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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quilts, Hand Work, A Give-Away

~ A beautiful hand quilted Crazy Quilt ~

Neither Dave nor I have any clue from whose family this quilt came; could be his, could be mine, we just don't know. This quilt has some wear and tear, mainly because there's such a mix of textiles. The quilter used wools, cottons and silks and, needless to say, the silks haven't stood the test of time as well as the sturdier wools and cottons.

It's a beauty though...a crazy quilt but not dated nor signed, that I can find, so the maker is lost to all but God. I've not been signing my quilts but that's wrong of me. It's not pride talking, it's so that people who come after me will know the date and the maker of the quilt. Even if they never know who I am, it still means something to some people. Some people care about those things; I know I care and I bet you do as well. To do all that work, by hand, so material won't be wasted and someone will sleep warmly during cold winter months. Amazing!

Central heating is a recent invention. My Daddy grew up in an old Appalachian farmhouse that had a fireplace in the living room and a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen. That was their sole source of heat...a fireplace and cook stove for a two story farmhouse! That and lots and lots of quilts. Grandmother and Granddaddy had double beds in the living room, alongside the walls with rocking chairs in the center of the room and Granddaddy's chair beside the fireplace. He'd sit in his chair each evening and take off his work boots, putting them where they could warm up and dry out overnight. When we'd visit, I'd sleep with Grandmother, my brother would sleep with Granddaddy and Mama and Daddy would sleep upstairs. If it was winter, Mama and Daddy would wake to snow covering the bed covers. They would shore up their courage and, having placed their clothes where they could be easily and quickly reached in the morning, grab them and dash downstairs to dress beside the fireplace. BTW, the stairs to reach the second floor were outside so that mad dash included a quick exit onto the front porch and then a quick turn into the house and living room.

I well remember being held up in Daddy's arms so I could speak on the hand crank wall mounted telephone and using a water pump at the kitchen sink as opposed to a faucet. The bathroom was a Very Long Walk...out back. Various Aunts and Uncles lived down the valley, some miles hence, and every neighbor on the telephone line would race to listen in when they heard "3 longs and a short ring". Everyone knew everyone's ring and everyone also knew you didn't tell anything during a telephone call you didn't want the entire valley to know. Have you ever heard, "telegraph, telephone, tell a woman"? -smile-

It's just been since Dave and I have lived at Thistle Cove Farm that Aunt Esther has gotten her own private telephone line and the folks up the river from her have gotten electricity. City people don't realize this country is still, basically, a rural country with the population majority centered on the East Coast and then on the West Coast. Virginia is within a day's drive of fifty percent of the country's population but even where we live, there are folks without central heating and indoor plumbing. Count your blessings, folks; count your many blessings.
~ Aunt Esther's 1930's hand made quilt ~

Aunt Esther made this quilt sometime in the 1930's and it shows a lot of love and wear. She gave it to me many years ago and I know there are some who would cut it up and use it for craft projects. I'm not one of them. I tend to be fiercely loyal...some would say I have "loyalty issues" -smile- and I Hang On to things. When someone would ask Aunt Bonnie if she would sell something they hankered after, Aunt Bonnie would say, "It's not eating nor drinking a thing so I guess I'll hang on to it." That's me. I hang on to things and it pains me to think of this quilt being cut up for craft. It hangs on a wall in a bedroom and that's where it will stay, at least while I'm living here. Hopefully, one of the nephews will want it when I'm gone.

~ Beginning of a hand work project ~

This little project is a small quilt hanging about 12 x 12 inches. The front and back is the same 100% cotton fabric and the middle is polyester batting.
~ Sewing the quilt on my Singer Featherweight, circa 1953 ~

My brother gave me a Lot of coned thread so I guess if I live to be three hundred and seventy-two it should last. You can see a cone of bright yellow thread behind the Featherweight and it's so much fun to be willy nilly in the use of the thread. Thread is so expensive, I've always been a bit judicious in my use but no longer! -smile-

~ Coming together nicely, I think. ~

The page is torn from a devotional and says, "You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures."

Ain't that just the truth?! Unfortunately, most of us plan our vacations with more care and precision than we plan our lives. Yet, we're all headed somewhere and most of us are going there fast! Recently, I heard a preacher say if a person was 55, they had a bit more than 19,000 days left to live. That's according to the Bible verse that says a person has "three score and ten" which is 70 years. That gets MY attention as I'm a tad older than fifty-five.

So, what am I going to do with my 19,000, more or less, days? I'm going to live them with wild and reckless abandon...I'm going to live day at a time. I'm going to focus on breathing, just for today. I'm going to play with the kittens, snuggle with the puppies, drink wine with my husband, read my Bible, talk to God, pray for folks, travel, work in the studio, hang wet laundry in the hot sun, make short bread for my neighbors, carry my spinning wheel to the pasture and spin amongst the sheep, make snow ice cream, brush the horses, wake up at 3 a.m. and listen to the nightingale song, save as many animals as I can, bury the ones who have lived here long enough to die of old age, pray for our country, quilt, knit, make rag rugs, take photos of the full short, I'm going to LIVE as if today is the last day of my life. Because, you know, one day it will be the last day of my life and I want to live ready.

~ Some silk, ribbons, threads, buttons, smell good stuff, lace, bits and pieces. ~

So, if you're still with me, this is the finished small quilt. It hangs by a twig sewn on the back...nothing much fancy but made with love and prayers. If you want a chance to win it, leave me a note and I'll do one of those random generator deals and send it off next week. Sunday, 8 p.m. is when I'll stop taking names and by the time I find a box to fit it, I can probably get it mailed Tuesday. Nope, you don't have to blog about it nor follow me...although it would please me mightily if you did -smile-...all you have to do is leave me a note and say you'd like to win this little quilted, inspirational wall hanging. In my mind, you're already a winner.

Blessings ~ hand work ~ quilts, no matter the size ~ thread ~ my studio ~ folks who read this blog ~ folks who leave a kind word or three ~ life ~


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you for today's post...what a lovely story about your family.
    I have a lovely crochet white thread with red roses bedspread that my sister made for mom. When my sister past my Mom gave it to me. Since my Mom is now in Heaven with my sister, I cherish it even more.
    Also...Please include me for the drawing of this quilt...and you are already on my favorite blogs to read.

  3. I just loved reading the beautiful portrait you painted of life with your grandparents. I just finished reading a wonderful book about a woman who grew up on a farm in the great depression. Is is a memoir with lots of great household tips and recipes. Made me laugh a lot....It's called "little heathens" I think you would love it.


  4. Yes, yes, yes! I want a chance to win this little quilt and I loved this post Sandra. Every bit of it!

    We have been blessed with quilts from Maiden Aunts gone on to eternity, and from my paternal grandmother. I would never cut them up, and store them carefully because we don't have a lot of wall space for hanging them.

    I remember the first 5 months we lived here on Cedar Pond, there was no electricity up our road, and although I thought it a great inconvenience, the many nights by kerosene lamp and heater , with my 3 young children, were more special than I appreciated at the time. We read together , played games, and talked to each other. Wish I could have some of that time back. Now when I read accounts like yours I think how really wonderful for you to have had that time with your grandparents, and how cozy it was. Oh well, I am writing too much, but again, LOVE this post!
    Oh, one more thing I love that you said " we're all headed somewhere and most of us are going there there fast!"

  5. Beautiful quilts. I used to hear stories like that from my father-in-law..he passed 3 years ago. they had 3 to a bed , I think to help keep warm and they were very poor. 13 kids. I ejoyed you blog today.

  6. This was a fantastic blog entry! I enjoyed every word! I love Aunt Esther's lavender quilt and Aunt Bonnie's take on things. I'm of the same bent. Appalachian living and tales of long ago are so important to me (wonder why...hehe) and never tire of hearing them. I think that each story amazes me at the hardship our families dealt with every day and, to my notion anyway, overcame handsomely.
    Thanks for the stories.

  7. Many Blessings to you today. May you have a wonderful week-end!
    I have company on their way today and more on next Wednesday.

    Your post today was one I really enjoyed reading. The quilts are so very nice!

    You have had a very unique upbringing and I have enjoyed reading about this.

    As for entering to win the
    inspirational quilt hanging!!!! YES, PLEZ, I'd like to be considered to win this. Thank you for having this opportunity.

    God Bless,

  8. Your posts always have a way of bringing a few moments of calm and peacefulness into my life.

  9. i think i will join you in how you are going to live out the rest of your days! much better that worrying and fretting over things we can do nothing about!

  10. what a lovely post - you had a wonderful childhood, ms. sandy. i like that mad dash in the snow and the stove and the quilt made by your nice to read bout this NOW, written by a person I'VE MET and not by somebody else in Reader's Digest or are such a beautiful person...

  11. Oh my Sandra! I agree with the "other" Becky about Appalachian stories because I was raised in the foothills just a bit South of you. My great Grand Parents home is nestled in the mts and I remember life similar to what you described!

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. Once again you made me smile, Sandra!Love all your memories. You are so very right. There are so many who have no idea that there are those who live without electricity, indoor plumbing, no phone etc. Many choose this way of life. For this is all they have ever known!
    We have a neighbor a few miles from our farm that often stops by to grab a rocker on the front porch and sip a cup of coffee. One day he asked if we had a computer. I asked if he wanted to come in to use it. Nope, he just wanted to see it in action! I showed him e-mail, news sites, a web-site about the county we live in...He got a huge kick out of it :) When I showed him my blog he exclaimed that I must be famous and he didn't even know it! So sweet, he is. Then he walked the miles back to his home, in the woods, where he grew up and later raised his own children! Beecher is a good man and I am lucky to call him my friend.
    What an awesome world we live in. So interesting because we are all so different!
    I would very much like to be entered in your give-a-way. Just to have something hand-made by you would be special!
    Many blessings to you, Dave, and all your critters!

  13. Your posts always have a way of bringing a few moments of calm and peacefulness into my life.

    Online Marketing of your brand

  14. Hi Timi - you've removed your note but I would, happily, send you the quilted wall hanging should you win. Heck, gal, send me your snail mail address anyway.
    Send it to thistlecovefarms at gmail dot com.

    Hi Diane - your bedspread sounds Lovely and I'm happy you have such a tangible reminder of happy by-gone days.

    Hi Karen - thanks for this reminder; I have stumbled across Little Heatherns but have not yet read it. I believe I'd like it though and glad for your recommendation.

    Hi Kathy - your first days of Cedar Pond sound like a book in waiting! I know it was difficult but it didn't last that long and look at the wonderful memories you cherish. I'm not a maiden aunt but we don't have children and must "adopt" other people's children to spoil. In 2004, one of our "adopted" daughters passed away very suddenly. She was 36 and had a stoke but wasn't found in time to save her. We've been devastated since but God gives us what we need when we need it and other "children" have since come our way. God is gracious.

    Hi Woebegone Cottage - it always makes me happy to have visitors, thank you for visiting and I'm glad to have brought you pleasure with this post.

    Hi Becky - it wouldn't surprise me if our paths haven't crossed at the Pickens Pancake Breakfast. Aunt Esther is well known to many in Pickens and a familiar sight when we attend. There are many, many stories that will never be told of these Appalachian mountain folk. Stories now lost to time, I'm sorry to say.

    Hi Deanna - your company is receiving such a bountiful gift by being in your home. How blessed they must be!

    Hi Vicki - this is a good thing and I'm happy to have had a part in the calm and peace of your day.

    Hi Life is Good - there's no other way to live, really live, but it takes discipline and action. Something I have to practice daily -smile-.

    Hi Cherie - what a blessing it was to meet you and your "boys"; all so beautiful and sweet. I'm working on my schedule, to bring you here for a few days. I believe you would all enjoy the farm and I know I'd enjoy you all.

    Hi Becky - a wonderful life, eh? We are SO blessed!

    Hi Misha - Beecher is blessed to have you as a neighbor and friend; and you are blessed by Beecher. I've known "Beechers" and my life has been enriched by all.

    Hi Smarry - thank you for visiting and for your kind words; please come back soon.

  15. Anonymous1:57 AM EDT

    I just found your blog and have so enjoyed reading about things I had almost forgotten in my childhood.

    I'd love to win the small quilt!


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