We believe in Spring
The lilacs haven’t started putting out buds yet, and the grass still has patches of snow. But we can feel the sun warmer through the windows as we quilt and the days are definitely growing longer. And before you know it – it will be time for Rendezvous (April 29 at the Historical Village)!
The winter has gone well for those of us volunteering at the Village. The women are busy making lovely quilts. Darris ordered lots of new books for the museum so we will be ready for summer. Wayne, a new volunteer is making storm windows for the old schoolhouse, which we will surely appreciate once they are finished and installed keeping us toasty on winter mornings. Sally has done a remarkable job organizing our inventory of quilts, books, and handmade items. We sell these at the schoolhouse every Friday when the women are quilting, then at the museum over the summer months, and online. It is wonderful to have someone with Sally’s organizing abilities take on this task. It certainly takes a village to run the Tobacco Valley Board of History! Jane keeps track of our finances, Robin handles small repairs of which there are many, and Cathryn sets up displays. Of course there are many others as well – from Renata bringing in cookies for the quilters to Jan finding just the right fabric for the next quilt we will put on.
There are many other tasks that we could surely use help with in case you are thinking about giving some time. We would enjoy having you stop by the old schoolhouse on a Friday this Spring to talk about it. Summer is especially a season when we can use extra hands. Don’t hesitate.
That time of year when we think of giving. There is the Thursday in late November when many of us enjoy gathering for a meal, and giving thanks for our family, for our friends, for the blessings in our lives. And then all at once it is December and people are giving gifts for the holidays. Shops are busy, everyone seems to have a list (or two or three), and we think about letting others know how much we care about them by giving a present or a card or a hug filled with best wishes.
Giving can also be giving of one’s time. This is an easy one for me to think on sitting around the quilt frame with the women on Fridays from 10:00am until 3:00pm. They are giving of their time and giving of their skills as they hand stitch quilts that are sold to raise funds for the Historical Village. There are some of these women who have been doing this for decades, and some who just started last month. Each of them gives of their time and talents to support the Historical Village. I don’t know if any of the women would say it is an exciting occupation but it is enjoyable (mostly). There is often laughter, as well as some serious conversations. There is problem-solving such as which design to use on a particular quilt, or how much to charge once a quilt is finished. How can we do a better job advertising the quilts? How much will it cost to get two of the windows in the old schoolhouse repaired?
As the season fills with bright lights, holiday gatherings and joyous songs – perhaps think about what you can give to your community. The Tobacco Valley Board of History will be glad to welcome you as a volunteer – stitching on Fridays, helping with maintenance, or serving on our board. There are many ways to give. Thanks.
And all at once, it is summer!
Not sure where the time goes. The quilters meet every Friday during the winter, and then all at once it is May and the quilters stop for the season. The museum opens (everyday until September from 1:00pm – 5:00pm). We notice more people visiting the grounds at the Historical Village to see the buildings, look at old photos, enjoy a picnic on the grounds or visit with friends. The lilacs bloom next to the old Schoolhouse. The new memorial plaque has gone up in the Library. And, of course, there are wonderful items in the Fewkes Store to purchase including quilts, scrubbies, books and postcards.
Two events at the Historical Village this summer include the Eureka Montana Quilt Show on August 6 and then Shakespeare in the Parks doing “Twelfth Night” sponsored by Sunburst Arts and Education on August 18 at 6:00pm. Both events are a joy to experience, so we hope you are able to attend.
The days might be chilly, and the snow piled up, but people still enjoy the Historical Village. They walk their dogs on their way to the RiverWalk. Families come down to throw snowballs and even make a snowman. Of course, the quilters are in the old schoolhouse every Friday if you want to stop by and see their sewing magic. There are also numerous items available for sale including a wide variety of quilts, books by Darris Flanagan, art bags for children, pine needle baskets, scrubbies, potholders and catnip toys for your feline friends. So whether you are looking for something special for a birthday, anniversary, letting someone know you care, or just a reason to celebrate yourself, know there are wonderful items for sale at the schoolhouse on Fridays (or online 24/7 through our website).
If you are new to town, welcome! Someone stopped by to pick up her purchases from the Village this past Friday and wasn’t sure which building was the schoolhouse. It is the one with the bell tower. The steps leading up to the building are cleaned off (thanks to the Grasshopper people for doing a fantastic job on the boardwalk and steps for us!). At least to me, it seems that building radiates a lot of terrific energy on Fridays when the women are inside quilting. So if you are new to town, or have lived here for a while but now find yourself with more time, stop by any Friday if you are interested in learning to quilt, or just to visit.
And if you are new to town, the Historical Village even in winter is a great place to learn about the valley’s history. Many of the quilters have been here long enough to answer your questions. There is also a wide array of books available to purchase that give the history of Eureka, Fortine, Trego, the early European settlement and the original Native People.
We appreciate all that the Tobacco Valley has experienced to make it what it is today – the trails, the ranches, all the individuals who have lived here, the rivers and mountains that have shaped our lives. Take some time to learn more about it, and to see some brightly colored quilts on these wintry gray days.
The Larch are Golden
And the women are back quilting every Friday at the Historical Village. Not only quilting on Fridays, but also busy making all sorts of lovely items for our online store. Baby quilts, pine needle baskets, catnip mice, scrubbies, potholders, art bags for children, tied quilts and so much more. You can see all of these on the online store here, or stop by the old schoolhouse in the Historical Village any Friday between 10am to 3pm to look over these items.
If you stop by, you not only get to see what is available for sale, but also can admire the two quilts we are currently working on. One is a sampler quilt made by Sally Steward and definitely showcases Sally’s abilities with putting together the perfect colors. The second quilt is one a local woman pieced quite a number of years ago and finally decided to have it hand quilted. It is interesting for those of us sewing on it because we are using black thread on a black background for part of it. Both are a joy to work on. Of course, we are always open to have more people sew. Don’t hesitate to stop by on a Friday to sew with us – novices and experts gladly welcomed.
In case you think it might be grueling to stitch from 10am through to 3pm, please know there is an awful lot more that goes on at the schoolhouse on Fridays. Often there are visitors dropping by to see the schoolhouse, or ask questions about the valley’s history. People also drop things off. Recently Jane Fox donated five Seattle Seahawks face masks for us to sell. Not only a treat to add these items to our store, but to visit with Jane. Some women who quilt bring in things they are working on. Renata and Jan always have lovely things to share with us. We call it ‘show and tell.’ Sally brings things she has made, as well as vegetables and fruit from her garden. Cathryn puts the coffee on around 11:30 (unless there is a call for it earlier). Sometimes we have homemade sweets someone brings for dessert. And all the quilters bring their own bag lunches every Friday which we eat promptly at noon.
So yes, there are enough distractions that no one seems to get tired of sewing and yet, a lot of sewing gets done every Friday. Hope you stop by one of these weeks to visit.
Lilacs are starting to bud
The weather is turning Montana Spring beautiful. The old schoolhouse isn’t as chilly in the mornings now when the women show up to quilt. We have been working on a couple quilts that will probably take us to the end of the season. Both lovely colors and fabrics, both mostly easy to sew, both require a fair amount of stitching. Outside of the schoolhouse, volunteers are starting to work on various projects. Building storm windows, replacing torn screens, rebuilding the back of the caboose, checking the boardwalk for boards that might need to be replaced before too many summer visitors show up.
Rendezvous Days will be coming up on April 24th so that is always an exciting time to be at the Historical Village. The buildings won’t be open this year but there will be many vendors set up, and live music across at Riverside Park. Of course if you ever need to check out what the quilters have available for sale, you can go to our online shop anytime or stop by on Fridays before the middle of May. The quilters will put their needles, thimbles and threads away for the summer then when the old schoolhouse resumes it appearance as part of the museum.
Lots to look forward to so be sure to mark your calendar. The Eureka Montana Quilt Show is all day on August 7th and Shakespeare in the Parks (this year’s play is Cymbeline) is the evening of August 19th.
Moving through February
It might seem like a middle-of-winter and not much is happening time but that is not true at all when it comes to the Historical Village. Despite the very cold temperatures we’ve been having lately in the Tobacco Valley, the women continue to meet every Friday to quilt from 10:00am – 3:00pm. And yes, if you want to join us either as an experienced quilter or as a novice, you are certainly welcome. It has been an interesting season for the quilts we worked on – four tied ones for the staff at Eureka Healthcare, a lovely burgundy and green one Sally pieced which sold to a woman in New York, two art quilts Rita put together for a project on the pandemic, and a beautiful one made with vintage fabrics Kathy Ingram brought in to have quilted.
Besides Friday quilting, members are also constantly adding things to our online store. We decided to keep it open at least until summer so if you are in the market for a baby quilt, books about the Tobacco Valley, bright potholders or scrubbies, hand embroidered tea towels or pillow cases, or even large quilts (either tied or hand stitched), check out our store online. Just go to the Tobacco Valley Board of History website.
And despite the cold temps and gray skies, we are thinking of Spring when more people begin passing through the Historical Village. Thanks to partial support from the Tobacco Valley Community Foundation, we purchased two new picnic tables that will be ready to replace a couple that have seen better days. And now volunteers are working to get storm windows for the old school house building. These will make it so much easier to keep the building warm next winter when the women are quilting. Special thanks to the EMQS Foundation for facilitating that project. And we have an awesome team of new volunteers who will help repair the ceiling in the old church, repair windows in the Baney House, and offered to help repair the boardwalk. Thanks to all of you who stepped up to keep the Historical Village in great shape. In May, it seems the quilters will be featured in a Backroads of Montana episode! This is a wonderful program on Montana PBS. We will certainly get the word out when we know the date and time.
If you want to be part of keeping our community’s heritage alive, don’t hesitate to attend our next board meeting on March 5 at 10:00am in the old school house. We can always use help with a wide range of tasks from social media, to archives, to fundraising.
A hearty thanks to all of you who supported the Historical Village this year. We weren’t entirely sure when we decided to switch to an online shop from our typical holiday bazaar, what might happen. We certainly didn’t expect such an outpouring of generosity from those who purchased our handmade items, and hard work from those who made all the items. Cathryn’s pine needle baskets sold so fast she had to make a few more (which also sold very quickly). Lynda’s huckleberry jams disappeared in a few days as did the special dog treats. The quilters were thoroughly delighted to sell three quilts (two of our tied flannel ones and one lovely hand stitched one that Sally pieced). And you probably missed Renata’s blue starry quilt that was bought up in a flash. There was a run on embroidered dish towels and Jan and Carmen’s lovely Christmas ornaments. Cathy’s spicy peach jam was a big hit as were the hand felted pouches that Carol made. Proceeds from all sales go to the maintenance of the Historical Village. So as you wrap the baby quilt or the toasty scarf that you bought from our online store – you are actually giving twice. Once to the fortunate recipient of your gift, and once to the Historical Village. When you see the old church being painted or a new roof going on the Baney House, please know you are part of making that happen. Oh – and just in case you need a last minute gift, the online shop is still up and running and the quilters are at the old school house every Friday for you to pick up your purchases.
We so appreciate the support from the community. And that was another delight we discovered from having an online store – how far our community actually reaches. Orders came in from Seattle, New York, Kentucky and Israel! It is truly heartwarming to see how many people far and wide appreciate the Historical Village and our efforts. Thank you very much. May you and yours enjoy this season and all we look forward to in 2021.
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!).