Wednesday, April 30, 2008


After nearly a week of R & R, we are now back in the mountains....and still picking wood ticks off ourselves!  So much for bonding with nature.

For any of you in the area, or those that may be in the future....take note....  A new quilt shop has opened in the Waynesville area.  Quilters Quarters is located at 2020 Dellwood Rd. (828-926-0803), on the main highway between Waynesville and Maggie Valley.

I'll be presenting a trunk show/lecture, "What's Old is New Again", tomorrow at 2:00 PM as part of their grand opening month.  

Penny Iris, a smal, traditional style, embellished wool wall quilt is one of many examples that will be explored during the lecture.

Running Squared, a table runner,  is a contemporary design that too features embellished felted wool.  Working with felted wool is fun, easy, and fast....join me if you can tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So...back at the Barber Museum.....

This sure says it all!

And....around the track they came.....practically flying.  Riders have one knee down at the corners, I assume to keep them from falling over.  Tell me again....why is this a good idea to travel at such a high speed, protected only by leather and a helmet?

I caught 'the husband' looking longingly at this model.....he had one in the early 70's which was stolen from right behind our apartment building.  Of course it wasn't insured for theft...who thought of such things back then?

Not only does this Barber person collect motorcycle......but cars too....  Ya gotta admire the display talent!

No detail was overlooked.  Both the front and back wheels of each motorcycle, were perched on these itched stop guards.  Detailed signage was provided for every bike on display.

How about this for's a decorative air value stem.

Racing on pavement is crazy enough......apparently ice is even more challenging!

How cute is this?  I found a nice place to rest my weary bones.

Monday, April 28, 2008


As a quilter, I'm always thrilled to learn about a new quilt museum.  I was surprised to learn about Barber Vintage Museum    Nope, sorry, it's not a quilt museum.  It's located in Birmingham, AL in a pristine 5 story building, set alongside (according to 'the husband') one of the best race tracks in the country.

The museum is home to a collection of over 1,500 motorcycles, plus vintage cars and lots of other related items.   Apparently, Mr. Barber is rich, really, really rich.....and has a lot of time on his hands.  His fortune came from the milk business.

Most of the visitors to the museum come via motorcycles, all parked out front.  Notice the few cars in the parking lot!   We heard numerous languages being spoken as we strolled the floors.  

You enter the museum and are instructed to take a glass elevator to the 5th floor to begin the tour.  Not all 1,500 motorcycles are on view.....though it seemed like it.  About 650 are displayed at any given time and they are EVERYWHERE!

Each bike has its own wooden display stand and detailed signs are provided.  This view was taken from the 5th floor, looking down to the 4th.

Did I say there were about 650 motorcycles displayed....and of course, even in a 5 story building, that requires creative displays.  This rack runs through all 5 floors in the open atrium.

More photos will follow.....again, I'm having a terrible time posting to thinks too many people are using it.  It's frustrating to spend an hour trying to post photos with no success as I did last night.  Back with more interesting visuals of this amazing museum shortly.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Visiting Vicksburg National Military Park  is a stirring experience.  The surrender of Vicksburg by Confederate General John C. Pemberton to Union Major General Ulyssess S. Grant was a major turning point in the Civil War because the North gained control over the Mississippi River, allowing uninterrupted passage of troops and supplies.

We took a 16 mile battlefield tour through the park, climbing in and out of our car at every one of the 15 tour stops, as instructed by our audio assisted tour guide.  The information and details provided (markers in red for confederate and blue for union positions) helped to provide a visual (and scarier) understanding about the 47 day siege.  Many of the cannons, abandoned after the battle where they stood, illustrate how very, very close together the troops were as the  fighting occurred.  The famous words.....don't shoot until you can see the whites of their so descriptive of what it must have been like.

Looking at this defense makes one realize how primitive it was.

The State of Illinois dedicated this impressive memorial.

Inside the ceiling is open to the elements....note it's distinctive shape.

A design triumph.....the opening allows the light to cast a spotlight on the various sections as the day progresses.

'The husband' was in the 131st Infantry of the Illinois National Guard.  His unit was one of the few ever to have been 'called up' for federal duty more than once during peace time.  They served during the riots which occurred when Martin Luther King was killed and the Chicago Democratic Convention craziness!

Both David and I were born and raised in Wisconsin.  I'll always consider myself a Wisconsin gal.  This is their state memorial.  There are hundreds and hundreds of monuments, markers, statues, and other historic artifacts on view throughout the park.

The cemetery, with small square stones for the unknown soldiers and larger rectangular ones with names engraved will down right bring tears to your eyes.  I can not imagine the bravery of these men.  I didn't take photos, frankly, it didn't seem appropriate.

This plaque says it all.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit, you too will be awed by all you learn by this living history of the Civil War.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Today's journey began in Starkville, MS fairly early in the day in order to get some hiking in before it got too hot.  Yup, even at the end of April, it's warm here in this part of the country.  We stopped at the Jeff Busby site (he was a U.S. Congressman from Mississippi who introduced the bill that ultimately resulted in the Old Natchez Trace becoming a unit of the National Park System in 1934.  It's Mississippi's highest point (603 feet) on the parkway.

We burned off the calories from our dinner the previous night, before getting back in the car for a pretty full day of driving.

As a contrast to the highest point, we also walked trails through the cypress swamps.  This landscape begins about 120 miles from Natchez.  We assume it'd be brutal later in the year...happily there were no bugs at all.

However, I've already found 3 wood ticks in our car from our days in the woods.....naturally, I feel itchy just thinking about them.

Ahhhh, I am a happy camper tonight.  We changed our hotel reservation from Jackson, MS to Natchez.....and upon walking into our room, we sure hope we simply got upgraded....and not charged for this suite.  We had planned to overnight here on Fri. but moved it up so we could head over to spend the day tomorrow in Vicksburg where we want to visit the National Military Park and scene of the famous civil war battle.  

This view is only half of our fabulous room.....yeah!!!  We had a yummy dinner tonight at a local eatery....Blues and Biscuits.  David partook of ribs and chicken cooked out back.....I had a New Orleans style Muffalatta.  I decided to eat light so I could have chocolate bread pudding for dessert, but the sandwich was so huge, my pants couldn't expand any further.

It's been such fun exploring a part of our country that I've only read about. 


Today, (Thursday), we've traveled all the way to the end of the Parkway at Natchez.  We are staying at THE best Hampton Inn......really swell...again, being a hotel snob, I'm a happy camper.

The internet works like a here's some views of the incredible scenery we've seen so far.

This is just one of many water falls we hiked to while we traveled through Tennessee.  The river beds are mostly rock....therefore the water is crystal clear and the sound could lull anyone into a calm state.

When I said 'hike', I meant it.  Here's David as he's reached the top of one of the paths we hiked down....and of course then had to go back up!  We regretted not bringing our walking sticks on this hike....a mistake we didn't make in the future.  The rocks here must have been shale.....lots of broken layers that didn't provide good footing.  

Lewis Meriweather's burial site.....of the Lewis and Clark fame.  He died as a result of gunshot wounds......there is some suspicion it might have been self-inflected.

The mounds are in the background....not nearly as impressive in the photo as in person.  The splotches of red are crimson clover.  A plant that was totally unfamiliar to me.  It's seen along roadsides on the parkway and highways....from Alabama to Natchez.

From a distance this plant appears almost maroon, but up close it is definitely crimson.  To think we actively fought clover in our yard.  I wonder this variety would grow in the midwest?What a concept, plant and enjoy the color!

One of the many, many historical stops we visited along the parkway was this confederate grave site.  Frankly, it was pretty moving.  The 13 graves faced the actual trace trail, apparently to greet other soldiers to greet them as they passed.  These are replacement markers, sadly, vandals destroyed the originals. 


Good morning.....I still can't get my photos to post on's a link to the Natchez Trace Parkway

Yesterday we explored the Meriwether Lewis  monument area, did a 2 hr. hike.  The fragrance of Columbine was so sweet, I almost hyperventilated trying to enjoy every breath.

One amazing site was all the crimson clover growing along the roadways, both along the trace and Hwy 82, (our route to Starkville, MS where we overnighted)

Off for another adventure today, hopefully I can get my photos posted tonight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Darn it...I have great photos of our adventures today and I can not get blogger to load them.  

Will keep thinks blogger gets busy at night and that's the problem.  Secondly, the hotel's internet is less than adequate as's been a fun day and will share as soon as possible.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We are now approaching the 2 year mark (at the end of June) of our move from the midwest, to southern 'the husband' and I decided it was about time that we get 'out and about' and explore.

We are spending the next week traveling the Natchez Trace Trail.  It's sometimes referred to as the first super highway....colonial style.  It runs about 400 miles from south of Nashville, TN, thru AL, and into Mississippi.  Similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the speed limit is a slow 40 mph....all the better to see the scenery.

We've only made it to Columbia, TN, after leaving our house at about 9:00 rush as we walk the many trails and visit the historial sites along the trace.  

The trace (or trail) is now a paved roadway, but several sections of the original trail are still available for hiking and horses.  I can't imagine the hardship as travelers made their way, generally on foot in years past.  

The dogwoods are in bloom beautiful.  The landscape is diverse, from low mountains, rolling hills, to lush valleys.

These charming fences are found frequently along the roadways.

Oh....and the red buds......they are in full bloom too!!

As some of you may know.....I'm a bit of a hotel snob.  In these more remote areas, there aren't lots of options.  We'll be seeking reservations at Hampton Inns along the way, one chain that is generally reliable for its cleanliness and comfort.  Tonight's stay is in Columbia, TN.  Because I'm a frequent sleeper at this Hilton chain, we apparently got upgraded......refrig., microwave, and whirlpool tub.

Though I've stayed a many, many hotels, I've NEVER seen anything like this.  The tub is accessed through an opening in the wall next to the king size bed.  Seriously.....this is so weird. It's like they cut out a hole in the wall and stuck in a tub.

The shower is in a separate room, (along with the commode and sink).....but look at the size of this's tiny.  Literally it's like an upright coffin....smaller than any shower I've seen on a cruise ship.

Travel is always so full of surprises......I'll be keeping my eyes open and will report other discoveries as our adventures continue tomorrow.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


WOW!!!  I've now moved (hummmm North or South from Fort Myers.....being directionally challenged, who knows where I am) to visit with the Naples Quilt Guild.  Today was my second day of workshops here.  Again, Florida quilters have awed me with their creativity. What do they have for breakfast?

There is no question, the allure of working with felted wool is growing rapidly....yup even in Florida.  No worries, these projects are wall hangings, so climate doesn't matter.  The focus of my class is embellishing felted wool collage designs.  Despite my best efforts, not all the photos I took today turned out (sorry girlfriends!) ......however, the following is a sampling of the fantastic creativity students displayed in class.  I hope the projects inspire you too!

I'm heading back to our mountain life in Crabtree, NC early tomorrow......lights out....nite, nite