Follow up post, 10-15-21

I have absolutely loved getting all your comments and suggestions about my hands. I’ve actually tried nearly everything – here’s my current supply.

Tonight I have ordered two new creams that were suggested. I also use a hot wax bath real often which feels heavenly. You gals are my support system! Thank you!

This is one of Blanche’s bad habits – chewing up and destroying anything she can find including my sneakers which were in the entry.

My back wouldn’t even let me bend over to pick up all the stuffing until afternoon. I wonder what will be in the yard tomorrow morning.

I do want to get rid of some of my plants – but how? I threw a piece of a broken plant in the trash and Rick said he didn’t believe it. Haha! The fun is propagating a plant but I guess I’ll have to give that up.

Another thing I’ll give up is my dream of a greenhouse – you all have convinced me!

I’m going to a bridal shower in the morning and the bride loves old books so this is how I’m gifting her some of my mom’s books from around 1940.

Reader quilts:

And today I hung one of my favorites, an old Jan Patek design that I still love!

These flowers are called Prairie Mallow and I started with a teeny tiny pill bottle full of seeds from Rick’s mom – she called them miniature hollyhocks and they self seed EVERYWHERE!

I used to harvest the seeds and sell them in the quilt shop.

Thanks again for all your suggestions for my cracked fingertips – I’ll resort to bedtime gloves again tonite and they really do help. I just think they’re hot!

I’ve got a t-shirt quilt to talk about in my post tomorrow! It’s the best pattern out there – in my humble opinion.


72 thoughts on “Follow up post, 10-15-21

  1. Dorothy Sheldrake

    For your fingers use A&D then the thin plastic gloves covered over with lightweight gloves every night till they are healed. Longer fingernails help to protect your finger tips.
    Be like the Easter Bunny and leave pots of plants in peoples yards. Do it at night so they don’t know who left them. Leave them even where you don’t know the people. Maybe Connie should go with you. Before you know it the plants will be gone, you can rest and take care of your back.
    Maybe add a sweet note to go in the pot, but don’t sign it. What fun this could be.

    1. Holly Christian

      Dorothy I love that idea for “gifting” plants! Maybe even take some to local nursing homes, schools, hospitals, etc!! I have a plant on my desk at school and I love it!

      1. dorothy

        Wish I was there to help you. I think you have enough plants to get your whole town talking about the mystery plant gifts. What fun. It’s always nice to pass on the things we love so others can have the same experience. Maybe you should wear a CAPE WITH HOOD when you take your loved plants to their new forever home.

  2. Connie from pv

    How are your knees feeling with all the bending and lifting? I could get down but we’d have to hire a forklift to get me back up
    Be careful and don’t overdo. Remember the first week after surgery. You don’t want to replace the replacement

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Connie from pv- my new knees have performed very well – and I put them to the test!!

  3. Bonnie McKee

    Mary, I haven’t been consistent in reading the blog lately and apologize if this tip has already been mentioned, but when my finger tips crack I put antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) on the crack and cover with a band aid before going to bed. I have had pretty good luck with this. And, I use Curel “daily healing original” hand lotion, when I remember. I hope you find something that helps.
    Bonnie, in Oregon

  4. Jaylene Britt

    Hi Mary-
    The best product I use on my cracked fingers is Super Glue. Sounds crazy but it’s true! It also takes the pain away almost instantly. Doctors will sometimes use a very similar product in place of stitches. Dollar Tree has small one time use tubes, which is perfect.

  5. Mary Howland

    Someone probably suggested this. New skin which looks like glue but I used it when I was hand quilting. My mother had cracked open skin and tried it and it worked.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary Holland – New Skin takes away the pain momentarily but then the crack in my finger just extends deeper – I have used it for years but this last episode has been futile.

  6. Sandy

    Hi Mary, l thought mallow was unwanted, like weeds! The purple flower just pretty though. We have just had Super Jab Saturday to get more people vaccinated with a telethon on TV and loads of encouragement like free meals etc. 125,000 people got their Pfizer jab! Take care everyone, best wishes from sandy

  7. Rita

    My grandson, who works on cars, turned me in to O’keefe’s Working Hands.

    I didn’t see that in your supplies. It’s super good.

  8. Pam j

    Hi Mary
    I do not see any “Aquaphor” this stuff heals the huge cracks in my heals during the winter, heals under my fingernail when I rip the underside from the nail. big ouchie !! I put it on my hands when they get banged and cut.

  9. Carol Nichols

    Glad to hear you are using gloves at bedtime after applying whatever you decide to use. I think that is key to recovery. I personally recommend and have used Bag Balm, but there are many good products as you can see by all the recommendations you have received.
    I think that car would be so fun! Hope you decide to keep it!

  10. Ros

    I too suffer from splits in my fingers and have tried every cream known to man, I find the only thing that fixes them is to put strips of fine gauze tape on them. One that has an adhesive on one side and after a day or so your skin is soft and starts to heal. The one that I buy here in Australia lasts most of the day but I just keep changing it. Then I put the healing cream on to keep them soft. Hope this helps. I read your blog everyday, I enjoy hearing and seeing what is happening in your daily life.. Cheers Ros

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rox – I’m going to look for that gauze – my fingertips are swollen, painful and hard!

  11. Julie Burkhardt

    Ok, this may sound crazy, but this actually works for cracked fingertips. Boot wax. My sister was visiting us and her fingers were so sore from cracks. My husband suggested she try some boot wax on her fingers…by the time she went home, her fingertips were healed…she swears by it. I buy it in the shoe department at Blains….but am sure it is available in many stores.

      1. Julie B

        She put it on several times a day and made sure it soaked in good. My sister is a nurse and washes her hands constantly. She has suffered for several years with cracked fingers.

  12. Kim J LeMere

    Your Prairie Mallow is just lovely to see, and I hope you are less stiff today than yesterday. I look forward to your next posting on T Shirt quilts, since I just finished another one and any good pointers is appreciated. Please share what you find to help with your dry cracked hands, I would like to know since you are experimenting with other options. Bag Balm or No Crack Unscented hand creams have worked for me. The red truck is so darn cute, hope you continue to enjoy the ride.

  13. NancyTD

    Keep little Red! Downsize the plants. Give them away or trash them. Hard to do. That is what I did with my perennials. Yard still looks nice. I HAVE MORE TIME TO QUILT!
    I will try some of the suggestions for cracked fingers too. Thanks to everyone. A hand quilted project has been hard on my hands.
    Customer service seems to be a thing of the past. Almost hate to buy anything.
    Have a nice weekend. Take Little Red for a drive and enjoy!

  14. Joyce from NY

    Mary, you could give a couple of plants along with the books for your shower gift!
    I also love my plants, don’t have as many as you. Love your little red truck , enjoy!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Joy e from NY – I’m going to get a plant ready right now to take to the shower! THANK YOU!

      1. Lynn in Scottsdale


        What a great idea!

        Mary, maybe the shower recipient will name the plant Mary. That is what I do. Name the plant after the giver.

        Did you know Frank Lloyd Wright gave his plants human names?

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Lynn in Scottsdale – that’s how I name my animals – after who I got it from or else just someone I know. I did not know that about FLW – very interesting.

  15. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Mary, I see your table full of products for your hands, and I do not see any O’Keefe’s products. For me, they are miraculous. All the dry, cracked, bleeding fingertips I get in the winter… a day or two of O’Keefe’s and I’m good as new. They have it for hands and for feet… I sort of think it’s the same product packaged differently!…. My dry, cracked, calloused feet love it! I get it at a hardware store in town or the feed store.

  16. Anita

    Mary your story of your husband’s disbelief over your throwing out a piece of a plant reminded me of the time my father marveled that my stepmother never gave up on a plant. She would nurse it, feed it, pamper it until it grew back strong. You should tell Rick what I told my father – that hopefully that never-give-up attitude bode well for him and she would never kick him to the curb just because he wasn’t as hearty as he once was.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Anita – haha! I’m afraid I have more patience with my plants than with my husband. Sad.

  17. Vickie May

    Mary have you ever tried a product called Working Hands! It is our go to around here! Both my husband and I suffer from cracked fingers and this is the only product that works for us! I didn’t see it in your photo of products you’ve tried!

  18. Kelli

    Love, love, love the old book gift idea! I’m hooked on books and what a clever way to share old ones! I have many of my Mom’s childhood books from the early 1940’s and collected some old McGuffey readers from a used book store I volunteered at – books are timeless treasures. Thanks for sharing and I do hope that your fingers heal – I always use O’Keefe’s hand cream – a miracle worker for me. Also use their foot cream – of all the products I’ve tried over the years, they are the only thing that works for me!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kelli – I forgot to put my O’Keefes in the collection but I use it a lot. You’re right about the gloves – I do not want my fingers to get wet.

  19. Lori

    I think the secret to your cracked fingers, is just to make sure you use the product, any product. Just use it consistently, especially at night. And wear rubber gloves when washing dishes, etc. Wear gloves outside when it is cold.

    I also love the Jan Patek quilt. LOVE IT!

  20. Linda Zanatta

    I have tried several hand creams and have found that O’Keeffes for Working Hands works the best. Available at Wal Mart.

  21. Jane from St Marys

    I could so relate to this post & the one yesterday! I had a go around with the “rep” from India trying to get replacement lids for some very old Tupperware. After the 2nd phone call that told me to call back in a month…I just said I’d throw my old stuff away & buy something else! I’m sure they use the pandemic as a good excuse to not replace but to buy new & I didn’t want new! And Blanche & our new dog Clare would get along so well. Clare is going to be a year old tomorrow & I’m surprised we’ve survived her! She keeps my mudroom & deck looking like a coyote den! Shoes have been destroyed & it wasn’t a big deal until hubby’s cowboy boots ended up outside!! Now every boot/shoe is up high or shut in a cabinet. Toys are destroyed within a matter of days & sticks & rocks replace those toys! She’s a red heeler who just likes to work all day long!!! I keep saying I’m too old for puppies….I miss my Sadie dog! And..the O’Keefe is used around here daily & highly recommended!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jane from St Marys – I’m hoping if I just survive the days, soon Blanche will learn what I want from her. Yes, my chore boots got destroyed, several other everyday pairs that I would take off before coming into the house. Yesterday I picked up all that stuffing and every soft toy in the yard. I have bought several hard chew toys but obviously they’re not as fun. I keep telling myself – one day at a time.

  22. Sue

    I got some mini hollyhocks many years ago. I love them but they spread like crazy and as your picture shows, they grow in every crack. They are so sweet but they can become a nuisance.

  23. Holly Christian

    I just have to say if I were the bride to be your gift would be my favorite!! I love old books and I love your packaging with the belt. Also love love love the animal quilt with the bright colors. Have not seen anything like that before it’s just beautiful.

    I have a One and a half year old dog that still likes to chew on things. Maybe try giving Blanche something specific she can rip up and be OK with that and scold when she rips up something she shouldn’t. My dogs rip up their toys and pull the squeakers out and I never say a word but when she gets into my garbage believe me I’m letting her have it.

    I responded to another comment, but have you thought about gifting your plants to nursing homes, schools, hospitals, etc.? As a teacher myself I love having a plant on my desk. And may be in an elementary building it could be a classroom plant. Just a thought and would make you feel good giving things to other people.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Holly Christian – I just love the idea of giving my plants to a school or nursing home – the next time I’m at Concord I’m going to ask. But how will I feel when I visit there in a few months and see the plant in poor shape from lack of care?

  24. Lois Ann Johnson

    I love the Jan Patek quilt–especially the colors. I had to laugh when you described what Blanche did to your shoes! When Bailey first came to live here (she was 2 yrs. old then), she destroyed everything within her reach: shoes, stuffed toys, blankets, chair cushions, paper, etc. Two years later, she is much better but I still have to watch her like a hawk. Only toys I can give her are the hard plastic or nylon bones. I even bought her a new bed and she destroyed it the first night here! Now she sleeps with me! I still have some of my books from my childhood and I treasure them! It looks like a beautiful week ahead. My favorite time of year. Have a blessed Sabbath Day tomorrow!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Lois Ann – your experiences with Bailey give me hope for Blanche – I just have to pass the time as she learns what I want from her, teaching her a little every day.

      1. Lois Ann Johnson

        With dogs like Bailey and Blanche, “Patience” and “diligence” are the key words. I learned that I had to be sure and close my closet door or the shoes would be “toast.” Now she doesn’t even give them a second look.

  25. Joyce in SD

    Perhaps load up the back of your van with boxes… put potted plants in and at church..any store parking lot… bridal or baby showers…open your trunk and put up a sign … Be Kind Plants!! Kindly take a FREE PLANT!

  26. Becky Turner

    I do not see any Corona in the stack for your hands and fingers.
    Its an old cowboy remedy for chapped and sore hands that they used on horses and cattle and noticed it healing up their hands and also use it on chapped lips . I buy it at the local feed store or ranch supply but you can get it at Amazon.

  27. Jo in Wyoming

    Mary, with that supply of products, your hands should be as soft as a babies butt!
    I always found soaking in epsom salt, then a cream application helped. After that a beer and bed.
    Now that you’ve moved everything, you have all winter to scout out solutions for the abundance of plants.
    Have fun at the shower. The books remind me if the old, 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook I got at mine. That was almost 40 years ago. I still love it and use it often.

  28. Linda Kopisch

    Hi Mary,
    So sorry about your back issues. Having some myself, I have found that Arnica gel works better than anything for me and extensive icing. Do you remember those long fuzzy tube scarves? In order to ice and be mobile I put a cold gel pack inside the tube and tie it around my lower waist or wherever you need it for 20min. out of an hour as needed. The process of icing and time not icing is what is helping your back. If you can’t come up with the scarf, I’m sure a creative person like yourself could come up with something! Good Luck!🍀

  29. JustGail

    I’m covering a couple of posts here…
    Greenhouse – sounds like fun, but unless you run water and electric, they can be a pain. Things still need water in winter. Then you need to stay on top of ventilation and pest control. And you need one sturdy enought to stand up to Iowa winds, then there’s the chance of hail damage, and depending on what the panes are – possible replacement of those. In other words, they seem like such a nice thing to have for winter refuge, but are really a lot of work.
    Your hands – I’m going on a different thought here. I see my standby for super dry hands (Neutrogena Norwegian Formula) is in the photo already. I find on days I’ve played with lots of cotton, fabric or floss, my hands get drier than normal. I know silk pillowcases are recommended for hair and dryness, I wonder if silk gloves or glove liners overnight might be worth a try????

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      JustGail – I would attach the greenhouse to the house so the heat and ac would already be there and it would only be a lean-to type. Even the other quilt shop is a possibility because of the furnace and ac – it could be attached on the East where there’s already concrete and no trees. Water access, too. At the moment I just want to rid myself of some plants however.

  30. Mary Says Sew!

    Instead of wearing gloves overnight, I prefer good ol’ cotton socks. i set aside ones that are too worn to be comfortable wearing on my feet. When they’re too gloppy with hand cream or salve, I toss them rather than trying to clean them.

    Your collection of creams and lotions is impressive!

  31. Jeanine

    I’ve read your blog for years. Never was able to visit your shop which I was sorry I didn’t. You get so much good advice I hesitate to add any more. But, I have the same issue with my fingers and cracked finger nails. Tried to read most of the comments so as not to repeat but I have found working in the garden, the house, yard, cleaning, etc I wear the blue Nitrile gloves all the time. Got them at Walmart and they fit like skin. It helps to prevent and protects when my fingers crack. I wear them under my garden gloves. I use them as if they were my hands. Gardening and outside work I take them off and trash them. But around the house I’m constantly washing my hands I just wash my hands with them on until I’m done or feel like they’re done. Then I do the bandaid and neosporian advice you got before. It helps in saving my hands and fingers to work with fabric later which as you know dries our skin out more, too. Wish you the best on them!!
    So since I’m commenting, I wanted to ask about Reed. Haven’t read anything about him for along time. Or I may have missed it. Did he move? Covid interference? Or did he grow up and find girls or other interests a distraction?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jeanine – please never hesitate to comment! I read every single one and have learned a lot over the years. Reed grew up and I got old – dang it. I sure could use his help once in awhile. Guess I need to buy those gloves – is Nitrile the brand?

      1. Jeanine

        Not sure of the brand name but the Nitrile I think is what they are made of. I get them at Walmart and since covid they have gotten expensive. I find them over in the cleaning supplies by the sponges. We’re traveling right now. When we stop tonight I’ll look in the 5th wheel. I’m pretty sure I have a box with me and will send you a picture.

  32. Betty Klosterman

    As I read all these comments, I’ve been thinking?? Always dangerous. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    First, do not let your hands, etc get in bad shape. Keep your hands dry when working inside or outside. I don’t do a lot outside any more, but I do like the gloves coated in heavy rubber/silicone. Next, take care of your feet and hands. Put good lotion or cream on them EVERY night. Then you don’t have to wear the pesky gloves to bed. If the skin is getting worse, shift into industrial mode. Put the good stuff on heavy and give the hands a rest, if possible. Our humidity is very low and visitors really notice how quickly their skin and hands get dry and rough. When shoveling snow, I always wear a pair of water proof ski gloves to keep my hands dry. And leather gloves, too.
    Good luck, everybody. We just have to work harder at keeping our bodies in good working condition.
    Take care. Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty K – you always have some down to earth advice – thank you!

  33. Linda in So CA

    Quite a collection of creams! Have you tried Bag Balm? (green tin can). Been around forever & used on cows udders. Wear gloves when using it. Also Gold Bond…grocery store— pump bottle or tube. Blanche is definitely a puppy! She is so cute. Thanks for pics of readers quilts. Awesome.

  34. MaureenHP

    Mary, you might google Freecycle to see if it’s in your area. No one can charge for anything, but it can be a good way to get rid of stuff.

  35. Pat

    I worked in a school cafeteria for 20 years, always had sore fingers in the winter from cracks. One day I found a roll of athletic tape on the hall floor and I cut strips and covered the cracks for overnight. They started to heal right that was always my go to remedy for sore fingers.

  36. Susan K in Texas

    We are currently in Iowa helping with our new grandson. When I get back home to Texas I will be moving aloes and other plants into the greenhouses. I usually have enough time to move them slowly enough that my back pain is manageable. Bad back pain means chiropractor visits every 4 weeks, large gel ice pack, Aleve, and an afternoon nap in bed where I can lay flat. I did find that the grabber tools help save my back with many chores – especially grabbing clothes out of the dryer. Maybe that would be a good tool to help pick up Blanche’s messes. We have to have back and front license plates. What a shame the dealership did not give you better service. They should give you a free tank of gas for your trouble! As for a greenhouse we do like ours but they’re small enough and Texas is warm enough that a small electrical space heater is enough.

  37. Brenda Hulsey

    I do wish you good luck on your hands, that has to be painful!
    I always cringe when I hear of plants being thrown away. I Love plants. I would gladly help you get some taken care of if I were closer to you.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Brenda H – some of these plants I’ve had for over 30 years – they’re like children to me! I cannot throw them away.


    My husband has had your hand cracking problem for years. A dermatologist told him it was a type of psoriasis and stress makes it worse. He uses Amlactin (buy over the counter) and Betamethasone DP .05% ointment that you need a script for. Using these has really cleared up the problem. Wash hands a little as possible. If you do wash them, reapply medicine.

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