This Year’s (online) Bazaar

We were tempted to post a photo of a dog rather then the table laden with wonderful items made by the women at the Historical Village. We seriously thought of boasting about old dogs learning new tricks but decided it made more sense to just tell you about the awesome bazaar we’ve set up for you.

Follow the link from the Tobacco Valley Board of History website to our spanking new online store (it says Shop at the top of our Home page). Yes, it will have everything you typically enjoyed at our annual holiday bazaar. Cathryn Schroeder’s pine needle baskets, scrubbies, lovely potholders, embroidered dish towels, and yummy jams. Of course there are quilts – baby quilts, tied flannel quilts, quilts with vintage tops, and quilts hand stitched by the Friday quilters. Actually you should just go to the store now to see everything we have because…..well, there is a lot!

It is truly an online store where you pick out things you want to purchase, and then click on the little shopping cart to check out. The store takes credit cards so that makes it easy. You pay online for your items and then any Friday that is convenient, between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm you can stop by the old school house in the Historical Village to pick up your order. Do you work between 10-3 and can’t make it to the Village? No problem. Get in touch and we will arrange an alternate pick up time. And guess what? The online bazaar officially opens November 20 so that gives you plenty of time to purchase those lovely items you want to send to friends and family. And because its an online bazaar, you can shop 24/7. Insomnia? Not a problem – get your shopping done anytime while supporting the Historical Village.

Because as always, 100% of these sales support the Historical Village. So with every purchase, you help us maintain the grounds, keep the buildings looking great and pay the bills. So thank you for your purchases! And if you happen to be a minimalist who really doesn’t want anything more (although the upcycled wreaths Lynda made are really fun), its even possible to make a donation to the Tobacco Valley Board of History from our online store.

We are so excited about this endeavor. But to be clear, we are unable to gift wrap and/or ship items you purchase. We are a small group of volunteers and making all these beautiful items (did we mention huckleberry preserves and Cathy’s spicy peach jam?) and managing the online store is what we are capable of now. We are confident you can wrap your own gifts or support our local UPS store if you need any help with shipping. If you live out of the Tobacco Valley and want to purchase something, get in touch with someone you know locally who can pick your items up and arrange to get them to you.

Always a treat to see the Historical Village stretch into the 21st century! Look forward to helping you find perfect delights for everyone on your list. New things will be added weekly so be sure to check back (the cute catnip toys and homemade dog treats are available now!).

https://tobacco-valley-board-of-history.square.site/

We call it home

Recently the quilters at the Historical Village got some press. There was a wonderful article in Montana Arts Council’s State of the Arts quarterly newspaper. Locals who saw the articles were thrilled. And even some folks from out of the area read about these hard-working women. There were various follow-up conversations about the quilters and what they do, which got us thinking more seriously about why we are excited for the press, what exactly is our story?

There have been women quilting at the Historical Village since the mid 1970s. It would be hard to imagine how many stitches have been done in that amount of time. Let’s just say countless. Of course, the women enjoy getting together on Fridays to quilt, share ideas and laughter, but they also realize their goal is to preserve the Historical Village. They do this with the money they raise through their quilting, with the information about the valley they share with each other and the visitors who stop by, and with maintenance of all the archives under the care of the Tobacco Valley Board of History.

And this is what they have been guardians of for nearly fifty years. So if you stop by the Historical Village today, you see buildings that have been well maintained. You can ask for photos and we will go through our files to find one that shows Fortine in the early 1900s or the first saw mill in the valley. You can bring your children to the museum in the summer to see examples of things you or your parents or your grandparents used. And recently we updated our collection of over two hundred oral histories (taped interviews and some written transcripts). You can think of us as the Keepers of the Hearth.

But is that our story? Or is that just who we are? The story for us at this moment in time seems to be a mystery – who will continue to keep this hearth burning bright in the future? There is lots of support for our membership drive and we are very appreciative of the money people donate to help the Historical Village with expenses. But there needs to be a treasurer to handle that money, and a secretary to deal with paperwork. Who can arrange for ground maintenance in the summer, shovel snow in the winter or find volunteers for trash pick-up? Are there individuals who want to sit around on Fridays listening to stories so they will be able to pass them on thirty years from now?

If you read our story, it involves searching for clues, talking with a stranger in some dark cafe, tracking down information to solve the mystery of who will be the keepers in the future of this place we call home. Do we follow bread crumbs? Take hints from Lois Lowry’s young adult novel, The Giver? Perhaps find clues in Robert Putnam’s lament about the decline of social capital? Any help to solve this mystery will be greatly appreciated.

Opportunities galore

Yes, those hardworking quilters are back at it on Fridays in the old school house. There is laughter, and discussion, and a few complaints about the particular pattern we are sewing but then everyone laughs about the complaining because really it is such a treat to be back together and quilting.

cathrynsallyquilt

We have a pile of tied quilts made of the softest flannel in case you are thinking of winter (it is bound to arrive one of these days). You can stop by the school house on Fridays between 10am – 3pm to look over these very affordable quilts and buy one to take home. We also have baby quilts, scrubbies and potholders for sale – all made by women here at the Historical Village.

As we line out our quilting for the season, we have space later in the year to quilt a top for you! Perhaps there is one you made years ago that you never got around to quilting, or you inherited one from a family member and the fabric is delicate enough it deserves to be hand quilted. Stop by to find out how we can help you with this project.

Another turn

Despite the warm days, one can sense fall slowly approaching. The days are starting to get noticeably shorter and the nights just a tad cooler.  The fields are mostly a dry golden now and the aspen are just beginning to show bits of yellow. The quilters met a few times over the summer for picnics at the Historical Village, sitting out in front of the museum to catch up on IMG_2834each others’ lives.  And it was during one of these summer afternoons that the decision was made to start quilting again in September.  We will put two quilts up on large frames so we don’t have to sit so close together, and of course those who want will wear masks.  Sally pieced a couple tops that will get us started.

With the lack of large events for the Tobacco Valley Board of History, we weren’t able to sell many raffle tickets for this year’s quilt. Then the Lincoln County Fair which is where the winning ticket is typically drawn was cancelled.  So the quilters decided to carry over the lovely blue sampler quilt until next summer.  It will give us an opportunity to sell more raffle tickets and hopefully the fair will be in full swing next August. This is, of course, great news for you if you haven’t bought your raffle ticket yet.  Now you have an entire year to catch up with one of the quilters or to stop by the old school house on a Friday starting in September.

We will take this opportunity to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who submitted their membership to the Tobacco Valley Board of History.  It has been a challenging year and to receive so many memberships that allow us to continue to maintain the grounds and buildings is deeply appreciated. If by chance, your membership form is still sitting in a pile of papers on your desk, it isn’t too late to mail it in.

Summer in the valley

It is not a typical summer by any stretch.  But if you stop by the Historical Village, you can still laze in the cool grass under the trees appreciating a bit of calmness as the children swing nearby.  Although the museum buildings aren’t opeIMG_8556n to the public this year, the grounds beckon.  Locals hang out there with picnics and to have a lovely space for children. Visitors from out of the area stop by to stretch their legs and look at the old buildings, learn a bit about at our community’s history.

Since the museum isn’t open this year, it means less income from sales and donations to maintain the Historical Village.  We are currently in the midst of our annual membership drive, which this year is more important than ever.  If you received our letter in the mail reminding you it is time to donate, please know your generosity is much appreciated.  If you are new to the area and are interested in being a member and want to make a donation, please send your contact information along with you check to:  Tobacco Valley Board of History   PO Box 1452  Eureka, MT 59917.

Thank you.

 

Lilacs are blooming

Just enough going on that it made sense to let you know.  First a loud ‘hurrah!!’ for selling our beautiful Piano Keys quilt online.  This is the first time we attempted this sort of sale for one of our own quilts, but as we missed our winter fundraiser (The Wardens concert) apianokeys5nd our May rummage sale, we needed to try something new. We announced the quilt for sale on Facebook to see if it would sell. And it did!  It was an awesome experience as there was so much interest – not only in the Tobacco Valley but across the country.  We are encouraged to try in again, perhaps once a year depending on our quilt production.  Sincere thanks to everyone who showed enthusiasm, asked for photos, expressed interest and – to the fine person who bought it.  The photo shows the women quilting during the winter.  Quite the beauty – measured 100″ x 100″ when done.  Very special thanks to CathrynCathryn (pictured below) who finished quilting it after we stopped meeting as a group in March, and to Lynda who did  all 400″ of binding on it.

And as we move into the summer season at the Historical Village, we are being cautious about keeping our community and our volunteers healthy and safe.  We have currently postponed opening the museum, planning to announce dates in June. So please stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful park down at the Historical Village. Please remember to leave it as tidy as you find it. Thanks.

 

Go figure

This is a great opportunity for you. And it is also a story.

IMG_2498When information about COVID 19 penetrated the northwest corner of Montana, it only made sense to start sewing face masks. After all, we had fabric for quilts, lots of thread and sewing skills (some of us more than others).  So serious face masks making began.  At first we used fabric from the Historical Village because we have a stash there for future quilts.  But as word spread in the community about our endeavor, individuals began donating fabric.  We weren’t concerned about colors or patterns as long as it was 100% cotton, a tight weave and clean.

Boxes of fabric came in and were sorted so women in the community who were sewing face masks could easily pick up a bagful.  A front porch in town became the exchange station: fabric dropped off in boxes, fabric picked up in bags, freshly sewn masks delivered back to the porch, and then masks picked up by the good citizens in our valley to wear.

I must admit we didn’t pay attention to patterns when sorting fabric. Mostly it was enough effort to get bags of fabric to those who needed them, and the finished masks distributed in the community. Until two days ago when posting on Facebook with a photo that free masks were available, activity began to seriously pick up and caught our attention.  In that photo was a face mask made from Seattle Seahawks fabric.  All at once – people were not just asking for masks, they were asking for those masks. And within a very short time, all the Seahawks masks were spoken for.  Betsy had made those masks and she heard about the demand.  Unfortunately, most of the Seahawks fabric was already used up. Most! but Betsy had some snippets left which she pieced together so now in this valley we have two (2) Seahawks masks that are available.

All the  face masks we made since March have been freely given to whomever asks, as we are glad to see people wearing them at the post office and the grocery store.  But we decided we would put these two up for a donation to the Historical Village.  If you are a Seattle Seahawks fan and are interested in sporting these masks, get in touch with Rita (collinsrita@yahoo.com).  She will drop them off if you live in the Tobacco Valley or mail them to you if you live farther away, in exchange for a donation to the Tobacco Valley Board of History. First offer received will get the masks (too busy sewing to hold an auction).  Thank you.

Changes

Well, let’s start with what’s not happening at the moment and then move on to current activities.  Our winter fundraiser scheduled in March with the awesome Canadian band, The Wardens, was cancelled as the diligent thing to do considering all the factors.  Although we were very sorry to miss the opportunity to have these musicians perform here in the Tobacco Valley, it only made sense for them to be home and for us not to be gathering.  Friday quilting has been postponed for the foreseeable future and this is Jessquiltingcertainly a tough one to accept.  It made all of us realize that although one reason we sew together is to raise money for the Historical Village, a bigger part is sitting with this remarkable group of women, sharing stories, sharing laughs, offering each other love and support.

Despite the challenges of missing our Fridays together, there are things we are doing even while observing social distancing.  Cathy organized sewing face masks for the local medical clinic and a number of quilters helped on this.  Carmen shared her delicious tamales which makes any day seem much brighter.  Sally is busy getting seedlings and such ready for May gardens.  Lydna has a new puppy.  Cathryn took the quilt we had been working on home (the one we fondly call ‘piano keys’) so it wouldn’t feel bereft alone in the old school house. Despite the gray, snowy weather that we’ve been getting, flowers are starting to push up their first tender leaves.  And the lilac bushes at the Historical Village actually have buds.

No doubt we will be very appreciative when we get back together again.  Perhaps there will be so much talking that very little quilting will get done at first.

Things happening

It might seem a bit dreary in northwestern Montana but we are feeling cheerful at IMG_1894the Historical Village.  Besides Friday quilting which is something you should consider visiting, we are planning projects that will come to fruition in the spring.  All the buildings in the Historical Village are owned and maintained by the Tobacco Valley Board of History except one. That one, the small squarish white concrete building, is owned by Lincoln County and has housed various organizations over the years.  Currently the Lincoln County Library uses the back space in that building for their used book sales.  The front area is rented by TOPS for weekly meetings. The Eureka Chamber of Commerce which used to be housed in that building had a large sign frame in front of the building.  Over the years, the sign weathered and after the Chamber moved to their new location, the county told the Tobacco Valley Board of History they could use the sign frame if they wanted.

Now we are working hard to come up with information for a new sign that we hope will be beneficial for locals as well as tourists. We are going through our extensive photo archive to find pictures that will support the new text.  Our goal is to have a beautiful sign ready and up by Rendezvous Days in April. Fingers crossed!

We are also getting ready for our next big fundraiser.  The Wardens will perform in Wardens-Promo-3_Credit-Ray-SchmidtEureka on March 14th starting at 4pm at the Community Hall (Lodgecraft building), tickets at the door.  This is an easy way to support the Historical Village. Any of you who experienced the Wardens at their Trego show in 2018 know they are one fabulous band – both their music and their storytelling. We believe it will be a sell out event so plan to get there early on March 14th and grab your seats.

try something new

It does seem the ideal time to think about trying new things.  No doubt there are people out there who make New Year’s resolutions to learn a new language or take up skiing or make Cha Siu Bao (pork dumplings) and actually manage to do it.  We can take this as a sign that it is never too late to learn a skill, to take a different path, to try something new.  Many of our quilters are fine examples of this.IMG_2068

Recently we began to set up the next quilt we will be working on.  We had carefully put together the frame and measured to be sure to center the fabric for the quilt back.  Tacked the fabric all around and then realized the back had been pieced.  There was a seam down the middle but it hadn’t been ironed flat.  A detail we were determined to correct despite numerous sighs that this would require untacking the fabric in order to take it off to iron. Then Cathy and Lynda had the brainstorm to iron the backing while it was on the frame.  Although some of us scoffed at this idea, they actually managed to do it and do it well.

Although we have been around long enough to realize that not everything is possible – there are quite a lot of things that are which are worth trying.  As we begin 2020, we hope you consider trying something new to support your community and help yourself along the way.  We all certainly have a lot of potential waiting to be put to good use.

Upcoming events:

January 3 10am at Historical Village – Board of History meeting. Public welcome

March 14 4pm at Lodgecraft Building (Eureka) The Wardens Concert!

Quilting every Friday 10am – 3pm at the old school house in the Historical Village.