Thursday, 11-30-23

Let’s start with reader quilts.

So back to the redecorating.

The ladder – it goes up to my bedroom but I built this years ago when I was younger. I never use it – and I keep it locked so I don’t attempt it at night.

Scary, huh? The landing is a favorite cat perch. There’s a small window there and a table right underneath that the cats use all the time. Visiting kids think this ladder is pretty fun but I don’t let many climb it – I can just see them bouncing down the ladder from the second floor!

On my way to the grocery store today I stopped at the thrift store and saw this chair.

Pretty good lookin chair and not a bad fit – not perfect but will work until I find MY chair. It was $30.00. One of the rules at this store is you load your own purchases including furniture so I drug it out the door and gave a mighty heave ho to get it into the back of my van. I’ve moved so much furniture lately that I’m used to it. Oh, and I fell off the top step of the little ladder this morning, too, but other than crushing a plastic tub on the floor, I survived. The last time I fell off a ladder I broke or cracked 7 ribs – the day before our Sewing Room Tour!! Anybody remember that day?

So when I got home I managed to get the chair into the house but I’m glad no one was watching. I’m sitting in it watching women’s basketball tonight. It’s fairly comfortable but would be better if I had the correct ottoman.

Next comes the fun part of hanging the pictures. That’s tomorrow or this weekend. The desk/table is really too big but it’s fine for now.

A reader just sent me this picture of our Wear Warm Clothes fabric from many years ago – she’s making a red and green pineapple quilt! That would be the third one mentioned here.

Tomorrow is Dirty Dozen Day, December 1 so get ready to find your project. My neutral project from last month is hanging on the design wall – in pieces. Dang.

So this box arrived today and I know what’s in it! I will show you tomorrow. I already love it! I’m so tired of cleaning and redecorating I can hardly wait to sew something again. Do you have your tree up and decorated?

70 thoughts on “Thursday, 11-30-23

  1. susie Q

    Just decided that there will be no tree here this year. Have you ever thought of putting quilts on that ladder that goes no where?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susie – it would be pretty dangerous to use if the rungs were covered with quilts. I could do that but then I’d better lock the door at top.

  2. Janet S

    When I was lucky enough to visit the home where my great grandmother grew up (in Norway), they had a ladder to the second floor. It was much steeper than yours and that was the only stairs in a large house. It was an absolute thrill to think of how many generations had used it.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Janet – oh my, you’re very lucky to have experienced history like that!

  3. Dee from Shell Rock

    Sometimes the new chair just needs to adjust to your body. Looks good. Christmas is coming to my house slowly. Love reading the comments. I always enjoyed the grands coming to help put the tree up. They are all working stiffs now, live too far away.

  4. Chris Jensen

    I love your new chair and I think the ottoman looks great with it it. Thank you for sharing your life with me. You inspire me!!

  5. Pamj

    No tree yet, our decorations are in the garage attached to our house. So many tubs of decorations, it’s ridiculous. Our youngest son Cody is coming to help get them inside and drag the tree in. It’s 12 ft tall and huge. Every year I ask myself, what was I thinking when I bought it !!! But it really is pretty all decorated and our GD Dakota, loves it. The last 4 days I’ve been building out of cardboard a Polar Express engine for Dakota’s school Christmas parade. She was here for several days after Thanksgiving, she’s so excited and telling me, Meemaw I need straps so I don’t have to carry it, it needs some of that white fluffy stuff that’s in your sewing rooms coming out of the smoke stack, it needs a bell to ring, etc….goodness gracious child, I can do most anything, but geez Meemaw is old !! She says, no Meemaw you’re not old just slow sometimes!! I’ll be done with it today and her daddy , my oldest son is coming to get it. I have indeed learned a lot about building something out of cardboard, it’s relatively simple, but it’s cumbersome, too big to work on in my sewing room (it’s a mess). I’ve also found her some Polar Express pj’s to wear that day too. I can’t wait to see all the train engines 👀👀BTW, love your redecorated room, love that chair, too bad I’m not closer I could re-upholstery it and add some more support, new foam and fabric. I’ve done several of those wing backs they are so much fun to do, especially if you use several fabrics to recover it. You could even make up some scrappy pieces of fabric. Take care..

  6. Betty Klosterman

    It is really nice to hear everybody’s adventures with family, pets, Christmas decorations and trees and all of the fun stuff. Especially like the “tree” on the ceiling. Your Christmas branch?

    Doesn’t seem like chairs aren’t meant for short people. Personally I really like the straight back kitchen chair. Frank’s whole family sat on their backs in the recliners or sofas, etc. That would kill my back.

    The first scrappy quilt caught my eye. I love scrappy’s, but your layout of the different blocks was so interesting.

    I’ll be waiting for the pictures of Christmas trees. May everybody enjoy all the fun at Christmas. And thanks for sharing.
    Betty in Rapid City

  7. Jane from St Marys IA

    I decorated more this year than the last 2 years as we have a 2 1/2 yr old grandson I watch & I thought he was old enough to understand he can’t play with the ornaments. Yesterday was his 1st day here since I put them up. My tallest tree is only 4’ & he stood & looked at all the ornaments picking out Poppy’s tractor & the cats but his eyes lit up when he saw my 3’ tree with a wheel loader…barn…tractor…Dad’s pickup & Poppy’s silage chopper on it. He wanted me to pick him up so he could touch them! We did that several times throughout the day. He also said I had carrots on my travel ornament tree & those carrots were prickly pear paddles painted on an ornament from AZ!! Through the eyes of a child he made me smile at what he was seeing for the 1st time!

  8. Marie

    Good morning Mary, I’m pretty new to your blog and love it. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us! I was looking through my quilt books the other day and ran across your Back to Charm School book. Although I have not made any of the projects I have many dog-eared pages, lol! First on the list will be Ladies First Tree Skirt. Thank you again!

  9. Diane Deibler

    Mary, I always buy my furniture at Brick Furniture in Mason City(by the park) or in Albert Lea. They are a little spendy but everything is well made and their customer service is GREAT. They’ll even come and take back your purchase if you’re not happy with it. Kevin is the best. Slumberland is okay .

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – we bought our power bed there and when we had some trouble with it, you’re right – they came back to help us. I’ll see if MY chair might be there! My red chair is only temporary – I’ll take it back to the thrift store eventually. The $30 will be rent – ha!

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – also – bought my swivel rocker at Brick in Albert Lea but have always hated it – wish I had looked into a return. It’s one of the chairs I’m getting rid of – it’s brand new!

  10. Sue in PA

    Last week our three grandsons came over for a few hours so we put them to work getting out all the Christmas decorations, putting up our small 4’ tabletop tree, and then decorating it. I didn’t change a thing and they did a great job. They are 7, 11, and 15 years old. We got everything done in less than two hours and it would have taken my husband and me at least a whole day to do it all. We even got all the wreaths put up. We will have to remember that next year!

  11. Deb

    My trees are up,but nekkid so far. One green for my antique breakables, and a silver skinny for my 60s bradford plastics. We finally caved and bought a new green one. I don’t like it as much as the old one, less realistic and too spindly. But every year I spent a week replacing bulbs to get the old one all lit. Usually around 50 and that kills my fingers.It had 2,000+ lights and was SO pretty. (We thought about replacing the lights but found it wasn’t going to be easy to remove the old and they would show).
    But I want to know, HOW did the lights go bad in storage? (In the ac, not hot). It was working perfectly when I took it down, then the light nightmare every year. Closet gremlins?!!

  12. Deb in Idaho

    It snowed here in Idaho. I have a doctors appointment today and I have to drive in it. I’m too old to drive in snow and don’t like it anymore. We only put up table trees. No room for big ones. My hubby doesn’t care and my grandsons are grown so I would rather sew than decorate a tree. I love the red chair. I love a tall backed chairs. Have a great day everyone

  13. Beth Haynes

    Wow, the first quilt is on point with all the different sized and shaped blocks. I admire that. On point settings are so nice, but boy, I have trouble with them. Not really sure why.
    In NH, we have sun today. But rain later.
    We have a tree, but it is not up. We wait for a bit so we can have it up beyond New Years. Soon… When the tree is up, we read a short Christmas story every night. Since we do not have children, this is a tradition we have made for ourselves.

  14. Mary Etherington Post author

    Susan – I should ask for pictures of trees and nativities – I think that would be fun!

  15. Sally J. Mi.

    My decorating is done inside and outside!! Trees, nativity, village, etc.
    Tomorrow is our Christmas luncheon with church ladies and Sunday is “Hanging of the Greens” at church.
    Yesterday saw Podiatrist for 3rd time! Terrible pain in ankle area. Injected the area and sending me to therapy. Hope all this goes well as i need some pain relief.
    Love all three quilts today! Mary I got my patterns and thank you. Now i need to get sewing!! Not motivated lately!! Love your new red chair!! Good find!
    Blessings to all. Sally J.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sally – tomorrow is our brunch at church, too, plus the Advent party and decorating the tree. Hope that injection works for you as much as it did for my left foot although I nearly fainted from the pain when I got the injection on the top of my bony foot – how do you spell bony???

    2. Deb

      Foot pain is something I know too well. Weak ankles, a crazy sledding accident ,and totally flat arches are not good for running a shop and standing all day! I tried shoes, braces, injections, surgeries….. and one little thing made all the difference. Metatarsal pads in my Spenco shoes. Took about a week to get used to, and at first it made them hurt more. But once my feet adjusted I can’t go a day in regular shoes without getting sore feet. Well, I also have claustrophobic toes that HATE to be contained. Barefoot tomboy farm girl forever! Are we still “girls” at 65? :😜

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Deb – you just put into words what I think about my feet! Barefoot tomboy farm girl feet!!! Shoes make my feet hurt

    3. Linda Carpenter

      Sally, I’ve been to 3 doctors and they don’t know why my ankle hurts. I’ve been limping since July, which throws off the rest of the body. The injection in ankle joint didn’t help. Next step is MRI which I am pushing off hoping it will get better. I’m 73. I was slow already, but this really messes up my life.

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Linda – oh, isn’t that discouraging? All my aches and pains are arthritis or just overwork which my chiropractor calls his job security! Haha!

      2. RuthW in MD

        Linda, I read Judy’s blog at, and she complained about ankle pain a lot this autumn. She found out that she was crossing her feet at the ankles while she was stitching, and it was just enough to ruin her ankles. Now she’s teaching herself not to cross her ankles. She talks about it on her blog. Hope you find out what is causing your pain!

  16. Fran

    No decorating for me yet. I just got home last evening from a wonderful bus trip to Branson, MO.

    Love the readers’ quilts! Makes me want to dig in and get back to quilting. We did have over an hr in Branson at a quilt store.

    Never a dull moment with you, Mary. Missed reading your blog while gone. Keep moving!


  17. Jill Klop

    My tree is not us yet. I like to hold off decorating until at least December 1 we will have nice weather, so I’m sure we’ll get the outside lights up. Our tree is small. I keep the lights on it, so all I have to do is add ornaments.

  18. Marie C

    My trees are up but not decorated. I’m trying to get ready for a baking day I’m hosting on Saturday, after that I’ll have more time to finish decorating.

  19. Susan K in Texas

    The trees are out. Now to unwrap and hang the ornaments. That takes days as we put up multiple trees. I like trees with lots of ornaments but that takes lots of time to do.
    Today is our 39th anniversary so we’re going to a new local restaurant for lunch. Hubby doesn’t like waiting at dinner time on a Friday night.
    I like how cozy your new chair looks with the lamp lit. I know you’re ready to have the chore complet.
    I like the reader quilts especially the tree quilt.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan – Happy Anniversary! Send us a picture of your tree with lots of ornaments. Doesn’t like to wait, huh? Oh, are they all alike for cryin out loud!!

      1. Susan K in Texas

        I do think men are all basically alike. A friends grandmother said God made each man look different so women would know that was their husband walking in the door.

  20. Kathy in western NY

    Susan, I saw a Jim Shore Santa yesterday, maybe 8” tall, and it was $45 so I can’t imagine the value of your nativity set. I would love to see it so hoping you send a picture of it to Mary. Ours is up too – my mother in law painted it in ceramic class for us in the 90’s. I do like the older decorations more than the newer glitzy ones I saw yesterday.

  21. Kathy in western NY

    I do have a tree up but it’s a skinny primitive style one and works for me now that family is all older. I’m decorated inside but just yesterday began shopping, I was in Home Goods store and saw a new barrel type chair, which a friend has and is quite comfortable for a short person like me to sit in and get out of, but they are $399 so for an extra I don’t need one. I’d be happy with one from the thrift store just like yours. Good find.
    Love all the reader quilts and they are motivating me this morning to get into my sewing room. The person who has the wear warm clothes fabric uses QT rulers I see as they are laying on her table. I love those rulers and have replaced most of mine with them as their grip holds so well on fabric.

  22. Julie Green

    My house is decorated in trees, I have 111 trees of various sizes and styles! It took me just two days to get them all up! Love the look! Your chair is great by the way!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Julie – WHAT??? 111 trees? Where do you display them all? And it only took you 2 days to set them all up? You just have to send me a picture for the readers and me to see. I just don’t know how you did it.

    2. Melody in Wisconsin

      Please send Mary photos to post so we can see. 111 trees, that is mind boggling to me! You must really love Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

  23. Mary

    Your ladder looks like a European staircase. I have seen them on House Hunters International. I still have my Halloween decor/Thanksgiving up. Maybe early next week! You are such a busy energetic lady.
    Please send some to me!!!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary – yes, European and my bed is a European cupboard bed which I had built when I was much younger, too. It’s high and I have to climb in it. Of course I never considered old age and two knee replacements when I did it. And Hazel always beats me to bed and growls at me when I want to get in – haha! A terrorist for sure.

  24. brendalynne1

    I wish i could be more successful with copy and paste on this older laptop so I could send a photo of the tree everyone could afford. It was a sprig of greenery clipped into a spring type clothespin on its side with a very small round object fastened to it for its decoration. without really knowing you i immediately thought of you. It was actually cute and certainly could be mobile and not take up space while you are redoing your office into a den. Merry Christmas to you and Rick.

  25. patti

    love the reader quilts. especially the trees. i love trees and have made several over the years. past due for making more. i don’t envy the work of reworking your room. but i know you will enjoy it when finished. long day of doctor appointments. my angel group has christmas party tomorrow. managed to cludge together my top by 10:30 tonite. still needs more i think. we’ll see. nowhere near finished but will show what i did. wil try to remember to do a picture tomorrow. stay warm and safe everyone. patti in FL (mary i really always say ‘patti in florida’ – it’s how people know me)

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Patti – and I appreciate that you identify yourself so I know who’s who

  26. Marsha in Michigan

    Well, your furniture buying escapade reminds me of when I used to move furniture all over our two story house in town and buy furniture at yard sales and antique stores! The sweet little chair I have in my sewing room in our current home in the country was bought at a yard sale for $25 and I had it reupholstered a few years ago when I took over the big basement bedroom that our boys once shared. The story about my cute little chair is I managed to get it onto my Neon but locked my keys in the car. I had to use the lady’s phone to call my husband who sent our youngest son from their jobsite to get my car open so I could continue garage/yard saling (I think I just made up a new word!

    We went tree shopping with our little granddaughter last Saturday & bought ornaments and set it up on top of my baby grand piano! No floor space since we don’t have a huge house and every room has play spaces of our granddaughter’s! We had so much fun!

    Tomorrow night after we pick her up we plan to drive her through Crane’s Orchards, as they have a drive-through Christmas Lane through the orchards that just opened last night. This is their first year doing this.

    1. Bonnie Farris

      Hi Mary,
      I thought that ladder in your new sitting room would make a great quilt rack! I’m sure you could fill it up! I’m busy sewing “Grammy jammies” as the kids, grand and great-grand call them. Seven pairs done with six more to go! Tried to get them done by December 1 but that didn’t quite happen.
      Enjoy your holidays!
      Bonnie in SE CT

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marsha – please take a picture of your tree on top of your grand piano!

  27. Dianna in Wisconsin

    Glad to hear that you are okay after your fall.

    The room looks great so far, really like the chair. I have a favorite that I reupholstered about 8 years ago. The YMCA had a class so I did 3 old chairs. Two were 80 years old, from my husband’s family.
    They had horsehair stuffing. There not super comfortable but I do love them.

    Tree isn’t up yet, maybe next week.

  28. Lisa in eastern Washington state

    The tree is up, the outside lights are done, the Christmas pictures and quilts are hanging on the walls and all the beds have Christmas flannel sheets and Christmas quilts on them!! I’m not usually so ready at this point, but we didn’t have houseguests or host Thanksgiving dinner or go out of town this year so I’m way ahead on decorations. I’m almost done with my shopping but haven’t wrapped anything yet. I still have some client quilts to longarm in the next week or two, but no stress there either! So far this is a really laidback holiday season. I even have time to do some mindless sewing of my own. Tomorrow I’m going to a friend’s house, and we’ll sew all day long.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Lisa – I am jealous!! Just think how fun the season will be now that you’re way ahead of the game!! Wow – actually, I’m really impressed!

  29. Sunflower from Michigan

    You’re coming along in your room transformation. That chair is a great find. I like the color also.
    I like all 3 readers quilts. Jeannie’s plaid trees are so nice…I really like those! Barbara’s quilt looks like a lot of work and I love the row of houses block. The Rambling Row quilt made me happy because when I made my quilt top, I changed up the order of the blocks too. Hoping to get the backing made this week and then sent to the quilter. And the reader with the Wear Warm Clothes fabric looks like she has strips cut for eyeglass cases.
    My husband and I put up our 9 foot tree and decorated it on Sunday. Nothing else out yet except my Christmas quilts on the sofa. This week I hope to finish.
    Take care!

  30. DebMac

    No tree up here. Our son was born Thanksgiving Day and Sunday was his birthday this year so we did brunch with him. Dinner with his sister and family last night. Today I’ve had my nose in a book that I am close to finishing (Dennis Prager’s “Genesis”-excellent biblical commentary!) I’m really just enjoying the extra time between Christmas and Thanksgiving this year. Hopefully, this weekend will be decorating days. Our puppy is 6 months old so debating just how much I will do this year. He is an English Setter and our first English Setter chewed all the angels and doves off our tree when she was a pup. Many of my ornaments are glass ones from my grandmothers and parents so the tree may be pretty sparse this year. I like your “new” chair, I’ve been looking for one at a local used furniture shop but can’t find one that is just right.

  31. Mary Markert

    Decorating the tree right now. Pulling out all my Christmas/Winter quilts. Finding out I have far too many, and still have a stack of Christmas patterns I want to make! Does it ever end! Love your own little space for reading and TV! I also have fabric from the Wear Warm Clothes, and I hunted down the pattern. On my todo list. Love watching the transformation of your home.

  32. Gail in Ohio

    I may have to get making plans to do anything – they get blown up! I did get a few things ordered for the grandkids today and some peanut brittle made yesterday. However, we’ve had several pressing matters interrupt! The bank changed our log-in so I couldn’t get the security code for our joint checking account – that took a week to resolve. Then my computer get a pop-up with a loud announcement that a trojan virus had locked it up and I had to spend time resolving that. Someone submitted a doctor’s visit to the wrong insurance (hopefully resolved), the people came unexpectedly to replace the gutters yesterday, and the tension on my sewing machine went wacky tonight – not resolved yet. Ah, well, such is life! Maybe I can get some decorations put up tomorrow and start on making caramels – Christmas is coming and all will be well…. 🙂

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Gail – GOOD HEAVENS!!! I’m surprised you have your wits about you to leave a comment. Talk about pressing matters.

  33. Launa

    Have a trunk full of ornaments gathered in our 64 married years together! There was no room for a tree in our college studio so we hung a branch from ceiling and I crafted little pipe cleaner gnomes to place on it! Think there may be a couple in the trunk? We had SNOW a couple hours tonight. Should be receiving more!
    Love your red chair! Know you will put it to good use!
    Will cut a short tree from our property for our three youngest to decorate in a few days when they arrive!
    Have a fresh wreath on the deck door. Supports the hockey team!

  34. Sally

    Our tree went up first week of November. Our son and family came Sept 1 for a sabbatical, so we did all the birthdays and an early Christmas. The grandkids loved decorating the tree and we hung Christmas lights in their bedrooms too. They flew home to the Philippines last week. It was a great time being together, meeting our grandson and celebrating his birthday (3) & his sister’s (6). I’m going to a SewCation this Friday & Saturday. Love the beautiful reader quilts! Mary, your sitting/reading/hands stiching/tv room is going to be so nice and cozy. Love the red chair you found! ~ Sally

  35. Bonny

    So fun to watch the transformation of space! Love the chair but of course I’m not sitting in it 😉. I have my “tree” up…I use only the 2 1/2 ft top of my previous 7′ tree. Smothered in lights with way too many sentimental ornaments. Anybody’s kids make ornaments with jigsaw puzzle pieces and Decopage? Mine are 30+ years old (the ornaments) and HAVE to be hung! Still looking for rotary cutter after “straightening up” for Thanksgiving! Glad for duplicates! Readers: Thanks for sharing your work !

  36. Chris

    We put the tree up the week before Christmas and leave it up until January 6, Three Kings Day. But the Christmas music has been playing since Thanksgiving. Your little nook looks cozy. And the chair is a good find, but I’m sorry you had to wrangle it yourself. Especially after your fall. You lead a charmed life not to have been hurt.

  37. Teresa

    Mary, you have uncanny luck at finding great items, I love that chair and the color! What inspired you to install the ladder to your bedroom? It does look a little dicey from the upper floor, how did you get turned around upstairs to descend it? I’m thinking of hay mow ladders, there’s always rungs on the wall above the opening in the floor to hold onto as you go down. You like living on the edge! lol

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Teresa – there’s a hand rail on the wall side to hang on to. I really wanted a spiral staircase but couldn’t either afford it or get my carpenters to do it, I can’t remember now. I wanted a way to get from the bedroom to the sewing room without going all through the entire house. Yes, it is a bit dicey. The next people who live here should put in a real staircase or close it up. It’s not very safe and yes, it reminds me of haymow ladders for sure.

  38. Deb E

    The red chair looks great there & the ottoman matches in color. That’s a great price for a chair to sit in until you find the perfect one. You’re making lots of progress! Love all the pictures you’ve got hung up – we have very little room on the walls for pictures. No tree up yet for us – tomorrow will be the day. Hubby & I both have to lift down the totes and the tree box for decorating. Am hoping we can get the blower out & finish getting the leaves out of the rocks in the backyard (90% is already done) and then get the front yard done maybe on Saturday morning. No hard to do, just takes some time.

  39. Kathy B

    Big tree and small tree up and decorated. Lost my brother to lung cancer so I wasn’t too sure I would get my Christmas up.

    1. brendalynne1

      sorry for your loss. it seems special times of the year just are not the right time for loved ones to be called away. Somehow emphasizes our sadness.

    2. Colleen in Central Oregon

      So sorry for your loss Kathy. It’s hard to lose a brother, especially this time of year. Hugs to you!

    3. Melody in Wisconsin

      So sorry Kathy, so hard to lose a loved one this time of the year. May your memories of him bring you some peace and comfort.

    4. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy B – my sympathies in the loss of your brother. Cancer is a beast I hope we get rid of soon!

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