gazing.

Look up!

Whether you’re wandering through the Rocket Garden or passing by the entrance to Space Shuttle Atlantis, you may need to stand clear and stretch your neck back to get a picture. Historic rockets on display will leave you gaping and snapping pictures — even if it’s only a nose cone shot you can fit into your iPhone!

Rocket Garden: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Rocket Garden: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Our only mistake in visiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was not arriving early.  We had no idea there was so much to see and do — from 3D movies to bus tours to well-documented exhibits.  So come early.  Stay late.  You’ll want to do it all.

Get ready to explore at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Get ready to explore at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Website — General Information: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/information.aspx

Hours of operation:  Open year-round, seven days a week beginning at 9:00 AM; closing time varies by season.  https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/information/hours-of-operation.aspx

Boomer Travel*

We found Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to be very accommodating regardless of your age or physical abilities.  (Click here for ADA Services.)

  • Excellent balance of outdoor and indoor exhibits
  • Air-conditioned buses, exhibit halls, and 3D movie viewing rooms
  • Sidewalk accessibility throughout the complex
  • Shuttle from parking lot
  • Several rest areas, benches, and cafes available for breaks

Note:  With numerous, informative exhibits, allow plenty of time for the day or schedule two days.  Times of heavy visitation will, of course, increase wait time and processing time for crowds. Also, be prepared to walk — the complex is huge — and stand, especially in the 3D theatres where seating is limited.

*Boomer Travel is a feature of Oh, the Places We See that adds additional information to enhance your visit to a travel site.  We’re mindful of your needs, since we’re Boomers, too!

Bert and Rusha Sams

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

Oh, what joy this window could bring!

A window with a view — Cades Cove, Tennessee

Cades Cove, Tennessee, is glorious.  With 6800 acres of quiet, rolling, tucked-away land in the Great Smoky Mountains, the cove holds the widest variety of historic buildings of any national park, but it’s the rough-hewn, still-standing cabins that we love most.

If you’re lucky enough to get up early on a Saturday morning and bike along the no-cars-allowed-before-10:00 Loop Road, you can meld into the landscape and pretend you were a settler in one of the pioneer log cabins.  It’s there that you can find your muse as we have — reflecting on how life was in the early 1800s and resolving to carve out more quiet times in unspoiled places whenever you can.

Nature photographer Bill Lea said it simply after his visit to Cades Cove, and we agree:  It’s where my heart is.

For more musings in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse, click here.

 

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Travel theme: Old-fashioned

Shaving tools, antique

Collecting has always been fun for me, and, thanks to my dad who left me several old shaving tools, my collection of all things barbering has grown.  From a time gone by, shaving brushes, razors, and Old Spice mugs allow us a glimpse into bathrooms of old.

Antique shaving brushes

Old Spice mug filled with antique razors

For more examples of old-fashioned ways and times, click onto Ailsa’s blog Where’s My Backpack  for Travel theme: Old Fashioned.

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Shopping local feels good at The Traveling Bazaar

Cute "Shop Local" gift tag made by Tamara Cook at The Traveling Bazaar.

Cute “Shop Local” gift tag made by Tamara Cook at The Traveling Bazaar.

As a former antiques dealer and flea market hound, I loved the idea of The Traveling Bazaar. Brainstorm of organizer Tamara Cook, this gathering of artisans, antiques dealers, and in-home makers of goods I love known as The Traveling Bazaar appears (not by magic, of course) once a month at Buddy’s Banquet Hall in Knoxville’s Bearden area.  My first foray into the world of hometown, hand-made decor and vintage finds came on June 14, 2015, and The Traveling Bazaar can be summed up in one word: delightful!

Tamara greeted me at the door, ebullient over the turnout of both vendors and shoppers. Her husband watched from the photo area where shoppers stood near props and posed for pictures — mostly while giggling and having fun! At each monthly gathering of the mostly young craftswomen (and some men, too), The Traveling Bazaar collects goods for a cause.  This month, proceeds benefitted Knox County Library’s Book Drive, so the very welcomed donations sat piled up near the door.

Tamara Cook, organizer of The Traveling Bazaar, greeted me with a collection of handmade tags clothespinned to chicken wire.  (I knew I'd love this place!)

Tamara Cook, organizer of The Traveling Bazaar, greeted me with a collection of handmade tags clothespinned to chicken wire. (I knew I’d love this place!)

But the best was yet to come — inside the banquet hall.  It was kind of an Etsy thing except the cute, homemade items, photography, and vintage finds were right in front of me, not online.  See what you think of the quality and variety as you scroll through these pictures — and this is just some of what you could find inside.

The Wrenn’s Nest (Facebook: the Wrenn’s Nest) bills itself as “A haven for rustic, urban chic farmhouse decor.” Owner Jessica Wrenn Hill makes and sells burlap pillows and wreaths along with her antique finds and distressed pieces.  Her next stop?  City Farmhouse Pop-up Fair in Franklin, TN the following weekend.

The Bead Designer (Facebook: thebeaddesigner; Website: thebeaddesigner.com) offered “affordable custom jewelry.” Artfully stacked bracelets competed with strands of beads on wire mannequins in this booth by designer-owner Nancy L. Smith.

Contemporary beaded bracelet by Nancy L. Smith of The Bead Designer

Contemporary beaded bracelet by Nancy L. Smith of The Bead Designer

Peering straight at me from their safe haven in an old suitcase, these cute kitties seemed happy to have been crafted of recycled sweaters and wool clothing.  Designer/artist/owner Cindy Brown Bensey calls her appealing creations “fun, eco-friendly art” under the name of her business, Zuparoo!  And you can find her felines on Facebook (ZuparooArt) or Etsy (zuparoo.etsy.com).

Refreshed by Janet (Facebook: RefreshedbyJanet) brought repurposed items, some with an industrial feel, to the show.  But accessories came, too — like angel wings and art on wood.  Soft colors, vintage feel, all finished nicely.

Farmhouse and industrial chic items from the Refreshed by Janet booth.

Farmhouse and industrial chic items from the Refreshed by Janet booth.

If you check out The After Picture by Rachel Converse on the web (theafterpicture.com), you’ll find “artistic services” which I translate to mean cute painted sayings on burlap and chalkboards.  But there’s more. If you like pretty baked goods (think swirly-topped cupcakes), check out the Facebook page for The After Picture, too.

H & H Botanicals (HandHBotanicals.org) is also a full service floral and garden design company.  Owner Liz Horton creates terrariums in most anything from brandy snifters to miniature greenhouses.  And a little whimsy makes you smile!

Randy Gleckner (aka Captain Sawdust) just sat around playing.  Yes, playing — with the wooden tops he created through his business RiTTiK (etsy.co/shop/RITTIK).  And you know what happens when a craftsman does that, don’t you?  You want to play, too.  And buy something.  And I did both!

It's not all work at The Traveling Bazaar.  Randy Gleckner takes to spinning tops in his booth at The Traveling Bazaar.

It’s not all work at The Traveling Bazaar. Randy Gleckner takes to spinning tops in his booth at The Traveling Bazaar.

And then there was jewelry from Delightful Impressions (delightfulimpressions.com). Designer Joanna Tinker hand-stamps metal for necklaces, key chains and bracelets and then sells them on Etsy (thetinkerbelle.etsy.com).  Just glad she came from Alcoa, TN that day so I could meet someone as delightful as the products she sells.

Simple Treasures Antiques & Vintage (Facebook: SimpleTreasures) brought depression glass, kitchenware, and vintage linens.  But it was the display that kept shoppers engaged. Like dishes in a basket and banners draped atop old shutters.

Artfully arranged vintage items filled the booth of Simple Treasures Antique & Vintage.

Artfully arranged vintage items filled the booth of Simple Treasures Antique & Vintage.

And if you didn’t want to buy something but still needed a vintage look for a wedding or photo booth, Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals (Facebook: Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals) was on hand to talk to you about delivery and pricing.  In fact, they’ll be setting up the photo booth at the next Traveling Bazaar on August 30th.  Should be interesting to see what these ladies come up with!

Cute display from Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals at The Traveling Bazaar.

Cute display from Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals at The Traveling Bazaar.

Now if this taste of the bazaar has you hungering for more, put that August 30th date on your calendar.  Same great location.  Same great air conditioned banquet hall! You’re bound to find something you need  want.  Until then, check out the website for Traveling Bazaar.  It’s fun to dream.

Lynn Lowery of Knoxville shows off her purchases to Carla, one of the greeters at The Traveling Bazaar.

Lynn Lowery of Knoxville shows off her purchases to Karla, a friend of organizer Tamara Cook, at The Traveling Bazaar.

The Traveling Bazaar

Blog: thetravelingbazaar.wordpress.com

Facebook: The.Traveling.Bazaar

Twitter: TravelingBazaar

 

 

Posted in Art Show, Retail Shops, Tennessee, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: ROY G. BIV

ROY G. BIV?  Really? Took us by surprise, too.  But it’s this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress with an acronym for all the colors of the rainbow:  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

With the motto Hope Floats, members of the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) gather for a group photo at their tent at their sponsored event : KARM Dragon Boat Festival.

With the motto Hope Floats, members of the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) gather for a group photo at their tent at their sponsored event : KARM Dragon Boat Festival.

And right on target, coinciding with this week’s challenge was none other than the KARM (Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries) Dragon Boat Festival on June 20th, 2015.  With every color of the rainbow on someone’s back, team members from area businesses or organizations became in-sync paddling units striving to win bragging rights as the best rowers in town.

Ready to line up the boats at KARM Dragon Boat Festival 2015

Ready to line up the boats at KARM Dragon Boat Festival 2015

But the real technicolor winners were the ready-to-outdo-anyone drummers barking commands to pace their colleagues.  And, oh yeah, a few spectators, too.  It was ROY G. BIV heaven.

For more entries into the Weekly Photo Challenge: ROY G. BIV, row on over to this site right here. 

 

 

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Travel theme: Off-center

On the wall of Mountain Stitches by Susan in Gatlinburg, TN is this off-center log cabin square set into a quilt of an original design.

On the wall of Mountain Stitches by Susan in Gatlinburg, TN is this off-center log cabin square set into a quilt of an original design.

Although all the quilting shops I visited during the East Tennessee Shop Hop June 4 through 14, 2015, showcased their finest work on their store walls, this one quilt became a focal point at Mountain Stitches by Susan in Gatlinburg.  Susan, the owner of the shop, took the barn photo assigned to her shop (each of the 12 shops had one) and set it off-center into a log cabin block.  Then Susan incorporated the block into this muted-color quilt of her own design along with a splash of Grandmother’s Flower Garden motifs and a gaggle of Flying Geese. Final impression?  Lovely interpretation of the quilt challenge and perfect for this Travel theme: Off-center!

For more entries into Ailsa’s theme this week, click here.  You’ll find her blog, Where’s My Backback, filled with off-center but right-on-target photos.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-season

As if it could read the Weekly Photo Challenge for this week — Off-season — my White Star White Magnolia produced a surprise bloom on fully green branches in the 90-degree summer weather yesterday.  It didn’t stay pretty long, however.  This unseasonable delicate blossom crisped up quickly in the unrelenting heat.

It's June 15, 2015, in Knoxville, and a White Star White Magnolia blossom magically appeared off-season!

It’s June 15, 2015, in Knoxville, and a White Star White Magnolia blossom magically appeared off-season!

So, for contrast, here’s a photo from my previous post dated March 3, 2015, showing an on-season, gorgeous White Star White Magnolia!

budding white star white magnolia

For more off-season occurrences, head to Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-season, right here.

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Eye candy for quilters: East Tennessee Shop Hop (Part II)

Were the 60s ever this colorful?

Were the 60s ever this colorful? Great little VW bus quilt at Gina’s Bernina, Knoxville.

A quilting Shop Hop, I’ve come to discover, not only acquaints you with the latest fabrics, cutting tools, and ways to form blocks, it just by golly grabs you.  After visiting six shops from Jonesborough to Crossville, I couldn’t wait to take on the last six in Sevierville/Gatlinburg area in this well-organized, eye-opening East Tennessee Shop Hop.

Pieced flag quilt -- Machine Quiltin' by Iva, Sevierville

Pieced flag quilt — Machine Quiltin’ by Iva, Sevierville

And it’s a good thing we shoppers had from June 4th to 13, 2015, to see all 12 shops.  It takes a while when you’re careening around bends and curves on the back hollow roads just to get to ’em.  It’s amazing what you’ll do to earn a free fat quarter and a stamp on a Passport card!  Here’s a snapshot of what the last six shops had in store.

Holloway’s Country Home Custom Handmade Quilts

(3892 Cosby Hwy., Cosby; hollowaysquilts.com; Facebook: hollowaysquilts)

Demo pin -- Holloway's Country HomeIn what may have been the prettiest setting of all, Holloway’s sets up shop in a log cabin in rural Cosby — and who wouldn’t want to sit and stitch on this porch?  Filled with bolts of country colors, finished quilts hanging from the rafters, and even socks for quilters, the ladies at Holloway’s demonstrated how to make a tiny, wearable pieced pin and directed me to the printed sayings you can purchase to make any quilt special.

Porch at Holloway's Country Home with covered bridge quilt hanging on the wall.

Porch at Holloway’s Country Home with covered bridge quilt hanging on the wall.

Mountain Stitches by Susan

(601 Glades Road, #13, Gatlinburg, TN 37738; moutainstitchesbysusan.com)

Bundles of fat quarters -- Mountain Stitches by SusanIt was Susan’s husband who greeted me, and that’s when I realized this shop is a family affair.  When I looked up after receiving my free pattern, a fascinating off-set variation of the traditional log cabin pattern using the Shop Hop barn caught my eye. Susan directed me to two rooms filled with tasteful, heritage fabrics that she identified as patterns developed during the Civil War.  Mountain Stitches, tucked away in a spot you’d hardly know is part of busy Gatlinburg, is one shop I’d come back to just for Susan’s eye for combining fabrics.

Off-set Log Cabin pattern with barn quilt picture: Mountain Stitches by Susan, Gatlinburg, TN

Off-set Log Cabin pattern with barn quilt picture: Mountain Stitches by Susan, Gatlinburg, TN

Red Barn Custom Quilts

(628 Dolly Parton Parkway, Sevierville; redbarncustomquilts.com)

Shop Hop barn quilt variation -- Red Barn Custom QuiltsIf you like the convenience of kits, head to Red Barn where finished models (and available kits to make your own) await.  Filled with fabrics for all sorts of projects (holiday, traditional, modern, etc.), Red Barn offers a variety patterns and honest-to-goodness advice.  Along with my free fat quarter, for example, I was handed a Scrap Sack Pattern using just what I had in hand.

One of the prettiest models along the East Tennessee Shop Hop -- Red Barn Custom Quilts

One of the prettiest models along the East Tennessee Shop Hop — Red Barn Custom Quilts

The Cherry Pit

(115 Bruce Street, Sevierville; quiltingatthecherrypit.com)

Store window -- Cherry PitOn a quiet side street in busy Sevierville, the staff of this artfully arranged and filled-to-the-brim shop welcomed me in immediately with a demonstration for a pieced table topper.  It wasn’t long, though, that I spotted completed models throughout the store arranged in vignettes where coordinated materials were available for shoppers to make their own. One highlight:  each visitor received a variation of the Cherry Pit’s Shop Hop barn quilt pattern with several appliques (silo, Christmas tree, pumpkin, etc.) that could be applied on top. What a great idea!

This applique variation was one of the free patterns distributed by The Cherry Pit, Sevierville, TN

This applique variation using a silo and wagon was one of the free patterns distributed by The Cherry Pit, Sevierville, TN

Machine Quiltin’ by Iva

(1020 Old Knoxville Hwy., Sevierville; ivasquilts@bellsouth.net)

Door prize drawing -- Machine Quiltin' by IvaWith a drawing contest jar and prize baskets filled to the brim right on the front porch, Machine Quiltin’ by Iva drew guests in immediately.  Known for an extensive collection of quilted wearables and totes, this shop has perhaps the largest supply of batik fabrics of the Shop Hop bunch.  Rooms filled with collections from such suppliers as Thimbleberries invited quilters to see (and buy) the latest fabrics for their projects. And, as their name implies, you can have your quilt tops machine quilted by Iva!

Cute, wearable quilted jacket at Machine Quiltin' by Iva

Cute, wearable quilted jacket at Machine Quiltin’ by Iva

Gina’s Bernina Sewing Center

(10816 Kingston Pike, Knoxville; ginasbernina.com)

Projects galore at Gina's BerninaJust as the name implies, Gina’s is THE source for fine Bernina sewing machines. But much more awaits — full displays of children’s patterns and fabrics, little projects like pillowcases, quilting books and supplies, and, my favorite, colorful new fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett collection.  Just days before the Shop Hop, Gina’s staff put the finishing touches on an artsy quilt with wool embellishments.  Classes, helpful staff, and ideas for new projects — this is a one-stop shopping experience for the novice or experienced quilter.

Quilt with wool embellishments:  Gina's Bernina Sewing Center, Knoxville

Quilt with wool embellishments: Gina’s Bernina Sewing Center, Knoxville

After turning in my card complete with all 12 stamps, I took my freebies and purchases home.  Of course, I wonder what I’ll start next.

Quilter socks at Holloway's Country Home, Cosby, TN

Quilter socks at Holloway’s Country Home, Cosby, TN

Just one more thing:  I was overwhelmed from the start at the work of the shop owners and staff to prepare for an event of this magnitude.  From the decision to use pictures of East Tennessee barns adorned with quilt patterns as a theme came a coordinated effort to place a finished quilt in each shop, to offer quilt blocks to customers, and to spiff up displays and models throughout each store.  And some shop owners took the theme further, creating additional quilts and wall hangings unique to their store.  As Julia Ranney at Little Blessings in Crossville told me, “I stayed up ’til 3 AM several nights to get it all done.”  And I suspect most shop owners did the same.  But it all adds up to an event worth seeing — and appreciating.

Jane demonstrates how to make a pieced table topper at The Cherry Pit, Sevierville, TN

Jane demonstrates how to make a pieced table topper at The Cherry Pit, Sevierville, TN

If you want to go next year . . .

  • Put these dates on your calendar: June 2 – 11, 2016.
  • Mark off about three days to see it all, drive it all.
  • Plan a stay in beautiful East Tennessee using tnvacation.com or TripAdvisor.

Hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour.  And if you’re a quilter, let me know.  Better yet, show me something you’ve made!  Love looking — whether I ever get around to quilting something myself or not!

Rusha Sams

To read Eye candy for quilters: East Tennessee Shop Hop 2013, Part I, click here.

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Eye candy for quilters: East Tennessee Shop Hop 2015 (Part I)

Great take-off on Grant Wood's American Gothic in this quilt at Little Blessings Quilt Shop in Crossville, TN.  No pitch fork here.  Just a rotary cutter!

Great take-off on Grant Wood’s American Gothic in this quilt at Little Blessings Quilt Shop in Crossville, TN. No pitch fork here. Just a rotary cutter!

A simple love of fabrics would have been enough to entice you join the East Tennessee Shop Hop for quilting enthusiasts.  But even if you were a novice as I am, you’d find much more to love — and learn.

You begin by picking up a bright orange card with names and locations of 12 quilt shops in the East Tennessee area.  If your card gets stamped at each shop, you’re eligible for prizes — like gift certificates or baskets filled with quilting gear.  But even if you didn’t get to all 12, the bonuses are great.  Shops spiffed up their displays with the latest, greatest patterns and fabrics and demo’ed new techniques while we watched. Not only that, you could walk away with a free fat quarter, block pattern, or both!

Bionic Bag made in class on Sunday at MidSouth Sewing  & Fabrics, Knoxville, TN.

Bionic Bag made in class on Sunday at MidSouth Sewing & Fabrics, Knoxville, TN.

This year’s theme — East Tennessee Barn Quilts — featured 12 different barns in the East Tennessee area each with mammoth quilt patterns painted on the sides.  By transferring pictures of the barns into signature blue-themed fabric, each shop could then make a quilt using the 12 squares in various ways.  Kits containing the shop’s designated barn photo and enough fabric for a square sold for $5.00.

As a novice quilter (This is what happens when your Mom dies, and you inherit sewing machine, fabric, cutting boards, etc.), I was looking for inspiration — and here it was right here in East Tennessee.  The first six shops got me started in style.

Tennessee Quilts

(114 Boone St., Jonesborough; tennesseequilts.com)

Colorful new fabrics,  traditional pattern: Tennessee QuliltsLocated in historic Jonesborough, Tennessee Quilts stocks over 8,000 bolts of fabric.  Especially appealing: the newest colorful fabrics by designer Kaffe Fassett and shop-made samples using patterns by Judy Niemeyer.  Classes on how to make a poof looked quite interesting, especially after seeing how helpful the staff was during the Shop Hop demo.

Demonstrating new techniques at Tennessee Quilts.  Poof is in lower left-hand corner.

Demonstrating new techniques at Tennessee Quilts. Poof is in lower left-hand corner.

Sewing Bee

(107 E. Jackson Blvd., Jonesborough)

Pieced reindeer: Sewing BeeHow can a small town like Jonesborough support two quilting shops?  They each have specialties.  Sewing Bee has the largest supply of flannel in the area as well as some of the latest gadgets for quilting and sewing. Not to mention some of the friendliest staff anywhere. The colorful, happy quilts on display looked perfect for children’s rooms or anywhere you need a perk-me-up.

Colorful "under the sea" quilt at Sewing Bee

Colorful “under the sea” quilt at Sewing Bee

MidSouth Sewing & Fabric

(7240 Kingston Pike, Suite 108, Knoxville; mbsew.com)

Karen demonstrates a wing technique - MidSouth SewingFolks in Middle Tennessee may know the MidSouth shop in Murfreesboro, but the Knoxville one is stocked, too — several lines of sewing and embroidery machines, accessories, and fabric. Ever need to take a quilt class on Sunday?  Well, sometimes at MidSouth you can! Just check the listings online.  And while you’re there, look under Tips & Tricks for lots of how-to’s. The owner, Karen, demonstrated how to make wings using a Quilter’s Magic Wand.  (Of course, I had to have one!)

This large room dedicated to classes was filled -- even on a Sunday!

This large room dedicated to classes was filled — even on a Sunday!

Little Blessings Quilt Shop

(4351 Hwy. 127 N., Crossville; littleblessings.net)

Owner American Gothic version of quilt: Little BlessingsJulia Ranney, whose farming background inspired the basis of the American Gothic take-off featured on their version of the Shop Hop quilt, demonstrated how to assemble the flying geese variation border.  Little Blessings, housed in a spacious building with areas dedicated to different types of fabrics, offers long-arm quilting and plenty of classes, fabrics, and notions to make quilting fun and ever-interesting. Plus, you’ll just love Julia’s enthusiasm!

Julia Ranney shows her shop's version of the  East TN barn quilt with the flying geese variation border.  Little Blessings, Crossville, TN

Julia Ranney shows her shop’s version of the East TN barn quilt with the flying geese variation border. Little Blessings, Crossville, TN

Loose Threads

(1211 S. Roane St., Harriman; loosethreadsquiltshop.com)

Loose Marilyn holds quilt made with a 5-yard bundle at Loose ThreadsThreads offered something many budding quilters need — 5-yard bundles of fabrics ready for those of us who want to quilt but can’t put colors together!  For the Shop Hop, Keith (owner Elaine Lindsay’s husband) demonstrated a Curvy Log Cabin pattern and then offered patrons a game to determine which prize they’d take home.  A full-service shop open since 2003, Loose Threads has plenty of fabric, notions, and accessories for quilting fun.

Five-yard bundles line the shelves at Loose Threads in Harriman, TN

Five-yard bundles line the shelves at Loose Threads in Harriman, TN

Pappy’s Quilting Place

(3426 Sevierville Rd., Maryville; pappysquilting.com)

Shelby Wool for quilting at Pappy's Quilting Place, MaryvilleEdwards, owner of Pappy’s Quilting Place, takes pride in the variety of fabrics offered (love the new Woolly Charms), designer books by Cindy Blackberg and others, and her “like-family” employees you can read about on this best-of-the-bunch website.  We lined up to get the barn quilt pattern tucked into a most useful zippered plastic tote!

Demonstrating a stamping technique guaranteed to measure 1/4" seams correctly! Pappy's Quilting Place, Maryville, TN

Demonstrating a stamping technique guaranteed to measure 1/4″ seams correctly! Pappy’s Quilting Place, Maryville, TN

What took us two days to see might only take dedicated hard-driving quilt enthusiasts one day, but it was worth it.  Lots of ideas from talented, helpful employees selling the finest in fabrics, books, machines, and notions.  Watch for our next post on six other great shops mostly in the Gatlinburg and Sevierville area.

And be forewarned:  if you go to one of these Shop Hops, you just might get bitten by the quilting bug!

Disclaimer:  This post was written mostly by Rusha Sams.  (Bert made it to historic Jonesborough ’cause he loves to look at old homes and historic markers and eat at Main Street Cafe! But hey — I’m good with that.  He doesn’t know how much I spent at the other shops!!!)

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People watchin’s as much fun as “eatin’ them wangs”: Knoxville’s Big Kahuna Wing Festival

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We’re reposting this piece on the Big Kahuna Wing Festival from the event in 2013.  Tomorrow the 2015 version rolls out from 12 to 8 at World’s Fair Park in Knoxville.  Get ready for the tastiest wings anywhere and for a hot afternoon — wear sunscreen and hats!  You’ll love the vendors, music, people, and, of course, “them wangs”!!

Festivals are all over the place, but if this first Big Kahuna Wing Festival on June 22nd is any indication of things to come, there’ll be a next one, for sure.  It was hot all right.  Temps in World’s Fair Park almost reached three digits if you add the heat of “them wangs” with the afternoon sun and music blasting from the on-fire bands that kept us moving even while lined up waiting for saucy delights.  You could go from tent to tent — getting one free wing and a hole punched in the card you got with your $10-at-the-gate ticket. Or, if you found your favorite and wanted more,  you could pony up an extra buck for another round.

Happy ticket sellers wearing Big Orange!

Happy ticket sellers wearing Big Orange!

The VIP tent sponsored by Aubrey’s was sold out, and that made these ladies might proud and mighty happy!

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It was hard work, but someone had to do it, so we roamed the park and sampled the best.  Like Quaker Steak and Lube where the heat kicked in and we held on tight.

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We loved watching the shenanigans of the spirited team Trivia Guys almost as much as sampling their tasty wings.  As people plunked down extra tips, these guys did a shout-out — and the crowd gave ’em more!

The team from Trivia Guys was a hoot!

The team from Trivia Guys was a hoot!

Our alma mater — U.T. — passed out entries from the Culinary Institute . . .

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and Bert was happy to get an extra wing from Rooster’s when I gave up my ticket for a chance to get a cold bottle of water!

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The guys at Flusterclucks won my vote for best T-shirts.  You could try to win one with a dollar donation to benefit Ronald McDonald House and Empty Stocking Fund, the two causes supported by the festival as a whole.

One of the guys from Flusterclucks punches a wing card.

One of the guys from Flusterclucks punches a wing card.

And some folks just went without a shirt.  This guy standing in front of me said he was happy to let me take a picture of his back — or his front, too, for that matter.

So, I asked, when I are you gonna get your legs done? He replied with a smile, That’s comin’ next!

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We were tipped off to a “wing ya gotta try” recommendation by someone ahead of us in line at another booth. Try Number 17, he said. But when we got there, the wings were gone.  Given out.  No more.  So we waited (in a patient but hopeful sorta way) for about 30 minutes.  And sure ‘nough, it was worth it.  These wing kings with the name Just Right Wings smoked ’em first, and then added their own recipe for kickin’ good sauce. When I asked if they had a business, I was told, No, ma’am.  We’re just guys who like to tailgate together.

The guys from Just Right Wings

The guys from Just Right Wings

And ’cause they were a bargain, a plate of home-fried potato chips just had to be bought as a side dish.  Look at the size of that stack. (More water, please!)

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It wasn’t just wings at Big Kahuna Wing Festival — there were vendors lined up, too.  From those selling art to those offering fudge and even this one giving us a chance to win a free tailgating package.  That’s right.  If we had won, Tailgate Tennessee would have set up our very own tailgate at all home football games.  (Oh, how I wish they’d drawn our name!)

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If you thought moonshine was somethin’ just made by the likes of Popcorn Sutton in the hollers of East Tennessee, you can think again.  This new company from Georgia, Moonshine History (mtnmoonshine@gmail.com), is waiting for their license to sell you gen-u-wine moonshine in the Volunteer State.  (No samples distributed here at Big Kahuna, by the way.)

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But Jeff, one of the owners, did have a shirt I liked!

Shine on T-shirt

We stood in the hot sun watching two bands get even hotter.  At 1:30 we loved the pounding rhythms of Aaron Tracy Band — great dancing music for those who could stand the heat.

It was non-stop, hard-hitting music from Aaron Tracy Band.

It was non-stop, hard-hitting music from Aaron Tracy Band.

And at 4:00, the lilting, almost-Caribbean, strands of Dishwater Blonde brought out those who weren’t wilted already. (Loved their bongo drums.)  Who says you can’t have your wings and eat ’em, too?!

Mixing the sound (and eating some wangs!) for Dishwater Blonde.

Mixing the sound (and eating some wangs!) for Dishwater Blonde.

Big people were at BKWF — like Mayor Tim Burchett and meteorologist Todd Howell (who did nothing about that blasted heat!)

Mayor Tim Burchett and meteorologist Todd Howell of WBIR

Mayor Tim Burchett and meteorologist Todd Howell of WBIR

One lady had a showstopper — she brought her own tropical bird.  And how she kept that beauty from performing a flyintotheboothandgrabawing thing is beyond me!

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From behind the scenes where the “real” men cook wings on big grills and wear matching t-shirts . . .

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to just the average (average?) Joes munching on their favorite spicy ones . . .

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the inaugural Big Kahuna Wing Festival was a definite hit!

Can't get enough of these wings!

Can’t get enough of these wings!

Next year (if there is a next year), ya gotta make plans to go!

Big Kahuna Wing Festival: http://www.bkwfestival.com

benefitting

News-Sentinel Empty Stocking Fundhttp://www.knoxnews.com/news/topic/empty-stocking-fund/

and

Ronald McDonald House of Knoxvillehttp://www.knoxrmhc.org

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