Backroad Therapy

The past couple of weeks have been filled with busyness; so we decided on a day of exploring.  Our country drive took us past peaceful scenes of green, pastures filled with cows, fields of hay just mown – and some just baled, and irrigation systems at work.  We were headed to Molena and Woodbury, to check shops we like in those towns, and Zebulon to visit the bookstore.

We explored several antique stores.  A few items came home with us but we mostly collected ideas.  Ideas for the porches, for decorating, for repurposing some old crates and boxes and cans.

Most shops weren’t very busy (one of the perks of being retired and being able to shop on weekdays) so we had Interesting conversations with shop proprietors.  There was the lady who had a midnight visit from a female cardinal in her workshop, there was the handyman who built a bench from an old spool bed, and we missed the Corgi named Macon in one of our regular shops.  It seems her owner had errands to run before opening the shop today, so Macon got the day off. We met Macon on an earlier visit I shared here.

The other customers who did appear offered opportunities for people watching and people listening.  I overheard a man say, “we could buy this and I could strip it down to the original wood.”  He was referring to a table I’ve admired before.  I admired it in part for its wonderful new chalk-paint finish.

Lunch was high on the agenda, because we remembered the fabulous food at The Blackbird Cafe.


The place is entrancing with tables and light fixtures made from pipes, peeling plaster revealing brick beneath, and condiments corralled in sewing machine drawers.  The food is wonderful, too.  Their homemade kaiser rolls were still warm from the morning’s oven and were just as heavenly as we had remembered.  Yum.

We were there early, so the photos showing the space without people is misleading.  The people did come.  They do come.  Every day.

 

More walking, more exploring, more driving about.  Then we went to Red Oak Covered Bridge. It’s the oldest in Ga, and you still drive across it.  We both marveled at the same feature – no graffiti.  Wow.  There is a sign saying “No Graffiti – $1000 fine”.  Maybe Meriwether County officials enforce that.

Another day spent enjoying the world, seeing the beauty close to home, and treasuring the pleasure of the moment.  Those are important goals since two funerals were included in our busyness recently.  Death is a part of life, but when it comes to someone we know, especially when it’s unexpected, we are reminded to enjoy the everyday.  Yesterday we did just that.

Sunday School Picnic

Another family photo has become a quilt.  This image of my husband’s grandparents was taken sometime around 1915, probably at Stone Mountain, GA.  The occasion was a Sunday School picnic.

I printed the image on a bit of vintage linen napkin, painted his tie, and machine stitched using free-motion quilting.  The rickrack frame is hand stitched around the photo on a layer of hand-dyed cotton fabric.


I used metallic thread to stitch the red layer to a vintage quilt remnant using a seed stitch, adding a bit of sparkle.

The label is a vintage coaster stitched to the old quilt remnant, too.  The final piece measures 12″ x 14″.

Westward Journey

We are home.

After our trip west to see the country, we are home. After 4788 miles, 18 days, 10 states, 15 nights in 11 hotels, and uncountable memories, we are home.


Even though we know travel to be a great educator, Jim and I are home bodies.  We love to get out and explore our world, but we typically make short trips of a few days’ duration.  This time, we were combining a photography class Jim was taking with friends with a chance to see the southwestern US by car.

So off we went, visiting some friends along the way, and seeing the landscape.  Our route to Arizona was along I-10 heading west and I-40 coming back.  Every day, we ventured off those interstates and saw some of the country from back roads.  Priceless sights included rice fields in Louisiana, bluebonnets and poppies in Texas, numerous new species of birds, new species of trees,  jackrabbits, tumbleweeds, shadows on adobe walls, and natural wonders like White Sands and the Grand Canyon.

There were many opportunities to do some people watching, and people listening.  There were lots of photos taken, Jim focusing on birds for his class, and on traditional landscapes.  I did some of the same and added to my album of street photographs – of people unaware.

We drove through the Texas Hill Country during bluebonnet season and visited the McDonald Observatory.  We toured the Desert Museum in Tucson, saw vast skies in daytime and at night, even saw a falling star over the Grand Canyon.  We saw snow-capped mountains, purple mountain majesties, lots of trains and windmills. We drove sections of the old route 66.

As we crossed the White and Cache Rivers in Arkansas, I had my camera ready, but we saw no Ivorybills.

Names of roads and towns fascinated us. Sundust Road,  Wild Horse Pass, Dead Man Wash, Bloody Bases Road, Horsethief Basin; Checotah, Henryetta, and Lotawatah Road, Oklahoma.  Wilderado, Muldrow, Porum, and Parkin.  And, back in Georgia, another new one: Hog Liver Road.

Unplanned stops at local parks, a farmers’ market, and antique stores gave us a glimpse into the lives of the people living in all these places.  That’s what we wanted to
see – people living their everyday lives; not catering to tourists.

For many of the miles, we didn’t play music, just marveling at the scenery and talking about how the pioneers must have felt following the trail westward.  At other times, we chose music of the area: Jimmy Buffett near Mobile, Al,  Jackson Browne and the Eagles in Winslow, AZ, Gillian Welch and Kate Wolf in Arkansas.

Inspiration for colors and design were everywhere.  The landscaping and decoration on the highway system in AZ is full of graphic designs which would easily translate to quilting.  As I studied the abundant cacti, I envisioned stitching them using tailor’s tacks and french knots (or Jude Hill’s thread beads) to mimic their textures.

Though the beauty of the southwest was magnificent,  Springtime in Georgia was a welcome sight!