More Death Cleaning 12-31-19

I haven’t even read this book yet! But it lit a fire in me and I’m exhausted!

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Here is the Before picture. Notice at the very top.

This house is over 100 years old and the original plaster is crumbling.

From now on nothing will live on that top shelf.

How many cupcake papers does one person need????

Do I look like I serve anything in a silver dish? The spoon is still in the plastic wrapper.

And this serving piece?

When I was 8 years old I won this luncheon set from Crystal Lake Furniture on the day of the town Christmas celebration. I still have it but no more. It’s not going back in the cupboard.

I’ve had these butter warmers for about 45 years! I’ve only used them once.

I have three different piles – throw away now, take to thrift store and save for a sale in town at Connie’s house.

Connie made this for me many many years ago. Can I really get rid of it? It’s been in a box for years however so it’s going out.

Here’s the AFTER photo.

All Rick had to say was “huh”.

Yesterday I cleaned the upstairs and took this picture of my t shirt quilt. Notice each t- shirt piece is bordered and then top stitched to the background piece.

Here’s my favorite block:

I went thru some more of Mom’s things – I just can’t get rid of her favorite t-shirt.

I finished the wool placemat/rug.

More Dirty Dozen finishes – tomorrow I’ll give you the number for January.

This is Connie’s #12. My #12 is hanging over the quilting machine …. waiting for me.

61 thoughts on “More Death Cleaning 12-31-19

  1. Jean Elliott

    I’m doing the same kind of cleaning! I’m coming to Garner January 19th & I’m bring fabric for Elaine’s church quilts & stuff for her rummage sale! Hope your surgery goes well.

  2. Susan the Farm Quilter

    After cleaning out my grandmother’s home when my uncle died, I can tell you that you are doing a good thing!! We paid for 17 tons of junk to go to the dump and I filled up 8 6-yard dumpsters every week for 4 weeks. It took 4 of us working 8 hours a day for 31 days straight to get it done. I am sure that some of the “junk” really wasn’t junk, but I certainly wasn’t going to go through every single little thing to determine if it was good or not. I took a few little things and one big thing (1941 Ford), and we sold off the rest. I definitely don’t want to put my family through that!! Have fun purging throughout 2020!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Susan the Farm Quilter – none of the things in my piles are anything I really love but when I have to part with those things, it won’t be so easy.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Marilyn M – yes, it a Country Threads pattern but I can’t tell you the name right now! If you’re interested, leave a comment and I’ll find it.

      1. Marilyn Magelitz

        Yes, I am interested if it wouldn’t be too much trouble for you to find. Have been collecting cotton shirts and this would be a perfect quilt for them.
        Thank you!

  3. Diane Bauer

    I am so impressed with your cleaning!! What a great way to start a new decade!! I may have to do a bit of that tomorrow, but tonight I will have company—dear friends from Montrose who are up for a visit with their daughter in Denver tomorrow—they come an extra hour north to spend New Year’s Eve with me—those are very good friends!
    I still have the binding on my #12, but will send a photo tomorrow and worry about binding after my friends leave. I’m anxious to hear what January’s project will be!

  4. Judy A

    Our family loves that vegetable medley – just not with brussel sprouts 🙂
    And don’t throw that amaryllis in the yard waste heap – it looks like it has some life to it!

  5. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Oh my gosh, Susan The Farm Quilter… that is a lot of stuff! It’s a wonder our planet doesn’t implode with the things we have, the things we wish we had, and the things we no longer want to have!

    My resolution: only buy fabric!

    Mary, we all have that China, those serving pieces we never used, and countless gifted treasures. Every year I donate way more stuff than I bring in, yet, I should bring in less new stuff.

    Happy healthy 2020, Everyone!

  6. Judy A

    At the close of 2019, I’d just like you to know that I read your daily posts and enjoy seeing and hearing about whatever your subject of the day is. Your posts are music to my soul. I hope 2020 brings you good health, clean closets, fun outdoor projects and many finished quilts. God bless! Judy A.

  7. Betty Klosterman

    Mary, this post had “Read more of this post” which I clicked and everything is wonderful!! Am I the only one having this problem?
    How long had Susie, the farm quilter’s Grandmother and uncle lived in their house? Was it on the farm??
    I’ve got a lot of fabric, but I couldn’t begin to find 17 tons for the garbage. I’m not “death cleaning” but instead going thru making at least 3 piles leaving the house, finding a place for what I’m keeping and just managing to find a good place for stuff What I brought home was “hope.” And I’m using it now. Never had that chance as I was too busy working. The really scary part is I remember everything and where it is. Frank and I had an argument on who should keep important papers. My thoughts were if I had it, I could find it. If he had it, neither one of us could find it, so we made a pact. I kept the original and he got a copy.
    Happy New Year. Just 9 days to the day you start your recovery.

  8. Margaret

    I too have been taking stuff to goodwill.also Christmas I told my family, everyone was here, this would be the last Christmas at grammas. It’s just too much anymore. I broke down but couldn’t help myself. Then thinking of moving to something more manageable for us exhausts me. Our family is growing and I am praising God for each and everyone she had given us. We are blessed in so many ways. Going thru my fabric for the 2nd time to donate to guilds. Things I know now I will never make.
    I empathize with you. It is so hard.will be praying for you and your next surgery. I love seeing snippets snout your barnyard friends, they are so funny.. Happy new year to you and your family..

  9. Nikki M in Tx

    Put beans in crockpot for bean soup tomorrow.. will cook on low overnight & into tomorrow.. lovely meaty ham bone.. yes added black eyed peas to mix… will fry cabbage & make spicy cornbread’s tomorrow.
    Did some kitchen cabinet cleaning & purging myself , but not to the degree you did. I finally did box up remainder of husbands clothes in bureau & closets..took to charity shop..hard to do but needed to be done. I did keep some shirts (boxed up) want to make son & grands each a quilt.. just can’t just yet.
    Had lunch Saturday with Bella’s new owners, got to see herd with herd at feeding time.
    Got phone call from neighbor that an emu showed up at his place, an no one responded to ad to claim, did I want it ? I must have lost my mind, said I would take if cannot find another home by end of January. Hoping finds another home. Have had an emu before & really no trouble but just not sure cats will get along with it.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Nikki M – I didn’t know Bella was going to a new home. Maybe Bongo will like the emu? Do lots of people have exotic animals around you? Emus don’t just wander around, do they? Rick would love to eat at your house tomorrow!

      1. Nikki M

        Wish you & Rick were close, would have you over for bean , if I do say so myself they turned out so good.
        Yes Bella kept jumping fence , family that has her has a herd of 15 females& 1 male. They insisted on paying me what I paid & were very impressed with her. They 1500 acres up near Seymour & another 3000 out in West TX . They are trying to build a large herd of buffalo & wants them be able to roam on west TX property. Not a lot of exotic ranches around here, about 15/20 years ago a lot of fools thought could raise emu & get rich… feel this could be a leftover from that time…was a guy near Graham that had emus up until about 3 years ago.

  10. Candy

    My cleaning project for this winter (and my husband’s – although I might have to drag him, kicking and screaming … LOL) is our crawl space. It is literally a ‘crawl’ space – 32” to the floor joists – YUK! We have way too much ‘stuff’ down there, and I want it gone! However, that means I’ll be the one doing the ‘crawling’! Wish me luck … I’ll need it. Happy New Year, Mary and good luck with the next surgery. You’re going to be the ‘bionic woman’ … YAY!

  11. Sue Jacobson

    Love your wool place mat! It is stunning. I may have missed this- is it all wool or just the strips you are weaving?
    I eliminated a LOT of stuff when we moved. My friend suggested I take photos of stuff I somewhat treasured before getting rid of it.
    I’m following your knee surgeries closely. I fear I am close behind. Seeing the orthopedist early February.
    Would welcome any suggestions. Your comment about being on a ladder was great encouragement!
    You will be in my prayers!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sue Jacobson – I warped the mat with black cotton and twined only with wool. It is so bulky to use wool warp and it ravels badly if cut too narrow.
      Don’t know what I can tell you about the knee replacement except that it’s not nearly as bad as some people want you to believe. I waited too long, Sue, and that was a huge mistake.
      Remember how you liked my hair? I even took pictures so I could remember how it was and now I can’t remember what I did to get it to look like that. What did I tell you? Haha! Talk about old age senility!

      1. Sue

        You said you washed & scrunched! Mine isn’t very curly in winter. Needs the humidity of summer. I do like Loma’s Calming Creme.
        I had a “duh” moment about my knees. Realizing the process isn’t going to get easier with age so better just do it. Thanks for encouragement!

  12. Joyce from NY

    I also started cleaning out some things, been sorting out the grandchildren ‘s board games, they don’t play with anymore. I heard the local food pantry was looking for some, so I guess I will take them there. I agree with Carol at Pin Oak Quilting, buy more fabric, I will have more room when I move the games out!!!!

  13. Amy M

    Mary, wonderful job! I’m sure you are exhausted but have a sense of accomplishment. I’ve been doing the same during the holiday break and funny, I though the same exact thing about my cupcake liners!-they are going to my niece, she loves to bake. My downsizing and no space has no turned into I can only keep “essentials” anything that is a “nice to have” there just isn’t room to hold on to anymore. Fortunately I was able to find homes for most things that meant something and that was fine with me, as long as they didn’t end up just at the donation center where I’ve read more is thrown away than actually put out for sale. Happy New Year!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Amy M – oh, say it ain’t true! They throw the things away instead of putting them out for sale? You just burst my bubble!

  14. Sheila


    Love all your posts, I look forward to checking my email each evening to catch upon your days events.
    I have also have read the book. I think I need a remedial session! I needed a nap after looking at all you did.
    Good luck with the surgery. A Happy and Healthy 2020 to you, Rick and all your little friends.

  15. Marilyn

    Happy New Year Mary. Thank you for your wonderful blogs . The wonderful patterns, pictures and stories and so much more that you celebrate and share with us. I haven’t got the book yet but it is the shopping cart for Amazon. You are a blessing.

  16. Jan from TN

    Happy New Year to you Mary & all the followers here. I’m currently working on taking down the Christmas stuff around the house. Only have the tree (artificial) left & that will happen tomorrow morning. Spending a quiet evening at home as we usually do on NYE. We don’t like to be on the roads where we might become the victim of some drunk or otherwise compromised driver. The drivers are crazy enough on a “normal”day much less the last night of the year. No thanks! I hope to do some cleaning & tossing throughout the year. But first, I’ll tackle my sewing room. I have way, way, way too many books & patterns most of which I’ll never make. Tastes change over the years & I doubt I’ll live long enough for my previous “likes” to come around again! Lol! I’m just itching to get back to sewing. There’s simply been no time but I’m going to make a more concentrated effort this year to make time every. single. day to sew — cross my heart……Good luck with your upcoming surgery. I don’t remember if Connie had hers already or is having hers after you. Anyway, good luck to her too! Hugs to both of you!

  17. Jess from Florida

    Happy New Year Mary and everyone here! We are freezing our buns off in Massachusetts at our oldest son and daughter-in-laws house. My wish for all is peace, love and joy this coming year.

  18. Julie

    I’m on a mission to clean and organize my house as well. And we have an entire storage shed in town that we moved things into when we moved to our acreage–I won’t tell you how long all of that stuff hasn’t been touched. Safe to say–it will all be pitched! As soon as the garage door is fixed we are bringing it all home to begin going through–no more monthly fee! I enjoy your blog Mary and I wish you and Connie the best in 2020! I am sending good thoughts for you Mary as you undergo this next surgery! You will be ready to go when spring arrives!!!

  19. Sandy

    Congratulations Mary, I need to start sorting out again when I go back to New Zealand, wish my husband would sort out his tools etc! Happy New year to you and Connie, best wishes, sandy

  20. Barb P

    For the past couple of years I have done”Forty bags in forty days” during lent. It is so rewarding to let go of my over abundance of stuff and donate to others that can put to use those things.

  21. Debra Miller

    Congratulations on your cleaning-I need to be so determined! Those 3 wooden little bowls would make wonderful pincushions with added wool toppers! That’s my problem-I keep seeing potential for things that I could make out of something that I try to get rid of! People are saying buy more fabric-I don’t think I can store any more of that either-if you put it in a container, it becomes too heavy to move. Good luck on your surgery and more cleaning in the New Year!

    1. Ruth

      When I find myself “seeing potential” in something I am trying to let go off, I say “I don’t need another project!” Then it is much easier to put in the give-away box!!

  22. Kathy Niemann

    My grandmother’s recipe box was full of jello, gelatin mold, jello salad recipes.
    Cornstarch in the window recipe? Can u elaborate?

  23. Mary McC

    Good going! Hardest part is getting started Cupboard looks great Never heard of or saw a butter warmer lol use microwave for that Happy New Year

  24. Diane and Squeak in Central Ohio

    I cleaned my pantry yesterday, too, Mary and got rid of stuff. Also, many cupcake liners🤪🤪. Funny. It looks great. Thanks for your blog. GOOD LUCK with knee #2. At our 50th on Saturday, we had one couple from PA who made it through the 36 inches of snow to the wedding in Western NY. The family 49 1/2 party was in June. We have had a great year celebrating😸😸!!
    Sooo many people at the parties either have new knees, rotator cuffs, or hips!! Thank goodness for good doctors😃

  25. Pam W.

    Happy New Year! Hoping 2020 is a productive sewing/quilting/crafting year. All my “sewing stuff” is in the basement and I shattered my femur in early October! I now have a metal plate and 11 screws and use a wheelchair. I have been dreaming of an elevator. I admire your cleaning, but I can’t part with hardly anything and seem to find more to bring in! I can’t believe how much fabric I’ve ordered on-line recently! Love “saving” money when it’s on sale! I saw a saying once–If done properly, housework can kill you. Beware! And I’d still use the top shelf!!! Can’t afford to waste space. Love the luncheon set you won! Guess I need to read the book! Thanks for your posts!

  26. Kathy Schwartz in SW MN

    Keep #7 Mauer.
    The silver dish, 3 cups. luncheon set, the white tea pot (enamel?) and blue bowl are ALL great garage sale items. If the items don’t sell, then donate.
    The donation centers do throw things out. I think they should just put them in a box, cart or etc. and mark them “free.” They would save money on their dumpsters.
    I also found cupcake papers that I had forgotten about. When I serve Bible Class in church in Jan. guess what I will make? Either muffins or cupcakes–that will take care of 3 or 4 dozen papers.
    Carry on!!
    Happy 2020 to all!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Schwartz – sounds like we’re all blessed with too many cupcake papers!

      1. Brenda archambault

        Not all of us. I very rarely bake and recently I needed some cupcake liners which I had to purchase. The price has risen dramatically! Don’t throw the out, consolidate them.

  27. Kathy in western NY

    Thought I could make it till midnight in my quiet world here at home tonight but it ain’t happin! I wanted to be sitting in my sewing room beginning the new decade with determination to make more with my stash. Thinking of Carol in Buffalo area and hope their snow wasn’t too bad today. Sure was a strange burst of snow that came through here. We had a nice dinner here at home and played scrabble. Yep I lead an exciting life. Happy 2020 Mary and to all your wonderful readers. Thank you for sticking with your blog and blessing us with your days.

  28. Kathy Hanson

    WOW! You have done an amazing job. I think that I will have to start with a reorganizing of my sewing room. I did this quite awhile ago and it was amazing how organized I got. Cataloged everything as well. It is time to do it again so when I finish the quilt with my 2011 fabrics from the Hawaii trip that we took. I will take time to start the reorganizing again. I just finished the 2012 fabrics from the Alaska trip we took that year. When I get done with the sewing room reorganization Jerry and I will have to go to the shelves in the furnace room next. Whew!
    You got so much done and it looks wonderful. Happy New year to you and Rick. This will be another amazing year for you as you will have your other knee done soon and will be ready in a month or two to really get going. Thank you for this wonderful blog, I look forward to each and every message and pictures.

  29. Becky from TX/IA

    Mary, you did an amazing job…..I’m so proud of you! I need to do actually what you are doing!!!a

  30. Sunflower from Michigan

    Happy new year, Mary, and to all the blog readers. I admire your cleaning and organizing efforts. I need to organize my sewing room! I like your T-shirt quilt and the Joe Maurer shirt. Take care.

  31. Judy from Minnesota

    I loved the star/courthouse step quilt and would like to hear about the pattern.
    Thanks for all your blog posts this year. You bring a day brightened to so many of us.
    Happy new year.

  32. Paula Philpot

    I don’t blame you for getting a lot of this finished before surgery and then you can rest better knowing it is done. I am finally caught up with Putting decorations away and straightening the house from the holidays. Jan 1 each year is our clubs New Years Sewing Day so I have my fabrics ready and ready to SEW in the New Year. Happy New Year to you! Paula in KY

  33. Cindy

    Your pile of cupcake papers had me laughing. Finding ours when I need them has lead to “Why do we have all this stuff” cleaning sessions. Hubby and I both cook but don’t always agree on where things go when we’re done with them. Love your blog and community! Such a great break during my busy work day. Happy New Year to all!

  34. Sally J.

    Your cupboard looks amazing!! Thank you for the blog as I so enjoy reading it each day. Puts a bit of sunshine in my day. I need to get busy today and start putting away holiday decorations. I’ve finally finished sewing the Courthouse Steps for quilt “30 Stars For 30 Years”. Only need to sew corner squares! So happy to get this done!!!
    Wishing you a speedy recovery with your upcoming surgery. Happy New Year to you and Rick and all the blog readers.

  35. Linda

    You are doing great with your cleaning, I guess I need this book. We have combined 2 houses, to move to lake. It’s been so hard getting rid of treasures
    Quilty hugs

  36. Paula S.

    You are doing the right thing with your cleaning out. I’m not very sentimental with most belongings, only some photos and some drawings my kids did when they were young. I scare my husband when I tell him I could easily get rid of 90 percent of the things we have in our house! He is a borderline pack rat and keeps things because someday he might need them. And no, we are not Depression babies – we are Boomers!

  37. Kim LeMere

    Happy New Year to you Mary and all those wonderful critters who live on the farm. I sure enjoy reading your blog and seeing the farm pictures. I admire you determination to clean out! We moved from 2800 sq ft into 1200 sq ft and the downsizing was brutal but it was also time. We still had the ability to do it ourselves and in the end I felt relieved that we had lived threw it. I was glad our two adult children came to help and managed to take what items they would treasure…… Here comes 2020! Wohoo!!

  38. Tina W in Oregon

    Happy New Year! Here in eastern Oregon, we have almost 60 degree temps but it’s really windy. Was going to take down outside decorations today but I’d get blown away! You are inspiring me to start cleaning and organizing. Will just have to pick a closet or cupboard and start! But I’d rather be sewing!!

  39. Charlotte Shira

    Fantastic job, Mary!! You are an inspiration to me. I’m going to start with my sewing room closet. I love reading this blog and everyone’s comments. Happy New Year to all. I agree with Tina W. in Oregon….I’d rather be sewing too!

  40. Barb K

    Hi, Mary–just a thought about your Mom’s T Shirt–If you didn’t mind cutting it, it would make a throw pillow cover. I have trouble getting rid of things but did go through my closet and my husband went through a bunch of shirts and we ended up with more room and are a little better organized!

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