A Reed and Mary Day

Reed and I were invited to my friend Gloria’s home in Charles City, Iowa, about 60 miles east of here. We left Garner after Sunday School practice for the Christmas Eve program.


Gloria knew I would like her house and her collections. Gloria started out as a customer at the quilt shop and became a friend. Here is the front of her house.

As we were admiring her giant penguins who greeted us, her dog Emmet came lumbering up to see us. Here are Gaylen, Gloria, Reed and Emmet, a Norwegian Elkhound.

We walked in to a two story entryway with a gorgeous staircase. Honestly I thought I was taking lots of pictures but now I wish I had more to choose from because you’re not going to get the full picture.

This home is just so lovely, I can’t find the words. Gloria loves horses and has over 40 displayed throughout the house which is very large. Now I wish I’d taken pictures of all of them!

And there were Santas displayed everywhere!

And I LOVE old cupboards!

Reed and I were in overload with fun looking at all Gloria’s collections and displays.

Reed enjoyed himself, too.

The kitchen.

One of the many bathrooms.

The library.

So much to look at and enjoy! Thank you, Gaylen and Gloria, for a delightful visit! I just couldn’t see it all – I was so overwhelmed and excited. By the way, Gloria gave me permission to post these pictures. Her bathroom was over the top and I think I’ll just let her keep that gorgeous room to herself.

We went to The Pub for a late lunch – big tenderloins are a specialty. Can you see how big they are?

Oh, what a fun day Reed and I had today – I am still smiling and thinking about how much fun it would be to display things like Gloria does. But then I remember I have a dozen rescued cats who live here and would topple everything. So I will continue to take care of the cats and dogs who share my home. And be thankful for all I have.

Thank you, Gloria!

66 thoughts on “A Reed and Mary Day

  1. Julie DeBower

    I’m just reading this post right now and absolutely love your friend Gloria and her husband’s home!!! I think they should be on the holiday tour of homes in Charles City!!! Glad you were in Charles City in my hometown—miss coming to your shop in Garner each and every day. So glad I have kits, patterns and actually some of your shop quilts from your retiring sale to have wonderful memories of you, Connie, staff and your wonderfully creative shop!!! Oh and by the way, Cooper is doing still doing well—we have daily walks every morning!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Julie – the house tour took my breath away – who would I talk to about approaching Gloria and Gaylen to be on the house tour – I’m not kidding – you would not believe it! Here’s a big hug for Cooper!

  2. Martha Engstler

    The house tour is a real treat. It should be in Country Living. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you, Rick, all your furry friends and your many readers a Blessed Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  3. Diane from WI

    So many good things to look at. I,too, like the collection of horses Gloria has. It’s always interesting to see how other people decorate and use their collectibles. It is a beautiful green day here in southern Wisconsin. The sun and blue skies are wonderful. May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!

  4. Janice in SUttons Bay

    Wow, what a wonderful and delightful Christmas display. Thank you Gaylen and Gloria (and Mary) for sharing this with us.

    May you all have a Merry Christmas!

  5. jane boyer

    Thank you for sharing. Their house could easily be featured in Country Living. Just loved it and seeing everyone so happy.

  6. Linda Baker

    OMG! The place is like a museum! Thanks for sharing, Mary and Gloria. Merry Christmas to all.

  7. Judy

    What a feast for the eyes! Thank you SO much for sharing your day with Gloria. What a creative sweet friend! I could move right in there and be super comfy! Shopping with Gloria HAS to be a blast!
    Gloria, thank you, thank you for allowing the sharing of your home and your heart! When I meet someone new I have always had these thoughts when I want to get-to-know someone better, “I wonder what her couch looks like. I wonder what she collects.” Thanks so much for sharing yourself for all of us to enjoy!
    Mary, you are such a dear to take all those pics and share with all of us. Our family had our Grand Family Christmas yesterday with all eighteen of us here at my house. Now you have INSPIRED me not to de-decorate, but decorate again!!!! FUN!!!
    Judy in Texas

  8. Katie

    Thank you for sharing your friends beautiful Vintage decor…
    You and Reed have lots of great ventures..
    Blessing at Christmas 🎄🎄🎄🎄
    Katie in Gilbert, AZ.

  9. Jeri Niksich

    On my goodness! One of the top things I miss about growing up in Des Moines is the Tenderloin sandwiches!! The good all-around ones that overlap the buns by inches! Last time I visited (several years ago) I went to a place that supposedly had the best Tenderloin sandwiches, I almost fell out of my chair when they brought out a little SQUARE Tenderloin!

  10. Candy

    Wow, these folks are SERIOUS about Christmas! I could capture my Christmas decorating all in one photo, LOL! Thanks for sharing, and have a wonderful Christmas.

  11. Becky from TX

    Thank you for sharing pictures of her beautiful home!!! Think of the hours it took to decorate everything…..amazing! I want that kitchen…..love all those windows!
    Merry Christmas to you and Rick Wishing you all a very blessed 2019!!!

  12. Diane Bauer

    What a beautiful home and so wonderfully decorated for the holidays!! Gloria has an eye for displaying her things in a really pleasing way! Reed is sure lucky to have so many adventures with you!! Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and New Years!

  13. Betty Klosterman

    What a wonderful home and decorating. Thank you to them for sharing it with all of us. I am wondering just how big their home is. And where do they store all these wonderful things? Do they leave out some over the year, or pack up everything?
    I have a little round tin train like the one on the table I got about 75 years ago for Christmas. It had an airplane flying around. Note “had.” Also have the Hoosier cupboard Mom and Dad had in the kitchen north of Goldfield for as long as I can remember. It is very treasured and sits in my kitchen now.
    And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty Klosterman- yes, some things stay out year round and they do have lots of storage but it’s a huge job to decorate like this. I just loved seeing it all!

  14. Felicia Hamlin

    Oh, my goodness! That is some serious decorating. I have a friend who decorates her house very nice, but her house is not huge like Gloria’s. I was cheated somehow, I don’t have the decorating gene, nothing, nada, zilch, zero. Thus, I admire anybody who can decorate like Gloria. Mary, don’t sell yourself short. You do pretty nice with your decorations. Have a Merry Christmas extensive to your husband and your readers. Say hi to Reed.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Felicia Hamlin – what I lack in decorating is made up in my love for my cats – ha! Gloria has the real thing and I admire it very much! Wasn’t that a fun tour right before Christmas?


    Mary I love your house and the way you display all your quilts!!!1 Merry Christmas from Paula in KY …and you too Reed, Merry Christmas

  16. Gloria B.

    Mary, your photos and stories of your adventures with Reed have been gifts to us all year. I search your emails out like a new quilt design. Gloria and Gaylen’s home is lovely. Can only imagine what it’s like in person. Merry Christmas.

  17. Kathy in western NY

    I will be looking at these beautiful arrangements for a few more times before I delete this email!! What care Gloria and Gaylen take to see their collections out and enjoyed. I would be in awe too Mary if I was in a house surrounded with so many treasures. Does she have a dedicated sewing space as I wonder what she keeps in that one large cabinet that looked like a card catalog unit. It intrigued me with its beauty, size and wonderment of what I would store in it. You and Reed take us on so many fascinating adventures and thank you for sharing them with all of us. All is peaceful and calm here in my household late this afternoon as I sit with my sleeping dogs on the couch and a scrunched up bed, my cat curled up into a blanket next to me and a balsam candle smelling like a forest. The reason of the season….to feel blessed and I am.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy in western NY – I think you’re referring to the long low cabinet with drawers along the bottom and small drawers like a card catalog above. Gloria bought that unit from us when we closed – we used it in the quilt shop. Rick and I bought it at Gold Rush Days in Oronoco , MN many years ago. After we bought it we couldn’t find a hotel room and we were staying another day. It was so hot in the cab of the pickup that I slept on top of the base in the back where it was cooler – what a memorable story!

      1. Kathy

        Now that’s a cool story behind that magnificent piece of furniture!!! You just amaze me with your life.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Kathy – you ain’t heard nuthin yet – haha! Some past stories are best kept in the past.

          1. Judy

            What a FUN story! Another thought I have when I read all these comments – Some of our husbands are just the GREATEST! They have stopped the eye-rolls when we say we are going to an estate sale. Mine just empties the big truck of all the fishing gear (of which there is a LOT) when I ask for the a truck bigger than mine. Some know better than so a head-slap when ……. and oh yes, the stories they could tell, but they don’t! I know I have a KEEPER and God matched him purrfectly me to me. It sounds like some of Y’ll have keepers too.
            Judy in Texas

          2. CountryThreads Post author

            Judy Amen to that! When I was telling Rick how much Gaylen helped Gloria, this was his comment —- there must be something wrong with that guy! Argh!!!!!

  18. Bobbie

    Wow, I can see why you can’t see everything, so much to look at. Beautiful home love her horses 🐴 .
    Nice day to. I’ve had a sandwich like that one time in Illinois it was hugh and delicious. They don’t have them in the Pacific North West that I know of. Have a beautiful Merry Christmas Mary and Rick. I wish you the best New Year ever.🎄🎄🎄

  19. Helen Jane (Texas)

    Hi Mary…thanks for the tour of lovely collections displayed in Gloria and Gaylen’s Home. Wow!

  20. SusanfromKentucky

    Wow, what a beautifully decorated home! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I’m wondering if they put all that away after Christmas? With that much, I would have to consider keeping it up year-round! My favorite was the re-purposed Grandfather clock cabinet. What a neat idea! And, I loved the pictures of you and Reed. He’s a handsome little guy!

  21. brenda archambault

    Wow! I’ve seen so many Christmas decorations it’s like overload. This was the fist year I did not decorate, except for wreaths on the front doors and a small arrangement on the dining room table. I guess old age is catching up … maybe next year I’ll decorate more!
    Mary, thanks so much for including us in your life full of adventures and of course, having Reed as a wonderful companion. I wish I had some of your get-up-and-go juice everyday. Am sorting fabrics and preparing for the bulls eye, two colorways.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year fro Arizona.

  22. Debbie B

    Oh my! That was a site to behold. I’m sure you were on overload. Beautiful displays and decorations. Thanks so much for taking us along. Merry Christmas to you and yours and Happy New Year, too!

  23. Janice

    What a treat to see Gloria and Gaylen’s home decorated for Christmas! I can’t imagine how much room it takes to store all of those beautiful antiques and the time it must take to put them out and then away again. But it is well worth it – such a lovely home. I agree with Pat in Vermont, their home would be a great subject for an article in Country Living. Actually, the home is so filled with amazing things that it would make a wonderful coffee table book! Does Gloria have “real” horses as well? Merry Christmas from Massachusetts to you Mary and Reed and to all of your readers as well. I enjoy reading your blog so much and look forward to 2019!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Janice – I asked the same question – do you have real horses and she said she used to raise Arabians a number of years ago.

  24. Sue in Oregon

    I am awestruck by Gloria’s wonderful home with fabulous treasures from top to bottom. I will be coming back to my email throughout the day to view the photos again and again. You did a perfect job of photographing the rooms. Thank you, Mary and Gloria, for that wonderful trip.
    PS… Gloria’s home should be in a magazine.

  25. Gail Lockington

    Thanks for sharing – great pic of you and Reed at the end. Merry Christmas to all.
    Gail in Toronto

  26. Pat

    Lovely post Mary. The one thing I embrace most about a lot of your posts is what a great relationship you and Reed have. You are both very blessed. Merry Christmas!

  27. Kathy Hanson

    WOW! Another wonderful Mary and Reed experience! That home is just amazing – I can’t imagine putting all of that out and then putting it away again but it is just gorgeous! Looks like you had an amazing, delicious lunch too! Wishing you an Very Merry Christmas – you are so good to include us in all of these great things, THANK YOU!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Hanson – it was an amazing day! But so much work! A dozen cats would not allow me to decorate with such elaborate displays BUT there’s nobody who appreciates Gloria’s efforts more than me! Such a happy day for Reed and me!

  28. Nancy Pleimann

    What a wonderful visit. When the Christmas is put away I wonder what it looks like. Thank Gloria for letting us enjoy her wonderful home and Christmas joy. Merry Christmas Nancy

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Nancy Pleimann – not to worry, I’m going back in the spring! Because I wonder, too. Smile!

  29. Marie from Storm Lake

    Love all of her collections. We have small house but put as much as I can get and it entertains our two cats.
    Thanks for sharing her collections, always enjoy your stories of your pets and of Reed and his family.

  30. PJ

    WOW!!!! What a lovely home n thanks for sharing just
    Amazing n so love the metal ferris wheel 🎡 brought back memories as I had one as a child ❤️ There was so much to take in you did a great job of capturing everything!!! Love her horses 🐴 especially the one
    At the end of their bed with buggy attached
    That was awesome !!! Thanks again n am sure you n Reed had a wonderful day!!!! Merry Christmas 🎄

  31. Pat Smith

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful home and collection! Just getting out all the Christmas decorations must take so much time. Gloria and Gaylen’s home would make a wonderful spread in Country Living Magazine. Thank you so much for taking the pictures and to both of them for allowing you to post them. Like you we have some cats that would make such a display all but impossible. Hope you and everyone have a great holiday. We need more snow!
    Pat in Vermont

  32. Carolyn Boutilier

    Thank you GaLen & Gloria for sharing the beautiful pictures of their home and special collections.
    Great day for you and Reed. It was a wonderful journey.
    Merry Christmas to you and Reed’s family.
    Carolyn B from Virginia

  33. Les from Chestertown

    As I’m going thru the pictures of all the wonderful displays, I’m thinking “ I wonder if she has cats?” !!! Amazing talent in her displays, what an eye for arranging! And Mary you have it too! WITH cats! Thanks so very much for sharing with us. Wonder how many days she spends putting this all together? Amazing!

  34. Anita Fetzer

    Definitely my kind ofvdecorating. She has so many beautiful,old, and cherished pieces. What a pleasure to see the pictures . Thank you for sharing

  35. Debra Wilbourn

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I love following your adventures with Reed! He is one lucky guy to have a fabulous, caring friends! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  36. Carol

    Well, isn’t this just the best present ever! All these photos, you know this entry will be revisited a few more times! I am envious of so many of those decorations, let’s just start with the penguins and go on and on! What a beautiful winter wonderland Gloria’s home is! And what great buddy you have in Reed, Mary, such a blessing to have a young person keeping you young!

    Merry Christmas to one and all!

  37. Carrolyn V

    I am breathless at the beautiful, fun collections! Heaven on earth! Thank you for spreading the joy!

  38. Nicole Hanson

    Oh! A kindred spirit! They collect the same “stuff” we do and more!! My friends think we’re nuts!!
    I want to go to that pub for grub! What great day for all of you!
    Merry Christmas and looking forward to your adventures of 2019!

  39. Chris

    What a fun day the two of you had. So many items to love and look at. One of my favorites was the large carousel. Have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.

  40. Beth Laverty

    Thank you for sharing this. Wow is just an understatement! I saved a couple of ideas for later inspiration. I liked the idea of using stacked cake stands to display small Christmas items…. could be used for other holidays as well. I have a couple…. I will probably try this idea.

  41. Kate

    Oh what a beautiful house.. the displays of Christmas past is just absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much Gloria and Gaylen for sharing your home with us.

  42. Dorothy

    Thank you for another day of you and Reed, You have an amazing relationship with that young man. (who is learning from who?) I hope you, family, and friends have a wonderful holiday and the best ever New Year. Thank you for 2018

  43. Sharon Ernst

    What a great Christmas treat that was!! You are so kind to share your fun with us!
    Merry Christmas!

  44. Kathy Schwartz in SW MN

    Thanks so much for sharing all of the photos. It was a wonderful tour. Thanks to Gloria also. Merry Christmas.

  45. Jo in Wyoming

    What fun that tour is for all of us. Thank you
    It snowed about 3” here last night. Wonderful for the Christmas spirit.
    We hope you have a great Christmas

  46. patti leal

    what a gorgeous home. the decorations take my breath away. the view from the kitchen is great. think how many people could gather in the kitchen. isn’t it great to have customers who become friends? you two look like you enjoyed yourselves. probably left the pub stuffed. thanks to gloria for letting you share the pictures of her home. patti in florida

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