More Musings

Tina called my blabber “musings” and it sounds so much more dignified-haha! Today we’re going to talk about hydrangeas, fences and rugs.

Several readers asked about the hydrangeas standing so tall – that’s because they have a fence in front of them which I installed way last spring when they were just beginning to grow.

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Here is the fence in May.

And here it is today.

Look at this clump of hydrangeas inside the small kennel yard – no fence so they’re on the ground.

Here’s another area where they grew through the fence.

And here is the reason – a storm that came through with lots of rain.

Here are some fence sections I’m not using right now. They came in four foot sections which connect to each other with a post. At the time I bought them I thought they were pretty expensive but they have been worth it. I can handle them myself without Rick’s help and without him saying “why do you need another fence there????” I want them when and where I want them – end of story.

So back to the hydrangeas – remember the pots I planted using the sprouted canes that overwintered on top of the bushes? Here’s one of the pots I still will transplant.

Here’s the other pot already transplanted along the ramp.

If you look at the top of the picture you can see the Karl Foerster grass I planted there. I love that grass but it needs more sun so I will move it all to another location one clump at a time. The other pot of growing hydrangeas will be planted here someday when it’s cooler. Haha! Then I will also put up the same fencing along the outer side of the hydrangeas. In time all the hostas will need to move because they’ll get crowded out.

So that’s my long term plan but it’s not going to happen today when it’s expected to reach 99 degrees. I think I’ll sew this afternoon in the AC. I actually finished my #8 but it’s too hot to stage it outdoors today.

On the subject of YOUR finished #8’s – I would love to receive a picture of your project at my email which I will post the first part of August. Here’s the rub – I simply cannot keep track of your name with your photo when I save it to my computer. So Connie solved that little/huge problem. Write your name very plainly on a piece of paper and attach it to your project when you take the photo. When I save your photo your name will automatically be included! Brilliant! This has just saved me so many hours of frustration! We are going to use this method from now on. Readers can expand the photo to read the names.

And Jan came through for you! America For Me has been remade and is available as a new pattern . She also has a kit available. Wow! Thank you, Jan! You’ve made many people so happy! Here is a link to get that pattern.


Here is the original quilt.

On to the subject of Rugs. Here are two rugs I just washed – they’ve been washed many times! See how flat and straight they are even after years of use and washing?

Here’s a closeup of a twined rug. All the warp is enclosed in twined strips so this rug will rot away before it will wear out.

Here is a rag rug made on a floor loom with string used for warp. This string lays on top of the rug which is what you walk on and wipe feet across – thus wearing out the string which makes the rug come apart.

The top rug in this picture is a very old rug that had worn spots that I cut off and bound up the raw edge for more use.

So my point is this – a twined rug will last you for years and years if made correctly. And how about this – whatever size you make your frame is the size your rug will turn out to be. When a rug is removed from the frame it comes off very flat and very straight. It’s the “ah ha” moment at a quilt show! I always loved when I had a huge crowd gathered for that final step! They were all amazed!

Remember last year when I asked about those clumps of leaves on the ground every morning and we decided it was the squirrels doing it? Well, they’re back at it again this year.

This is my big job for this evening when the sun is on the other side of the house – vacuuming the outside of the screened porch. Look at all the dust, dirt and cotton that’s sticking to the screen!

I cleaned the piano room yesterday and made a stack of plates that I’ve been renting from the thrift store. They’re going back today.

And I leave you with a picture of why, if you have cats, you should always put your work away before bedtime. Either put it away or cover it! Yuck!

I know you guys are going “what the ——- is she showing us that for?” Just to get your attention – haha!

48 thoughts on “More Musings

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Susie Q – thanks! When I listed it before, I used that info but I guess everybody will find it eventually. I will repost tomorrow. Renting from the thrift store is just my way of shopping there, enjoying the stuff I buy and when I’m sick of it, I return it all – sorta like “renting”!

  1. Pam in NC

    Mary, I sorely miss the good black soul of Iowa! I have orangish/red clay here in NC and seem to have left my green thumb in Iowa! You plants all look gorgeous and I love seeing them….as well as all you other living creatures! I laughed when I saw the photo of your kitty contribution to your quilt! Stay cool and have a great day quilting! It’s warmer there than here!

    1. Jan B from TN

      We have that color soil in TN, too! Kinda pretty but not too good for growing. We also have a LOT of rock slabs throughout the property which limits the areas we can plant in! Ha!

  2. Liz

    I just love reading all your musings! They make perfect sense to me. I’m starting the rug-a-long with you & have a question. I’ve made 2 rugs & 2 placemats, both with this same issue st the end. The middle is kind of hourglass shaped. Do you think I’m pulling to tightly?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Liz – are you absolutely positive that you’ve included the rod with the last warp strip? If not, as soon as the rug is removed, the rug will dip in like an hour glass.

      1. Liz

        I will be especially aware of that and see if that’s what I’ve been doing. Are your rugs stiff? Mine are. I’m thinking I may be weaving too tightly and packing the rows too tightly also. Glad to be trying again. 👍🏻

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Liz – Rugs seem stiff at first but soften with use. Why don’t you send me a picture so I can see how tight you’re pushing the rows together. The one I’m working on now is not going to be as tight as some I’ve made – on purpose. Compare mine to yours and see if you are pulling too tightly.

    2. Deb

      Liz……..I made a small placemat and it was hourglass shaped too and I know I pulled the fabric around the rod too tight. Won’t make that mistake again.

      Mary……I LOVE your red rugs…..have to make more than 1 for myself.

  3. Patti in W Barnstable

    Hahahaha! You got our attention. Thanks, Mary for the hydrangea info. I need all the plant help I can get!

  4. Susan Moore

    I have a set of China like the top plate Warwick dresden flower, it was my grandmothers.

  5. Sue in Oregon

    It was going really well until the end. Still laughing out loud. Yuk.
    Those rugs….I am starting to get the itch to make one (some). I can sure see the difference now with your new photos. Are you still selling the book? I hate to ask you this late in the game, but I would like to play.
    Your hydrangeas are lovely. Mine are always blue because of our acid soil. I would love to have white and pink ones. You know the saying….it is always greener on the other side of the fence.
    I will make a nice sign for my #8 and all the numbers following 8.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sue in Oregon – the book and dvd are always available- both for $20. We still supply a distributor with rug books so they’re on hand. Glad you want to join the RugAlong – it will be so easy to catch up!

  6. Deb Renken - Cottonwood, MN

    Probably shouldn’t have been eating my lunch when I was reading your post…haha! I remember those surprises back when we still had cats. It is never a good time to find those. Thank you for the information on the fence. I planted hydrangeas last year and I noticed this year how they are leaning over. Will have to invest in fencing for next year.

  7. Kathy in western NY

    Yup I go thru the same thing as your cat left you with! Hairballs in the puke just grosses me out that it was in their stomach before coming up! Only you Mary show the real side of life with pets.

    1. Dianne M Cook

      Hi Kathy
      Received your wonderful package today when I arrived home for the weekend. So sorry to
      hear of your mother’s passing. Thank you for thinking of me and taking the time to make
      the pretty mug rug. I will be writing a longer letter and sending in snail mail soon. Take care of yourself and think lots of happy thoughts of your Mom. Dianne

  8. Claudia Voorhees

    Oh I love the idea of “renting from the thrift store”…. I am working on “restocking every thrift store in the area”… so much to get rid of.
    Yes, we that have cats…. always try to remember to put away stuff at night.. or you get surprises…

  9. mary jane

    It is like a question I ask: With all the food that is out there WHY do the deer have to come and eat all of the hostas….and also WHY does the cat have to find that certain spot to share his regurgitations …
    I love the rugs, the reds one especially. I found in my many boxes of books and magazines your RUGS FROM RAGS book…copyright 1997. Now to have my son make a frame for me…I would like to make some of the red ones for Christmas gifts…I have lots of ideas it is the time for it all that escapes me.. Here in Hudson WI the temps are going up, up and up .. today working on #8…closing in on it…
    I also want to mention your photos of the goats you shared…How handsome they all are, the pic is farmable as those of the sweet cats. thanks for always sharing the Garner Country Life.

  10. mary jane

    sorry the word should be frameable but spell correction changed it…………not farmable…mj

  11. Donna Jean from KS

    Are those sunflowers in that cat barf?! My farm cat left her gifts on the porch exactly in the middle of the door so you couldn’t miss stepping in it. I realize it was her gift to me. But the bunny barf was too much!
    Please keep musing as long and often as you wish. It makes me feel back at home on the Iowa or Indiana farms. As well as Grandma Fern’s farm in Kansas.
    I love the idea of Thrift Shop renting. I do that but never return the items!
    Take care dear friend!

  12. Rita in Iowa

    Mary I ordered my América For Me Pattern from Jan yesterday. A favor to ask of you because at the time I didn’t think I would make it, but could you repost the picture of your América For Me quilt. I have lots of blue fabric and I would like to look at your placement of fabrics. Thanks in advance. I can see you going grrrr, lol

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Rita in Iowa – haha! Yes, I’ll take a nice picture outside and post it for you!

  13. Diane, Squeak's Mom

    Ah, yes, cat hairball vomit. We’ve tried all kinds of food and we still get them. Ugh.

    Your hydrangeas are so big and lush. It’s fun to check out your plants. I emailed two pictures of my #8a–one with a label and one without to show the whole thing. It’s a longgggg table runner for my daughter and son in law.

    Stay cool, Mary. It’s HOT here in Central Ohio.

  14. Judy A

    I am sooo happy to see your fence sections peeking out from the hydrangeas. My hydrangeas took such a beating this past week from the storms and I was thinking of what they’d look like with some black fence sections to hold them up – now I will simply have to get some. Thank you!

  15. Angie from Baltimore

    I have always said the best alarm clock alarm would be a cat with a hair ball because at 3 in the morning when you hear it you become wide awake and alert immediately.

    1. Janice Hebert

      Angie from Baltimore, you are so right! Like a shot!!! Right up and running to try to place the cat and/or dog someplace that won’t stain a rug or quilt or chair, hahaha. Not so fun at 2 in the morning. Jan from MA

  16. Linda Baker

    Looks like something my cat recently coughed up ON THE BED. While I was IN IT.

  17. Sunflower

    Love your musings too, Mary. I’m working on my number 8 as well. Plan to spend next week at my sisters beach cottage with a few of my sisters and cousins so feeling the month move along! It’s been so hot here in southeast Michigan it’s making gardening hard but that does make time for quilting.
    My daughters cat will leave her presents like the one you received! Other than that, she’s a wonderful orange and white cat my daughter rescued 10 years ago. (She also has 3 older rescue dogs)
    I really love the rugs you’ve made. Your hydrangeas are beautiful. Mine are pink and the flowers are often huge, as big as a dinner plate. Take care.

  18. Susan in PA

    I got a kick out of the cat barf picture because it looks like the iron has a face with its eyes bugging out looking at it.

  19. Lora Jans

    Love your hydrangeas. And cats…… gotta love them! I’d rather a hairball then a dead mouse in my shoe!😝

  20. Donna Petersen

    You are so funny , only a cat owner/lover can appreciate your last pictures
    a farm girl from Wis

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Lois Ann Johnson – I do not remember. I traveled to some place in northern Illinois about 25 years ago. It was not a commercial retail place but like a welding shop . There are many places to look at fencing however. Try Menards or Fleet Farm. I don’t even remember how I knew about the place. I do remember that I spent around $1000 for all of it and it’s been a good investment.

  21. Jo in Wyoming

    You have got some great dirt in Iowa. As I recall, Tennessee was like that. Here in Wyoming we grow great rocks and weeds. This week it’s been hot, dry and windy, in the 90’s. Sunday, 74…Monday 76👏👏👏😄. Your plantings are beautiful.
    I do hope you got the flea issue resolved. Loretta hasn’t gotten any fleas yet, she does like to explore any hole she can find. But the mosquitoes drive me crazy. I wear “flea collar rings” around my ankles and wrists in the morning and evenings. I store them in a baggie when not in use. I wash off after use. Maybe you can do something temporary like that and take off when they come in at night. I watched the Decorah Eagles and the flies and mites drove them nuts. They had sores around their beaks from the bugs.
    Not all the pictures came up today, I’ll check later and can click some ads again.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jo in WY – which pictures were missing? Nobody else has mentioned it.

  22. Diane Bauer

    We were over 100 here in northern Colorado today. Even the breeze was beastly. That’s pretty unusual for us, thankfully! It’s supposed to be even hotter tomorrow and then a ‘cool down’ to the 80’s for a few days.
    I know I sent a picture of my #8 without my name so will try to send another with a label (great idea!!).
    I get those cat ‘gifts’ as well. Ugh.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane Bauer – I cant remember your #8 – yikes! Yes, just too hot for Iowa as well and I’m glad it will be cooler next week for our fair.

  23. Carolyn Rector

    Love your rugs, they are beautiful. Love the information about the fence for your hydrangeas. Thanks.

  24. Sue H

    Your hydrangea fencing is a fabulous idea as well as beautiful. The twined rugs vs stringed rugs makes a valid argument. I really need to jump on your Rug-a-thon but currently I’m busy with the Dirty Dozen. As for being a kitty mommy, I always cover my sewing machine and I also try to “put my toys away” when I’m through sewing because my cat loves to eat the threads! I hear that this is a common problem and than, if they eat enough, there will be surgery in their future. What a waste of “fabric cash” that would be! Lol!! Have a great weekend, Mary, and stay cool, It’s hot here too in southern IL.

  25. Diane Deibler

    Mary,how did you get your hydrangea to sprout? My daughter wants a couple Annabelles and I have 2 bushes but wasn’t sure how you got them to sprout.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane Deibler – last fall I cut the canes and laid them in top of the bushes where they stayed all winter. When I started clearing the debris away this spring, many of the canes had already sprouted little green leaves so I planted a few and they grew. I think this time of year you’d need to dig some but I have also saved a Pinterest post that gives directions for rooting hydrangeas. Feel free to go to my Pinterest pages and look under gardening.

  26. Sharon Bennett

    ha! Yes….cats enjoying leaving presents wherever they choose! lol! LOVE your rugs…I am tempted, but need to catch up on my in-progress stuff first. I will have to look for similar fencing….right now I just use chicken wire…but, it’s not as elegant as the fencing you have! 🙂

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