Quilting

Christmas Greetings from the AQT!

We are three days away from Christmas. How are you on  your shopping? Have you  been finished since Black Friday or are you still scavenging the stores for that perfect gift? Are your homes filled with warmth and cheer? How many holiday parties have you attended or thrown? Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting, stressful, and joyous times of the year. People all over the world are celebrating their holiday of choice and then making new years resolutions to make the new year special. Here on the AQT, quilt squares and downtown’s are filled and decorated with holiday splendor. Christmas lights are strewn, local Christmas trees are being cut and decorated, snow if even falling in certain elevations.

As we get closer and closer to Christmas I can’t help but think of some very special Christmas songs about the south. Mainly “Tender Tennessee Christmas” and “Christmas in Dixie”. We do have some very special moments here below the Mason-Dixon line. Only here can you get snow and sunshine for Christmas. Snow glistens and lays differently on the mountains here. On the Blue Ridge they snow has that blue hue, the Smokies have an even more smoky look to them.  Some of the areas along the quilt trail can remind you of a snow globe because you are nestled by the mountains, snow is blanketing the ground, and then snowflakes are falling.

What is Christmas like in your part of the world? Any fun traditions in your neck of the woods? Please share!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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Tulips in the Fall

It is fall here in East Tennessee, a rather lovely time of year. We are known for our leaves and the color of the mountains. How they turn from green to shades of red, yellow, and orange. The breeze is sweeter, maybe it is the smell of pumpkins and hot cocoa in the air, or the bonfires. Nights get cooler and then days start to get cooler and the scarves bust from the winter closet. Kids go to fall festivals and corn mazes. Weekends are spent picking apples and making apple butter; or better yet cheering on your favorite SEC football team.

Amongst all this fall foliage and fall festivities there are tulips blooming. Tulips blooming in fall? Why yes darlin’! We have a set of tulips blooming in Blaine, TN. See below for yourself….

***to get a better view of the tulips, click the picture to enlarge***

 

Stop 15: Tennessee Tulips at Lakin Quilt Barn

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Happy fall ya’ll!

The Farm by Joyce Sutphen

Stop 14: Mountain Variation @ Renfro Quilt Barn

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The Farm by Joyce Sutphen

My father’s farm is an apple blossomer.
He keeps his hills in dandelion carpet
and weaves a lane of lilacs between the rose
and the jack-in-the-pulpits.
His sleek cows ripple in the pastures.
The dog and purple iris
keep watch at the garden’s end.
His farm is rolling thunder,
a lightning bolt on the horizon.
His crops suck rain from the sky
and swallow the smoldering sun.
His fields are oceans of heat,
where waves of gold
beat the burning shore.
A red fox
pauses under the birch trees,
a shadow is in the river’s bend.
When the hawk circles the land,
my father’s grainfields whirl beneath it.
Owls gather together to sing in his woods,
and the deer run his golden meadow.
My father’s farm is an icicle,
a hillside of white powder.
He parts the snowy sea,
and smooths away the valleys.
He cultivates his rows of starlight
and drags the crescent moon
through dark unfurrowed fields.

nothin’ like trippin’ down a backroad

What is it about backroads that are so special? Is it because of the way they wind and curve and wind and curve and wind and curve? Or is it the peaceful silence of being surrounded by nature and mountains? Or is it because the speed limit is a little higher than it should be so it calls for fast pace driving with the windows down and wind in your hair? Maybe it is all of that. It is the experience. You experience an adventure. You never know what is around that bend. Is there a farm? A mansion? A turtle crossing the road? A baby deer? Lord forbid a stop sign. Sometimes those roads go on and on and on and on and on and you think they will never end. You want it to end, but at the same time you don’t because once you hit the main drag you know the adventure is over.

That is the great thing about the Appalachian Quilt Trail. So many stops are on these backroads! A visitor, especially maybe someone who is new to country backroads, will have an adventure. Even for us locals, the backroads and AQT will always have an adventure in store. Every time I have cruise the quilt trail in search of my next stop, I always end up on a backroad in a beautiful, unfamiliar, yet homey place. Picturesque mountains and fields surround my car and I feel the wind passing through the car as I drive and drive and drive and drive till I find my waypoint or trail stop.

This is exactly what happened the other day. My adventure was to find Canaanland Park in Washburn, TN to get a picture for the AQT website. Lets just say my GPS definitely took me on a super huge rabbit trail. While on this rabbit trail I got on a “main” back road (a lovely thing in the rural South, a back road that is actually a main road, no stoplights), and found a variety of quilt squares that I didn’t plan on seeing. What lovely surprises! Around each bend was a new adventure on the AQT. There were moments I was so wrapped up in the scenery that a few quilt barns popped up and I missed them and couldn’t take a picture. I guess that gives new meaning to pay attention to your surroundings!

I did happen to stumble across a barn mural, Not Barn Yesterday. This is a very special stop on the AQT. While not exactly a quilt square, it does depict the heritage of this area and everything the trail stands for. It was painted by local high school kids from the Washburn area. It is definitely something to see!

Then right down the road, about 5 minutes, BAM! There on the left was Canaanland. Again, it was one of those I wasn’t expecting so soon so I had to turn around and get to it. Their quilt square is called Windmills All Around. It is a stunning piece, large enough, and purple enough to see from the road. A beautiful long driveway with trees is a grand entrance. Canaanland is available for community events and parties. It seems like a great venue to do a country wedding or outdoorsy/southern inspired birthday party. You will even get greeted by a sheep that is at the road.

After a few pictures there I continued my backroad journey all the way back to the Bryan House. Following those twists and turns all the way to my next adventure…

 

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Stop 12: Not Barn Yesterday, Washburn, TN

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Stop 13: Caananland Land Park, Washburn, TN

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Welcome to the trail Smith Drug Store!

It is always an exciting time when a new quilt square is added to the Appalachian Quilt Trail. Recently a Prickly Pinwheel was quilted to the Smith Drug Store in Rutledge, TN (located in Grainger, Co). This store is a Rutledge landmark.  Smith Drug Store has been here for 109 years. It was opened in 1905 and celebrated its hundred year anniversary in 2005.

Smith Drug Store was owned and operated by three generations of the Smith family. It was bought out in 1992 and two years ago a Rutledge native, Jill Cabbage, (who also worked there as a teenager and used it as her pharmacy). Smith Drug Store was originally located next door where the Salon at Rutledge is. Its current building was erected in the 1980s. While talking to Jill, you really got the feel of Smith Drug Store and how their focus is on friendliness and service really overflows into all aspects of the store.

Upon walking into the store, I was greeted with smiles and saw that people who came in were greeted by their name and the staff knew their orders and history. Jill says that they see customers as family and friends. They need to be treated like how you would want your friends and family to be treated. Her staff is one reason why Jill thinks people would like to visit the Smith Drug Store. Another reason is due to the local items and snacks that they also carry.

When asked about why Jill wanted a quilt square on the store she replied, “Because they are pretty and they highlight the history of an area. Smith Drug Store is definitely a historic spot here in Rutledge.” The pattern, prickly pinwheel, is a pattern from her grandmother. Her grandmother was an avid quilter and pinwheels were her favorite. This square is an original design from one of her many pinwheel quilts.

Jill hopes that one day her children will take over the store and continue the tradition of family owned drug stores.

 

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Rainy Day in Rogersville

Rain. It smells good, it feeds our crops, it refreshes the air and washes away pollen but…it can be an inconvenience. For businesses, it can mean a slow day because no one wants to get out in the rain. As a consumer, you may not like to get out in the rain. However, rainy days can lead to great adventures and some special “one on one” time with locals in the shops downtown. You can explore places you have been before in a different way.  Experiencing some quiet time as you look over art or see a different kind of beauty in the flowers that line the street.

This is exactly what I encountered on my rainy Friday trip to Rogersville. I am not a fan of rain, but I wanted to get out and explore some of the AQT. While downtown, I went to the courthouse and then onto a new favorite place, the Local Artists Gallery on Main.

As I walked into the gallery, I felt such a warmth and openness from the space itself and the three artists who were working the gallery during the morning. They took time out and walked me around the gallery, explained to me what makes this gallery special, and some of the artists that are juried in the exhibits. What is amazing about the Local Artists Gallery on Main is that it is a co-op (cooperative) and non-profit. It showcases a variety of the 50 artists that participate in the co-op. The Local Artists Gallery  updates and switches out juried material on a regular basis, so every time you go, there will be new things! You will find pottery, wood working, jewelry, Chinese Ink paintings, candles, crochet, photographs, a year round Christmas corner, quilts, and some very unique offerings. Since this is a cooperative, there is no markup on the art. So if something costs $15 it is $15, not $30 or $40 that it would be at another gallery. They focus on giving as much money back to the artist and take out only what covers utilities and rent.

Not only do they offer a special, one of a kind gallery, they also offer a variety of art classes taught by the juried artists. Classes are for all ages and like the art, it is constantly changing. I was told from the artists working that morning, that the classes are a positive environment meant to share the love of art and perhaps turn someone on to their inner artist or love for art. Walking through the huge building you can tell that each artist loves what they do by the energy that comes out in the work. There is something for everyone, and with the prices at true value you can’t help but want to buy the whole store!

The Local Artists Gallery has been open since 2006 and has stayed in the same building since its inception. For more information on classes and the artists themselves check out their website: http://rogersvillegallery.com/ or stop by and visit them at: 124 East Main Street, Rogersville TN, 37857. So, on your next rainy day don’t stay inside; head to Rogersville and support your local artists!

 

Stop 9: Pineapple Log Cabin at Local Artists Gallery on Main

 

Pineapple Log Cabin...what beautiful colors!

Pineapple Log Cabin…what beautiful colors!

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While you enter the front, go down the side road to see their quilt square

While you enter the front, go down the side road to see their quilt square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 10: Country Decision at the Rogersville Courthouse Annex

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Stop 6: The Red Barn in Russell Co, VA

Sometimes my travels for work take me outside Tennessee. The other day I was going to a Clinch River Valley Initiative meeting up in Cleveland, Virginia. Yes, there is a Cleveland in Virginia. This Cleveland only has ~200 people and is out in God’s country (another term for out in the boonies, out yonder, middle of nowhere). It was a lovely drive, very scenic and peaceful. I had found the poem below right before my trip and wanted to find a red barn to go with it. I am driving down this curvy back road on my to Cleveland I stumble across this bard. It was perfect for the poem! The farm is called Bluegrass Farm and they had cows in the pasture. I believe the pattern is called Rising Sun. 

The Red Barn Remembers by Barbara Gorelick

The red barn stands, silhouetted against the sky.

An oak tree wraps its tired limbs around her

As if to protect her from time and age.

Her roof, sagging, color faded,

An errant plume of red along her frame.

Yet, proudly she stands, remembrance of a happy time.

Shelter from the rain, children

Playing in her hair, lovers hiding in her shadows.

Beauty I see now, not bright, not boastful.

With dignity and respect she bows to age.

 

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Winding roads, horses, honeysuckle, and quilt squres Pt 2

Last week I shared with you my first two stops on my sunny days tour around Rutledge, TN. For those of you who might be new, here is the link for last weeks entry: https://sawtoothstories.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/winding-roads-horses-honeysuckle-and-quilt-squares-pt-1-rutledge-tn/.

I also got some lovely comments and new followers, so thank you very much! Here are stops 3-5, enjoy!

Stop 3: Trip Around the World

Located right on 11 W at the side of the road, just getting off the road to take a picture was an adventure. 5 turnarounds and a driveway later I finally found a good spot to land a picture or two. Look at those wild daisies and other wild flowers! To view the square, click the picture below to enlarge it.

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Stop 4: Confederate Rose on Joppa Mountain Road

Isn’t this a beauty? This is a little shed on the right side of the road. It is right across from a very gorgeous old fashioned home that house two great Pyrenees dogs. I found that out because they barked at me as I stopped in the middle of the road to take a picture (yes, I did it country style, just stopped in the middle of road). I loved the honeysuckle that was creeping all around the shed. It made the air so fragrant and luscious.

 

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Stop 5: Little Dutch Girl @ The Corum House

This sweet girl is right next door to the Bryan House. She is all ready for summer decked out in  her pale yellow gingham dress and sun bonnet to match. The old shed really adds character to the quilt square. Not only is the little Dutch girl sweet, it is also a family quilt!  Julie Wilson’s grandmother, Nana, made this quit for her and Julie in turn made it into a barn quilt square.

 

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Winding roads, horses, honeysuckle, and quilt squares Pt. 1: Rutledge, TN

Sunny days just call for an adventure. Sunny days call for windows down, music blasting, and riding down a back road. Sunny days are filled with happiness and life. On this particularly sunny day the quilt trail was calling. It was calling out to be explored, to take the back roads and explore Rutledge, TN. Not knowing where to go, I took my AQT map, jotted down a few areas close to the historic Bryan House and let the quilt squares lead. On my way around these roads I encountered some of Spring/early Summer’s grandeur: box turtles, honeysuckle, wildflowers, horse foals, breeze blowing my hair, and friendly people willing to share some stories with me.

Stop 1: Flower Basket @ Holbrook Quilt Barn

Talk about taking the back road! I had to get off 11 W and follow a winding road to this farm. The road took me through pretty areas, such as roads filled with flowers, tomato farms, and of course mountains. Along the way I crossed a box turtle in the middle of the road! At first I thought it was a block of wood then the closer I approached I realized it was a box turtle. Luckily, I realized this in just enough time to let it finish crossing the road. Eventually I found myself at this waypoint on the AQT. I was greeted with such a lovely site, a baby horse!

 

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Stop 2: County Fair @ Country Shed Antiques

I drive past this every time I come into work and I have always been fascinated by  it. So today I let the road, this time the main road, take me there. I pull into a gravel driveway greeted again by horses. Stepping out of my car I felt as if I was transported back in time. Log cabins, an side house, are in my sight. A lady named Doris walked my way as I approached the antique store. Doris was a very friendly lady and was happy to tell me some facts about Country Shed Antiques. Country Shed Antiques is built onto a barn (you could have fooled me it looked so real! Like it was all one piece of property). The first part of the barn, besides the stalls, use to hold tobacco. If you go in the store that will be the room that looks like a kitchen. Originally Doris just had a gift shop, but then it kept expanding into what is now the Country Shed Antiques. If you are ever out this way do stop by. The antiques in this shop are very rustic and would fit into a cabin or old country home.  Cast iron skillets, corn pone skillets, mugs, quilts, even a carriage cart to be hooked up by a horse in available! Since it changes with the season, come back many times to see what is in store.

 

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Stay tuned for the second half of  my sunny day quilt adventure! More quilts, more flowers, more good times!

Stop One: The Bryan House in Rutledge, TN

The Bryan House is a very special stop on the AQT. The Bryan House is home to Clinch-Powell RC&D, the not-for-profit organization that brought the Appalachian Quilt Trail to our region. Clinch-Powell RC&D acquired The Bryan House in 2004 following the death of Doc Bryan, for whom the house is named.  They have since restored and renovated the house and opened it up to the community for tours. It is also used as a local meeting area for community groups.

 

The Bryan House has a long and interesting history in Rutledge, Tennessee. It was originally built in 1869 for Michael Goldman, who was the County Court Clerk of Grainger County as well as a merchant. He was not originally from Grainger County and the locals referred to him as a “Jewish Yankee carpetbagger”. After Goldman’s death, the house was passed on to his son John N. Goldman, a lawyer who practiced in Rutledge.  When he died it passed on to his daughter Johnnie Alexander Long. She had left it unattended for some years when Doc Bryan purchased it in 1937.

 

Dr. L.C. Bryan and his wife purchased the house from Johnnie and began extensive renovations. The Bryans were an interesting family with a big presence in Rutledge. Doc Bryan practiced medicine for sixty-seven years, retiring at the age of 93. From 1927-1968 he delivered 3,424 babies. The Bryans hosted Sunday Suppers at the house, along with croquet in the summer on the lawn. The croquet tournaments were such serious business that the children could not participate; they had to watch from the side as the adults played.

 

Bryan House is open for informal tours Monday-Friday, from 8:30-4:30. Clinch-Powell RC&D staff and resident Appalachia CARES/AmeriCorps members are on-site and will do their best to answer any questions you may have about this remarkable structure and the families who have called it home.

 

****If you are in the area the week of June 16-21st, it is Clinch-Powell RC&D’s special 25th Anniversary Open House. Staff and volunteers will be conducting tours between the hours of 1-4 pm. Light refreshments will be available.****

 

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