More Thanks! 12-15-23

I visited both Kay and Darlene today and talked to Jo and it was Maggie’s 106th birthday – everybody has just LOVED your cards! And many of you sent small gifts – how could they not be thrilled!! Kay has every card name and address and date it was received in a small notebook. Just think how much brain activity she has been using to do this. It just warms my heart to know that you also think kindness matters.

Put out my 75 year old nativity today on top of another gorgeous drawn work runner. I played with the nativity as a child and there is no manger left – I remember Mom trying to repair it with toothpicks.

Here is a picture of me wearing that beautiful blouse and playing an antique square grand piano.

This is my favorite Christmas book and these pictures will show you why.

Don’t you just love it? Here are several others I have.

Got a Christmas sweater you no longer wear? Make a pillow like this one I made several years ago.

Here it is almost Christmas and we’re still driving the wilderness trail. Everyday we drive to the furthest northwest corner and look at the dead fox on the other side of the fence and hope he is the only one.

Reader photos

Look at these beautiful antique machines!

Made on a treadle machine – beautiful!

And a hand crank machine – I’ve never seen one before.

Rassling (an original word for playing rough) is so much fun!!!

38 thoughts on “More Thanks! 12-15-23

  1. Jay

    We used to have a square grand. My mom bought it for $100 in the early 50s to take up some space in the huge living room of the house they’d just bought. They didn’t have much furniture yet!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jay – the square grand was refurbished for the historical society and this was the premiere if you will. It is a beautiful instrument and you’re so lucky to have one. I’m very jealous.

  2. Bonny

    Small correction…. Maggie is 101, BUT she had such a wonderful week, enjoying the cards from far and wide, reading the sentiments and notes of each. She has outlived her siblings, all the nieces and nephews and all classmates. There are 3 of her children remaining, 3 grands, 1 great grand. The cards widened the circle of care! Thank you again!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bonny – oh dear, a typo for sure! So glad you sent a correction. She is so lucky to live with you.

  3. Debra Reber

    Love the journal covers! Thanks for the instructions! I’m surprised the dead fox is still there– where I live we have a lot of vultures that feast on dead animals.

  4. Diane in Maryland

    My cards went in the mail today. I finally got them written!
    Love the picture of you in the blouse!
    Hazel and Keeper have so much fun together!

  5. Jo in Wyoming

    Beautiful. Mary, you in that blouse, what a beautiful picture.
    The nativity group is perfect on the mystery red box.

    I’m loving all the cards, and tissues from Tanya.
    You’re all so sweet.

  6. Chris

    When my granddaughter was little, she loved to play with my special-to-me nativity, so I bought one just for her. I chose a delicate china set so she would know it was special and she needed to be careful. She never broke a piece. She usually played McDonald’s–“Do you want fries with that, Mary”. True!

    I’m loving those pictures of the blouse and lunch cloth. I’d love to have learned that when I was young; but no one in my family did that. The blouse looked wonderful on you.

    1. Connie R. in Wis.

      Chris, I love your Nativity story. What a wonderful way to teach a child how special it is by having a delicate china Nativity. Your Granddaughter must have been so careful…even when Mary went to McDonald’s!

  7. Katherine Gourley

    Oh Mary — I love your favorite Christmas book. I went on Abe Books right away and ordered a copy for our Christmas book collection.

    I also love the picture of you in the lovely blouse.

  8. Martha W in WY

    I had worked as a teacher’s assistant before retiring. I have a big collection of Christmas books. I like the antique treadles. I would love to own a crank sewing machine. I have a collection of toy machines. I’m glad the ladies are enjoying all the cards.

  9. Elaine Kopischke-Trejo

    Mary….thank you so much for sharing so much of your life with us! I love the pic of you wearing that beautiful blouse! And your collection of Christmas books! Your life is certainly a blessing to so many of us. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  10. Susan K in Texas

    I love the illustrations in the book. I have a collection of Christmas books that I need to get out for the grandsons’ visit at Christmas.
    That blouse is so beautiful on you. What a special event to wear it for.
    I have a small collection of nativities. I have one especially for little hands to play with. I think it is so important for them to have hands on things to learn about Jesus with.
    The cats love to rassle. I keep brown paper that comes with their Chewy shipments. They love to lay in it, rassle each other in it, and just play alone in it. It does get irritating when they play in it at night though.

  11. patti

    love today’s post. the drawings in the nativity book are precious. you have a lovely collection of Christmas books. we are having cool weather here in florida, with weather alerts for the next two days – essentially tropical storm weather but not a tropical system. should get lots of rain and the wind has been doing its thing already. i’m strange i guess because i love the wind. i seriously need to consider downsizing my treadles – singer and a new home. late here for me, need to hit the sack. hugs to all, patti in florida

  12. Sandy

    Hi Mary, great to see the dogs have such fun together! We have had rain and wind all day, hopefully fine weather on Monday for the week. Today Stella, Luna and l made the pieces for a gingerbread house, Luna would have eaten half the dough if l let her! Tomorrow we will attempt to put it together, 40 years since l have ma
    de one.
    Hand turned sewing machines are still popular on some pacific islands where they don’t have electricity. Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandy – we really must see the gingerbread house when you’re done. I’m with Luna – I love the dough and would not end up with enough to complete the house! Hand cranked machines in those areas make perfect sense!

  13. Gloria from CC

    My childhood best friend gave me her grandmother’s hand crank Singer in the original domed wood carrying case. The backstory is that her Grandfather was an engineer on the Chicago Northwestern railroad and her grandmother wanted to travel with him on the train so she bought a hand crank Singer and happily sewed her way across America. My goal is to someday make my friend a wall hanging sewing it on her Grandmothers sewing machine.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Gloria – oh,what a story!! Have you ever used the hand crank machine? It would be a sweet idea to make your friend and wall hanging using that machine!!

      1. Gloria from CC

        Yes I did try sewing with it and it sews like a dream. It’s in beautiful shape. If I wouldn’t have taken it she was taking it to Goodwill.

  14. Katherine Schloemer

    I have an old Singer in a boxed cover that was probably from the 50’s. It’s electric and I keep it at my camper. I also have an older serger that I leave there. I can sew when I’m there when it’s quiet and I’m relaxing. We have to keep these machines so our grandchildren know about these mahines and how our ancestors had to work for the things they did.

    Mary how wonderful you have the manger and these treasured books. Did you find the books at the General store in Clear Lake??

  15. Linda in MI

    Your Nativity book is a true treasure, I would love to see the rest of it, the pictures you showed are so very nice, they most likely narrate the story on their own.

    Thank you for your blog this morning. If only you knew how much your stories and pictures lift spirits of those of us who need to be distracted from our woes. My evening last night was horrific, my husband is rapidly loosing his independence and refuses to accept it or use aids that he needs to keep him off the floor and help him do simple tasks like moving around the house! So seeing your blog and Keeper and Hazel rassling takes me out of my misery for a while and helps me face the up coming day.

    I’ve really enjoyed the needle pull embroidery. I’ve always loved that antique work and have had pieces but never really knew how it was done, I probably assumed how it was done but you confirmed it for me. I have a good size collection of antique doilies and runners and think I will use the embroidery work and make quilt blocks on fabric foundation blocks rather than just let them sit in drawers.

    Have a great day Mary. I think I am over the bug I have had for at least three weeks so today may be a good day for taking my dogs on a farm walk.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – sounds like you had that horrible RSV thing that’s going around here – as well as Covid which I have tried to stay away from until the cantata is over. Don’t know what would happen if I ended up sick on Sunday night. Nobody else can play it.
      I don’t talk to my local friends but I love communicating with my readers. I read comments every morning while I drink my coffee. I’ll bet your dogs have been missing you – Sammy, Duncan and ? Who did your chores for 3 weeks or did you? If I was sick I’d still have to make it to the barn, even if I had to crawl. Gosh, I hope I don’t get sick!!

  16. Debby Krzyston

    Hi Mary, I might make Journal covers for next year’s Christmas gifts. I’m always looking for ideas.
    There’s a growing community of Singer Featherweight sewing machines lovers. Quilt Guilds have Featherweight Clubs. Great YouTube videos on how to clean and fix your sewing machine.
    Check out The Singer Featherweight
    Have a wonderful Christmas,
    Debby from Wisconsin

  17. Ruth Tacoma

    Thank you Mary for the notebook cover instructions. Those are so cute! It looks like you did them for or at your quilting retreat by the look of the one with the barn. What a treasure!

    I am glad the ladies are loving the cards. They are fun to send and hopefully our notes about the mundane things in our lives bring back a fun memory or two for them.

    I love the photos of the sewing machines. I often wonder what machines we all sew on and if anyone still uses the truly vintage machines. I am actually considering a Singer 301 right now. I hear great things about it!

    1. Fran Dixon

      I have a 301 and it hums and sews like a charm. I don’t use it often enough! Buy it! You won’t regret it!

    2. Viv in Idaho

      I have 2 301’s – one in a cabinet I use at home and one in a case that I keep at the cabin. I love them. I think the slant foot makes it a little easier to see what you are stitching.

  18. Fran Dixon

    Oh I wish I was out walking with those dogs where you are.

    Rained most of the day yesterday and I forgot about indoor exercises.. I was busy all day but managed 1.5 hrs in the sewing room. I felt aimless but finally settled on something. I just wanted to be there.

    A little raffia would make a nice manger for your precious Nativity set.

  19. Pat in Michigan

    Mary, Happy Holidays. I love the picture of your in your grandmother’s wedding blouse. Do you know if she made it?

    The hand crank machines have had a good following in my area of Michigan. They have had the Crankers Club at one time too!

  20. Arlene

    Dear Mary,
    I’m a bit behind in reading your blog…had some surgery and it’s kept me down for a bit. Can you tell me what happened to that fox? Why has his body laid there for so long? Do you worry that he had some type of disease that took his life? Strange event isn’t it…
    Loved your blog today…such wonderful memories of a beautiful blouse. Did you have this grandmother in your life for a long time Mary? I knew all 4 of my grandparents. My husband never had grandparents, they had all passed away before he was born.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Arlene – after something killed half of my small flock of hens, the dogs caught this fox in the yard about 10 am a week later. He was mortally wounded and Rick shot him. I threw him over the fence as a warning to any others.
      I had this grandmother in my life till I was 18.

  21. Launa Peters

    8o here this morning. No new snow; sun has been out!
    Many thanks for the Composition Cover instructions, Mary!
    Hope I can get through 3 pro football games today! LOL…”.we have more TVs “ is the comment I heard!
    Many hand crank machines went to countries with little electricity. My junior high sewing machines were
    all Singer treadles! My grandmother’s brother wired her treadle for electrical and I have the old Singer base with a 2” thick wooden table top. Had it in my CT kitchen and now it is here in this great-room!
    Enjoyed all the pictures.

  22. Colleen in Central Oregon

    Hi Mary, I have a White treadle, a Singer Featherweight, a Singer handcrank, a Singer 301, and I just acquired an old Finish machine that I haven’t had a chance to check out yet, that my daughter found. I have a couple other machines also, but those are my keepers. The handcrank I take camping with me. I can take it right down to the table in camp and sew outside in the forest all day without making hardly any noise. It sews like a dream and turned 100 years old this year. Have a very merry Christmas, and God bless you for all the good you do.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Colleen – oh my! Now I want to sew out by the wilderness trail!!!! Darn, I wish I had a hand crank machine – would be so fun!!

  23. Vicki in Seattle

    Mary, I just watched your church Cantada. It was lovey!
    What a great selection of songs. I was so touched by
    “Let there be Peace on Earth,” and the candlelight
    Service at the end. All your time and effort at the practices and performance was a gift to many.

    Thank you!
    Vicki in Seattle

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Vicki – the candlelight service is a shiver, isn’t it? I am nearly overwhelmed when I play that song in the dark church with only candles lit.

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