Perfect Quilt Blocks, 2-10-24

I spent $30 on these 18 hand pieced quilt blocks from many years ago. My total bill was $63.50 meaning everything else I showed you totaled only $33.50!

Aren’t they beautiful? But the right side is a mere half of the prize – take a close look at this hand stitching.

I am so undecided as to what to do with them. If I put them together in a quilt top, I’ll never be able to see those perfect stitches again and of course I’ll machine quilt it and I think the maker of these blocks deserves more than a quilt machine quilted with straight lines.

What would you do with 18 blocks? What if you had just one block?

This big picture was $5.00 and even though I didn’t love the picture, the frame is so nice – 3 rows of beading!

This picture was $6.00.

Blue reflection from something!!
Old tin
Before – there will be an After
Book on left was $.25. Book on left found in the craft room was $2.00. Both books by Jo Packham.

Here are some pages from inside those two books – all about organization.

I want to study these pictures.

Chalk ware bookends – $5.00

I also have this set of bookends from a relative.

This will fit on my soffit with the other dog pictures – and notice the dog is a JRT! Price – $1.00.

Kids books – 5 for $1.00 or $.25 each. I love kids books mostly for the illustrations.

I believe this is a brand new book – I could give it as a gift.

By the author and illustrator of The Hungry Caterpillar. This one is well loved.

And as an old piano teacher, this is pretty funny!

The collection of Erma Bombeck books

All of these looked good.

Wow, such treasures! My thrift stores are not much different from yours, I’d imagine. You just have to look and think differently. Consider everything you see – you just never know what you’ll find.

Reader photos


My poor hands that cannot hold a needle any more. They do hurt but never as bad as when I get into bed at night. I have many creams, gloves, pills but this is the bottom line. If I didn’t play the piano my hands would be claws. Not looking for any sympathy but hands were in the conversation recently and I said I’d post the pictures.

Super Bowl tomorrow! Are you having a party? Maybe you’re not even interested enough to watch. Tell me what your plans are.

And please tell me what to do with my beautiful navy and gold blocks!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

100 thoughts on “Perfect Quilt Blocks, 2-10-24

  1. Lora

    Mary! I love all your thrift shop finds, especially the animal pics and chalk! Your poor hands!!! Have you tried CBD ointment? That really helps mine and they are nowhere near as sore as yours!!

  2. Linda Carpenter

    Mary, don’t do anything with the blue and cheddar blocks. Just keep them in a beautiful small basket and enjoy looking at them from time to time. Linda in Colorado

  3. San

    Carlene, your quilt is awesome. So much thought, creativity, and symbolism. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    San / Gypsy Quilter Designs / Murphy, NC

  4. carlene buck

    Mary, you asked for ideas on how to use the beautifully stitched blocks. They were amazing!
    Perhaps you might want to piece the quilt with the seam allowance on the front of the quilt. I have a paragraph about it in my information below:

    I made this quilt in the early 1990s which told the story of the Holocaust. Here were my rules.

    HOLOCAUST: A HATE MOVEMENT by Carlene Buck (You can view this quilt on the internet at “The Quilt Show>See quilts>Member quilts>Holocaust: A Hate Movement”


    Reproduction fabrics from the 1920’s and 1930’s (in a full spectrum of colors represent the entire population of Europe) are pieced in the beginning blocks of the quilt to represent the inclusion and “normal” lives of the Jewish population in the beginning part of that era. As the Nazi party became more powerful, the swastika blocks were enlarged (50%) as they march to the right on the quilt) and only solid-colored fabrics appear in the quilt.
    Black = Hate
    Red = Blood or death
    Brown = Nazi uniforms
    Orange = Fear
    White = Sacrifice
    Off white = Limited sacrifice
    Gray = Neutrality
    Light blue = Israeli blue flag color

    Left = Reproduction fabrics from the 1920’s and 1930’s
    Top = Small ashes blowing in the wind
    Bottom = Large ashes from the furnace
    Right = Ashes with scattered tiny sprigs growing from them (representing hope and new life)

    “The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks” compiled by Barbara Brachman was used to select block names and create the block templates. The “Swastika” block was inspired by the Nazi flag and enlarged on a photo copier. The “Star of David” blocks were recreated from photos.

    When a block title (such as Prosperity, Peace and Plenty, Peaceful Hours) was the reverse of the desired message, the block was pieced backwards in order to send the opposite message of the block title.

    Men to the left, women to the right
    Work will make you free
    Break the body, break the spirit, break the heart
    Where is God
    Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do unto me
    I was only following orders
    Never again

    Things taken from the Jews as they were being eliminated
    Clothing (redistributed to the German people)
    Leather (shoes were redistributed)
    Money (to fund the Nazi aggression)
    Eye glasses (redistributed)
    Metal belongings (menorahs, combs, razors)
    Hair (used in manufacturing)
    Gold filings from teeth (melted down and reused)
    Skin (lampshades)

    A 3” grid is quilted on the later majority of the center of the quilt and represents the barbed wire fences constructed around the extermination and work camps.

    The 77 blocks are set 11 blocks horizontally by 7 blocks vertically. Eleven plus seven equals eighteen. I believe the number 18 represents Chaim, meaning life.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carlene – I am so impressed by your description of the quilt and now I’m going online to look at it. You really thought of every aspect of the Holocaust, didn’t you? Has this quilt been in many shows? If you send a picture to my email, I’ll include it here.

    2. Li

      Thank you Carlene. The details behind your work are inspiring. I really like knowing what went on during your creative process. Fascinating.

  5. Kris in WI

    Sandy, your applique is a delightful addition to the antique HST flower blocks. And Laura, I’ll bet the basket of blue and white quilts is a striking accent to the room.
    I agree with most of the readers, piece 16 blocks into a top. Hand quilting would be wonderful, but does it really need to be quilted? Could you put an envelope-style back on it and just stay stitch the edges? That way you could turn it inside out and show the hand stitching at any time. I would frame the block with the pieced center square with the back to the front (or between glass). Who among us hasn’t had to add a scrap to a patch to make it larger, maybe even matching the print? Yes, that would be me!
    Susan in AL said so well what time-worn hands represent and we here are all recipients of your care and thoughtfulness. Thank you. Kris

    PS: Loved the thrift store show and tell!

  6. Jackie in NY

    Hi Mary! I’m sorry you have arthritic hands. I fear that happening to me. I love those hand-pieced blocks. Maybe you could use 16 of them in a 4 x 4 setting and on the back, use one as a “pocket” and put the final one in the pocket so you can still look at the stitching? I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.

  7. Deb in VA

    Love seeing the quilt blocks…i have some antique ones too but they’re just in a pile with no plan. Maybe I should just sew them together. We went to 5 Guys after church and called it our Super Bowl Party. LOL No TV for 43 years since we got married–don’t miss it. I’ve been hand stitching binding on this evening and will finish before calling it a night.
    I have arthritis too Mary but no big knots. So sorry about your hands. I love the basket of blue quilts, Laura! i heard there might be a blue and white sew along later this year possibly…I’d join for sure!

  8. Janette

    Great Post! beautiful squares… spot light individual squares as book or journal cover. Back of a jacket or oversized pockets on the front… on a lamp shade or as a valance (even over a bookshelf)… framed maybe three of them in one either landscape or vertical… what treasures.
    Love the picture frame and the picture there is something earthy in the picture especially where you have it.
    Jo Packman is great reading and idea material what a find.
    I, too, collect children’s books, mostly for the illustrations but often enjoy the simplicity of the story to share with all my nieces and nephews. Perfect for the cute bookends you have found.
    I am new to your blog/posts and enjoy following.
    Warm regards, Janette
    p.s. hands… I use Deep Blue on my knee and find my hands are better always rubbing the extra into them.

  9. Cynthia from SW MN

    Those quilt blocks are beautiful! I have never seen such beautiful and consistent hand stitching! I would get a frame that has glass on both sides but one can probably just see one side at a time, so two blocks side by side in that same front and back glass frame! Works of art! I loved seeing those pictures you got at the thrift shop as well, I would have to do an artwork shuffle to get them up in my house.! And I located my little boxed set of Erma Bombeck books when I dusted and rearranged my bookshelf, still doing inventory in my laundry room and next is my fabric inventory. We went to Garvin for the fundraiser for their fire department today, Chicken and wild rice soup, potato and ham soup and chili with a choice of buttered or not buttered bread and several dessert choices, free will donation, and they had a great turnout as well! It is so nice to go places and not fight the snow. No sewing today.

  10. Teresa in Indiana

    I love the stacked blue & white quilts. Lovely! We are heading over to my brother’s house to watch the game. He’s having White Castle sliders and homemade chili. I made peanut blossoms for something sweet. Even though I can’t eat them. The guys love anything peanut butter. Mary I agree with so many of the others. Frame two and quilt the rest. I love seeing all your finds.

  11. Jean

    OMGosh! I don’t think I even sew that straight with my machine. Beautiful work. I think you got a bargain there.
    No superbowl for me. Not a fan. Those that are…have fun!

  12. Barbara Powers

    Have you tried asper cream with lidocane? My hands look like yours and it helped me so much.

  13. Susan in AL

    Mary, your hands are ~beautiful~

    They are showing beauty in the music you have given to those around you, and the incredible creativity you have blessed the world with, and thousands of meals provided to your people, and countless hours of care given to animals, and the beauty of your gardens and flowers. They don’t look like pain to me; they look like love.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan in AL – that is very sweet of you to say! I’m accustomed to my hands and know what I can do comfortably and what has become impossible. It’s part of being 75 years old. Ha!

  14. Sally

    Leaving for church early this morning as all the main roads to Allegiant Stadium – home to the Las Vegas Raiders – pass by our church. The church is a mile from the stadium. So much going on in the city this week! I’m rooting for the 49ers. I saw Joe Montana play in San Francisco once! Very exciting! Have a great day everyone. Ps Those are beautiful quilts! I love all the thrift store finds, pictures & picture frames, chalk ware bookends, tin and books. What great finds!

  15. Elizabeth Underwood

    Make a wallhanging out of 16 of the quilt blocks. You can admire the stitching on the other 2 blocks.
    I am watching the superbowl with friends and cheering on the Chiefs!!!

  16. Jo in Wyoming

    Oh! Mary…your hands look so painful. I’m sure you do keep them moving to keep them moving.
    I had a dr once that had a hand pieced log cabin quilt mounted between glass. Not touching the glass. No quilting. He hung it backwards so the hand stitching could been seen. It memorized me every time I went to see him. It was hung in the hall so not much light. He was a great doc, brain surgeon, with a true appreciation for incredible art.
    Love those books. Are they new?
    Sandy, lovely quilt. It’s fun to hear from “down under”.
    No Super Bowl party for me. I’m glad the Clydesdales are back. My son did a SB commercial using them many years ago.

    1. Li

      This is such a great idea. Hand stitch four log cabin blocks and mount them for display. I have a space that would be perfect with hanging it backwards. Thanks.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jo – I use your tube of painkiller stuff on my fingers every night and do think it helps. I’ll take a picture of it. I’ve used just about everything – actually I think it’s part of getting old which I’ve learned to accept. I wouldn’t have shown my hands except several people were encouraging me to do handwork and I had to show them why I just csnt

  17. Steffi Smith

    Everything is so lovely especially those quilt blocks. Maybe mount them between 2 pieces of non glare glass with hanging eyelets on top so you could hang from the ceiling to see both sides or on a wall so your could flip them over to admire both sides. Just beautiful.

  18. Launa Peters

    Mary, Yes big Super Bowl party n food here starting @ 3 pm …I know two of the couples planning to attend: the rest are Friends of the kids! Our son has been cooking n getting ready since yesterday !
    Lost Trails Ski Resort was really busy yesterday!
    Just started SNOWING!

  19. Joyce from NY

    I agree your hand pieced blocks are beautiful. I think they would be great in quilt just as is, have someone hand quilt it for you!
    I made some white bean tomato soup yesterday & will be eating that while watching the game. I think that’s cool that the KC coaches wife quilts. Makes me like them better after beating the Buffalo Bills!
    Will also be sewing before the game.

  20. Sharon Lowy

    I would purchase those handsewn blocks from you and my hand quilting group would hand quilt them.
    we would then auction the quilt as a donation for the Chapel on the Green nfp in Yorkville, IL. The Chapel is the oldest church building in our small town and is now used for weddings, memorial services and special events.

    Yes, I will be watching the Super Bowl…that is the only game I watch on TV every year.

  21. Fran

    Not watched Super Bowl in yrs even before hubby passed away. I plan to be in my sewing room, my happy place.

    As for those perfectly pieced blocks? I have no suggestions. Beautiful hand work.

  22. Connie R.

    Laura in GA – Your basket of blue and white quilts is just so beautiful. I love how you have them displayed.

  23. Lynette in Orlando

    I agree with you on the blocks, but right now I’m clueless on a suggestion……. that stitching is just WOW. Your hands – have you tried the Voltaren cream? There’s a generic that I buy at Target and it works great on my knee. So far, my hands are doing ok, a bit stiff on and off and one finger I can no longer bend. You are on the right path — if we don’t use our joints they will stiffen up and be totally unusable. This getting older really stinks sometimes and I inherited arthritis from both sides of the family…… ugh…… I just remember my grandfather soaking his hands in baggies with vinegar. Apple cider maybe? I was too young to remember and didn’t really pay attention. I do remember it helped and he worked in the yard everyday pretty much all day. Just a thought ……..

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Lynette – yes, I use Voltaren cream among others but hot paraffin is still the most soothing. I have never heard of the vinegar – I’m going to look it up online.

  24. Beverly

    The stitching is so perfect on tthose quilt blocks. I wouldnt hide it either. Since you are a bit of a rebel anyway, why not sew it together but let the back of the blocks be the front so the stitching is exposed. instead of long arm quilting use your machine to tack instead of tie at intersections of the blocks. Just a suggestion. Enjoy the game. I plan to watch.

    1. Cynthia from SW MN

      Beverly, I second your suggestion! It will be like a Bullseye! I would do 12 blocks with all of them with the back to the front! Sandy from NZ’s quilt is a real eye catcher for sure. We are watching the Super Bowl! Commercials as well! I envy your thrift shops’ inventories, and I think very acceptable pricing. Our thrift stores are too high, I grumble about it, everything is given to them, price the stuff so people will buy it. I thought that was the reason for their existence, recycling stuff in an affordable way.

  25. Charlotte in northern California

    Wow what amazing stitching on those blocks!! I like the suggestions of framing 2 blocks and then making a quilt or runner out of the remaining blocks. Oh your poor hands!! My mom had arthritis so bad in her hands that her fingers twisted to one side. I have it in my hands, back and knees. I have tried Voltaren but it says not to use too much or for too many days as it can cause liver damage. I just want to quilt as long as I can.
    I’m going to my son’s house for the Super Bowl. We are 49er fans!! My daughter-in-law is making buffalo hot wings and I’m making BBQ meatballs. I’m on a guacamole salsa kick. I could eat the whole jar with a spoon!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Charlotte – earlier this winter I was on a guacamole kick, too, and when I have these cravings I give into them until I get over it….and it does pass. Several months ago I craved chocolate chip ice cream and I ate several pails of it. The pail I bought last week is in the freezer and I haven’t even touched it. I’m glad that craving is over – haha!

  26. San

    Hi Mary,

    So glad to hear the many suggestions regarding your hands. They look very painful. Has your doctor ever suggested acupuncture? Just curious.

    No football here, as I haven’t had TV in 24 years. Will continue to try to clean my sewing room. I keep finding left over blocks and other long forgotten items.

    Thanks for sharing pictures of your many treasures.

    San / Murphy, NC

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      San – I actually have had acupuncture on my hands – can’t say it made much difference but maybe I should try it again.

  27. Arrowhead Gramma

    What if you took one block and had it framed between two pieces of glass and then make a quilt with the other blocks. I did this once with an old patriotic postcard that was dated on the back.

  28. Cindy K

    Kathy asked if Kansas City Chiefs coaches wife is a quilter-yes she is. She also is a quilt collector with a very large collection . She was interviewed on Missouri Stars facebook page which you can watch by googling her name-Tammy Reid. You’ll also find other interesting articles about her by googling her name.

    1. Li

      Thank you. Always curious to see someone else’s style and what direction their piecing or applique takes them.

  29. Amy in NW Ohio

    Your finds are terrific! I enjoy going through a good thrift shop. There is one nearby that is a great source for vintage fabrics. I have plans for those fabrics later, possibly an Ohio Star quilt.
    I won’t be watching the Super Bowl. I’ll be putting the binding on my Star Silhouettes quilt that I just finished quilting tonight. The pattern is by Diane Harris and it’s been so fun putting all the scrap fabrics together.

  30. Heather K

    I love those beautiful stars – what about taking most and make a table topper – either a straight runner or put them in a circle and finish as you would – you will make sure they are appreciated vs lost in the future as loose blocks in a box. Then take one and put in glass on both side so you can see both sides ? Or frame / make a single block topper w the back as right side? I love the dog book ends ! Tony would lose his mind about those.

  31. Martha W in WY

    I had a manicure this week (only the 2nd one in my lifetime. Ha!) and she had me do the wax. It was too hot but after it cooled some it felt great and my hands were very soft afterwards. Those 18 blocks were beautifully stitched. I agree with framing two side by side with one right-side showing and the other the backside showing. We’re hoping we can watch the IA game tomorrow. Since you mentioned Caitlin in this blog, we have enjoyed watching her whenever we can. We will watch the Super Bowl and cheering for the Chiefs. But I will be cross-stitching at the same time.

  32. Sue in Oregon

    Love your Erma Bombeck collection. I sure miss her.
    I like Deb Macs idea for your blocks. The hand stitching on those blocks is amazingly perfect. It looks like some sort of machine stitched them. So it would be nice to showcase at least one of them.
    I’m sure we will watch the Super Bowl. I have no snacks planned though. Darn. I like snacks.
    Have you tried a comfrey salve for your hands? It’s quite powerful, so a little dab will do you. It helped my husband a lot until he used too much and then it caused more pain. Now he is shy about using it again.

  33. Connect R.

    Maybe just sew the blocks into a quilt top and use it like a coverlet. Then you can see the beautiful hand stitching anytime. Such beautiful handwork.. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the story behind them. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thrift store finds. Loved them all.

    1. Connie R.

      I need to proofread my comments better: Connie R. Not Connect R for my name. It was late……

    2. Sherry Whalen

      I really like the idea of just making a top and leaving it unquilted. It would be a fabulous display piece, table topper, etc. Those stitches are amazing and sturdy, the blocks are flat and the edges are so clean. They are beautiful.

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Sherry – I do, too, but can’t just leave it casually draped on the couch because of my dogs and cats. I took that beautiful piece of French needlework to the frame shop in Osage and I’m having that framed between two pieces of glass. That was another errand I had in Osage last week.

        1. Shirley Andersen Smith

          Show us the Fre ch needlework once you get it framed.
          Shirley from C Oregon

          1. Mary Etherington Post author

            Shirley – I definitely will show you – I took it to a needlework frame shop last week the same day I went to the thrift store. I felt they would “understand” the fragility of the piece more than Hobby Lobby – as was suggested here in the comments.

  34. Dorothy

    Like so many I think to frame a block (or 2) in glass to see both sides, and then have the remaining blocks made into a quilt and hand quilted. The stitching blew me away. My machine stitches don’t look that good.
    My grand niece is in the 6th grade and I am sure she is the up and coming Caitlin Clark. She just broke her school’s 25 year record (for boys and girls) with: 26 points
    30 rebounds
    15 steals
    10 assists
    And came out of the game with no ego, no big head 🙂
    Super Bowl for me is stitching the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt and cheering for the Chiefs since the Seahawks aren’t there 🙂

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Dorothy – your grand niece could go to Iowa after high school and follow in Clark’s footsteps – she is a powerhouse at the 6th grade!!! Oh my gosh – she’s having a great season, isn’t she? When’s her next game? I hope she follows Clark – game tomorrow.

  35. Candy

    Definitely watching the Super Bowl… just not sure who I’m hoping for. That means it’s a win/win for me. I like both teams. We’ve been contemplating our snacks all week … lol! So many choices … such a short game! Have a great day everyone, whether you’re watching or avoiding the game!

  36. Cindy K-Ks

    Great idea to frame 2 blocks together-front and back. And then make the rest into a quilt. What fun thrift finds-my favorite place to shop.
    Going to watch my first Iowa college basketball game tomorrow-then will watch the superbowl. Rarely miss a Chiefs game.
    I’m amazed that you do all of your chores when your hands are in so much pain. You’re one tough gal.


    Mary, I know you said you have lots of creams, etc for your hands. Have you tried Two Old Goats? It has helped my husband some with pain in his hands. Not a cure all, but helpful.

  38. Marsha in Michigan

    I love all your treasures, Mary! I love thrift and antique stores. We have a few “purchased new” pieces of furniture but I prefer the pieces I’ve found that just called to me. “Take me home. You’ll find a place for me!”
    Books! I love books! I like old paint-by-numbers pictures. Some of old mills, old barns, etc. Two hang in my living room near my baby grand – paint-by-number waterfalls.
    Found on ebay! Yes, your poor hands! Mine hurt & go numb if I hold a needle too long. I can’t reach chords I used to reach. But we continue to do what we can! Thanks for sharing your quilts, your treasures, your animals and your heart.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marsha – you have a grand piano, too? No, I can’t play like I used to but enough to accompany our choir and church services. What kind of piano do you have? Just curious.

    2. Suzanne Shepherd

      Marsha, there are gloves you can wear while stitching that are helpful to keep that numbness from happening. I don’t remember where/when I purchased mine, but I’m sure you could find them on any cross-stitch website. I had carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and found them beneficial both before and after my hand surgerie.
      I do not have a grand piano like you and Mary, but I do have a lovely Mason & Hamlin console I have enjoyed for almost 40 years. We’ve moved 5 times with that piano and every time I was a nervous wreck until it was back in place and tuned up.

  39. Kathy in NY

    Mary I forgot to tell you we hit a record high today of 58 degrees. My primroses were opened so I went around and covered the purple, pink and red flowers up with some leaves as it’s going to be colder and more seasonable after tomorrow. Also our local news tonight showed a puppy bowl that a locally owned doggie day care did today and there was a dog just like Keeper in a striped referee shirt. We loved it.
    Someone told me this week that the Kansas Chiefs coach’s wife is an avid quilter and collector. I wondered if this is correct if someone from Kansas City area knows that for sure.

  40. Sherry Whalen

    We will watch the game – and commercials, which I have to concentrate very hard to do. My tv watching mode is to TOTALLY ignore commercials and even walk off and do little jobs during them. Since we are leaving to go to Gulf Shores at zero dark 30 on Monday morning – we will be eating whatever is left in the refrigerator! And probably an iced tea. My goal is to have everything packed by game time.

  41. Susie Lenz

    I would use 16 of the blocks for a quilt, 1 block for an pillow,and 1 block framed between 2 pieces of glass -so you can view the front and back and all those beautiful tiny stitches! I love to see all your treasures-I too, love to thrift store shop! Enjoy the game!🏈

  42. Janet Beyea

    My son invited me over for the Super Bowl and his terrific chili. I’m looking forward to some good family time.

  43. Beryl BC

    I don’t know how it does with arthritis, but the hot paraffin was great in physical therapy for my broken wrist 20 yrs ago.
    I remember the piano teacher saying playing the piano was good for her arthritic hands. (Miss B, likely your teacher, also.)

    Thanks to someone on this blog mentioning the Uof Iowa women’s basketball being on Fox. We have watched a few of their games.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Beryl BC – I have a paraffin bath and it is very soothing!! I love it and use it often.

  44. Li

    Eliminated gluten from my diet and joint pain disappeared. Still shocked that it contributed to inflammation.

    1. Sue Smith

      Li…How did you know to do this? My husband has terrible pain in his hands like the others here. Our son is celiac and I wonder if there is a connection ?? Our son hasn’t eaten gluten in years and he doesn’t seem to have arthritis. But, then, I don’t have much either. Hmmmm

      1. Li

        Hi Sue. It was by accident and then by checking with several people who found relief. I am just hoping to prevent joint damage for a while. My grandmother had arthritis and I remember her joints. My dear friend has rheumatoid arthritis and she tried no gluten for a while at my urging and found a bit of relief. My sister’s joints were bothering her (we were concerned because of grandmother). It took her a couple of years and she turned away from gluten. I am on no other medication at all and so far, so good. I think some allergy sensitive individuals might look to this as a factor. Many foods can contribute to inflammation. I have never been diagnosed as celiac but gluten and potatoes/tomatoes are the first foods I stepped away from because of itchy rashes. After age 51 became really allergic to nightshades, latex, seafood, and nuts. In my area unadulterated corn tortillas were available. Tell your son that they are great warmed up with scrambled eggs (and a nice cheddar cheese if he can). John Baricelli (Martha Stewart Living) created a great flourless chocolate cake recipe.

  45. Sharon F

    Sandy in New Zealand’s quilt is so lovely! Thank you for sharing it. I think those perfectly stitched blocks deserve some nice hand quilting, but I understand that your poor hands won’t permit that. I had that hot wax treatment as part of my physical therapy after breaking my wrist. Oh – the wax held in that luxurious heat and felt so good!

    No Super Bowl viewing for me and DH, as we don’t have TV (and really don’t miss it). We’re going to a neighborhood brunch tomorrow morning, and I hope to spend some time hand quilting in the afternoon.

  46. Kathy in western NY

    The hand stitching is in perfect lines. Amazing. I have no ideas other than framing 2 with one reversed like others suggested. I own three gorgeous floral 16” blocks that are done with silk ribbon embroidery and often wondered how to display them.
    We don’t go to our kids Super Bowl party any longer as it’s over so late for us so we’re happier to nibble snacks at home. I’ll make the velvetta cheese/ rotel tomatoes dip warmed in my small crock pot served with scoops, pigs in a blanket, and our church youth group makes subs for Super Bowl Sunday for a fundraiser so we get them to support the kids. It’s a good eating and sew day for me while hubby watches the game but I will catch some of the commercials. The following Sunday is Daytona Nascar race so we have a party planned here for 15 people.

  47. Kim from Wi

    Mary, do give the hot paraffin wax idea a try for your stiff hands. It worked beautifully for my mom and her arthritic hands. I would take some lovely pictures of the back of those blocks and then put them together and quilt it so it could be used and loved. We will watch the game with our daughter, starting with appetizers and finishing with pizza that is homemade. We look forward to the game each year. If the game is rather slow and boring, we will play Farkle or Yahtzee.

  48. Jill Klop

    I’m not sure what I’d do with those 18 blocks, but I do think you’re right…at least one needs to have the ‘wrong’ side showing. The blocks are so beautifully made! I’m going to email a picture to you of a block that I bought years ago at an antique store. It was matted and framed in the ugliest way! I sort of wished I kept a picture of the ‘before’! I have noticed that your thrift stores and Jo Kramer’s are priced so much more reasonably that the thrift stores where I live in Texas. Sometimes I can buy things new for the prices that they ask. I’ve given up going. I love to see what you find! We’re having a couple from down the street over for the Super Bowl. We’re originally from Michigan. Once the Lions lost, I’m not sure who to root for!

  49. Diane in Colorado

    I’m curious about the tree light on your mantle as I’ve been seeing pop-up ads on FB and have been interested. Where did you get yours? Are you happy with it?

    Those blocks are fabulous!!! Precision stitching!! I agree, stitching it into a quilt top hides those stitches forever and they really are something special!! You could frame two blocks—one showing the top and one showing the back side—or 4 of them. I need to go back and see how many you have. I probably would do a wallhanging and commit to some hand quilting to honor the original quilter’s process.

    We got another dusting of snow this evening but nothing to write home about. We had about 2” last night.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – I believe I got my lighted tree online a couple years ago and it’s been lit ever since! It’s not convenient to turn off so it just lives there.

  50. Rhoda Ebersole

    Use the blocks in a quilt with one more color and get the quilt or throw hand quilted. Beautiful
    Lovely book collections too
    Have you tried Voltarin – a clear gel on your hands at night?
    Lighten up your work load Mary. You are in charge.
    Super Bowl tomorrow here in sunny Honolulu. I would be much more excited if the Packers were in it!😀

  51. Brenda in N Calif

    I absolutely agree it needs to be in a quilt and hand quilted. But the idea of keeping two blocks and framing them is perfect.
    Have you seen a rheumatologist about your hands? I have RA and my hands don’t look as painful as yours.
    Wonderful quilts today, as always.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Brenda in N CA – I saw a rheumatologist years ago. He told me to quit working so hard and I said bye-bye!

  52. Linda from Georgia

    Mary, I love all of your treasures!! When I moved to Georgia from Florida I brought small stuff but sold most of my large items. I have had fun buying from thrift and antique stores. Most everything large has been replaced. A few items still needed but they will come when I find them. I never look with an agenda because then I know I won’t find it! It’s fun to continue the hunt. I love the blocks. I can see them on point. I am working on charity quilts at the moment. I have several quilts in mind as keepers for me to make. I love jelly rolls and the challenge of using them in different patterns. A few of my plans involve Country Threads patterns. I am sorry about your hands. We are the same age and my body doesn’t always cooperate. Like you I just keep on pluggin’.

  53. Barbara Firesheets

    I like the idea of framing one block so that both front and back are visible to appreciate the perfect stitching. You could use a few to make a table runner, then sew the rest into a lap quilt. Love seeing all your thrift store finds and the pictures you share with us. No plans to watch the Super Bowl but will probably check on the score now and then.

  54. Meredith in Cincinnati

    That New Zealad quilt is gorgeous! Also love those stacked blue and white quilts: so pretty! Tomorrow I’m watching Iowa women at 1:00. Will Caitlin Clark break the record tomorrow? So exciting!

  55. Teresa from Port Coquitlam, BC

    The blue and gold blocks are beautiful. My thought is that you could use 16 on a 4 x 4 placement and make a table topper of some sort. Yes I think hand quilting would be lovely. The other two blocks could be put into a frame, one block right side forward one block beside it back side forward to display the very impressive hand piecing. I would hand quilt it for you though I live in Canada but I do have an address in the USA. So you can think about it.

  56. Bonny

    Beautiful work on hand pieced blocks. There are 18…have 2 framed one with front showing. One with back showing. In same frame. Use remaining 16 in a 4 x4 arrangement, get custom quilted, then display near framed blocks.

    Love the reader quilts!

  57. NJ

    I’ll be interested in what happens with your beautiful blocks because I have some too and they need a “life” as opposed to stored away. I’ll send a picture someday when I get them out.
    No football gathering for us. My husband had cataract surgery this week so it’s low key at our house as he heals up. I made a salad and pulled pork today so I’ll work on quilting jobs while he watches the game.

  58. Diane,Squeak, & Buddy in Central Ohio

    Second try—interrupted🙀. I think I would put the blocks into a 4 x4 quilt that a wonderful Amish woman would hand quilt. Then, I would put one block right side up and one wrong side up and put them in one of those frames that are in a short pedestal so you can turn it and see both sides.
    Sandy’s quilt is stunning. Mary, your hands look so painful. I have a friend whose hands look like yours. She sees a pain doctor and does well on medication. Your purchases are great! I am going to have to go thrift shopping soon. I have our grandsons artwork that was printed on fabric. Their art teacher sent the art to a company that printed them on mugs, ornaments etc. Very nice!! Baby quilts when they have kids😀. Beautiful day here today—63*

  59. Judy

    Someone mentioned framing between glass so both front and back showed. You could frame two of the blocks in a frame with one front showing and the back showing on the other block. You mentioned hand quilting. My Janome will make stitches that look like hand stitching. Maybe one of your machine will do hand stitching. Not the same but it would be a fooler. Saw some good high school girls basketball today in the regional in Indiana. The Super Bowl will probably be on at our house as I do other things. 😁

  60. Elizabeth

    Hi Mary,
    It’s pretty amazing that you do everything you do. I’m sorry your hands hurt so much.
    Super Bowl! My son just moved to Minnesota, so we are going to FaceTime and watch it together.
    The stitching on the blocks is beautful. I bet the maker would want them to be a quilt though, to see her hard work and yours make something even more beautful.
    Have a good evening!

  61. Kathy L

    Wow the hand stitching on those blocks is beautiful, but I think I would put them together and hand quilt, because that is what I do, saw your hands, I am sure i will be there sooner then later.
    Super Bowl will watch, don’t care who wins though, my kids and grandkids always come for dinner on Sunday so we will watch the game, but don’t think they will stay for the whole game, over to late. I think it should be on at 4:00.

  62. Cousin Jill in CA

    Hi! I love those beautifully sewn quilt blocks. Just do the whole quilt inside out. Raggy is “ in”.
    Next time my friend and I go to French General in LA I will take pictures of their” organization”. It is very lovely and they use every square inch of a very small building.
    Thanks to your blog we are watching Caitlin Clark!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jill – YOU go to French General??? Kari Meng is one of the featured artists in the books I showed. I have lots of French General fabrics – my favorite and I’ll bet there are lots of examples in your red and white quilt! Oh, isnt Caitlin Clark amazing? I’m glad you’re following – can’t wait for tomorrows game!!

  63. Sandy

    Hi Mary, thank you for showing my red antique hand pieced blocks that l added qpplique to and hand quilted. Also the painting of my dear old staffy Misty(RIP).
    How many quilt blocks did you get Mary? It would be nice to see them laid out so we can get ideas of what to do.The hand stitching is perfect!
    The dog bookends are cute and l love the picture of the girl and her dog.l cut out a red striped princess dress for Stella today, she drew the design, it’s fun to encourage them! Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  64. DebMac

    My mouth dropped open when I saw the stitching on the blue/gold blocks; so perfect. I would piece them into a quilt and leave part of them back side up. Perhaps you could find a hand quilter (that only charges an arm and not an arm and leg) or have someone custom machine quilt it for you. Love that pretty posy quilt from New Zealand. Our grown children and grandson will be over for beans and cornbread tomorrow night. We don’t football. At all. Ever. None of us. The reason I even know there are super bowl games is because cross stitch shops advertise super bowl sales. I met a friend, her husband, and her father for lunch yesterday and talk turned to tomorrow’s game and I was asked which team I supported. I asked somewhat mischievously, “is Joe Namath still playing, I was for his team last time.” Subject was changed. Hope everyone has a lovely day tomorrow doing whatever they like to do.

  65. Shirley Andersen Smith

    You could put 2 of the gold and blue blocks between 2 pieces of glass and frame, that way you coukd turn them to see both sides. I have a little piece of Jean Wells dramed that way.
    Tomorrow my husband will watch the game and I will sew.
    I am fixi g burritos and n achos for the game and of course, ice tea.
    Take care of your hands. I have this little appliance where you melt parrafin wax in it, then stick your hands in. They are coated with warm wax , then wrap them in warm towel for 20 minutes, peel off wax and do again the next night. Makes them feel better. Just one of many things to do. Osteoarthritis in my thumb joints. I feel for you.
    Shirley from Central Oregon

    1. Debbie Miller

      I have five joints in my hands destroyed by arthritis. My Dr. advised against joint replacement as he said it was rarely successful. I have two artificial knees that I am not really happy with so definitely not for me. He recommended the hot wax machine and I absolutely love it! I dip my hands several times in a row and it does make them feel so much better. I told him it was a shame they didn’t make those in full body size!

  66. Frances E

    So sorry for your hands. You could sell each block which could be a pillow top. I don’t watch football, so a peaceful day. But, you should have your own version of fun!

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