Friday, May 30, 2008

Roosters Arm in Arm

Click on this site and watch this video; it is a hoot

Akroush and Company

Erin Akroush is my daughter. She and her husband, Sam, have a home decor busines, Akroush and Company; they sell cow and lamb skins for upper scale decorating.

Enjoy their web site.

Erin's Business

Specialists in cowhide and lambskin rugs
Home Page
Cowhide Gallery
Lambskin Gallery
Calfhide Gallery
Designer Rug Gallery
Place an Order
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Brazilian Cowhide Rugs
We only carry hair on Brazilian cowhides hand-picked from the best tanneries in Brazil. This means that you will have this hide forever as it will not crack, split, peel, dryout, or lose it's hair. These make great rugs as you an sweep, vacumn or even hose your hide off when it is dirty. Our large sized natural cowhides are only $389, solid and animal prints are just $100 more. Order today and get free shipping!
Darkest Brindle Palamino on White Light Hereford Black and White Longhorn Brindle wht backbone Tri-color solid Spotty Tri-color Salt & Pepper B&W Salt & Pepper Brn&W Solid Black Solid Chocolate Solid Palamino Cappuccino Solid White Other Colors Zebra Spine Tiger on caramel Leopard Cheetah Also available on beige Also available on white Zebra Giraffe Baby Giraffe Baby Zebra *Other patterns available upon requestAll Hides vary slightly in shape and design. For example, you can order a black and white cowhide with 50% black and 50% white, or 75% white and 25% black etc. If you are concerned about the design on your cowhide rug please feel free to call or email us.

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2007-1980. Akroush & Company. All rights reserved. is the world's #1 ICANN-accredited domain name registrar!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mom and girls.

Martha standing in front of the Sunsphere.

Dutch Doll pattern

Historic appliqued quilt

Memory quilts

Dreams; a poem by Toni Erin Penery

Sheriff JJ Jones read Knoxville's Sunsphere book.

William Denton is the architect who designed the Sunsphere.

Many people have bought Martha's book.

Poster of the Sunsphere.

Barrett and Rascal

Martha receives her book from the publisher.

My son. Barrett

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sunsphere is a tower.

What is the Sunspshere?

Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Sunsphere is a multi-level, glass-paned structure with a total height of 266 feet (81 m). The Sunsphere was built to represent the sun for the 1982 World’s Fair, as a reflection of the Fair’s energy theme. Construction began in January 1981, and the project was completed in time for the Fair’s Opening Day, May 1, 1982.
During the World’s Fair, the Sunsphere contained five levels of usable space, including two observation levels as well as and upper and lower dining level and a kitchen/private dining level. The 360 glass panes on the sphere are coated with a vinyl film containing gold dust, which gives the structure its unique golden color. At the time of construction, each glass pane cost around $1000 US Dollars. The sphere also contains a transition level connecting the tower and the sphere and a top mechanical level.
The observation levels were open to the public, who ascended by elevator, during the World’s Fair. The restaurant levels were also open and could seat approximately 300 patrons. Its unique design and height have made it a highly recognizable landmark of the downtown Knoxville area. Although never an official symbol of the city, the Sunsphere, which is also located near the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus, has been used as part of various logos of local area organizations.
However, because it has not always been in use, some Knoxville residents have a love/hate relationship with the structure. The Sunsphere was the home of Knoxville Welcome Center from 1992-97, but prior to that use and following it, the structure has been frequently vacant. In July 2007, one of the observation levels was reopened to the public. On another level, restaurant service was restored and yet another level is open for private functions. Other levels are available for office space.
During the years between the 1982 World’s Fair and its 25th year anniversary, many suggestions have been proposed for the structure’s redevelopment. Those proposals included a plan to house a basketball office for the Pensacola Tornados, multiple plans to reopen the structure as a restaurant, and a proposal to incorporate the Sunsphere as part of the Knoxville Convention Center. For various reasons, none of these proposals ever took shape until the 2007 renovation and re-opening.
The Sunsphere became pop culture when a 1996 episode of the animated series The Simpsons featured Bart Simpson traveling to the 1982’s World Fair site, unbeknownst that the fair has ended. In the episode, Bart and his friends are told that the Sunsphere is not only closed but that it is currently a wig outlet. In retaliation, one of Bart’s friends throws a rock at the golden globe and knocks it over.
In real life, the Sunsphere has been the location of various events. In May 1982, a single gunshot broke one of the structure’s glass panes. In 2000, individuals protesting nuclear war climbed the outside of the structure and camped out for three days before surrendering to police. The protesters hung a banner that read “Stop the Bombs” on the exterior of the structure. In August 2007, a local couple chose to be married on the observation deck of the Sunsphere.

Bob Sukenik

Golden ball

Truman Day Dinner

Happy couple

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Book review by Ina Hughes in KnoxNewsSentinel

Martha Rose Woodward, a retired Knoxville teacher, writes about one of the area’s most talked-about landmarks. “Knoxville’s Sunsphere” (self-published) begins with something her father told her when she was a little girl, something she never forgot: History needs to be written by the people who lived it. She says the Sunsphere “has a magnetism to it, drawing a person in with the way its golden window twinkle and glisten in the sun. To the best of my ability, every-thing that I have written in this book is a true account of living history.”

Doug Young of Salute America

Sunsphere statue.

Ashley Rose and Gordon in love.

I Love You, Too, by Don Woodward

An excerpt from "I Love You Too"
By Don Woodward
"There is a dark cloud passing over me."
Three centuries and three decades after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, my grandmother, known by everyone in the family as "Mama Gibbs," could be found sitting in her old oak rocking chair late every afternoon. She would sit there twiddling her thumbs, chewing that "mild" Wildcat brand tobacco and spitting the tobacco juice in an old tin cup she called a "spit cup." Mama Gibbs always had a pleasant half smile fixed on her warm face as she slowly rocked back and forth in that old chair. It made rhythmic little, "wood rubbing against wood," squeaking noises as she rocked. The steady sound reminded me of rainwater dripping off the roof and splattering off a tin bucket. That's when she would tell her old family stories. The look on her face made you feel she was actually seeing what she was talking about. Her memory must have been very vivid. She told many of her stories over and over so I wouldn't forget, but I am afraid I have. I remember some of the names, like Aunt Annie Lindsey, Aunt Sissy Green and Uncle Mose, but the stories seemed to have slipped away. I guess my memory is just not as good as she thought it would be. Maybe deep down that is why, after being asked by some family members, I agreed to write about my grandparents, as I hope this work stimulates some of those memories of family, friends and home.
Before I wrote the first word of this text, I gave a lot of thought to the actual story that I am telling here. At first I couldn't even imagine where to begin. I knew I didn't want to tell you a boring story, but I sure didn't want to make it sound like I am tooting my horn or anyone else's. After all, the older we get the better we were, which leads us to embellish our deeds and downplay our mistakes. I hope to avoid that; so, you will read about a few of the embarrassing things that happened to me, as well as others, during the course of my growing up in Leoma, Tennessee. If you are easily offended by some of the comical things that happen to one during the course of a lifetime, you might want to lay this story down right now. I intend to be candid.
This history then, about my grandparents and family, is told from the perspective of a grandson who happened to be raised next door. Keep in mind, if you will, I was born in 1947. My grandparents were already "getting up there in years." The life expectancy in 1947 was 62.9 years. 1947 was the year my grandfather turned 66 and my grandmother 64. Harry Truman was the president in 1947, a loaf of bread or gallon of gas cost around fifteen cents. An ounce of gold was worth a whopping thirty-five dollars. The average income was less than twenty-nine hundred dollars per year and you could buy a nice new car for less than half a year's pay, around thirteen hundred dollars. The era has now been labeled the "Post War Baby Boom." I have lived my life getting a new name pinned on my generation every decade or so (boomers, hippies, yuppies, etc.). Be that as it may, I was raised in a lower middle-income family in a little town in Tennessee that bordered on nowhere. But, now that I think back on it, that made me about average.
Edna "Mama" GibbsSitting on her front porch step with grandson, David Brent Woodward in 1947
Mama Gibbs house was located on the north side of Leoma, Tennessee on Highway 43 (The Old Military Road or Jackson Highway)
I have nothing but the fondest of memories of Mama Gibbs. Of all the people I have known in my life, she stands out as the kindest person I ever knew. I still think of her often and have no regrets about things left undone. She very well knew that I loved her and I know that she loved me, as well as a bunch of other folks, I might add. She was a kind and loving person who always seemed to be able to find something for young idle hands to do. Her stories lit up a bored mind, on more than one rainy afternoon, and added wonderment and mystery to the otherwise trivial activities of day-to-day life. Mama Gibbs's sympathetic and patient nature was inspirational, as well as enviable. Her character flowed like a slow river, constant and sure. It was also expressed in everything she did.
Mama Gibbs was overtaken by age and hard work by the time my brother, sister and I had become teenagers, but we hadn't really noticed. She was becoming a stoop-shouldered and withered old woman by then. Yet, she carried on her systematic day-to-day activities as always without complaint. In the eyes of her grandchildren, she also maintained her physical appearance and cleanliness. As one of my relatives pointed out, "Mama Gibbs so believed in cleanliness, right to the end, that she kept the rows in her garden weeded and clean, long after it was necessary to do so. When finished working in the garden, she always washed her feet. Mama Gibbs certainly believed in cleanliness of body, soul and mind." She didn't seem to have changed, so how were any of us to know she was ill? She had given no indication that anything was different. Age slips up slowly and if you are around someone every day, it is hard to see the gradual changes that become pronounced after a few years.
The skin that wrapped up Edna Gibbs's wiry old hands and arms was sun-baked and dotted with liver spots. She had continually fought such blemishes for as long as I could remember by applying a liberal coat of rubbing alcohol every time she came in from the garden, but it was a losing cause. Mama Gibbs's face was also wrinkled, but it was easy to see that she had once been a beautiful woman. I recall my grandfather saying once in a jovial way, "When I married Edner, she was the prettiest girl in the county, but now she's old and ugly." He laughed and Mama Gibbs just gave him one of her little disgusted smirks. She did that often enough to be noticeable and I always figured it was because he lost the old Caperton place in a bad business deal. My mother told me that Mama Gibbs never really forgave him for that one.
Mama Gibbs did have a way of looking almost like she was posing for Life Magazine. She didn't mean too; she just did. Her movements were controlled and meticulous. As an example, when she sat down on the front porch after working in her flower garden all morning, she wore a fixed look on her face. It was the kind of intent look people have when they come in from work. The saw millers that came in to Ed Morris' Grocery Store at lunch time to buy bologna and cheese wore the same look. At such times Mama Gibbs's face was usually dotted with a little perspiration. When she pulled off her old homemade sunbonnet, little beads of sweat sparkled on the ends of her matted blue-gray hair. As kids, my brother and I would run to the "Frigidaire," pull out an ice tray and fix Mama Gibbs a big glass of ice water. It gave us a lot of pleasure to see her drink ice water and smile in thankful gratitude. One time, when we got a little older, we put salt in her ice water as a joke and she spit it out on the porch. We all laughed and then fixed her another glass. She told everybody what a prank we had pulled.
Sometimes she would ask us to pour her a glass of buttermilk. She liked buttermilk and would drink almost a whole mug full in one long slow swig. When she pulled the mug down there would be a line of buttermilk on her upper lip, which she would wipe off on the back of her arm. She relied on us to tell her when it was all wiped off. Mama Gibbs liked Sealtest brand buttermilk and always wanted us to pour it in an old ceramic mug that was made to look like an ear of corn. She had bowls and platters to match and they were often seen at Sunday dinner, but her favorite was her buttermilk mug. Since she prized it, we were extra careful when carrying it. I wouldn't have dropped that mug for anything in the world.
Mama Gibbs wore glasses and would have looked strange without them. As a matter of fact, the only time she was without her glasses was when she went to bed. Once in a while my brother or I would spend the night with Mama Gibbs. She wouldn't let us sleep alone as she was afraid the house would catch on fire or something, so we had to sleep in the bed with her. She and Millard Gibbs slept in separate bedrooms. She couldn't put up with is late reading and loud snoring. Anyhow, Mama Gibbs hated wiggling, which was okay with my brother as he didn't wiggle, but as for me I just couldn't be still. The more she told me to not move, the more itches I seemed to develop. I would lie there in agony for as long as I could take it then go to scratching all over, which of course would always be about the time Mama Gibbs was falling off to sleep. That's when I got scolded. Mama Gibbs was so mild mannered that for her to say "be still now" was tantamount to a severe scolding. It was no wonder that my grandfather slept in another room. I figured him, aside from being a late reader and snorer, for a "wiggler" like myself.
Mama Gibbs wore dresses made of patterned cloth and "old lady" shoes bought from Moore's Department Store in Lawrenceburg. My sister told me she paid the ungodly sum of $29.95 a pair for them. She believed in taking care of her feet. Every pair was black lace-up and looked exactly the same. On Sunday morning I would help her choose which Sunday dress she would wear that day and get her Sunday shoes, which was the newest pair, out for her. Even in the summer she would usually wrap a shawl around her shoulders and she always wore a hat to church. Preparation for Sunday actually began on Saturday, when my sister, Martha Rose, washed Mama Gibbs's hair and pinned it up in little tight curls. A liberal amount of blue die, applied during permanents by my Aunt Mae, was intended to keep Mama Gibbs's hair shiny white, but somehow failed. Her hair always ended up looking sort of grayish-blue. Martha Rose would strap down the tightly pinned curls under a tight hairnet to dry. That way when it was all dried out it would be nice and curly. During cold weather, Mama Gibbs wore a long, black winter coat. She wasn't considered a snappy dresser and really didn't appreciate such things very much. She just liked the few clothes she had to be neat and clean. When a Sunday dress got a little frazzled, she would move it over to the side of her closet where she hung her everyday clothes. Mama Gibbs got the good out of things and then had no remorse when she put them on the trash pile to be burned with the household garbage. This was something that drove my mother crazy, as she thought Mama Gibbs was being wasteful.
After thinking about Mama Gibbs and jotting down a few notes, it came to me to include in this first chapter "the end" of my story. I call "the end" the day my Mama Gibbs died, May 13, 1963, because it was on that day that my family changed, or perhaps better said, disbanded. When Mama Gibbs succumbed to old age and ailments, we learned the common thread that had always held us together was none other than Edna Lee (Belew) Gibbs. That terrible day came in May, which is the prettiest month in Tennessee. That is the month you hear birds singing and see the leaves break out to form a blanket of lush green over the beautiful rolling hills of the state of Tennessee. Gone then are the gray and chilly doldrums of winter. It was at such a time that my mother told me that Mama Gibbs wasn't feeling well. Harvelle Schultz, the boy that lived next door to Millard and Edna Gibbs on the south side, and I had dug up some wild onions in her yard a day or two before she died. Wild onions grow fast in the springtime and always beat the grass at establishing territory. Harvelle and I needed the money Mama Gibbs was willing to pay us for the job, a quarter each, and she watched over us, but not like usual because she criticized how we went about digging up those onions. Mama Gibbs never criticized, although she did have an ongoing battle with wild onions, and would prod us along to dig deep. I told her that I had heard the French ate them, but she said that she didn't care what the French ate, she just wanted those onions removed from her yard. She added that wild onions would ruin milk, but since she didn't have a cow that didn't make any difference.
That next Sunday I walked out to Mama Gibbs's house and ate the leftover banana pudding, which I did every Sunday. She was smiling as always, but never left the straight-back chair in which she was seated. The living room was full of womenfolk and, as usual, there was a Rook game under progress on the dining room table. Somebody mentioned that I would get fat eating pudding and I said my belly was getting pretty big. Mama Gibbs told me, with a little laugh, that boys didn't have bellies; they had stomachs. Girls, she said, had bellies. With that said, I went back out in the yard to catch up with my cousins. I never saw my Mama Gibbs alive again.
My mother, Helen Jean (Gibbs) Woodward, walked out to Mama Gibbs's just about every day to say hello and check on her and Millard Gibbs. It was not a very long walk. Helen knew Mama Gibbs was sick, so she made a special point to look in on her that day. When Helen arrived that Monday morning, Mama Gibbs was lying on her davanette in the den looking faint. They talked a little while and Mama Gibbs told Helen that she was glad she was there because she was going to die. My mother said Mama Gibbs then held her hand up over her head and said, "A dark cloud is passing over me." When she dropped her hand she never breathed again. My mother ran out into the yard and got my grandfather who was working in the garden. He came in and held his fingers over Mama Gibbs's eyes to make them close.
A short time later my dad, James Roy "Slug" Woodward, arrived at the Loretto High School to pick up my brother, sister and me. He was driving his old worn out 1956 green Plymouth sedan. All I can now remember about that ride home was the dumbfounded feeling of sadness that overwhelmed me. The darkest moment of my life had arrived and I had no idea at the time just how much my life was changed as a result.
When we came by Mama Gibbs's house we saw about every car in Leoma sitting in the driveway, but her house already looked lonesome. Millard and Edna Gibbs had a long driveway and there were a lot of cars. We passed Mama Gibbs's drive up and turned right into the next one, which has always been shared by my parents and their next door neighbor, my Aunt Mary Gazelle (Gibbs) Baxter. My first cousin, Jo Ann (Sanders) Ezell, and my mother were sitting at the kitchen table talking about Mama Gibbs when my dad, brother, sister and I walked into the house. Both my mother and Jo Ann were pretty shook up, but not boohooing. I remember telling them that I was going to be okay and wasn't going to cry, as I was in high school and a fellow in high school shouldn't be crying. They told me that Mama Gibbs's body had been taken to a funeral parlor in Lawrenceburg to be laid out and embalmed. The thought of Mama Gibbs being embalmed bothered me a lot. My mother explained that it had to be done and told me that Mama Gibbs's body would be brought home that night for viewing. We passed the afternoon the way you do when someone very special has died. We talked and talked; trying to overcome those big lumps in our throats and finally ate a little supper, although nobody seemed to have much of an appetite.
I sure didn't want to go out to Mama Gibbs's, but late that evening I finally made my way out through the little locust tree thicket. I had mowed the grass in that thicket a thousand times while Mama Gibbs dug up dandelions and wild onions with her old worn out garden hoe. The yard was full of townspeople, family and friends. There were so many that I had to practically force my way through. Every time somebody recognized me they would start telling me how bad they felt and how sorry they were, which only made it worse. Finally I made my way into the house, through a packed crowd and then into Mama Gibbs's bedroom where the casket was set up. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her. They had her dressed up in a lacy kind of nightgown and I knew she had never worn anything like that in her whole life. It was just more than I could bear. I could not control my absolute horrifying sadness. I had never felt such utter, heartbreaking grief.
Knowing I could no longer hold in my emotions, I ran out of the house pushing everybody out of the way. When I got home I stopped by the side of the garage we never used, between the hedge and the highway, and cried. I cried and cried and cried. My Mama Gibbs was gone and I couldn't do a thing to bring her back and I sure wished that I had dug harder at them dang wild onions and not have gobbled down all the leftover banana pudding. May 13, 1963 was a terrible day in my life.
The funeral was no better than the night before had been. I may have been even worse, as there was no place to hide. There were so many people that I couldn't possibly even look at them all; much less speak to them. Every seat in the Leoma Church of Christ building was filled and more people stood outside as the preachers, Aldin Hendrix and Charles Leonard, went about saying good things about Mama Gibbs, but mostly about my grandfather. They went on and on, saying how my grandparents had helped settle the county and establish the Church of Christ, since my granddaddy was a preacher. I sat there battling tears and thinking that I could have told them a thousand things about Mama Gibbs that he never knew. Brother Hendrix said that she would surely go to heaven, but I knew that already and it didn't help much. Heaven didn't live next door. I saw tears run down my daddy's cheek. He never cried and when he did it just made things more final and even more serious. I knew things would never be the same and I was right.
We sang a bunch of hymns, including my granddaddy's favorite, The Old Rugged Cross. I have disliked most gospel music since that very day. Somebody said a prayer and we marched by the casket one last time. I turned my head away as I just couldn't look at Mama Gibbs lying there dead like she was. The funeral procession made its way from the church to the graveyard beside the Leoma Baptist Church. All traffic in and out of Leoma was stopped and the state troopers stood at attention with their hats off as the possession went by. When we got to the graveyard it took a good while for the funeral director to get all the flower arrangements unloaded and standing properly. There were lots of them. The graveside service was little better than the funeral. My Granddaddy looked old and pitiful. All my aunts hovered around and made over him. They didn't know what I knew. Mama Gibbs was Millard's strength and had always taken care of him. I knew he wouldn't do well without her and he didn't. He died January 3, 1966, only three years after Mama Gibbs.
A few years after Mama Gibbs died I drove through the Leoma Cemetery one day and there on her grave someone had placed a little bouquet of flowers. Whoever placed those flowers on Mama Gibbs's grave used her old buttermilk mug as a vase. The sight of that mug sent an arrow of wonderfully delightful memories directly through my heart and caused tears to fill my eyes. I stood over Mama Gibbs's grave and cried a long time. I guess I could have filled that mug up with tears. They were tears filled with sadness for the loss of her, but joy for having had the wonderful luck to have been her grandson. The flowers were long since wilted so I picked up the mug and kept it. Today it is one of my favorite material possessions.

Mama Gibbs in her flower garden where she spent many happy hours.

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Architect who designed the Sunsphere.

Martha works as a part-time writer.

Martha's book

Knoxville's Sunsphere: Biography of a Landmark is a 200 page historic account of the unique building which was built as the theme structure for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, TN. Written by Martha Rose Woodward, who is a retired school teacher, is using her retirement years to explore her hobby of writing. The non-fiction book explores the history of the Sunsphere from the time it was a drawing on a page until current times. The book contains engineering, architecture, politics, and is set up as a year by year account of the engineering marvel. Knoxville's Sunsphere: Biography of a Landmark can be purchased by e-mail from for $10, or Carre Librum Bookstore on Kingston Pike, East Tennessee History Center Gift Shop, Knoxville Tourism Alliance Gift Store, and

Book written by Martha Woodward.

tee-shirt quilt

Surviving cancer for 10 years.

In 1998, at age 49, I was stricken with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It nearly killed me. I was saddened to think of leaving my three children, Barrett, age 29, Erin, age l5, and Ashley Rose, age 14, at the time. After a long period of recuperation, I have begun to use my retirement years doing hobbies and activities for which I am interested. Learning computer skills has been one of them, so, that has led me to this blog.
Hopefully, as time marches on, I will learn to do better, but, today is the launch day for Martha's Sunsphere blog.

Cancer survivor passes 10 year mark.

Thank you note from Habitat for Humanity.

Famous People read Knoxville's Sunsphere book.

Salute America radio visit by Barrett.

photo of Barrett

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Martha inside her home with a quilt she made.

Ed Marcum's article

Her quilting show covers a patchwork of topics.
Martha Rose Woodward, who has made quilts since she was a little girl, now has a program on Community Television in which she shows how to make quilts. Actually, through her show, Homespun Hobbies, Woodward deals with a number of hobbies plus whatever topic she finds of interest, from Knoxville’s Sunsphere to making the perfect tomato sandwich.
Provided by: Ed Marcum
Martha Rose Woodward, who has made quilts since she was a little girl, now has a program on Community Television in which she shows how to make quilts. Actually, through her show, Homespun Hobbies, Woodward deals with a number of hobbies plus whatever topic she finds of interest, from Knoxville’s Sunsphere to making the perfect tomato sandwich.:Homespun Hobbies came about by chance. Martha Rose Woodward, seen here in her Oakwood-Lincoln Park home with her dog, Bailey, made a deal to teach a friend how to make quilts if the friend would show her how to use a video camera. Then, Woodward learned that Community Television offered further training classes and a chance to appear on TV.:";
Contributed by: on 11/22/2006
Martha Rose Woodward, leaned toward the television in her North Knoxville home as she gave a tour through episodes of her community-access TV show.
She had reached the ending montage for a segment shot at the home of Suzann Emery, West Knoxville resident who has a crafts business called Ivy Vine. Images from around the home and in the yard flicked across the screen until footage of some flowers appeared.
"Okay, you're going to see a bee in a minute," Woodward said. "There he is."
A bee appeared on the screen, buzzed around the petals of one flower for a few seconds and flew off.
"That took me 45 minutes to do," said Woodward, explaining that she had to wait for a bee to appear, try to catch it on her video camera, screen the results to find the bee footage and edit it into the montage.
Putting together a TV show takes a lot more time and effort than most people realize, said Woodward, whose show, Homespun Hobbies, appears at 3:15 p.m. each Tuesday and 8:15 p.m. each Friday on Community Television Channel 12 on Comcast cable.
It proved to be quite a challenge for a retired schoolteacher looking for a creative outlet said Woodward, who spent 24 years as a Talented and Gifted program teacher with Knox County Schools.
The staff at Community Television will train novices on TV production. For four weeks, Woodward spent three hours a week in classes learning how to film, transfer video to computer, edit video, do transitions and other effects, add sound, add text, add music, transfer the video to a data disk and perform other functions.
This all came about rather haphazardly. Woodward, who lives in the Oakwood/Lincoln Park community, said she had no great desire to be on TV Things just fell in place for it to happen.
Woodward, 58, who grew up on a farm in Middle Tennessee and moved to Knoxville in 1975, learned to make quilts as a child. She devoted much time to making quilts after she retired in 1999.
Not long ago, Woodward's friend, Vickie Fox, owner of Sly as a Fox Detective Agency, asked Woodward to show her how to make a simple quilt. As Woodward showed Fox a book with examples of her quilts, Fox said Woodward should make a video of her quilts.
The two agreed that Fox would show her how to use video equipment if Woodward would teach her friend to make a quilt.
"It was about that same time when I heard an interview on the radio with David Vogel, the general manager for Community Television in Knoxville," Woodward said.
She was intrigued as Vogel spoke on how the public could take classes and learn to produce their own programs for Channel 12, and decided to do that.
She admits, the process did not go smoothly at first. There was a lot of information to absorb and there were frustrating days when Woodward could not get things to work as they should.
"I would leave out of there and I would just sit in the car and cry and cry and think these people probably think I am the dumbest old woman," she said.
"And then I would call and say I don't know if I'm going to come back or not; I know you think I am stupid and they would say 'we don't think you are stupid, just come back,"' she said.
What finally worked for her was to take things step-by-step-just focus on learning one thing, such as camera transitions or adding text, instead of trying to master it all at once. Gradually, everything started coming together and since April, Woodward has produced 27 installments of Homespun Hobbies, which is a 15-minute program.
It started as a show primarily about making quilts, and then Woodward started dealing with other hobbies. Now, she pretty much does the show about anything she chooses. Topics have included thrift-store shopping, Habitat for Humanity, bathroom remodeling, the Sunsphere, the Amish, the proper way to make a tomato sandwich and others.
"I do shows on my friends or anything I think is interesting," she said.
The thrift store episode involved Woodward and daughter Ashley Rose Penery looking for bargains. Woodward also has a daughter, Erin Akroush and a son, Barrett Woodward.
Several things drive her desire to do her show besides the fact she has such fun making the episodes, Woodward said. One is the need to be creative.
"It frees my mind. I think creative people have this thing inside that needs to come out and when I am doing this, I am using all my creativity," she said.
There are other reasons. Woodward has had cancer, which has left her partially disabled and she has to use portable oxygen equipment. This added an extra challenge to doing a TV show, but extra drive as well, she said.
"A lot of it is making a historical record. I know it's going to sound corny, but when you almost die, like I did, you start thinking, I should leave something for my kids to know me," she said.
Woodward figures her show is probably watched by just a handful of people, but she still has definite ideas about what the program should accomplish.
"There is just so much bad on TV. We need a respite from the gloom and doom," she said.
"I just want to do something that is uplifting: here is something you can do, here is a recipe you can use, here's a way you can make a quilt if you've never made one," she said.
Woodward said she is always looking for people with interesting hobbies for her show and can be reached at 865-951-0319.

Martha and quilts

Check out article about Martha that appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Broadway/Fountain City Story BY ED MARCUM Martha Rose Woodward, leaned toward the tele... TV

Martha Rose Woodward hosts a weekly television program on cable access television, or The name of her show is Homespun Hobbies. She also has a web site by the same name. The program airs 2 times a week; check CTV for times which vary.
She is co-host for the Salute America Radio Show which airs on Sundays from 1-4 p.m. and is hosted by Wild Bill Lindley. The show focuses on national and foreign policy, politics, and general news. The call-in number is 865 675 8255. The producer is Scott Young; with Tracey Meares on the boards.
Martha Rose writes weekly articles for the Knoxville Journal, a weekly newspaper which is publihsed every Thursday and is available at local news stands.

Karns Business Association Presentation

Martha Rose is often asked to speak in public.

Martha Rose wrote a book about the Sunsphere.

Martha Rose at the office of the Knoxville Journal.

Ashley Rose, Barrett, Erin

Ashley Rose and Erin

Ashley Rose got married

On Saturday, May 10, 2008, my baby girl, Ashley Rose, age 24 married Gordon Danzey. The wedding was beautiful and the young couple are fabulous. Happy times for our family.

Sunsphere information

History of the Sunsphere
Knoxville Journal Article: November 1980
Concept Drawings 1979
The Sunsphere is an 81.07 m (266-foot) high hexagonal steel truss structure, topped with a 23m (74-foot) bronze glass-plated sphere. It is the most distinctive structure on the Knoxville, Tennessee skyline.

Designed by the Knoxville architectural firm Community Tectonics, the Sunsphere was created as the theme structure for the 1982 World's Fair. It was noted for its unique design in several engineering publications. Today, most of the World's Fair site is a public park and a convention center, but the Sunsphere itself shows no sign of going away.
Knoxville’s Skyline is brought to life by our own shining star.
In its original design, the sphere portion was to have had a diameter of 86.5 feet to symbolically represent the 865,000-mile diameter sun. The tower's window glass panels are layered in 24-karat gold dust and cut to seven different shapes. It weighs 600 tons and features six double steel truss columns in supporting the seven story sphere. The tower has a volume of 203,689 cubic feet and a surface of 16,742 square feet.

During the fair it cost $2 to take the elevator to its observation deck. The tower served as a restaurant and featured items such as the Sunburger and a drink called the Sunburst. It was then painted blue but has since been repainted forest green.
In the early morning hours on May 12, 1982, a shot was fired from outside the fair site and shattered one of the sphere's windows.

The Sunsphere has been used as a symbol for Knoxville, appearing in postcards and logos. Between 1993 and 1999, the Sunsphere was featured in part on the logo for the Knoxville Smokies minor league baseball club. The 2002 AAU Junior Olympics mascot Spherit took its inspiration from the landmark and it featured red hair and a body shaped like the Sunsphere.

In October 1987, the sphere was illuminated to represent a huge jack-o-lantern. On Sunday, May 15, 2000, nuclear weapons protesters scaled the tower and hung a large banner that said "Stop the Bombs." They remained on the tower for three days before surrendering to police on Tuesday, May 17, 2000.
The Sunsphere has been used as a symbol for Knoxville, appearing in postcards and logos. Between 1993 and 1999, the Sunsphere was featured in part on the logo for the Knoxville Smokies minor league baseball club. The 2002 AAU Junior Olympics mascot Spherit took its inspiration from the landmark and it featured red hair and a body shaped like the Sunsphere. In October 1987, the sphere was illuminated to represent a huge jack-o-lantern. On Sunday, May 15, 2000, nuclear weapons protesters scaled the tower and hung a large banner that said "Stop the Bombs." They remained on the tower for three days before surrendering to police on Tuesday, May 17, 2000.

Sunsphere Floor Plans: Property plans and all levels.
The 1982 World’s Fair, the Sunsphere glowing on the horizon.
As a result of migrating American starlings leaving too much guano on the towers frame, in 2003, the Knoxville Public Buildings Authority purchased from Avian Systems Corporation a device that emits various noises to scare the birds away from the tower.

All information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Although the Sunsphere is the most recognized feature of the Knoxville cityscape, it has remained vacant for most of its post-fair life, being used from 1992 to 1997 as the Knoxville Welcome Center. Various proposals have been submitted to the city from time-to-time for its redevelopment. Many argue its relevancy as a tall structure, because it was built in one of the lowest parts of the city.


In March 1991 officials from the Pensacola Tornados of the Continental Basketball Association were looking at Knoxville for possible location and said of the Sunsphere as potential office space, "What better place for basketball offices than a giant gold basketball in the sky."


A pair of failed proposals was presented to the World's Fair Park Development Committee on March 31, 1994, that sought to reopen the Sunsphere as a restaurant (similar to Dallas' Reunion Tower, which features a restaurant at the top of the tower). These proposals included:

* The proposal from CEB Enterprises would have opened a casual dining restaurant called World's Fare Restaurant.
* The proposal from Cierra Restaurant Group would have opened a fine dining restaurant.


The Sunsphere is proposed to be included as part of the newly constructed Knoxville Convention Center, but those plans never fully materialized. Instead, during construction of the Knoxville Convention Center, it served as the contractors office for parties involved in the construction of the center.


Kinsey Probasco Hays of Chattanooga propose reopening the tower complete with a renovated restaurant, snack bar, office space and a public observation deck.


The 25th Anniversary of the Fair is here. Recent articles point that it will be reopened this year. The Level 4 (Fair Observation Level) will be reopened to give visitors a view of Knoxville. Level 5 (Private Dinning Room & Kitchen) will now become a new cafe with sandwich and drinks service and an early evening drinks service. Level 6 (Main Restaurant Level) will be an open space leased out for functions. Level 7 (Upper Restaurant level) & Level 8 (Mountain View Observation Level) will become the offices for the Knoxville magazine Metro Pulse

Doug Young and James Carville

Meeting James Carville

Last Thursday, May 15, 2008, my co-host on the Salute America Radio Show, Doug Young, invited me to a private party which cost $150 per ticket to meet James Carville, political consultant. I attended the reception and was able to talk to Mr. Carville and snap several photos.
Mr. Carville was funny, kind, and relaxed. He seemed to be having an enjoyable time, and he was most kind to me.

I am not a Democrat, but, I had a nice evening.

Welcome to the new blog by Martha Rose Woodward; please forgive my mistakes, I am learning.

Sunsphere book

Martha Rose Woodward
Knoxville's Sunsphere: Biography of a Landmark is a 200 page historic account of the unique building which was built as the theme structure for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, TN. Written by Martha Rose Woodward, who is a retired school teacher, is using her retirement years to explore her hobby of writing. The non-fiction book explores the history of the Sunsphere from the time it was a drawing on a page until current times. The book contains engineering, architecture, politics, and is set up as a year by year account of the engineering marvel. Knoxville's Sunsphere: Biography of a Landmark can be purchased by e-mail from for $10, or Carre Librum Bookstore on Kingston Pike, East Tennessee History Center Gift Shop, Knoxville Tourism Alliance Gift Store, and