Progress Report – 2017 Mendota Cemetery Quilt

Each Friday, provided someone doesn’t get sick, the machines start whirring and the iron starts heating as work continues on the 2017 Mendota Cemetery Quilt.      A few weeks ago, I posted and showed you the center of the quilt.  The colors are intense and vibrant, even though this picture doesn’t look that way.   I love these intense colors.  Can you tell who picked out the pieces?

Color and shading of the fabric are important components of quilting.  It is a combination of good fabric, math, artistry and sewing skills.  And ironing!  I included ironing because I am the “ironing person” next Friday.  I have not sewn a stitch.  I never do, but I suppose that will change at some point.  Right now, Patsy Carrier and I do the majority of the ticket selling so we get a pass.

The pieces below are softer in color than the ones that are pictured above.  They are the new “row” beyond the center section of the quilt.  The next section will even be more muted.   We haven’t got that one done yet.

I reached out to the Graphic Arts group at the Scott County Vocational School to ask if they will print our tickets.  For nonprofits, they will sometime help us out and it saves almost $50-$75.

Someone asked last week why the quilt is called the “Cemetery Quilt.”   They thought –“is it for a funeral?”    The answer is no.  It is to continued the time-honored Southern tradition of a cemetery being maintained and present for families during their time of need.   In lieu of charging for the burial, we ask that these families make donations in the future so that others can also benefit.   The reality is that many bury their family members, and we don’t hear from them again to aid monetarily or to help clean up occasionally.    Their disappearance  leaves a burden on the remaining folks who do honor their responsibility.

If you are reading this and you have family or friends buried at the Mendota Cemetery, please make a donation or buy a number of these tickets.   If you wish to participate in a clean-up day, message me and I”ll get the word to the right person.

We all have a responsibility to do what we can.


Mendota Cemetery Quilt Week Three

Well, I had taken my blog down and decided not to renew the hosting.  My plans were (and still are) to update the blog so it reflects me today — not me five years ago.    However, I logged on and found  emails from people wanting to know about Mendota, wanting to know this or that, and I decided to call Blue Host back and renew the hosting.   I got a good deal at $3.99 per month!!  Yay me!  It had been $15 per month.

In Mendota, Virginia we have a sweet tradition of allowing residents of our small community to receive burial at our Mendota Cemetery at no charge.  We have never turned a family who lives here away in a time of need.  However, maintaining a cemetery with several hundred graves is not easy or cheap.  We rely on donations and fundraising.  Traditionally, we raffle a quilt which is called “the Mendota Cemetery Quilt”.   The quilters will give it another, more official name as it comes together.

This year’s quilt features an old-fashioned print, and family and friends are working on it.   I have a sewing machine but I’ve never sewn the quilt pieces and I do not think I would be up to the high standards of this group.   If “idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” our Mendota quilters are angels.


Quilting is very math oriented.  You have to have a sense not only of color but a clear understanding of light, dark and medium prints and how they work together.   When the quilt pieces were being sorted and laid out, the words “give me that yellowy piece over there” or “is this one a pinky or a greeny?”    Ultimately, they sorted out the dark, vibrant shades as the middle of the quilt and then a border pink and blue and then red and yellow.

Precision.   Chris insists on precision.  It makes for perfect points.   Chris is the kindest, sweetest and most gracious lady, but she’s very particular about her quilts.   If I won the lottery, I’d built Chris a quilt shop right in Mendota.

So here’s the center of our beautiful Mendota Cemetery Quilt.

Next week, the quilt moves from Dottie’s to the Mendota Branch Public Library where the borders will be assembled and pinned.  Then, back to Dottie’s for more sewing.



Where Are We and What Are We Doing?

Hi there!

I logged onto RiverCliff Cottage’s admin site and realized I had messages from readers from quite a while back.  Sorry!  I haven’t been on here lately.  I am going to redo this blog with a new theme, but I want to do it completely by myself and I need to take a couple of classes.   It’s part of the plan for 2017 but it won’t be until fall.

So what have we been doing down here in rural Appalachia?   Life is more busy, if not exciting, than one would imagine.

A friend and I are  planning a Farm Girl/Shabby Chic baby shower in April, and it’s going to be so fun.   I have the theme all in my head.   I know my friend will make sure the food is top notch (I’m not a cook).   I’m hoping that my responsibilities will be decor, invitations and hosting plus paying a portion on the food.   I was thinking about pastel colors and natural elements that reflect Mendota and  decided to try painting a Mason jar in a pastel this morning.  It turned out pretty good.  I wouldn’t use red flowers but they are pretty today.

I’m thinking that several of these in pastel colors with ribbon and baby’s breath and greenery will look pretty at the shower.

We are also planning the Mendota Cemetery Quilt.   I am going to chronicle it.  So excited.  I actually may get to work on this one a tiny bit.  I’ll definitely be selling tickets.   Patsy Carrier and I sell most of the tickets.  Here’s the fabric, which I I donated the fabric because I loved it so.

We’re working on a bingo to accompany the town hall meeting.  We need the funds to heat the Mendota Community Center.  The current focus is getting prizes for the bingo.   On the hunt for restaurant gift cards next week.  Please come and get involved if you are local.   I made this flyer in an app called Canva.

And concurrent with that, still looking at tees for Adventure Mendota.   We are working to get the price down and more colors.

Still working with my friend, Sue Cressel, at About Face and honored that we are still friends after all these years.   I’m actually doing the About Face prescriptive weight loss plan.  Day 3.    Our website is up but I continue to work on it all the time.   It’s .  Check us out and if you find a boo boo, message me!!  Here’s one of our Juvederm Volbella pictures.

Very excited to be speaking to a group of outdoor recreation students next month and helping them with their interview skills.  Adventure Mendota has opened so many doors for Mike and me to do things like this, and we really enjoy it.   If it were not for Mike, I’d do everything the night before.   As it is, I’ve already sent my information over and it’s not until February!!!

A loss in my life  has been the decision not to keep our honeybees.  Gerald says we may be able to keep one hive just for pollination, not for honey.  If we sell them all, I will miss seeing these bees terribly.   I have the fewest stings of any of us.  I think they know I love them.   If one is inside or in a perilous place, I will work to catch it and remove it.     You have to be physically strong to work with hives full of honey.  I’m not that strong,  Gerald pulled his shoulder and I absolutely cannot lift them.    My friend Helene is taking a turn at having her apiary so we may see her bees down this way.

I want to love my sisters better.   I am so lucky to have Nancy and Pat in my life. I just realized I do not have a picture of the three of us.   Ouch!!

I’m approaching  mid-January with a grateful heart.   It’s not a perfect life but it’s a good one.    I’m a little concerned about obtaining health insurance now that the Affordable Care Act is being repealed.  I don’t mind paying for it, but I want to make sure I can get it.   I probably should work at least part time so I’d have more money; however,  Mike and I are happy sharing this winter down time that we have, so I haven’t done anything about it.  Our family is not perfect.  We let each other down but we lift each other up.    We have way too many conflicts over our small business (Adventure Mendota), but I’ve gotten tougher than I’d ever dreamed but I know the good we do.    I used to say “haters are like maters and I eat them.”  That is not the case.   I just try and not think about what  I have no control over.   Why not put energies into people and things that are meaningful and give back?   Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you’ll cry all alone.  (Mother).  Is your glass half full or half  empty?

That is my road.  What is yours?

Thank you for those who still log onto RiverCliff Cottage after all these years.  I’m off.  There is a house to be cleaned!!



Master Bedroom More Progress Again!

We finished painting the bedroom last week.  It took forever, and Mike still is not happy with the way the paint rolled on the walls, but I’m so over that.   Who cares if it is not perfect?     Last week, I could not wait to have something “put together” in this room, and I showed you one completed side of the room in an earlier post. It’s here if you haven’t seen it. I’ve now got the other side of the room put together.

I wanted a restful retreat.    My high school friend, Linda Godfrey, has a “Restful Retreat” board on her Pinterest page.   I think that is a perfect description of what a bedroom should look like.  Some of the pictures she pinned to her board were my inspiration…especially when I decided on blue for the walls.    Here’s the bed….with its duvet cover and pillows.

Bedroom 2

Remember the end table that showed up in the  picture below?

Master Bedroom Paint 1

I am still using the end table, but I didn’t want to keep the color.  It’s got a new chalk-style paint finish and a new lamp.   Do you like the little turtle?  I thought it was appropriate since I’ve been so slow putting this room back together.

Bedroom 3

Here’s a close up of the little turtle.  Mike’s son made it in elementary school.  I’ve meant to give it to him, but I haven’t done so yet.  I will.  One day.

Bedroom 4 Turtle

I stepped back a bit to take this picture.  I had to be careful or you’d see the last side of the room that is still not put together.   Do you recognize the quilt in the picture?  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know it’s the 2013 Mendota Cemetery Quilt.   How I love that quilt and the sweet man (and his wife) who gave it to me.    Receiving such a gift is one of the wonders in my world.

Bedroom 1

I’ve got one more side of this room to finish and then I’ll have the whole room done!


Oscar Harris & Audrey Auld

This past weekend was my last weekend with my beloved Golden Retriever Gracie.    I’m aching missing her.  We decided not to go to church on Sunday because I did not want to be away from her even for an hour.   However, I missed the special music provided by Audrey Auld and Oscar Harris.

If you can take five minutes and listen to the two songs that Oscar and Audrey recently performed – the first is not at Mt. Vernon but for a  television show – you won’t be sorry.  The first song is called “Dear Mother ”  written by Audrey.  The second song is “Clinch Mountain Prayer” also written by Audrey and being performed at  Mt. Vernon on Sunday.    Please listen to her clear voice, peppered with words describing the places and people we love  followed by our own very talented Oscar coming in with the autoharp.  Are there many things more beautiful than the sounds he makes with the autoharp?

Audrey’s  from Australia, lives in Nashville, but obviously she needs to be here with us!    She gets it!

Each day I work a small amount on the publicity for the Dale Jett & Hello Stranger Cemetery Benefit on Friday, April 25.  (Save the Date!)    If you are local and receive WCYB on your television set, mark your calendar for the News 5 at Noon show on Tuesday, April 22.  We’ll be there talking about The Third Annual Cemetery Benefit, Oscar and the Poor Valley Girls will be providing some great music, and I’ll have the Mendota Cemetery Quilt with me asking the viewers to help sell a ticket in all 50 states.   We missed it by 10 states last year, although we did sell tickets in about 7 foreign countries!    This year’s quilt is a beauty….it’s being worked on by Chris, Nancy and Margie.  We  are so grateful for their hard work and talent.   Here’s a little peek…it’s red and white.  I love Chris’ sewing machine.  Chris knows something it took me years go figure out — newer is not always better.


Margie’s ironing…I didn’t get  a picture of Nancy.  I’ll get that in a week or two.

Margie Ironing

Lots going on.  Quilts, music, weddings, babies…why does everyone think we live such sleepy lives in Mendota?

I’m going back and listening to those songs again.






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 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


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 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


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.    




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