Rainy Friday, 5-12-23

We got .8 of rain yesterday and it’s raining lightly this morning. The birds are flying around the feeders telling me they’re empty – rose breasted grosbeaks have arrived to join the orioles, goldfinches, purple finches and our regulars.

When the plants move outside in the spring it’s my opportunity to clean floors and all surfaces so I have been busy. On Wednesday I mowed everything and thank goodness I did because it’s been raining since.

I sorted my plants – especially the small ones that I started in the basement last winter. Gloria came and got some and yesterday Connie was here and we loaded up her car. I have another gal in Garner I think will be interested in what’s left. These plants were suffocating me and I’m relieved that many of them have new homes.

These are a few I kept – I’ve had one of them for over 50 years!

You can tell I love to start new plants, something I cannot allow myself to do anymore. Now my front room is empty, I can move my favorite chair to the porch and I can read all summer.

Reader photos

Diane’s husband grows his amaryllis bulbs outside!
Pamela’s sweet kittens
Remember Angel? She came along with Gloria and Gaylen to pick up plants.
My geraniums from the basement
This is what I’m working on

Chris from Alaska sent me this fun picture. How many of us have food grinders that we’ll never use again? What a great idea this is.

They all have new homes!

Here is my plant hauler so that nobody has to help me move those heavy pots.

This might be the most valuable piece of equipment I own.

Remember all those plaids I wondered how to use? I think this might be a very good possibility. Of course it won’t make a dent in my tubs of brushed cotton plaids but it’s a really nice quilt, don’t you think?

The birds are waiting for me.

84 thoughts on “Rainy Friday, 5-12-23

  1. Mary

    Mary, you get so much done! Sometimes it seems as if I only dream of projects!

  2. Jeanine from Iowa

    We had .2″ of rain overnight, and are very thankful for it. Most of my garden is up, and this rain really helps. I’m still waiting for my different beans (green and limas) to pop through the ground. I saw a couple of them yesterday. It’s fun to see plants emerge from the ground. I do like the plaid quilt. I have men’s shirts I could use on that pattern, but just not enough time to do everything I’d like to do. Today you can get a rest from working outside. Rain is always welcomed here. Love your blog. Have a great day.

  3. Paula S.

    We had not a drop of rain in my part of Kansas. We had been warned that it would be a stormy day, so a lot of hype for nothing! I love seeing your plants and the plant hauler looks like a good tool to have around. As always, love the pet/animal pictures and quilts. That plaid quilt looks fun!

  4. Jane Winton

    The better question-besides you how many of us have chickens in our sewing room? 😂

  5. Jan Hebert

    Wow! Loved all of the photos! The reader quilts are great – love that black and white Bull’s Eye! It must be so nice to have your sunroom all clean and ready to go for the summer. And isn’t a rainy day wonderful every now and then? It’s really nice here in Topsfield. I’d love to go to our lake cottage and get it ready for the summer but we have planting to do and watering. I’ve been visiting my sister in the hospital this week. She’s struggling with breathing issues after smoking for years. The doctors are recommending Hospice and it’s so sad, she’s only 77. In fact, her birthday was yesterday. She still has her sense of humor though! The nurse asked if she had any pain and her response was to point to her husband, haha! He’s been a saint. She wouldn’t have made it this far without his care. So one day she’s terrible and the next she’s pretty good! She tells everyone – don’t smoke! Jan in MA

  6. DebMac

    Love, love, love that plaid quilt. This has to be one of the most striking layouts I have seen for plaids. Do you have any info on it other than the picture? Please sew it up soon. Spent yesterday running around buying flowers for our deck and ran out of time for grocery shopping. It is a misty morning here in the Quad Cities so I am even less enthused about grocery shopping today. Good day to stay home, drink tea, and stitch.

  7. Linda from MN

    Your geranium from the basement looks great! What is the secret to keeping them over the winter? I tried it this last winter, but I think they all died.

  8. Erin

    You have been busy!

    That plaid quilt is wonderful, so I can’t wait to see what you do with your version!

  9. Katie

    Nice that your sharing plants, I am sure they will be happy in new homes ..🪴
    Great you got rain, we could use some 🌧️.. I have to be happy for irrigation tonite it helps our lil corner of the World 1 acre here in Gilbert , Az. Amen🙏🏼
    Have a great weekend ..enjoy your Church service…🎹

  10. Sherry Whalen

    I moved mom’s plants out on Monday and then came home and moved mine out to get them out of the way – and then crossed my fingers that we are done with any freezing weather. You never know here in SE MN and NE IA. We had over an inch of rain yesterday, with more to come this weekend. We haven’t mowed yet and I hope the bare patches fill in when it finally starts to grow. But rhubarb is big and I will check on the asparagus today

    As usual, the quilt show is great – and I love the lay out of alternating black and white backrounds in the bullseye….I might have to make another – that would be my 5th one I think!

    I am itching to start something new, in spite of the fact that I have plenty of WIPS – works in progress. I quilted 5 last week so that we could move my LA out of the way for the ‘unbuilding’ of our lower level. It is pretty chaotic around here right now with almost everything moved to the garage, and I think that chaos is making me want to put something together, just ease the anxiety of the chaos lol!

  11. Janice Shock

    Your plants are wonderful but there is one in the group I have been looking for, but no one knows its name. 50 years ago, had one like it that my mil called baby fingers and one morning it was full of flowers. No one knew it would bloom. Do you know a proper name that the nursery could look for?

  12. Brenda

    I loved looking at all the photos today. I am 83 and so wish I could still do all that you do. I have to remark on the beautiful chicken in the photo with the food grinder. It is a real chicken, isn’t it?
    I still have my mother’s food grinder. She used to use it to grind the ingredients to make the Japanese Fruit Cake for Christmas. The cake part was like a spice cake and the icing was a combo of ground coconut and lemon juice. It was so good. About 20 years ago when my son first got married, he and his wife helped me make that cake and we used the food grinder. That was so much fun and the cake was delicious. I wish I had asked her where that recipe came from. I am sure she used the grinder for other things, as well, but I just remember that cake.

  13. Bonny

    0.3″ rain here overnight. Much needed. Going to fire up the serger today and work on service project for Guild. Flannel receiving blankets , pedal down! Love the reader quilts, the plaid one inspires a use for upcycled shirts!

  14. Gayle Shumaker

    I am in awe of your green thumb. I have worked so hard keeping a select few perennials alive. One is a seven sisters climbing rose I’ve had for 40 years, it was old when I got it, the other is 2 peonies that were my mom’s. Sadly my failure was my mother-in-laws ancient Christmas cactus. It was so large I couldn’t move it on my own. It only lasted about 5 years. Nice readers quilts today. I agree the one quilt is a good use of those fabrics we all have tucked away. Do you have any idea what the pattern is?

    1. Connie R.

      Just checking Pinterest and found a similar quilt pattern called Simply Serene Quilt by Annie’s. Looks like it looks great in all types of fabric combinations. Hope this helps.

  15. Chris

    I love the quilt you’re working on and the one you’re thinking of to use up some plaids. How wonderful that your basement and indoor plants got a nice rain!

  16. Joy in NW Iowa

    Yesterday morning our gauge said .2 and then we got up to .45 this morning!! Awesome!
    Love all the plants and quilts! There isn’t a plant that would survive here for 50 years! I would have to give it to my friend for her to revive!
    Happy sewing or playing with plants or whatever 😊

  17. Jeanice Domino

    I especially love the quilt from Jeanne from Iowa. It’s beautiful!

  18. Vicki Ibarra

    I love the quilt made with plaids. I put the picture in my “maybe make some day” folder. I might make it with batiks as the layout is so striking. I also love the quilt you are making. I remember seeing pictures of small sections of the quilt, but the entire quilt looks so different from what I imagined (and do-able).
    The kittens on the chair made me smile. And I agree: who has a chicken in their sewing room? I have one of those grinders, tucked into a cupboard somewhere.
    We had a little rain overnight and are to get more today in SE Iowa. I have to go pick asparagus before it rains. Yesterday, I made rhubarb custard pie, our favorite pie. I will have the rhubarb until about June 1. My Mom always told me to not cut rhubarb after that date. I have followed that rule for over 40 years.
    Got to eat it while we have it!

    1. Melody in Wisconsin

      Hi Vicki,
      I have a ton of rhubarb and am wondering if you would share your recipe for the rhubarb custard pie? The only recipe I use rhubarb in is a coffee cake and am looking for other simple, good recipes using rhubarb. I’m not fond of rhubarb sauce but love a good rhubarb crisp which I don’t have a recipe for either. I could try one of the thousands of recipes on the internet but would rather use a tried and true recipe. Thank you!

      1. Vicki Ibarra

        I make a 10 inch pie, with a single crust. Here is the recipe: Beat 4 eggs. Add 1 and 3/4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Add 5 cups 1-inch pieces of rhubarb. Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes (until the custard doesn’t jiggle when the pie is jiggled).
        I don’t make a crisp, but do make a rhubarb cobbler. Recipe: Place 3 and 1/2 cups cut up rhubarb in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle with 2/3 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dot with 2 tablespoons of chopped butter. In a bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon sale, 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 egg. Drop by spoons full over the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Rhubarb custard pie is our favorite, but the cobbler is a close second.

        1. Melody from Wisconsin

          Thank you for taking the time to give me these recipes Vicki! Will be trying both of them.

  19. Connie R. in Wis.

    The plaid quilt would look great in brushed cottons. I’m also thinking it would look good in my flannel fabrics. I love the quilt you’re working on.
    The leaves are finally starting to come out. Touches of green all over. I even saw dandelions today when I walked to our mailbox. I’m just finished binding a small red and white quilt that I worked on this week. A lot of pieces involved for a small quilt but, I’m happy with the results.

  20. Sharon Ray

    Love all the plants, but yes they can take over! I have kept one orchid for over 40 years. I am shocked that it is still alive. I put it out under a tree until it blooms, then enjoy it inside. The most important thing is to bring it inside when the temp goes below 50. I’m in Florida so this is pretty easy. Love the plaids, I wish I could find some pretty ones here.

  21. Jean Kennedy

    Well I’m especially attracted to the black and white circle quilt, the quilt of many plaids and the pincushion food grinder.

  22. Janet Easley

    That plaid plaid (small plaids with a larger plaid motif – plaid squared) quilt idea is cool – simple, but effective!
    I’m also enjoying seeing your Iowa farm embrace Spring. The plants are beautiful. The amaryllis reminds me of the bulbs my grandmother brought from Iowa to Arizona 80 years ago – gracing her two homes, two homes of my mom and two of my homes for many years.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  23. Jane

    Love all the photos today. I know what you mean about clearing out items, even ones we love. It just cleans up the space and brings a calmness to the room. Of course you don’t want to remove too much stuff☺️. I also have lots of plaid from recycled shirts and think the plaid quilt shown would be nice. Off to do some Dr cluttering of my own.

  24. Roxanne

    A lovely spring post! Your plant collection is truly epic! Love the quilt you’re working on—great pattern and colors! Off to get my booster today followed by a vet checkup for my dog. Hopefully can put some time into my latest project. I took a class and am making a barn quilt—always wanted to do this!

  25. Lynn

    I really like the quilt you are working on. Thanks for sending all the quilt and pet pictures.

  26. Ginger S

    Beautiful plants and quilts today. My Mom had a meat grinder like that. I remember her using it. Sure wished i had saved it so I could make a pin cushion. What a great way to reuse something!

  27. Betty Klosterman

    Oh, what fun today! Jeanine from Iowa, I was raised near Country Threads in Iowa, AND you and I must be from the same kind of people. My German Gramma always said ‘don’t waste it’ and she ruined me for life. I can’t throw out a sprig of a plant, a scrap of fabric…..I just have to smile. We plant a sprig of something and it grows. The mad whacker hits, pruning everything in sight, and it grows — we just HAVE to throw it in the garbage or they overtake everything. Same with fabric scraps, but how can we throw them away when Jeanine makes a beautiful quilt ? My Gramma is smirking. Yes, we have so much fun working with the wonderful colors and just look what they make. Making quilts for charity is so nice as they leave home and don’t come back!

    The rest of the quilts are great, too. How could we ever be discouraged with so many patterns and piles of fabrics? Working with our hands is so therapudic. Reading a book is nice, but just not the same. We have something useful to show for our efforts, not to mention the pleasure of feeling the fabrics.

    AND I just looked at the rain gauge. From last night to now, my gauge says 1.7″ of rain!!!!! And it isn’t done yet. We really need it. ‘

    So, take care, everybody, and enjoy the Mother’s Day weekend no matter the weather. Winter is almost over?
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Jeanine from Iowa

      Thank you, Betty, for your comments about my quilt. I just love to make scrappy quilts. I have so many to work with I hardly ever use any of my other fabric. It is hard for me to throw away a scrap, too, if it is big enough to have seams on both sides. I give my charity quilts to our local hospital. We have a small sewing group that meets once a month and we focus on making charity quilts. We met yesterday and gave our hospital another 33 quilts. Makes us happy, and the people that receive them happy too.

  28. brendalynne1

    very ambitious and we are the fortunate recipients of wonderful photos. They always evoke such pleasant memories. Between you and Jo Kramer there is great hope for great every day events continuing. thank you

    1. brendalynne1

      i neglected to remark on the plant mover. My husband converted his mother’s oxygen tank mover into something VERY similar. (after she was no longer with us)

  29. Donna Israels

    Your plants are amazing!!! I always enjoyed looking at them as much as stopping at your quilt store back in the day!!!

  30. Sally in Murrayville, GA

    I, too, like so many others, love the plaid quilt!
    Mary I don’t know how you manage all those plants and am glad you have that great piece of helper equipment. I have had to make things easier this year even though I love gardening and plants. For example—no hanging baskets because it’s hard for me to water them every day.
    Every Mothers Day for years, my daughter has taken me to a wonderful local nursery to buy plants. This year we both promised not to buy anything we didn’t NEED! Well you can guess how that went. 🙂. The truck was full of beauties but we did think a bit about easy maintenance.
    I asked my doctor if it would be OK for me to cut grass. He laughed! I think I’m probably his only 78 yr old patient that has asked that question but for me I love it and only have to sit there and steer. I can do that!
    Take care Mary—it’s ok if we make things easier.

  31. Jo in Wyoming

    The plaid quilt is a handsome one. I love it.
    Finn is ready to go out.
    Enjoying all the great pictures.
    We have rain too. Lots of it. The dirt parking lot at graduation tomorrow should be a hoot!
    Happy Mother’s Day to all.

  32. Ann

    I have my mom’s food grinder and l wouldn’t part with it for the world. And yes, l still use it! One thing l use it for is to grind my Thanksgiving cranberries. As l grind, l have fond memories of my mom.

  33. Nancy

    Please share a picture of your pencil plant. I seem to remember it was quite tall. ♥️❤️

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Nancy – it has reached my ceiling and I’m sick of it. I’ll take a picture tomorrow and post it. I’ll bet I have at least a dozen more started. Ugh.

  34. Tina W in Oregon

    Upon your recommendation last year, I purchased one of those plant movers. Works like a charm! Definitely is a back saver. All the pictures of animals and quilts are wonderful as usual. Makes me want to get busy! It’s supposed to be in the high 80’s to 90’s this weekend. Good weather to stay inside with the AC on and sew!

  35. Lynn

    Mary, beautiful geranium! And I have a food grinder just like in the picture and use it every Thanksgiving for the stuffing. Old Italian recipe.

  36. Launa

    Thanks for today’s pictures of all items, Mary!!

    Was sunny up here in Idaho, but clouds are rolling in since 1 o’clock! Got my dusting finished!
    Hope the Golden State Warriors win their basketball 🏀 game tonight! My husband is waiting for football 🏈 to begin that season; we don’t support the same team, however!
    Our Border Collie was diagnosed with Arthritis this week. Has anti- inflammatory pills now. Know how she feels!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Launa – I believe I left a comment about Pepper’s arthritis

  37. Sydney Silva

    Wish I were close enough to provide a home for some of your plants!
    Since you are active in your church AND you love starting new plants, why not combine the two? If your church (or another one in your community) has a fundraiser occasionally I’m sure your plants would be a hit with the shoppers. Just a thought.

    About the flannels, how about a quilt made of 2-1/2 x 42″ (or whatever length you can get out of the shirts), done in the mile-a-minute style? I’ll bet it’d be really handsomeand perfect for “The Man’s” recliner for TV watching.
    I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Carol Reents

    That last quilt is intriguing. I have been collecting men’s shirts in checked patterns to make a quilt. I need to get out of my comfort zone and try something other than just squares sewn together.

  39. Jeanie S, Central IL

    I love the plaid quilt; I have some brushed fabrics, too.
    I got married 57 years ago, and my grandma gave me a food grinder and a Lux timer, as those were items she said I would need. My husband would use the grinder to make his aunt’s cranberry salad every Thanksgiving with the help of three little boys who loved to turn the crank. The cranberry juice would run out, and it was a hoot! Now we use a food processor, and no one is around to help. 🙄

  40. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Mary, funny you posted that last quilt as a homespun possibility. I just posted it yesterday to my quilt club and said… you don’t need a pattern for this one, it’s easy enough to draft! Very clever how those brown background logs aren’t seen until they’re seen!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carol – great minds think alike? Haha! It is a pattern found on Etsy by Annie which someone identified in the comments but no pattern should be needed really. I’m going to keep it in mind for all those plaids but just how many would one quilt actually use? Not enough.

  41. Kris in WI

    Mary, your plants are beautiful. I love how they look so at home in your rock garden. And I’m afraid I have porch envy after seeing your screened porch and sun porch come back to life! What a happy place for the plants. I am the proud (or demented) owner of my mother’s old grinder, my MIL’s grinder, and my husband’s aunts grinder…all diffeerent! I remember being “allowed ” to turn the handle when mom made mincemeat and the apple juice would drip into a pie pan underneath, ham salad and the pickle juice dripped into the pie pan, and relish and everything dripped into the pie pan! But the best memory was hearing the cranberries pop as they went through the grinder when she made cranberry relish. I use the grinder for my mixer these days and the old ones sit together on the shelf and tell stories about how things used to be. Thanks for the quilt pictures today. I make crazy blocks similar to Janine’s from the trimmings when I finish the LWR quilts for church. Not as fancy as the Bullseye quilts, but I can’t bring myself to toss out those long strings! Kris
    PS: I laughed at the chicken in the sewing room picture, thinking she would pick up those pins and toss them to the floor! THEN I noticed the pin cushion was sitting in the grinder. Nothing wrong with me! Kris

  42. Susan K in Texas

    I love the quilt you’re working on and the plaid one.
    A fun blog post – all my favorite things- plants, quilts, and pets.
    We’ve cut back on the number of plants we’ve started. They start to take over – I’ve got less aloes but more echeveria plants. It’s like an illness! Ha!
    There is a video on Instagram of a chicken coming in to a quilters sewing room while she sews. That pincushion in the grinder is creative.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan – I could hardly move in my front room and my basement had lights all over – I just couldn’t resist starting more. I have to quit that.

  43. Joy in NW Iowa

    Just so your know, it is one year ago the derecho hit our area plus more one year ago! We have storm warning again this evening! There was so much damage to many farms a year ago. Very eerie feeling tonight.
    We had two funerals today. A friend and neighbor of 77 years old and a church family’s child of 20 months! I feel totally numb! What more can I say. So sad for my dear friend to lose her dear husband and so very sad to lose a child! My heart is broken!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Joy – both funerals on the same day? Oh my, that’s too much. Those poor young parents.

  44. Debra Reber

    I love watching the birds at my bird feeder. We used to see goldfinches, but I haven’t seen them in years. I don’t know what happened to them in this area. We don’t get orioles in this area, either. I do get the rose-breasted grosbeaks, purple finches, doves, cardinals, blue jays, red-wing blackbirds, & assorted sparrows & wrens. I have a lot of mockingbirds in the area, but they don’t come to the feeder.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Debra – I think the rose-breasted grosbeaks are the most beautiful bird of all the birds. A couple years ago I made a small tribute quilt to them in black, white and rose.

  45. Brenda in Iowa

    Do you know the name of the pattern for the brown plaid quilt? (the last one you had in your blog). I love it. I have a TON of homespuns that this pattern might work very well so I can make a small dent in my stash.

  46. Jean

    Mary, you have been busy!!! I love that idea for a plaid quilt. I have been working on one by Bonnie Hunter, but realizing I will still have LOTS of plaid fabric leftover.

  47. Kathy Hanson

    What a wonderful way to use the plaids! What a handy piece of equipment that plant mover is! So glad you have it!!! So many beautiful plants!! and so much work!!!!!
    You are so incredible! I couldn’t keep up with you!!!!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy – don’t be too impressed – I was exhausted after moving all those plants. We filled Connie’s van on Thursday so today I have fewer to take care of.

  48. Janet S

    Mary, When I saw the food grinder, I had to laugh. My son has one and somewhere found a small skeleton halloween gag. He keeps the skeleton sitting in the grinder. LOL.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Janet – now THATS not only funny but creative, too

  49. Brenda in Brainerd

    Loving all of the pics of everything! I have to tell you that I also “saved” the pic of the last quilt thinking that it would be perfect. I have some solid green fabric left from making curtains for a new cabin at CampKnutson…thought it would work well with a bunch of my plaids. We hold a huge quilt auction in August to raise funds to support the camp…I have a plan! If anyone out there is near Crosslake MN on August 12, it’s a wonderful event….worthy cause and family friendly.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Brenda in Brainerd – do you know Chuck and Jane Wayt?

      1. Brenda from Brainerd

        Nope, sorry…at least by name….it seems that I “know” some people just as familiar faces!

    2. Jeanine from Iowa

      Hi Brenda,
      I just wanted to say that I was raised in Pine River. Brainerd was our big shopping area back in the 60’s. It has really changed since back then. We will be going to PR in July for a memorial service for one of my brother’s that passed away in March. He was living in AZ, but will be buried in PR cemetery. Summer is a very busy time in your area. I can’t believe all the traffic going through there! Have a great day.

  50. Carolyn Rector

    I love the last quilt you posted for the preview of your plaids! Hope it works out for you. Love your blog.

  51. Sue in Marion, IN

    Yes, the quilt pattern is Simply Serene. The designer is Pleasant Valley Creations. She has some other neat quilt patterns—I bought a couple more I haven’t made yet. I made Simply Serene for my son Evan’s 27th birthday two years ago. He graduated from Indiana University Medical School last Monday. He will be off to University of Wisconsin-Madison soon for a four-year residency in neurology. So proud of him. Sending a picture of his quilt.

  52. Sharon G.

    Mary – I haven’t seen a tool like the plant mover before but it’s great! Love simply Serene quilt pattern!
    I am now the proud owner of 3 quilt quilt books by you and Connie (Sew Charming, Country Threads Goes to Charm School, and Back to Charm School).
    Just so you know, going through stuff in my sewing room, I found a pattern I had printed (not sure when). It’s a 6-1/2” version of the snowballs and 9 patch. It’s called Aunt Grace. Pattern published by Make it with Marcus fabrics. Is this another copyright issue? Let me know if you need me to email you a copy of it.
    The weather has been gorgeous in the Pacific Northwest so I need to get outside and enjoy it while I can.
    Take care.
    Love this blog, Mary!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sharon – no, this is not a copyright issue but thanks!

  53. Judy - Michigan

    I love that brown plaid quilt – what a great guy quilt. Think I’ll try and make one too. No pattern but I can figure something out. Very very nice.

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