You guys are the best! 12-14-23

Your card recipients are oh, so grateful and thrilled with all the cards they’ve received and they have instructed me to thank you so much! I talked with Jo and Darlene just yesterday who both expressed their delight! Thank you, Readers, for going out of your way to send a card to someone who needs a lift. It worked!

Returning to the subject of drawn thread embroidery here’s my grandma’s wedding blouse that hangs on my white cupboard in the piano room.

It’s beautiful and extremely fragile although years ago I did wear it to an event at the local historical society in my grandmother’s hometown of Britt, IA. I’m almost afraid to touch it now for fear of harming it.

And I found the lunch cloth which also has begun to yellow with age.

Last night we performed the cantata at Prairie View, a senior living facility in Garner and I was very nervous and why in the world after all these years would I be nervous???? Of course it went fine except for a couple blips and thankfully not from me.

Reader photos:

One side of Hazel
Another side of Hazel

Need a quick Christmas gift? How about a covered journal!

I will post these directions tomorrow.

44 thoughts on “You guys are the best! 12-14-23

  1. Shirley Andersen Smith

    Beautiful wedding blouse. I have a few drawn pieces too. Love all that old lace, etc.
    Of course you did well at the cantata. You probably just have a little stage fright….nerves.
    I love the camp journals, especially the one of your barn.
    Shirley from Central Oregon

  2. Kathy L

    WOW, your grandmothers wedding blouse is just beautiful, as is the lunch cloth. Hazel is adorable.

  3. Gail in Ohio

    LOVE seeing the lunch cloth and wedding blouse – thank you for sharing! My husband’s mother had a wedding blouse that is similar – not so much with the drawn work but lots of pin tucks! I also enjoyed the other photos and will look forward to the directions for the journals!

  4. Jo in Wyoming

    Ladies, I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful the cards and prayers and thoughts and wishes have meant to me. I’m feeling better every day. Some of you have the most beautiful penmanship. I hope you were teachers. Some sent hand made cards, so very beautiful. All the cards are special. I shall keep them up way past the holidays.
    Every day Loretta and I walk down the drive to get the mail and see what surprises are in the box.
    I thank you all , thank you, thank you.
    My focus seems to be getting stronger, I feel like a hummingbird going from one to another, not staying long and forgetting why I’m there. A minister said to give myself time to grieve. I’m busy preparing for Christmas, I fear afterwards will be hard again. I did get to sew one night…it felt so good, I hope to focus more on that after Christmas.
    Take care everyone. I love you all.
    Jo

    1. Charlotte Shira in Northern CA

      I’m glad you are doing a little better, Jo. I learned in grief counseling that you are in a fog. I thought I was just having a lot of senior moments. The fog will lift. Take time to grieve

    2. Vicki Ibarra

      I am so glad you are feeling better every day. And if sewing felt good the one night you did it, perhaps you should plan 30 minutes of that each day. I consider my sewing/quilting to be therapy time. I feel refreshed and stronger after I sew. There are times when I can tell I am getting more and more stressed. Even just pulling fabric and cutting it helps my soul. Odd, maybe, but true. Find what works for you…and give yourself time.

    3. Melody in Wisconsin

      Jo,
      So nice to hear from you. Have missed your blog posts about teaching sewing to the incarcerated women – are you still able to do that? Glad to hear that some days are getting better for you. Give Loretta some snuggles and take her for some walks. Exercise and fresh air do help some with the brain fog. Not sure what kind of weather you are having but sometimes just getting outside for just a little bit makes you appreciate how cozy and warm it is inside!
      Hope to see you blogging again!
      Melody

  5. Marie C

    The blouse is beautiful. Love all the pictures. I look forward to the journal cover directions.

  6. Rhoda Ebersole

    How old do you think your Grandmother’s wedding dress might be? That is just lovely. I have some samples from a class my grandmother or greatgrandmother took and now of course that is all I know about it but think it is this class of drawn work. I can’t imagine the hours of work it took to make it and the night lighting was probably not the best either.
    So glad Jo is liking the cards from us and that project is helping her.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rhoda – the more I try to find out the more I wonder if this was HER blouse or another family member’s. I’m looking at some old photos and it looks like it might have been worn by someone else. It was probably made around 1900. How in the world could they see those tiny threads????

  7. Martha W in WY

    Mary, your grandmother ‘s wedding blouse is beautiful. Hazel is just being Hazel. …nothing more to say about her. Your nervousness is natural…like going to the doctor except I’d rather be singing. Haha!

  8. Ginger S

    Your Grandmother’s wedding blouse is just beautiful. Just imagine all of the work that went into making it. Just amazing. And that Hazel!!!!!! I just love her.

  9. Bonny

    Dear Readers, I echo Mary’s entry about how wonderful the cards have been! Tomorrow is Mom’s big day, but the week has been so sweet for her as she has had daily mail from both coasts, both borders, and everywhere in between. The messages written in each have lifted her outlook, instilled energy, and given pause to reflect. I thank each of you! Acts of kindness matter! Thank you!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bonny – you said it all – acts of kindness matter! Happy Birthday, Maggie!

  10. Charlotte Shira in No. California

    Your grandmother’s wedding blouse is beautiful. I love Hazel. She makes me laugh. The quilts are beautiful as always.

  11. Amy F

    Your grandmother’s wedding blouse is exquisite! I can’t imagine how long it took to make. Even the lunch cloth is amazing to me. That first photo of the red flying geese quilt is just beautiful. It looks familiar to me too, like I’ve seen it in a book. Now I want to make one like it! Hazel is such a character! I love both her sides. She reminds me of the ornery Schnauzer I had when I was a teenager–absolutely fearless! I bet you don’t have a mouse in the house.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Amy – I don’t think there even a mouse in the barn! Haha! Yes, Hazel is fearless!

    2. Dorothy

      It might be a Bonnie Hunter pattern.
      Loosey Goosey or some such name.
      I think it’s on her “free” tab on her website

      1. Amy F

        Thank you, I’ll take a look although I’m sure it’s already in my Pinterest or one of my books.

  12. Sandy

    Hi Mary, love seeing Hazel resting on your legs! Bella gets tucked behind my legs at night, and off we go to sleep! Love the cat with the red and white quilt, another great show of quilts and the blouse was superb. Incredible needlework! Jo needs to plan a trip for the future, say within a year, something to look forward to, l decided to do a cruise with my sister as something to look forward to while going through sorting out things after my husband went into care.
    Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  13. Marsha Ransom

    I ❤️❤️❤️your grandma’s blouse! Such gorgeous handwork!

    The red & white table runner! Is there a pattern? So simple& so stunning!

  14. Cheryl from Niagara Falls

    The blouse is just gorgeous! Can you just picture someone working days and days on it? Such a lost talent and art. I love that you have it and wore it! Hazel is a character, but she seems to be enjoying life! Beautiful pictures.

  15. Diane in Maryland

    Loved all the pictures and the video of Hazel! She is certainly entertaining! The comments are all so nice to read. My granddaughter Ashley, who lives in N.Z., has come down with COVID. She’s expecting her first child the first part of January. Would like to ask the blog readers to please say a prayer for her and her baby. Ashley’s says that her symptoms are a very bad cold.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – oh, no! Ashley! Talk about miserable – 8-1/2 months pregnant along with having Covid. I wish you could be there to help her – does she have anyone who can? Yes, we can all join in prayers for healing for Ashley and please keep us updated.

  16. Fran

    Love those blouses! I think about how long they took to make. The fabric looks so “fine” and delicate. I just marvel at that.

    Loved the eye candy this morning.

  17. Erin

    Oh, the art of sewing such masterpieces as your grandmother’s blouse! Isn’t it marvelous? I appreciate the comfort and ease of today’s clothing, but I do wish at times that we could be as well-dressed as in much earlier times. I do like to sew an occasional piece of vintage reproduction apparel on one of my vintage or antique treadle or hand crank machines, but nothing I make compares to the real thing!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Erin – you use an actual treadle machine? How fun! I have used one in the past but now it’s probably too locked up to work. Have you made a quilt on your treadle machine? I think you should tell us a bit about your machine and your work – you could send it to my email.

      1. Erin

        My favorite was my Singer 66 “Redeye,” which I foolishly got rid of when I was diagnosed with MS. I now have 5 treadles, but the one I use right now is a White Family Rotary. I don’t know if I have any pictures of any projects, except for one Edwardian apron made with one of my Singer 201k hand cranks. My husband caught the hand crank bug, and now I have too many to count! They were such well-engineered machines and will last many, many more generations, while most modern machines will end up in the landfills when the computers or electronics fail.
        I’ll try to remember to email some pictures.
        I think your treadle will only need a bit of cleaning and a few drops of oil to get her sewing again. That’s one thing I love about them!

  18. Mrs. Goodneedle

    The wedding blouse is truly gorgeous! I’m still intrigued by the term “lunch cloth”; yours is just lovely! I have a good friend who adopted a dog on Tuesday, a male, who looks a LOT like your Hazel! 🙂

  19. Mrs. Goodneedle

    PS: So, my internet search revealed this regarding a “lunch cloth” : Before the turn of the 20th century, lunch food was wrapped in oil cloth, then tied into fabric or placed in a basket. Around 1900, the tin lunch bucket was popular with miners and became a safer and more reliable way for students to transport their lunches over long distances to school. Would this seem accurate to you?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mrs. g – I don’t think my family considered a lunch cloth as utilitarian especially this white one with all the handwork. I’ve always heard this term in my family (I hope I didn’t imagine this) that a small cloth like this was put on the table between meals to be admired. Maybe something pretty in the center? I had lots of cousins – over 20 of us – and Grandma made one for each of us. Her name was Charsty and if I had been lucky enough to have a daughter I would have named her Charsty. She came from Sweden in the 1890’s and married Henry Anderson – what a Scandinavian name – Charsty Anderson. Aunt Amy was her sister-in-law.

  20. Billie in Henderson, NV

    I just want to thank whom ever suggested the book “When Crickets Cry – by Charles Martin. It was a very good book, found myself reading at 2 am when I couldn’t sleep. That Hazel is sure a cutie.
    Happy Holidays Everyone!

  21. Tama

    Hazel is special. I so enjoy seeing her and hearing about her doggie antics! Woof woof. 🐾🐾❤️‼️

  22. sharon butera

    I have been reading your blog entries for a while now without contacting you to thank you or let you know how much they add to my days. Seeing your grandmother’s blouse this morning is a joy but knowing you have its guardianship is a gift to all of us who do not have such treasures of our own. My great grandmother came from Germany taking my grandmother but leaving all of the rest of her family behind. She was an accomplished seamstress who eventually sewed for the Armour family of Chicago, among others. I do not have a single piece of her handwork. Sigh. Perhaps it is her love for all things fiber that filtered down to me. I love looking through your window on the flora and fauna that fill you life. These are a large part of my joys as well. But I was compelled to reach out to you this morning because of Julie Vivas’ The Nativity. This is one of my favorite Christmas books. I especially love the page of baby Jesus where the text reads “And she brought forth her first born son.” Every year at Christmas when I see this page again, it’s as if for the first time. My heart swells. My husband is a church organist, among his other occupations. Perhaps you know The Diapason journal. He was the editor for over 30 years and now serves the publication as its ad manager. He has spent more than 50 years playing in churches and synagogues but now subs in our local country churches just to “keep his hand in”. He’s very interested to know where you play in Iowa. Finding your website and looking for your postings has brought much pleasure. Add to all of this the fact that I also find people who cannot park properly a total aggravation I feel we may be true kindred spirits. Wishing you a joyous holiday season. And thank you again for all you add to the lives of your readers.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sharon – loved your note – so interesting to me, especially that you enjoy the same book. I love the illustrations – I have a small collection of children’s nativity books – I’ll post them. Love them all.
      I play at Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church in Garner, IA where I have been playing for about 40 years. I play duets with an organist and we seldom miss church so I don’t have to play solo very often. My mom had me playing in our small country church at the age of 10 so with only a few breaks I have been a church pianist for 65 years. I wouldn’t recognize my life without it and my church family is as important to me as my immediate family.

  23. Paula S.

    I love the quilt show and your grandmother’s blouse! Oh my, so beautiful! Hazel just cracks me up. You’ve gotta love a terrier!

  24. Launa Peters

    13o up here in Idaho this morning, Mary! No new snow tho! Just frozen fog!
    Beautiful clothing pictures…imagine the time involved!
    A couple summer college years I worked part time in a paper factory where among many other items made the Composition paper notebooks shown! Was Simpson Factory in small WA town. Good idea to sew a journal cover for a Composition notebook!
    Nice to hear our Christmas cards with brief notes are so well received!
    Football Thursday night is never shown here, but the Raiders beat the Chargers 63–21! 🥳
    Are you doing anything special for Hazel’s 7th birthday January 17th? My husband’s 90th birthday is January first. Still going strong. Has a good fire in our wood stove this morning.
    Launa

  25. Kris in WI

    The heirloom needlework is luscious. I think the lunch cloth was meant to cover a small tea table or be centered on a serving table when “company” came. Oh, the proper etiquette of days past.

    My husband laughed out loud at Hazel’s antics. “I know there is a mouse under there, Mom. Just let me at ’em!” Thanks for the smiles! Kris

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