Free At Last! 12-17-23

Haha!! I’m joking but the cantata is over and a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s so much preparation for one performance but it’s a solid Zion tradition and I’ve played for it many times over the past 43 years.

I have lots of reader photos and I didn’t want to get behind or I’ll lose track:

This one has to be shown!
The next 5 pics are from our friend Twylla who loves to decorate and I love to look at it!
Remember all these eyeglass cases? Several were given tonight.
So tired!

Had to post pictures tonight in order of receipt instead of subject matter. Sorry.

The wind is howling! Good night!

50 thoughts on “Free At Last! 12-17-23

  1. Martha W in WY

    Wow! Twyla’s decorating is beautiful. She must start before Thanksgiving. The Christmas tree with the silver garland looks so spectacular. I must put the garland on my tree next year.

  2. Sandy

    Amazing Mary! Beautiful trees. Quilts are just wow! Love the big furry dog, he would keep you warm on a cold winter night (and leave plenty of fluff behind!)A lovely summer day after wet and windy weekend in New Zealand, take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandy – we’re having a mild winter but I hate our drought. I always forget to ask you about the kitties –

  3. Bea knight

    Hi Mary
    I love just love your blog. I enjoy all the animals and quilts everything!!!!
    I really love the first picture with the cat on the bed! The quilt is beautiful but the cat looks so so so comfortable. What a beautiful cat and gorgeous bedroom, wow!
    I wanted to thank you for all you do! Seeing all you get done every single day makes me realize my Guinea pigs are not to much work🥰😁

    They require cleaning every day…
    You are an inspiration in my life a such a blessing from God. I always look forward to every post.

    Merry Christmas and THANKYOU ❤️🎄

    1. Sue in Marion, IN

      Thank you Bea—that’s my bedroom and my kitty Frank! Today I spent some time figuring out how to put text on photos in my pretty old model iPhone AND I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT😍
      I’ll send some pix of Frank when he was a baby—so cute!

      1. Bea knight

        Hi Sue!
        I love Frank, so so adorable. I would love to see the kitten pictures!!!
        Merry Christmas to you hugs to Frank😻
        Bea in Florida

  4. Erin

    Glad your schedule with the music can calm down a bit.
    Thank you for sharing so many great pictures!

  5. Meredith in Cincinnati

    These quilts are just beautiful! Love the black background quilt; fabrics just glow! It’s nice that your schedule has eased a bit. Do you make Christmas cookies? My granddaughter came to help with cookies on Saturday: took twice as long! Ha!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Meredith – no, I don’t make cookies because I’d just devour them all. I think cookies might be my favorite treat any time of the year.

  6. Marie C

    Beautiful pictures today. Love the town square quilt and the hankie tree. Thanks for having such a great blog to look forward to.

  7. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    WOW! Decorating, quilts, trees, pets! What a wonderful blog you have created for us, Mary. Thank you. I will go back and look at every one again on the computer where they are bigger😀
    I understand about being free from a major obligation. While it is an excellent contribution, it also takes many hours of work.

  8. Connie R.

    So much to look at and enjoy in today’s post. Twyla’s decorating is just great. I’ve collected a lot of vintage Christmas decorations over the years but never know how to display them. Twyla has given me some great ideas so that I can display and enjoy them.
    Windy here today. The little bit of snow we had melted this last weekend with temps in the 40’s. No white Christmas this year. I’m going out to lunch today with several of my former high school classmates. Should be fun.

  9. Kathy in western NY

    What beauty this morning to admire with my coffee. Your blog is so appreciated by many of us so thanks Mary for providing pictures to take us into your readers homes. Love the hanky tree and Moe’s bullseye is a favorite as I love every one people make of your pattern.
    Our musical program at church yesterday was packed and pews were full. Last night a friend who sat next to me was taken to the hospital with a headache and infection and being admitted. What a time of year for her to be in the hospital. Just hope I don’t catch anything from how crowded it was but it’s the chances you take being out although I do all to protect myself with up to date immunizations so milder cases if you do get sick. When I was much younger and so worn out during the holidays I was sick every year it seemed. Fast forward to 30 + years of flu vaccines and all the others required of my job, I get through them healthy. I was grateful as I was the one who frequented nursing care homes so didn’t want to get relatives sick or myself. Hope all of you stay well to enjoy this season.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy – Covid and RSV is in our church and I won’t be surprised if I get sick but I can’t help it. I’m taking large amounts of Vit E and am up to date on all my vaccinations and I’m just hoping my system can fight it off. I just knew I had to stay healthy until last night.

      1. Kathy

        Mary, so glad you made it through last night cause doesn’t it seem like we just keep telling ourselves to get me through the next event healthy. I know how hard it is to ask someone else to fill your shoes in your absence.
        I got to looking at the jewelry tree pattern I bought from you and couldn’t remember if you put Christmas brooches on it or all kinds of pins? I was in a thrift store and saw a whole basket of Christmas pins for $3 and some were adorable but I don’t wear the ones I have now much anymore.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Kathy – my jewelry tree quilt is in my sewing room because I had intended to put more jewelry on it – pins, earrings, bracelets – anything I could attach from any season but there it sits. I like to use any old jewelry. It was a great project at Concord since residents added their own jewelry they didn’t wear anymore.

          1. Kathy

            That would be a great project for Concord. I really should just make it up and add to it as I see cute pieces of costume jewelry as there are some big and wild pieces I wouldn’t wear but would be cool to see on a fabric tree. Thanks for answering my question.

  10. Fran

    The most beautiful eye candy today! Gorgeous quilts. Loved them all. I have been getting only 1.5 hrs in the sewing room daily. I feel like I am slacking. LOL But a Hallmark movie and hand embroidery last evening helped. I had carolers come from a town over and sang Christmas carols accompanied by a violinist yesterday afternoon. I am still in awe! Children, teenagers and adult were in my living room.. And they left me some cookies. I feel blessed. Made my day!

  11. Jeanine from Iowa

    I have so enjoyed your blog this morning while drinking a cup of tea. Such beautiful trees, quilts and decorations. Some very creative people out there. The pig quilt is so cute; also the kaleidoscope quilt is so unique, and with the little animals on the corners… creative; also the hanky tree is something I have never seen before, but really like it too. They are all so special this morning. Thank you again, Mary, for this blog. We never tire of reading it. Merry Christmas to everyone reading this blog. May you have a blessed season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

  12. Moe in NE IL

    Hi Mary, I’m glad you are done with your obligations and enjoyed it too. Love all the photos especially of Twylla’s decorations…. I ran and got out all my Christmas books, and my bowl filler pillows that I’d forgotten about! I love to study others decorating ideas. Have been loving all the Christmas trees and of course all of the quilts. It’s crazy wind here today too, but supposed to warm up on Wednesday. Crazy Weather. Happy Holidays to you and everyone on your blog.

  13. Frances E

    Oh my goodness, Mary. What a collection of beautiful Christmas pictures, quilts, decor, The quilter in the black sweater must be the quilter for those lovely quilts behind them. Her quilts are just awesome. Thank you for posting all of them.

  14. Dianna in Wisconsin

    I’m flagging this email to save, all the quilts and decorations are amazing.
    Our Christmas program at church was last Wednesday evening. This Wednesday we go to hear the dress rehearsal of the kids program. We see that one so there is more room for parents and grandparents at Christmas eve program. We go to candlelight service at 10:00 in the evening. Singing Silent Night by candlelight always brings tears to my eyes.

    I’m glad that the program with your beautiful music went well, I knew you would do great.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Dianna – I do the same thing – I’ve watched practice so won’t take up a spot on Christmas Eve. Then I’ll play for the Christmas morning service by myself so Margaret can be with her family.

  15. Janet S

    WOW! What amazing quilts are on display today. They are all lovely and the decorating is top notch. Thank you all for sharing.

  16. Lynn

    Such talented quilters. Love the red and white quilts in a couple of the pictures.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  17. Bonnie McKee

    Good morning all,
    Thank you for sharing pictures of sparkling trees, lovely Christmas collections, beautiful quilts and a very sleepy pup! ❤️.
    Mary, I’m glad you have another Christmas cantata under your belt. Your congregation is certainly blessed that you faithfully share your gift of music!
    Merry Christmas, everyone!

  18. Sharon F

    All the trees, decorations and quilts are gorgeous! But the quilt with the pigs made me smile 😀

    Happy holidays to all!

  19. Kris in WI

    How nice of the quilter (first picture) to choose her fabrics and wall colors to coordinate with the cat! Ha! The pig quilt is a hoot and the quilts on display are simply stunning, plus Christmas trees and displays to ooh and aah over. Wow! Thanks to all for sharing your pictures and to Mary for posting them. I’m sure the cantata went well. A joyous Christmas to all. Kris

  20. Jane from St Marys IA

    What a great use of hankies! I love that tree! And I spotted a box of Shiny Bright ornaments in one of the pictures that reminded me of the box I have that has some of the original ornaments we put on our tree lots of years ago. Most of those ornaments have a broken top & can’t be hung up & the box itself has most of the cellophane tore on it but it’s the memory of hanging them so many years ago that makes me hang on to it. It’s also marked 88 cents in a marker!! I have collected many old ornaments over the years trying to replace the ones from my childhood. There is a small tree in our office with those special ones on it & I so enjoy looking at them every day.

  21. Jo in Wyoming

    So much inspiration from your kindness blog today.
    My neighbors came over last night with a plate of cookies and raspberry rhubarb jam. We have a family of owls in our area, we all love hearing them. I found owl fabric and made a quilt for them for taking such care of me while Steve was sick. We all shed a tear.
    Merry Christmas to all.
    I love the trees and decorations. The hanky’s tree is precious.
    I’m glad your holiday stressors are finished, Mary. I’m sure the music was grand.
    The happy cards are still coming…thank you to all for your kindness.

  22. Rita in Iowa

    Mary the post is fantastic. Everyone’s contribution is in awe. From the decorations, quilts, trees, pets and the blog about everything. Thanks so much.
    Mary I’m glad you can sit back and enjoy the rest of this year. Don’t get blown away with this high wind we are having in Iowa. I hope the trees don’t fall in the trails.

  23. Betty Klosterman

    What a pleasure to see everybody’s ideas, wonderful decorations and their homes. My first thoughts looking at the pig quilt is ‘little pigs need loving, too.’ Like everything else, they are really cute when they are small….. but when they grow up? The still need lovin’ but there is just more to love and in their mind, just as small as they used to be They bring a smile to my heart.
    While looking at everything Twylla has collected, I’m imagining where she stores them. What is the little cart? Parades? I’m guessing she has not made all the quilts? Does she have pets, a cat of dog? They could really create havoc. Frank always said I ask too many questions, but how else will we know?
    You didn’t mention if your back pain has let up? Too much pessure? It always goes one way: if you want something done, give it to the busiest person and they will get it done. Sound familiar?
    Thank you for everything. It is such a pleasure to see all the decorations. Have a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – I went to the chiropractor today for my back – my shoulder is a smaller rotator cuff tear – not a rupture which I’ve experienced before but I lifted something that was just a bit too heavy and I’m now paying the price – I realize what my impatience has caused and even tho my shoulder will heal, it’s going to be a miserable winter of shoulder pain for me which has been aggravated by playing the piano. Holding my arm up to keyboard height for long periods of time has caused much pain. I’ll be fine – this is not my first rodeo!

  24. Vicki Ibarra

    I had just talked with my daughter-in-law about an idea I had for a cat pillow with cats that look like their rescue cats. Then I see the pig quilt. What a hoot! What fun and beauty in today’s post! Thank you for providing the pleasure for all of us.

  25. Vicki in Seattle

    What a Monday morning treat to see all the inspirational photos! This blog is a wonderful gift. The hanky tree is precious as are all the other trees and quilts. Twylla’s decor and quilts are outstanding.
    Mary, I’m so glad I got to watch your Cantata live last night. The song selection was great and brought back so many memories. You are a gifted pianist who played on even when the singer fainted. I bet the black robes were hot.

    Wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas!”

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Vicki -Thank you for watching and for those kind words. You know the old saying, don’t you ? “the show must go on”. I watched the recording and was surprised to see that the piano wasn’t even included in the frame. And no matter what they think, they NEED me! Haha!!!

  26. Kim J LeMere

    Mary, so glad the playing for the Cantina is now over with and I’m sure it went well. Your church is so fortunate to have you for each and every event. I attended church in Osage this weekend (moms church) and all the kids were wearing their p.j.’s to church. The Sunday School lesson was going to be a movie about Jesuses birth and Pastor gave them a snack bag for the program. So adorable. We sang a few traditional Christmas songs and I know my mom was glad I went and thought of her while there. Wind is howling across Iowa and its bitter cold. It makes sense to have so many windmills here. Lovely quilts today and such gorgeous trees.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kim – oh, what a clever idea to have the kids wear pj’s! I’m going to pass that on. And yes, I’m sure your mom was with you in spirit. Feels very cold here, too. I saw our wind chill was 11.

  27. Kathy Hanson

    The decorating is beautiful! The Quilts are beautiful = yes, lots of wind blowing for sure. I am sure you are glad that your musical things are done for another year, I’m sure it was beautiful! Now to relax and enjoy Christmas!!!

  28. Betty Klosterman

    I just read thru all the pictures and comments. And I have a couple of notes. Is the hankerchief tree made of hankies owned by very special people?
    The 2nd comment is about the Courthouse Steps eye glass cases. What fun making everything different and using every color under the sun. That’s quilting for us. Guess that is what I like making pot holders, too. Just about anything in any colors is so much fun.
    I did get out my box of miniature trees out this morning. I’ll try to get a good picture of them.
    Merry Christmas and enjoy all of the season.
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – I think Moe sent the picture of the hanky tree – if she doesn’t see this, I’ll ask her. I made all the log cabin eyeglass cases and I loved combining all the different color combos. Have you been sick? Gone? Not reading the blog? What’s up?

      1. Betty Klosterman

        No, I’m not sick. The owner of one of our quilt shops died the first part of November. Her quilt shop is being liquidated. She was so good with colors, very interesting quilts and fun. We will miss her very much. She had been in Rapid City for many years and knew so many people. Betty

  29. MJ

    I love everyone’s pictures. Especially the one with the vintage NOEL angel candle holders. We had those growing up. I think my sister has them now… 🙂 I just love them . Good memories.

  30. Nicole Hanson

    Love all the quilts! What talent! Christmas trees are great! Especially liked the creativity of the hankie tree! Sweet baby asleep, waiting for Santa, Thank you for the “blog about nothing” , keeps me in touch. Ha. Love the parking of the vehicles! Now when I get out of my car I check to make sure I’m not parked coceyed!
    Merry Christmas to all! May the New you find you Healthy and Happy!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Nicole – since I’m the one ranting about bad parking, I try to be very careful when I park and sometimes I need to adjust, too!!

  31. Judy

    The quilts are beautiful. I have the book shown in one of the pictures, “Night Before Christmas.” A Christmas gift from my grandmother when I was young.

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