Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Relaxing in Peru

We arrived in Peru, Indiana late in the evening, after zig-zagging down lots of 2-lane roads through tiny towns and between corn fields.  Peru is a lovely town, but there isn't an interstate that takes you there from Ohio!

We were warmly greeted by Jayne and Keith Kesler, whose guest house we had been offered for a couple of days. Jayne took up the barn quilt trail and helped expand it from the already extensive trail created by Nancy Sarver and several other women.

We couldn't see much of our new home away from home until the next day. It was just as lovely inside as out!
The next morning, Jayne and I set out on a tour of the south end of the county, where we saw dozens of barn quilts and only got lost a few times. .  This Log Cabin was a favorite.

Some might argue that the Spools quilt block here should be larger, and I can't completely disagree.  Most of the blocks on this trail are 4-by-4 feet, rather than the traditional 8-by-8.  But that said, this barn is so fabulous that I couldn't complain.

Jayne and I stopped to see a couple of quilts on homes in town. As we stepped onto the sidewalk, I was so excited--"Look!  Star Bricks!"

The sidewalk was paved with these bricks, which I had heard about but never seen. When touring the Athens County, OH, quilt trail in 2009, I saw this artist-designed barn quilt and was fold that it was a replica of the bricks that had been manufactured in the Hocking Valley in the 19th Century.  I have to think that these bricks originated there.

After lunch, Jayne and I headed over to meet Barb, Nancy Sarver's daughter, who took us on a tour of the original quilt trail that her mom started. Nancy was out of town, but I know that when we talk, she will have loads of great stories to share!

Barb proudly took us to her parents' farm, where "End of Day" graces the barn. I have had some folks ask why I include barns with siding--let's face it; they are not as charming as wooden barns.  But under that siding is an historic barn, lovingly (and expensively) preserved, and I have to admire that.

By the way, you just might be able to discern what kind of tractor Dad favors.  Green and Yellow are a popular combination in barn quilt world, and it's not just corn and beans!

I gave a talk that evening at the local museum--I am having so much fun speaking about barn quilts--and signing those books, of course.

October is going to be a whirlwind month, two more stops in Indiana, then on to PA, WV, VA, NC, and SC.  I sure hope Ruby is ready for us before we head East!  If you'd like to see my crazy schedule, here 'tis:

The next day, Jayne and I visited an apple orchard that has a barn quilt on the front--and this very cool apple in its roof tiles.  I learned a lot about apples and orchards--glad to have something new to write about.

I have been seeing a lot of these barn roofs lately in my travels--usually an animal or the name of the owners. Here is a first--Tweety Bird!

Glen and I expected to move on--which means back to a motel, as our poor coach, Ruby, still isn't fixed.  But Jayne insisted that we stay as long as we would like.  Whew!  What a wonderful break from the grind.  We also had a chance to play tourist at the Grissom Air Force Museum nearby.  That's me, as seen from W-AAAY up in the tower.

That's the view from here. We have fingers (and toes) crossed that we will be back in the bus on Friday.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

On to Peru!

Indiana, that is!  But before heading out, we had lunch with Donna Sue and then visited her and her mom, Maxine, on their farm.  I always think I am going to miss the turn, but this lovely farm--with its golden quilt block--marks the corner.

Glen and I had spotted this barn quilt on the way to lunch, so on the way back to our motel, we stopped back by.  The English gentleman who lives there stopped his mowing to give us the tour of the cabin he is building on his property. When asked why has has a Tippecanoe quilt block on his barn, he said, "Well, I don't know--it seems like around here that's what you need to fit in!" 

I try not to take photos of Amish folks as they go about their lives, but I figured this fella would be none the wiser.  The upside-down ladder in the back of his buggy just struck me somehow.

On our final evening, we stopped by The Rock--a vacation rental property--to see Randi Gish-Smith's latest barn quilt painting.  The Pineapple design is emblematic of hospitality--very appropriate to the location!

Our last meal in Ohio was an American classic, and Glen hammed it up with the iconic Big Boy.  If only I could find him one of those spiffy checked outfits with the matching hat . . .


A few days later, we were headed back to Indiana.  Peru, Indiana, to be exact.  Our route took us along a lot of country roads--ideal barn quilting territory, but nary a quilt in sight.  Glen spotted this one by the roadside--I don't know the story, but it's definitely quilted!

We have been relaxing for a few days in a lovely guest house--more about that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the 2014 calendar is available on Amazon now, if that makes ordering easier for y'all.
Click here to Order barn quilt calendar from Amazon

I have a tendency to go Amazon Prime crazy, since I can order everything from batteries to a lawn mower--yes, I really did order a lawn mower--and have it delivered! I suppose our being vagabonds saves a lot of money, though I have to admit that we had quite a few deliveries to our last motel . . .

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back to Ohio!

We left New York and headed for Southern PA, where I had a few speaking engagements.  I have had a blast talking with quilt guilds! You can see some of the ongoing madness here:  http://www.barnquiltinfo.com/quilt-guilds.html

While in PA we kayaked the Susquehanna River.  It was great to get out on the water again--even if we were in Harrisburg for about a third of the journey.

A few days later, we  visited Gettysburg. I highly recommend the CD tour--it really brought to life all that took place.  When I think of a battlefield, I think of a confined area, but this battle was spread out over miles!  Quite the history lesson and one that won't be soon forgotten.

Here I am with Gracie--no barn on the quilt; the story dates back just a bit farther!

 One thing that surprised me was how mountainous--and beautiful--Pennsylvania is.  I had no idea!  And the barns--such glorious barns!  None of them quilted, but they are fantastic just in their natural splendor.Borrowed this photo from http://v3.bookyoursite.com/  always give credit where due.

SO many times I have had people argue with me that barn quilts began with the Pennsylvania Dutch.  But Hex signs are NOT quilt patterns--that is, they were not intended to be fashioned into quilts and are not taken from sewn patterns. But aren't they lovely?

On to Ohio, where Barb and Jim Gabriel gave me the barn quilt tour. I loved this Clay's choice, patterned after the quilt that Clay's grandma made for his mom to use to cover her lap while watching him play high school football.  Go Clay!

 This one is just gorgeous--the center represents a lavender labyrinth that the owner has in her back yard. Too fun!
 We stopped off to see this gem at the feed store, and I realized that Gracie Pup was out of food.  See--barn quilts do contribute to economic growth.

 The next day, we headed down to Adams County--home of the original quilt trail--where a celebration/benefit was being held in honor of Donna Sue.  I bought an $85 pie at auction--we needed to buy something, and since we will be living on a bus, we don't need much by way of things. It was yummy.  With ice cream, of course!

That's Donna Sue, I, and Barb Gabriel at the celebration.
It was a fabulous gathering--a great testament to all those influenced by Donna Sue and her legacy.  We got to see some old friends and participate in the barn quilt community in a way that is seldom possible. Very rewarding!

Two  entire weeks in Columbus, as I have some quilt guilds nearby on my schedule. We are still waiting for our bus to be ready.  Poor Ruby--I'm sure she thinks we have abandoned her.  I think I will go and pitch a tent in the parking lot of the RV place--maybe they will get her fixed just to get rid of me!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New York, Chapter Two--Schoharie

Well, we're getting there!  Our visit to Schoharie, New York started off rocky--we were two hours late!  We picked up the Gracie-Pup in Queens and headed for the highway, but the road that the GPS indicated was closed.  And try as we might, we could not find a route upstate that didn't take us back that way!

We drove and drove and finally got on the road.  I called Ginny Schaum, our host in Schoharie to let her know that we were running late.  She was very gracious and let me know that she would be waiting at Shirley's, where we were to have llunch.

I had decided to drive because I am more likely to push the boundaries when it comes to speed limits.  In other words, I am a shameless lawbreaker!  Just when I thought we were making up time, traffic came to a dead stop.  We sat so long that we finally turned off the car--ugh!  Another call to Ginny, who was still patiently waiting.

Shirley was kind enough to pack our lunch to go.  I wanted to spend some time talking with her and will do so soon, but we just had to get going.

Glen got directions to Ginny's home, and off he went.  Ginny, Sharon Aitchison, and I headed out to see some barn quilts!

Love love love this one!  The house is amazing, the barn quilt is amazing.  I hope that if you click on the photo, you can see the incredible detail! And how cool is that tractor--solar powered!

You either love crazy quilts or you don't.  I am in the first category.  The building might not be too impressive, but the quilt block is just too much fun.

Even better when we stepped inside and I saw the actual cloth block that the painted block came from!  You can't quite replicate all of the embellishments in paint.

I was fascinated by a doctor's home that has been preserved as a museum. I really look forward to writing about it. All of his equipment--including the operating table in the kitchen--is there.  I could have spent hours! 

Civil War field kit--kind of gruesome and probably not actually belonging to the resident.  But I was amazed at how well-preserved it is.

Of course, we had to have a bit of fun.  Glen and Gracie played in the pond on the Schaum's property with Ginny's husband, Bill. Then they met us for the 125th anniversary celebration of the local hardware store.  Such a great community event--including the watermelon eating contest.  That's Glen on the right--second place finish!

Finally, :Ginny and Sharon unveiled the quilt block they had created for the family that owns the hardware store to honor their special day.  Gorgeous, isn't it??

Lots of beautiful countryside and many more barn quilt stories to tell.  Volume Two is going to be jam-packed!  I am starting to get a bit of writing done now that we are in one place. No, we don't have our bus back.  We are in an extended-stay motel in Ohio for 2 weeks before heading out for Indiana. at least I have a kitchen--yay!

Whew!  just a bit more will bring us up to date. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Catching up!

Well, here we are three weeks later, and no--we are not still in Canada! Since I wrote last, we have been through New York and PA, and landed today in Ohio.

We are still not back in our bus; it may be another three weeks or so until the damage is repaired  Turns out that the damage was far more extensive than I thought--all of the air conditioning blown out and loads of wiring to be replaced. Not to mention the smell.  Our clothes reeked of smoke, and apparently the inside of the bus will have to be cleaned by a company that specializes in smoke removal. Sigh.

We have perfected the art of finding an inexpensive motel along the route to my talks and trails and have also stayed in the homes of some very generous folks.  

SO--back to Canada!  We crossed from Ontario into New York at Niagara Falls and had already scheduled a day off to play tourist.  Here we are before we got soaked on the Maid of the Mist boat ride.  If you have never been, you MUST take the boat!  There is truly no other way to see the falls!

On to LeRoy, New York, where we had been invited to stay with Lynne Belluscio, the quilt trail coordinator, Historical Society director, Jell-O Museum director, and a really generous host.

Yes, there really is a Jell-O museum in the town where it was invented!  

When we got to Lynne's home, we were greeted by her lovely Whig Rose barn quilt.  Just one example of the fine work I would see.

The next day, Lynne and I took the tour of their 200 ro so barn quilts. I encountered my favorite Corn and Beans--love this on the white barn!

The cow was just too cute to resist--definitely one of a kind!

And speaking of that, here is the only Jell-O barn you will ever see!  It actually has Mail Pouch Tobacco on the other end, but it's not an original--just going with the theme.

Lynne and her family invited us to a horse driving competition.  Glen asserted that horses can't drive. He was just being silly, and when he saw the Jell-O wagon, Glen got even sillier as he attempted to join in!
We later got to see Lynne's daughter show how it's done and win a blue ribbon--one of several she had taken home during the event.

So now I owe you New York chapter two and Pennsylvania.  Of course, I will be out on the quilt trail again tomorrow, so I need to get myself caught up!

Don't forget that 2014 calendars are ready--they are about half sold out!  And as always, if you have a quilt trail story to share, get in touch.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oh, Canada!

I had such a wonderful time in Ontario!  Our host, Denise Corneil, had done such an incredible job of putting together an itinerary that really gave a great sampling of what they have accomplished.  Her partner int he project, Mary Simpson, joined us for the second day and helped facilitate.

Love this--there is a barn quilt on the other end of the barn, of course. The owner is fairly recent; he had thought about getting rid of the smiley but was told that it was a local landmark!

Church window--what a beauty!  On "stilts" as they call it here!

Christina and her dog, Charlie, traveled every quilt trail in the area by scooter, and she has photographs of every barn quilt--in order!  What in incredible journey.
One of the trails is dedicated to the First Nations--what we might call Native Americans. Here, Bow and Arrow represents an important tool used for many generations.

Finally, a favorite of mine--Centennial Maple Leaf.  Just a beautiful block!

We are in new York and headed to Le Roy to see their trail.  Can't wait!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Change of Plans!

It had to happen eventually, so I went for sooner rather than later.  Yep--that's me driving Ruby!!  It actually was not as bad as I expected.  Three hours total, including the drive through Indianapolis.

We had a grand time in West Lafayette and the next night at the state fair.

Moving day--I headed up to Chicago to pick up some books, and then we hit the road for Michigan.  Not a few minutes later, Glen reported that the coach was losing power, and we smelled something burning. This was the scene on the side of the highway a while later--electrical fire! 

The damage was minor, but it did involve having Ruby towed 100 miles away and our sleeping in a rather iffy motel--the only one I could find at midnight that allowed dogs.

We had to spend another night in Indiana. and the next day, PLAN B commenced.  Everything is now packed into the car--and I mean PACKED.  

Off to Vicksburg, MI, where Kitch and Hugh Rinehart greeted us warmly and our troubles were soon forgotten. Here is God's Eye--one of those quilt blocks that I was not aware of at all until I began following the quilt trail.

In Vicksburg, our 78-pound pup, Gracie, met her nemesis.  Yes, she who will stare down a pit bull without hesitation was petrified of Murphy the cat!

We hated to leave Vicksburg and our new friends behind, but I was due in Manchester, MI the next day.  This is an interesting take on the barn quilt--the first time I have seen a quilt created of shingles.

Here we are in Canada, ready to see the wonderful trails in Southwest Ontario. We visited Erieau Beach yesterday and enjoyed fresh fish in a local spot. Glad we did, as today has been nothing but gloomy.  Hoping for good weather tomorrow--nothing worse than barn quilting in the rain!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Adventure Begins!

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while may know that I was a high school teacher. Well--no more!  I began to get a lot of requests to speak to quilters and other groups, so we decided to take my show on the road!  Here is our new home--we named her Ruby.

At the same time, I have been asked to write another book, tentatively titled "Farther Along the Quilt Trail."  So I am embarking on an incredible journey--both to speak about barn quilts and Donna Sue Groves' legacy and to document a bunch of new trails.

We spent the last couple of days in Kentucky, where I toured the Estill County trail.  A couple of highlights--isn't this beautiful countryside?

 Loads of wildflowers, butterflies, and hummingbirds!

 The view from our friend Sherba's back porch, where we are breakfast Saturday morning--we love it here!

We are off to Indiana, where I will give a talk this evening.  Hope to go to the state fair tomorrow--then off to Michigan and more barn quilts!