Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Spring Arrangement

I made my first arrangement of Spring using fresh flowers cut from the yard. I used two varieties of Daffodils, IMG_2079 some Snowdrops, and a few branches of Japanese Magnolia. It is amazing what a difference a nice container can make. Here are the fresh cuttings stuck in a plastic cup of water!IMG_2076 Here is the finished arrangement! IMG_2113 The first thing I did was choose an appropriate container with the Goldilocks rule; not too big, not too small, but just right. I chose the medium size container. IMG_2081 Next I arranged the cuttings into a loose bouquet in my hands. For picture taking purposes, I put a rubber band around the stems like so.IMG_2086 Next, I made a clean cut of all of the stems.IMG_2088 It is possible to stop here and put the bouquet in the container, rubber band and all, then use a stem, raffia, or a ribbon to cover the rubber band. This is particularly useful if the opening of the container is too large to support the bouquet intact. I chose to remove the rubber band and then sorted the cuttings. IMG_2082 Then I started with the branches of  Japanese Magnolia. The stems of the branches will help hold the other cuttings in place.IMG_2084 Next I added the Daffodils (this picture does not have all of them in yet!)
IMG_2085 then added my accents of Snowdrops.IMG_2097 As the Japanese Magnolia branches began to open, the burgundy color was beautiful. IMG_2117
IMG_2113   This simple arrangement has brightened our kitchen table all week! Have a great first week of Spring!

I’ll be linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch , to Not Just a Housewife, and to Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Visit to a Buddhist Temple

While we were in Shanghai we visited a Buddhist temple. The temple is right in the middle of town, surrounded by modern architecture. IMG_1122 As I mentioned in my previous post on China, Shanghai is the business center of China and Beijing is the historical center of China which is reflected in the architecture of these cities. While the historical sites are in Beijing, Shanghai is full of modern skyscrapers which makes the temple really stand out. Unlike western countries where churches are seen very often, places of worship are quite rarely seen in China. Of all of the places in China that I have been, I have only seen two Christian churches and a handful of Buddhist temples. Everyone paid admission to enter, even worshippers. (I wonder how many people would pay to come to my church.)IMG_1152The architecture was absolutely beautiful. IMG_1126    I have no idea what these tall poles mean but they were very interesting.  Unfortunately, most of the signage and the brochures were written in Chinese so we could not read them.IMG_1127 Most of the worshippers buy three long (about 24”) sticks of incense and light them in this cauldron, then hold the sticks to their forehead and bow facing the temple.  The two ladies in suits in the lower left corner of the photo below are doing this. (I guess the cars inside belong to the monks since they were the only ones allowed to drive inside.)IMG_1128       Apparently it is good luck to throw a coin in this thing. We saw several people tossing coins like those below.      IMG_1171               All of the wood is teak and the white balustrade appears to be marble.    IMG_1129        The craftsmanship was stunning. The shot below is looking up at the ceiling. IMG_1139        Here’s a closer shot. It’s almost like puzzle pieces.IMG_1149

I loved the beautiful doors.IMG_1144 As you can see below looking in from the outside, this is the big silver Buddha. It is about 28 feet tall and is made of 15 tons of silver. (That sign was in English!) IMG_1131  We could not get a shot of the whole thing from inside. Here you can see how massive it is.IMG_1133   You can see in this photo that there is another Buddha to the side. There was also another one on the other side.   IMG_1141   My heart breaks for these elderly Chinese people. I so wanted to tell them about my God.  IMG_1136 The room under the big Buddha has these Buddhas. There were 18 of them. Worshippers came in and prayed and bowed in front of each one.   IMG_1158The shot below is very fuzzy since we were clicking quickly while trying not to disrupt worshippers but I wanted to show that each one has different positions of their hands and some are even holding various objects.  IMG_1162       Other rooms had other Buddhas. This one must be the happy one! IMG_1163     This one seems to be female. We really needed an interpreter here! IMG_1167   This one appears to be female too. I guess she’s the smart one! (Just kidding, no disrespect intended.)We also wondered what those banners on the walls were about. IMG_1174This is a photo of one of the monks.  IMG_1172For just a fleeting moment I thought about a career change. I think I could adapt to wearing something akin to my robe and slippers all day sitting around reading. I wouldn’t have many bad hair days. It was just a fleeting thought.