Ground Blizzard Monday, 1-24-22

Had a haircut appointment 30 miles west this morning at 9! Too early for me – highway was slick in spots and the wind was strong from the north creating what is called, around here, a ground blizzard. The sun is shining above and it’s not snowing but what’s already on the ground is being whipped by the wind.

Emptied my rat trap this morning – and for those of you who wonder if there’s more than one, be assured there are!! I’ve even seen two and if there’s two, just think how many more there could be. So my trap is going to the barn again after I get it baited. Thanks to all of you who informed me of this type of trap!

Time for a pet peeve discussion of sorts. Does anyone else besides me have lots of trouble opening any kind of package? Mostly food packages and I’ve noticed that generic products are much harder to open – guess that’s why they’re cheaper? Poor packaging?

A reader mentioned having to part with her Country Living magazines – here is my solid collection of their first 30 years after which we were asked to create a quilt for their anniversary. Thus 30 Stars was born – pattern can be found in our online store.

What will I ever do with this wonderful collection?????

Here are the first 4 copies of Country Living published in 1979.

Reader quilts:

Our friend Gail is at a quilt retreat – look what she’s working on! Bullseye!
This is what I finally bound and hung – next to my huge pencil tree!!

See these files –

When we started printing our own patterns quite a few years ago, we began filing them here. All of these drawers are FULL of in house printed patterns – here’s the catch: we sold all the finished quilts at our big closing sale! Never did we think we’d still be sending out patterns so now each quilt really needs to be remade because we have nothing to show you. This is a problem.

Our county among many others is under a wind chill warning tonight thru Wednesday. Pray the heat doesn’t go out!

PS – a reader asked about this Winter quilt with the mittens. We have not put it into the online store because it’s all appliqué – many pages to piece together on copy paper. I will gladly copy on 11x 17 paper and mail to you for $15.00. Remember no credit cards and don’t forget to tell me what you’re ordering.

123 thoughts on “Ground Blizzard Monday, 1-24-22

  1. Cheryl Regan

    Ugh those rats! You are awesome for trapping them. Consider donating your magazines to a local quilt guild or put them on Facebook marketplace. I got rid of a bunch doing that. Ground blizzards are the worst! Stay safe!

  2. Kaye

    When I can’t part with treasured but rarely used magazines I put them in the compost bins figuring one day they will nourish my flowers and live on.

  3. Joy in NW Iowa

    I am so glad your new trap is working! Dirty rats! Your kitties should keep them away! Haha. Love the projects posted!
    Cold snap…yes, here too. Minus 35 windchills in the morning! We don’t have any snow, so when it blows …it just blows. I’m staying in….hibernation!

  4. Pat

    So glad your rat trap is working and doing it’s job.!!
    We are having cold and snow here in Michigan . Down to 5 degrees tonight and more of the same tomorrow. We have cattle (Texas Longhorns) and not can they drink water during cold weather.
    How is Colton doing?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Pat – Colton is GOOD! I was going to take him to the vet this week but I’m hoping I can hold off till temps rise a bit.

  5. Rosie Westerhold

    Amen to the heat not going out!! Mine went out over a week ago. BUT, I have 2 systems: one for downstairs and one for upstairs. The downstairs one went out, but it is nice and comfy upstairs in the bedroom. And I have a gas fireplace in the bedroom as well if I need to get REALLY warm. We will have temps near zero tonight with wind chill. Brrrrrr. New heating/cooling system will be installed tomorrow so I won’t have to worry about pipes freezing after tonight.

    Glad your traps are working. It’s kind of like fleas. If you see one or 2, you KNOW there are more hiding somewhere!! I would hate having to empty the trap, though. YUCK!!

    Stay safe, stay warm, and keep on stitching!

    1. Teresa

      Rosie, I feel for you having your heat compromised when it’s this cold. Praying your pipes don’t freeze and the new system is installed without issue.

      1. Rosie Westerhold

        Got my new heating/cooling system installed today, Tuesday🙌🙌!! No issues with that. However NONE of the outlets are working on my side of the bed for some strange reason😱😱😱😱!! The place is falling apart around me. UGH. Had an electrician here for several hours this afternoon. Had I known something ELECTRICAL wasn’t working, maybe I could have asked if he could please check it out. Could be just a breaker, but everything else in the room seems to be working. Oh, the joys of being a homeowner. Not so much right now😡😡. And my “normal” e-mail address isn’t working now for some strange reason. When it rains, it pours. Oh, fixing part of the roof is NEXT on the agenda of repairs. Double UGH!!

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Rosie – I feel for you! I lived here alone for many years and there’s always something to fix – Rick is an excellent “fixer” but sometimes it takes forever to get him to do it. So glad you have heat – and now just get those outlets working again!

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rosie – to empty the trap you just turn it upside down – touching nothing. Rat falls out

  6. Montana Kathy

    On your pet peeve, Mary, my husband has been going on about that for months now! I find I have to open everything otherwise I have to listen to him for the next half hour complaining and swearing. It really is ridiculous how hard they make it nowadays to open things. What is going on? It never used to be like this.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Montana Kathy – I am so happy to read all these comments! I thought it was just me – my arthritis, no grip, crooked fingers and hands! I’m in good company!

  7. Carol Eberhardt

    Mary, 1… Rats, 0!
    Congrats on the successful application of trapping technology!

    My husband’s surgery was this morning, all went well, including the drive. We got home just as the snow starting coming down and really sticking to the 18-24 inches we already have.
    The hospital staff was so nice, they have a system down pat to have as little contact as possible while keeping you Informed every step of the way. You still get to be with the patient pre-op and post-op, but during surgery you’re updated by text and voicemails from the surgeon.

    So it’s a big relief to start the recuperation waitressing, ha ha! Homemade chicken tortellini soup tonight, I planned ahead, and tomorrow, tomato bisque soup, also homemade. Yummy! Light diet for 48 hours.

    Thanks, everyone, for good thoughts and prayers, I know you’ve all been through something similar, or worse, and know how nerve wracking it can be. Especially in bad weather!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carol E – oh, I’m so glad you made it there and home again! I know all about waitressing and care giving and I don’t like either one. You have way more snow than we do! But we have so much wind that even a little bit blows. You soup sounds good, too!!

      1. Carol Eberhardt

        Thanks, Mary. It’s always good when someone wakes up from surgery aware and communicative. Even when the communication is grumpy! We’re moving on to foods you can chew, ha ha!
        Re: packaging. My husband and I both agree it’s a plot. Someone has decided we eat too much and the inability to deal with packaging and jar slows us down! I’m buying the ceramic slicer suggested by your reader! I keep scissors handy right now so that darned plastic doesn’t get the best of me! When I want my cheese, I want it now!

    2. Judith Fairchild

      Your soups sound good in this colder weather. Having a spouse make it through surgery and able to come home is a blessing. Takes care of yourself along with your love.
      Praying for both of you.

      1. Carol Eberhardt

        Thank you! He’s well enough to be a bit grumpy now, so we’re on the mend! Moving on to more more daring foods, but boy, those soups were good, if I do say so myself!

  8. Debbie G

    Today was a snow day sew day! I’ve been busy trying to pick projects for a quilt retreat this coming weekend. I’m trying to do all UFO’s but will probably stick in a couple of new projects too. It’s going to get really cold here also. They are predicting below zero wind chills. More snow here on Thursday. Next week I have jury duty so I hope Mother Nature makes it snow like crazy to get it out of her system this week. Good job catching the rat! I’ve never seen one in person and hope I never do. I can catch a mouse like nobody’s business. I used to have to set traps in our previous home. Stay warm, Mary!!

  9. Jane from St Marys

    I’ve seen this comment several times before….Why do they put eggs in a styrofoam container & batteries in a package you can’t begin to open no matter what tool you use? It’s is a mystery to me but one I would love the answer to! We’re all praying for the heat to stay on the next few days!

  10. Judy in oregon

    I agree with you on how hard it is to open things. They may do it on purpose especially with bags of snack items as occasionally you used to see where people had opened something in the store and eaten part of it. I agree with Barbara about blister packaging, they nearly drive me crazy trying to open them. I will have to get one of the ceramic slicers she gave a link to. When I have more time I will have to tell you my rat story from years ago.

  11. Lisa in eastern Washington state

    I got rid of all my old Country Living magazines when we moved 1.5 years ago by taking them to the recycling center. I had trouble parting with them but I got over it and don’t miss them at all. In fact I just let my subscription lapse too. I guess I’m moving on in more ways than one!! Happy death cleaning.

    1. Corli

      I kept all of my co. Living mags too. Got rid of them but saved the first issue. Still renew every year.

    2. Carol Eberhardt

      HAPPY DEATH CLEANING!!! Ha ha, if someone was new to this they’d be all “what??? How rude!” But I think it’s funny because I’m doing it, too! Each thing I pass on, I get better at it!

  12. Vivian.

    I can’t decide if I am getting weaker or packaging is getting stronger. I keep a pair of scissors handy in the kitchen but even that is not good enough for the blister packs.

  13. Marilyn Cook

    I have a terrible time opening the cans with the pull tabs. I would rather use a can opener.

    1. Marsha from Kansas

      One of the best things I bought was a multipurpose hand can opener from QVC. There is a “beak” to open pull-top tabs and a rsealable pop can twist opener as well. 7 UP plastic tops are really hard to twist off. The can opener cuts the top of the can so it does not have sharp edges. Might check it out.

  14. Sandi

    I love all the quilt pictures today! There are so many amazing quilters out there. I love the one you hung by your pencil tree. I would love to do something along those lines but don’t have clue. Do you have any suggestions to get me going? Thank you. Hugs, Sandi

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandi – it’s very easy – there are no rules! Just start sewing pieces together willy nilly, straighten the edges and arrange the chunks on a table, wall, floor – whatever you have available. If one chunk is too small, sew another piece/strip on – keep moving chunks to fit by adding or cutting down – it develops on its own! So fun!!!

  15. Mary in Indiana

    We had mice this winter until I bought 2 mouse traps that were very effective but it was hard getting up in the morning knowing the first thing I had to do was empty the traps. Ugh!

    1. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

      Mary, I don’t know if I could empty the trap. You are brave!! My husband had bird seed in the garage so he got a mouse in the cabin air filter inside the car! He had to buy traps and will put one in the car before Easter😹😹.
      Love all the quilts in the show. Cold and snowy here all day. I think it made it to19*. We had lots of light snow— probably about 3” on top of 5.5 “. Just like Western NY— snow every day. . It is so pretty compared to the brown we often have.

  16. Lynette in Orlando

    Mary, thank you for the pic of the Country Living magazines. I’m struggling right now with purging magazines! 😩😳 I don’t want to part with them, but then why am I saving them??

  17. DebMac

    I loved Country Living. My MIL subscribed for years and passed on her magazines. I clipped so many ideas out of them. Are they still being published? Here in the Quad Cities, we are supposed to hit -11 tomorrow night and that’s not even taking wind chill into consideration. We had snow showers again this afternoon but nothing stuck other than the half inch we had overnight. I’ve spent more than a few hours this month looking at old quilt magazines and putting the patterns I like into page protectors. Still haven’t decided if I want to hold onto them until city wide garage sale in July or try unloading them on Facebook Marketplace. I have cancelled all my quilt magazine subscriptions except for 1. Trying to organize after moving twice in 3 years and decide what I really want to make with my stash.

  18. Michele

    Oh my do I have trouble opening things. Impossible to penetrate blister packs. Pull tabs on cans always break off. Those little bits of plastic wrapped around the necks of bottles are the worst to remove. Those bags that say “tear here” bring me to tears. On and on and on……. Thanks for letting me vent. Stay warm.

  19. Jackie in NY

    I always loved (and still do) Country Living magazine. I subscribed for many years and kept all the magazines too. Not sure at which point I got rid of them – we’re on our third house. I stopped most of my magazine subscriptions a few years ago – just don’t have that much time to read magazines anymore.

  20. Moe in NE Illinois

    Mary, I am decluttering my house. Threw away a thousand magazine but NOT my Country Living. This next summer my plan is to re-read them. I loved that magazine. I have three zappers. I throw two or three peanuts at the back of the zapper. Then when I dump the contents the peanuts go out too. I keep a jar in the fridge just for the zapper. I am working on my 9th Halloween quilt. Excited. Glad you stayed home today. Stay warm. The polar vortex is coming.

  21. Kathy in western NY

    I can’t open anything it seems. I was wondering if I was getting weaker and arthritis in hands bothering me more but it does get annoying looking at something and trying to figure out how to get into it such as a pack of batteries.
    Tonight’s news showed Bills fans lined up at the airport in Buffalo at 2:30 am to welcome home their team after the game.

    1. Diane and the gang in Central Ohio

      Yea for Buffalo fans. The Ohio contingent was cheering very hard. Sad loss🥲

    2. Carol Eberhardt

      Darn that coin toss. That’s what the Bills lost, not the game. What a shame it came down to luck rather than skill. Go Bills!

      Yes, the Bills Mafia was at the airport, they started arriving at midnight … I hope they were driving sober!
      Bills fans are the most loyal in the country. Chiefs fans turned their TVs off in the final 13, thinking the Bills won. Wouldn’t even bother to watch their team play it out. That is not loyal. Read an article about how they woke up to a win, and how elated were blah blah blah.
      No, they woke up to a coin toss in their favor, and bad overtime rules. Boo!
      Yea for loyalty and the best team in the country! Bills at the Super Bowl, 2023!

  22. Betty Klosterman

    Think I saw on GMA yesterday Mason City chill factor for tonight is in the -40’s. Make sure you count every beak, tail and nose so you don’t forget anybody. Baby, it is going to be cold out there!!
    Yesterday afternoon I sewed the blocks into rows for your Log Cabin Blue Jeans quilt. The heavy jeans about drove me nuts with fraying. They will be alright when it gets quilted or tied. Actually looks alright. And it will leave home and never come back.
    Stay warm out there. Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – Nobody got to go out today so I’m good tonite! Turned the heat up this afternoon and will check barn at 10

  23. Marie C

    All the quilts are so pretty today. I love the geese and the little log like house in your magazine picture. I’m a couple of hours south of you and we had the ground blizzard also. It’s not fun driving. Some of the road is clear and some is covered with snow and slippery. Stay warm.

  24. Denise Miller

    I too have the hardest time with opening packages. It frustrates the mess out of me when I can’t open something. The worst part is finding the kitchen scissors. They are never and I mean never in the knife block where they are suppose to be.

  25. Kate

    Country Living magazine was such a great magazine years ago with lots of pictures of homes and lots of writing. Now it’s like instagram with pictures but less writing so I don’t take it any longer, but I do have most of my copies beginning in the seventies and really would hate to get rid of them, but I will have to one day. I really love the quilt you just finished as I am partial to patchwork quilts.

  26. Teresa

    Love all the quilts!! I used to buy the fall/winter BH&G special edition magazines, there would be four every year. I have two totes full of them and I’m so glad because they don’t publish them anymore and they’re so fun to look at every holiday season along with the recipes.

    On the rat issue, I used to work for a feed company and the saying was, for every rat you see, there’s a 100 you don’t. I had a large beef feedlot client and in the summer the rats would line up on the edges of the water tanks and drink because they were hot. It was creepy to see them shoulder to shoulder, out in broad daylight like that. I couldn’t have worked there!! The employees said the worst was getting the big bales of hay out of the bunkers to be ground into the feed, the hay bunkers were where they lived, ack! They bought rat bait from me by the cases and it never seemed to make a dent.

  27. Debra Reber

    I agree with your pet peeve– I’m really having trouble opening things- especially all the things my grandkids like to eat! And the screw caps on water bottles, juice bottles, etc. I have arthritis in my hands, so I always thought that was why I couldn’t open things. It’s really frustrating!!

  28. Jan from TN

    100% yes on any packaging — not just generic! I hate those plastic packages that say “easy open-tear here”. So you attempt to tear “there” & just a sliver of plastic comes off. Try again, another small sliver comes off. Twice & still you can pull the “easy open” package because not enough “tear here” has come off yet. At that point, I carefully cut the package where it should have “torn easily”. But guess what, not the “easy open” package won’t snap for an “easy close”. Oy! So frustrating! Don’t even get me started on jars that are impossible to unscrew when they’re brand new. 🤦🏼‍♀️🙄 Glad to hear your catching some rats! I remember those ground blizzards when o lived in IL. Stay warm & safe. 🤗

  29. Robin

    I had quite a collection of Country Living magazines at one time. I also made your 30 star quilt. I have been to three of the fairs. The magazine has changed and I found Country Living British Edition which I love. Lots of good articles on wildlife. Good luck with your rat problem.

  30. Bobbie Woodruff

    Hi Mary,
    We aren’t as cold hear as y’all. 40’s in the day and around freezing at night. We had a power outage after Christmas and it has messed up our train heat pump. The one place is telling us we need to put a new one in. This one was put in, in 2008 for $16,000. He said they have stop making this kind. It can cost several thousand to try to fix it. And around $18-20,000 for a new one and removing the old one that is in a spot they built for it in 2008 when The house burned. We are having 2 other companies give us a bid but they aren’t Train brand. Because of no heat in my she shed I haven’t gone out to sew. We have something in the unit that puts it on emergency heat. It is double electricity to run it so our electricity bill doubled last month. It’s not as warm either. We have long sleeves on inside. I decided I would take everything out of my pantry move stuff around and check the dates to see if anything was out of date or close. It’s a big job.
    It’s not going to rain for the next few days but colder than usual. I hope anyone who is in the snow belt area can stay at home unless you just have to get out on those slick roads.
    I have my fabric to make the bullseye quilt. I got it last summer in patriot colors.I hope to start it so it’s done by the 4 of July. I think I have enough to make a table runner without heavy batting of the bullseye for my table.
    Boy having to empty the rat trap isn’t any fun. We have mice things in our garage but thank goodness no rats. We seem to get 1-2 a week in the winter. Hubby can empty them. He uses peanut butter on a Cheerio. He ties the cheerio on dental floss then to the trap and adds the peanut butter. Seems to work good. We have about 1/2 dozen traps set.

  31. Janice Brown

    Mary, Your quilt is really nice and it is so cheerful looking. Your so lucky to have complete collection of the Country Living magazines.

  32. Jo in Wyoming

    I loved those magazines.
    Today’s quilt show is very unique. That little fella with his “big boy quilt”. Such fun.
    My garage smells like something died. No garbage or food in there. Just dead.
    This summer I guess I’ll do some major cleaning.
    I got a box of thread in the mail today. Oh! They are so pretty. I have an old blueprint cabinet they fit in perfectly.
    I do feel sorry for who ever is left after me, but in the meantime, I’ll love every collection I have.

    1. Sheri

      My friend had a rodent that went behind the sheetrock in her utility room and died. It was horrible. She called pest control and he immediately knew what it was.

  33. Sue in PA

    Mary, that’s quite a magazine collection you have, in addition to all your other collections. So… how’s the Swedish Death Cleaning that you started awhile ago coming along? I’ve had to start getting tough on myself and part with things I have been holding onto for decades. It’s hard but it’s time for me to find other homes for things and sometimes that even includes the thrift shop or the garbage/recycle bin. I am working on my sewing room now since I will never be able to sew up all the fabric I have accumulated. I have been giving some of it away to charity quilters. I will keep a good stash since I am still very much into quilting. It is my happy place. I have found a number of quilt tops that I made several years ago that will finally get quilted. It really helps to clean out drawers that haven’t been used for awhile!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sue in pa – I am piling the stuff in a couple of rooms to wait for our sale the first weekend in April. The Death Cleaning really does work – things I’ve had forever aren’t on the top of my list anymore so they’re outa here!

  34. Jan in NW WI

    Such fun to read everyone’s comments, and the quilt “show” is great. Very cold here in NW WI. Predicting -30 with the wind chill. This old house (1885) is drafty, despite added insulation. Thank goodness for our fleece sheets. A friend sent them to me, and they are delightful! There is no chill to the sheets and they are wonderfully soft. I would recommend them to anyone who lives where the winters are frigid. Not sure where these came from, but I know Kohls, Amazon and QVC have them. So glad you are successful with the rat “evictions”. When I was in my early 20″s I lived in New York City for a few years. Interesting, but filthy. I hated emptying the trash because the bins outside had rats all around them. They were pretty fearless. Hope everyone stays warm these next few days.

  35. Betty Klosterman

    I absolutely love to see how other ladies put their blocks together. And Fiona’s flying geese is so nice. It reminds me of our Canyon Lake. Hundreds of Canadian Geese and ducks are there summer and winter. It is so great when they fly over in the V to the stock dams and back to the lake. There’s a lot of fertilizer, too.
    And the mouse and rat stories. My favorite so far is the toaster. Good trap to just dump the rat.
    Pat, why can’t the Texas Long Horns drink water when it is cold?
    Does anybody remember the “Miniature Quilts” magazine? I have all of them…….
    Oh, what smiles and laughter you bring with your comments. Thank you.
    Betty in Rapid City

  36. Sheri

    We are watching an old episode of Midsomer Murders and one of the characters is in her barn shooting rats with a shotgun and hanging them by their tails on a line. Glad you are using traps.

  37. Sue in Oregon

    Yes, I most certainly do agree about the packaging of almost everything. I have not noticed that generics are harder to open. I think they are All hard to open. It is obvious that young people dream up these things, but someday, they too will have arthritis in their hands. Can you tell it’s my pet peeve, too? lol
    Good about the rat. Yes, there are more. They breed very fast and grow fast as well. Ugh! We suddenly had a problem one summer and they nearly wiped out our garden that year.
    Now I wish I had not been so hasty getting rid of mine.

  38. Marsha from Kansas

    Whew, just watched Kansas University pull out a win in double overtime. Second squeeker in a row! I say just enjoy your magazines. I think I have about every issue of Fons and Porter but last year cancelled the subscription. Instead I subscribed to Better Home and Garden American Patchwork and Quilting. More scrap quilt patterns. Interests change and want to use up scraps. Enjoying the quilts.

  39. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    The wide variety of projects in this post is great. It has given me all kinds of ideas. Your Country Living collection is a real treasure, Mary. It has been my favorite for years.
    On Wednesday, my brother and sister and spouses are coming for a siblings lunch. With the frigid temps predicted, it was a no-brainer as to the menu-soup, of course. I am making regular red chili and white bean/chicken chili with pumpkin bars for dessert. We last saw each other in June, so will have fun catching up.
    Everyone take care and stay warm. 🥰

  40. Candy

    My collection consists of every issue of Quilt Sampler magazine … starting with the first issue (I think) from 1995 with Mary & Connie on the cover. I used to read every word, cover to cover, but I have to admit I’m not that into the more recent ones. It’s easier to keep up to date with the quilting world reading my favourite blogs! I can’t quit adding to my collection until they quit publishing them though!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Candy – now that’s a really great collection, too!!! I, too, don’t like the newer issues – guess that dates us all!

  41. Kathy L

    I have 29 years of Country living, also Country Home, Country Sampler and numerous quilting magazines, starting to give them away, running out of room lol

  42. Wendy P

    Pattern problem. You have the directions but no sample. How about offering a pattern as a “Mystery”, then purchasers could make the pattern and send you a photo of the completed quilt / wall hanging. Once you have a photo of the completed quilt – offer up for sale as the pattern name and move onto the next “Mystery “. It would be fun. Just an idea.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Wendy P – now that is a good idea! Do you like mystery quilts? I know some don’t because they don’t know if they’ll like the finished quilt. I’m going to jot this down and go look at those patterns today! Thank you – this might be fun!

      1. Wendy P

        I sort of like mystery quilts. You could give a brief description. 9 patches with sawtooth stars or something along those lines. I think it would be fun.

  43. Sharon Ray

    I bought my first Country Living in 1983. Even though we were on a tight budget, I subscribed to that magazine and was so excited when a new issue arrived. I got it for over 10 years and kept them all for a long time. I finally went through all of them taking out mostly recipe sections. I still have one or two but the rest are gone. I don’t care for the newer editions, not like the original at all. Everything changes, right? Good luck with the rats, a family member had them in their house! Thank goodness they finally got rid of them. Stay warm and quilt on!!

  44. Judy

    I also got the Slice cutter, that Barbara mentioned, for my kids for Christmas. I got one for myself last year; didn’t use it too much until I figured out how to use it. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! You have to lay it on the package and not at an angle for it to work the best. Winter finally arrived in North Central Indiana Saturday night just in time for our Christmas celebration. The snow ended Sunday morning and we were able to gather. It had been the third time planned due to family Covid and colds. All are well now.
    Hope the rats are soon all gone.

  45. Janice Robbins

    Glad you mentioned the Miniature Quilts magazine, Betty. I have those and need to get them out and go thru them again. So happy you caught a rat, Mary. It takes so little to make us happy doesn’t it?

    1. Kathy in western NY

      I too have saved some Minature Quilts magazines, Betty and Janice. Now when I look at the patterns, I am saying to myself “ Will I really make that small template and do up the pattern or just use one of my easy angle rulers like Bonnie Hunter teaches and make a bit bigger block from my scraps”. Their magazines with their newsprint paper are still much easier for me to read than the glossy white papers in magazines today. BUT I did rip out a couple patterns and recycled the rest of some of my Minature Quilts magazine recently. I have been on a cleaning binge in my sewing room for the last 2 weeks!

  46. Jeanne H in Finger Lakes of New York

    H’mm, what you folks call “ground blizzards” are called white-outs in western NY. Nope, not something you want to be in when outside. Pretty darned scary trying to drive in one too. So glad I don’t have to worry about getting to a job now, and can wait until another day for errands. When I grocery shop, I try to get enough for 10 days rather than just a week, in case the weather turns bad.

    B’rrr, we sure are getting some extreme cold this winter. Fall and early winter were kind of mild, so our firewood did not get as dried out as much as it might normally have done, so some fires are slow getting going. (We heat with a woodstove.) Back up is electric baseboard, but we only use it in the bathroom. However, we have electric blankets on our beds, and I got an electric throw for DH to use when watching TV. I love my down throw with a pocket for my feet. Keeping toasty! : )

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jeanne H – I admire you living with just wood heat – I just know I couldn’t do it – even our fireplace “insert” is lots of work and heat is not even. Stay warm out there in NY!

      1. Jeanne H in Finger Lakes of New York

        At 8:02 am EST on 1/25/22, it’s 6 degrees outside, and the coldest room is the living room at 59. Unless it’s very cold and windy, we let the fire go out at night; otherwise, too much ash accumulates. DH is in the basement family room now starting a fire. Between wood that has to bake dry before putting out heat, and arthritis, we are considering relying less on the woodstove and using the electric baseboard more. My 90-year-old father-in-law in Florida thinks we’re crazy! LOL But, there is nothing like standing in front of the stove and toasting myself when I’m cold.

        Does anyone else find that if a certain part of their anatomy gets cold – (in my case it’s my backside!), it takes a long time to feel completely warm? That’s when stove-toasting occurs. ; )

        1. Jeanne H in Finger Lakes of New York

          Meant to add that I loved the original Country Living. When my husband’s parents were finishing the interior of their little vacation home in Maine almost 40 years ago, my MIL wanted one wall like one in the magazine: wood paneling above a fieldstone fireplace (in Maine it’s popplestone which are large round stones from the shoreline that technically should not be removed because of possible erosion), and a raised hearth. It really turned out well, and I’m sure was a selling point when they sold the house 6 years ago.

        2. Carol Eberhardt

          My hands and feet, they will not thaw until May! I’m in Orchard Park NY, a couple of hours from you, near Lake Erie (home of the Bills, Go Bills!), and can I ask… is this the coldest winter ever? These below zero wind chills are killer! I skipped the gym this morning, which I rarely do, but… brr… no can do!
          Finger Lakes, one of God’s miracles! I love your area of our state best!

  47. Mrs. Goodneedle

    I never kept magazines (except for QNM) but have most likely had every copy of Country Living on my coffee table over the years; I loved that one. My QNM’s all came crashing down one morning early onto the floor of my sewing room closet. The weight of those, decade’s worth, became too much for the shelves that were holding them and the shelf brackets failed. After that I thought to myself “why am I keeping these?” My guild didn’t want them and I never really went back to them to look anything up. It was a VERY tough decision, but, one day I loaded them all up and took them (regretfully) to recycling. I haven’t looked back. Until now. 😉

    Great news on the e-RAT-ication front!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mrs. Goodneedle – I’ve gone back to QNM and it’s amazing that what’s old is new again! If you changed the color palette they’d look like current quilts!

  48. Laura V

    It killed me to get rid of my Country Living and Country Home magazine collections! They are starting pile up, again, but will go through them again, soon.
    I love going back and looking at them.

  49. Ginny SC

    I fight with anything that is packaged, I have no strength in my hands. Scissors, knives and box cutters are my friends, even for bread!

  50. NancyTD

    I have a neat opener with a hook to open pull tabs and an opener that releases the vacuum on a jar. Had them for years and don’t remember where I got them. Just cut the bags and use a clothes pin to close them.
    Glad you got a rat. Wouldn’t want that as my job!
    The wind sure blew the 1 inch of snow we had yesterday.
    Finally finished my hand quilted king quilt. Block of the month in 2015. So it was a 6 year project on and off.

  51. Linda from MN

    Regarding the packaging of various products, yes I have often thought some packaging engineers must have graduated at the bottom of their class! I have seriously thought about sending some products to the CEO of the company and asking them if they ever tried to open their product themselves! The plastic clamshell packaging that can cut your hands is the worst!

  52. Julie D.

    Good morning Mary! I love your quilt by your pencil tree. I really should try making a wallhanging that just doesn’t have any rules-just creating! I’m such a rule person I think I might struggle with this. Rat problems-ugh! On our acreage, we have had woodchuck problems. They can burrow under anything, in our case–buildings, big round bales, and under a scrap metal pile, and boy are they smart and have great hearing. They are also a menace! I have two of your original quilts from your sale. I would be happy to send you a picture of them or find a cool backdrop come spring or when it’s a bit warmer outside (today is -15 below) and send them to you!! They are absolute treasures to me! All of the reader’s quilts are so awesome! You all motivate me to do much better in my sewing/quilting.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Julie D – which quilts did you buy? I’d love a photo – maybe it’s one I can use but don’t bother till spring. I told Rick this morning as I wrapped his foot that if he ever considered surgery again in the winter that I’d simply kill him first because it would be easier – and I was serious! Try improv piecing – there are so many great books out there – maybe I’ll show them to everybody!

      1. Janet of MN

        I think you’re on to something. It’s possible others have your quilts and would be willing to take pictures etc. You should send notice that it would be much appreciated to have photos.

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Janet of MN – I don’t think so – I want them in a brighter palette and I doubt anybody made them that way – years ago we all liked the dark primitive palette.

      2. Julie D.

        I just looked for them and I actually have four of them!! I have a large wallhanging of a large Santa face that says Santa across the bottom and stars and a cardinal at the top. The second one is a smaller wallhanging that has Santa, a gold trumpet, holly leaves, two chickens, a flag, and a house. The third is a wallhanging of watermelon slices with a crow at the bottom. And the last one is a fall wallhanging that is done in flannels. It has several pumpkins, a crow and has the word ‘pumpkin” going vertically down the right side. There is a moon and stars also in the quilt. I will take pictures of them tomorrow for you and email them.

  53. Gail

    Oh my – let me just say that I too had years of the Country Living Magazine from the onset to ? In a time of reducing clutter and trying to downsize I got rid of them (bundled and took to Goodwill). That is one of my regrets – I would so love to look through them again. Wouldn’t advise getting rid of them! Lol

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Gail – I have decided to keep all the Country Living mags for now – if I ever move to town they’ll have to go then.

  54. Bonnie Specchio

    So many things to relate to in this post! Rats – we had a large farm with outbuildings in central Illinois for 34 years and the rats were terrible in the chicken house. They tunneled underground. We used traps, bait, even flooding their tunnels and never really got ahead of them. Sold the big farmhouse last year and have a little chicken house at our new smaller farm – no rats yet!
    I agree packaging seems to get more complicated every year and aging hands don’t help. Between my husband and I, we get most things open but recently had to wait for a brawny friend to stop by to open a jar of pickled beets – frustrating for sure to see them sitting on the counter and not be able to eat them!
    After cleaning out my parents’ house with 53 years of stuff and in preparation for our downsizing to a smaller house I purged, donated, sold and burned so many things! Our new home seems so calm and serene with the most loved items in their places and it is quite easy to find items when they are organized. I too absolutely loved Country Living and the wondeful Goat Gazette and saved them for years but finally realized that I was unlikely to read them again so they went.
    We have had dozens of pet farm animals down through the years – deer, goats, peacocks, chickens, turkeys, swans, sheep, cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, an antelope, llama, reindeer, mules, mini-horse – too many to count. We incubated all kinds of eggs and did a lot of bottle feeding – so much fun for our kids and we did lots of school tours. Now we are snowbirds, spending our winters in Alabama so those days are gone. Great memories.
    Love reading your blog and the comments – brightens my day!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bonnie – your note was so fun for me! None of you can understand how much I love hearing your stories about your lives – on all the stuff- it makes me not buy one more thing even if I love it. Someone used the rule, if something comes into the house, something goes out. I’m going to try that.

      1. Bonnie Specchio

        I’m going to try to comment more regularly. I often mean to but don’t follow up. Just enjoy all your news so much!

  55. Dianna in Wisconsin

    I have arthritic hands so an Oxo good grip is necessary for me to open any bottles. Have used one for 20+ years, I also use the tab lifter opener. Found them on sale years ago and bought about 6 of them for friends.

    I have been clearing out a lot of extra fabric. Had a lot of upholstery fabric I was going to use to make totes, satins from making ringleader pillows, etc. Donated to the thrift store. I have 26 quilt kits cut for making baby quilts for my church quilt guild. It feels so good to get rid of some extra fabric that hopefully someone else can use. Staying in and sewing keeps me warm and safe!

  56. Connie R. in NE Wis.

    Instead of Super Glue, they should sell the stuff they use to glue together the top of potato chip bags…I would be a customer!
    Started off at 16 degrees below zero her this morning but, has warmed up to 5 degrees and is sunny so it doesn’t seem so bad. Plenty of snow on the ground and more to come this week.
    I am working on a “memory quilt” for a friend and trying to figure out how to incorporate the wide range of fabric content and weights of the clothing she gave me into the quilt. I’m not able to quilt it on my sewing machine and wondered if anyone can recommend a good quilt batting to use when tying a quilt.

  57. sharon

    Before I moved a few years ago I had a collection on several magazines I really loved. I put each months selections of years gone by in a magazine rack and really loved and enjoyed a month of what we saw several years ago. When I moved a friend asked me for those magazines so I suspect they are still coming out for thier appropriate months. (Hope so!)

    sharon from Illinois

  58. Montana Kathy

    Mary, I have to say this day’s discussion and the subjects covered, with so many writing in was the most interesting and fun post to read! Thank you for bringing so many of us together. I read and re-read everyone’s responses and thought to myself how lucky we are to have you in our lives. I, too, love hearing everyone’s stories. In this time of COVID and staying home so much, this blog is a life saver. Thank you for being there!

  59. Betty Klosterman

    It’s me again. Has anybody tried running HOT water over the jar lid? Then using a wet cloth to help hold the lid and jar? The hot water makes the lid expand and easier to remove.
    Betty in Rapid City

  60. JustGail

    I have all issues of 3 magazines – Threads, Piecework, and Antique Samplers and Needlework. And I keep an eye out or Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, I have about half of those. That’s one magazine I’d love if there were a digital archive, but I doubt that will happen because of copyright issues. There are some articles missing from the Threads archive because of that. You are so right – except for tools, everything comes around again. Plain fabrics are now the “oh so hot latest thing!”, but the only thing new is this time they are usually heavily quilted. I’m a bit worried how long Country Living is going to keep going based solely on how thin it is the past year. I don’t keep most magazines long, maybe a couple of months or so, then I’ll copy /photograph/tear out anything that interests me and off to the recycle/reseller pile it goes.

    I like the idea of a mystery quilt along for those patterns with no samples left. What about putting out a request for anyone who’s made them already and use photos of those? I doubt people would want to deal with shipping them to your for photos due to cost, and sadly, possibility of being lost or damaged. Does that run into copyright issues, or debate of how closely the instructions were actually followed if someone has problems with the pattern now? Then there’s the whole photo quality & staging issues… maybe not such a good idea.

  61. Mary Says Sew!

    I keep the something-in, something-out in mind, too. Even better: something-in, two-things-out, three-things-out, etc. Or just something out!

    Also, I ask, “Do we REALLY need this?” a lot. Both before purchases or with stuff we already have. Boxes designated for the local thrift store and consignment store are always in place to collect things.

    I work to empty and decommission storage containers. The answer to decluttering, organizing and storage is not more containers – it’s less stuff!

    I created an Excel spreadsheet several years ago to track fabric in vs. fabric used or out. Very helpful! My goal is to keep sewing and reduce my fabric stash. It really helps me to not buy fabric “on spec” – just because I want it. There will always be fabric I want.

    Fabric used in quilts is considered “out” of the stash – finished quilts are way more likely to end up in someone’s home than quilt tops or yardage.

    Buying fabric to finish a quilt that is the next, second next or third next in line to be finished is “legal”. Those purchases move UFOs to finished quilts in the foreseeable future.

    Fabric I don’t have a good idea how I will use it goes in pieced backings. So far, I’ve always been able to coordinate the pieced backings with the tops.

    I look at the quality of my fabric with a much more critical eye. Thin and faded? Trash! Scrap strips, squares or large pieces I can’t imagine using in the next ten years or projects – local thrift store or consignment shop.

    I have accumulated lots of 200-thread-count natural-colored muslin from backings. I am using those as the neutral or background in scrap quilts. Yes, I have a mix of shades of color and mixing them together is just fine. Makes the quilts more interesting. So far, they’ve worked great in log cabin quilts; one in shades of green, one is shades of blue, one in autumn colors: yellow, gold, orange, rust and browns. Stunning!

    We don’t belong to a church or any suitable civic organizations, but I have arranged for my husband and/or friends to offer my fabric and sewing stuff to the theatre department at the local university. Then consigned or donated. I think about how much work I am leaving my DH and friends when considering purchases or looking over my stash.

    Finished quilts will be displayed and offered to those attending the memorial service for people who have donated their bodies to the medical school where both my husband and I worked, similar to how your quilts will go to your church for your funeral service. We’re both signed up to be body donors (organ donors first, though).

    Rather than spend money on stuff, travel, entertaining, etc., I’d rather spend it on the neighborhood cats we care for and donating to the local humane societies and other local causes we support. We have what we want and need and live comfortably. We are blessed with wonderful neighbors! I don’t need a bigger house, a second house, a boat, another shirt, pair of shoes, necklace, etc. but there are cats and dogs who need food, shelter, vet care; people in my community who need food, shelter, medical and dental care; students who need scholarships, etc. Much better than more stuff in my house and none of those things require any storage on my part!

    Most of us are blessed – be happy with what you’ve got and look out for those around you.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary Says Sew – what a beautiful “comment”! You should be my role model!!

      1. Mary Says Sew!

        Mary E. – you already do the things I’m doing! How many cats, dogs, goats, chickens and geese have you taken in and take care of for the rest of their lives? How many church services, funerals and nursing home performances have you played for? How much fun have you provided your readers showing us inside your life with stories of your animals, gardening, quilting, home, collections, finds and your process of how you’re evaluating what you have and what you value?

        You don’t need a role model, but if I can be one of your cheerleaders, I’m happy with that!

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Mary says sew – oh my goodness,thank you, but you only THINK I do more than you because I tell it all here on the blog! I just have more barn chores than you do!

  62. Kris in WI

    My daughter gave me the best tip on opening a jar. Place the jar on its side on a padded surface; a potholder or folded towel works well. Slip the tip of a table knife under the lid and pry gently until you hear the ‘pop’ of the seal breaking. I’ve never chipped a jar, bent a lid, or had a spill. Works like a charm! Betty’s hot water tip works, too.
    Saving Country Living back issues? Guilty as charged! My collection is down to about 3 dozen and those have lots of the page corners turned down to mark something interesting. I go through them about once a year and can be heard to say things like, “Oh, I still like that…and that…!” It’s a good thing my husband seldom comes down to my lair in the basement. He would think I was bonkers!
    Ha! Maybe I am! Thanks for bringing us all together, Mary. Not that we are all bonkers…are we…?

  63. Amy

    Speaking of not being able to open things, I’ve had a hard time with jars lately. A co-worker told me about this gadget called a Jarkey and it’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time. I’ve had one jar where the lid was very flat on the outer edge so no where for the jarkey to get in and release the pressure of the seal of the lid. But every other jar, you pop it once and can hear the seal releasing then it is easy to unscrew.

  64. Barbara Firesheets

    We share your pet peeve about opening food packages. We keep a pair of scissors in the utensil drawer in the kitchen for just this purpose.

  65. Pat Farrell

    I find just about everything difficult to open with my arthritis I have sissies and nut crackers in every room and in knitting basket(handy for travel)) and in my car Then there are tweezers next to where I open bottles with cotton. I use this idea for friends as a gift when they complain they can’t open something.

  66. Meredith in Cincinnati

    Saved Country Living for a long time, and I look forward to the new issues, too. Did any of you read Home Companion? I think it was a Mary Englebreit magazine. Loved the paper doll page in each; reminded me of McCalls (?) magazine when I was a kid. Oh, and Go Bengals! WHO DEY!

    1. Judy

      I remember the paper doll page in McCalls magazine. I always cut it out to play with. It was special because I had a Betsy McCall doll. My granddaughter got my doll for Christmas last year. One of my early sewing projects on my toy sewing machine was to make an outfit for her.

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