Floating on the Fork

Today is a muggy, soggy day and the North Fork of the Holston looks like coffee.    But not plain coffee…no no no!    This coffee is all fancy with color.    As Mike and I were driving on the golf cart (it’s the way we roll…it used to be a Porsche…what the heck happened???), we saw a procession of brightly colored kayaks floating by.    They were “floatin’ the Fork.”

“Hi…I said….I want to take your picture!”    “Will it be on Facebook?” they asked.

Floaters 1

“Even better… I replied.”   It will be on my blog called RiverCliff Cottage!”   Where ya from?

One said...”Kingsport!”

Floaters 2

Someone yelled…“Johnson City!”

Floaters 3

And another yelled…“Gate City!” (Probably in the blue canoe…Gate City…a Blue Devil.)

Floaters 5

The muggy day and coffee-colored river didn’t bother them.   At all! They were having fun.  And they were prepared. In the picture below, can you tell what’s wrapped tightly in the plastic bag? In the red canoe?

Toilet Paper

Ok…here’s the “poop”! It’s toilet paper! Ya never know! And might I say I love that two-person kayak. The girl in front knows how to kayak the North Fork!! You go girl!

Back in the woodshop, here’s a project that we’ve Mike has been working on. It’s my barn quilt for his shop exterior. He has multiple layers of paint on a well-sanded 4 x 8 piece of plywood. He used a latex outdoor paint since this will hang outside. It will be cut in half as our squares will be 4 x 4. I’ll have two barn quilt squares…not sure what the second will be, but the one we’re doing this week is definitely a Sawblade pattern.

Plywood Painted

The Sawblade pattern will be in these three colors. I’ll be taping this off tomorrow. Yay!

Sawblade Colors

I’m excited, since I’ve wanted to do this for a long, long time. I found my pattern off of this website. It’s the Cedar Falls, Iowa Tourism Group featuring the Quilts of Black Hawk County. Here’s a picture from that website that I found on Pinterest. The barn belongs to Kenny and Nancy McKenna and is called a Double Windmill. I’ve seen it also called Sawblade, and since it’s going on the woodshop, I called it by that name.

McKenna (1) Sawblade

I hope that in the future we have a Washington County, Virginia Quilt Trail.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage. Please come back or if you wish, looks for the word “comments” and leave me a comment.


Abingdon Quilt Block Party

If you love quilts (who doesn’t?) and you want to see some beautiful quilts, please go to Abingdon’s Quilt Block Party. There are about 20 businesses participating by displaying quilts. I went to Light’s Mill.   Love that place.

Light's Mill

I have two quilts in the party, but I wasn’t sure where they ended up. As it turns out, they were at Light’s Mill where about 100 quilts are displayed. It’s a great place to display the quilts. There are lots of pictures with this post. That’s my Harvest Spice quilt below taking up a lot of room. It was a nice surprise to find it so easily.

Quilt 1

And turning in the other direction…

Quilt 2

Other direction…

Quilt 3


Quilt 4


Quilt I 5


Quilt I 6

More…also upstairs was a little alcove of what I call “message” quilts or “love” quilts.  They were quilted for a cause.

Message Quilts

Please, Lord, bless the precious hands that quilted this one.

Breast Cancer Quilt


Quilt I 7


Quilt I 8

More..this one is eye catching.  It looks complimentary to Harvest Space.

Quilt I 9

More…recognize the quilt with the blues pictured below?  It is the 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt.

Quilt I 10

More…here it is again.  Thank you to the Carrier family…because of Billy and Patsy’s generosity, this quilt lives with me.

Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2013


Quilt I 11


Quilt I 12


Quilt I 13

More…very spring like in this area.

Quilt I 14


Quilt I 15


Quilt I 16


Quilt I 17

More…this looked simpler than some of the others.  I wonder if I could make it?   Are you kidding me?

Quilt I 18

More…this snowball design was one of my favorites.  So colorful.

Quilt I 19


Quilt I20

Whew! Aren’t they beautiful? I saw one name over and over again. “Mary Hogston.” If you know Mary, please tell her she has made some beautiful quilts.

Mary HOgston


Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2014

Chris, Margie and I went on a roadtrip to the Virginia Highlands Quilt Shop to see Kim (the owner). It’s time for the fabric selection of the Mendota Cemetery Quilt!! Do you like a white and red quilt? I hope so.

Crossroads Quilt

It’s hard to tell when looking at this picture, but it is going to be so beautiful.  Chris and Linda will be cutting it out next week and then the sewing will begin.  I’m going to prepare a Facebook page to follow its progress — from purchase to the time that someone owns it.  More about that in another post.

I’m glad we bought the fabric in Abingdon this year. Kim had done the quilting on the 2013 Cemetery Quilt, and we wanted to support her and to keep it local. She’s got such a nice quilt shop. I want to show you around.

Please someone find me and inject sewing talent into my head and hands. I just don’t have it, but I so want it!  I love this quilt. 

Fabric Quilt Display

Here’s some fabric shelves..how would some of these look in your stash?

Fabric Shelves 2

Some fall-themed fat quarters…honestly, I would have been all over these in September. Now, I’m drawn to spring colors.

Fall Fat Quarters

Oh my gosh…thread. Look at this!


A few things for those who like to make doll clothing. That’s not me, but my sister Nancy loves baby dolls.

Doll Items

After looking at all these wonderful fabrics and colors, we never waivered on red and white. It’s so clean. So cheerful and happy.

Fabric Red and White

There is much, much more at the Virginia Highlands Quilt Shop. If you go by and visit Kim, please tell her that her friends from Mendota sent you!

Did I tell you this year’s quilt is called “Crossroads?”   Our cemetery is about the crossroads we each will approach …when we leave this life and go to the next one.   The Mendota Cemetery ensures that our friends and neighbors making this transition can leave their earthly body behind with dignity and grace.

Mendota Cemetery Tree


Where Is Ruth’s Quilt Today?

Today Chris, Marie and I purchased fabric for the 2014 Mendota Cemetery Quilt. It’s going to be a beauty…A Heartbreaker…A Quilt to Love….and I’ll post on that later this week. But today’s post is about another quilt. Do you remember this quilt?

Quilt 3

Of course you do! I had it on my Facebook page and on RiverCliff Cottage numerous times asking if you’d like to buy a chance on the quilt. I was begging! Every week! This was the 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt. So many hours went into making this quilt. Chris Schanzenbach led the process. She is one of the most gracious women I know. Her hands at work…

Quilt 6

Machines whirring along. This is Margie — if we were in high school, and obviously we’re not, Margie would be voted “Best All Around.”  Definitely.

Quilt 4

This quilt raised almost $2,000 — all of which went to the Mendota Cemetery. It will be put to good use. The drive of the cemetery was resealed this past summer. We love that cemetery on the hill.

The quilt came to life as “I’ll Fly Away” and that is what is stitched onto the label of the quilt. See my name? Yes! I helped a teeny, tiny (really teeny, tiny) bit!  Everyone has a talent…Patsy is our lead sales person…I’m the PR person…Margie does it all…Chris is the lead quilter.   Linda is right in there with Chris.  Everyone pitches in.

Quilt 2

Initially, we drew for the quilt during the Mendota Homecoming. Over 1400 tickets had been sold spanning 42 states and 8 countries. Pretty cool for a little country quilt.

Quilt Tickets

The very first ticket sold was to Mrs. Ruth Rice, and that ticket turned out to be the winning ticket. Amazing.

Ruth Rice's Winning Ticket

In a very generous decision, Ruth’s family (she has been ill and is of an age where she does not get out), decided that the quilt would be immediately donated back to the Mendota Cemetery Association to be “re-raffled”. We called it “Ruth’s Quilt.” It just seemed right. More tickets were purchased, and a little under 600 tickets were sold between August and December for Ruth’s Quilt. I bought approximately 100. I wanted that quilt. I bragged that I had about a 1 in 5 chance of going home with the quilt. During the Mendota Christmas Dinner, we had the second drawing for the quilt. Chris reached in and drew out Billy Carrier’s name. Billy is Ruth’s son-in-law. It was settled. The quilt was meant to reside with the Rice/Carrier family. We laughed, congratulated Billy and went home. I recall my sister Nancy and I saying on the way home that “we just were not meant to have that quilt.”  Drat!

Screech!  Not so fast!!

That same night, Patsy and Billy called and said they wanted to drop in for a minute. They arrived at about 10 pm. They were carrying the “I’ll Fly Away”…”Ruth’s Quilt.” Billy, who I have known all my life along with Patsy, wanted to give me the most amazing gift I’ve ever received. I told him…then them…”No!”   It was too much! Seriously! I really said that! They reached out with the quilt, and oh…you might as well know…I jumped up and down! I was so happy!!

My Quilt

So now you know. I have “I’ll Fly Away…”Ruth’s Quilt.” Here it is draped over the chair. It’s actually moving to the bedroom in the spring, and I’ll show you pictures.

And the disclaimer…The person who sold a bunch of the tickets has ended up with the quilt!!   Please understand it was all above board!   And I’m in love with it. Please don’t hate me because I have this beautiful treasure.   I walk by it and touch it. I think of Ruth…I think of Billy and Patsy…I think of Chris…and I understand that “loving your neighbor” is not just words in Mendota, Virginia. We don’t always agree…we are all different…but we do love one another.

Thank you Billy and Patsy Carrier.


Needing Your Help With The Quilt

I’ve blogged about the 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt several times. Here’s one. It’s called “I’ll Fly Away.” I believe this quilt is a girl. I picked “her” up at the post office today to take “her’ picture. She loves lying around on my porch. She’s a queen! I’ll get better pictures in a few days.

Quilt 4

The talented Mendota women worked so hard on this quilt…many thanks to Chris, Linda, Margie, Lisa, Nancy and others who put in the required time. I pinned a few pieces. Once. My job is to help sell the quilt. I’m not sure how I got this job except that I don’t sew very well. I did get to sign it though.

Quilt 2

We’ve sold 550 tickets and have about 1000 remaining. It’s a beautiful quilt, but we’ve got to sell tickets to a lot of people, so I started thinking about a way to get more people interested. I prayed about it. So much trouble in the world, and there’s me…”excuse me…God…I know there is a lot going on…but can You give me some insight on how to sell 950 tickets for a really good cause?” No lightening…no thunder…so I went to sleep. When I work up this morning, I had an idea. God is not just a god of big things…I believe He’s interested in small things, too. Don’t you? Here’s the idea that I woke up with this morning.

I’m asking everyone on the my blog to support the quilt and buy tickets. All proceeds benefit the historic Mendota Cemetery — a lovely place that has never turned a family away in need nor charged a family. It relies on your love and support. However, this is not the idea. The idea is that in addition to asking you to purchase tickets…I’m asking you to help me in ensuring that every state in the United States has someone who purchases at least two tickets for a chance at winning this quilt. I’ve got Wyoming and Minnesota locked up and it’s not even 5:00!! Who do you know that lives away from here who might help us out? Who would love to own this quilt? Who loves rural America where we have to work really hard to get our mowing paid for because we want to continue honoring a tradition of helping families in need? Who wants to help because it’s the nice thing to do? I’m not beneath begging!

I’m having pictures developed of the quilt..better ones than what I’ve posted here. If you reach out to a family member or friend in another state and ask them to purchase a quilt ticket (actually at least two…I really wish for five), let me know how many tickets and what their address is, and I’ll send the tickets directly to them with a self-addressed, stamped envelope so they can easily return the completed stubs and their check. Easy as sitting in a rocking chair..

Quilt 3

Think about it and reply back to me on the blog or email directly to rivercliffcottage@gmail.com address. I love it that you take the time to read my blog. I’m sorry I must try and sell you tickets, but it’s important.

Here “she” is on the swing. She’d love to be swinging with you.

Quilt 1


The ‘I’ll Fly Away” Mendota Quilt

The 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt is almost done.  The quilting is finished and the binding will be started and completed next week.   Here’s your first peak…

I'll Fly Away Quilt

Sigh. Don’t you love it?

Do you think we can sell 1500 tickets @ $1.00 per ticket? The unveiling of “I’ll Fly Away” will be at the Mendota Cemetery Benefit by Dale Jett & Hello Stranger on Friday, April 26.     Those graves at the Mendota Cemetery are reason enough to try.  This community cemetery has never turned anyone away nor charged for burial.


Mendota Cemetery Quilt Progress Report

Hi!   I have not been on the RiverCliff Cottage blog for a few days.  I couldn’t find my camera cord!   Tonight, I found it in the car, and I was so happy!    Grabbed it and…here I am!

On Wednesdays, a group of ladies meet in the afternoon at the Mendota Community Center.   It really should be Hamilton School because our Mendota children that attend public school shouldn’t be put on a schoolbus in the dark and returned home in the dark, but there are others that must answer to that poorly made, badly thought out, disgusting and selfish decision.    Can you guess my opinion on this?      

Anyway, back to the quilt.   Do you remember the name of it?   I’ll Fly Away.   We sing this at church.    Some glad morning when this life is over,  I’ll fly away.   To a home on God’s celestial shore,  I’ll fly awayI’ll fly away, O Glory,  I’ll fly away. In the morning…  

Months ago I posted about a trip to get the fabric.   Here’s the post,  but here’s a picture of the fabric that was selected. 

Fabric for Mendota, Virginia Cemetery Quilt

There’s been steady work on the quilt since that day, and I stopped in and pinned eight squares and checked on the progress.  

Here’s what the quilt currently looks like…there’s been a lot of cutting going on.   In my mind’s eye, I see all of the ladies jumping up on the table singing.. “There’s a Whole Lotta Cuttin’ Goin’ on!”     Jerry Lee Lewis on the piano, the Mendota ladies singing into their scissor mics.   

Check out those little squares that have been pieced together.

Quilt 1

Here’s a test.  What do these squares have in common?  Scroll down for the answer.

Quilt 2

The answer is that the blues always face the upper lefthand corner!   Did you notice that?     That is one of the things I learned Wednesday.   Here’s some more squares.  The ladies who are leading this quilt project have a firm vision of what the completed I’ll Fly Away quilt looks like.

Quilt 3

Here’s Margie…sewing up a storm.    Yep…she’d definitely be up on the table singing.

Quilt 4

Mendota hands working at putting pieces together.  I love this.

Quilt 5

And…more Mendota hands sewing away on this vintage Singer.  
Quilt 6

 This quilt will be “coming out” on Friday, April 26, when Dale Jett & Hello Stranger return to Mendota for the second annual Mendota Cemetery Benefit.    




Please Help Me!

Next Wednesday I am off and I’m taking my camera with me to see (and maybe help a little) the progress of the Mendota Cemetery Quilt.  I’ve heard it called “stunning.” 

Quilting fills so many roles in a rural life.   It’s a necessity, an art, a magnificant gift, a frusteration, and a great way to raise money.  Everyone could use a good quilt, and most everyone can spare a dollar for a chance on a quilt.

In just a few weeks, this sweet quilt will find its way home with someone.  It was quilted by Ruby Smith.  Ruby is 96. She was my mother’s dearest friend.    I “sharpened” this image.  Look closely.  Tiny, perfect stitches by a hand that has known 96 years on this earth. 

Goodson Kinderhook Fire Department Quilt

All of the proceeds will benefit the Goodson Kinderhook Volunteer Fire Department.  No matter how you vote, who your family is,  whether you talk Yankee or Southern, or whether you go to this church or that church, if you smell smoke, you’re going to call 911.   Following that call, as soon as humanly possible, a big red truck with the sole purpose of putting a fire out– or  saving your life or even sometimes your pet’s life, is going to pull in your driveway.    

Please help us raise money for the the Goodson Kinderhook Volunteer Fire Department.  Tickets for this quilt are $1.00 each.  Please consider buying….just $5.  If you live a long ways off, please still consider buying the tickets.  If you send me your address, I’ll send you the tickets with a self addressed stamped envelope for you to return your check and the stubs for drawing back to me. 

If you live nearby, yet it’s still not convenient for you to hook up with me, just send me your address.   We’ll do the same as if you live outside the area. 

I would love to sell 100 chances on this quilt.  Please help me. 

Thank you.



Mendota Cemetery Quilt 2013

Hi! I’ve been gone for a few days. Well, not gone, but not online. I’m back!! I’ve missed you!!

When I started blogging in April, one of the earlier  posts  involved our Mendota and Mt. Vernon cemeteries and the fundraising that supports the upkeep of these cemeteries.  Dale Jett and Hello Stranger put on an amazing show right here in Mendota during May.  Here’s our talented and kind pals….

That show also was the kickoff of our quilt raffle. Both were very successful. And fun!

Now…present day!   It’s time to get ready for 2013! In just a few weeks, we’ll be setting the date for the 2013 benefit; and earlier this week, a few of us met in Kingsport to purchase fabric for the new quilt.

We planned to visit several quilt shops, but we found exactly what we needed at a shop called “Heavenly Stitches Quilt Shoppe” on Ft. Henry Drive in Kingsport. One of the owners, Paul, was there,  and we yakked it up with him. Very nice.

The quilt we’re making is a “flying geese” pattern, so this year’s quilt will be called “I’ll Fly Away.” Recognize that? “I’ll Fly Away” is a song made popular by the Carter Family and one that Dale, Oscar and Teresa sing regularly and DO AN AWESOME JOB!! It all ties together. Beautifully.

And Heavenly Stitches has lots of fabric to choose from…a rainbow of color!

Fabric Array at Heavenly Fabric

Here’s the fabric we selected for the new quilt.  The first one in the lineup…the black and blue…was the “inspiration” fabric.

Fabric for Mendota, Virginia Cemetery Quilt

Since I’m a quilter wannabe and not a true quilter, I can only tell you the little bit I know about the fabric selection…you have to have a dark and then a light for this quilt.

Mendota Cemetery Quilt - The Chosen Ones

We’ll have several work days on the quilt, and I’ll be participating. I’ll take you along and show you the progress of how these fabric selections become a beautiful quilt.

Paul, the owner of Heavenly Fabrics, invited us to look around at some of the quilts on display.

Black Quilt at Heavenly Stitches

Have you heard of the Shiloh Baptist Quilters in Benhams (Bristol, Virginia)?   I’m not sure what the relationship is or how this quilt ended up at Heavenly Stitches, but Paul said this is their work.




Guest House & Honey Bees

I talk about the “guest house” from time to time on this blog. When we did not live in Mendota year round, someone else lived here and took care of  RiverCliff Cottage.  They did a very good job, and I miss them. They lived in an apartment over the garage. When they left, we put our extra things in, I made window treatments, etc. It became…and still is… a sort of “doll house” for me.   Following that, my girlfriend came for a few weeks and stayed several years.  I miss her, too.   Most recently, I’ve “stuck my foot in the water” in  renting it in a modified bed/breakfast fashion.   I’ve had a measure of success but I’ll have to figure out if I want to do this as a “real” business.   There’s lots to consider–the downside is I get to be the maid as well as the owner.   

We’re currently working on the guesthouse, so I took several pictures before we got started.   Here’s the kitchen…

Mike made the kitchen table. It’s wormy chestnut with an “apron” from a tobacco barn that had fallen on hard times. It has a second chance as my table.  My neighbor gave me the chairs which we spray painted black.     I made the window treatments…I even lined them!

Another view…

Here’s the cooking area of the kitchen, and I think you’ll agree that this will look much better with hardwood. We are currently removing the vinyl which is a tough job. 

The living room is open to the ktichen…here it is…

I’m leaving the carpet in the living room. It’s good carpet and I think the hardwood that will replace the vinyl will tone it down a little bit. I may replace the carpet in a few years, but I like having carpet in this area because the sofa bed could scratch hardwood when we move it about.  Mike made the little coffee table.

On the bannister as you come up the steps, I leave my sister’s quilt to enjoy or snuggle in..I won it during a Mendota Cemetery raffle.  I bought a gazillion  tickets… 

I’ve shown you the bedroom before. I love having the new hardwood in this room because I can  swap around quilts and bedding with little thought to what colors they are. I love linens!

The bathroom is really cute…lots of angles…this chair was a trash to treasure find. It was destined for the landfill but visited Mike’s shop and he put it back together, ran over it, and put it back together again. We recovered it in  cheap inexpensive fabric from Walmart.


Thank you for visiting the guest house apartment and for reading RiverCliff Cottage.   But there’s more…

It’s been a busy day.   We are in the process of getting the last of the 2012 honey flow from our bees.  I want to share a few bee pictures…this is my brother in law, Gerald Booher, armed with a smoker…he’s serious in his defense.   When you “smoke” the bees, they all dive deep into the hive to start eating their honey thinking it might burn.  Anyway, I assume that is what they think.   Gerald has  had quite a few stings in 2012. 

Here’s me…I’m sweating like a PIG in this picture.  I am armed with sugar water which calms the bees.  They are like crack addicts for sugar water.    My bee suit it too big so the helmet falls around all the time.  I wear leggings, shorts and long sleeves under the suit because the suit does not stop an ambitious bee from stinging.   It’s a bit warm. 

 And here is why we suit up so carefully.   

 Good night. 






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