Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers . . .

Blanche DuBois, the main character in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire is often quoted, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

For me--and for many of us, I hope--the kindness of strangers has played a pivotal role. It was a kind stranger who took the time to tell me why she had a painted quilt hung on her barn, another who directed me to Donna Sue Groves, and the kindest of all--Donna Sue, who was a stranger at the time--who gave me the opportunity to tell this story.

Along the way, many "strangers" were kind enough to offer all kinds of help and hospitality, from a simple map to a guided tour, to food and lodging. And some of those strangers became friends.

But most who will read this are strangers to me, so to you I beg a bit of indulgence.

Here is a request/offer for those of you who are planning to purchase my book when it comes out in a few months.

I am participating in a fundraiser for Georgia River Network--a nonprofit organization that safeguards our water supply in Georgia. I will be kayaking 106 miles in a weeklong fundraiser in June. That's over 15 miles a day, folks!

For those who don't know me, and am 51, and for those who have never been to Georgia in June, it will be HOT. But I am determined to do this, and now that I am committed to it, I want to make a difference.

SO--I'm trying to think of creative fundraising ideas. Here you go:

For every dollar you donate (up to $20) to Georgia River Network in my name, you will receive a 1% discount on an autographed copy of the book, "Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement." So--donate $10, your autographed copy of the book will be discounted 10%. Donate $20, you will receive a 20% discount.

Of course, you may give more, and you may give whether you intend to purchase a book or not.

If you didn't do anything for Mother Earth yesterday for Earth Day, now is your chance! I will be doing all of the work (did I mention the 106 miles?), and both you and the environment will benefit.

Thanks in advance for your kindness. Be sure to leave a message here after you donate, so that I can keep a record.

Our Easter barn quilt is Flower Basket at the Bingley Barn in Kankakee, Illinois. I featured a snow shot of it last winter, but spring really is its season! And Easter is the day for baskets!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Not Exactly the Beach

I've been bad; spring has been with us for a few weeks now, and I haven't posted any springtime photos!! Scott County, Kentucky, was one of the earliest stops along my journey a couple of years ago on a perfect April weekend like this one. The black barns really set off the painted quilts.

As I walked around enjoying today's spectacular sunshine and cool breezes with all of the dandelions blooming, I was reminded of this photo.

It's the perfect combination for this particular spring, since the quilt square is "Storm at Sea." Though these last few days have been spectacular, we have had the most frightening weather these past few weeks. I'm glad I didn't head to the beach for spring break!

Here is a closeup of the painted quilt block; I think they did a great job at replicating the fabric look.

This was actually a fun photoshoot, as I had a consultant nearby.


He posed for me, but his big head kept getting in the way of the barn quilt--I do believe he thought I was there for his sake!

As always, if you have photos to share of your projects or those that you have seen along the way, do pass them along. I love your comments here, but if you have more to share, contact me at

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Almost Barn Quilting Time!

First, I have to apologize for my absence. The book is in production, and it's out of my hands for a while. For the first time since July of 2008, I took a brief respite from this project. Soon, I will back in the thick of things--finalizing the manuscript and helping to promote the book.

Thanks to those who sent notes inquiring as to my health and whereabouts; I was touched that some of you took the time to do so.

So--Spring is barn quilting season--most of the existing committees are gearing up, and some new ones are putting their plans together as well. But I just got this photo last week, and--well--you know I am a sucker for a snow photo! So--the last one of the season.

Funny thing is, I don't know a darned thing about this one. It was sent to me by Bonita Simshauser, who said that she and a friend painted it one weekend a couple of years back. It's a twelve by twelve foot square, and though Bonita didn't say so, it appears to be painted directly on the barn door. If so, that was quite an undertaking!


I heard back from Bonita, who lives in Winimac, Indiana, with a bit more about her barn quilt. Her friend Ginny Smith, who lives in Gibralter, MI had seen barn quilts but didn't have a barn. Ginny and her husband came to visit for a week, and while the men were re-roofing the henhouse, the women painted the quilt. Bonita admits that the guys did help to make it square!

The project took only two days. The men were hard at work, and the women were a bit sad that their fun had come to an end so quickly. So they painted the double star on the garage--what a beauty!

The women were still having fun, so they purchased (3) 4ft. x 4ft. plywood, primed it, and went back to work. Ginny was able to go home with quilt blocks for the back of her garage. Bonita writes, "I was so happy that she too has something beautiful to enjoy after all OUR fun work!"

Barn quilting is fun, and I miss sharing in it! I look forward to a bit of traveling over the next couple of months, to visit old friends, to see some new barn quilts, and to take photos for next year's calendar. So there will be some new tales from the trail to share soon.

Meanwhile, as always--send along any news or photos that you would like to share, or head over to Facebook, where you can post them.