Saturday, July 17, 2021

This Old Dirt Road -

One of the things I love about hosting retreats is reminding folks that this is THEIR retreat to spend however they want.

There are no "Musts."

There are only "Your choice!"

Do you want to sleep in after sewing until 3am?  Go for it!

Do you want to go bed early so you can be up with the birds, enjoying your coffee on the back porch at 6am?  DO IT!

I remind folks that the word "RETREAT" means to BACK AWAY.  This is our chance to back away from all that is pressuring us in our real lives, and just BE.

For some who don't get as much time to spend with their sewing machines due to jobs and family life - that may mean they are pedal-to-the-metal the entire time here, digging in to that productivity they've longed for.  GO FOR IT!

For others - it may mean a group road trip to a near by quilt shop and some sight seeing of our beautiful Blue Ridge mountain scenery. To enjoy the green slopes covered in Christmas tree farms and dotted with old country churches and cemeteries along the way.

And still for some - those 4 of us left - it meant getting out for a mid-morning leg stretch, some photography opportunities, and a whole lot of visiting and chatting and reconnecting along the way.

Yes, it's true.  Some leaves are turning already.

And there is more bee balm in bloom!

And not a cloud in the sky!

What would you call this vibrant color?  It's not quite fuscia - it's more like an American Beauty rose. LOVE its vibrancy!

More bachelor buttons? or are the Cornflower?

I'm not sure - they don't have as many petals as those I've seen when looking online and the stem is different. But this periwinkle blue color is So pretty.

Siobhan brought her big girl camera.

I can't wait to see her close up photos.

Hiking up hill, and hearing what my fellow explorers think -

I'm so happy to share my beautiful surroundings!

Almost completely hidden now!

More leaves turning color here - just starting.

It's only freaking July!

As we were walking, we ran into Mr. Smith who has been a fountain of knowledge when it comes to this area.  He has lived here his whole life - in fact the two large unoccupied farm houses belonged to long-ago family on both his and his wife's side.

He had been standing at the side of the road, talking to another gentleman in a pickup truck, as neighbors tend to do in these parts - window down, truck idling.

We all stopped to say hello - he has a new puppy!  (Nothing gets walking quilters all gushy as much as a new puppy does!)  And I asked about the history of this old house here.

"It belonged to one of the Halsey family" was all he could remember, and went on to say "All this property on the Virginia side was Halsey land. But as soon as you cross into North Carolina, it became McMillan land."  SO interesting!

Brown-eyed Susans on Halsey land!

Such a gorgeous blue sky -

The old Halsey place.

Halsey place in mid summer.

At the state line with one foot on McMillan land!

Concentrating so hard on the selfie - didn't realize my tongue was out.


McMillan land on the NC side.

With just 4 of us, and feeling quite able bodied - we continued up.  It gets more hilly past the county line sign - but we took our time, rested for breathers - the view would be worth it, I promised.

And it was - 

I love taking groups up here - the view of surrounding mountains is magnificent.  

Summer grasses growing tall.

Folks were back from shopping by 1pm-ish.  Lunch on the porch was grand.  Folks got back to sewing.

I headed home mid afternoon for a NAP!

Fire pit at dusk!

This kind of gathering - the highlight of my summer!

We laughed and laughed as Janie started us all with a "pass around" story.  Have you ever done that?

The first person says a sentence or two to get the story started, and ends with an AAAAAAAANNNNNDDDD...passing the telling of the story to the next person in the circle who adds to it sending the story in any number of silly directions. FUN!

It was a great day.  It was a wonderful day.  It was bedtime when I got home, and I slept the sleep of the happily exhausted.

And today we do it again!  I've got this group until Tuesday, and we are going to fill it with as much memory making as we can.

Hiking to see the ponies has been put off for either tomorrow or Monday depending on the incoming rain that hasn't manifested itself yet.

Today is for sewing.

How is your Saturday shaping up for you?

Fabrics from 1980s all the way to today -

Scraps in all colors, in every genre and variety.

You cheered me on as I made block after block after block in this adorable size - and watched as it was assembled, quilted, and bound.

And now you can start your OWN Rockabilly Swing journey with my PDF pattern which includes the printable paper foundation template.

The introductory price of Rockabilly Swing has been placed 25% off at $9.00 through July 31, 2021.  No coupon code needed. 

Rockabilly Swing is paper foundation pieced.  I have used Carol Doak's 8 1/2'' X 11'' Foundation Paper with much success.  It is available in the Rulers, Notions & Tools section of the Quiltville Store. (Limited supply)

You can also find it in the Quilting All the Time category of the Quiltville Amazon Affiliate Store  Direct link HERE.

You can also use 8 1/2'' x 11'' newsprint, though it doesn't like some printers. (I get jams occasionally on mine)  It is also available HERE.

If this is your first time downloading digital patterns from my store to a computer click HERE.

If you intend to download to an iPhone/iPad click HERE.

And YES!  We are having a Gift-Away!  Did you enter on THAT POST?

Our winner will receive the PDF pattern for Rockabilly Swing AND a Jumble of Color roll from Cotton to Quilts!

If you are also in need of neutral stash enhancement, hit up Cotton to Quilts and see what Irene has curated just for you!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Working through the scary things brings more confidence, did you know? ⁣

And actions always speak louder than words. Always!

Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!



  1. I believe those blue flowers are Chicory.

    1. I agree, Stephanie. Here in upstate NY they grow on the roadside together with day lilies and Queen Anne's lace. Mother Nature is a fantastic gardener and creates such pretty combinations! Only, we don't have bee balm growing wild; here it is a garden center purchase, and my one plant has spread to embrace the pink spectrum from "American Beauty rose" to a very deep cherry red. Quilting activities today .... make some templates for Rockabilly Swing and sew a few blocks. :-)

    2. they are indeed chicory

    3. Agree! Chicory.

  2. I think so also. I live in Central NY and that is what they call it here.

  3. Yes, the cornflower blue flowers are chicory. It is not native, having travelled to North America with the early European explorers & settlers. It is widespread now in all suitable habitats.

    1. I see, that's why I know them here in Switzerland. Our ancestors used to make some sort of coffee with the dried and rosted roots.

  4. Sounds like the perfect kind of retreat... every photo was fun to see!

  5. Love the finale quote today. So very true. Have a great weekend!

  6. I agree with Chicory. It hit me yesterday when I was driving by a bank of them. At least that is the common name for it around East Tennessee

  7. There is an app where you can take pictures of flowers etc and it will identify the plant for you. Not sure what it's called, but one of my friends has it. If you can't locate it, let me know and I'll find out

    1. the one I use is called Plant Identification. They use the latin names and it has been so very helpful.

  8. The blue wildflowers are called chicory.

  9. This quote from today sure applies to you and all of the things that you do for others. Know that you are appreciated for your kindness.

  10. Every time you take a walk with your retreaters, those of us who wish we were there find something new and beautiful to look at. Now you can add some more to your history of the Halsey and McMillan families to your tours. I hope someone sees these old homes and maybe someday renovates them because they are so beautiful.

  11. Yes, the flowers are chicory. A beautiful wildflower that grows alongside our roads here in VA. I love them so much that I have even asked the DMV not to mow them down!

  12. I know those blue flowers along the highways as chicory. Love it.

  13. These nature pictures are breathtaking and when considered in the context of quilting, an activity we all enjoy and love, they are ven more special. Many patterns include so beautiful flowers. Gorgeous.
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  14. I also think the blue flowers are chicory. The roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. I'd call the bee balm color "hot pink".

  15. Hi Bonnie, this is Sharron from the Bali trip in 2012. Wonderful to see my fellow Pieceful Hearts Guild members up there! Ya'll have fun :) Hugs

  16. Love the pictures! Can not tell you how many times I passed through your area on I77 on my way to and from Athens, Ga to visit my uncle. Love the mountains! We always stopped in Mt Arey for gas. Have driven the Parkway. I guess I am just a mountain girl. Someday I will get to visit you.

  17. We understood that chicory was also known as cornflowers. I find them interesting that they are everrything from light blue toa deep perriwinkle. They weere alloverr in Germany as well. We also have wild batchelor buttons around us but they are definitely a light purple color and they have different petals.

  18. I’m pretty sure the blue flowers are cornflowers.


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