Friday, April 11, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

it's picnic time

Work was slow this week and I actually got a quilt started and finished!  

watched some quilting videos - "find a large flat space to lay out your quilt sandwich, tape down with blue painter's tape"

"put extra tables around your work space to support the weight of the quilt"

grass-green backing fabric - in case the quilt is actually going to be used for a picnic blanket

as I was down on one knee in the wet grass the thought came to me - do I just make things so I will have something to photograph?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Melissa and Keith went to California

Carrie and Daniel went on a cruise after stopping on the way to do the Bacon Race 

Kyle and Madison went to Florida to see their cousin get married 

It seems like everyone in the family is traveling except us - we are usually the ones away from home, lately it is reversed! We are happy to keep the home fires burning, feed the pets, etc. Glad everyone is back home safe now!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

picnic basket

Picnic Basket quilt - a free pattern from Martingale

The pictures on the pattern are nice soft colors, subtle… I apparently don't understand subtle, my version ended up very Bright… like put on your sunglasses bright…

This is the first time in a long time that I am making something that is not going to someone else. There is no deadline, no color matching. It is very liberating, to just do something for the fun of it with no pressure. Of course while sewing I kept thinking of who I could give it to eventually.

Sticking to my expertise of only squares and rectangles... this one was lots of fun and went together very fast. Picked out the fabrics at Wal-Mart which is an experience in itself. The prices are so much cheaper than the quilt store and they usually have fun novelty fabrics (like watermelons and ladybugs), but you have to take the bad with the good. Like service. Which is usually pretty good, but I apparently was there at shift change and waited 15 minutes when finally the little old lady from the dressing rooms came over and tried to figure it out. And while waiting, you get to see lots of folks, as the fabric is on the aisle to the bathrooms, saw Amanda and her girls!

Then a teenager came up with her prom dress in a long bag and said she needed some fabric to match her dress so her mom could take the fabric to the tux rental to match a cummerbund, she just stood there waiting for someone to fetch her a piece of fabric. The dressing room/fabric lady told her to help herself. The girl looked clueless, so I offered to help, and asked to see the dress. She showed me and said the color was called 'pink grapefruit'. I told her if the seams were big enough she could just snip some fabric from a seam and take that to match, she looked at me like I had lost my mind, cut her dress? So I started walking down the aisle to look for a similar color while she just stood at the cutting table to wait for me. I motioned for her to walk with me… and got more of the story - her mom was going out of town to get a good tux, not a local Ellijay tux :). I asked if it had to be fabric or did she need just a color, as there were other options like yarn or silk flowers (seeing these things as I was going down the aisle), when I noticed her nail polish, it was the exact color. I suggested she go look at the nail polish colors and pick out one of those to send. I told her my granddaughter was going to the prom, Madison, and she said, "I know her, she is in my grade. You are Madison's grandmother?" Sorry Madi hope I didn't embarrass you :).

Back to cutting my fabric at the table, the lady finally got all the pieces cut, more folks were waiting by now, and then she had to figure out the scanner. I miss the days when we had a real fabric store in town, but shopping at Wal-Mart is always an experience and often entertaining. 

free pattern HERE

Monday, March 31, 2014

just another day in the woodyard

Sophie helping grandpa

So what if the temp is in the 30s? You know what they say, when you cut/split your own firewood it warms you twice. 

Wood splitting project done! well except for the hauling and stacking. And what is that bright shiny new toy?

He said 'we' needed one of those new vertical wood splitters, easier on the back for the old man. Then he brings out a folding chair? What?

all tuckered out

Thursday, March 27, 2014

small town doc

In this day of fast-paced, assembly line, find a doc on a list, impersonal medical experiences, the home town doc is a thing of the past. Even more so now that a local dentist has retired. Dr. John Walton has been in the same little office for 32 years, on the side of the road by the movie theatre way before there was a movie theatre there, across the road from Home Depot and Wal-mart, when he started out the view was just trees.

Dr. Walton was never in a hurry, would sit and talk for as long as you wanted to. Over the years we have heard all about Dr. Walton and his family and activities. He used to work on wooden boats, he likes to go to Asheville, he likes to hike. We heard about his daughter who had a brain tumor when she was younger, all about his son going to college.

On my last visit, after checking on my new crown, instead of the usual chit chat, the doc disappeared into the next exam room. I looked over at Anissa and said, "Gee, I was going to at least shake his hand, tell him bye." She said, "Don’t even go there or he will lose it."

Then while checking out, Joan talked about how they watched Carrie grow up from a child into a 30-year-old woman… then she started in, glassy-eyed and sniffling.

The girls in the office, Joan and Anissa, upon finding out last fall about the impending retirement, started planning a memory book for the doc, and asked all of us patients/friends to contribute something for the book. I hope is it overflowing with good memories, just a small token of the impression he has made on all of our lives.

Dr. Walton,

You have an excellent 'chairside' manner. You always greet me like an old friend, asking about the family etc. At one point I wondered if you had notes in the chart like, "She worked at the hospital, she likes hiking - kids are Melissa and Carrie - ask where Buddy is working now".

You distract us by telling stories. One of my favorites is about when your son went to camp and forgot his toothbrush, a whole week - a dentist's nightmare! Stories about hiking, boat building, your family. When I get home from the dentist, Buddy asks, "What did the Doc have to say today?" Or when Carrie comes from the dentist, she calls and says, "Dr. Walton says Hi!"

Thank you for taking care of our family all these years. And thanks for not reporting us to the authorities when Carrie came in with a busted lip/tooth from her 'scooter accident'.

I hope you enjoy your early retirement. Continue on your quest to find the perfect hiking trail (one without bugs, snakes, or poison ivy) and let us know if you do. Enjoy the peacefulness of nature along the way.

Keep in touch, we are on Facebook and blogs and if you are lucky we will sign you up for Buddy's annual Christmas Letter!

The Tidwells - Buddy, Susan, Melissa, and Carrie

Monday, March 24, 2014

senior advice

went to lunch with my OLDer sister-in-laws (? sisters-in-law), today is the OLDest one's birthday (Kay Curbow is 72!). These two OLDer ladies ordered first, receiving the SENIOR discount, then the server gave me the senior discount by association - GEESH!

These ladies are always entertaining and have a wealth of experience to share with us younger folks, like…

Always take your coupons

Always ask for the senior discount

And my favorite - advice on greeting cards - from my sister-in-law Sue some random person… "I have a whole collection of greeting cards - birthday, anniversary, valentines, every special occasion I just pull a card out of my stash and give it to my husband Alan, he admires it and thanks me and lays it aside - after a few days I pick it up and put it back into the stash for next year. I make sure not to put any dates or ages, he doesn't remember, I have been doing that for years!" ladies - let's keep this one a secret!

senior mail

Son-in-law Keith walks in and sees our mail on the kitchen counter 
and says to Buddy, "Didn't you used to get Playboy?"

and last but not least - we watched Last Vegas over the weekend, 
it was pretty good! (for a bunch of senior citizens)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

yard work

colors of spring - yellow blue green

sliced and diced

a slice of life - wrinkles, rough edges, curves

reduce, reuse, recycle

last year's bird nest - will it be reused?

Friday, March 21, 2014


we had some trees taken down that were leaning toward the house...

so now we have LOTS of firewood

the good thing is it is close to the house

the bad thing is it needs to be cut up and split

party this weekend - wood splitting and hauling and stacking - woohoo!

the woodshed will be full for next winter

I was just wishing I could get outside in this nice weather... 

be careful what you wish for

Thursday, March 20, 2014


vernal equinox, the first day of spring, once again
a.k.a. Here Comes the Sun!
how we look forward to this every year
the end of cold weather
the hope of sunny days

the first day of spring, once again
like the bright blooms that pop out of the ground
it is time to come out of hibernation
and enter the world once again
the world outside work and these four walls

the first day of spring
this day reminds me that time is passing by so fast
is there anything but work to do
are there no trails calling my name
is there no beach waiting for my footprints

the first day
of the rest of my life
is here, is calling,
is today!

Monday, March 10, 2014

hidden treasure

Niece Heidi inherited the house next door, the one built by her grandparents and filled to the rafters with their stuff. After the folks passed away in the 90s we cleaned out literally truckloads of stuff and by the time Heidi moved in we thought it was fairly empty - well except for the attic, nobody wanted to tackle that job!  Over the years Heidi has been gradually upgrading and remodeling and restoring  - mostly a lot of repairing - and she sometimes comes across more boxes of stuff hidden away.

A while back, she told me she found a box of Two-Mama's quilt tops. I told her - how timely - since her two nephews are getting married this year and they will certainly each need a quilt. She asked about getting the quilts finished and I told her about the lady I use for quilting. We went down there this weekend to see her latest construction project, and she pulled out the box of quilt tops, opened it, and wow! Double Wedding Ring quilt tops! I didn't even know Two Mama made this pattern, I only ever saw her Dresden Plate. One, two, three? She said you want 'em? Take them please, otherwise they will just be packed up here in this box. I reminded her again about her nephews' weddings and she said, well these are pink, why don't you finish them for your girls?

One is a lavender color, size 92 x 110, scalloped all around except for across the top (pictured above outside)

Another one is yellow, size 92 x 110, squared up all around. (When I pulled this one out - Buddy said Sponge Bob colors?)

Then there is this pink one - actually two 56 x 110 with lots of extra pieces in this color. Not sure if it was going to be two twin sizes or sewn together?

My granddaughters Madison and Racheal came for Sunday dinner and I showed them the quilt tops. Madison immediately latched onto the lavender one and Racheal the pink one(s). The girls laid out the two sections of the pink and found pieces already cut to fit them together to make one big quilt. 

Wow, a blast from the past. Two Mama would sit in her chair and watch her stories, cutting and piecing quilts by hand. No rotary cutter or sewing machine. Just look at all those stitches!

Two-Mama and Melissa 35 years ago.

I am so excited about this find, thank you Heidi and of course Two-Mama. I will take good care of these treasures!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March flowers

The March flowers are back, as is my annual homage to the strong mountain women and their lasting legacy.

Folks come and go, houses are built up and fall down, but the March flowers come back every spring, strong and persistent like the women who planted them, not only the first color of spring but a reminder of the past, bringing a smile to all who pass by.

Osborn Farm - I look forward to the flowers and this pastoral scene every spring on nearby Clear Creek Road.

Pearl Foust - a friend to everyone, neighbor, AT hiker, African missionary, nurse, lover of dogs, she could grow anything.

Asta Mealer - her house is gone here by Turkey Creek, but her memory lives on in the hearts of her friends and family.

Mae Reece - another strong mountain woman who lived here on Burnt Mountain all her life, I remember her drying apples on screen wire on the front porch.

Osborn sisters - I didn't know them, but the story goes... two sisters married two brothers and lived together working the farm and store.

Lola Mealer - I remember sitting on her front porch and listening to her stories, my favorite was about the time Granny Gatewood walked down the road and set a spell, taking a break from her walk on the Appalachian Trail.

An unknown homeplace nearby, now being turned into a vineyard.

Inez - I imagine that instead of her planting these flowers, it was her loving husband, perhaps these are his legacy

In memory of the all strong women who used to live nearby - Inez, Asta, Pearl, Mae, Lola Mealer, Bessie and Emma Osborn - ladies your flowers are once again blooming right where you left them, thanks for the smiles.

~originally posted in 2010