I started my “death cleaning” this weekend – kitchen cupboards – but I didn’t get far because as I started I took down 3 recipe card boxes. Two belonged to my mom and one to her older sister, Mildred. Oh, how times have changed! I’ll bet I had 20 homemade bread and rolls recipes which went in the trash. I’m not making homemade rolls. I started removing all the odd scraps of paper on which recipes were jotted down.
Vegetables did not pass through my mom’s lips yet this scrap of paper which turned out to be a blank check from a local bank (which I know she never banked at!)
was a recipe called Frozen Broccoli/Brussels Sprout/Cauliflower casserole.
I’ll bet you a hundred dollar bill she never made this￼!
Here’s another recipe written in the margins of a church bulletin, right above the words to Jesus Is All The World To Me. Hmmmm…..where was her mind during church?
So many scraps of paper and cutouts from newspapers and magazines! I found some recipes several times.
My Aunt Monie’s recipes were not like Iowa farm recipes – she lived in Little Rock, AR most of her adult life and her recipes were more complicated and just different – such as orange slice cake.
Honestly I should have looked closer but I’ve already put them in the trash. Mom had lots of recipes from Orange Grove, TX where she wintered for about 40 years. One in particular I remembered and found – grapefruit pie. She was so anxious to make this for us when she came home in the spring and I wish I had been kinder. I didn’t like it at all but she loved stepping out her door to pick the grapefruit and then make a dessert. It was probably pretty good as pot lucks were held often in her RV park and all those Winter Texans from Iowa were good cooks.
Lots of this sort of recipe is going in the trash. I cannot be sentimental about this – I still have all her cookbooks, too.
A friend from church gave me all her old wool clothes to cut up and I thought it would be fun to make her a placemat out of the wool. There’s a huge tub and many other colors but I kept this one black and gray. I hope to finish it tonite and give it to her when they return to Iowa in the spring.
Because I know someone will ask – yes, the book and Dvd called Rugs From Rags is available for $20.00. Postage is included.
Dirty Dozen Projects
It’s beginning to snow tonite but we have had the most springlike weather for about 2 weeks! My favorite part is seeing the chickens make their way to the house yard where I can watch them from the windows.
And here are some “au natural” pictures of The Tribe.
And the Christmas trees for the goats.
My amaryllis bulb is a dud this year, I think. I gave several as gifts, too – they’re all slow or duds as well.
Somebody on Facebook made this – from the Jen Kingwell group maybe? I love it!
I think it’s going to get nice next weekend, too, so I’m going to wash a few windows and doors – the ladder is not a problem for me by now. Here’s the recipe again.
Off to work on my wool placemat.
Your amaryllis bulb looks green and seems to have a little leaf peeking out. Mine last year took weeks (!) to get going. I called the company and they said to wait a little longer. They were right. It was a giant, largest I’ve ever had. Good luck!
Thanks for the glass cleaner recipe. I’m ready for a refill. I really like it on my glass top stove . Sorry to hear about the amaryllis bulb. I’ve got three of them and they’re awesome. All had double stems come up with 3-5 blooms. I’m thoroughly enjoying them. I always peak in the boxes before buying them and make sure they are starting to grow. Great job on the deep cleaning. I need the inspiration. The sentimental attachments always get me.
That recipe for broccoli or cauliflower is exactly what vegetable haters would eat. I made that pretty regularly in the 1970’s when I cooked at my dad’s house for 6-10 people nightly. All that soup and cheez whiz, it hides the cooked until soft vegetables, all salt and fat. Slides right down!
Shelba – well then, now I understand why Mom had that recipe? If it tasted like a vegetable, she wouldn’t have eaten it! Haha! Nothing green ever passed her lips unless it was a green m & m!
Mary, have you tried the amaryllis that comes preplanted in wax? I was sceptical but when I read no watering I tried it. Beautiful bloom payoff and absolutely no care required.
Gloria B – I am not familiar with it – where did you buy it?
Trader Joe’s. Have seen it in some other grocery stores as well. I’ll email you a photo.
My husband got some at Trader Joe’s also. One has two flower stocks coming up and the other has one for sure. One has gray wax and the other red; I thought maybe it was Ohio State colors.
This is the first year in many, many years we didn’t buy an Amaryllis bulb. You’ve seen the pics of our rows of them outside my sewing room window, Mary. The ones in the stores here were already 6 or more inches out of the boxes and sickly looking🥴. I’ll miss the bright spot of color in Jan. and Feb. I love seeing the hens and chicks. Sad about the Buckeyes🙁
Diane – YES! Your amaryllises are famous and so beautiful but I’m not sure this one will ever make it! Oh, they played so good last night, didn’t they? Either team could have won – one was not better than the other. Field felt so bad after that last play, didn’t he? I felt sorry for him. They’ve had a great year and nobody can deny that. How was your party?
Thanks for including the window washing formula. I wanted to make it recently and wracked my brain to remember the recipe to no avail. This time I’ll write it down! I love the little recipe scraps from your mother and other family members. I have some of those from my mother all neatly typed on notecards. I still make some of them and wish I had more..
Mary, I have the Swedish Death Cleaning book and really enjoyed it. It really helps to simplify your life. There’s no sense in keeping all the “stuff”. I only want what I use and love. I even got caught up with all my quilts. It is very freeing. Now I enjoy making smaller quilts. Love your blog.
I am overwhelmed by the number of recipes I have and now I don’t want to cook anymore. I have my mothers, a legal file box full and a zillion cookbooks. I know I have a long way to go to clean them out along with so much other “stuff.” The whole mess is very overwhelming. I think there is a song something like “A long way to go and a short time to get there” that’s where I’m at.
I’m anonymous, posted that without my name by accident.
I wonder if the recipe on the church bulletin is for caramel rolls. . . She was probably thinking about them when they got home from church??
Looks like it might be good!!
Mary – I see a small bud in the middle of your amaryllis. I may be wrong but don’t give up hope yet!
Joyce – yes, there is a very small point – I was hoping you all could see it!
did you ever think to make fabric from your mom’s recipies with spoonflower or something similar?
I can’t believe the rain we have had the past couple of days!! Must have had more snow than I thought too as the ground is still white!! I concerned for what tomorrow morning will be like…ice covered with snow.
Love the pictures of your chickens…the tribe is growing!! They are all so beautiful, never thought of chickens as being beautiful!!
I will have to go through my recipes when I finally get an apartment. I have an old black notebook with recipes that were my grandmothers! I am not sure why I am keeping them, I don’t think I have ever made one thing from the book. Many are newspaper cutouts pasted over each other!! I will not have room for all of those things wen I get in. I have a hard time getting rid of things from the past…no one else knew them so I guess if I am gone no one will care. Your encouragement is helpful!! Thanks!!
I got an amaryllis from Aldi’s a few weeks ago. It wasn’t quite what the picture showed. It was a white one, which I had never seen. It was a miniature, I guess. It did bloom but the odor was terrible. When it was done blooming I tossed it. I had a red one a couple of years ago…it never bloomed. I even cut it back and started it again…no stems ever came of that either. Some day I will get one, they are so pretty.
Happy New Year!!
I did not buy an amaryllis this year after having a dud last year. I love the pop of color when they finally bloom! I’m nursing along a Christmas cactus right now. It bloomed beautifully for a couple of weeks and still has lots of buds on it.
I took down my Christmas tree today and all of the decorations that were about. Is there anything in your book about downsizing holiday decorations? I seem to have an overabundance!
I have been quilting like crazy to finish up my #12. It is close–just need to figure out what to do with the outer border and then bind. I have two more days, right? And company coming on Tuesday. Feeling the pressure!!
I love reading old recipes. Sometimes the ingredients are rather foreign (lard is not something that has ever found its way into my pantry!), but oftentimes it’s just a matter of our changed ways of eating. I have saved just a very few of my Grandmother’s recipes because their handwriting brings so many memories. I keep thinking I will scrapbook them one day. Hasn’t happened yet!
Had a good reminder today of why I enjoy Facebook. It had been suggested I join a page about my hometown, which I did. Today there was conversation about the place I first worked in high school. In amongst the posts, there was a comment from the son of my high school home ec teacher. We chatted a bit and he promised to greet her for me when he talked to her later in the afternoon. I love small world connections!
Last winter during the many “Polar Vortexs” we had here in MN, a friend of mine spent the time cleaning every closet and drawer in her house. She did get the job done. It was quite an undertaking.
Kathy Schwartz – she has my utmost respect!!!
Your “death cleaning” segment has inspired me to keep at it and avoid sentimentalism!
Regarding your wool placemat, my aunt gave me her braided rug made out of old wool clothes. I have it in my front entry and love it.
In 1991 my mom made her will, health care, poa choices, walked out of the lawyer’s office and said, Well, I can die now! She was mad at me because I asked her to do them to make life easier for us kids. She’s 94, has dementia and I have used those papers many times. She threw away things regularly, or shredded them, no dolls, games, special clothes existed for any of us but the youngest brother. Death cleaning doesn’t interest me. I’m just stitching and trying to keep her happy, she lives in a home.
Dee winter – you have your hands full, I can tell. I don’t feel close to death but I have too many things and wish I could just get up the nerve to dispose of them. Sewing always comes first though – haha!
I wonder if Beryl got a paper white instead of an amaryllis. The paper whites are small white flowers and have an odor that to me is unpleasant.
I don’t have children, but managed to give some things to nieces and nephews at our Christmas party.
Sheri – so are you a collector? How will you dispose of all your things? Without kids myself, I worry and wonder constantly! Wish I could just get over that feeling.
I have a nice Hummel collection. I also have lots of things from my parents. I had a hard time getting rid of their things and my brothers were happy for me to have them. We found a box that has rent and utility receipts back to 1934 when my parents were married. They were married for 14 years before they had children so there are lots of years worth of stuff. This will be the year for me to clean. I am going to take pictures of all of the things I don’t want and email them to the family. If they want something they get it. I also have lots of genealogy records that need to be scanned. I guess that fills up 2020. Hopefully I can find some time to quilt. I also have Mom’s recipes.
I have made the Orange Slice Cake before and it is really good. I have a lot of recipes like you are showing and I love them They are some of my favorite. I still buy recipe cards and have a good collection of them. I want to hold my recipes not look at them on the phone. lol Paula in KY
Wow, good for you, going thru all of those old things. My cousin had given me photocopies of some recipes that our grandmother had, and I’ve tucked them into one of my recipe looseleafs. I suppose I’m old enough for the death cleaning, but I’m not going to worry about it just yet, since I enjoy looking at old hand-written recipes and knitting patterns, and will buy vintage used cookbooks and knitting books. If there are notes in the margins, I like them even better! and sometimes, I try them! LOL
My in-laws occasionally go thru their household stuff and donate. I used to get mad because there’d be things, not cheap, my MIL might have specifically asked us for at one time, that she just had to have, and then later it gets donated! grrr. Now I only give them things that are inexpensive or likely to be used up.
Jeanne H – I also found with the recipes directions for a knit Christmas bell from my Aunt Monie. Shall I post it for you? Would you ever make one? I know how you feel about gifts – I have some in-laws who never send a thank you card for anything and I just quit knocking myself out. Such poor manners, I think.
Yes, actually I would like the directions for a knit Christmas bell – thank you!
Oh, DH’s parents do thank us for their gifts, although FIL has been known to slide if it may not be something he really wants. It’s just aggravating when having gone to the expense of buying hand-thrown pottery soup bowls with covers – not cheap! – at her specific request, and a few years later, MIL decides she doesn’t need/want them anymore. :\
On the other hand, there are DH’s sister’s children who can’t even text their thanks-you’s for gifts, checks or gift cards. MIL blows it off, “they’re just teenagers”. But it makes me think why should we bother if they don’t cash the checks, let alone thank us. Niece has had a birthday check since October. If she doesn’t cash it before it goes stale-dated (6 months), maybe that will just be that. Oops! Guess you didn’t need or want it, honey. Or would that be mean.
Jeanne H – oh, I would love to leave an honest comment but just wouldn’t dare! You get the idea. Send me your address – I’ll put the directions in the mail!
Jeanne H – sorry – I said I would post the directions and I will!
That would be great, since there might be others who are interested. Thank you!
I love all your posts. The chickens are beautiful! Thanks for the recipe for window cleaner. Can’t wait to make it😊
You are awesome. Love the cats and Hazel and Telly.
Telly must be getting old now.
I have a rescued schnauzer mix he is approximately 6 years old. Very laid back and would not hurt a fly.I used to have wired fox terriers but they would kill ducks in my yard😣
Thankyou for all your awesome posts! It’s the highlight of my day😍
Oh Mary! I so very much understand the dilemma of saving recipes. My mom’s collection (stored in an orange envelope box in her kitchen cabinet) not only included her hand written ones on church bulletins, envelopes & other assorted pieces of paper but also recipes from aunts, friends & the church ladies … all such good cooks & women who influenced my young life in my small hometown in central Missouri. I just couldn’t toss them! So, I bought one of those beautiful storage boxes at JoAnn’s that looks like a huge book. It looks beautiful on the shelf with my cookbooks. 10 years later I still love looking through my treasures. ❤️😋
Peggy Thompson – I still have many handwritten recipes in my files but I am committed to cooking some different things – I am so bored with our meals. Rick isn’t, of course and could eat calico beans every week!
I, too, get bored with cooking the same meals. 😊
You are giving me thoughts of doing just what you are doing….I have recipes all over, 3 boxes and lots cut out from places that I should just get rid of…won’t make most of them! Loving seeing the chickens out and about again, our weather is certainly odd – Ah, Climate change!! The wool placemat is gorgeous – what a wonderful gift! I am so busy making quilts and have to figure out what to do with them all I just love making them!! We often have Amaryllis out too but now right now. They sure are beautiful but do take their time getting up and running. Patience is hard when you want to see the flowers NOW! Last year we waited a long time then had such beautiful flowers. I hope yours won’t disappoint! Enjoy these last days of 2019
Kathy Hanson – I ALWAYS say – for ME it’s the journey, not the destination that I enjoy. I will never NEED another quilt! But I’ll keep making them because I love the journey!
I like to buy the amaryllis on clearance and then they bloom in time for Valentine’s Day. And if they don’t bloom, then I am not out much money.
We will be moving in the next year and I have been working on downsizing on a regular basis. I try to do it in small time amounts or specific tasks so I don’t get overwhelmed. It is coming along. You never know what will be hard- it can surprise you.
In Memphis, we had almost 70 degrees on Christmas- crazy! They joked that we Southern women didn’t know what to wear!
Mary, and all. Save at least one or two cards with your mom’s handwriting. Doesn’t matter the recipe, it’s the handwriting. If there is a buttered fingerprint on the card, that’s even better.
Love the chicken pictures. I’m currently in Laramie Wyoming babysitting my grand dog and cat. It’s -4 and 6” of snow. 80mph wind gusts on the hi-way, here it’s calm, clear, sunny but cold.
Thanks for the chuckles, it always makes the day.
I have two of my mother’s recipe boxes. I need to go through them also. I’ve got recipes in a number of places. Good intentions to make new recipes. I want to go through things this new year. I’ve got so many books to give to our library. It will feel good to free up some space. I have two amaryllis bulbs. I had them outside all summer. I brought them in the house in September. One has not done anything yet. The other sent out three leaves, and now a bud is also growing. Loved all of your pictures as usual. Happy New Year!
Diane in WI – so will you toss all those recipes you know you’ll never make? I did and now wonder if I should have hung onto them. See? I’m a hoarder at heart!
What a good question! I always think I may want to make one of them and then never do. I have thrown away recipes. I can’t remember which ones so I guess I won’t miss making them. I too, think I am a hoarder at heart. I better start cleaning things out because after I am gone I can just imagine the look on my son’s face when he has to help clean out the house. He has already told me his allergies are caused by “fabric spores”.
PS. Did any of you see Crafts In America last Friday.
I thought it was great
Jo in Wyoming – I liked VFW the best! And the folk art pieces done on the floor by ?Cummings, the fellow. Loved those. The Indian lone stars etc and the grass and nature wall quilts didn’t appeal to me as much. What I do know for sure is that I want to go to Lincoln again to see the exhibits on display. Connie and I were there 2 years ago but I want to go again!
Mary would you believe I am kicking myself for tossing years back some bundt pan recipes! I went thru a phase of smaller 8” squares cakes and now I am in need of larger size cakes/ desserts. I even threw away an old bundt pan. So I bought a new one and am on a mission for other cakes recipes besides the one I did save….pumpkin with chocolate chips. I guess we never know but when we are in the mood to clean out, I say go with it. Just like I never made homemade minestrone soup years ago and now I do and freeze it in batches for later use. But one thing I don’t see me doing is using recipes on a phone. I still like a cookbook or a sketch book where I have handwritten recipes taped into for safe keeping.
Kathy in w NY – when I get to the pots and pans cupboard, I’ll hang on to my Bundt pan! Haha! Are you buried in snow? Wasn’t our storm going to hit you today?
I have a hard time throwing away sentimental things like “Mom’s Recipes”, and other memorabilia. Once in a while I can do some , but not very much. Have to get in the right mood which is what you must have been with your “Death Cleaning”! I really enjoy all your pictures–animals and quilts and everything!!
Too Much Stuff; I have the same affliction. Raised by parents who came up during the depression, I guess I was trained to save, save , save. 🤪. Perhaps you can inspire me to reverse that!
I have a simple window washing method you should try. Hot water and original Joy dish soap. Use quite a lot of soap as the water should be really sudsy. Use cotton t-shirts or diapers for your rags. You should be leaving a lot of soapy suds on the glass when you wash. Then, dry with another of your cotton cloths. As you buff your window, you will feel when the glass just goes glossy slick… Perfectly clean and no streaks. You’ll go through quite a few cotton cloths for drying but they are easy to wash and dry.
My mom learned this trick from professional window washers. I resisted trying it for years. Sure glad I gave in and tried it! Good luck!
My method of washing windows is to have my cleaning guy do them once a year. He does outside, including screens, and inside he does the windows, ledges and sills, and tracks for the sliding windows. Inexpensive and, at my age, worth every penny.
As to death cleaning, it took me 5 years to settle my cousins estate who died without a will, two residences, and papers including her grandfathers estate. Have had to save a lot of paperwork but still have 3 large boxes of papers, etc. But now I’m going to purge them And reduce the boxes somewhat. Then I have to do the same with my sons estate. Finally had our trust rewritten as my husband and I have children from previous marriages, and I wouldn’t want anyone to face the messes I’ve had to face.
Then, I can go on with purging as my in-laws were hoarders! The local charity thrift shops benefit from a lot of stuff.
In between, there’s always the dirty dozen weighing heavily on my mind.
Happy New Year. 🎊🥑
Brenda A – oh, I am so sorry! Why do people impose their mess on someone else? Around here windows are pretty expensive to do and I have brand new windows so they’re easy. 20 windows, inside and out, without cleaning screens was about $500 several years ago. And living in the country requires several cleanings per year. Ugh.
First, born & raised in Iowa, I really look forward to your blog & love it when I open my email & see your heading! Thank you for doing what you do! I was in a quilt fabric shop on Saturday in Austin, TX & I was showing her the game board pattern I was buying fabric for…..she flipped out when I told her you & Connie were still publishing books & you had a blog! She said she always went to your booth at quilt market & she was so envious that I had been to your shop! She continues to buy your old patterns at flea markets & local quilt shows.
Second, I’m looking into buying a new Bernina & remember when you & Connie bought your most recent Bernina. Which one is it?
Happy New Year & wishing you well with your 2nd knee surgery.
Linda J – I just told another reader that it’s a small world! Haha! When we closed the shop we hauled boxes and boxes or patterns to the landfill and send a van load to a non-profit organization having a garage sale! We never in a million years thought we’d sell another one of any kind! Haha!
Connie and I both bought Bernina 740 but I don’t have anything good to say about it. I still use two old 1230’s which I love!
Mary, I just received an email that said I should “subscribe” and click something to do it. Is that legit?
Sandra Block – hmmmm – I did not send anything. Are you already subscribed so it comes in your email? I’d ignore it – I wouldn’t trust it.
Thanks, I’ll ignore it.
Yes, Sandra Block and Mary, that was a legit email. It was asking you,Sandra, since you posted, if you wanted to be notified of follow-up posts.
Such a small world! I ‘I’ve commented here a couple of times that I was born & raised until 15 in Des Moines and have lived in Corpus Christi Texas since then (44yrs) Orange Grove is only about 15 minutes from our house! My youngest son lives in “The Grove”. Love your blog Mary.
Jeri Niksich- haha! Mom bought a park model, the first place inside the gate next to the manager’s place. She LOVED Orange Grove! She led the exercises in the “hall” for over 30 years and when she started staying in Garner, she led a group of ladies at our church every morning. Oh, how she hated to give up her place in Orange Grove! Thanks for the connection – yes, it’s a small world!