Some Cleaning and Redecorating, 9-18-23

My free couch is so comfortable but so ugly and I’d like to have it recovered but I hate the curved back! Such an old lady couch, isn’t it? I’ve looked at new couches but all are too deep for me – my feet don’t even touch the floor!!!

Twenty windows in these two rooms and I have two bolts of fabric to make valances but that’s not as fun as a new quilt.

Here’s the quilt I saw on Etsy for $500 –

Here’s the first one I tried – I need different fabric. Oh, gosh, I’ll have to visit a quilt shop!!!

Working on plants every day and making progress – leaving the big ones for last.

On the porch
On left – Playhouse Pumpkin On right – Home To Roost

Remember that seasonal panels are quilted and hung outside.
From my strawberry plants in the tank

And the border that got MANY of you involved enough to comment! I feel like I hit the jackpot!

I think I should issue a border challenge! You loved the Judy Martin border but like me, you’re always ready to start the next quilt and the border sounds boring. I guess we can all agree we need to take a step back and reevaluate – I don’t need any more quilts so why am I in such a hurry to move on?

One of the readers says she starts with a hoarded fabric she loves for the border and has to piece the center with coordinates. Might be a fun idea. Why, oh why, do we hoard fabric? I think it’s because we love the fabric so much that the quilt needs to be worthy of that fabric. I had a piece of our old Wear Warm Clothes fabric and I pieced it for the back.

Reader photos – I forgot where I left off so….

All that cleaning gives me a backache! I should go sit at my sewing machine, don’t you think?

64 thoughts on “Some Cleaning and Redecorating, 9-18-23

  1. Kathy in western NY

    Your couch does look comfy and I agree that so many of them are too big for me to sit at too as my legs are short. We inherited my in-laws white couch ( ugh for my dogs ) but no one else in family even wanted it. So I keep it in our sunroom with a seasonal quilt covering it and it makes me happy to see the quilts used even if we sit on them because it is a comfy old lady couch too.
    And what a little cutie pie showing her sewing!!!

    1. Teresa in Indiana

      Thanks Kathy. That little cutie pie is my great neice who was visiting over labor day. She asked me to “teach her to quilt”. We had very little time, but she chose her fabrics and cut her cat out with scissors. She did all the raw edge quilting and was so proud of her work! I wish they lived closer so we could quilt together more often. She is 7 years old. ❤️

      1. Kathy in NY

        Teresa- How kind of you to encourage and take the time to allow her to create. I use to work at our county 4-H and turning fabric and manipulating the machine needle is one the members practiced a lot for control so she did very good!

      2. Roxanne

        I commented before I read comments, so I’m commenting again, We lived close to my great aunt Emma for 10 years when we were young, and I always loved going to her house. Big garden, canning, cookies, pies. She always made sweet things happen, like you did with the kitty quilt.❤️

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jean – not really but I can give your some measurements – I haven’t written up a pattern yet because I didn’t think anybody would probably want it.

  2. Jean Elliott

    I think the hump in the back of that sofa looks like a colonial style. I think it would be fine recovered.

  3. Rita in Iowa

    Mary I spent last week cleaning and putting up Fall and Halloween quilts and decorations. I had to comment on the two pictures. Grant Wood pictures, the one with the plow in it is a field across the valley and up the hill from our backyard. Several years ago they wanted to put a landfill out our way and our small community got together and fought it. I made a couple quilts to help raise money. We did keep them from building out here and the area was deemed a historic area because of the many paintings that Grant Wood use in the land in his paintings. I have the reprint of the same picture in my living room.

    I finished the quilt for my nephews wedding in October. Just need to wash it.
    Thanks for the post about nothing and Everything!

    1. Cynthia from SW MN

      I guess I will get my fall decorations out this year. Last year I did not decorate at all. I love Grant Wood’s paintings, the picture on the right I thought I saw this at the Joselyn Art Museum in Omaha a few years ago, but I did not know any names on the signature line on the painting. I am glad that the pristine valley was kept for posterity. Soon my hubster will be in the field and the combining will begin. It is so dry here. I am still gathering Cosmos seeds from my flowers, soon they will not be blossoming any longer. I have have cut down my Lillie’s, peonies, coneflowers and black-eyed Susan’s, just mostly Hosta left, there are a few still blooming! Also I will bring in my houseplants but I need to put them in larger flower pots and add new dirt.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rita – oh my goodness! My Grant Wood picture is just a thrift store find, not a quality print but I love it and always put it up in the fall. Isn’t it called Stone City? Or is that a different one? I’m not knowledgeable about Grant Wood’s works but I also have a children’s book illustrated by him. Very interesting drawings.

  4. Mary H

    Mary, we got a new couch- Flexsteel and it’s very comfortable and my feet touch the floor. We saw numerous ones made by them and none have the deep seats.
    I love your border.
    I think the windows are great sans valances.

  5. Brenda

    As clever as you are I would imagine you would be able to refigure the sofa back to be rid of the camel Hump. I also imagine you are going to do the reupholstering…this is the sort of thing I spend too much h trying to figure out how to make it perfect. Impossibility that miles down as procrastination. I admire your ability to just jump in.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Brenda – oh no! You misunderstood me – I would never attempt to reupholster anything – I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’m looking for someone to do it but then there’s the fabric to find. Ick. I’m fine with covering a couch with a quilt but that hump in the back keeps it from laying nice and flat. Ick again.

  6. Suzanne

    Love your couch! It is a classic Colonial design, which I love!! Someone else mentioned Flexsteel – they are SO good and I find them to “fit” me well, too. I am pretty short at 5’1” and lots of furniture leaves me with dangling feet or in need of a footstool.

  7. Brenda from Brainerd

    Just have to tell you that I smiled with the reference to Wear Warm Clothes….I had loads of those fabrics and still occasionally run across a fiber or two of them….they have not lost their appeal.

  8. Nancy

    Mary, I love your camel back sofa! It’s never out of style as it’s a classic! I bet it’s better made than the new furniture.

  9. Jo in Wyoming

    Such fun today. Couches are hard to fine just the right one. I want to sit up on the couch and get off it, not out of it. I got new, very firm cushion for mine…a world of difference. Very comfy, and I can still breathe.
    I’m seeing trees changing colors and leaves falling. My wonderful neighbors decorated an old car with a pumpkin family inside. They always make me laugh. I can’t wait. Yes, I’m gathering Halloween decor for next spring when the woodpeckers arrive.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Dee – the tableau you’re mentioning is actually outside in the covered entryway and yes, it will get very dirty but it’s up till I replace with Christmas

  10. Eleanor Laferriere

    I love your couch. I have one just like it. It is perfect for short people. And the style goes way back in time. It is a great couch for a colonial home.
    I had the foam insert replaced in the cushion and it is like new again, well almost.
    We live in a CAPE an I have no curtains, 17 windows. I like the look of your no curtains sunporch. Make quilts! Not curtains!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Eleanor – but just a tiny valance? I think they’d look great and I’m just using spring rods so no hardware in case I don’t like it. And this isn’t a colonial home – but that’s what I see it used in. This is a house with dogs and cats, plants, books and quilts – I need a less regal couch. Something a lot plainer, don’t you think? I have concrete floors!!! And I have a total of 20 windows in front room and piano room so making 20 valances isn’t really at the top of my list.

  11. Alice in SW Ohio

    Mary, I love the borders on your quilt! Really adds a lot to the pretty quilt! To reupholster something is very hard work & I would never do it again! It’s worth every $$ to have someone do it for you!! I love the idea of valances at your windows! I think it would be very pretty!

  12. Sue in Oregon

    I love your sofa too. But, I understand getting tired of something. My whole house needs updating. I had to laugh to myself, though, when one of our granddaughters came for a visit recently. She said, “Grandma, your wallpaper is back in style again. It’s great!” I laughed and thanked her, all the while thinking..(.I didn’t even know it went out of style).
    Thanks for the fall decorating photos that have now inspired me to do the same.

  13. Tina W in Oregon

    It seems that if you find the right person, they would be able to “re-build” the back of your couch to get rid of the hump before they reupholster it. Would be worth looking into.
    I have that Judy Martin book. Will have to get it out and study it again. Love the border you did on your quilt. Those are huge strawberries! Hope they tasted as good as they look.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Tina – I’ve been told that the second year my strawberry plants will be very productive – if I can just keep them insulated in that tank this winter.

  14. Katie in Gilbert,Az.

    Thanks for sharing always enjoy views of your home , and of course the quilts..
    I bought my first pumpkin Friday, every trip to the store that has real ones, I come home with one..
    It’s still very hot in AZ….Hard to believe October is almost here, and folks r putting out fall decor, praying for cooler weather😅

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Katie – a question for you – do real pumpkins withstand the heat when they sit outside as decoration? Or do they get mushy and rot?

  15. Jeanne in Co

    Mary, if you didn’t have so many windows, I could see you doing a valance pieced similar to the border on your quilt. It would be very fitting for your wonderful home, but I’d maybe only do them on the windows in one room. 20 windows is an awful lot. On second thought, I’d I lived where you do, I’d leave them without a valance. Why spoil your views of that gorgeous Iowa countryside?
    Also, why waste good fabric that could be going into creating your wonderful quilts? My vote is for ‘no valances’.
    Have a blessed week everyone, Jeanne in Co.

    1. Lori

      I’m with you Jeanne, no valances. When I got new windows, I decided that drapery and curtains were to keep the cold winds out in the winter and the sun/heat out in the summer. Those were not big issues for me anymore, so I just have cellular blinds than I pull down when needed. And you don’t notice the blinds much, they just kind of blend in.

  16. Vicki Ibarra

    I love the display on your porch with the chicken and stars back drop. I look at your displays and my first thought is “lovely” and my second thought is “dusting would not be fun”. So, I will enjoy your displays and not replicate at my house.
    As I recently pulled fabric from my stash and was ironing, I read the selvages on a couple. One was a Linda Brannock and Jan Patek piece dated 1997. Another was Barn Dance from Country Threads. So, my stash goes back a long ways and I still have pieces from my visits to your quilt shop. Fond memories.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Vicki – I’ll bet I’m not as good a housekeeper as you are so I live with dust – especially on a gravel road, bare floors and pets. Becky is also a minimalist whereas I just love all my “stuff”!

  17. Roxanne

    Don’t wait another minute to get your comfy couch reupholstered! Pick some fun fabric you love and it won’t look ugly or old lady-ish!
    My favorite reader project is the tiny child with her project and her mom (grandma?). They both look proud and happy together. Oh I love that captured moment.❤️

  18. Dee

    I really like your couch. It would look really good in covered in a large red and white check. Seems you have red around the room. Love all your posts,

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Dee – I have definitely considered red and white check! In fact it’s the ONLY color I’ve considered

  19. Joy in NW Iowa

    Redo the couch! It does not look old lady! Forget the valances! They just get dusty and add more cleaning! I threw out the living room valances and put up shades. They always looked dusty and bugged me! I Love it!
    Today is toasty Tuesday and then a cool down. They are talking rain….?? Toward the end of the week.
    My last Aunt’s funeral is today. She was 94 and so special. A little bitty thing but mighty and full of spunk! And we loved her!
    Enjoy the weather.

    1. Lynn in Scottsdale, AZ

      Joy, so sorry about your aunt. I have several left. One, age 90, is moving back to Minnesota to be near her sons and grandchildren. After 3 husbands, she hopes to meet someone tall, dark, and handsome on her flight. She is so funny.

  20. Kathy Niemann

    Our guild challenge this year is to use a panel and add borders to it. That’s one way to get some practice on making borders.
    I don’t think that’s an old lady couch. I had one recovered with burgundy and white check. I think it would look perfect at your house but I live in Georgia.

  21. Fran

    Absolutely sit at the machine. No doubt.

    Check out Wayfair on line if you want a simple couch. Comes in a box!

  22. Gail in Ohio

    Of course you should go to the sewing machine – why not???? 🙂
    I agree with your thought on why we don’t use that hoarded fabric… the pattern has to be worthy of the material. It’s hard to cut into yardage or pre-cuts when they are so gorgeous…

  23. Karen in Ohio

    Great job on the cleaning and redecorating. I really like the room with the windows and plants.
    The quilt show is also a treat!

  24. Sherri Huff

    If that sofa is still comfy, get it recovered, it would be adorable in a red/cream check! Old lady couch, NOT! Classic is more like it!
    I love that Hen and Basket quilt on the porch!!! Pattern?
    Have a Joy filled day!

  25. Kim from Wi

    Remaking your couch would be a great idea. New furniture isn’t built that well compared to the older stuff. The cost to recover adds up but it’s so worth it. Love all those windows but I’m glad I don’t have to keep them clean, lol. Yes, go sit and sew you deserve it

  26. Janice Brown

    Mary, I love your couch, and I think it has great lines. The photo is a bit dark to tell, but I like the fabric on it. Guess what I am saying is it doesn’t look like an ‘old lady couch’ to me. About having a piece of furniture redone . . . hmm, I bet the padding and cushioning materials (horsehair?) used back then will be different from what is available now days. Those are great looking strawberries. Your fall decor looks really nice. It makes it so cheerful and homey.

  27. Janet S

    Theresa, Your great-niece is adorable and should be proud of her creation.
    Mary, I too am height challenged and hate the overstuffed furniture they have – no one can touch the floor so they all have their feet on the furniture. We have a Smith Brothers which I love and can sit in comfortably. I was surprised you are still picking strawberries – they look so-o-o good.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Janet – haha! Those two are the only ones I got all summer!!!!! Too funny!

  28. Judy Brownfield

    Curvy back couch is a classic in my eyes. Valances are a granny thing. I like the open windows. More of nature to see.

  29. Jan from Cosby, TN

    Hi Mary,
    Your quilt with the wonderful border got me thinking of the book it came from. I was sure it was out of print, but you can still find it. So, I figured I needed to add one more book to my quilt book collection!! I’m really hoping to take more time with borders because, by that time, I just want to slap some borders on and get it ready to quilt!!! I know I can be more creative than that!!!
    Love your couch! Looks like a great place for a quilt – easier than anything else! Also, love your chicken quilts. Is the larger one in one of your books? I’m going to look.
    Sad day here – we said goodbye to one of our English Labs today. Beamer was 13 years – eight months. A good age for this breed. He was a rescue and in miserable shape when we got him. His back legs just gave out. We lost his brother three months ago with similar issues. We have one more that will be 13 at the end of this month and she is declining! However, two months ago, a rescue in Nashville desperately needed help with three adult and four puppies – all English Labs – one very obese boy now resides here! I hope not to ever be without a dog, but will have a plan if I’m not here to care for it/them!!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Oh, Jan, I’m so sorry! It’s just about the worst thing I can think of – to say goodbye to a devoted dog! And now the third one soon? Oh, that’s just too much grief!!!

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jann- forgot to ask – did you take only one of those English labs? I have a plan for my dogs but I’m going to get it in writing and notarized so I’m sure. Sounds easy for someone to agree now but….

      1. Jan

        Thanks for your reply. Yes, we only took one of the English Labs. The remaining all have homes except for the adult female that died after her spay. We picked up Brady, took him home, and that night discovered his incision split open – undescended testicle, so a spay-like incision! Early next morning, took him to our vet, who repaired the incision, but could find no indication that there had been any! Good possibility we saved his life!!!

  30. Cathy D

    Love the border! I’ve always put a border on the quilts I make. Never thought not to I guess 🤷‍♀️ Are the patterns for Home to Roost and the hen & stars quilts available for purchase? I have chicken decor in my kitchen, and those quilts are just too cute! Looks like rain today, smells like rain, but none so far.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cathy – I will look for Home To Roost. The hens and stars are an old Cheri Safiote pattern. If it’s no longer available I will share it

    1. Marsha in MI

      I loved my sofa like that but its drawback was I couldn’t display quilts on it attractively. Crocheted afghans worked okay.

  31. Kathy Hanson

    So many beautiful quilts!’ I have blocks on my design wall, have to get them sewn together!

  32. Jan Smith

    Your house, and new projects look wonderful.
    I had an old, comfy overstuffed sofa, and when it needed recovering it was also rebuilt to a clean line style. I don’t think it adds much to the cost. Plus the older furniture is so much more solid, and well constructed so it was well worth it.

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