Friday, 3-20-2020

I used my time wisely today – I quilted two small quilts on the longarm. I’ll have two finishes to show you very soon.

My day started late – I didn’t get to sleep till 4:30 am and then didn’t wake up till almost 10 am – messed up my whole day!

Our cats love the oat grass we’ve been growing for them – here in North Iowa we don’t have any green grass outside yet. Here’s Connie’s Lily who loves the grass!

Speaking of oats, I won’t be sending out any more to anybody. I’m in trouble with the post office because the envelopes tore and when I put them in sturdier envelopes, the cost was prohibitive. So that’s that – no more oats! You’ll have to go to your local farm store instead of your trusty quilt shop – haha!

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Connie spent some time yesterday with two young friends, Katie and Mollie, who wanted to learn to sew. They sewed paper garlands!

Look! Isn’t this sweet?

This is what we got up to this morning – thank goodness, it wasn’t 3-6″ as predicted.

Here’s one of Connie’s ongoing projects.

A current work in progress and a Dirty Dozen finish.

And my night blooming cereus is preparing to bloom. See these tiny buds?

My life hasn’t changed much and I haven’t noticed much difference but come Sunday morning, I will be sad not to be heading to church. What are YOU missing in your new Coronavirus life?

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Tell all the readers how YOUR daily life has changed and is there some “good” that’s coming from this pandemic?

49 thoughts on “Friday, 3-20-2020

  1. Rosie Westerhold

    I,ve been pretty much a homebody since I retired 5 years ago. Guess it’s because it was always go, go, go back then. So, I stay home a lot. But, there’s a difference between staying home by choice, and having to stay home because of the virus. I’ve been spending WAY too much time on my iPad checking out quilting stuff, texting friends to stay in touch, and cutting and sewing and decluttering more. The one thing that’s changed is that I can’t visit my mom who is in long-term care☹️☹️. (Fifty miles away). She just turned 96 on March 7, and we had to cancel our small family dinner at her facility. Her dementia has been getting worse so I don’t think she has any idea what is going on. She can’t talk on the phone so I call every other day and talk to the charge nurse. Tell her to tell my mom I’m thinking of her, but can’t come see her. That’s the biggest change for me, and it makes me feel so sad. I’m not sure if I went and stood outside her window if she would even understand that. Such difficult times for everyone.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Rose Westerhold – oh, I am so sorry you can’t visit your mom! You’re right – she probably doesn’t understand what’s happening and maybe that’s an OK thing. If she realized you weren’t visiting she’d surely wonder why. This is very hard on everyone in many different ways. I’ve thought of my mom a lot since our world changed – I’m glad she’s not at the Care Center if she’d be confined to her room. That would make her so mad and sooo disagreeable! Haha!

  2. Cheryl

    We so miss our six grandchildren! They are all within 35 minutes but we are all trying to follow the rules and get this horrid virus over and done. On the other hand, I’ve been sewing long overdue stash of WIP. I’ve made no knead bread three times. Made soup and more soup. We’ve gardened and washed the house outside. Planted peas and pulled weeds. Cut dead limbs. Fertilized the blueberries. Doing our cell group Lent Bible study just us two. Sounds like plenty to do. But the grandbabes are like chocolates. Addictive!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cheryl – sure wish my outside work was finished like yours! And I have a husband who would think I was crazy if I said I wanted to wash the house! And I really DO want to wash the house!!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Claudia Voorhees – no, my lines are strictly hand guided – my preference! I want them to have some “personality” – not an automatic machine guided stitch that looks manufactured. Just my quirky manner, I suppose!

  3. Felicia Hamlin

    Is Connie’s project paper pieced? Someday, I hope to make a paper pieced project that will use big piees of fabric. I am going to miss going to mass a lot, that will be anbi change. Keep strong, friends.

    1. Carolyn Rector

      You can go to to see what John Paul and Annie have as suggestions for Catholics or anyone else at this time. They are offering their Lenten retreat videos online as well. God bless

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Felicia – yes, a Connie’s project is English paper piecing – a project by Tula Pink, I believe.

  4. Rhoda Ebersole

    Yes I have the same sleeping problem . Wake up wide awake at 2 am so read for an hour and then sleep until 9:30 and the morning is shot.
    Stress, can’t get my mind to relax.

    But did get at some sewing this week.

    Be well everyone😄

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Rhoda – the not sleeping issue just makes me so mad! I hate wasting all that time when I’m laying there wide awake knowing I’ll lose my morning time on the other end.

  5. Jan VanDeWalle

    I hate being told what I can’t do , but if that is the worst of staying home I thing . I will probably manage okay.
    people who want whole oats to sprout might check with the local healthy food store or an Organic market. Some folks sprout oats and other grains then dry them and make sprouted grain flour for bread ??? I read that somewhere, might have been in the magazine Mary Janes Farm she does a lot of vegan and organic cooking.
    We have green grass and sunshine during the week and rain on weekends lately was about 65* today.
    I have been working on a blanket that is cotton blocks on the front and fleece back, think I will have to tie it to make the two side stay flat, haven’t done this before the fleece stretches’, so think I will wash the top first to shrink it some so it doesn’t later, I used 10 inch squares that I had left over to didn’t wash first, think if I put a small hem around the edge it shouldn’t ravel too much. The soccer team that my gran-daughter is on had a team member with cancer so we are doing this for her to take to chemo

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jan – I agree – having anyone tell me what I can’t do is tough! Including my doctor!

  6. Carolyn Rector

    You can go to to see what John Paul and Annie have as suggestions for Catholics or anyone else at this time. They are offering their Lenten retreat videos online as well. God bless

  7. Deb Bayne

    I’m visiting my daughter in MN for a couple more weeks (hopefully, as I live in Japan) and binge watching Animal Planet’s show Too Cute while alternating between knitting and sewing. The show follows puppies and kittens from birth up to leaving for their forever home. Some are pure bred and others are rescues. We don’t have a tv in Japan (you can only watch so many Korean soap operas and Sumo tournaments) so its a treat for me.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Deb Bayne—I’m so glad you wrote, Deb! I have a new computer and my contacts did not all sync – yours being one of them. I’ve been going to email about the question you asked me to tell you about (since I now have plenty of time!) and did not know how to reach you. I was going to post your name here and ask you to email me. And you’re back in MN! You can enjoy your time “in” with your daughter – bet you’re having fun. So now – please email me so you’re in my contacts again. So glad you wrote!

  8. Angie from Baltimore

    I live in a retirement community and we are to basically stay in our apartment and they have been bringing our meals to us but I miss the communal dinner. We have been keeping in touch by phone but touch is very important and it will be a great day when we can once again hug each other. Stay safe

  9. Gretchen Weaver

    Since school is cancelled, I get to spent a lot more time with our 7 year old grandson. We’ve picked up all the sticks in the yard and gone on walks around the farm. I’m cutting the easy suduko challenge out of the newspaper for him to work on. I’m also becoming closer to our DIL, we’re spending more time together. What do I miss, no church, Bible study group came to an abrupt end and so did storyhour at the library with the 3 year old. Our library hasn’t gotten organized yet as to being able to email and order a book pickup. I’m sure that will happen since the school delay has been changed to May 1 now. Otherwise life on the farm is the same, milk cows twice a day, milk truck comes every 2 days, feed delivered every 10 days. We’re starting to gear up and get ready for spring planting which will hopefully be starting in April here in northern Indiana.

    1. Sue Stringfellow

      School is closed until May 1st- this is my last year before I retire-surprisingly, I miss the high school kids that I work with! A quilt show that a friend and I were going to attend and our quilt guild meetimg were cancelled- hopefully things will get back to normal soon.

  10. Mary

    I miss all the quilt meetings, church (aitho service is sent on youtube), library closed along with dining out. Haven’t been out all week but must make a grocery run for fresh food. Getting UFO’s done. Thank goodness for fabric stashes!!!

    Stay well everyone and thanks Mary for this blog and making a bright spot in my day/life.

  11. Paula Philpot

    I have sewed on a quilt everyday this week and currently on bernina bobbin #6 with this project. Today several of us in our own homes are going to make masks for the hospital. Paula in KY

  12. Bonnnie Specchio

    In IL, all businesses are closed except for essential ones – grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks. We are to stay in our homes. The hardest thing for us is not going to daily mass – we watch mass on EWTN but it is not the same. My yoga teacher is hosting online classes daily which has been wonderful. I have been doing lots of cooking and eating too much! This weekend I will be finishing a t-shirt quilt top for my godson who is graduating high school in May. So looking forward to getting outside to work in my yard and flower garden – weather hasn’t been great. Thanks for the blog, Mary – it is a bright spot in my day!

  13. Lois Ann Johnson

    Here in Humboldt, Iowa things are pretty quiet. Most businesses are closed except for the restaurants who provide carry out and the grocery stores. All church services are cancelled but many of them will have online services this weekend. I usually eat dinner with five other friends every Thursday evening. We have done this for years and it is something we always look forward to. Last Thursday we ordered pizza; had it delivered to my house and three of us met and ate together. Most of us are widows and we enjoy having someone else to eat and visit with. I am thankful for my computer that keeps me in touch with the outside world. I do send a daily email to an elderly friend who doesn’t get out much. I also have my dog, Bailey, who is a lot of company for me. She is an-almost-three-year-old pit bull terrier who I rescued last summer. She is a handful but a lot of fun. It is like having a toddler in the house once again. Most of the snow we received early yesterday morning has melted. Now it is just COLD! Stay safe, everyone!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Lois Ann – I’m so glad you have Bailey to keep you company! I doubt there’s any positive virus cases around you but it pays to be careful. Also glad you got to eat pizza with friends! I haven’t seen anybody other than Sam and the kids.

  14. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

    I agree with Bonnie, Mary, your blog is the bright spot in my day. When I open my computer your blog is the first thing I look for. I miss going out 3 days a week with different groups for breakfast. We did have a restaurant meal delivered which was exciting (It’s the little things that brighten the day.) Always look forward to the mail, it’s contact from the outside world. Today we are looking forward to a grocery delivery from a nearby town. Most of the restaurants close by are doing pick up or delivery which is one way to hopefully stay in business. Blessings to all.

  15. Jan from TN

    Don’t recall if it’s been mentioned by Mary or not but there’s a FREE Quarantine QAL starting online tomorrow. It is hosted by Gudrun of GEDesigns. Go to her website for details & a picture of the quilt that everyone is making. Just takes fat quarters. Bonnie Hunter is co-hosting & I think Pat Sloan is sewing along too! Because I’m sure that like me, you need one more project to start! Just an idea in case anyone is bored with their UFOs.
    My hubby & I are staying in as much as possible. We’re both in the high-risk age category & he has other health issues. If we do need anything, I go get it since I have no chronic health issues & I’ve had great germ resistance my whole adult life. I take precautions when I go out because I don’t want to be the carrier if this virus 🦠 to my husband.
    Btw, that’s my Dresden Neighborhood above in the pic. I had just finished choosing my fabrics when I took that pic. My friends & I were goin to get together to make this quilt but now we decided that we’ll work on it in our own homes & share pics.
    Stay safe everyone & quilt on!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jan from TN – I loved your Desden project! I just want to whittle my own Dirty Dozen list before I start something more!!

  16. Diana in Des Moines

    Mary, I just want to thank you for being my bright spot every day. I am sheltering in place daily with my grandson. I have ventured out to the grocery and drug store, but otherwise, I am home. My husband is still working as he has an essential job. I go a little stir crazy and am so happy to see your posts. I, too, miss church terribly, but we are streaming the Sunday sermon and Sunday school class. Today I am holing up in my studio and sewing the day away. Ham and beans in the crockpot.
    On a side note – have you notice how many quilt shops etc are offering free patterns, tutorials and such online to keep up busy? My friend in Adel is doing a house a day with her blog followers.
    We are all in this together, might as well have some fun!!
    Love you Mary, wash your hands a stay healthy!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diana in Des Moines – YES, I have noticed the onslaught of free patterns and sewalongs online. I thought of doing one but there’s so many out there already. If I were caught up with my own Dirty Dozen, I’d be joining a sewalong, too!

  17. Kathy in western NY

    We do have green grass here so a nice bright spot and also birds are chirping so I need to think of replenishing bird seed. My take away today is the amazing creativity businesses and people are doing to stay positive and helpful to those in need such as sewing the masks. Here a local clothing manufacturer company Hickey Freeman is asking for sewers. They are finding fabrics now. Can do in your own home. Our pastor sends daily emails with positive messages to keep us all connected and one had a picture of the sanctuary inside which gave me comfort to see when I will miss worshiping there with my people. Also a distillery didn’t want to let go of his 94 employees so he worked with hand sanitizer companies and is making it and putting it in his whisky bottles. Today it’s been delivered to the post offices. With it spreading so rapidly here, I can’t imagine when all those kids come home from spring break and think they can do what they did on the beaches in FL. Here it’s everything closed except for essentials. A local hospital ER nurses put out a call for some food to serve their workers cause the cafeteria had closed and didn’t so many kind restaurants send pans of yummy looking food. Enough to feed 400 people was donated to help feed hospital staff . I made one last run to the local grocery store this morning so I have what I need for another two weeks. Most Shoppers are practicing social distancing and covering their faces with their jackets as folks walk by them in aisle. I am hoping you all have seen some do kind deeds in your community too. Many of us continue to make our charity quilts and I also saw something touching when I took some meals to an elderly lady who lives in an independent senior living facility. She is missing her connections to the others by not being in the community room so management bought a shiny new grill and put it outside on a patio with a small table and chairs so a few people can grill out and talk. Our expectations might have changed through this ordeal but goodness and mercy will never fail us.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy in western NY – thank you for your detailed comment! I loved reading it! We’ve heard about the distillery turned hand sanitizer producer on our news! Stay safe, Kathy!

  18. Peggy Thompson

    Thanks, Mary, for posting my Harvey. He makes me smile. We are in rural central Missouri & staying home. Lucky to be retired & can do so without any hardship on our finances. I miss hugging & loving on my little people who only live a couple of miles away. My “wine time” group ( Most are quilters) had a conference call yesterday! Oh my, so good to hear their voices together because we normally get together at least a couple of times every month. We may try Skype next time. 😊 Stay well everyone! PS …. Love the quilt on your long arm, Mary!

  19. Virginia

    Love your blog and all the good information, etc you share with us. FYI..I found oats at my local Walmart in the cat food section along side the catnip. My kitties don’t seem too impressed with it, but then we have lots of green grass here in East Texas. Since I’m retired it doesn’t seem like I’m in quarantine and I am getting lots of sewing done. Maybe I will finish some of these UFO’s that are calling my name.

    My church will be streaming live on FB. Will be a new experience for us. Praying for everyone to safe and healthy. Again, thank you Mary for sharing so much with us. Such a bright spot in my day.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Virginia – if I can do this tiny part to keep a semblance of normalcy for 2600+ including me, it’s worth it!

  20. Jean

    LOVE Connie’s sunflower colors! She does the best job with picking fabrics I think. It will be exciting to see the finished product!
    Everything has come to a halt here in florida. Even spring break! The weather is just lovely as the humidity hasn’t arrived yet. I live rural so thankfully I can be outdoors much of the day.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jean – that’s the answer for me – warmer temps and sun so I could work outside. I have been INSIDE for months now. First knee surgery was Oct 24, second one Jan 9 and now this. I could deal with everything so much better if I could get outside and wrk in the yard!

  21. Linda

    I saw a segment on a tv news show last night about home seamstresses making face masks for medical staffs. Go to and search “fu face mask”. They provide the pattern and a tutorial. It looks very simple. I’m going to make them from an old cotton sheet. That way they will be washable and bleachable. With the nationwide shortage of masks and other protective garments, I imagine your local hospitals and clinics would be glad to get them. If you are like me, you are feeling helpless in the current situation. This will give us an opportunity to make a difference.

    1. Jeanine

      I am making some for our local hospital in Oskaloosa. I had enough elastic here to make 20. Our hospital was happy for us to do that for them. They can really use them. All of us have more fabric than we will ever use!

  22. Jo in Wyoming

    What do I miss? Going to jail! The church sewing group. My little quilting group. Going to the park’s botanical garden. My memory 😯!!!
    Thanks, Mary for keeping us together.
    I wondered if the whole oats from some grocery stores were what you planted. I may try some when we get out again.
    My significant daughter in law is working from home and the fur boys love it. Her cat sits on her lap for hours. The dog…in and out all day. He does that cuz I taught him that’s how to get a cookie. He’s about 140#, 17 y/o German Shepard. I gave him the tiny milk bones. I think that’s what grandmas are supposed to do. She emails me pictures 2-3 times a week.
    Your shirt quilt is wonderful. The blues are perfect.

  23. Susan K

    I really like the quilt being quilted. It looks so soft and inviting.
    I’ve been staying in which isn’t unusual but I can’t seem to settle down. I need to stop watching the news I guess. My oldest son is a priest and is chaplain at a college. Since he can’t say a public Mass and the students have been sent home he has a lot of time on his hands. He still says Mass every day and is self isolating. My second son works at a church in IT. He’s set up to work from home and has set up most of the staff to work from home too. My youngest works for John Deere in Davenport and his wife is a nurse. She’s expecting a baby (my first grandson) the end of May. Today I will make masks for her.
    I would go out and repot aloes if it would quit raining. We’ve had over 5” in the last week. Rain every day. Today is cold for us (Texas) – it started in the 40’s. Maybe this next week we will have sunshine and it will dry out. My husband is retired now and can’t go out to work in the yard. He also can’t go visit his mom who’s in an assisted living facility. My parents are an hours drive and we’re not visiting them either. My dad is continuing to go out to the farm to check cattle and such. No planting or tractor work in the muddy muddy fields.
    These are strange times for sure. Take care and hopefully in the grand scheme of things this is just a blip of time.

  24. Jill Finch

    Hi. I am Mary’s cousin in CA. My friend’s mom turns 100 next Friday, March 27. Her party has been cancelled. She loves cards so if anyone wants to send her one, she would love it. She does not quilt, but lives for BINGO! Her name and address: Jean Faris 24868 Carbon Lane, Valencia,CA 91354. Jean lives with her daughter and son in law. Just wish her a happy 100 and say you read about her on a blog!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jill Finch – I’d be happy to send a card! So sorry her party is cancelled!

  25. Diane and Squeak

    Thanks for being a wonderful bright spot to the day. I am working on our grand daughter’s tee shirt graduation quilt, two baby quilts, and finished some St. Pat’s UFO’s. Will send pics soon. I shopped and delivered groceries for two older friends. Yesterday it was 70 here in Central Ohio. I got in 15,000 steps on two walks and walking while working on projects. Will also send you a pic of what I found in Swedish Death Cleaning. In front of our house, we have a Free Little Library my husband built which is getting lots of users since our library is closed. I am working to keep books in it. One shelf is for kids and one for adults. It has been cold here today—only 35 now. I may bundle up and go out. I appreciate your work on the blog, Mary.

  26. Lisa W

    Mary, thanks for adding a bright spot to our days! I am in west central Indiana. Schools are closed until the beginning of May. Many businesses closed as well. am blessed that I am able to work from home via laptop and lots of conference calls. My work team held a virtual happy hour late Friday afternoon to wrap up the week and we made a pact not to talk ‘shop.’ It was so nice to connect and catch up! Hubby and I farm as well, he has lots to keep him busy and has been great to go to the grocery store this weekend to pick up some fresh items. Miss seeing extended family but we do phone calls to check in. We are hearing of some doctors in our small communities making house calls. This weekend I am sorting and cleaning. Mary, your Swedish cleaning has inspired me! Stay safe and well all!!

  27. Judy

    Nothing much has changed here in Oregon for us. We are pretty much staying home except to go for groceries. Although my attempt to go to Costco the other day ended with me getting gas and coming right home. There was too long a line for me and I am guessing they are out of the things that I need. My daughter went shopping this morning and it sounded like things were not that bad with no line at the second store she went to. Some of the stores are having certain hours for seniors and those that are immunocompromised which hopefully will keep the lines down. I tend to be a homebody so it is not hard for me to stay home.

  28. Lisa B

    I live alone and it’s pretty lonely. I had a trip planned for next month but of course that is all canceled. School is out until May 1st at the earliest. This last week was spring break and people are beginning to returning from their travels and are to self isolate for 14 days. Prayerfully that will help prevent the spread of the virus in our small community. My daughter lives in Southern California, I live over a thousand miles away and she is extremely worried about me. I’m worried about her family. I’m sure anyone home with screaming kids would like a day alone and quiet. I remember thinking the same thing when mine were little. Be careful what you wish for.

    I’m missing Church. I’m going to a new church and don’t know many people but still it would be other faces. I miss not being able to just go buy my own groceries as my son does live in the area and insists on doing it himself. I worry about his exposure.

    My mom is in Assisted Living 3-hour airplane ride away. I was also going to visit her next month but that is all canceled as her facility is on lockdown until further notice. I’m praying her facility stays safe and this virus does not infect there like in the other facility in Washington State.

    I’m looking forward to when this is all in the rearview mirror for America and the rest of the world.

    Thank you all medical personnel that are on the front lines. You are appreciated beyond words. Whether you’re a doctor, a nurse, or you’re in that office calling people who are in mental anguish over this, you are appreciated.

    Quilters can go to joscountry recent blog posts for information on making badly needed masks if they want. My local guild is using batiks (more finely woven fabric) and 2 different print fabrics so the user can tell skin side from outside. And a Google search for Smart Air Filters will reveal a study of different types of fabric and their ability to stop bacteria or virus from penetrating.

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