Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Out & About Road Trip.

What do you see when you look at this photo?

The first thing that most say is “Oh, how sad.”  I agree!  I would love to see this place as it was when it was new.  Fresh coats of paint, shiny metal roof, chimneys wafting smoke as fires warmed the rooms inside.

I like to envision the sounds of voices.  Conversations. Laughter.  Children playing.  Weddings, births, funerals.  Christmas.  Easter.  Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Perhaps a dog running in the yard, and a mama cat with new baby kittens mewing from under the porch.  Life.

My friend Martha has the twin to this house.  Or quadruplet? It seems there were 4 identical homes built by one family in the area – and the houses are not all that close to each other so you’d never know it.

I guess you only had to settle on one set of house plans that way!

Side view, and out buildings.

From what Martha told me, the last resident of this house (I can’t remember her name) had been eating breakfast, stood up, instantly passed away and everything was left in the house just as she left it – dishes on the table, everything.  Martha wanted to buy this one and fix it up, but the family wouldn’t sell.  She ended up buying the sister house to this one and completely redoing it, including the addition of plumbing and electricity which the house had never previously had.

I love old homes – but I don’t think I could see myself going that far back to the bare bones to get something to livable status.  But she did it!

Where were we going?  Down to Winston Salem to pick up a treadle machine that Martha was eager to retrieve, with a side trip to near by Mt. Airy to visit her mom.

It made for a long driving day, but I was dying to get out and about, even if the rain continued for the greater part of our journey.

Old abandoned school house.

Can you hear the school bell tolling?

Children rushing in from lunch recess?

School programs and recitals.

6th grade puppy love crushes.

Skinned knees and bruised elbows.

Battered well read text books.

Slate boards and chalk.

The smell of freshly sharpened pencils.

The side of this beauty – added on to over the years.

Someone is restoring this one -

It has a new coat of white paint!

(This made us cheer for joy as we drove past.)

We stopped here -

Martha’s hubby Don is restoring the old pump organ inside.

During the restoration of the building, electricity was made available, but the family responsible for this sweet church decided that they like it better WITHOUT modernization.  They left it as is, without hooking up the lines that had been brought close enough to add it.

They hold services here once a year.  Christmas time?

I love the old rock footings.

This same kind of rock foundation is holding Quiltville Inn up as well.

We peeked in the windows to get a good look at the pump organ.  The original pews are still in place, and a pot bellied wood burning stove is used to warm the space for that once a year gathering of folks that still consider this little mountain church “home.”

How much longer will this remain standing?

These places just tug at all of my heart strings!

One more.

I can always count on Martha to take me down roads I’ve never traveled before – AND she knows the story behind most of them! 

Two books for the Quiltville Inn Library!

The “It’s Okay if you Sit on my Quilt” book is the first quilt book I ever purchased around 1982.  THE first purchase I ever made by credit card (It was $20….that was breaking the bank for me back in that day and age!) and it is also the book that turned on the patchwork light for me:  “Oh! I get it! It’s all a grid!”  Thank you, Mary Ellen Hopkins!

The second one “Quilts, Coverlets & Counterpanes” was published by the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts Winston Salem, NC.  It NEEDS to be in the library as well.

And if you go to Winston Salem – you have to check out McKay’s second hand book store. I could have spent all day in there – but we had a treadle to grab up!

We had such a great time talking to the owner of the treadle that I didn’t even get pictures of what we came to get!

Let’s just say that this 1930s Singer 66 in a beautiful walnut cabinet is just what I would want for Martha as her first treadle.  Round bobbins, no bobbin case, very easy to maintain and a real work horse.

The machine is in excellent condition, everything moves freely and she has several accessories with it. She has already ordered up a rubber tubing belt from Lehmans.com and found original class 66 bobbins on eBay (the Chinese reproduction bobbins are just terrible – go with the real thing when you can. It’s worth it!)

We will see about getting her up and running when she returns from Florida next week!

Today – it’s a desk work day for me.  Much pattern writing ahead.  I’ll be doing that from the Quiltville Post Office.

More binding tonight maybe?  The Hubster has been in Boston for the past couple of nights and I am using my evening time to binge watch season 8 of Call the Midwife.  It’s something I keep just for me as he is too squeamish to deal with all of that baby birthing.  LOL!  But I love this show.

What’s going on in YOUR world today?

Happy 80th birthday, Dad!

I am sending out a special birthday wish to my Daddy...who turns 80 today!! Happy Birthday, Dad...love you to pieces and back! xoxox (yeah..and that's me!)

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage triangles quilt found in North Carolina.

We also teach people how to treat us by how we treat them.

A little spark of kindness given can bring a burst of sunshine into your own day!

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!


  1. Thanks for the old home tour. I loved the first one! You wonder how many people were living there...it was huge! I’ve always wanted to buy an old home and redo it, but who had the time...or the money? I’m so glad you have taken stewardship of the two lovely buildings you now call home in Virginia. Now they can live on.

  2. I love Mary Ellen's book one of my first books too.

  3. As we used to travel, my mother (from North Carolina) and I talked about the “unloved” houses. They appeared to just die from within from lack of love. Since my mother passed four years ago my sister and I make remarks about the old houses as we travel to/from quilt retreats, antique shops and to visit relatives all over the country. We dream of restoring some of them to their former majesty.
    Happy birthday to your father, be thankful (as I am sure you are) that you still have him , I lost mine ten years ago. Love seeing the houses, quilts and other items as you travel, thank you!!

  4. Love the old schoolhouse! Thanks for sharing the story of your first book purchase, and the quote. All three were a great start to my rainy day.

  5. Mary Ellen was a hoot on Simply Quilts! I also hoard Call the Midwife for myself. Always makes me cry! Thanks for the tour of the old houses, too. Marilyn Marks

  6. I was so tickled to see "The It's Okay If You Sit On My Quilt" book scroll onto my screen. It was my first quilting book, too, and still a prized part of my quilting library.

  7. Your blog is always my morning bright spot, no matter what you talk about, and your lament matched my feelings for abandoned old houses exactly. But it was a real treat to discover we shared a "me too!" experience with Mary Ellen's book. I bought it about the same time and it had the same light-bulb effect on me. Thanks for making my day.

  8. One of my first books was It’s OK. Loved that book. I was fortunate enough to take several of Mary Ellen’s teaching seminars and taught her method for a few years. Long live the grid. Opens all sorts of doors for you. ❤️❤️❤️ Loved the old home tour. We had one there in Dresden, TN that was sold and the new owners completely renovated it to its former glory. When it was completed they had an open house for the community. It’s a real gem. ❤️❤️

  9. I have a couple of Mary Ellen's books, and was lucky to hear her lecrure at our guild meeting many years ago.

  10. I love that Martha was able to renovate one of the sister houses. I have a spot in my heart for the old ones too, but have not the time, patience, or money to renovate. I lived in Winston-Salem for 3 years in the early 1970's, and loved exploring some of the fabulous shops. Your blog post is the highlight of my morning, thanks for being such a delightful inspiration!

  11. In our neighborhood one man built 3 houses and one was our house. Ours is the odd one that isn't the same as the other two. Those are quite similar, though not identical, but both were built on a hillside so there is a walk-in basement.

  12. Your Daddy was (is) a handsome man! Mary Ellen was such a hoot! Loved seeing and hearing her! Thanks for sharing the photos of your road trip - sad, but very nostalgic! HUGS... and stitches

  13. I was lucky to be able to spend some time with Mary Ellen. She was

    great. Her books belong in every quilters library. Love the old buildings.

  14. I was privileged to hear Mary Ellen Hopkins speak when I first began quilting and she likewise helped me make sense of things. I did a lot of business with McKay's in Chattanooga. They're pretty generous in what they'll give you in store credit when they buy your used books.

  15. I just want to say "Thank you" for making my day so special by brightening it up! I love old homes too.

  16. So much to enjoy. .thank you for sharing your travels etc..I'm an armchair traveler these days

  17. Oh how I would love to restore that house to it's glory! Thank you for sharing as always.

  18. I hate seeing beautiful old houses & barns abandoned & left to deteriorate. But I wouldn't want to start the renovation of one either. My son & DIL bought an acreage with an old house on it that they took down to the studs & redid inside & out. It was no more than finished when a spring hailstorm hit and they had to replace the roof, siding on two sides and windows on those sides.

    I have an unquilted Double Wedding Ring top that I made using Mary Ellen Hopkins' pattern. All the pieces fit together so well! So many DWR patterns aren't accurate.

  19. I love all those old houses too. The one that my grandparents were married in around the turn of the century is still standing and people living in it. It's in California, just outside of Sacramento on a road that runs next to the Sacramento River. It's really neat when there is a special connection to the houses that you see.

  20. Old abandoned houses just break my heart. Every time I see one, I just want to adopt it and love it and fix it. Some of them are so beautiful, and still save-able... if someone has the money and the inclination.

  21. I have the Mary Ellen book too. My husband and I are binge watching "Call the Midwife." We're on season 5. Birthday wishes to your dad.

  22. Oh that big beautiful home tugs at my love for grand old houses! It’s quite tragic the family wouldn’t sell it and allow it to survive and thrive. I can’t imagine the little old lady wouldn’t want a family filling the rooms! There are so many beauties you stumble on and share! Thank you for sharing!

  23. I have trouble quilting while watching Call the Midwife as I end up not being able to see due to tears!

  24. Great picture of you and your dad! Who would have guessed that the little girl in the photo would someday be so famous and have 77,000+ internet fans! Alice Woodring

  25. How sad to see the lovely old houses just be allowed to fall down. Surprised the family wouldn't sell - I would have loved someone to bring it back to its former glory and modernise it all. But wonderful to see another being restored! Last year I purchased a 1930s 66 - it's a super treadle machine!

  26. Cool houses. My house started out as a one room schoolhouse.

  27. Thank you so much for telling about the old houses. I thought I was the only one that loved looking at these houses. They are so much like a old quilt. I truly wish they both quilts and old houses could talk. I would love to hear the stories they could tell about the families and friends that entered those doors and keep everyone warm during the nights. They are sad now but surely sometime in the past they were beautiful places full of love and laughter. Wish they could be that way again.

  28. I always love seeing the old houses and wish I had the energy, time, and money to buy them all and return them to their previous beauty. Call of the Midwife - one of my favorites. I so look forward to your blog each day. Thanks!

  29. There is a McCay's Used Books in Knoxville, too. You need hours free to go in there. I could spend the day.

  30. I feel the same way with old buildings and my imagination tells beautiful stories. I always want to get out a explore the builds.

  31. Thanks so much for showing us these beautiful old houses in your blogs. I, too, like to think about families living in them and how life must have been when they were built. As an only child, I used to love to go with my parents to visit families with lots of kids who lived in those large old houses (and these houses were old, even then, and I am a great-grandma now; yet it seems just like yesterday!); my favorite thing was to be able to play in the attic with all the kids and dress up in the old fashions and high-heeled shoes! What fun! Your Dad is a very handsome man, such a cute picture of you both! And, "It's OK If You Sit On My Quilt" was the first quilting book I purchased when I first became interested in quilting, a dear friend told me about it; it's a wonderful reference book! I look forward to your blogs every day!

  32. The old houses remind me of what our house built in 1852, looked like when we bought and fixed it up. There was an outhouse in the back, no bathroom in house, very little electric wiring. New foundation,roof, siding, gutted and insulated.
    Don't sit on my quilt was one of the first books I purchased also.

  33. Thanks for the morning picker-upper. I always look forward to your blog first thing in the morning and love the positive way you start my day. MEH's "It's OK" book was one of my first and loved hearing her speak. Saw her several times and took the It's OK class several times. Made lots of baby quilts back in the day. Started one big one; unfortunately, it's somewhere in the UFO pile. Love the old houses. I lived in New England and used to love driving the back roads to see the beautiful old churches. We had lots of old houses in great repair in the little town I lived in. Also, great picture of your cute dad and you as a little one.

  34. I love old houses and have wished I could afford to re furbish one for my family to live in. My children are all grown now.
    I grew up in Pomona, Ca., there are many beautiful old houses. I think all or most of the old houses are still being lived in. I have never seen an old house in Pomona in falling down condition. Claremont, Ca. which is just north of Pomona has many big and small old homes that have been restored and are lived in. Just east of where I live is Ontario, Cal. with many beautiful old homes. It is wonderful to live just a few minutes away from all these beautiful old homes. There were many orange groves in Pomona when I grew up there in the 1940s. I have several of Mary Ellen Hopkins books. She came to our Nite Owl Quilt guild twice. Mary Ellen was so humorous and so full of knowledge.

  35. "It's okay if you sit on my Quilt" was my first quilt book, too & I still use it! One of the best IMHO.

  36. I noticed the name Thomas Mitchell on the sign... as in the actor who played the dad in Gone With The Wind?

  37. Mary Ellen's book was one of the first one's I purchased, also. Such good advice. I still miss her today.


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