Jun 04 2014

It’s that time of year! Jump in the car for a road trip to see Barn Quilts.

Much like the Hex Signs posted on barns by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the eastern part of the United States, large plywood cutouts of quilt blocks have become popular sights in rural communities across the country. Placing quilt blocks on the side of barns and sheds, so they can be seen from the road, has brought auto traffic with income to towns otherwise lost to the Interstate Highway System.

Donna Sue Quilt Barn

Donna Sue and her Mother.

While the origin of Hex Signs has been lost, the recent advent of Barn Quilts is directly traceable to one woman, Donna Sue Groves, in Ohio, who bought a farm with her mother and wanted to spruce it up in honor of her mother’s love for quilting. Donna Sue is well known to quilters and Barn Quilt enthusiasts alike, and will be even more famous once a film about her is released. Called, “Pieced Together,” the movie is in production with an anticipated release of early 2015. Filmmaker Julianne Donofrio has been working on the film since 2009 and successfully ran a Kickstarter cloud funding campaign in the fall of 2013. Funds are still being solicited to enhance the final product, BTW, and by going to her Kickstarter post, you can still contribute.

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.08.51 PM

Many states with rural area have now set up Barn Quilt trails along with accompanying brochures to guide visitors on self-directed tours. Michigan has many such trails, offering an on-line PDF to be printed out here. There are many web sites devoted to Barn Quilts now, but one of the most inclusive is Barn Quilts Info, maintained by Suzi Parron, who with Donna Sue Groves wrote the book, Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement. It can be purchased on-line at Amazon and a link is found below.

Whether you make quilts, or just love to look at and sleep under them, the American Quilt Barn movement provides an enriching hobby and a great excuse to enjoy back road America.


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Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 9:47 pm Comments (0)
Nov 08 2011

Laura Hawkins grew up across the street from Samuel Clemens,
known as Mark Twain. She was the real Becky Thatcher.

Samuel Clemens wrote under a pen name of Mark Twain, writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876. Growing up in Hannibal, Missouri. a town located on the banks of the Mississippi River, he had plenty of stories because of the commercial traffic coming from and going to the great port of New Orleans, Louisiana. Everyone who’s heard of Tom Sawyer might have a sneaking suspicion that Tom represents a boyhood Mark Twain, but did you know that the little girl, Becky Thatcher, was inspired by a real person as well? Becky Thatcher’s real name was Laura Hawkins and she and Samuel Clemens grew up across the street from each other in Hannibal, MO.

This Becky Thatcher doll by Effanbee is for sale on eBay.
If you have an interest in her, click here.

Laura Hawkins is so closely associated to Becky, that Laura’s home where she lived across from Samuel Clemens in the 1840’s is now called the Becky Thatcher Home. Laura lived to be ninety-one years old. She married Dr. James Fraser and remembered Mark Twain as “only a common place boy” with a “drawling, appealing voice.” Gee whiz! With such life long adoration coming from Samuel Clemens, one would think she could muster a little more praise.

If you would like to read a delightful PDF sent straight
to you from the Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal, MO,
please click here.

At a time when literary females tended to sit in the parlor and do embroidery after they cooked meals and did the housework, the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher must have been exciting. Along with the runaway antics of Huckleberry Finn, another Mark Twain folk hero, the children displayed a sense of adventure that has captivated the hearts of readers ever since.

Becky Thatcher wants to set the record straight. She was never the weeping ninny Mark Twain made her out to be in his famous novel. She knew Samuel Clemens before he was “Mark Twain,” when he was a wide-eyed dreamer who never could get his facts straight. Yes, she was Tom’s childhood sweetheart, but the true story of their love, and the dark secret that tore it apart, never made it into Twain’s novel.

If you have an interest in Becky, hover your mouse over this link:
Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher

You don’t have to go to Hannibal, Missouri to visit Becky.
Invite her over to your home!

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Filed under: Heart,History — admin @ 6:36 pm Comments (0)

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